AVENGERS #181 (1979): 1st Scott Lang

Another great set of issues from what is truly the best time to be reading The Avengers.  It starts with Wonder Man and Beast’s bromance.

After seeing a film, they head home only to find that Avengers Mansion has new defenses…

Such great character work.

But this is primarily an “old order changeth” episode, but it’s interesting to note the splash page, which features Beast and Wonder Man watching Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood on the big screen.  The two characters became best friends in the comic, but more importantly Wonder Man professes confusion about why people would watch movies.  But in just over a year’s worth of future issues, Wonder Man would become an actor himself.  And soon after that he’d quit the Avengers to go Hollywood.

The Avengers’ cast had indeed become unwieldy.  You can understand why old Henry was concerned.  It wasn’t just because someone left the door open a few issues ago.  It was an issue of controlling the number of folks with Avengers priority IDs.

This is such a great issue, and it has nothing to do with saving the world.  There are so many great moments, starting with the government’s demand that the team have a little more color…

Look how Iron Man and Quicksilver jump in to protect the status quo.  Pietro’s line about them being “elite” is pretty overtly racist–Falcon and Black Panther can hardly be considered “non-elite,” especially from a group that employs an archer full time.  And speaking of Falcon…

Falcon begrudgingly agrees to be the “token” member, after Steve Rogers tells him the Government will suspend all Avengers’ priority privileges.  That means they’d have to use the regular bathroom, along with everyone else.

Another one of the many fun little moments: Beast and Wonder Man fighting off the mansion’s new security systems, after breaking into the mansion.  The guy Tony Stark is talking to is Scott Lang, future Ant-Man, in his first appearance.

And John Byrne’s truly beautiful one full pager–which the cover is based on–showing all the current members and hangers on, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, all staring down Gyrich.

And finally, the new lineup announcement:

This was David Michelinie’s first issue on a stint that would include some pretty neat stories.  Stay tuned, you’ll see.

And another interlude in this issue with the old man with the dolls in the case.

It’s Django Maximoff, coming to steal Wanda and Pietro’s souls.

Creators: David Michelinie and John Byrne
Grade: A+

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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