The Ages of the Avengers: Essays on the Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Changing Times

The Ages of the Avengers: Essays on the Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Changing Times

Joseph J. Darowski, Mark Edlitz

Language: English

Pages: 204

ISBN: 0786474580

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Comic book audience expectations have fluctuated dramatically through the years, and comic book creators have had to adapt to shifting reader concerns. One of Marvel Comic's most popular franchises for five decades, the Avengers have always been reflective of their times, having adapted to an evolving readership to remain relevant. This collection of fresh essays by popular culture scholars examines Avengers story lines such as the Korvac Saga, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, and scrutinizes key characters including the Black Panther and Hank Pym. Essays explore how real-world events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, and 9/11 influenced popular entertainment in America.

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developing world, especially Vietnam (Bradley). The Avengers themselves come under the scrutiny of Senator H. Warren Craddock’s Alien Activities Commission (an obvious reference to “The Avengers always stand ready to do their part” (Maguire) 19 the Red scare activities of the House Un-American Activities Committee and Joseph McCarthy). Craddock goes so far as to surround Avengers mansion with tanks and helicopters and SHIELD’s mandroids attack the Avengers themselves. At one point Rick Jones

to search for the Hulk. These other heroes are either unavailable (Reed Richards, X-Men) or disinterested (Thing, The Cuban Missile Crisis in Four Colors (Webb) 7 Spider-Man) in helping to root out the Hulk. Once this appeal to other heroes failed, Thor suggests contacting Rick Jones, which causes Giant Man to remember that Jones is “the only one who can control the Hulk!” (Lee and Kirby, “The Avengers Meet …”). From a tactical standpoint, one wonders why the Avengers didn’t call on Jones

myself completely to prop you up! No more! Ever again!” (Shooter, “Three Angels”). With no husbands or kids, and with a steady income and glamorous job, Van Stung by Stigmatization (Lee) 71 Dyne adopts the new eighties lifestyle in vogue: the yuppie, then on the ascent for career women in law and medicine (Ehrman 108–09). In #217 (Mar. 1982) she boasts, “No more Mrs. Hank Pym—I’m Janet Van Dyne again, free and simple!” (Shooter, “Double-Cross”). No longer a sidekick to a deadbeat hero, she

precisely because Fury worries about how the public would react (Millar, Hitch, Neary, and Currie). The team’s repeated lies and the huge damage these lies do are by no means exemplary. The Ultimates are also deeply flawed individuals, exhibiting many traits that role models should not have. Tony Stark is constantly drinking, including several times before flying the Iron Man suit. While the word “alcoholic” is never used, it would certainly seem appropriate. Giant-Man, aka Hank Pym, physically

successor—the newly resurrected Bucky Barnes, who eschews consensualism in favor of division and revenge. In the period between the end of Civil War and the beginning of Secret Invasion the Avengers—and consequently the rest of the Marvel Universe—remain at war with each other. The 9/11 Aesthetic The argument that Secret Invasion should be read as a comment upon a specifically post–9/11 America can be made in reference to the visual aesthetic adopted by the writer and artists. While it is a story

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