Sunday, June 1, 2008

Celestial Madonna - Avengers 134

Avengers 134 Englehart
Avengers #134 (1974)

Doug: The covers have begun to suffer somewhat as Gil Kane took over those art chores. That, however, is nothing compared to what awaits us in the interiors of the last two issues. Sigh…

Karen: I’ve always thought Kane was very hit or miss. I’d agree that this cover is fairly pedestrian.

Sharon: I liked the way the Torch figure was drawn and I believe it's a reference to a Golden Age Torch image.  Kane imbued it with a nice fluidity. Iron Man’s mask looked distorted.

Doug: I felt the first two pages of this issue were wasted space. I wonder if the story was drawn and looking ahead to the end of both the Vision’s and Mantis’ origins the spacing wasn’t going to come out right so they went back and did the two-page recap.

The Kree/Cotati story continued to move along – no real complaints nor compliments at this time.

Karen: My only complaint is that they didn’t color the Kree correctly! They are shown as pink-skinned, but referred to as blue-skinned. This mistake was seen in the previous issue as well.

The idea of the pacifist Kree was another good one by Englehart. I’m sure the influence of Eastern religion and martial arts was a big factor in this. But it works in this story.

Doug: Wanda continues to creep me out. But I will say, if she’s going to creep me out while kicking Moondragon’s butt, then it’s all good.

Even though my next comment is really about FF Annual #4, I’d like to ask: Don’t you think Reed was callous when Ben asked if they weren’t going to bury the Original Human Torch’s body? I mean, at this point in Marvel continuity Reed and Ben were still considered WWII vets, so they’d have probably admired and been thankful for the Torch’s involvement against the Axis. That, coupled with Reeds’ constant quest for knowledge just screams to me that they should have taken the body with them. But, water under the bridge, I guess.

Karen: Yeah, it always seemed awfully cold of Reed to just leave the Torch’s body unceremoniously stashed in that cave. But then, this is the guy that would later shut down his own son’s brain, so anything goes.

Sharon: I think Reed’s reasoning was that the Torch’s body would not decompose, so why bury him in the ground? But once again Ben shows he’s the most compassionate of the FF.

For me, this issue was all over the place—too many strands of stories, most of which felt forced to me. The only sequence that seemed real to me was the Torch said goodbye to Toro and then went nova: very touching.

Doug: Englehart concludes the issue with a nice cliffhanger.


Dr. Pym said...

This one was hit or miss to me. It felt like a lame filler comic more than anyone else. Even the section on the Vision (Which was the reason I bought this,) felt lame and forced, and simply reminded me that other people do a better job explaining his origin in other issues of The Avengers. I don't care much for Mantis at all, so her story did nothing for me.

Sharon said...

Thanks for the feedback, Doc- -it's good to know I wasn't the only one who felt a lot of this issue was filled with--well, filler! It's like Englehart was mixing up a big ol' Bronze Age stew...some ingredients worked, others didn't.

And welcome to our blog!

Karen said...

Welcome to the blog Doc, and thanks for your comments. You know, I think I have yet to hear from a fan who actually liked Mantis! Of course, Englehart was obsessed with her, so we got this loooong storyline. And then he kept bringing her back in different ways in other Marvel books - and even over at DC, when he inserted her into a JLA story as a character called "Willow"! Appparently he thought he was really on to something.

Dr. Pym said...

Yeah, I understand what Englehart was going for, I mean, the whole idea of the character IS sort of interesting, but I just don't care for Mantis at all. Had no idea that he tried the same character (with a different name) in the JLA, but I don't read DC as much as Marvel, so I'm always in the dust there!

DLW said...

I think Englehart is criticized on Mantis much the same way Bendis is harangued for all of his pet characters. It's understood that Englehart left the Avengers shortly after the CM arc, but the proof in the pudding is that no subsequent writer chose to use Mantis during his run on the book. Hence, she fades away pretty easily in Avengers' memory.

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