Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Avengers Evolution II

More on the early issues of the Avengers.

It is interesting watching the characters change. In Avengers #1, Iron Man was in his original armor designed by Jack Kirby. By Issue #3 he was in the lighter suit designed by Steve Ditko. The helmet on this one had a faceplate that could swing up (but almost never did). Don Heck modified the armor to the version that was used for another couple of decades in Iron Man's own strip. When he took over the Avengers he updated the armor there, too.

Henry Pym went from Ant Man in the first issue to Giant Man in issue #2. He and the Wasp were still using pills to change size. By issue #8 he and the Wasp were using their cybernetic helmets to change their size. Giant Man's costume also changed. As Ant Man he had a bulky helmet. He swapped this for a lighter helmet that was almost a plain mask when he became Giant Man. He also changed his costume lightly. The original suit had stripes coming over is shoulders and joining a circle with a second circle beneath it. This was changed to alternating white and black stripes that went over his shoulders and down to his belt, almost lie suspenders. When Don Heck took over this stripes became solid black and joined. He got a revised costume with a blue overlay to his costume and helmet in issue #14 only to retire in issue #16.

The Wasp's mask changed several times. I'm not sure if there was ever an official version.

Captain America's shield got some electronics so that he could throw it and control it remotely. He switched back to straps an throwing it quickly.

Thor stayed unchanged.

Power levels changed, also. When Jack Kirby was the artist, Thor seemed to pull powers out of a hat. Iron Man mainly used beams from his palms to make people spin in mid-air although they usually escaped. Giant Man wasn't much stronger than Captain America.

Things changed around when Don Heck took over. Thor's powers were more limited. Iron Man was the one pulling powers out of a hat. Giant Man seemed stronger and used his growth and shrinking powers to maneuver around his opponents. Captain America threw his shield more.

They used Tony Stark's town house for meetings starting in the second issue.

The Avengers did not have a fixed leader. They had a chairmanship that rotated. Even the Wasp got to be in charge. By the 7th issue they had a set of by-laws. They also used Roberts Rules of Order - possibly the only time these were used so extensively in a comic book.

Transportation was interesting. In a couple of really early issues they used a jetcopter. This was probably a regular helicopter with a jet turbine. Helicopters were still pretty new in the 1960s and it looked stock. They also borrowed a submarine from Tony Stark. Later they left transportation to each member. This meant that they arrived at different times, making it easier for the villains.

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