Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Up Against The Wall

It's time to march on to another

Marvel Trivia Question

What was the name of Marvel's first all-female super-group?

Why, none other than the scourge of all things male:

The Liberators

Made up of the Scarlet Witch, the Wasp, Madam Medusa, the Black Widow, and their leader, the Valkyrie (in her first comic book appearance), the Liberators were most likely a whimsical creation of writer Roy Thomas, as the story falls within the scope of Marvel's occasional Halloween stories centered on Rutland, Vermont. These Rutland stories are apparently an in-joke at Marvel, one that I have yet to figure out. Presumably, Marvel staffers had a regular outing to Rutland during its Halloween celebration, and enjoyed the hospitality of a man named Tom Fagan who hosted an annual costume party. Consequently, stories about Rutland--usually written by Thomas, Gerry Conway, or Steve Englehart, who despite their best efforts never seemed to be able to get their readers on board with the same sense of fun that they apparently experienced there--made their way into various Marvel titles as Halloween approached.

As the Liberators are introduced, we're asked to suspend disbelief pretty early in the story, as all of the ladies the Valkyrie conscripts fall in line with their mission--to attack the male members of the Avengers, who just happen to be in (say it with me) Rutland, taking part in the annual parade while investigating a kidnap plot. (Yes, you read that correctly: when there's a kidnap plot in Rutland, Vermont, the Avengers come running. That guy Fagan must have some pull.) The Valkyrie plays on the ladies' many instances of being consigned to the background while their male counterparts took the lead in battle--or, in the Widow's case, being excluded from membership in the Avengers. Whisking her now pissed-off compatriots off to Rutland, the Valkyrie finds the Avengers unexpectedly in battle with the Masters of Evil--which won't do, since she doesn't want anyone else robbing the Liberators of their chance to open a can of whup-ass on the male Avengers.

So the Liberators attack the Masters of Evil, and take them out fairly quickly. But as the Avengers come up to congratulate them, the Liberators turn on them, and eventually subdue them. At that point, the Valkyrie finally reveals her true form as none other than:

The Enchantress, who has bewitched her Liberators into going along with her scheme--to gain access to a parallel time device invented by a mathematician at a nearby university, a device which will return her to Asgard. But as she poises to kill the Avengers, the Scarlet Witch casts a hex that reflects the deadly spell back on the sorceress, obliterating her.

And here's a bonus question for you: what was the battle cry of the Liberators?

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