Monday, January 28, 2013

Dibs On The Hammer


After looking at how often the Fantastic Four have called it quits during their career, I was curious to see similar stats with other Marvel mainstays. So here, in no particular order, is a brief rundown of some of their own moments of abandonment. I probably won't go into as much detail as I did with the FF--seeing all of these break-ups is depressing enough, y'know?

I'm not sure about the new X-Men team, but I know the original team broke up a couple of times. There was the occasion, of course, when they were swept out the door once their "replacements" in the new team came on board and things got a little crowded:



I don't know why the old team didn't just put it this way: "Well, Professor, it's been established by now that our group doesn't appeal to readers, no matter how many costume changes we go through--so before we start dragging this book down again, we're all deciding to leave at the same time, no matter how odd that appears." I guess that would have sounded too bitter.

But the first time they disbanded was after Xavier was presumed dead, and their FBI liaison practically made it an order:



And you know things are bad when the announcement of your break-up eclipses your own cover masthead:



Speaking of bitter, you can't get more bitter than Nighthawk, who practically stomped his feet making this announcement:



Just because his silly riding academy that the Defenders were using as their headquarters burned to the ground. But this raises an interesting question: if you're a "non-team" and you disband, have you really disbanded? Probably not.

The Avengers came within a hairsbreadth of dissolving their original team, before Hawkeye showed up on their doorstep looking to become a member--and they instead began thinking about replacements for themselves. The only time I can think of when they officially disbanded (as opposed to when the Scarlet Witch ripped their lives and their headquarters to pieces and "disassembled" them) was due to a deception of the Skrulls--which the newer members fell for like a ton of bricks, but the original members had the good sense to investigate.

That's not to say that individual Avengers members haven't at times decided to throw in the towel and call it quits. In fact, even the "big three" have all had their moments. Iron Man, for health reasons:



Though as soon as someone stepped in as his replacement and almost got himself killed, Tony Stark suited up again. The same can be said for Captain America, who was disillusioned by Washington politics and corruption. Hey, join the club, pal:



His own replacement was cruelly beaten and slain by the Red Skull, and Steve Rogers donned his stars and stripes again and reaffirmed his mission statement, leaving his "Nomad" identity behind him.

And what about Thor? I don't think he's ever actually stopped being the Thunder God--come on, would you? But there were times when he was stripped of his power by his tantrum-throwing father and left at loose ends on Earth:


And jeez, Odin sure played that card a lot.


And of course, there was this cover of covers, where Peter Parker abandoned his identity as Spider-Man:



But Peter's resolve can usually be fizzled by his Uncle Ben, who always manages to reach beyond the grave to Peter's conscience with that "responsibility" lesson. So in the same issue, Spidey fans were treated to this uplifting final page which put everything to rights again:




Dr. Strange had a similar experience, when he stepped down from his responsibilities after spending a good deal of time as a prisoner of the Nameless One:



Only his Uncle Ben was the Ancient One, who granted his request to become a practicing sorcerer once again but gave him some tough love in the process.

So our heroes persevere--at times becoming disillusioned again, but finding their way back to their respective identities.  The comics racks would sure look a lot less colorful without them.

3 comments:

dbutler16 said...

I think the Avengers did officially disband around the time of Inferno (Avengers #298-300) and Cap reassembled the team.

Comicsfan said...

Technically I think you're right. Those issues will never make it into my top 10, that's for sure.

dbutler16 said...

That was certainly not the Avengers' heyday, yet, sadly enough, things would get even worse in the later 300's.

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