Sunday, October 27, 2013

Moondragon Knows Best

I know we just got through with an Avengers membership change, but issue #211 is just too much fun to miss. Though taking place just thirty issues after the last roster shakeup, it seems a little soon to play the "old order changeth" card. In fact, the opening scene on the first page feels like we're replaying the words of Henry Gyrich:

So it's understandably hard to get excited about another one of these. But there's more to this story than first meets the eye. And a good thing, too--because, judging by their body language in this pic, it's a good guess that the old guard of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America have the impression that all they have to do is to give the nod that they're willing to continue on the team, and that's that.  R.H.I.P.

In fact, we can get the lowdown on Cap right away, since he currently leads the team:

I don't know why Cap is so pensive on the issue. After all, if there are presently nine people, then we're only talking about cutting two of them from the team. That's not such a headache. So why not take an informal head count, and first find out who's willing to stay on? Well, since Cap isn't likely to seek out my opinion on the matter, we'll have to just wade through the issue and find out the old-fashioned way. Wonder Man already sounds like he's having misgivings--and later, when the time comes for the meeting, Thor is having doubts, as well:

But I did say this issue was going to have some fun in it, didn't I? And when we're talking about fun in the Avengers, two buddies come to mind right away:

So we know that Wonder Man is out--and maybe he's planted a seed in the Beast's thinking, as well. But let's get back to the meeting. You'd think this would be mostly an administrative matter for the Avengers, with Jarvis supplying tea and cakes to alleviate the tedium. However, with the mansion's alarms mysteriously deactivated, Jarvis instead announces some unexpected guests. As it turns out, though, even the guests don't know why they've made the trip:

And before an effort can be made to sort out the confusion, the newcomers start feeling compelled to not only demonstrate their abilities, but to explain them:

So maybe it's time we found out who's behind all this. And the discovery is bound to sap every bit of fun out of these proceedings.

Moondragon seems to have conducted a little membership drive of her own, which of course infuriates the rest of the team. For what it's worth, the Black Panther and the Black Widow depart immediately, claiming prior commitments. As does Hawkeye, who delivers a parting shot as only he can:

Yet Moondragon, to put it mildly, has a mind of her own, and won't be put off in discharging what she sees as her responsibility to offer her guidance to this team. Subsequently, she deals with the more obstinate members of the team who object to her interference:

It's odd that the unaffected Avengers make no move to stop Moondragon from proceeding--particularly the Wasp, whose husband is one of those held in check. But there's little time to ponder the matter, as this force of nature begins to interview the candidates:

Finally, though, the other Avengers grow a pair and intervene. And what began as irritating interference threatens to escalate:

Iron Man reacts more proactively, mentally ordering his armor to fly out of range of Moondragon's control and then broadcasting signals that interfere with her focus. Once the other Avengers are free to act, it doesn't take long before Moondragon finally gets the message:

So this entire issue is chaotic, to say the least. And we're not through yet. Tigra is the only newcomer to stick around after the others leave, and she voices her desire to become an Avenger, though Cap responds that she's a complete unknown. Hercules, however, speaks up for her, pointing out that he knows nothing about some of the current members. Wonder Man, for instance:

After these two settle down, it looks like Cap may have the perfect conclusion for everything that's happened in this story:

But weren't we here to put together a new Avengers lineup? There's still that little matter to take care of, and it's done with a fast shuffle in just three panels:

And with Yellowjacket deciding to rejoin the team, we seem to have cycled back to the original lineup, for the most part:

Which finally wraps up another roster change. By the way, in case you thought it unusual for Moondragon to throw in the towel, considering the time and trouble she took to interfere in the first place, Cap might agree with you:

Let's say for the sake of argument that Cap's right.  Given what happens with Yellowjacket in just the next two issues, at least Iron Man would have the satisfaction of knowing how much Moondragon royally screwed up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my (ahem) humble opinion, Moondragon was one of the coolest characters to come out of Marvel in the wild and chaotic '70s. It seemed like a lotta crazy stuff came outta there, maybe because the suits weren't paying attention.
I liked Moondragon. She was weird, she was bald, and she picked fights with everybody, including Thanos. What a character.