Flashback Friday Friday Review: The Avengers #256
The Olympian Apollo visits Avengers Mansion, bringing Hercules a new costume to replace his previous garb, shredded in battle. Then, at the team’s regular meeting, the Wasp is reinstated as chairman and the Black Knight officially rejoins the roster. The team is then summoned to the site of a South Atlantic shipwreck, where they learn of a monstrous extraterrestrial menace called Terminus. Following the mystery being’s trail, they rescue the staff of a wrecked Antarctic research station and deduce that their quarry has entered the hidden primeval jungle known as the Savage Land, where, at that very moment, the giant alien menaces a party of researchers and their guide, Ka-Zar.
Released in 1985, Avengers #256 was 65 cents worth of… parliamentary procedure. Kicking off a new “era” for the team the issue mainly revolves around where the team will go from here. It would seem the Vision went a bit nuts and took off with Wanda quitting the team and that means there needs to be new leadership and that winds up being… the Wasp!
There’s so much wrong in this issue, it’s actually hard to figure out where to start and it’s almost comical in a way.
But, lets start with the Wasp because so much of the issue revolves around her. Janet is depicted in full 80s jazzercise (with ass cheeks hanging out) as she flirts with what seems like every member on the team. She comes on to the Black Knight who doesn’t know she’s now divorced from Hank Pym and then later hits on Hercules… it’s weird. It’s uncomfortable. It also shows how far the industry has come from 32 years ago. Hercules doesn’t help matters actually questioning her ability because she’s a woman is the vibe I got, and goes along with her being elected team leader just because everyone else is going along with it. Again… sigh.
And speaking of Hercules, he gets a new costume provided by Apollo and channels He-Man in a style that’s reminiscent of the character that was popular at the time. The costume is a familiar one designed by the legendary John Buscema, but boy does it look like a certain cartoon character as you can see to the right.
So, outdated gender roles? Check. Weird costumes that make no sense? Check. A lot more dialogue than today’s comics? Check.
Still, the issue is an entertaining one that’s generally devoid of action instead setting up a mystery that eventually leads to Terminus, the villain of the next story arc. In other words, this is actually a really good jumping on point!
Written by Roger Stern with the return of Buscema and Tom Palmer on art, the issue also debuts a new logo inspired by fan Steve Bove. It’s a fun snapshot of the time for its good and the bad.
Story: Roger Stern Art: John Buscema and Tom Palmer Letter: Jim Novak Color: Christie Scheele
Story: 7.7 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read