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Avengers #227: Review

Jan 1983
Roger Stern, Sal Buscema

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Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #227 Review by (November 25, 2015)
This issue begins the 4-issue end run of the Trial of Yellowjacket. Roger Stern takes over as regular scripter with this issue. But penciller Sal Buscema is only here for 1 issue. The previous Kree Captain Marvel had died 9 months earlier in Marvel Graphic Novel #1. Marvel needed a new CM to retain the trademark (which stopped DC using it for their Shazam hero), so Monica Rambeau was created. Thor will actually go off on his own (godly) business after #234. Iron Man will also soon leave after next issue, but because of his renewed alcoholism. Plantman and Wizard both started out as foes of Human Torch in Strange Tales. From that humble beginning Wizard went on to be leader of the Frightful Four. Plantman made fewer apps, sometimes only as a henchman, but his simuloid plant duplicates are handy. Marvel has had various supervillain prisons in its history. The villains have here been relocated from Ryker's Island in New York to multiple ordinary jails, either because of the danger of mass breakouts or pressure from NY politicians and public. Soon Project Pegasus will house some of the most dangerous. Then the underground Vault will be built for supervillains. When this fails it will be replaced by multiple alternatives:- the Raft high-security part of Ryker's Island; the Big House where prisoners are shrunk; the Civil War Prison 42 in the Negative Zone. The current prisoner relocation doesn't go without a hitch, as the Plantman and Wizard that get imprisoned in Vermont turn out to be simuloids. The real Plantman will turn up in #231-232, and Wizard in #235.

It says here the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was decades before Henry Pym married Maria. But the 1st Ant-Man story appeared less than a decade after it. This is an early example of the Marvel sliding timescale where the start date of the modern Marvel Era is continually rolled forward to avoid its characters having to age too much. Hank and Jan will reconcile and even get back together for a while eventually, but they won't remarry. The cast have yet more adventures before next issue:- In Thor #327 Tony Stark gets involved as Thor and his allies face an Asgardian army including the Midgard Serpent. Then In Th#328-329 Thor battles Megatak and a storm giant. The whole team, including Captain Marvel, help the pardoned Hulk against the Leader and a 2nd Arsenal robot in Hu#281-284. Then Iron Man guests in Team America #9, before embarking on his own #162-166 in which he battles the forces of Obadiah Stane and is almost driven to drink again. Meanwhile Captain America has a simple time with Scarecrow in CA#280.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #227 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 saw the origin of the new Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau. It ended at Avengers Mansion after Iron Man stabilised her system by draining some of her energy. Now they want to check that her powers still work. She converts herself to visible light to travel to a designated satellite, then via microwaves to another and radio waves to a 3rd, then as X-rays back to the Mansion. Iron Man measured the time of her circumnavigation of the globe, her lightspeed getting her back in less than 2 seconds.

Chairwoman Wasp surprises the other Avengers by asking CM to join the team immediately. It turns out she's bypassed Henry Peter Gyrich's authorisation by using her society contacts to get the President to approve a program for trainee Avengers requiring limited security clearance - and the Captain will be its 1st appointment.

Jarvis takes CM for a tour of the building, while Jan Van Dyne flies off to a pre-arranged brunch. In the records room Monica asks to learn about the previous Captain Marvel.

Hawkeye isn't yet comfortable being bossed by a woman. And he's still unnerved by She-Hulk's super-strength as she carries the test equipment back to storage. On the way she scans a newspaper and sees an ad for a job in a health spa - something to give her a life outside of the Avengers.

Iron Man talks of quitting over his treatment of Jan in #224, but Captain America persuades him out of it. Thor thinks about leaving to rebuild his life as Don Blake.

Jan's lunch date is with Reed and Sue Richards. They are worried about her, after  her divorce from Yellowjacket, his expulsion from the Avengers and subsequent arrest. And now the responsibility of her chairmanship. She assures them she's OK, but lets the mask slip a bit in the washroom.

Later her ex-husband Henry Pym gets a visit from a new psychiatrist Dr Paul Edmonds. We see Plantman and Wizard being escorted to a new prison elsewhere, the last supervillains to be scattered across multiple ordinary jails. Hank is the only super-criminal left in Ryker's Island. Edmonds' examination of Pym for mental fitness to stand trial is an excuse to review his history:-

Henry Pym was a science prodigy and workaholic. But at 1 of the few parties he was persuaded to attend he met Maria Trovaya. They were soon married, and honeymooned in her native Hungary. But Maria was arrested and killed because her father had been a leader of the abortive revolution of 1956. Henry had his 1st breakdown in jail there, before the US Embassy got him released. (This was all told in flashback in Tales To Astonish #44)

Back in the States Pym developed his shrinking formula (TTA#27), became Ant-Man (TTA#35) and faced villains like Egghead (TTA#38). Then he met Janet Van Dyne just before her father was killed. He turned her into the Wasp, they avenged the murder and she became his partner - in life as well as crime-fighting (TTA#44).

Then came the Avengers (from #1). Henry says that being ant-sized fed his insecurities. Being a member of a team eased that, but it also made him feel inferior to his powerhouse colleagues Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. It didn't help that Jan flirted with some of them, although probably jealousy was supposed to stir him to a proposal. But Hank's response was to amend his formula to allow him to grow to Giant-Man (TTA#49).

But his giant size also made him clumsy, and the size-changing started to have side-effects. So Jan suggested they leave the Avengers, along with the rest of the founding-members (Av#16). However they went further and completely retired from the superhero life (TTA#69).

But that didn't last long and they were the 1st to return to the team, with Henry this time as Goliath (Av#28). During that period 1 of his earlier experiments came back to bite him as Ultron (#54). He now felt guilty about that, and resented the fact that the now-rich Jan subsidised his research. This led to his 2nd breakdown where he created a new brash persona as Yellowjacket (#59). It was in that guise that he married Janet (#60).

They stayed in the Avengers as Wasp and YJ for a while, and then quit again (#75). But Jan wanted back in although Hank didn't. After a while they rejoined as long as YJ could be part-time and continue with his scientific work (#137). Unfortunately that was going nowhere, and he felt he was wasting Jan's money. She became his emotional prop. In the middle of this Ultron messed with his mind and led him to take on (and defeat) the rest of the team as Ant-Man (#161).

It was a relief when Henry Gyrich ordered the Avengers to shrink its membership (#181). Henry went back to science full-time, but Jan stayed on as Wasp. But still his research was fruitless, so he tried his hand at Avengering again (#211). However this only resulted in his mistake with Elf-Queen (#212), and his stupid attempt to evade his court-martial with a fake robot menace (#213). And striking his wife led to their divorce (#214).

Then at his lowest ebb Egghead tricked him into stealing adamantium from the government, which put him in jail (#217). He's still determined to prove his innocence in court. But he's now given up all hope of winning back Jan's love.

Edmonds reports back to his employer Tony Stark. He says Pym is fit to stand trial. Despite his claim that it was Egghead wot done it. But Egghead supposedly died in an explosion (Defenders #43) before #217.

However the same Egghead is very much alive and bugging the conversation. And he plans to sink any plans Pym may have of winning his court case.

Sal Buscema
Brett Breeding
Christie Scheele
Brett Breeding (Cover Penciler)
Brett Breeding (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Monica Rambeau)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)


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