Funny Books is back, and ready to piggy back on that sweet, sweet Avengers gravy train. From now until the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Funny Books will take a look back at some of the Avengers’ most important moments. We begin with the story that started it all, Avengers #1, 1963, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Note the year. The Avengers were first published a full two years after The Fantastic Four in 1961. This is important because, as you might remember, the Fantastic Four were originally created as a response to the Justice League. Fast forward two years later, and Marvel has now created a more obvious super team consisting of established solo-heroes.
The story of the first Avengers comic is more or less the same as the first Avengers movie. Loki comes to Earth to screw with his brother Thor, which causes the Avengers to assemble. Only this time, it didn’t involve the “was can’t call it a Cosmic Cube” tesseract, or the “not-Skrulls” Chitauri.
Loki’s plan was to trick Thor into fighting the Hulk, which would cause Thor to look for the then exiled Loki, which would allow Loki to kill Thor. To that end, Loki frames the Hulk for train wreck, which becomes national news through the ancient medium known as the “newspaper.”
What happens next probably my favorite part in the whole comic. When the Hulk’s sometimes side kick and poor man’s Snapper Carl, Rick Jones, reads about the Hulk, he knows something’s up. So what does he do? He calls the Fantastic Four, because why wouldn’t he!? Loki himself is so threatened by Marvel’s first family, that he magically messes with the radio waves.
This is how science works right?
Given the state of Marvel Comics now, its kinda a surreal to read as story where the Avengers are the B-team in the world. Sure, the FF have defeated Galactus countless times, beat back Doctor Doom, and save all of reality on a monthly basis, but the Avengers have Wonder Man! (more of Wonder Man later, or not at all, I haven’t decided yet).
Anyway, the radio thing is Loki’s the key moment of defeat. Because by screwing with Rick’s radio message to the FF, he causes the signal to bounce to the nearest superheroes. Thor does gets his message:
But so do eternal divorce court defendants and cinema hopefuls, Ant-Man and the Wasp,
As well as the best Avenger for that one movie, Iron Man,
The FF do eventually get the message, but as would become a running joke in the early Avengers comic, they were too busy.
And the Hulk, well…
Eventually, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp manage to find the Hulk. Phew, what was a mouthful. If only these mighty heroes had some sort of moniker we could refer to them as. They’re efforts to capture the jolly green giant fail miserably. Thor, meanwhile, realizes the Loki is probably behind all this and goes look for him. This goes, surprisingly well:
Thor finds the rest of the non-titled super associates at the end of their cross country fight with the Hulk. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? Anyway, Thor tries to hand Loki over to the group, he turns radioactive for some reason, and Ant-Man and the Wasp trap him in a lead-lined tank. Before everyone goes on with their lives, Ant-Man and the Wasp propose a permanent team up between themselves, the green man with anger issues, the drunk, and the sometimes frog/woman/space bull Thunder God.
What could possibly go wrong?