Avengers (1st series) #221

Issue Date: 
July 1982
Story Title: 
…New Blood!
Staff: 

Jim Shooter (plotter, editor-in-chief), David Michelinie (writer), Bob Hall (penciler), Brett Breeding (inker), Janice Chiang (letterer), Christie Scheele (colorist), Jim Salicrup (editor), Ed Hannigan and Josef ‘Joe’ Rubinstein (cover artists)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers seek to fill their ranks by adding two new members. Captain America and Iron Man extend an invitation to former member Hawkeye, who gladly accepts. Thor invites Spider-Man to join, and although Spider-Man declines, he promises to give it some thought. Wasp tries to recruit another female member for the team by inviting every super-powered female she knows to a brunch at her mansion. Invisible Girl, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Dazzler and She-Hulk all attend, but after an interruption by the party-crashing Mechano-Marauder, most of the heroines leave, except for She-Hulk. Later that week, Hawkeye and She-Hulk arrive at the Avengers mansion—after having a brief altercation with one another along the way—and become the newest additions to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Full Summary: 

“Then we’re all agreed,” Iron Man says to his fellow Avengers early one evening. “What the Avengers need is… new blood!” Wasp reminds Iron Man that the Avengers agreed on that long ago; they’ve just been too busy fighting villains to do anything about it! Captain America suggests they take advantage of this respite and elect some new members right away, before another problem arises. Wasp agrees. As Chairperson of the selection committee, she opens the floor to suggestions—but first poses a question: should they seek to reinstate former Avengers or search for new members entirely?

Janet van Dyne notices Thor mindlessly staring into space. Seeking to engage him in the conversation, she asks for his opinion. Thor apologizes for his inattentiveness; it seems even the mind of a thunder god is susceptible to daydreaming—if pulled by weighty enough thoughts. Nevertheless, he assures Wasp that he heard her questions and proposes the Avengers proceed with great caution. After all, last time they had a recruitment drive, they were manipulated by the mental might of Moondragon, who may or may not have influenced the decisions of the individual Avengers. Further, Moondragon just recently brought the Avengers to the planet she calls home and forced them to battle one another. Thor wonders if any of their recent decisions, including even his, have truly been their own. In resounding agreement, Captain America suggests they start fresh and judge potential members purely by their current qualifications. This sounds good to the Wasp, who then asks what sort of qualifications her teammates have in mind.

Captain America, valuing compatibility above all else, insists their recruit needs to work well on a team. Iron Man prefers someone with technical expertise. Since they already have enough powerhouses on the team, Thor suggests they look not for physical strength, but for a hero with courage and a noble heart. Janet has a suggestion of her own: get more girls!

At this point, Jarvis, butler to the Avengers, enters the meeting room and informs Miss van Dyne her chauffer is waiting. Janet suddenly remembers that ‘Tavern on the Green’ is putting several of her new fashion designs on display downtown, and she wants to be present to see the patrons “ooh and ah!” Before she leaves, she tells the guys to pick whom they want as Avengers and present their candidates at the next Avengers meeting so they can decide together.

Outside, while Janet climbs into her limousine, Captain America chats with Iron Man as he mounts his motorcycle. He’s been thinking—Hawkeye works well on a team and always took pride in serving on the Avengers. “Yep, that is a thought,” Iron Man says as he soars into the air. “So long, Cap!” Once he gets away from the others, however, Iron Man takes the time to seriously contemplate new membership and decides he likes Wasp’s suggestion the best. Maybe having a few more ladies around the Avengers Mansion might do everyone some good.

Meanwhile, Thor remains behind at the Avengers mansion to ease his troubled mind after everyone else leaves. He kicks back in a lounge chair and opens a copy of the latest TIME magazine, the cover of which bears a picture of Spider-Man’s masked face. As usual, Jarvis enters with Thor’s mead, heated to exactly 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Thor thanks him. Before Jarvis can exit, however, Thor asks him the nagging question: if the choice were his, how would he fill the ranks of the Avengers? Jarvis is dumbfounded, but comes up with an answer. He has noted over the years that the best Avengers often started as the most unlikely candidates. For instance, strong-willed individuals with independent spirits have worked out surprisingly well. As he leaves, Jarvis admits that although he boasts no expertise in the matter, he hopes his musings helped somewhat. Thor thinks about what he said. ‘Individual? Independent?’ Aye, old friend, Thor thinks as he looks back at Spider-Man’s face adorning his magazine, …you’ve been a help indeed!

As the day progresses, the various members of the Avengers give serious thought to whom they want to offer membership. Iron Man finally reaches a decision. While getting dressed for the evening, he makes a phone call to Captain America to admit he decided offering a position to Hawkeye is a good idea. Cap, positively beaming, says he is free tomorrow.

Meanwhile, at the van Dyne residence in Cresskill, New Jersey, Janet curses her bad luck. She’s invited every super-powered female in the country to brunch on Friday but cannot seem to find She-Hulk! Her assistant apologizes; their data processors were designed to handle fashion-forecasts only—not hard news. The best she can do is report that She-Hulk usually spends a lot of time in California. If that’s the case, then Janet insists they take out full-page ads in every major West Coast newspaper to get She-Hulk’s attention! She also suggests they purchase some time on the commercial airwaves to spread the invitation. “I’ll do the spots myself,” Janet says, “I’m simply dying to show off my new pantsuit design!” Her assistant Sally accepts the order and turns back to the current invitation list, which also includes Black Widow, Susan Storm, Dazzler and Spider-Woman.

As twilight arrives, Thor flies over Central Park in search of his quarry, Spider-Man. He notes that a large number of the city’s miscreants also frequent this same place. Sure enough, on the paths below, a trio of robbers wearing ridiculous disguises dart into a tunnel under a bridge. One of the criminals cannot believe the loot they got from the pawn shop; they must have stolen three-grand! Another robber, this one in a clown mask, states he plans on kissing every dime of it once they get to their hideout—after he takes off his mask, that is.

“Aw, c’mon, Bunky, leave it on,” a voice says from the other end of the tunnel. “I’ve always wanted to bust a bozo who looks like a bozo!” To their collective horror, the robbers see Spider-Man at the tunnel’s end, over which he has spun an impenetrable web. Spider-Man asks the awestruck clowns if they want to surrender. Instead, as Spider-Man predicted, they decide to run. They find the tunnel’s other exit blocked as well, this time by the mighty Thor. Raising his mystic hammer into the air, Thor summons a storm that sweeps the robbers—as well as the very surprised Spider-Man—out into the park amidst a surge of water.

After the storm clouds disperse, Thor hands the frightened criminals over to the proper authorities, who thank him for his help. Spider-Man, on the other hand, feels less than grateful. He marches over to Thor and asks if he has any idea what it feels like fighting crime in wet tights. Thor apologizes. To smooth things over, he admits he was searching specifically for Spider-Man. Great, Spider-Man says. He agrees to continue this conversation, but recommends they do it elsewhere; he can already see a horde of reporters approaching and would loathe getting caught on-camera in a soggy uniform. As the two heroes escape into the air, the inquisitive reporters ask Spider-Man if he came to Earth in a flying saucer. Thankfully, he gets away before having to answer this particular question.

Spider-Man and Thor reconvene at the top of one of New York’s skyscrapers. “Now, Goldilocks, what’s your beef?” Spider-Man asks. Thor tells him his defensive demeanor is not necessary, as he has no “beef” with the web-slinger. Rather, he would like to invite him to join the Avengers. Spidey cannot believe it; Thor wants him as an Avenger? Thor confirms it; he senses a spirit and a pluck within Spider-Man that would suit the Avengers mightily. Although Spider-Man declined to join last time they made such an offer, this time, he decides to give it some serious thought. He tells Thor he will think about it and get back to him. “And Thor,” he says as he swings away. “…thanks.” A lot.

Night passes, and as a new day dawns over Long Island City, two special visitors enter the security offices at Cross Technological Enterprises. Good morning, Captain America says as he barges into Hawkeye’s office. Stunned, Hawkeye asks how they got past the guards. Cap tells him it’s Avengers priority—and that he never leaves home without it. This makes a nice segue into the purpose of their visit; Iron Man tells Hawkeye they’ve come to offer him such privileges as a member of the Avengers! “Oh yeah? And you expect me to come crawling back to the almighty Avengers after you booted me out?” the incredulous Hawkeye asks. “I’m head of security here, pal, an’ that ain’t cream cheese!”

Iron Man places a friendly hand on Hawkeye’s shoulder. He understands his reservations, but wants him to consider it anyway. He just asks that Hawkeye let the Avengers know when he reaches a decision. Don’t hold your breath, Hawkeye tells him. After all, he’s got a good thing going at his current job. He has respect, he has job security… and he has apparently gone out of his mind! Moments after Captain America and Iron Man exit his office, Hawkeye scribbles something on the back of his magazine, darts out into the hallway, and shouts for their attention. They turn just in time to see Hawkeye fire an arrow into the wall. A single magazine page hangs from the arrow’s shaft. Scrawled across the page in big, black letters is a single word: YES.

The recruitment drive continues all week. When Friday finally arrives, Janet van Dyne eagerly awaits the arrival of her super-heroine buddies for her hosted brunch. Susan Storm, the Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl, arrives to the brunch in one of Jan’s limousines. As she steps out, she cannot help but comment on how fabulous Janet’s house looks.

Meanwhile, atop the gently sloping hill above that beautiful mansion in Cresskill, a bitter, red-haired man named Fabian Stancowicz tinkers with some machines. This man, the Mechano-Marauder, vows to make the Avengers pay for laughing at him earlier! He intends to attack their weakest member, Wasp, while she is by herself. She will be utterly helpless, he laughs!

Inside the house, Janet, dressed in a low-cut, regal party dress, welcomes her latest guest to the party. Susan thanks her for sending the limo; Janet tells her it was her pleasure. She introduces Susan to her other guests: Alison Blaire, the Dazzler; Spider-Woman; and Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. The three women respond with a hearty welcome. Dazzler leaps out of her seat and walks over to Susan with a smile on her face. “Wow! The Invisible Girl—talk about far out!” Alison says. “Long time no see… get it?” she asks.

“Jokes like that, I don’t need,” Susan Storm responds with a smile plastered on her face.

Spider-Woman takes this opportunity to further humiliate the singer she do loathes. “Nice going, Blaire,” she says from the couch behind Dazzler. “You’re showing all the promise and poise of a real pro!”

“Oh?” Dazzler asks. “And I suppose crawling on walls like some yucky insect is professional?” Spider-Woman reminds her that she stings too. Dazzler refuses to back down. “Look, I know we had some problems when you tried to help me find my mother, but that’s no reason to get catty!” Alison says. Spider-Woman supposes that’s better than being mousy. Suddenly, Black Widow leans over the back of the couch—placing herself between Spider-Woman and Dazzler—and emphasizes how much she wants to try the rolls Jan has served. She also whispers to the two quarreling women that she would like them to call a truce—for Jan’s sake.

The doorbell rings. Jan’s butler Martin answers it but finds himself unable to speak upon beholding this latest arrival, the towering She-Hulk. Jan is delighted to see her; she had no idea she would make it! She-Hulk laughs and says she saw the invitation ads Jan placed. After shaking hands with Jan—and complimenting her on her pink dress—She-Hulk asks where she might find the food.

Just outside the window, Jan’s chauffer Carrothers sits on the back end of Jan’s car and enjoys a cigarette. He admits this isn’t a bad gig; all he has to do is drive Miss van Dyne around town. Sure, the hours slow down sometimes, but he supposes that comes with the territory. Suddenly, Carrothers hears a noise coming from the hills. What he sees when he takes a look causes his eyes to widen and his jaw to drop. Not him, he thinks. Not again! He bolts inside and warns Wasp and her guests they need to leave right away. In his frantic dash across the living room, he bumps into She-Hulk and spills her plate of food. “Hey! You spilled my snack!” She-Hulk gasps. Dazzler cannot help but note that by “snack”, She-Hulk meant her sixth helping of Eggs Benedict. Before Alison can complete that thought, however, a giant, metal hand comes crashing through the window and grabs her around the waist.

Wasp, She-Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Invisible Girl now behold the bulbous Mechano-Marauder gripping the frightened Dazzler in his left hand. The machine’s operator tells the assembled women to tremble before his might! Jan just shakes her fist at him in anger. “Fabian Stancowicz, get that thing out of my living room!” she shouts. Surprised that Jan knows the man’s name, Black Widow asks whom he is. He’s just some guy Iron Man defeated a few days ago, Jan explains, adding that Fabian is just another guy trying to make a name for himself by defeating the Avengers. Invisible Girl just groans; she knows this type all too well.

Black Widow assures Jan they will help her save Dazzler. Dazzler, however, insists she needs no saving; Mechano-Marauder is just holding her without squeezing too hard. Just in case, Susan Storm puts up a force field around the rest of the women to keep them safe. As it turns out, she put it up just in time, because at that very moment, Mechano-Marauder charges headfirst at the group of women. He hits the force-field head first, groans, then begins beating on it in an attempt to get inside. Alison quickly grows annoyed. She tells Mechano-Marauder he should stop worrying about them letting him in, and start worrying about letting her go! With that, she unleashes a flash of high-intensity light. Her dazzled robot captor drops her amidst his confusion.

Dazzler plummets toward the ground, but She-Hulk catches her safely in her arms. Once on the ground, she tells Wasp that this Avengers stuff just isn’t for her; she’s a singer, not a fighter. Invisible Girl declines Janet’s offer as well, as she is far too busy with the Fantastic Four already. Mechano-Marauder, meanwhile, hides his robot-face in shame. He can’t let these women, whom are not even true Avengers, defeat him!

While Janet waves goodbye to Dazzler and Invisible Girl, Spider-Woman and Black Widow take their turns attacking the befuddled robot intruder. Spider-Woman swoops in low overhead and fries the robot’s servo-claw with a venom blast. Black Widow follows this up by tangling a rope around Mechano-Marauder’s legs, causing him to trip and collapse as soon as he takes his next step. He falls into the mansion’s fountain. With this minor threat disabled, Spider-Woman informs her hostess that although she hates to eat and run, she simply must get going. Natasha then admits to Jan that some private business matters prevent her from joining the Avengers at this time. She thanks her for the invitation and departs.

Jan apologizes for all the distractions but thanks these two women for coming anyway. Meanwhile, Mechano-Marauder, intent on finally bringing destruction to someone, manages to pick himself up out of the fountain. He rants about destroying the Avengers for humiliating him! “Oh, shut up!” She-Hulk says. She decks the robot, sending it soaring through the air. Fabian hits the eject button right as his machinery crumbles. He emerges from the wreckage in a steel suit of robot-armor, which he claims doubles as a weapon. His boasting ends, however, once the heavy steel suit causes him to sink down into the grass. She-Hulk rolls up her sleeves as she approaches the helpless assailant. “One more punch oughta—”

Wasp, wanting to deliver the coup de grace, interrupts her friend. Focusing her bio-power stings into a tiny, concentrated beam, she burns a hole in Fabian’s laughable suit of armor. Then, she shrinks herself down to insect-size, flies through the hole and into the armor, and hovers directly in front of the defenseless mechanic’s face. He asks if she’s going to hurt him. Maybe just a little, Wasp tells him. As promised, she delivers a sting so potent that Fabian’s helmet flies clean off and into the air. He collapses to the lawn in an unconscious heap. “That’ll teach ‘im for ruining my party!” Jan says to She-Hulk as she reverts to normal size.

A few days later at the Avengers Mansion, Edwin Jarvis makes a phone call to the State Department to request clearance for two new Avengers. This request makes its way to special agent Henry Peter Gyrich, who brings it all the way to the office of the U.S. President for final approval. The President gladly signs the form, bringing the Avengers roster back up to six with the addition of two new members, Hawkeye and She-Hulk.

The next day, while riding in the back of a taxicab, Hawkeye peruses the cover of the latest TIME magazine. This cover boasts the tagline ‘The New Avengers?’ and features headshots of an array of superheroes. Hawkeye smiles; it feels good to be part of a group again, even if it means juggling two jobs. However, he admits he missed the fun, excitement and danger of serving with the Avengers. The taxi driver suddenly slams on the brakes, causing Hawkeye to jerk forward. Angrily, he asks the driver why he stopped, at which point the driver directs his attention to the speeding pink Cadillac that cut him off. “Talk about nerve!” Hawkeye says as he leans his head out the window. The anxious driver asks what he plans on doing. Hawkeye insists he won’t do anything—but he cannot say the same for his arrow. Drawing back his bow, he fires an arrow equipped with a micro-pulse circuit shifter which should scramble the Cadillac’s electrical systems faster than fruit on a sidewalk in Miami.

Sure enough, the Caddy screeches to a halt, much to the chagrin of its driver, She-Hulk. Hawkeye, not realizing whom he just messed with, kicks back in his seat and smiles, glad to have taught the other driver a lesson. The cab driver’s face freezes in terror. Suddenly, both occupants of the cab pitch to their right sides and slam into the doors. Hawkeye asks what happened; were they hit by a truck? The driver wishes; at least his insurance would cover that. As it is, no insurance agent will ever believe what actually happened: that She-Hulk lifted his cab, tilted it upside-down, and left it lodged against the side of a building. The dumbfounded Hawkeye looks out his window in time to see the unfamiliar green giantess hoisting her own car onto her shoulder like a sack of kitty litter. He hopes he just has a concussion.

Later, after the emergency room gives Hawkeye a clean bill of health, the eager Avenger arrives at the mansion he will soon call home. He marches right into the meeting room and says hello to his new teammates. Iron Man asks what took him so long; they started to worry. He would have been on time, Hawkeye insists, had some Amazon not decided to play dominoes with his ride. “Amazon, eh?” a sultry voice says from the corner of the room. “I don’t suppose it could have been—a green Amazon?” She-Hulk steps forward and exhales the smoke from her cigarette. Hawkeye’s jaw drops; does she mean to say she is the other new Avenger? “‘Fraid so, champ,” She-Hulk says, winking. “Glad to meet ya!”

Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Wasp, observing this tense interaction in silence, presume this team could get interesting. Hawkeye tries to shake it off, reminding himself he hasn’t quit his other job yet! Wasp, meanwhile, officially welcomes the two new members to the team. “From now on, you’re one of us, and we’re one of you,” she says while kissing them both on the cheek. “And we’re all—the Avengers!”

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp (Avengers)

Black Widow, Dazzler, Hawkeye, Invisible Girl, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Avengers candidates)

Edwin Jarvis (Avengers butler)

Carrothers (Wasp’s chauffer)

Sally (Wasp’s assistant)

Fabian Stancowicz, the Mechano-Marauder (enemy to the Avengers)

Henry Peter Gyrich

President of the United States

In flashbacks only:

Hercules, Moondragon, Scarlet Witch, Vision (former Avengers)

Drax the Destroyer

On magazine cover only:

Ant-Man, Black Bolt, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Hulk, Power Man, ROM, Silver Surfer, Wolverine (Avengers candidates)

Story Notes: 

The Avengers attempted to reorganize their lineup most recently in Avengers (1st series) #211, but discovered that former Avenger Moondragon was manipulating the process.

Moondragon brought the Avengers to Ba-Bani last issue.

The Avengers invited Spider-Man to join their team in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3.

Fabian Stancowicz, the Mechano-Marauder, first appeared in Avengers (1st series) #217 when he donned his suit of battle armor and made a scene on the Avengers’ front lawn in hopes of making a name for himself. Most of the Avengers ignored him, and those who didn’t quickly and easily defeated him.

Although the U.S. President’s face cannot be seen, judging by the framed photograph he has on his desk of Ronald Reagan holding a chimpanzee—a clear reference to Reagan’s 1951 film Bedtime for Bonzo—and that Reagan was President during this issue’s release, one can safely assume the President in this issue is Reagan.

In terms of Alison Blaire’s chronology, this issue takes place between Dazzler #16 and 17.

Dazzler met Invisible Girl in Dazzler #3.

Dazzler and She-Hulk first met in Dazzler #14, although they make no reference to knowing one another here.

Dazzler and Spider-Woman quarreled endlessly when Dazzler hired her to find her mother in Dazzler #15

This is the first time She-Hulk, a relatively new character to Marvel Comics at the time, joins the Avengers. Hawkeye, however, had been a member from Avengers (1st series) #16—106, at which point he resigned. He returned to the team again in Avengers (1st series) #172. In Avengers (1st series) #181, Henry Peter Gyrich, the government liaison to the Avengers, restricted the team’s roster to seven members and booted Hawkeye from the team in favor of Falcon in a transparent attempt to make the team more racially diverse.

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