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Avengers #71

Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Steve Sadowski (p), Andrew Currie (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
As Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne enjoy a little down time in Las Vegas, we see Hank makes a rather clumsy attempt to propose to Janet, which she effectively turns down, while making an active effort to let him know she still cares for him a great deal. However, their vacation is interrupted by the arrival of the Wasp obsessed Whirlwind, who makes an attempt to kill his beloved rival, but instead manages to get his head handed to him once again.

Comments:
This is the much ballyhooed (I'm sorry but I love the word ballyhooed, and as such I'll use it whenever I get the chance) mature issue of the Avengers, and I honestly believe that if Marvel hadn't issued its press release regarding the rating change this issue would've done little more than raise a few eyebrows. Now the idea that our heroes are using their powers in the bedroom is an idea that has largely been the domain of somewhat juvenile online discussions, and as such having it surface in the comics itself seemed like Geoff Johns was playing down to his audience. Than again this strategy did get the book a great deal of online buzz, which will likely result in this book getting a sales boost, so perhaps I'll simply have to accept this is the way things get done in today's comic industry. As for the comic itself it's little more than a character piece that acts to reaffirm the idea that while Hank and Janet are good friends, they aren't going to be walking to the alter again anytime soon. We also get the obligatory villain to add some excitement to the issue, as Whirlwind continues to obsess over Janet, and similarly he also continues to get his head handed to him in pretty short order. The introductory scene where he savagely beats a woman to death while she is wearing a Wasp costume was a rather unsettling display of his mental state though, as was the scene where he takes time out from the fighting to lick the unconscious Wasp.

As for the art, I do believe this is the first time I've seen Steve Sadowski's name on a Marvel title, and since DC was seems to have little use for his talents beyond the occasional JSA one-shot, I'd welcome his clean, highly detailed style on a monthly title over at Marvel. He certainly turns in an impressive showing, as the opening double-page spread of Las Vegas is an impressive look at Sin City, and the art does some solid work capturing the madness of Whirlwind, as his attack upon the woman during his introductory scene is quite effective. The big fight is also nicely done as the Whirlwind's power is well presented, and the Wasp's stings look quite painful as well. I also have to make mention of this issue's cover, as frankly it's nice to see Marvel's cover images do seem to be returning to the practice of having the cover actually reflect the story we get inside. Plus, it's a wonderful looking painted piece by J.G. Jones.

Final Word:
The attention grabbing, “look at what we're doing” vibe news release that Marvel released was a bit off-putting, but one can't argue with success as it did get people talking about the issue at hand. Now personally I've never found Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne to be overly interesting characters, so I can't say I was fully absorbed by this issue, but even if I was I couldn't help but notice that nothing really changes between the two characters, beyond the simple acknowledgement by both characters about the problems they've had in the past. Now if this is the first time this idea has been discussed than this issue is long over due, but I do seem to recall a similar effort was made when the two characters were first brought back together in the pages of the West Coast Avengers, so my general disinterest in the lives of these two characters my be working against me here. I will say that this issue certainly does an effective job of detailing Whirlwind's obsession, as well as playing up the idea that it's crossed the line into some very unsettling territory.



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