These four issues of Avengers contain little Captain America content, ethically interesting or otherwise: The first reveals a new relationship within the Avengers, about which Cap has opinions; the next two contain an adventure in 12th century Avalon with the Black Knight; and the last one regards the new Captain Marvel, introduced in the Amazing Spider-Man Annual from which we see one panel. As a bonus, we also have a handful of panels from a three-issue story in The Incredible Hulk and one issue of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch miniseries.
Most of our attention this time around will be on Avengers #224, where our heroes deal with a subway emergency. Thor summons the cutest widdle rainstorm…
…while Cap affirms the value of teamwork and draws an interesting analogy (given that he wasn’t around for that war, in which chemical warfare was widely used and then banned some afterwards).
Note Tony’s concern about Janet above, which is resolved by the panel below, after which his focus shifts somewhat.
Others vie for the Wasp’s attention, as Cap points out one drawback of not having a secret identity.
When the reporters’ questioning becomes more personal, though, Cap draws the line, not questioning the freedom of the press but rather their judgment.
Cap’s comment also serves to remind us that these adventures take place against the background of Hank Pym’s incarceration for the crimes he committed—after being set up—back in issue #217. (In panels we don’t see here, Scott Lang, the new Ant-Man, sneaks into Hank’s cell and offers to help him escape, but Hank wisely refuses.)
The bulk of this issue deals with the budding relationship between Janet and Tony Stark, with the important caveat Tony realizes in the first panel below. (Soundtrack available here.)
As we see below, the issue of his secret dual identity weighs on Tony… a little…
…as does the effect of his new relationship on his friend Hank.
(By the way, the pilot of the helicopter is none than Jim Rhodes, future Iron Man and War Machine.)
Later, Janet does bring up Hank before telling Tony how it seems they’ve known each of other for years… golly, almost since Avengers #1… which makes Tony yet again wonder why oh why haven’t I told her oh well I guess I’ll do it tomorrow or maybe not I don’t know.
Uh oh… Daddy’s home.
Note, above, an early version of the classic panel from 2013’s New Avengers #2:
Funny how Cap finds so many occasions to say things like this. (And also—language!)
Back to 1982, Cap doesn’t say anything that Tony hasn’t thought about himself, but he does hold his friend more explicitly accountable. Tony is forced to defend himself, which he does… but very weakly, as Cap points out.
The last point really hits a nerve with Tony, as this is the most obviously wrongful element of this entire situation.
Later, during a team meeting about Hank, Cap takes one more chance to make his point before leaving, and even Thor’s more positive attitude can’t make Tony feel better.
Thor is normally a virtue-oriented hero, but as we see here, in “the ways of the heart” he is often utilitarian, literally basing his judgment on the balance of pleasure and pain of those involved in l’affaire Stark.
Nonetheless, his next bit of advice reflects the basic virtue of honesty, and Tony finally does what he’s known from the start he should have done all along…
…and after her initial surprise, Janet seems less upset about Tony’s deception and more concerned about what it means for Hank.
That’s it for Tony and Janet, at least for now: They do get together again many years later, in Tony Stark: Iron Man #4 (December 2018).
Wait, who’s this blog about again? Oh, right… There isn’t much to comment on in the next two Avengers issues, from which we mainly draw on battle scenes to see Captain America. For instance, we see his basic resilience in these panels from Avengers #225…
…and the next scene recalls the lightly teasing but still effective teamwork between Cap and Hawkeye, reflecting the maturation of their relationship, which began on much more shaky ground in Avengers #16.
In Avengers #226, we see Cap’s noble defiance on display…
…and well as some odd ambivalence about strategic retreat.
He shows he recognizes some priority among the many calls for helps the Avengers could respond to…
…before inspiring the Wasp to keep fighting even (or especially) when things looks bleak.
We take a slight detour for Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, in which we’re introduced to the new Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, to whom Cap is characteristically humble…
…before Avengers #227, where the team tests her powers and are, to say the least, impressed. This gives the Wasp an idea, which prompts Cap to mention He Who Shall Not Be Named (but he does anyway).
(Remember that we just saw the Avengers Charter in Avengers Annual #11, which details the National Security Council’s authority over the team.)
After Cap checks out the presidential paperwork, he supports Janet (and, by extension, Monica), as do Thor and She-Hulk. (Hawkeye apparently registered his dissent telepathically, and no one cares what Tony thinks.)
As Cap turns to help Tony break down the testing equipment, Hawkeye speaks up, less about the new member and more about their “bossy” leader—whom Cap strongly defends.
She-Hulk needles Clint a little more, and after he storms off, “old man” Cap recommends he catch up with the times, especially concerning the status and role of women in society—which gets Tony started on how he treated Janet earlier.
Note how Cap, who was very tough on Tony when he first found out about him and Janet, now urges him to get past his screw-up, not to excuse or forget it, but to move forward and become better for it. (Cap will get very good at telling this to Tony over the years!)
Meanwhile, in The Incredible Hulk, our favorite green goliath is about to undergo a very public redemption—but not quite yet, as shown by the dissent among his former teammates in issue #277. For his part, Cap stands up for the Hulk, consistent with the sympathy he’s always shown towards him.
In issue #278, a massive crowd of heroes has gathered for the most official validation any gamma-irradiated brute could ever hope to receive.
What’s Cap looking at, though? Maybe the Wasp, not it doesn’t seem like… he almost seems to be looking at the reader, although more likely there are news cameras behind him.
Of course, wherever there’s a large gathering of heroes, there will be a threat to meet them, and Cap is happy to put into words what everyone can plainly see.*
* Before you say it: Daredevil isn’t there.
In issue #279, the Hulk gets a similar reception in New York City. (Daredevil isn’t in the crowd here either, but he is watching from above.)
Cap isn’t one to say “I told you so,” but…
Finally, in Vision and the Scarlet Witch #3 (their first limited series), the Vision is… well, let’s just say he’s been better. Below, Wanda is none too pleased with how her teammates (including Cap) are discussing her husband, despite having the best of intentions, and Cap acknowledges their insensitivity.
Thor wisely does not point out that in truth he is no man, but a god… it’s not the right time.
Avengers (vol. 1) #224, October 1982: Jim Shooter (plot), Alan Zelenetz (script), Mark Bright (pencils), Brett Breeding, Jack Abel, and Sal Trapani (inks), Christie Scheele (colors), Janice Chiang (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
All collected in: Avengers: The Trial of Yellowjacket.
Amazing Spider-Man (vol. 1) Annual #16, October 1982: Roger Stern (writer), John Romita, Jr. (pencils), John Romita, Sr. (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
All collected in The Incredible Hulk: Pardoned.
Vision and Scarlet Witch (vol. 1) #3, January 1983: Bill Mantlo (writer), Rick Leonardi (pencils), Ian Akin and Brian Garvey (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Diana Albers (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in Avengers: Vision and Scarlet Witch.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #221-222 (July-August 1982)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #274, Avengers Annual #11, The Incredible Hulk Annual #11, and Marvel Two-in-One #92 and Annual #7 (October 1982), Captain America #275 and Marvel Premiere #5, Captain America Annual #6 (November 1982), Captain America #276 (December 1982), Captain America #277 and Fantastic Four #250 (January 1983)
NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #228-230 (February-April 1983)