This week, the only straight review I wrote was a fairly glowing one of Young Avengers #8 for read/RANT. After initially seeming only so-so, that series grows on me more and more.
Over at PopMatters, I published a piece on Francesco Francavilla's Black Beetle, looking at what works so well about the balance he strikes between complex, groundbreaking artwork and more familiar, straightforward scripting.
Finally, I put out a new "1987 And All That" on that year's issues of Avengers.
Something I Failed to Mention
In my Avengers column, I focused on the traits that all of the heroes shared, the things that made them worthy of being called "Avengers." In order to keep that discussion focused and a bit simpler, I talked only about the actual superhero characters, and only in terms of the primary creative team of Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer. However, Avengers #280 was done by a different set of creators entirely, and the whole issue was told through the memories of Jarvis, the Avengers' longtime butler, as he recovers from serious wounds given to him by the Masters of Evil. Written by Bob Harras with art by Bob Hall and Kyle Baker, the story acts as both an abbreviated history of the team and an examination of why a normal, somewhat softer man like Jarvis would choose to work for them in spite of the dangers of the job. It's not exceptionally exciting, but it definitely fits in with the rest of the issues of that time, insofar as it displays that Jarvis possesses the same attributes that I point to in my column as being necessary to be an Avenger. Well...maybe Jarvis doesn't have the same strategic smarts in combat, but he does have to make tactical decisions about how to interact with the team. As their employee, and as a butler specifically, there are some things that are arguably not his place to say or get involved in. But at other times, Jarvis' council is needed and appreciated, and knowing when to intervene is a key part of his role within the group. As for the bravery and trust I pointed out in the rest of the team, Jarvis has got them in spades, which is why he chooses to stay on as their butler even in light of the savage beating the Masters put him through. So even if Avengers #280 isn't the most bombastic of issues, it's a solid and enjoyable story reminding readers why this average man deserves a place, however minor, in the series and on the team.