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Comics 411: Looking At The Worst Avengers

September 14, 2022 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Starfox Avengers Image Credit: Marvel Comics

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.
Previously on…

Last time we discussed Comic Books Cancelled Too Soon. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Smrt Mork Starlung: “Always Chew. Will forever need more Chew.”

Madness74: “This is dating me a bit but i really enjoyed the Nomad solo book & Nightman. Ninjak Maybe?”

Wool Hat: “I remember when I was collecting G.I. Joe in the 80s, I was HOPING they would cancel it because I was going to keep buying it as long as they kept making them (I didn’t have a lot of disposable income at the time).

It’s still going today.”

Special Agent Filthy: “DC’s new 52 had some great under the radar books that got cancelled.

I, Vampire
Demon Knights
Dial H

Marvel side I’d add Uncanny Avengers and Secret Avengers by Remender. Duggan’s Uncanny Avengers was fun too.”

John: “Mutant X which had Havok as the lead in the story had a bunch of strong alternative concepts of Storm (Vampire), Beast(Child), Iceman(Permanently Ice), Angel(Death), Maddie Pryor. For me this was a book that could have gone for another 100 issues as it felt like and X-Factor/Twilight Zone series.”

Sodas and Fries: “Fraction/Dodson’s Defenders was a fun little title, it’s strange it didn’t stick more. But it’s thanks to that ending that Fraction started his legendary run on Hawkeye, so I’m cool with it.”

El Atomico: “I remember Marbel did a New Universe in the late 80s that mostly or partly flopped: I liked Kickers, Inc, and Speedball (Madball?)”

prowriter: “Manifest Destiny
The Fix (funniest thing you are likely to read, comics wise)
Surgeon X (artist died. Cool ass concept)”

SharkLasers: “Resurrection Man was one of my first thoughts when I saw the article title. They quickly realized that having his new power related to fighting his method of death was too limiting, though. My favorite moment is still when he hires Hitman to help him break into EVIL CORPORATION and Tommy says “what’s your current power? Not good enough!” and shoots Mitch in the head. Then we get a page or so of Mitch coming back to life, Tommy asking him what is power is, and killing him saying “try again.”

Other titles I thought needed more time – DC / Vertigo’s horror anthology Flinch. Many of the Ultraverse titles, especially James Robinson’s Firearm.”

D2Kvirus: “Aspen is rapidly becoming a graveyard for titles which aren’t Fathom or Soulfire, with titles like Shrugged or Charismagic petering out of existence while they seem to have forgotten about Executive Assistant Iris and, worst of all, Joe Benitez is having to use Kickstarter to get Lady Mechanika trades funded as Aspen apparently don’t want to”

Too many great comments to list! Thank you to everyone who commented last week!

This week we discuss…

Who is the Worst Avenger?
Ask friends and family who they know from the Avengers and you’ll hear names like Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and so on.

You know who you’re not going to hear? Lightning. Or Rage.

That’s what we’re doing this week. Looking at those Avengers who aren’t mentioned as often, not as liked. The ones who came and went without making much of an impact. Even ones who did make an impact but not in the best way. Like Hank Pym. Lots of history with him but he created Ultron, one of their greatest foes. Not too cool if you ask me. 

Or what about Stingray? I always thought he had potential and I have a pitch I sent Marvel years back. Along with their rejection letter. Anyways, he’s not making any “Best of…” lists. Walter Newell designed the Stingray battlesuit, an armored exoskeleton suit designed mainly for underwater use. He’s like Aquaman without the royalty angle and not able to talk to fish. While super smart, he’s never really been able to stand out among the other geniuses the Avengers have had on the roster.

I know bringing up D-Man might draw some criticism, as he always has his defenders in the comments, but his character has never clicked with me. He’s strong, started off in a dirty original version of Daredevil’s costume, and gets mistaken for being a chunky Wolverine. On top of that , I still remember the first issue of Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s Avengers run, the big joke was he stunk. He’s made other appearances but nothing I’ve particularly cared for.

Triathlon, or also known as 3-D Man, has one of the worst costumes ever created. His powers include having three times the physical abilities of a man in peak physical condition and can heal three times as fast. His sight, hearing, smell are also heightened. Absolutely generic and that costume pulls him to the bottom.

Then we have Silverclaw. This souped up Tigra has the ability to mimic the physical characteristics of various animals native to rainforests and jungles. We’ve seen her reflect a jaguar, anaconda, cockatoo, monkey, sloth, puma, cheetah, and crocodile. Let’s be clear, she doesn’t morph into these creatures, just aspects of their characteristics. At least Tigra had some personality.

In today’s current culture, Starfox is one character that won’t be getting much spotlight. Yes, I know he made a cameo on the big screen but let’s see how they change him. His powers are practically begging for him to be arrested for sexual assault. In fact, I vaguely remember him going to court for something along those lines in She-Hulk or something. See, Starfox can stimulate the pleasure centers in nearby people’s brains, making them open to suggestions. Remember the Purple Man from Jessica Jones? Kinda like him but not as violent. Oh, and he’s brothers with Thanos.

Doctor Druid is like a poor man’s Doctor Strange. His abilities were even activated by the Ancient One. All comparisons end after that. Shockingly, he once led the Avengers during a very low period and ended up betraying the team. Outside of that, he’s forgotten about.

Speaking of, the Forgotten One, or Gilgamesh, is a natural for this list. While Marvel has said his strength rivals Thor’s, the stories he’s been involved in don’t quite match up.

One character who has an interesting story is The Sentry. Back in the late 1990s, Paul Jenkins and Rick Veitch developed an idea about “an over-the-hill guy, struggling with an addiction, who had a tight relationship with his dog” into a proposal for Marvel Comics’ Marvel Knights line. Veitch suggested that the character could be woven into the history of the Marvel Universe but due to some cataclysmic event, all recollection of the Sentry would have been removed from everyone’s memory (including his own). Oh, and they tried to extend this into the real world, telling everyone he was a forgotten Marvel character. Cool story, horrible execution. No matter what they do, he’s never going to be popular. 

Coming from outer space is Deathcry and I blame this on the extreme 90s. They slapped Deathcry on the team to give them some edge but turned out to be a member of no importance.

While Mantis might have found some mainstream love in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 , she was more of a footnote in the comic pages and one of the weaker members of the team.

I could go on but I’ll turn it over to you. Who’s an Avenger you don’t like? 

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!