AVENGERS #21-22 (1965): 1st Power Man

Cap and Hawkeye do what they do best: Bickering. Scarlet Witch breaks it up…

…And then Pietro steps between them…

Pietro breaks it up telling Steve that he’s their leader and should be above such things…But since when is Quicksilver this humble?  And Scarlet Witch is usually the rational actor between those siblings!

Also Scarlet Witch, the only member of the team who has done anything remotely effective for the past several issues, has become a doddering idiot, swooning over Captain America in that panel above.

This feels like argument for the sake of having one, but that’s a lot of what Stan would do when he wrote–he would introduce conflict and establish “character” by having the heroes act jerky to each other. But unfortunately he’d often treat the characters very generically, having them act the way Stan wanted just so he could write an easy argument.

In the story, Enchantress gives a man named Erik Josten powers virtually identical to Wonder Man, who died back in Avengers #16, using the abandoned lab Baron Zemo used on Simon Williams in #9.

He goes by the name Power Man.  Yes, the name of future Hero for Hire Luke Cage.  (And the “for hire” aspect of this story matters in another curious way, as you’ll see at the end of this post.)

But Power Man is not just strong…

…He’s also fast.

Enchantress’ plan is to discredit The Avengers, and it works. 

The team breaks up and some of them go off and join the circus.


(And of course, Captain America blames himself.)

Only, this being Marvel, it’s the Circus of Crime!  This makes a lot of sense. I mean, Wanda and Pietro have a history of bad decisions when it comes to aligning with others, and Hawkeye has a circus background.

Captain America goes undercover to get audiotape of Enchantress’ plot, so he can prove to the public that The Avengers were the good guys all along…

But even though he prevails and saves the team, he’s not willing to let bygones be bygones.  He quits the team, telling them “I’m kissin’ you off!”

Strange way to put it, Cap.

Of historical note: There’s a letter from Mike “In about ten years I create Ghost Rider!” Friedrich:

When he creates Ghost Rider, he doesn’t get creator credit, sues, and doesn’t get recognition until Nic Cage makes the second of two awful movies about the character.

At least the movies were good for something, eh?  But no, not really.  Mike lost in court, based on a holding that it was all work for hire.


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