AVENGERS #210-211 (1981): The Old Order Changeth!

Issue #211 is fantastic and it is technically a done-in-one. It’s maybe one of my favorite lineup change issues ever.

Issue #210 is…Not good. And there’s not a lot to say about it.

The Avengers fight a group of baddies named after an American terrorist organization (The Weathermen) in one of the suckiest issues thus far in Avengers Volume 1.  It’s a self-contained story. So why did I bundle it with #211?

Because here is the final panel of #210…

I think they did an “old order changeth” issue here because the book had been sucking hard for the past 6 months. 

But this wasn’t just your average new-team issue–it was one of the best ever.  Let’s start with the splash page because look at the credits at the top of the splash page:

bald female dominatrix mind control

Jim Shooter’s ego is in full effect. 

Gene Colan has finally stopped phoning it in.  Look at how he draws each Avenger with a very different physical build and posture.  Thor is regal.  Iron Man is cocky.  Cap is standing, with his arm outstretched, like a leader.  Jacosta is kind of shadowed, easy to overlook.  Vision is pensive.  Wonder Man is kinda casual.  Beast is a wiry monkey.  Wanda clutches her own arm, somewhat nervously.  And Wasp is sitting on a man’s shoulder ’cause she’s boy crazy even though she’s married.

The current heroes have some nice character moments before the action starts, including Beast and Wonder Man.

And Captain America doing some kind of curls that I’ve never seen before.

Even Jocasta gets self-reflective.

The issue has guest stars galore (some of whom are featured on the cover and nearly all of whom eventually join one team of Avengers or another), there’s some great character development for Wonder Man (“I want to be an actor!”) and Beast (“I want to be a scientist!”).

Even Moon Knight shows up.

Now, why would a hero who clearly has no intention of joining a group (until he gets completely mangled as a character and ends up in the West Coast Avengers) suddenly run to Avengers Mansion?

Mind control.

Moondragon messes with everyone’s brains to pretty much get a cattle call of heroes to show up and audition…

And then gets them all confused so they’re arguing and fighting.

Until she reveals herself, but finds the team doesn’t want her interference.

She freezes them all. She uses mind control to do it. And yet, all this does is freeze Iron Man’s armor.

You’re not crazy, this does not make sense.

Nevertheless, he uses circuits to blow away her powers.

Once free, they send her home. Most of the crowd disperses.

And in the end….

…We’re left with a lineup that is close to the lineup from the earliest days of the team, plus Tigra.  And these really are Earth’s mightiest heroes.

This is one of the best Avengers lineup changes of all time.

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