AVENGERS #217 (1982): Hank Goes to Jail

This is a major, important issue in the development of Hank Pym.  But first…

It’s the first appearance of Fabian Stankowicz! He’s an inventor who tries his best to be the next Iron Man but can’t is so lame that the team basically ignores his audition. He will eventually be part of the Avengers’ support roster as a tech guy, but first he has to be humiliated a bunch of times. This is the first.

I love these pages. I love how Iron Man and Jarvis barely care. I love Cap doing the motorcycle jump.

I don’t love all the property damage, but at least it’s Wasp letting Fabian junk her own limo.

Jan buys a new limo every month?  Wow.  This is real wasteful white privilege, and Stakowicz puts civilian lives in danger with his antics, but it’s still pretty funny.

I love Iron Man’s coup de grace…

…But back to the main story, which is a serious counterpoint to the humor.

Hank Pym is down on his luck, unshaven, calling Tony Stark from a payphone.  Why?  Because he’s been court martialed out of The Avengers, Janet is divorcing him, and he’s stripped of his identity as a hero.

Having Bambi be upset about missing the call shows that Tony is worried about his friend, despite the court martial.

So, how does Hank solve his problem?  By getting into bed with Egghead, who implants a bomb on his own niece to blackmail Hank into stealing some adamantium for him.  Egghed tricks Hank by telling him the bomb is simply a new cybernetic arm for his family member.

Hank even inspects it, and doesn’t see a bomb. But…

The Avengers show up, stop Egghead and Hank from stealing the precious metal, and, eventually, and uncover the truth which is that there was no bomb in the first place. 

Here’s the team basically slapping the crap out of Hank:

Cap uses an open hand bitch slap.  That’s cold, Steve.

It rightfully ends with Hank in jail.

But that’s not all!  Also in this issue, Jan steps up and nominates herself to lead the team.

It’s a nice sequence: She’s the person who named the team, way back in Avengers #1, yet she still has to step forward and demand the chance to lead.  But Cap, ever respectful of democracy, immediately and without reservation agrees that it’s time to put his position up to a vote.  Iron Man stumbles a little bit with the title (“you want to be the chairman—uh, chairperson Jan?”) and Thor still ends up telling her to “lead us, fair one,” but on the whole the all-white-males do give her the opportunity without any meaningful doubt or delay.

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