AVENGERS #235-237: Spider-Man Auditions for the Team! (1983)

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Back in the 1980s, Spider-Man flirted with the idea of becoming an Avenger, but he never did. In these issues, he tries to “audition” for the group.  The discipline, though, wasn’t his thing.

Spidey wants to keep secrets, like his identity and his spider sense.  Note that Eros is surprised by Cap’s insistence that Avengers tell each other everything.  Eros hasn’t told the team that he has the power to make people love him and, in the extreme, do his bidding.

But what really annoys Spidey is…

the first time spider-man was on the avengers

…He’s not humble enough to be a trainee.  And I have to agree here.  First of all, I’ve never seen any evidence that any other new member was adopted in a trainee status.  Second, he’s clearly more powerful than Wasp, he has no criminal record like Hawkeye did when he joined, and he’s got way more experience than She-Hulk.  Doesn’t seem right.

So why does Spider-Man want to join?

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Yeah.  The money.  Avengers make $52k per year, apparently.

al milgrom avengers

Supervillains appear in these issues, which basically are there only to get beat up so Spider-Man can prove his combat prowess, as they try to break out of Project Pegasus.  Although the break out is pretty damn cool. Plant-Man makes a fake Wizard…

…That kills itself when discovered…

But the main reason to read these issues is character work on the the characters Roger Stern wrote best: Avengers and Spider-Man.

Scarlet Witch disposes of Electro in a pretty boss manner.

Some escape.

In the end, the security council won’t approve Spider-Man for membership.

Much later, when The Avengers Volume 1 ended, Brian Michael Bendis would launch the “New Avengers,” including Spidey, to much controversy. People felt it wasn’t true to the character. But nothing in these issues suggested that Spider-Man would never join the team.

Bob Budiansky does the breakdowns for #35, Al Milgrom broke down #36-37, and Joe Sinnot did the finishes for all issues.

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