AVENGERS #43-44 (1967): Red Guardian; Quicksilver can fly; Jan is rich

Quicksilver can fly by rubbing his legs together. 

Seriously.  Another example of an early power set that never gets developed.  And on balance, it’s really no more ridiculous than having tiny footwings that help you fly. Too bad Captain America’s little cowl wings don’t enable him to be dragged through the air by his ears.

Also, Janet Van Dyne gets rich.  No, not rich. Wealthy. We learn she’s 23 years old now, which means she gets all her dead daddy’s money.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye misses Black Widow so he’s doing a little solo investigation.

At least he knows to put on his mask after ditching the trenchcoat disguise. But seriously, a barfight/sleuthing is exactly what Hawkeye should be doing. He’s basically as powerful as a trained member of SHIELD only without automatic weapons.

He makes a deal to get info.

He learns Black Widow’s whereabouts and travels behind the iron curtain to try to find and retrieve Black Widow. 

She is being held in Russia.

(What is Hawkeye doing with his hand in the upper-right panel there??)

But to get her,  they have to go through Captain Russia, who goes by the name Red Guardian. 

Who, we learn, is also Mr. Black Widow. 

We also learn that Russians like putting captives in tubes as much as everyone else.

One of the best parts of this arc is that Natasha finally shows some real spy craft. Once Hawkeye is captured, she becomes a triple agent–she was Russian, she went on a SHIELD mission and got caught, and then she claims to have been working for Russia all along but really she’s just trying to help her lover, Hawkeye.

Big escape fight.

Other Avengers are in this story, by the way. Captain America fights Red Guardian…

…And Hercules gets captured and they make him dance.

Dance, vile Capitalist!

Black Widow is hurt in the fight, and Hawkeye demands they rush her to the hospital. He actually shows some good sensitivity there and some self-awareness: “Your life matters…to me!” Not something we read often in old Marvel books, which tend to only have women being sentimental and men being either overly macho or completely absent.

Natasha tells Hawkeye that she thought her husband was dead and, by the end of the adventure, he really is dead.

He died because he wanted to be the one to kill Cap. (Actually, he survived, according to Brian Michael Bendis’ Daredevil #444.  Yet another arcane and pointless bit of trivia that makes continuity nuts like Bendis so much fun for nerds to read.)

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