Avengers #4: The Avengers Defrost a Madman and Make Him Leader of Their Team

So we all know the story: Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, falls to his icy death during World War II. The last thing he sees before succumbing to the ocean's frigid grasp is the mid-air explosion that kills his teenage sidekick, Bucky. Two decades later, our hero's frozen body is discovered by The Avengers while they are searching for the Hulk in the Arctic. 

The story was first told in The Avengers #4. It's a classic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It's also hilarious.

It wasn't exactly the Avengers who found Cap's body first. It was actually a group of “Eskimos” who were worshipping the frozen man as a god, because comics were sensitive about other cultures in the sixties. Namor arrives on the scene and is unimpressed. He breaks up the party and just straight tosses Captain America back into the ocean.

Thankfully the Avengers happen to be bopping around the Arctic in their submarine, and someone (Iron Man?) tells Iron Man to throw the brakes on.

They quickly recognize the costume of Captain America. But is it Captain America? Could it possibly be?

"Let's not be hasty...it could be another man wearing Captain America's costume and holding his shield."

Then Captain America wakes up and flips the fuck out.

"I'll smash you all!"

This is seriously so sad. And it gets sadder.

"He is dead -- he is! And nothing on Earth can change that!" Just wait forty years or so, Cap. I think you are going to be unpleasantly surprised.

I love the quick shift from mourning Bucky to "Anyway, who are you guys?"

Cap, being Cap, is quick to gather himself together and let them know that he is indeed Captain America. And that he hates being Captain America.

He tells them, and the readers, his whole sad story. The Avengers listen, but decide that maybe there's a chance this guy isn't who he says he is. Maybe this guy is some sort of con artist who got himself a Captain America suit, froze himself in a block of ice, and bobbed around the Arctic Ocean waiting for the Avengers to pass by in their submarine! Only one way to make sure!

Is that how Wasp fights? She just stands in front of bad guys and is like "Fight's over, unless you want to hit a girl!" Nice strategy.

So anyway, Cap convinces them by being really good at fighting. If he wasn't awesome at fighting, do you think they would have decided immediately that he wasn't the real McCoy? Or do you think they would have taken into consideration that he was JUST DEFROSTED MINUTES AGO AFTER BEING FROZEN FOR TWO DECADES?!

Wait, wait, hold up. He knew the, ahem, Eskimos were worshipping him? What? How?

The Avengers drive their submarine back to New York City. They disembark first, because Cap is napping after the exhaustion of being defrosted and then forced to fight four Avengers for no reason, and are immediately turned into stone statues by some mysterious villain. Cap exits the sub minutes later, and sees 1960s NYC for the first time.

"And why am I bothering to wear my gloves right now? And how did my shield fit through this hatch? And could someone please take me to a hospital? I've had quite an ordeal."

He sees the Avengers as statues, and assumes they are just statues of the Avengers. Makes sense. Then he checks out some ladies.

The girls are still as lovely as ever. All of them. 

The people of New York start to recognize Captain America, because he's dressed like Captain America. One police officer is reduced to tears. It's pretty great.

Rather than go to a hospital, which he should definitely do, Captain America goes to a hotel that he certainly has no way of paying for. He falls in love with television before he even gets his boots off.

I like to think he spent like five straight days just watching television. We need to talk about the costume he's wearing, because he never takes it off in this comic, not even to sleep. It must be SO GROSS. He was found frozen in the damn ocean wearing it.

You might think he's just going to move forward and become an Avenger and become a well-adjusted citizen of the 1960s. This is not the case, because Lee and Kirby are great storytellers. Instead we get pathos and extremely sexy panels like this one:

That panel might be the best thing I have ever seen. It's certainly the sexiest thing.

Cap's lovesick pining for Bucky reaches extremely creepy levels when poor, unsuspecting Rick Jones enters the room.

Aaahh! Run, Rick! Run for you life!

For real, is this going to happen every time Steve sees a young man? Rick does not even look like Bucky. But try telling Cap that:

Seriously, Rick. Get the hell out of there.

"I don't know who the Hulk is, lad. Sounds like a cool guy, though."

Cap pulls himself together, sort of. Rick awesomely deflects Cap's insane ramblings, and Steve decides he needs to convince Rick that he is not crazy. He does this by becoming a commanding asshole.

"He thinks I'm some sort of madman! Well I'll prove to him that I'm not! By putting on this costume!"

They look at some photos from the docks, find one of their suspect, and Cap goes on the hunt. The next panel pretty much sums up Captain America's lot in life:

Cap eventually finds the menace who turned his new friends into statues, using the most inefficient method ever:

For real, he went around New York City carrying a photo and looking in windows.

Anyway, Captain America takes out some thugs and even gets some quips in while he's doing it.

This is where things get really weird. In a reverse Scooby-doo twist, Cap removes the villain's human mask to reveal a crazy-looking alien. My favourite part of this panel is the reaction of the hired goons:

A bunch of stuff happens. The Avengers stop being statues. They all end up back in the Arctic to fight Namor.

Stan Lee continues to not hide his crush on Captain America:

"If only there had been heroes like the Sub-Mariner in my day! And maybe a man who could fly and ignite himself! And a boy who could do the same! What invading we could have done!"

The Avengers move to attack Namor, but Namor has an "ace in the hole," as he says because that is a term that an Atlantean would probably be familiar with. Namor has captured Rick Jones, and he will kill him. Except Cap isn't going to sit back and let Bucky, er, Rick get killed.

"Make one move towards me, and the boy's life is--WHA?!!" is so funny.

Namor gets sick of this shit pretty quickly. He tosses Captain America aside like a bag of garbage.

Long story short, Cap does find a way to out-maneuver him. The Avengers win the day, and then pop the question to Captain America, who says yes without even hearing the offer.

"Like a man!" Wasp is like "I'm right here, guy!"

And that's the story of how a mentally unstable, severely traumatized Steve Rogers became an Avenger.

"Thanks, five different-shaped Buckys!"

He moves into the Avengers mansion, never receives any treatment of any kind, and a couple of issues later he slaps Rick Jones across the face when he dares to wear Bucky's costume. Because Rick thought that was what Cap wanted. And can you blame him?!

"Get out! GET OUUUUUUTTTT!!!!"

My point is, there's no way the movies could possibly be too heavy handed by comparison when it comes to having Steve Rogers obsessing over Bucky.

This Week's Haul: It's the Muppet Show!

Hiya everyone!

Here are some of the comics I read this week!

The Muppet Show #1

I am actually astonished at how well this was executed. It's really, really great. The way the characters are only drawn from the waist up, the jokes, the structure of the comic mirroring the Muppet Show episodes. It's just fantastic. Roger Langridge writes and draws it and he captures the feel of the original show perfectly. I am pretty excited about Boom Studios new Boom Kids line, but the Muppet Show was definitely what I was most looking forward to. I am a huge Jim Henson fan, and I have been watching a lot of the Sesame Street: Old School DVDs lately, so I was definitely in the mood for this. By the way, a Sesame Street comic would be awesome.


Wonder Woman #30

I know I have praised Gail Simone's run on Wonder Woman plenty, but I just want to say it again: her Wonder Woman voice is amazing. I find it really jarring when a character just doesn't sound right (ie - James Robinson's Superman) and Wonder Woman is a character that has been, more often than not, written as a very flat character. Simone manages to give her a lot of depth and personality without losing the regal quality of the character. Like, I want Wonder Woman to have some warmth and humanity, but I don't want to see her being like "yo, what's up Etta?"

Also in this comic, Wonder Woman is really, really angry so we get to see how powerful she can be when she wants to be. And I like that.

Daredevil #117

Daredevil is one of those comics that makes me feel sorry for people who don't read comics because they do not get to read DAREDEVIL. There are a lot of comics on the stands that I enjoy, and there are a lot of great story lines, but the world of Daredevil, however depressing, is one of my favourites to lose myself in for 10 minutes or so each month. I think because it's more of a character study than any other comic, which makes it sound boring but it's really not because there is also a lot of kicking and punching. Plus, Brubaker is the master of the cliffhanger ending.


Captain America #48

I love nothing more than when Daredevil and Captain America drop on the same week. Double shot of Brubaker, PLUS I get my two Marvel boyfriends, Matt Murdock and Winter Soldier, in one week. And this week there is the added bonus of NAMOR in Captain America! I would love a week where Namor appears in every Marvel title, because he really makes every comic that much more entertaining. In this issue we get a nice example of how Namor, though pretty ridiculous-looking, is really one of the most terrifying characters when he's angry.

And also, Winter Soldier was hot.

Superman #686

Meh. I love this cross-over Superman storyline. I love Renato Guedes' art. I do not love James Robinson's writing on this title. Usually I like his writing, but I am not feeling his Superman. I do love seeing Mon-El back in action, though. But seriously, Superman, the dude is trapped in the Phantom Zone forever because you, let's face it, did not even try to find a cure for his lead allergy and as soon as he gets out (on his own) you are demanding favours of him? I'm surprised he didn't tell you to take a flying leap (note: not an effective insult for Superman).


Showcase Presents: Ambush Bug

Hello, what's this? Something totally rad?!

I basically own everything that is in here, but I still bought it because I just want to support the fact that they even published this. Well done, DC. Ambush Bug may seem like an odd choice for a Showcase, but it's actually perfect because there has never been an Ambush Bug collection of any kind before, and it's a little challenging finding all of the issues he appears in. You won't be sorry you bought this.

This Week's Haul: Namor!

Hey everyone!

I got a whole lot of comics this week. Really, too many comics. But my computer is fixed and Photoshop is reinstalled, so I am able to share my thoughts with you once again. Here we go with a small selection of what I read this week.

Uncanny X-Men Annual #2

Namor fans rejoice!

I have been buying Uncanny X-Men every month for the better part of a year now. I have really enjoyed Matt Fraction's writing on the title, and have tried to overlook the artwork in the Greg Land issues.

This issue tells the sexy history between Emma Frost and Namor. And it's frigging beautiful! Both Daniel Acuna and Mitch Breitweiser provide stunning artwork, but you don't have to take my word for it!

Oh Namor. I missed you so.

Superman/Batman Annual #3

Blowing? Tandem? It must be Superman/Batman!

Len Wein steps in to write this year's S/B Annual (typically the only issue of S/B ever worth reading). It's a re-telling of the Composite Superman/Batman story and it is really entertaining. It kind of emphasizes my point that Superman/Batman should be a series of one-shots by a different creative team every month. Even if it was just re-telling of Silver Age stories, it would still be a much better comic than it is right now.

Getting back to this issue: great art, great banter, a couple of unfortunate and somewhat confusing colouring errors, but those are easy to overlook.

Especially when Superman is looking so cute leaning on a wall!


And Batman asks a tough question:

Um, well...now that you mention it...

Dr Doom and the Masters of Evil #1

Hey! A new all-ages comic by Paul Tobin! Sign me up!

I love stories from the villains' point of view, especially funny ones where they are paling around. This book has plenty of that.




Mysterio asking to borrow a car so he can get his computer fixed really cracks me up.

This is going to be yet another really great Marvel all-ages title, as far as I can tell. But, like many all-ages books, it will mostly be enjoyed by aged comic nerds.

Ghost Rider #31

Yet another totally awesome issue of Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron. Much like Captain America, Daredevil, or Jonah Hex, it's so good every month that I really don't have anything interesting to say about it.

Except...HOT Ghost Rider on Ghost Rider Action!!!!

Green Lantern #37

The Red Lanterns have really been grossing me out, I'm not going to lie, so I wasn't too excited about this issue. But it was actually pretty awesome. For one thing, Ivan Reis really threw down some great art. And the Hal Jordan-Sinestro rivalry was entertaining as usual.





Mysterius: The Unfathomable #1

Jeff Parker has a new series! And it's for...Wildstorm?!

Well, I don't usually have much reason to buy Wildstorm comics, but this is a good one. A really good one, as far as I can tell.

A mystic and a plucky young journalist-turned-assistant. That's a solid combination. Parker is one of my favourite writers, so it wasn't a tough decision to pick this up. And the art, by Tom Fowler, is really beautiful.

New original series are exciting!

Rating the Super Hunks #20: Namor the Sub-Mariner

Time for another super hunk!!! This time we dive beneath the waves to get a closer look at Marvel's aquatic hottie,


Namor does not care about this woman.

Namor does not care about this woman.


Namor's costume is, in a word, minimal.

"If I could wear less, I would."

"If I could wear less, I would."

It's easy to point out the skimpy outfits that female comic characters wear, but in truth the most revealing outfit is actually donned by a dude who was created in 1939. Namor usually only wears a speedo when he fights. And because this isn't quite flamboyant enough, he has little white wings on his ankles.



Lately he's been wearing a more conservative black costume, which retains the best elements of his embarassing 1970s suit with the little yellow wings. Lord.

I'd be mad too.

I'd be mad too.

And let's talk about those Greta Garbo eyebrows. They are awesome.

The trick is to draw a white line around the brow before you pluck.

The trick is to draw a white line around the brow before you pluck.

The whole package is pretty fabulous, if not a little, y'know...homo mermanus.





I'm not going to pretend that Namor isn't a giant asshole. He really is. But heavy is the head that wears the crown, and maybe we'd all be cranky if we were the crown prince of an advanced underwater society. Or maybe he's just a douche.

He is using his wristband as a brass knuckle.

He is using his wristband as a brass knuckle.

I wouldn't change a thing about Namor though. It's all about confidence, which our Sub-Mariner has in spades. When he looks at you from under those pointy eyebrows and that widow's peak and asks if you'd like to see the royal scepter, you say YES. Just ask Sue Storm. She knows what I'm talking about.

Mr Fantastic: Consider your wife banged.

Mr Fantastic: Consider your wife banged.

Frankly, whenever Namor says anything you say "yes" because the way he talks is awesome.



I would love to hear a debate between Namor and Thor.

"Is your refrigerator running, you disgusting land mammal?"

"Is your refrigerator running, you disgusting land mammal?"

On the negative side...he has a bit of a temper.

It's true, though, that guy was lying.

It's true, though, that guy was lying.

Those soldiers were just minding their own business.

Those soldiers were just minding their own business.

Yes, he's a dick. But he's got an exotic David Bowie quality that captures our hearts.

Namor found this girl.

Namor found this girl.


This lady has no idea what she's getting herself into.

This lady has no idea what she's getting herself into.

Day Job:

He is the monarch of Atlantis. It looks pretty good on the ol' resume.


Splish splash!

Splish splash!

Sexiness of Super Powers:

You wouldn't think that flight would be a included in the underwater superhero package, but it is for Namor! Depending on what era of Namor we're talking about, he can also either just be really strong and invulnerable, or he can call of the abilities of any underwater creature (ie - electric eel).

He's not really trying.

He's not really trying.

His powers, for the most part, are only operating when he is wet. This is funny. I like any hero who needs to be wet and shirtless at all times.

He really likes water.

He really likes water.

I would also like to mention that Namor's entry contains what is possibly the greatest sentence on Wikipedia:

Later, Namor lost his ankle-wings when he released a mutagenic scrambler within the animated garbage-monster Sluj.

Incidentally, an almost identical sentence can be found in the Wikipedia entry for Harry Truman.


Who is he talking to?

Who is he talking to?


Namor's past love interests include an evil chick, his own cousin, and Mr Fantastic's wife.

- 3

"Well, fish. It's just you and me, buddy."

"Well, fish. It's just you and me, buddy."


Such a drama queen.

Such a drama queen.

Oh, suck it up, Subby! That's not a bad score at all...considering your pointy...everything.

Daredevil: The Luckiest Guy in the World

Daredevil [v.1] #77 is a great comic.

In it, we get to see Spider-Man, Daredevil and Namor fight each other for no reason. We see rampant brooding by both Spider-Man and Daredevil. We see no brooding whatsoever from Namor. And we get to see Spider-Man make a statement which is grossly inaccurate:

"There goes the luckiest guy in the world." Falser words have never been spoken.

I hope you guys like brooding, because here comes a pile of it:

Yes, Matthew. Please do.

Time for Spidey to lay down some mad introspection. Although he does his out loud:

Is Spider-Man talking about the same Daredevil? "What does Daredevil know about being hurt so many times you feel like a human punching bag?" Spider-Man needs to check out Daredevil issues #1-present.

Thank God this thing shows up and stops all the whining:

Namor limits his interior monologue to two sentences before tearing off his fetching fedora and herringbone coat and reminding us why Namor is the MAN:

I wish I could get away with talking like Namor. "Though Rachelle is hungry no longer, still she could go for some Arby's...for their's is the Horsey Sauce tasty!"

Anyway, Daredevil shows up and makes some false assumptions based on nothing:

What. A. Douche.


They fight and Daredevil gets his ass handed to him. Which is satisfying:

Daredevil could probably fight better if he stopped brooding for one second. Unfortunately, he doesn't figure this out:

Ohmygod, Daredevil. Please shut up. Although...that first panel is HILARIOUS.

I want to know what Namor's "classy accent" sounds like.

Spider-Man shows up before Daredevil gets himself killed. He immediately starts attacking Namor as well. Namor responds by kicking him in the face:

Their numbers end at two, Namor.

So Spider-Man, because he's kind of a jerk I guess, decides to wail on Namor for awhile to prove he's a better hero than Daredevil.

I like that meanwhile we see no thought bubbles from Namor. He's not thinking anything that he isn't saying out loud.

So they fight for awhile instead of addressing the real threat, which is that glowing thing that showed up.

Instead they capture Namor in a net. With entertaining results:

I like that Spider-Man called Namor "cutes."

This story gets resolved in an issue of Spider-Man which I don't have.