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Abandoned Love: Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman Are Avengers! Oh Wait, No They’re Not.

by  in Comic News Comment
Abandoned Love: Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman Are Avengers! Oh Wait, No They’re Not.

Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This time around, we look at Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman’s extremely short-lived tenure as members of the Avengers!

NOTE: As I sat down to write this, it occurs to me that the behind-the-scenes reasons behind it all are interesting enough that I think I’ll get around to it in a future edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed, so let’s just stick with the in-universe explanation for now. You’ll be able to discuss the other stuff soon enough!

After taking over Avengers from Roger Stern, Walter Simonson slowly but surely dismantled the Avengers roster until the team literally disbanded in Avengers #297. After a standalone issue in Avengers #298 that starred the Avengers’ butler, Edwin Jarvis, Simonson began a two-parter that formed a new Avengers team. Tying in with events in the X-Men crossover, Inferno, Simonson worked in Nanny, the villain who was going around kidnapping mutant children (ostensibly to protect them, but by trapping them within suits of armor). Nanny kidnaps Franklin. Steve Rogers, then in his The Captain identity, was headed to the home of Reed and Sue Richards for help against the demon invasion. He gets to their home just as their son is kidnapped. He tries to help them save their kid. At the same time, the Eternal known as The Forgotten One, is informed about the demon invasion and since he is mostly known as a demon slayer, he agrees to suit up and go kick some demon ass. So he shows up in the middle of the fight…

After a battle to start #300, Nanny gets away but they manage to save Franklin (although he is still trapped in the armor). They take some time to regroup and come up with a name for The Forgotten One, going with a name he used many, many years ago, Gilgamesh…

But then some demons show up and capture Franklin! The Avengers track them down (meanwhile, Kang the Conqueror, in an odd little subplot, is acting behind the scenes to try to make sure that the Avengers reform because he needs them to stop these demons because they now have taken over the timestream, blocking his way back home. So he sends one of his servants, the Growing Man, to attack the band of heroes to force them to band together, in what I presume was an attempt by Simonson to evoke how a group of disparate heroes banded together to fight Loki in Avenger #1) and run into Thor, who has now finished his own little adventure that culminated in Thor #400…

So they save Franklin, stop the Growing Man and beat up a lot of demons. They then decide to form a new team…

This was Simonson’s last issue on the title. The next storyline was written by Ralph Macchio, it details the Avengers running afoul of SUPER-Nova, a being with the power of the entire Nova Corps (which were defunct at the time). Throughout #301, Macchio has Captain America (he was back to his old name and costume now) basically spend the whole issue thinking how it was not a good idea to have Reed join the team…

By #303, both teams of Avengers plus the Fantastic Four plus Starfox, Firelord and the new hero on the scene, Quasar, are trying to keep the Super-Nova from destroying Earth. Ultimately, Reed comes up with the idea that saves the day, but in doing so, he sort of seals the deal for Cap that Reed just does not belong on another superhero team…

And sure enough, after a fill-in issue, John Byrne took over as the writer on the book, and he introduced a new idea in Avengers #305 (that likely qualifies for this column, as well) that the Avengers would just have a rotating membership depending on what the mission is and that there would be no single team of Avengers. However, in doing so, it also makes it clear that yep, Reed and Sue are done, after being active members of the Avengers for just four issues (three if you don’t count #300)…

(Although, amusingly enough, they play a key role in the next three issues, as the Lava Men attack the Avengers’ Hydrobase, shooting it into the sky on a volcanic mass, with only Invisible Woman’s invisible constructs keeping it afloat).

Byrne also gets rid of Gilgamesh nearly as quick, having him be knocked into a coma in Avengers #307…

And when they go to get help for him from a fellow Eternal, Sersi, in the next issue…

She pretty much just takes his place on the team (which really was a good trade on Byrne’s part. She worked well as an Avenger).

So in less than eight issues, the lineup from Avengers #300 was almost totally abandoned.

That’s it for this edition of Abandoned Love! If YOU have an idea for an interesting abandoned storyline, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

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