This is "From a Different Point of View," a feature where I discuss a comic book series with another writer. In this case, it is CBR's own Eileen Gonzalez who will be going over the history of the Avengers with me, story by story!
We continue with Avengers #28, "Among Us Walks...a Goliath!" by Don Heck, Stan Lee and Frank Giacoia.
Brian Cronin: The cover is a bit confusing, right? "The return of GIant-Man!" "Among us walks...a Goliath!"
Brian Cronin: Pick a name for the cover, dudes!
Eileen Gonzalez: I guess they liked the wordplay on goliath/Goliath? And that splash page isn't very splashy either. Not a great start so far.
Brian Cronin: We see the Avengers' bizarre dedication to not being involved in each other's personal life come back to haunt them.
Brian Cronin: This is the first time that an Avenger revealed their secret identity to another (this was during a period where Marvel was slowly but surely getting rid of a lot of secret identities).
Brian Cronin: Not counting Cap's identity, which was no longer a secret after his "death."
Eileen Gonzalez: I found it weird that Hank felt the need to spill the beans on his and Jan's identities in the hope that it'd get him faster service. The Avengers are supposed to help people regardless, aren't they?
Brian Cronin: I guess he thinks they'd think he was a prank call otherwise.
Brian Cronin: By the way, we DIDN'T see the Wasp escape back in #26, right?
Brian Cronin: We saw her get out of her cage and then call the Avengers
Brian Cronin: But as far as we know, she was still on the ship, right?
Eileen Gonzalez: She maaay have thought something along the lines of "well I've called the Avengers, time to scoot!" but maybe that's wishful thinking on my part.
Eileen Gonzalez: But we didn't actually see her get out, no.
Brian Cronin: And how would HANK know she got out?
Brian Cronin: Did she call him off-panel?
Brian Cronin: A whole lot of off-panel stuff.
Eileen Gonzalez: I don't know when she'd have had the time to do that! Maybe he found a marine ant to tell him.
Brian Cronin: What's interesting is that couldn't Hank just tell them that he was Giant-Man right off the bat?
Brian Cronin: Why admit he was Hank Pym to begin with?
Brian Cronin: As he notes, shouldn't Cap know his voice?
Brian Cronin: And I'm sure he could tell Cap something that only Giant-Man would know.
Brian Cronin: Like what it looked like when they killed that alien pretending to be the scientist back in issue #14.
Eileen Gonzalez: I'm just wondering how Cap knows who Hank Pym is at all. Is he a big fan of scientific journals? I sure don't know any biochemists off the top of my head, and I don't think he's been donating his time/money like Tony Stark does.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, that part's hilarious. "I never would have guessed he was Hank Pym!"
Brian Cronin: Who were you guessing?
Brian Cronin: Did Cap have a list of possible guesses?
Eileen Gonzalez: We're only on page three and already so many questions!
Eileen Gonzalez: Page two, actually.
Brian Cronin: Cap and Hawkeye's sexual tension ratchets up
Brian Cronin: He just wants to get Cap's eyes to sparkle
Eileen Gonzalez: He calls him tiger! Just like Mary Jane with Spider-Man! True love indeed.
Eileen Gonzalez: And then we FINALLY get an answer for last issue's bit with the Beetle.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, there's NO WAY that that was the original plan, right?
Brian Cronin: Also, good job, Hawkeye, as we learned that Wasp returned to Avengers Mansion (why not Hank's ship?) and was captured..by the villain Hawkeye left there!
Eileen Gonzalez: Who could have guessed that leaving the villain alone in your headquarters would be a bad idea?!
Eileen Gonzalez: I'm guessing Jan wanted to rest someplace before going back to Hank? But why would she go there if they didn't know Jan and Wasp are the same person?
Brian Cronin: Maybe she knew there were some spare costumes there.
Eileen Gonzalez: She probably leaves costumes everywhere.
Brian Cronin: And unlike Hawkeye, she probably remembers the security codes.
Eileen Gonzalez: Would they have changed the security codes since her last visit? Nah, they're not smart enough for that.
Brian Cronin: Hank looks like a character in a romance comic when he's fretting about his powers, right?
Brian Cronin: And, as we noted last issue, he also basically looks just like Steve Rogers.
Eileen Gonzalez: They both love making dramatic faces while discussing their personal problems.
Eileen Gonzalez: It's so weird that Wanda apparently just sits around sewing costumes for random heroes she barely knows. I can see Jan doing that, but Wanda? Really?
Brian Cronin: It's BIZARRE.
Brian Cronin: I love these bits where Stan tries to explain away the plot holes with his dialogue.
Brian Cronin: But the explanations make no sense.
Brian Cronin: In case he ever returned?!?
Brian Cronin: What?
Eileen Gonzalez: I want to see if she redesigned anyone else's costume while she was at it.
Brian Cronin: "Iron Man, I built this new armor for you in case you ever came back."
Eileen Gonzalez: Ha! That would be great.
Brian Cronin: I want to believe that Cap called Wasp a girl just to get a reaction
Brian Cronin: But...well...you know
Eileen Gonzalez: I'm pretty sure Hawkeye has called Wanda by her actual name as opposed to "baby" or "doll" maybe two times, so...
Eileen Gonzalez: Also I love how the Avengers just yell Avengers Assemble when they get on the plane. There's no one there but themselves! I guess they're psyching themselves up.
Brian Cronin: It's all part of Cap's psyche games.
Brian Cronin: Like getting Giant-Man riled up by saying "Forget the girl."
Brian Cronin: Goliath IS a cooler name than Giant-Man.
Eileen Gonzalez: Agreed.
Brian Cronin: But it's still weird that he would change it like that.
Brian Cronin: I like how Quicksilver is such a suck-up.
Brian Cronin: Also, Hawkeye's plan involved taking over when Cap retired?
Brian Cronin: What kind of weird plan is that?
Brian Cronin: It's like that hilarious joke about the new mouse trap, that gets them into a cubicle and forces them to work themselves to death over 20 years.
Brian Cronin: His plan involves Cap, who's, like, 25 years old, retiring
Eileen Gonzalez: Everyone treats Cap like he's 80 for some reason.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, I guess that's it. He thinks Cap will retire next week or whatever.
Brian Cronin: Still a dumb plan.
Brian Cronin: It'd be fun if the big twist is that Collector is secretly a mountain goat.
Brian Cronin: "You were right all along, Hawkeye!"
Brian Cronin: "I know. I'm scared, too."
Eileen Gonzalez: His species evolved from mountain goats.
Eileen Gonzalez: And then when the Collector captures them and can't even figure out which one is Giant-Man. Granted, he changed costumes, but can't he take a guess based on process of elimination?
Eileen Gonzalez: "You in the pink! Are you Giant-Man?!"
Brian Cronin: It'd be funny if Collector heard his name was changed
Brian Cronin: And said, "Wait, I don't need a Goliath. You're free to go."
Eileen Gonzalez: I feel like he would do that.
Brian Cronin: Once more, a classic piece of myth/folklore is tied into an Avengers issue.
Brian Cronin: With the flying carpet that Collector wears as a cape.
Brian Cronin: DC later did a character like this, I think they called him the Scavenger.
Brian Cronin: It's really not a bad idea for a villain. Good job by Heck and Lee.
Brian Cronin: Although, it's fascinating to see how far later writers took the concept.
Brian Cronin: Can you even IMAGINE either Heck or Lee seeing the Collector become this big cosmic character?
Brian Cronin: Quicksilver can't stop sucking up.
Brian Cronin: "That's why his name is legend!"
Brian Cronin: Dude, he JUST got his name!
Brian Cronin: Plus, Giant-Man - a legend? For serious?
Eileen Gonzalez: Such a legend that I don't think he's even had a comic named after him yet.
Brian Cronin: Such a legend that he lost his solo feature
Brian Cronin: Although, at least as Ant-Man, he DID have a fan club
Eileen Gonzalez: Yeah, you MIGHT be able to stretch and say Ant-Man is a legend. Giant-Man? Nope.
Brian Cronin: Also likely off-panel. Everything competent by Giant-Man and the Wasp is done off panel.
Brian Cronin: I love the "I cannot become normal sized for another quarter hour." Ummm...okay...but WHY?
Eileen Gonzalez: The strain of growing and shrinking? It's weird that they try to go for semi-realism now after all this time. Maybe they thought it would make Hank more interesting if he had trouble with his powers.
Eileen Gonzalez: That is a weirdly specific time, though.
Brian Cronin: Probably, but they just make up new limitations all the time.
Brian Cronin: "Scarlet Witch can't use her powers on even number days."
Eileen Gonzalez: It's weird that the Collector apparently gave Beetle some "obedience potion" yet he didn't think to give any to the captive Avengers. Are they immune? Did he only have enough for Giant-Man and didn't want to waste it on anyone else?
Brian Cronin: The obedience potion never made ANY SENSE
Brian Cronin: Does the Beetle really need a REASON to work for some super villain?
Eileen Gonzalez: Villains have never needed a reason to team up before. Like that pointless, weird mash-up between Mole Man and Red Ghost a few issues back.
Brian Cronin: Oh, you didn't know? Mole Man used an obedience potion on Red Ghost.
Brian Cronin: You probably missed it because it was off-panel.
Brian Cronin: Just like how Cap trained them into a great team off-panel.
Brian Cronin: Even Goliath is impressed.
Eileen Gonzalez: Everything makes sense now!
Brian Cronin: They're really trying to sell Beetle as a threat.
Eileen Gonzalez:Ha, yeah. I really can't take Mr. Noodle Fingers seriously.
Brian Cronin: It's nice to know Cap knows who he is, at least.
Brian Cronin: Good to know that Scarlet Witch has been paying enough attention that she missed out on Cap and Hawkeye's maneuver.
Eileen Gonzalez:That seemed weird. Wanda's the only one of this iteration of the team who consistently pays Cap any attention whatsoever.
Eileen Gonzalez:Hawkeye couldn't be bothered to remember when Cap told him a four-digit number.
Brian Cronin: She's too busy staring at him obsessively to listen to any maneuvers.
Eileen Gonzalez:The thing I like about the Collector is that his modus operandi allows him to just pull out any random gadget to use against the Avengers and it still makes sense. Like the magic crystal ball he uses against Goliath.
Eileen Gonzalez:I question the wisdom of him wearing a carpet as a cape, but still.
Brian Cronin: Well, remember, this is the Avengers. All fights have to involve capes.
Brian Cronin: So he had to wear a cape.
Brian Cronin: This is some more Marvel Method nonsense, right?
Brian Cronin: Where Heck has to vamp for a couple of pages.
Brian Cronin: So here, it's..."Uhm...let's say that they fight giants for a few pages"?
Eileen Gonzalez:I guess they had to give Goliath an opponent he couldn't step on.
Eileen Gonzalez:But the way the giants got here sure is random. The beans from Jack and the Beanstalk? Sure, why not?
Eileen Gonzalez:That's the motto of this whole issue: "Sure, why not?"
Brian Cronin: But why would the beans produce giants?
Brian Cronin: That doesn't make ANY sense, right?
Eileen Gonzalez:It's ridiculous for sure. Giants grow from seeds? Giants = plants???
Brian Cronin: Then the Collector and the Beetle escape...through TIME?!?
Brian Cronin: I will have to look to see where the Beetle popped up next.
Brian Cronin: I'm surprised his time with the Collector was never followed up with Beetle when he became a superhero years later.
Eileen Gonzalez:How many times have the Avengers gotten out of a fight because their opponents magically disappeared?
Eileen Gonzalez:Also, poor Wasp, being stuck in the Collector's shirt all this time. Couldn't have been pleasant.
Brian Cronin: I love how Scarlet Witch's powers can do ANYthing.
Brian Cronin: Including getting her out of a magic vial.
Brian Cronin: I love the whole "She's not wearing a mask!"
Brian Cronin: Wasp has RARELY worn a mask at this point!
Brian Cronin: But she's quick to say, "Eh, sure, I'll give up my identity, too, sure, why not?"
Brian Cronin: Then the over-dramatic twist, perfect for a romance comic vet like Don Heck.
Brian Cronin: "I can't shrink back to normal size! I'm a freak! A freeeeeeeeak!"
Eileen Gonzalez:I sure hope Hank is truly unconscious so he doesn't have to listen to the Avengers gossiping about him like that.
Brian Cronin: Quicksilver's freaking GRIEVING for him already!
Eileen Gonzalez:Who knew he was so sensitive?
Brian Cronin: With Goliath and Wasp back, the Cap's Kooky Quartet era is over. Do you think the book has improved for it?
Brian Cronin: Or is it better to have a fuller, intermingled roster?
Eileen Gonzalez:Kinda hard to tell just yet. From what we've seen, it still doesn't feel like they quite know what to do with Hank as a character, hence all the changes. And Wasp's role is still to get kidnapped all the time, even in her big return!
Eileen Gonzalez:We'll have to wait and see how/if they develop them later.
Brian Cronin: It's funny how Stan bows out pretty soon, so this new era is relatively short lived.
Brian Cronin: But next issue, we get to see some of the NEW history of the Avengers come back (Power Man, Swordsman and...Black Widow?!).
Brian Cronin: Should be fun!
Eileen Gonzalez: Everything old is new again for the Avengers, it seems. Can't wait!
Okay, folks, feel free to write in if you have stuff you'd like to see us discuss in future Avengers issues (or questions about the stories)! You send your questions, requests and/or comments to me at email@example.com!