Comic Book Review – The Mighty Avengers #243 (May 1984)

Writer – Roger Stern

Artist – Allen Milgrom

“Chain of Command”

If you haven’t figured it out already, Marvel Comics has been the spotlight of my comic book reviews this month, thanks to the inaugural Comic Book Club’s reading of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. After spotting this issue in the dollar bin, I decided to pick it up since The Vision is the focal point on the cover.

The Vision holds a press conference at Avengers Mansion to address the rumors about superheroes that have recently gone missing. He tries to ease the fears that have crept into the mind of the public, but his words fall on deaf ears. The Vision and Scarlet Witch have contacted reserve Avengers in case they are needed at a moment’s notice. The Vision’s next step is to add new members to the active roster, but that plan is not needed as Captain America and the other missing Avengers reappear in Central Park. An emergency meeting is held to debrief everyone about what happened to Captain America and company. The Wasp resigns her position as Avengers Chairwoman and wants The Vision to succeed her. Captain America seconds Janet’s vote. The Vision’s first order of business is to trim the membership, but is interrupted by Raymond Sikorksi, the new NSA liaison to the Avengers. He has been given full governmental backing to establish a new Avengers team on the West Coast. Vision nominates Hawkeye to run this branch of Avengers. A stunned Hawkeye accepts his new leadership role.

This issue is packed with action and surprises from start to finish. Although some might think Starfox stopping a bank robbery and Scarlet Witch aiding in a five alarm fire seem small and mundane compared to the action they are used to, its these acts of heroism that instill hope for those still afraid the Avengers aren’t able to keep the peace with their limited roster of heroes. The Secret Wars event is teased in the pages of this issue and its just enough hype and intrigue that would have made me run out and pick up the limited series if I was a comic book reader in 1984. Besides the shakeup with the Avengers, another status quo change that briefly gets mentioned is a returning She-Hulk wearing a Fantastic Four costume. It’s mentioned that Jennifer has replaced the Thing on the Fantastic Four. We wouldn’t learn why this transpired until the final issue of Secret Wars. Teasing these changes are a big gamble because sometimes readers like them, while other times, they fall flat.

If you see any comic with Roger Stern’s name in the credits, you are guaranteed a solid story full of tension, adventure, and emotion. Stern had success with Captain America and Spider-Man, but really hit his stride with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Do yourself a favor and check out the Avengers Epic Collections of Stern’s run – you won’t be disappointed.

Next Issue – Responding to suspected extraterrestrial sabotage at the Kennedy Space Center, the Avengers are on hand to stop a group of terrorists called the Rocketeers! Can the Avengers get to the bottom of this space mystery?