After giggling at DC's Justice League of America yesterday, it occured to me that I should examine a Marvel title to balance the scales. So today we'll be taking a look at Marvel's version of the Justice League, The Avengers. 'Nuff said!
Sometimes, to keep things fresh, everyone gets a cool mid-fight pose against one enormous supervillain. Iron Man fights his thigh! Captain America tosses his shield at an exposed ankle while Thor hammers away at a tricep! Just a few more hours, gang!
Itís for these reasons that Iíll always enjoy the cover for Avengers #33, which manages to side-step all this heroic nonsense in favor of the simple pleasures of holding a non-powered guy down and absolutely beating on him.
The title ďTo Smash a Serpent!Ē blazes over our heroes, though it could easily read ďTo Slap a Serpent a Couple Times in the Face!Ē or ďTo Embarrass a Serpent In Front of His Relatives!Ē and still faithfully explain the actions on the cover. Captain America looks like heís delivering less a trademark knockout blow to the jaw here so much as a Wet Willy.
Arenít the Avengers government-funded? Assembling six superheroes to hold down a guy in a lizard costume and work him over seems like a waste of tax dollars. Captain America could have easily walked down to the park and gotten the Serpent in a full nelson all by himself, without Goliath and Scarlet Witch on the clock.
For that matter, is this even an Avenger-level problem? I thought we paid these guys to handle global threats to security, like when Dr. Doom orders his laser gorilla army to attack Brooklyn or whatever. The Serpentís brown housecoat looks menacing and all, but the ability to look ridiculous in public isnít actually a super-power. The NYPD should be more than up to the task of subduing a fruitcake in a lizard mask and galoshes. If not, there needs to be a few more levels of protocol before we call the Avengers hotline. Let the fire department have a go at him, for Godís sake.
The story in the comic reveals that this is a Very Special Issue of the Avengers, with Cap and the gang tackling the issue of Racism. The Sons of the Serpent, a thinly-veiled caricature of the Ku Klux Klan, hold a rally to discuss non-whites in America and why that's bad. Itís up to the Avengers to expose the whole thing as a Communist plot and punch them a great deal.
Besides that, while it might be morally reprehensible to hold a rally condemning non-whites, itís not actually illegal ó so itís a little iffy what grounds the Avengers have here to break it up with violence. That the Supreme Serpent is, by the end of the comic, revealed to be an Asian communist dictator seems to clear the whole thing up, teaching us a valuable lesson that racism is wrong, and usually the fault of those slant-eyed Commies. How dare those Asians come to America and organize rallies to promote hatred of non-whites in Americówait, that makes no sense.