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Avengers #61: Review

Feb 2003
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank

Story Name:

The Powers That Be!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #61 Review by (January 9, 2021)
The letterers are Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne again.

It's 1 of those line-up change issues that as usual doesn't change much.

The name Dell Rusk has obvious echoes of Dean Rusk, Secretary Of State for Kennedy and Johnson. But it is an anagram of Red Skull, for that is who he will turn out to be.

Sub-Mariner and Thor are in the page 1 roster for this issue, but both leave the team. However we'll see Thor in some Avengers guest apps that the Marvel Chronology Project has placed before #62. Black Panther may be on the team but he'll be off in his own title until #66. And Ant-Man's custody battle doesn't go well next issue so he'll come back and join.

The remaining Avengers will have several adventures before #62:-
There'll be a cameo of the team in X-Treme X-Men #11 watching an alien invasion of Madripoor, but kept out by a forcefield. As well as Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Warbird, Wasp and Yellowjacket, Thor will be there alongside Firebird, Quicksilver and Wonder Man of the old extended team. The invasion won't be over until #18, where Cap and IM help with the wounded X-team.
Cap takes time out to fight mobsters in his CA: What Price Glory mini-series, which was published in the gap between his 1998 and 2002 series.
The completist MCP have also thrown in a humorous tale by Bill Morrison of The Simpsons from Marvel Double-Shot #2 where Loki plays pranks on individual Avengers. Cap, Falcon, IM, ScW, She-Hulk, Wasp, and YJ are here with Thor again plus Black Knight of the extended team. But also Hawkeye who must just be visiting.
Cap helps Spider-Man save Dr Doom from attackers in Amazing SM (1999) #50.
Then IM and Sub-Mariner join the rest of the Illuminati in their #4 discussing the women in their lives.
Finally Spider-Man's Tangled Web #21 is another funny story, this 1 about Christmas, featuring among others the Wasp.

After all that only Ant-Man, IM, Jack Of Hearts, Wasp and YJ will be in #62.

After the 2 apps above Thor will really get back to ruling Asgard in his #46-57 with a side visit to CA(2002)#11 to help against a Sioux storm god. But he no longer has a mortal id (Jake Olsen) and grows more alienated from humanity. Then comes the Thor #58, IM#64, Av#63 Standoff crossover (nothing to do with the much later Avengers: Standoff event) where Thor battles his teammates which ends his Avengers career for this series and 'lifetime'.

Black Panther will miss all that in his #48-62, spending most of it in New York after resigning as King Of Wakanda, helping policeman Kasper Cole. Then he's back for a cameo in Wakanda in a tale in Marvel Holiday Special 2007 where a reporter roams the Marvel Universe seeking the meaning of Christmas. And then he'll rejoin the team in our #66.

Sub-Mariner will have many apps including Illuminati #4, Cap's #16 and the MHS 2007 Christmas tale with BP above, before popping back for our #83-84 as 1 of the Invaders.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #61 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
At the end of last issue the UN made an offer to the Avengers. This issue we discover that the team has agreed to work for the UN, and now Avengers Mansion has been renamed Avengers Embassy and is no longer part of the USA. Defence Secretary Dell Rusk isn't happy about the US losing control of the Avengers but the President tells him to drop it.

In the Embassy Edwin Jarvis is supervising the creation of a new Assembly Room. Henry Peter Gyrich is trying to insist that the team be cut down to 7 members (as he forced them to do when he was their US Government liaison way back when). Captain America stands firm that he and his co-chair Wasp will decide how many Avengers there are, and who they are. HPG also wants to take over security from Jarvis but the butler puts him down too. Gyrich is almost reduced to begging. Cap says he'll appoint him their UN liaison, because everyone deserves a 2nd chance.

Then Sub-Mariner flies in with a new Atlantean-crafted meeting table to replace the 1 he damaged in a tantrum in #59. He avoids apologising by saying it's a gift of gratitude (for saving the Earth's oceans from being sucked dry by Scorpio's vortexes in the last arc). Steve Rogers asks Namor to rejoin the Avengers, to show the world the hero he knows (from their days in the Invaders). Subby laughs and says Cap always did have a sense of humour - and flies off.

Other Avengers are having new ID cards created. Vision is made to smile for his holographic headshot but is *not* pleased by the result. Extra-tall She-Hulk is equally unhappy that the camera cut off the top of her head. Scarlet Witch has recovered from her ordeal in the last arc and she enters to say *she* always liked Vision's smile. But her ex-husband ghosts away coldly and Wanda Maximoff leaves dejected. But a little later Vizh finds her again. He startles her by phasing through a wall because she hasn't got used to the fact that his skin now goes transparent when he does so (a result of his battle with the synthezoid Gremlin in the Avengers Icons: Vision mini-series). He apologises for his earlier abruptness, and the smiles return to their faces.

Cap and Wasp have a meet with Falcon and Thor. Sam Wilson agrees to stay on as an Avenger, and Steve tells him he has a special surveillance mission for him. But Thor (now Lord of Asgard after Odin's death) gruffly says he has more important things to do and quits.

Meanwhile Iron Man confronts Black Panther. He accuses King T'Challa of Wakanda of foreseeing this UN connection would happen and that's why he joined them for the Scorpio arc - he's only here for the top security clearance to every country in the UN. (He has grounds because BP recently admitted he only joined the Avengers the 1st time round because he wanted to keep an eye on them as a potential threat to his country.) He also accuses him of manipulating people like chess pieces, which almost got IM killed (during BP(1998)#41-45 - Enemy Of The State II). But T'Challa indicates that he *will* be staying in the Avengers.

Yellowjacket (Henry Pym) is recovering from the injuries to his hands in the Scorpio story, but Ant-Man (Scott Lang) still manages to make him laugh. Wasp joins them to offer Scott a place in the team, but he says he's got to concentrate on the custody battle for his daughter Cassie. 1 thing he won't miss is Jack Of Hearts (they didn't hit it off). Jack is currently having 1 of his 10 hours a day confinements to the Zero Room.

Cap shows the new team to the public. Besides him there's Black Panther, Falcon, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision, Warbird, Wasp and Yellowjacket. (JOH is presumably on the team too, but possibly more so that they can try to help his 'condition' - we'll get to that next issue.) Wasp attends to a flagpole which we see is flying an Avengers flag and a US flag. (I presume she's going to take down the US flag leaving the Avengers flag alone as on the cover.)

Late that night Henry Gyrich goes home to his apartment where he finds Dell Rusk waiting for him. The Secretary wants him to be the Government's spy in the camp. In return he promises any Government position he wants, even a seat in Congress. Gyrich flatly tuns him down. So Rusk picks him up by the throat and threatens him, claiming to be relaying the President's orders. And Falcon's bird Redwing watches through the window. And we know that what Redwing sees and hears Sam Wilson does too.

Gary Frank
Jon Sibal
Chris Sotomayor
Gary Frank (Cover Penciler)
Jon Sibal (Cover Inker)
Chris Sotomayor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Scott Lang)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Jennifer Walters)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Warbird (Carol Danvers).

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