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Unearthed: Avengers #5

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Today we’re havin’ a gander at Avengers #5, and it’s fitting that we’re halting our Avengers run (for now) with this one, as it’s kind of a… well, not ‘bad’ issue, certainly, but even the characters themselves seem to regard it as a bit odd. After today, we’re moving on to a new classic title. I haven’t decided which, yet, but it’ll be great, trust me.

Anyway, as always, we begin with the ads:

I’d be more incensed at the implication that my family’s got educational gaps… except that it’s true. We didn’t know there was such a thing as a self-teaching encyclopedia, for example.

“Acrobatic tricks”. That’s what they called it back in your day, Cap? HURR HURR HURR

Before Robert Downey, Jr. got his hands on the role, Tony Stark used to be quite a different figure. Now, I’ve never spent much time on the veracity of this kind of wound (which sounds like a kind of ‘sucking chest wound’, but think about the antics of a man actually seconds away from death at all times. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it.

But I will say that as a character, I think I prefer the non-quippy Stark over the annoying, answer-for-everything Stark we have these days.

Stan Lee’s track record for writing genuine female portrayals continues to amaze.

Either Thor’s actually unaware of Jane’s feelings or he’s just being a dick about it. Which is better?

Cripes, scale it back a bit, Cap. When the hell would I ever even NEED to do a stunt like that? Well, maybe at the vet.

Junior, your Dad told you not to go around touching strange men’s hammers. Aw, but look how happy it makes Thor!

Just a break from being snarky here to say: holy cats, look at Kirby’s imagery here. This guy practically INVENTED cosmic-level visuals and some amazing texture work.

Molto, no! Why’s it always the good men who are thrust aside by lava men with evil magic sticks? Wait, I think I just answered my own question.

See? Would today’s Tony Stark show compassion like this? No! He’d probably say something like “Hey, back off, Hot Pockets! Last time I had to take care of a burning sensation around my crotch, I was getting treated for gonorrhea!”

Man, I should write for Marvel!

Wow, how hot does it have to be for your thoughts to stutter?

Last issue we established Cap was a top… now I’m wondering if he doesn’t just switch when he needs to.

Been mentioned on this channel before, but MAN, things work fast in the MCU.

As mentioned at the top, even the Avengers are like… ‘So… you guys wanna just… hang out?”

See? DAMMIT, STAN! It’s not just me, right?

Even Stan Lee knows it. “Yeah, uh, NEXT issue, guys, we promise! It’ll… it’ll be good. Heh.”

Fortunately, we’re ending this issue with something that will stick with you forever:


Oh, well, hell, that helps clear it up.

Become a horrifying Pac-Man-eyed mutant like this guy and EARN BIG!

This is how the drug trade began in America.

Remember, kids, tomorrow: a brand-new Comics Breakdown, featuring a brand-new comic book title! WHO WILL IT BE? Stay tuned to find out, True Believers!

Unearthed: Avengers #4

Unearthed: Avengers #4 published on No Comments on Unearthed: Avengers #4

Oi oi it’s ya boi! GUH I regret that. Anyway, welcome once again to the Stage of History! Today we’re looking at Avengers, Issue 4, in which Namor returns and a major comics figure makes his Avengerial debut!

Captain America rises from the supposed dead, full of 50s-era do-goodery and wisdom… and yearning for teenage boys! But we’ll get to that. First: the ads:

Why is “tough” in quotes? Are they mocking me? You wanna go, ad? Huh? YOU WANNA GO?

This kind of self-promotion reveals more than you want to, I think, Marvel.

Quick recap: Namor’s pissed because the Avengers beat him so handily, oh, and his entire underwater civilization is missing for some reason. So the first superhero frozen in ice being worshipped by Eskimos he comes across, he just chucks across the tundra, using a really awkward pose. I mean, you can relate, right?

Who hasn’t been there?

Anyway, turns out it’s Captain America in that Namor-thrown block of ice, in suspended animation since World War 2, ssshhh, don’t worry about it, and he’s just woken up without his teenaged pal Bucky, who he put into life-threatening situations on a daily basis because the lad was plucky or something.

Okay, you’re up to speed! Let’s go now to… ACTION!

Dammit, Steve.

Also, I never like to criticize the Great Man, but Kirby really pulled off a crazy shortcut here. You may not have immediately noticed it, but look at Cap’n ‘Mer’ca’s arms here. There’s virtually nothing between his shoulders and elbows. That’s insane. But Kirby got away with it.

So, several things here: 1) Iron Man’s threatening a guy they just pulled out of the sea who was near death. 2) “Try to conquer me!” is something I say at the bank all the time. 3) The Avengers aren’t sure this guy is who he’s saying he is. He might just be a regular guy. So the first thing Thor does is throws his hammer at him, ensuring a quick, pulpy death for any regular guy. Nice.

Cap reminisces about the time he saw a really big fish.

Yes, Pete. That is an appropriate reaction to seeing a bright flash of light that turns your heroes into statues. Y’dingus.

This was the state of journalism in the late 60s. No questions, just jumping to conclusions and running away. Seems legit.

He’s not frickin’ King ARTHUR, dood.

Nah, then, Mawster Bruce, I actually thought this was a cool moment that cements Cap’s place in local legend.

Hold on to that sense of wonder, Cap. It’ll last maybe a week. And wait until the Internet hits!

“Hey, mister, why’re you covering your crotch with your shield? Why… why’re you lookin’ at me like that? Such… naked HUNGER!”

My paycheck made honor roll at Area High School!

Yeah yeah, we know Cap’s a top, whatever.

Suddenly, into our lives, a broccoli man. I need a sitcom, stat!

*pause* Well, F you too, Thor.

Oh, you think? Perhaps if you do the one thing you know how to do? Yeah? Maybe using your ONE TRICK might accomplish something? Y’DINGUS

Boys! Boys! We love you so much we’re saying your name twice! Girls! Girls! Die in several fires!

The secret is to wait four decades until the Internet comes along. Then you, too, can struggle to make money doing what you love, just like all the other indie musicians!

And there it is. Those of you who, like me, thought it was odd when Marvel called Namor the First Mutant some years ago, now have canonical proof. If canon even means anything.

Yes. Become small, thus lengthening the time it will take to get to the surface. Unless, of course, the volume of oxygen in your currently-overlarge lungs bursts your suddenly tiny lungs instead. And you call yourself a scientist? Why, you’d… wait. Who’re these people who just burst into my room? Wha — “Comic Book Science Strike Force”? The hell’s THAT? Hey! LET GO! I’ll call out stupid plot contrivances if I WANT to! Get this hood off me! Where you taking me? I won’t be silent! The public deserves to know!


Never thought of Cap as some kinda window-watching perv, didja? Sometimes history brings things to light we wish remained hidden.

You guys were in the Invaders together. You were teammates, you and Bucky and Toro and the Whizzer and… no? Nothing. Okay.

Tony, SHUT UP.

Shippers, your work is cut out for you.

Note the quotation marks. This is a front for money laundering. You know it, I know it, and the weird, simpering grin on this guy’s face proves it.

Anyway, that’s today’s Comics Breakdown! Tomorrow we’ll look at the Avengers #5, then we’re moving on to another classic comic of yesteryear. Haven’t decided which it’ll be yet, but the anticipation’s part of the fun, right? R-right?

oh my Grud, I’ve wasted my life

Unearthed: The Avengers #3

Unearthed: The Avengers #3 published on No Comments on Unearthed: The Avengers #3

Welcome, True Believers, to a larger-than-usual Comics Breakdown! Today we’re looking at The Avengers, Issue 3, featuring Namor, the Sub-Mariner! Whether or not you know him, having him in the Avengers was a big deal at the time. Dude started life NOT as a Marvel character… but that’s a story for another time. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

But first, as always… THE ADS

Tech should have stopped at this.

In this episode, the part of Thor will be played by George Clooney.

The part of Iron Man will be played by Peter Lorre.

And the part of Giant Man will be played by… hmm. Thomas Hayden Church?

I don’t recall having that reaction when he does finally come in.

Just as the OTHER billionaire superhero does decades later, Tony Stark invents and flaunts his new privacy-destroying tech just ’cause he can. Money: it’s a helluva drug.

I’m sorry, that’s the worst Spider-Man I’ve ever seen.

Why didn’t the cover mention any of THESE guest appearances?

Listen, I’ve tried this. It’s not as easy to trace a live image as you guys seem to think. My failures echo down the years to this day. Am able to sleep at night… BUT STILL THE DREAMS COME

I don’t know what this is about, but I LOVE IT

Listen, we ALL have a crush on him, Bruce… if that IS your name (stay tuned for more on THAT).

Put the two together, Hulk: the most powerful SCIENTIST walking the Earth!

Holy crap, Jane, he gave you a JOB. In THIS economy. Now’s not the TIME

I’m sorry, but this is hilarious.

More visual ingenuity from Kirby! I’d like to believe cacti can do this.


He’ll rip the tag RIGHT OFF THE MATRESS, don’t PROVOKE HIM

And now, just as we want more action: the ads

I — I can see into my own BRAIN

What, you didn’t give your kids grenades to play with? What’re you, scared?

… okay, this is maybe a bit too far.

I’ve mentioned before how the laws of physics are… different in the MCU, right?

Right. It’s not like you have armor or anything. Y’dingus.


I don’t… how, exactly? Why?

I recently rhapsodized over Kirby’s awesome fake tech, and here’s more. C’mon, that just LOOKS AWESOME

Is THIS where the current trend of plucking and shaping eyebrows came from? ‘Cause WOW, no.

Hold on, Namor, you gotta FINESSE a guy like the Hulk.

Once again, Stan Lee makes it clear he knows how to write women.

Sorry, bit’ve a typo there. It should actually read “more than 30,000 boys 12 or older now BEING SOLD TO 900,000 families.

Wasp: Will do, lover boy!

Giant Man: *embarrassed* Wasp! Not NOW! *tee hee*

It’s the one with the pinstripes.

I don’t… what


Communist ducks

The healing powers of duct tape

My tia Concepcion

Old episodes of Riptide

Milk up your nose

Shaddap You Face Part 2

Lissen, I gots millions of thems, DON’T MAKE ME PROVE IT

This is just to prove that there were some bright spots of inclusion in the 60s for our Trans cousins.

Wh-what is he DOING TO HIS ARM

Mister Unrelenting Compassion

Three words! First word, it’s a sh-short word, it’s, ‘An’? ‘The’! The first word is The! Okay, second word, sounds like… sounds like… burn? Ouch? Fire? I don’t… sounds like, yeah I GOT that part… sounds like… hurt? Boo boo? WHAT’RE YOU TRYING TO SAY NAMOR


… Bob?

Some dodgy anatomy going on here, but whatever, Kirby still makes it look powerful. And that’s the last we’ll see of Namor… in THIS issue, at least. So to stave off the bereavement that’s coming, some final ads:

Sorry, I’m trying not to swear here, but WHAT

Step one: put the comic book down, Stanley.

And there you have it, another titanic, amazing Comics Breakdown! In the next couple of days, we’ll look at the next couple of Avengers issues, then we’re moving on! What’ll get the CB treatment next? Who can say?

I can. And I’m gonna. Stick with me, kids, we’re headed to the TOP!

Unearthed: The Avengers #2

Unearthed: The Avengers #2 published on 1 Comment on Unearthed: The Avengers #2

Welcome once again to Comics Breakdown! We’re continuing the Avengers love with #2, in which we learn that Stan Lee knows how to write dangerous situations but doesn’t know how to actually solve them.

First, of course, an ad:

Huh, apparently you have to be some multiple of 5 to get a rockin’ bod, who knew? Also, is it just me, or is there something weird about the torso of the guy on the left?

Note the Hulk’s three-toed feet. And I’ve noted this about Kirby’s work before, and it’s especially true here: his grasp of actual musculature may not be entirely spot-on, but he makes it look powerful regardless.

I’ll point this out again later in this issue, but how froggin’ fast do physical processes work in the Marvel Universe? Apparently you just need to put a pill IN your mouth for it to work. Never mind that pesky and painstaking digestion process.

Once again, Smilin’ Stan writes the sole female character the only way he knows: as a lovesick boy-chaser. He does it a LOT, and I’ll call it out EVERY TIME.

Mitch McConnell arrives on Earth.


Shown here: the mangled arm of the last guy who tried to learn Jiu-Jitsu. Fact.

Pretty keen havin’ a guy explain to you how jumping works, huh?

This is just the beginning of Jack Kirby’s career-long fascination with insane technology. His stuff always looks amazing, whether or not it makes any kind of actual mechanical sense.

Will you? WILL YOU? The Green Goblin in whiteface here wants to know.

Think it’s bad when your PHONE runs out of charge?

Is… is the guy in the back… TOUCHING himself?

Thanks again, Stan Lee. Y’dingus.

If there’s ever been a signpost of a particular era and its proclivities, this is it.

This may be the only time we hear of Wasp’s ‘hypersensitivities’. Canon? You be the judge.

I’d say being a human that calls herself ‘the Wasp’ actually INVITES attacks from real wasps, Jan.

I loved this kind of cut-away diagram stuff when I was younger. Okay, I still love it.

Something about the way Giant-Man is running just cracks me up.

If I ever saw a sea horse doing a trapeze act, I’d have to take out both my eyes with a tuning fork.

That hamster’s biting the unholy hell out of that hand.

  1. Bad compositing job on that hand. 2. This is no pet monkey. It’s the Simian Voice of the American Airwaves, Capuchin Joe, broadcasting from the top of the Empire State! Myah, see? 23 skidoo, see?

Anyway. Back to the ‘vengers.

Okay, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have super-strength, so taking the time to wield a gigantic pencil CAN’T be faster than just, y’know… TALKING. And the way the final ‘r’ trails off makes me think that she died shortly thereafter. So hey! Now they actually have SOMETHING to avenge!


Preeeeety sure Kirby just made up this cool-looking set of tech, but MAN it looks cool, dunnit?

Remember how quickly Giant-Man and the Wasp metabolized those size-changing pills? Same thing goes for how quickly metal oxidizes, apparently.

Just like in issue #1, Stan Lee contrives an ending that depends on NOTHING he’s shown us before. Awesome, in a way.

Hulk, don’t go! It’s only issue TWO! Wait…

*reads the caption*

Oh, okay. Y’know I used to complain that superhero comics these days were just all about heroes fighting each other because the writers were bankrupt of compelling ideas. And now I know it’s just another staple of the medium that good ol’ Stan “The Man” helped invent. Great. Don’t I look stupid? Well, yes, but that’s got nothing to do with comics; it’s just my face.

How about we end on one more great ad?

… so he can kill them.

And that’s it for today’s Comics Breakdown! Please come back on Monday, when we’ll look at Avengers #3, ’cause you just can’t WAIT for what the Hulk’s gonna do! You’re junk-sick for COMICS!

Comics Breakdown presents: Unearthed: The Avengers #1

Comics Breakdown presents: Unearthed: The Avengers #1 published on 1 Comment on Comics Breakdown presents: Unearthed: The Avengers #1

Well well well, look who’s come crawlin’ back to ol’ Akela! Nyaha, I knew you couldn’t keep away for long! Anyway, welcome back to Comics Breakdown proper, where we pay tribute to/make fun of the classic comics of yesteryear! Today we’re looking at Avengers #1, which debuted in Sept. 1963.

“Smilin'” Stan Lee wrote and Jack “King” Kirby drew this classic, and now we’re gonna give it WHATFER.

But first: the moneymakers.

Boys! Men! Wish yourself to fitness! Girls! Women! Get back in the kitchen, apparently!

So, let’s just jump right into the action, like the Hulk is doing here. Loki’s planned an elaborate revenge scheme against his half-brother Thor, and it’s so intricate it’s bound to fail.

Here it seems Hulk can change direction mid-jump, which is a superpower you never see mentioned these days. Shame. Also, apparently he can’t just land, which makes sense if you’re a ton of green monster dropping from a great height. But you can’t have realism AND superpowers, Stan! YOU’RE NOT MY REAL DAD

Here’s the first example of Hank Pym being some kind of He-Man Woman Hater, but it’s far from the last.

And now, another ad:

Kids! Carefully preserve the moment when your Dad yelled at your Mom because she burned the pot roast on purpose and she countered with accusations of infidelity! They’ll deny it later, so consider this insurance against the day they keep telling you they need a grandchild!

Here’s ol’ Tony Stark, putting on the rest of his armor. Apparently it goes rigid when electrical current is applied to it, but then, don’t we all?

Batting a THOUSAND, Hank.

In case you’re confused, that’s the Hulk under that clown makeup. He’s in hiding. Because nothing’s less threatening than a gigantic, super-strong green clown.

Out of context, it’s just funny.

And now, True Believers… THE ADS


Cripes, why isn’t this team busy terraforming Mars? Just add water! FOR A BUCK!

Citation needed.


Boys! Make money, why don’t’cha? Girls! Take it outside!




It’s rude, c’mon, it’s just Imelda Marcos.

Oh, right, we were in the middle of the Avengers.


Okay, I know it’s the purview of this series to make fun of comics, but I genuinely love the form, so I’m also gonna call out cool stuff. This inventive action sequence is pure Kirby. We know that Stan Lee wrote dialogue and basic plot points; he wouldn’t have detailed this panel-by-panel.

I love this kind of back and forth stuff! Attack, counter, with every action narrated by the characters themselves, in case you couldn’t figure out what your eyes were telling you.

Anyway, at some point the heroes corral Loki, who becomes radioactive as a last-ditch attempt to avoid capture. And Hank Pym, scientist extraordinaire, points out that his clever plan only worked because Loki stood on some kind of trap door that no one bothered to signal to us, the readers, ahead of time. So that one I think we can lay at Stan Lee’s feet.

Hey, I like Stan Lee. I’m just saying that he’s not a genius plotter.

What are they… avenging, exactly? Also, thanks for that unnecessary addition, Iron Man. You’re an inventor, not a wordsmith, we get it. Hulk, nice job with the Mr. T reference.

Finally, one last spate of ads:

First, is no one copyediting this? All OVER the place. Second, I know “it was a different time” probably applies here, but that shot of a guy hypnotizing a woman to fall asleep as he hovers over her bed: not a good look.

And is this guy saying I’ll only be popular and wanted by hypnotizing people into liking me?

I’m IN.

9 ne’er-do-wells

4 chartered accountants

6 deflated Thanksgiving Day Parade floats

10 Bazooka Joemen

4 Marky Marksmen

8 Orcs from Central Casting

2 Absolute units

1 half-melted figurine that QC really should’ve caught

If you know just 20 people, you still know more people than I do *sob* I’m so lonely

Anyhow, that’s today’s Comics Breakdown! Tomorrow we’ll check out issue #2 of The Avengers! Quake in your boots, True Believers, because it’s ON!

Welcome to Comics Breakdown!

Welcome to Comics Breakdown! published on No Comments on Welcome to Comics Breakdown!

Comics Breakdown is an experiment I began on Twitter quite a while ago… even had me one’a them fancy Patreons to support it. However, it never really took off the way I’d hoped it would, so I figured now would be the perfect time to restart it!

No, that makes no sense. The truth is that I just missed doing these send-ups/relitigations of old, classic comics. So now I’m putting them here on a website where we can all enjoy them. I hope. To be honest, if you don’t like what I’m gonna be doing, keep it to yourself. Just take the time you’d spend telling me how stupid this is and go make something stupid of your own! We’ll all win. Or more specifically: I’ll win.

So expect some comics-related silliness, as well as my new comic series Marvel Retold, in which I go through the history of the MCU, seen through a modern lens. The first episode should happen soon!