Thursday, April 30, 2015

Avengers Ultron Unleashed

Back in August of 1999, Marvel Comics put out a collection of important Ultron stories under this beautiful cover by John Buscema and George Perez...

...who happened to do the art on the stories reprinted within....

...and here's a little on those stories all about the robotic foe of the Avengers!

The Early Days of Ultron

Ultron premiered in Avengers #54 (July, 1968), but wasn't seen as Ultron until Avengers #55 (August, 1968), working with the Masters of Evil, but this issue collects Avengers #57 (October, 1968) and Avengers #58 (November, 1968; all issues by Roy Thomas and John Buscema).  Within these pages,  the Vision is introduced, tries to join the Avengers, and kill them as well.  Vision revolts against Ultron's control, and along the way, we learn the origin of Ultron, how he was created by Hank Pym (Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath...and more?).

Ultron Returns Again

Ultron did return multiple times, most notably in Avengers #162 (August, 1977), where he created Jocasta, who was meant to be his bride, and the second selection of stories in this collection are Avengers #170 (April, 1978) and Avengers #171 (May, 1978; all these stories by Jim Shooter and George Perez).  Ultron, like Frankenstein's Monster, just wanted someone to share his lonely existence with, and tried to create his own mate, Jocasta.  This didn't work out so well for Ultron, as he was stopped by the Scarlet Witch and her unpredictable mutant hex power.

Even More Than Ultron?

If you are unable to find the Avengers: Ultron Unleashed, and don't quite want to spend money on getting the actual issues, you can also find the earlier issues in Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers #6 (reprinting Avengers #51-58, Avengers Annual #2 and X-Men #45...a whole wonder of great stories, including Ultron's first appearance, the second Masters of Evil and a case of the Avengers vs. the X-Men!).

The second batch of issues are included in Avengers: The Korvac Saga, which includes Avengers #167, #168, and #170-177, which include folks like the original futuristic Guardians of the Galaxy, the Collector, the Kree Captain Marvel and more Avengers than you can shake a stick at as the team fights for universe against Korvac.

Avengers Assemble!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Opposite of the JLA: Crime Syndicate of America

Back in the early days of comics, there weren't a lot of powerful villain groups around, certainly not any that could take on the combined might of the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America....that is, until the introduction of the Crime Syndicate of America!

Bring On The Bad Guys

The Justice League were set on Earth-1, the Justice Society on, the bad guys must come from Earth-3. a world where Christopher Columbus came from America to find Europe, England got its freedom from the USA in the Revolutionary War, actor Abraham Lincoln shot President John Wilkes Booth....all ideas introduced to the readers in Justice League of America #29 and #30 (August and September, 1964, in the stories "Crisis On Earth-Three" and "The Most Dangerous Earth of All!" both by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky).

These issues also introduced us readers to the Crime Syndicate of America, evil versions of the most popular heroes of the two Earths introduced in previous Crises...

Johnny Quick, a speedster who seemed to have powers via his helmet; Superwoman, a renegade amazon with strength, speed and a magic lasso she could control; Ultraman, the mightiest villain of all, who gained a new power every time he was exposed to Kryptonite, Power Ring, possessor of a mystical ring with nearly limitless power that he got from a mad Buddhist monk called Volthoom; and Owlman, a schemer and plotter, with a plan for everything and a mind so powerful, he could dominate others without their knowledge.

The team was defeated by the combined forces of the JLA and the JSA, and imprisoned between dimensions...and mostly forgotten....

Bring Back the Bad Guys

With the Secret Society of Super-Villains #13 and #14 (March and April-May, 1978, by Gerry Conway and Mike Vosburg), three of the members of the team (Johnny Quick, Superwoman and Power Ring) were able to escape their prison.

The Crime Syndicate members ended up facing Captain Comet (who was pursuing the SSOSV, who were crossing between Earths at the time), and the Captain ended up on Earth-3, working to defeat the team, and in the second issue of the series, meeting the Lois Lane of Earth-3, who was actually happy to meet a man with power who was fighting the villains, and seemed to like the idea!

Taking A Super Detour

With DC Comics Presents Annual #1 (1982, by Marv Wolfman and Rich Buckler), Ultraman got a chance to shine as he was freed by the Luthors of Earth-1 and Earth-2, and the trio worked together against the Supermen of Earth-1 and Earth-2.

The two Supermen needed help, and they got it from scientist Alexander Luthor, who against his will decided to use his science to become Earth-3's first super-hero!

Along the way, he also met that world's Lois Lane (as Lois will usually end up with the Earth's hero), and the two of them quickly fell in love...


The entire Crime Syndicate of America was back together again for the 20th Anniversary of JLA-JSA team ups, that spanned Justice League of America #207-#209 (by Gerry Conway and Don Heck) and All-Star Squadron #14 and #15 (by Roy Thomas and Adrian Gonzales) in October to December, 1982, as the team was freed by time-travelling Per Degaton in an attempt to end the JSA once and for all, and this five issue mega-epic even involved Earth-Prime (the world where we readers all lived in), with John F. Kennedy, and the nuclear armageddon of the Cuban Missile Crisis (though everything ended up okay....).

The team was given a name check in Justice League of America #232 in November, 1984 (dealing with the Commander, and summarizing the multiple Earths with the Monitor and Lyla), and leading into....

Crisis On Infinite Earths

With Crisis On Infinite Earths #1 (April, 1985, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez), the team was seen for what seemed to be the last time, as Luthor himself freed the team to try to save Earth-3 from the approaching anti-matter walls, but the villains weren't able to (leaving Alexander Luthor and Lois Lane Luthor to launch their son, Alexander Luthor, Jr.) to another Earth, hoping that there, he would find love and a chance at life (paralleling Superman's origin from Action Comics #1, and starting a chain of events that would touch the life of everyone in the DC Universe as worlds would live and worlds would die...).

...and Beyond

The Crime Syndicate of America came back, altered a little by the changes in the DC Universe (with everything being shrunk down to one Earth).  The team got a little name check (and their status in limbo confirmed) with Animal Man #23 and #24 in 1990, when Animal Man was looking for his creator (really just current writer Grant Morrison); the original team was revealed to be Qwardian as of Justice League Quarterly #8 (Autumn, 1992, by Mark Waid and Rod Whigham), and new members that looked like other JLAers were introduced as a new Congolmerate...

...and a whole new, alternate Earth (the new Earth-2) was introduced in JLA: Earth-2 (2000, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly), that was a little closer to the original team, as the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, with Ultraman (Clark Kent), Owlman (Thomas Wayne, Jr.), Superwoman (Lois Lane), Johnny Quick and Power Ring...but also plotted against each other quite a bit, and used an enslaved Brainiac to help them out.

That team returned for Adventures of Superman #603-#605 (June through August 2002, by Joe Casey and Carlos Meglia, in the Mirror, Mirror 3-parter, echoing Star Trek's Enterprise evil grouping), revealing quite a dysfunctional trio (as Ultraman and Superwoman were married, yet Superwoman and Owlman were having an affair), and all five members returned with JLA Secret Files 2004 and JLA #108-114 (in January to July 2005, though, like in the JLA, the identities of Power Ring and Johnny Quick changed in an epic by Kurt Busiek and Ron Garney).

Change is Constant

With the newest changes to the DCU, making it a New 52 Universe, the Crime Syndicate returned as well, with Justice League of America #23 (October, 2013, by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis), and the team added a few members beyond Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, Johnny Quick and Owlman, evil version of the Atom (Atomica), Firestorm (Deathstorm) and the Aquaman (Sea King).  

These villains were the focus of the Forever Evil seven issue mini-series of November, 2013 to July, 2014 and its spin-offs...

...proving that evil never quite goes away....

...yet these weren't quite the original team.

The originals weren't quite gone though....

But It All Stays the Same

The original Crime Syndicate returns with Convergence: Crime Syndicate #1 and #2 (this week and on 5/27/15), with the original team (more or less) facing off against the JLA-type heroes of DC One Million in stories by Brian Buccellato and Phil Winslade.

So, evil keeps coming back like a bad penny!



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Avengers History 203

We start here with more on Roy Thomas' original run on the Avengers, and his most epic tale to date!

A galactic tale, spanning the history of Marvel Comics....and involving the two major interstellar races that have had contact with Earth....

It's all been leading up to this!

Kree-Skrull War

Now, the Kree were an intergalactic empire that are the home race of the original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell, that is), and the Skrulls are shape-changing foes of the Fantastic Four.

Both races have been on Earth before (the Kree, involved in creating the Inhumans, and the Skrulls facing off against the 3D-Man), and battling each other through the cosmos, but things were beginning to heat up.

From Avengers #89-97, the heroes got between the warring races, trying to prevent the factions from destroying the Earth in their battles.

This fight ranged over the Earth, and involved not only the Avengers, but the Fantastic Four, Annihilus, the Inhumans, Maximus, Carol Danvers (she who would be Ms. Marvel/Binary/Warbird), the Super-Skrull, Sentry #459, Ronan the Accuser, as well as Hank Pym briefly returning to his Ant-Man identity...

...and would only end with the Kree Supreme Intelligence working with Rick Jones on unleashing Earth’s heroic myths.

This battle had many ramifications, leading to the formation of the Illuminati and Marvel’s Civil War (and is covered all too briefly but will be referred back to as needed).   With all this, the war didn’t involve all the Avengers, but the god of war planned to rectify that.

Back to Earth

Olympian Ares ended up with the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade, and pursued his grudge against Hercules with help from the Enchantress in Avengers #98-100 (with art by Barry Windsor-Smith), where all members of the Avengers team reunited for the first time since their earliest days, including the usual hold-outs of the Hulk and the Swordsman, and Goliath/Clint Barton goes back to being Hawkeye in a costume he thankfully doesn’t keep for long!

Sadly, things did not end well for the Black Knight, as he kept the interest of the Enchantress.

This larger team didn’t stay together, and the usual team stuck around, and a few members checked up on the Hulk.

After that, the Ant-Man and Wasp worked on their own for a while in Marvel Feature, facing familiar foes, like Egghead and Whirlwind, as well as Para-Man and Doctor Nemesis!

Team Dynamics

Then, a new menace in Avengers #101, and a return of the Grim Reaper in Avengers #102, (August 1972, art by Rich Buckler) giving the Vision a choice involving his brother, Wonder Man, where he chose independence, and a battle with the Sentinels in Avengers #103-104, Roy Thomas ended his first run on the Avengers (with the Scarlet Witch facing the Sentinels in “This Is The Way The World Ends”), leaving behind quite a legacy of stories for future writers to pick up on.

That will end the current rundown of the Avengers roster and history, until we assemble again, where we can pick up with what Steve Englehart did to the Avengers…and beyond!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inside Batman And The Outsiders

It's odd to think of a loner like Batman as a member of a team...but he was.

Batman helped found the Justice League of America (and worked with many, many heroes over the years in the Brave and the Bold), but there came a day when the JLA just wouldn't help, and Batman needed his own team....
                                ...the Outsiders!


Young Bruce Wayne saw his rich parents killed by a thug...and that crime inspired this youth to become the Batman.  We've explored his origins before....and even his team-ups with Green Arrow, with Superman, and even mystical heroes, and Batman even worked with Metamorpho and Black Lightning in issues of Brave and the Bold (Metamorpho in Brave and the Bold #68, #101, #123 and #154, and Black Lightning in Brave and the Bold #163), but as time progressed, Batman just found it easier to work with himself (which was an odd focus of the first story in Brave and the Bold #200, July, 1983).

That was part of the problem.  When the financial adviser to Wayne Enterprises, Lucius Fox, was taken hostage in Markovia, the JLA wouldn't help Batman free him.  So, Batman felt the need to leave the group, and headed there to free his friend in Batman and the Outsiders #1 (August, 1983). 


Rex Mason was just a guy who was lucky.  He had Sapphire Stagg (a weathly girlfriend), though her father, Simon Stagg of Stagg Industries, didn't approve of their relationship.  So, Simon sent Rex to Egypt to find the Orb of Ra, giving his caveman manservant, Java, instructions to finish Rex off.  Rex was left for dead in a pyramid, but instead, changed into the master of his elements, Metamorpho (all of which happened in Brave and the Bold #57, December-January, 1964/1965 by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon).

We've talked about the early appearances of Metamorpho in Brave and the Bold, and then Rex went on to his own series, that lasted 17 issues from July-August, 1965 to March-April, 1968 (where Rex faced menaces like Kurt Vornak, Edifice K. Bulwark, Achille Le Heele, Doc Dread, El Matanzas, Stingaree, Franz Zorb, the Thunderer, Jezeba and Mr. Shadow, and working with Urania Blackwell the Element Girl), with Rex making a notable appearance in Justice League of America #42 (February, 1966, by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky), wherein "Metamorpho Says - No!" to the JLA!  Metamorpho wasn't interested in being a hero, he was looking for a cure to his condition (even though it helped him be a hero), and ended up in Markovia at a time of unrest looking for Dr. Helga Jace... 

Black Lightning

Jefferson Pierce was an Olympic athlete who had escaped crime of the inner city, but came back to Metropolis to be a teacher (and ended up fighting against that street level crime headed by the crime cartel 100, who faced the Thorn) starting with Black Lightning #1 (April, 1977, by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden).

Black Lightning's series lasted 11 issues, and along faced many foes, like Merlyn the Dark Archer, Talia Al Ghul, the Cyclotronic Man (a renamed, old foe of Batman's), Synoide, the Annihilist, Flash foe the Trickster, but mostly Tobias Whale, the local leader of the 100.  Black Lightning also worked with Green Arrow (proving they were both street level heroes, and inspiring Green Arrow to leave the JLA for a while), Superman and Batman, and even told the JLA no as well in Justice League of America #173-174 (December, 1979 and January, 1980, by Gerry Conway and Dick Dillin), before heading home, and losing his powers in Detective Comics #490-495 in 1980, and then being recruited by Batman to help free Lucius Fox in Markovia.    

Black Lighting and Metamorpho were the two previous introduced heroes, but there were more in Markovia, and they were all introduced in the back-up story in Brave and the Bold #200 (July, 1983 by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo), though that story featured an already formed Outsiders team operating in Gotham (with a story taking place between Batman and the Outsiders #3 and #4).


Tatsu Yamashiro was just an ordinary housewife (trained in the Japanese martial arts), at least until her husband, Maseo, and kids, Yuki and Reiko, were killed by Takeo Yamashiro (Maseo's brother, also in love with Tatsu, disowned by the Yamashiros for his Yakuza membership, and wanting her and the Soultaker sword).  Tatsu escaped with the sword (which had Maseo's soul in it, having been killed with it by Takeo), then learned more training under samurai master Tadashi, and started to track down those that had killed her family, ending up in Markovia, where she killed General Franz (who had given the Soultaker to Takeo originally) who was working for Baron Bedlam, and meeting Black Lightning. 


Brion Markov was a Prince of Markovia, and trying to stop the revolt in his country started by Baron Bedlam, having Dr. Helga Jace give him Earth-based powers, but it ended up with Brion being buried (yet his powers were strong enough to revive him).  Having strength, invulnerability, flight and gravity manipulating powers, Brion did join with the heroes in saving Markovia from Baron Bedlam, but Brion's brother, Gregor, took the throne, so Brion headed to the United States with the other members of the Outsiders (and, while there, met his younger half-sister, Tara Markov, who was working with the Teen Titans at the time under the identity of Terra, with Earth-moving powers of her own...and a secret as well).  Geo-Force often butted heads with Batman, as Brion felt he was a more natural leader as royalty.... 


Halo was originally an Aurakle (beings of sentient energy who had been inhabiting the universe since near the dawn of creation), who inhabited the dying body of criminal Violet Harper, but she came to take on her own identity as Gabrielle Doe.

As Halo, she could generate aura of different colors, and while she could fly with each, each color also had another power, like red was heat blasts, orange was force blasts, yellow was bright light, green was a stasis beam, blue was a distortion effect, indigo was a tractor beam, and violet...was unknown to Gaby (but allowed the violent Violet Harper control).  Halo was taken in by Katana, who saw her as a surrogate daughter).

The original Batman and the Outsiders lasted for 32 issues and two annuals, until Batman and the Outsiders #32 (April, 1986), wherein Batman left the team (though the title continued on as Adventures of the Outsiders for a bit).  The team had already picked up a new member, Looker, and had moved into their own Outsiders title (which lasted 28 issues from November, 1985 to February, 1988, and even had an Annual and a Special, that crossed over with Infinity, Inc. and added more members like Windfall and the Atomic Knight).  Another run of Outsiders happened from November, 1993 to November, 1995, lasting 26 issues...and was the last to feature Katana, Halo and Geo-Force exclusively....and added even more members like Faust, Technocrat, Wylde and the Eradicator, but all that is a tale for another day! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Flash Facts Foes Not His

The Flash has gotten a lot of attention lately thanks to his TV show on the CW, but not all of the foes he faces on that show were originally Flash comic foes.

Here's a little history on the CW Flash foes that did not start as foes of the Flash in the comics!


Real Name: Danton Black

First Appearance: Firestorm #1 (March, 1978, as Danton Black),
Firestorm #2 (April, 1978, as Multiplex)

Created By: Gerry Conway & Al Milgrom

Origin: Danton Black was an assistant to Martin Stein, and gained his powers of nuclear fission (creating duplicates of himself) in the same explosion that created Firestorm!  Danton also worked with Firestorm foe, the Hyena, as well as the 2000 Committee, and faced off against Firestorm and Blue Devil, and later joined the Suicide Squad with other Firestorm villains (as well as Deadshot and Captain Boomerang) to handle a Firestorm gone bad.  Multiplex later returned with the Suicide Squad with a new outfit, being able to lend many hands.

Team Membership: 2000 Committee, Suicide Squad
Some appearances:  Firestorm #1, #2, #5; Flash #297, #298; Fury of Firestorm #14-18, Annual #1; Crisis On Infinite Earths #10; Fury of Firestorm #43, #45, #46, #47, #64; Blue Devil #23; Firestorm the Nuclear Man Annual #5; Firestorm #11-13; Villains United #1, #2; Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2005; Birds of Prey #87; Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #3-#8; Countdown #43, #42, #28; Justice League of America #15, #17, #18; Manhunter #33-36; Suicide Squad #67; Secret Six #17, #18 


Real Name: Kyle Nimbus

First Appearance: Adventure Comics #67 (October, 1941)

Created By: Alfred Bester & Jack Burnley

Origin: Starting off as a foe of the original Starman in Opal City, using his "invisio-solution" to become invisible.  Later, the Mist also used his solution to hypnotize people into doing his bidding, and after decades of use (and a battle with Starman and Black Canary), the Mist returned as a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains under the Ultra-Humanite (to face the JLA's Black Canary, now the Mist had the ability to also become intangible).  The Mist returned again, to face Starman Will Payton and David Knight, and yet again, with a legacy of his own (his son, Kyle, and daughter, Nash, who both took up the mantle of the Mist).

Team Membership: Secret Society of Super-Villains
Some appearances:  JAdventure Comics #67, #77, Brave and the Bold #61; Justice League of America #195-197; All-Star Squadron #26, Annual #2; Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, #9; Starman #26, #27; Starman #0-3, #18, #24, #68, #71, #72


Real Name: Bette Sans Souci

First Appearance: Fury of Firestorm #7 (December, 1982)

Created By: Gerry Conway & Pat Broderick

Origin: Starting off as a young woman brought into a terrorist sect, stopped by Firestorm, Bette got powered up to produce her own explosions, then met Captain Atom, joined the Suicide Squad, worked things out with Captain Atom (staying one step ahead of General Eiling), and even worked with Captain Atom in his version of the Justice League in Extreme Justice, before going back to the Suicide Squad with villains like Deadshot, Count Vertigo, Multiplex and the new Mirror Master!

Team Membership: Suicide Squad
Some appearances:  Fury of Firestorm #7, #33-36; Captain Atom #2; Suicide Squad #1-3; Captain Atom #7-8, #21-22, #44, #49-50; Extreme Justice #7-12, #16; Birds of Prey #70, #72, #73; 52 #33, #34; Checkmate #6, #7; Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #6-8; Justice League of America #15, #17, #18; Manhunter #33-36; Justice League of America #43

Bug-Eyed Bandit

Real Name: Bertram Larvan

First Appearance: Atom #26 (August-September, 1966)

Created By: Gardner Fox & Gil Kane

Origin: Working with small, mechanical insects he created, Bertram Larvan was a major menace to the Atom (Ray Palmer), even learning his secret identity, though he forgot that identity!  Actually, the Bug-Eyed Bandit was only a small Atom foe, having died in the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

But, two others picked up the legacy of the Bug-Eyed Bandit, Sting (Ronald Sweet), who menaced the Atom in Power of the Atom #17 & #18 (October, 1989, by Tom Peyer and Graham Nolan), and as an identity used by the Atom in Suicide Squad #59-61 as part of the Micro Force, and a minor recruit to Luthor's Secret Society in Villains United #5 & #6.  There is even another Bug-Eyed Bandit, who first appeared in Justice League America #43 (October, 1990 by Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis and Adam Hughes), but this was more just to have lame villains hanging out in a bar.  He appears mostly in villain crowd scenes, like JSA #28, Adventures of Superman #608 and Formerly Known as the Justice League #4.  These guys don't even make cover appearances!

Team Membership: None
Some non-Flash appearances:  Atom #26, #33; World's Finest Comics #260; Crisis On Infinite Earths #9, #12


Real Name: Jake Simmons

First Appearance: All-Star Squadron #21 (May-June, 1957)

Created By: Roy Thomas & Jerry Ordway

Origin: Jake Simmons was a prisoner trying to escape the law via airplane, until it was struck by lightning!  The Ultra-Humanite (a foe of the original Superman's) in the early 1940s to help fight the wartime All-Star Squadron with his newly developing electrical powers, and was there to see the early days of Infinity, Inc. due to their time travels.  Deathbolt was also involved briefly in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and faced off against the Young All-Stars as well.
Team Membership: None (worked with Ultra-Humanite)
Some appearances:  All-Star Squadron #21-26, Annual #2, #53; Infinity Inc. #22; Crisis On Infinite Earths #6, #10; Young All-Stars #12-15; Starman #1,000,000

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is The Hulk An Avenger?

The Hulk might be a major part of the Avengers' movies, but he wasn't really a member of the Avengers for very long.

Sure, he was there for the first issue in September, 1963 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) and helped to found the team....

Short lived membership

Hulk hung out with the team in the in Avengers #1 1/2 (a loving tribute to the past that came out in December, 1999, by Roger Stern and Bruce Timm)...

...but the Hulk left the team after a misunderstanding in Avengers #2 (November, 1963 by Lee/Kirby) with the Space Phantom....

Hulk the menace

Hulk ended up teaming up with Namor the Sub-Mariner (who had issues with the human race at the time) in Avengers #3 (January, 1964, by Lee/Kirby)...

...and that led to the Avengers finding Hulk's replacement (Captain America) and even a battle with the rest of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four (in Lee/Kirby's Fantastic Four #25-26 of 1964).

Hulk the guest

Hulk was only a guest star in Avengers #17 (June, 1965 by Stan Lee and Don Heck) as Captain America looked to boost up the strength of his team, which included Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.... well as in Avengers #88 (May, 1971, by Harlan Ellison, Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema), wherein the not-so-jolly green giant meets fellow guest (and future Avenger) Falcon, then faces off against the menace of Psyklop (and the Avengers and others plot to rid the Earth of the Hulk, which goes into the Incredible Hulk #140 in June, 1971, wherein the shrunken Hulk first meets his lady love of Jarella...).

Hulk the returning member

Hulk did return as an Avenger, with Avengers #5 (May 1964, by Lee/Kirby) where he helped fight the Lava Men....

...and in Avengers #100 (June, 1972, by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith),  wherein the entire team faces off against Ares and the Enchantress!  (Avengers #1, #2, #5 and #100 are the only complete gathering of Avengers, as other members would usually be absent during other mega-gatherings).

Hulk returns a Defender

Hulk returned to the Avengers...but as a member of the Defenders (along with heroes who had been considered villains like Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, Hawkeye and Valkyrie, all led by Dr. Strange), during the Avengers-Defenders War of Avengers #115-#118 and Defenders #8-#11 of 1973...

...and Hulk battled Thor (as he often did) but Hulk fought Thor as a member of the Defenders (with Thor as an Avenger), at least until the two teams gathered together to fight Loki and Dormammu at the end in this epic written by Steve Englehart with art by Sal Buscema on the Defenders parts and Bob Brown on the Avengers parts.

Hulk does come back to the Avengers

It is worth a mention that the Hulk did fight with the Avengers again, most notably during the Heroes Return with Avengers #1 of February, 1998 (by Kurt Busiek and George Perez)...

...but he doesn't stay for long, not like he did with the Defenders!

The Battle Settled

More often than not, when Hulk returns with a group... is with his fellow Defenders...

...and why wouldn't he?

Even Marvel knows the Hulk doesn't quit fit with the Avengers, as evidenced by the 2012 mini-series, Hulk Smash Avengers, wherein the big green guy was followed over his career...smashing Avengers!

Issue #1 by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, issue #2 by Joe Casey and Max Fiumara, issue #3 by Roger Stern and Karl Moline, issue #4 by Jim McCann and Agustin Padilla and issue #5 by Fred Van Lente and Michael Avon Oeming all prove that the Hulk and the Avengers just don't get along!