The power of Steves

I missed last week’s Five for Friday at The Comics Reporter, but it’s a fun question, so I thought I’d just post my response here. I’m going mostly from memory, so feel free to correct me if I’ve mixed anything up.

Defenders # 39: All of Steve Gerber’s stories from this run of comics are great, but I have a special fondness for this one. I think it was called “Mayhem in a Women’s Prison” or something similar. Valkyrie had been locked up for destruction of property, and part of the enchantment that created her meant that she couldn’t fight women. (The Enchantress didn’t want to get pounded by her own minion, I think.) So instead of being just plain aggressive, Val had to be passive-aggressive with her thuggish sister inmates. I also remember that it took her team-mates forever to realize Val was missing, which I found funny. I think they heard about the riot on the radio.

Avengers #149: Patsy Walker, barely settled into her new role as Hellcat, rescues the Avengers from an evil corporation and kicks her surly ex-husband’s ass in the process. I swear I remember her bellowing something like “You’re not the man I married, Buzz Baxter. You’re not even the man I divorced!” For bonus points, there was George Perez art and Moondragon messing with Thor’s head. Steve Englehart wrote great Avengers stories.

Justice League of America #150: I think this was the end of Englehart’s run on the series, and he had been doing lots of unusual stuff for the title. I remember that he’d added more subplots and character development than previous writers had, and he focused on the members who didn’t have their own books, which I always liked. Anyway, the Privateer, a former Manhunter who had apparently reformed, is revealed to be a scheming criminal mastermind. Better still, insecure Red Tornado is revealed to have been right all along.

Legion of Super-Heroes #294: It always made me crazy when writers of team books had huge casts to work with and focused on three or four of them, so I appreciated the bustling, crowded quality of this era in the comic. I also loved how they managed to turn what was probably fan perversity – electing Dream Girl as leader – into a character subplot that really worked. This is the conclusion of the “Great Darkness Saga,” which was a fun story and probably the only time I’ve ever been remotely interested in Darkseid.

Fantastic Four #244: I was never a big fan of the Fantastic Four, but I really liked John Byrne at the time, and Johnny Storm getting his heart broken was always, always funny. In this case, his identically powered girlfriend decided she’d rather participate in planetary genocide with Galactus than stay on Earth with Johnny. Awesome.

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