Sunday, July 10, 2016

1983: The Eros Avenger part II: Don't Mind If I Do!

By Jef Willemsen (

Looking for fun, the pleasure seeking Eternal Eros joined Earth's mightiest heroes. He neglected to tell them his primary power was his creepy smile that stimulated your pleasure centers. Then again, the Avengers gave him the silly codename Starfox, so I guess they're even.

"Up against the barrier!"

After a brief, introductory arc that saw Starfox getting inducted as an Avenger-in-training, he helped the team take down Plantman and save president Reagan. Now, it was time to introduce him to the Marvel Universe proper. He got his first chance in Avengers I#233, which happened to be an informal crossover with the Fantastic Four that we covered previously.

Long story short: the FF were stuck in the Negative Zone, trying to reach home while Annihilus had invaded the Baxter Building where he was hard at work creating a null-field barrier that would cause the destruction of both the positive and negative universe. What's more interesting is Starfox's place on the cover. Look closely, he's there... Yes, right down in the corner.

While the others valiantly struggle against the barrier, there's Eros giving the barrier a love tap. Hey, you gotta play to your strengths, right? Guess that's why when the others were trying to breach the barrier, Starfox did this.

"Neither my strength nor my flying ability are of any use... 
And I doubt my other talent would cause the wall the crumble. However..."

That's right... He saw a pretty girl and decided that courting her was a better use of his time than actually helping the team he'd just joined... on probationary status. Eros didn't waste any time putting on the charm and using his powers to get her full attention.

" If they want me, they will call. As for now..."

Especially the second panel is tough to swallow, knowing that he's actively "charming" the pants off this unsuspecting nurse. From his piercing, lustful gaze to that ever present, creepy smile as he moves in to strike at this thoroughly defenseless prey. Luckily, Annihilus activated his null field barrier device before Starfox could pounce. It might signal the end of all that is, but it did stop this tasteless (mind) raping, so it ain't all bad.

Roger Stern cleverly used the Annihilus/FF crossover to establish that Starfox was more than a galavanting skirtchaser when he applied himself. Turns out, he picked up a ton of scientific knowledge in the thousands of years he'd been around. He could be really smart if he wanted to be...

You ask him, he'll tell ya!

"Captain... Marvel. 
You said you felt the field give slightly when you were in the form of gamma rays?"

Note the "..." pause between "Captain" and "Marvel", Stern's subtle way of showing Eros still had trouble calling Monica Rambeau by the codename of his recently deceased best friend Mar-Vell. Thanks to Eros' know how, Captain Marvel was able to enter the Baxter Building which ultimately led to Annihilus' defeat.

All's well that ends well, except for the fact the villain had brutally beaten Franklin Richards and Alicia Masters. The Avengers didn't escape unscathed either: the Vision was rendered inert after phasing through the null-field. Starfox would soon find a way to help the essentially comatose android, but before that we got Avengers I#234 that dealt with the aftermath of the previous storylines. Vision was returned to the mansion in a coffin-like lifepod, his wife was overwrought and Starfox? Well, he was also struggling to find a way to carry on...

"Spaceman, I can show you some things you won't believe!"

I'm pretty sure Shulkie meant she's going to take him sightseeing, right? There's so much great stuff to see and do in Manhattan. From Times Square to the Empire State Building, you can even take the ferry to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone, maybe stop for lunch at the Carnegie Deli? Their pastrami on rhye is out of this world.


"You left enough hot water for me, I hope!"

Well, guess they just toured the Meatpacking District. 

I'm no prude, but it is a bit of a shock to see two active Avengers having a one night stand. It's not the first time members have fallen in love. And yes, Mantis tried her best to seduce Vision back in the 1970s while Moondragon telepathically forced herself on Thor during the early 80s... But this is certainly a new development. Two single, outgoing and attractive people who happen to be heroes, spend the night together and are absolutely okay about it in the morning. And so was the Comics Coude Authority, apparently.

Dan Slott would cite this particular encounter years later during his She Hulk run as proof that Eros was using his powers to seduce and force women. Starfox is quite succinctly described as "a walking roofie". He winds up getting sued over this, but ultimately gets off (no pun intended) when it's revealed this was all a scam orchestrated by his evil brother Thanos. How convenient.

Be that as it may, in the opening pages of Avengers I#235 the stereotype is reinforced once more: Starfox likes the ladies and ladies like Starfox. Here he is happily making out with some random woman in Central Park when he suddenly remembered a previous engagement.

"Mmm, I don't care what name you use. Your kisses are out of this world."

He shoots, he scores... He doesn't even know her name. And Captain America isn't too happy about Eros' ways either.

"You're late!"

When you have as active a lovelife as Eros, those are words you dread to hear. The Captain chews him out over being two minutes late, claiming that "back in his day, punctuality meant something" which is unintentionally hilarous when you're talking to an Eternal. But Starfox is too polite to point that out and apologizes for his tardiness. Which is good enough for Steve Rogers who drops the matter and proceeds to put the Avenger-in-training through his paces. 

In Avengers I#236, Starfox's back to his old tricks in the opening page when he puts the moves on the Wasp who isn't exactly turning him down either. It's rather interesting to have Eros at a time the team is predominantly female. Out of the six active Avengers, Wasp is chairman, there's She-Hulk and Captain Marvel, not to mention Scarlet Witch who lives at the mansion as a reservist. 

"Yes...I'll bet you could."

Who knows what might have happened if the alarm hadn't sounded. There was an intruder in Avengers mansion, which meant the team scrambled to fight off the mystery guest... Only to find it was Spider-Man. In desperate need of money, Peter Parker remembered the Avengers pay their members a weekly 1000 dollar stipend which back in 1983 was a small fortune. But, blame the ol' Parker luck: all the slots are filled, but they do offer him a spot in the trainee program. 

"Green...? I take offense at your tone, Spider-Man!"

Starfox has a right to be offended, after all he's also "in training" even though he's more than a little older than all the non-immortal Avengers combined. Spider-Man winds up assisting the Avengers in a fun filled two issues adventure that sees them taking on the Lavamen in Project: Pegasus as well as a number of escaped villains like Blackout, Moonstone and even the Rhino who were being studied at Pegasus. In the end, the Avengers decide to contact their government liaison to request clearance approval for the wallcrawler. And then, the reset button gets hit... Spidey's an unknown vigilante, no deal!

"They'll okay Starfox, a guy from outer space... But my own government won't approve me?"

And with that, Spider-Man's out... At least for much of the 80s. He does raise a fair point: what do we really know about Eros' outer space roots? We'll learn more about his home on Titan and their domineering world computer in part III of The Eros Avenger: I.S.A.A.C. At This.

Ah, but before we go...A bonus clip to complete this entry's theme of Starfox meeting Marvel's other major players... Here we have Eros going up against a mindless Hulk, in October 1984's Hulk I#300. The green giant is tearing through New York, punching out heroes left and right. But the walking roofie figures he can charm the bestial behemoth into submission by flashing his trademark creepy smile...

"But by now it should be quite apparent... That this Hulk is no normal creature"

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