I recently picked up the two-part Avengers storyline that brought Iron Man and Wonder Man (and eventually the full Avengers lineup) to Pittsburgh, and I thought I'd give it a look here on the ol' blog. The storyline runs through Avengers 192 and 193. The A+ team of George Perez and Joe Sinnott drew the cover to issue 192, and it seems that Perez had read up on all of the latest Pittsburgh cliches for the non-superhero stuff: men in hardhats (with literal blue collars), smokestacks, industry. Checks all of the boxes.
If you look closely at the guy in the middle, I think his hardhat says "Weiner". Cool.
If you've ever seen a Monday Night Football Steelers broadcast, you've seen this shot. And you've heard them talk about the city's confluence of three rivers. So we're hitting the ground running, right from page one. This issue had a cover date of February, 1980, meaning it came out right a the end of the decade, and when this image still probably fit for Pittsburgh. Fun fact: they do still make steel in Pittsburgh forty years later, but it's actually not the only thing that happens, or has ever happened, in the city.
But then, as a result of holding onto the Mjolnir sliver, Conroy is transformed into the Pittsburgh Steeler! No, wait, I guess he chose another name. Okay.
"Battleground: Pittsburgh!" is a great title. I like it.
Issue 192 was pretty light on any Pittsburgh-specific details. Yes, it takes place at a steel mill, and I guess a lot of folks (still) associate that with Pittsburgh, but this story really could have taken place anywhere. After reading this, my hopes weren't very high for the second chapter:
"Inferno Unleashed!" The other title was better. This issue has a cover by none other than Frank Miller and Bob McLeod! And is that supposed to be an incline car??
On the first page, one thing stood out to me: the plot credit for the Pittsburgh Comix Club. I've gotta believe that the writer or editorial team knew that they had to add a little more specific information in this issue, so they sought out a local fan club to help out.
And then they let Inferno simply walk into the river, I guess never to return? The Avengers sure do like to have loose ends tied up, no matter how it has to happen!
Oh, and there's an ad for Star Trek: The Motion Picture on the back cover!
So, this wasn't a great story overall, but it's obvious that the Pittsburgh Comix Club had a big hand in adding a lot of references to the second half, and that, at least, was enjoyable. Both of the issues felt quite a lot like filler to me, and the story ends with a mystically-powered force of nature walking off unchecked toward a populated city, but I guess we'll have to take what we can get with these issues. It was still fun to see Pittsburgh so prominently featured in two Bronze Age issues of the Avengers.