Thursday, February 28, 2013

Avengers 105 to 114

Avengers 105 to 114

Quicksilver missing.
Uncommon family bonds.
The black sheep returns.

Black Panther; T’Challa
Black Widow; Natasha Romanoff
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Swordsman; Jacques Duquesne
Thor; Donald Blake

Featured allies
Captain Marvel; Mar-Vell (posthumous Avenger)
Daredevil; Matt Murdock
Rick Jones (honorary Avenger)

                This cycle started a new period for the team, the Steve Englehart era. Englehart had been working the Marvel offices for a while and had started to get regular writing assignments. After cutting his teeth on Amazing Adventures (1970), he started off the Defenders (1972) series. He was also offered the then lowest-selling series at Marvel, Captain America (1968). According to Englehart on his website, the low popularity of that series at that time could be attributed primarily to Captain America’s visible and obvious connection to the United States government. Because of the anti-war sentiments in the seventies, both the writers and fans found little to connect them to Captain America, and the series was on the verge of being canceled. Englehart took over the writing and put his own spin on things, and within six months, the book had risen to the top of Marvel’s sales chart.
                Before Captain America completed its sales ascent, the number one book had been Avengers, and Englehart also got the nod to write this series once Roy Thomas was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. Englehart admitted that he tried to follow in the mold of the Roy Thomas stories that had preceded his, but he had felt a bit disappointed with the results. He felt more comfortable once he started to use his own style of storytelling and introduced a character called Mantis in issue 112. Before starting this section, thinking back to what I remembered the most of this era, it was the story of Mantis and her origins, which will unravel over the course of multiple years.
                While working at Malibu Comics, I was assistant editor on two series that Englehart wrote, The Strangers and Night Man. Since, as an assistant, my primary dealings were with the artists, I never had much contact with Mr. Englehart, especially since he wasn’t ever running late, often what required me to check up on freelancers in the first place. Before becoming an assistant editor, I did paste-up of many of the word balloons for the Malibu series, and Englehart’s work, especially Strangers, was one of the more verbose and sometimes required a bit more work to fit all that dialogue into a panel.


Avengers 105
In the Beginning was…the World Within
November, 1972
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by John Buscema and Jim Mooney 

Black Panther makes a return to the team just in time to help search for the missing Quicksilver. The Avengers receive a message about some missing scientists in Chile and wonder if that kidnapper may have also taken Quicksilver. The team, along with houseguest Sif, investigate and find that the trail leads to a closed-off cave. After clearing rubble, they find a tunnel to the Savage Land. Barbarus and Lupo lead a group of Swamp Men and attack the Avengers, but the savages are quickly defeated. The Avengers search the Swamp Men’s village and find it deserted. The full team of Beast-Brood attack, but the Avengers are still winning the fight until Lorelei’s song freezes all the men in place. Sif and Scarlet Witch prepare to fight alone when Vision shows he is immune to the song and ends the battle. As the team rescues the kidnapped scientists, Vision feels that the fact he was unaffected by Lorelei’s allure means that he cannot feel true love. Lost in his thoughts, Vision refuses to go with the team to investigate another possible clue to Quicksilver’s disappearance. 

Hawkeye: “My gamble on his baby’s emotions came through like a champ! He had a tantrum—and passed out!” 

Narration, regarding Lorelei: “She sings…she languidly moves. But most of all—she is she!” 

·         This is writer Steve Englehart’s first issue. He was also writing Defenders, Captain America, and Amazing Adventures at this time.
·         To my surprise, Englehart’s dialogue uses periods for punctuation. His scripts for the Ultraverse used exclamation points and question marks exclusively.
·         Rich Buckler was slated to draw this issue, but since it was close to the birth of his child, John Buscema stepped in.
·         With this issue, John Buscema has penciled the most issues, 35 in total.
·         Roy Thomas continues to be credited as editor starting with this issue. He had been credited as “writer/editor” in issues 103 and 104.
·         Sif, Thor’s sometimes love interest, is living at the mansion at the time of this issue. Odin had exiled her from Asgard for questioning him in Thor (1966) 204. The Warriors Three—Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg are also seen crashing at the Mansion in Thor’s series.
·         Vision refers to a battle he just had alongside Spider-Man. This occurred in Marvel Team-Up (1972) issue 5. In that issue, Vision’s brain patterns are scanned, and he discovers he has two sets of brain patterns, presumably the Human Torch’s and Wonder Man’s.
·         Iron Man refers to his armor’s recent failure in Iron Man (1968) 51, but asserts it’s working now.
·         Black Panther had changed his name to Black Leopard in an issue of Fantastic Four before the events of this issue. Hawkeye mentions it. This was a temporary name change. He returns to Black Panther in this issue. I presume the change was to distance the character from the activist Black Panther Party, but Roy Thomas later admits It was a mistake to do so after many fans complained, and he asked Englehart to change it back.
·         The team mentions that Quicksilver has been missing for 10 days.
·         Black Panther has knowledge about the Beast-Brood beforehand because he had heard about them from his friend Daredevil, who heard about it from Ka-Zar. Who knew super-heroes shared so much about their adventures?
·         The featured villain team, the Beast-Brood, will later be known as the Savage Land Mutates. They will battle the “New Avengers” team in the future. Only Iron Man is on the team for both battles.
·         The team passes through a tunnel from Tierra Del Fuego to the Savage Land. There are several hundred miles of open ocean between South America and Antarctica, but it only takes them one panel and little effort to traverse that distance underground.
·         The Mutate Brainchild has no relationship to the Brain-Child from the Squadron Supreme’s universe.
·         This month features the first appearance of future Avenger Tigra in the first issue of The Cat (1972). She is not part cat yet. She won’t change into that form or use that code name until 1974. She starts her career using a costume that enhances her natural abilities, but she is otherwise normal.


Avengers 106
A Traitor Stalks Among Us!
December, 1972
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Rich Buckler, George Tuska, and Dave Cockrum 

While Vision broods over his emotional issues, Rick Jones returns to the mansion. Seeing him causes a reaction in Captain America, and new memories flood back into his mind about an adventure he had with Rick in the past. Meanwhile, Black Panther, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Iron Man track down a lead about a man who disappeared off the street, thinking it might have been Quicksilver. They discover a hidden tunnel underground when Hawkeye accidentally falls in. Captain America travels to the location of the battle he’s remembering, a cemetery,  and more memories keep coming back to him. In the secret tunnel, the Avengers separate down different corridors, and Black Panther is attacked by Hawkeye. The rest of the team arrives, and before Hawkeye can be questioned, the lights turn out. When they come back on, Iron Man attacks the rest of the team. When the lights go off and on again, Black Panther attacks Hawkeye. Finally the Space Phantom reveals himself to all the Avengers and stuns them all with a paralysis ray. The Grim Reaper comes into the chamber as well, showing the two villains are allied together. 

Vision: “I have discovered I am unable to love—a common failing in human beings, yet devastating to one as alone as I.” 

·         This is Dave Cockrum’s first issue of Avengers. For Marvel, he is best remembered for his run of issues as penciler on Uncanny X-Men during the Chris Claremont era. He only does inks or finishes breakdowns on Avengers, however.
·         Many of Captain America’s memories are from Captain America 113, but more details that were previously forgotten are revealed.
·         Seen as graffiti on a wall—“Batman sleeps with a nightlight,” and “Jesus saves at the First National Bank.” Writer Englehart would later go on to write Batman comics as well.
·         Space Phantom hadn’t been seen as himself since Avengers 2, at least, in his true form. He did appear in Avengers 10 in the form of one of Immortus' historical villains, but it's not revealed which one.


Avengers Vol 1 107

Avengers 107
The Master Plan of the Space Phantom
January, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Jim Starlin, George Tuska, and Dave Cockrum
Lettered by Denise Wohl
Colored by Glynis Wein 

Black Panther, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch are still prisoners. Captain America continues to investigate the locations he is newly remembering, and his latest memory is of unmasking the Supreme Hydra in the past as being Space Phantom. In that moment of shock, Space Phantom had paralyzed Cap and Rick and manipulated their memories to forget the end of the battle with Hydra.  He also used his alien technology to remove the memory of Captain America’s secret identity from the minds of the entire planet in order to put Cap’s mind at peace. This peaceful state is meant to help facilitate a planned mind transfer with Vision. In the present, Vision meets Grim Reaper in Central Park and finally refuses the offer to switch his mind back to Wonder Man’s body. The Reaper tells him that his true and better offer is for him to inhabit the body of Captain America. Vision appears to agree to this new plan. 

·         This is artist Jim Starlin’s first and only regular issue of Avengers as penciler. He will pencil the 1977 annual, however, as well as write it.
·         The issue is the first lettered by “Denise Vladimer” and is the only issue that uses that name Vladimer. She will later go by Denise Wohl or Denise V. Wohl.
·         This is the first issue to list a credit for colorist, so I’ll expand my credits as well.
·         Glynis Wein will win the Best Colorist Shazam Award in 1973. At this time, she was the wife of Len Wein, who helped write Avengers 86.
·         The issue mentions Thor being in Vermont. His adventure in this month’s issue features the Rutland Halloween Parade again.
·         Space Phantom relates how he escaped Limbo. It was due to Loki opening a portal to Limbo as seen in  Journey Into Mystery (1952) 108, but the footnote says it happened in Thor 108. This means the Space Phantom has waited several years to strike, as that adventure happened in 1964.
·         Captain America’s identity as Steve Rogers had been publicly known, but Cap wanted that secret back, so he concocted a ruse with an inflatable dummy and rubber mask of Steve Rogers that was shot up by Hydra agents in Captain America (1968) 111. This issue shows that Cap’s efforts were only successful due to Space Phantom’s mental manipulation of the world.
·         This month features the first appearance of future Avenger Moondragon in Iron Man 53. She poses as the villain Madame MacEvil.
·         The letter column features another letter from Wendy Pini, co-creator of Elfquest.

Avengers Vol 1 108

Avengers 108
Check—and Mate!
February, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck, Joe Sinnott, and Dave Cockrum
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

We discover that Vision only agreed to the Grim Reaper’s offer because a hidden Captain America gestured for him to go along. Space Phantom is dubious at first, but he leaves to capture Captain America, who he thinks is still at large. Captain America reveals himself, and the two Avengers overpower Grim Reaper and free the rest of the team. Space Phantom and his Hydra soldiers return to the lair, but when Vision is targeted, Grim Reaper destroys Space Phantom’s weapon, ending the villains’ partnership. An ultrasonic attack blacks out all the Avengers except Vision, who surrenders to save the Grim Reaper’s life. We discover that the Scarlet Witch slipped away during the battle, and the Space Phantom tracks her to the street near the mansion, capturing her as well as the nearby Rick Jones and Jarvis. Back at the lair, Rick attempts an escape and is stunned by a Hydra agent. Space Phantom likes the idea of killing the Avengers as Rick,  so he utilizes his power to take on Rick’s form. The interaction of the Space Phantom’s connection to Limbo and Rick Jones’ connection to the Negative Zone causes Captain Marvel to appear and the Space Phantom to be exiled back to Limbo. Captain Marvel frees the team, and all the remaining Hydra agents are captured. 

Space Phantom: “I don’t detect fervor in that answer, Vision—and turncoats are always fervid in their beliefs.” 

Hawkeye: “But for Pete’s sake, will somebody tell me where I missed a page?” 

Space Phantom: “Ah, well, technology is but the finite expression of ideas—and therefore, cannot be perfect.” 
  • Grim Reaper tells Vision he will be a “human fellow traveler” when he moves his mind to Captain America’s body. In addition to the standard meaning, “fellow traveler” is also a term that had been used to describe those sympathetic to the Communist Party.
  • The villains think Ant-Man and Wasp are dead. Their adventures were appearing in Marvel Feature (1971), and their house had been burned down in issue 6 of that series. Since they were trapped at small size  at that time and could not be found, they were presumed dead.
  • We learn that Space Phantom had upgraded the Grim Reaper’s scythe with alien technology, making it more formidable.
  • When Vision has the opportunity to free the team, he rescues Scarlet Witch first.
  • Rushing into battle, Black Panther quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. on freedom, while Iron Man chooses to quote Patrick Henry on liberty.
  • Space Phantom uses alien oaths, screaming “Calparth” when upset and calling Grim Reaper a “Valerian.”
  • Vision defends Grim Reaper’s life from Space Phantom’s attack and saves his life, twice, even though the Reaper is still fighting the Avengers.
  • Space Phantom admits he doesn’t know how to kill Thor to complete his revenge. He has to settle for causing Thor anguish over all his friend’s deaths.
  • Space Phantom captures Rick Jones and Jarvis, but he does not include them as Avengers members. To him, they are just lackeys.
  • The Hydra agents are mentally enslaved. Once Grim Reaper and Space Phantom are defeated, the men are confused and don’t put up much of a fight.
  • Vision claims that his protective instincts toward Grim Reaper have taught him about the connection between siblings, allowing to empathize with Scarlet Witch’s feelings for her missing brother.
  • This plot to give Vision a human body was part of Immortus' long-term plans. He expected that Vision would turn down Captain America's body, but then realize that his own body was human enough to pursue romance with the Scarlet Witch. This matchmaking with an artificial man was to a scheme prevent Scarlet Witch from ever giving birth. Her children were destined to be troublesome, so Immortus hoped this would prevent them from being born. 
  • The missing Quicksilver appears this month in Fantastic Four (1961) 131 fighting the Human Torch over Crystal. Crystal and Lockjaw, the teleporting Inhuman dog, rescued Quicksilver from Australia and had been tending his injuries in the Inhuman’s Hidden Land.
  • This month has the first appearance of future Avenger Starfox in Iron Man 55.
  • The Bullpen Bulletins announces that Marvel is producing fill-in issues for all their series. Although they claim fans will enjoy the guest creators new spin on the series, it’s more of a tactic to have a backup issue in place in case the regular creative team falls behind.

Avengers Vol 1 109


Avengers 109
The Measure of a Man!
March, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck and Frank McLaughlin
Lettered by Charlotte Jetter
Colored by Stan Goldberg 

Hawkeye is upset by the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision, and the tension causes him to leave the team. He is approached by the wealthy and imposing Mr. Champion, who offers Hawkeye a million dollars for a charity of his choice if Hawkeye will teach him archery. Hawkeye accepts and flies with Champion to California to train him. After Champion feels like he has mastered this new skill, he shares his latest plan. He will activate the San Andreas fault and cause the coast of California to slip into the ocean to further his business plans. Back in New York, the Scarlet Witch realizes that a letter sent to them was not truly written by Hawkeye, so the team goes to investigate. Champion has Hawkeye tied to a device that will set off the fault, and he plans to set it off by shooting it with an arrow. The devices in Champion’s costume create a force field that protects him from the Avengers’ attacks, and he is set to release the arrow. Vision frees Hawkeye, who manages to shoot through Champion’s bowstring. Even though Hawkeye foiled the plan, he still decides to leave the team. 

Thor: “And love, as is oft times the case hath brought anger as its handmaiden.” 

Hawkeye: “I’m not gonna stand around here and watch The Dating Game any more! I’ve got to get out of this mausoleum or punch somebody!” 

·         With this issue, Don Heck becomes the most prolific Avengers penciler, with 36 issues to his credit.
·         This is Frank McLaughlin’s first issue of Avengers. Before working at Marvel, he had been the art director for Charlton Comics, which published such characters as Blue Beetle and Captain Atom before they were acquired by DC Comics in 1983.
·         This is letterer Charlotte Jetter’s first issue.
·         Stan Goldberg had been doing coloring for Marvel since its Timely days, but colorists had not been credited until around this time. He helped create the original color designs for many of the original Marvel series after Fantastic Four. In addition to coloring, Goldberg did pencils for the Archie line of comics for a few decades, including the Archie Meets the Punisher crossover.
·         The cover shows Hawkeye returning to a variation of his older costume, ditching the circus duds he had recently been wearing.
·         No reason is given here for why Champion is around nine feet tall. He is otherwise just a very accomplished human. His first name will later be revealed to be Imus.
·         When asked if Vision will ever choose another “civilian” name, Scarlet Witch says she sometimes calls him Simon, after Simon Williams, but Vision doesn’t like that idea.
·         Hawkeye likens his circus outfit to Steve Reeves, which he wore at the same circus as Hercules, who is a real look-alike for Steve Reeves.
·         When Champion asks to hire Hawkeye, Hawkeye refers him to go look for Luke Cage, who calls himself a “hero for hire.”
·         Champion’s plan to devastate California is merely to get his hands on some nerve gas that is in a ship that sunk in 1942. By changing the coastline, he plans to make the site of the wreck international waters, thus not policed by the U.S. Coast Guard. He says the wreck is 11.4 miles out, and international waters start at 12 nautical miles or 14 terrestrial miles out.
·         Hawkeye’s bad attitude saves the day here. Champion tells him to write a letter to the Avengers to let them know he’s all right, but the bitter Hawkeye would rather they feel bad about not knowing where he is, so he refuses to contact them. Champion feels the need to forge the letter, and it’s only the act of forgery that draws the attention of the Avengers.
·         Champion makes his henchman wear full face masks to hide their features. He wants to be reminded of the “faceless masses” he will one day rule.
·         An interesting sound effect for Vision thumping a henchman is “Bunt.”
·         Weeks pass during this issue, but Quicksilver does not attempt to contact the team to let them know he is all right.

Avengers Vol 1 110

Avengers 110
“…And Now Magneto!”
April, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck, Frank Giacoia, and Mike Esposito
Lettered by Shelly Leferman
Colored by Glynis Wein 

After a message from Quicksilver, the team gets a second video transmission that show an unfamiliar mansion that has been ransacked. Thor recognizes Professor X in the video, so the team splits up and searches the city from the air to find this mansion. After locating it, they find the comatose X-Men team inside. They are attacked by wiring in the house and then boulders that rip from out of the ground. Although their attacker does not reveal himself, Scarlet Witch assumes these events were caused by Magneto. While they ponder this, they hear a flute playing, and dinosaurs appear and attack them. Vision notices the nearby Piper, formerly of the Beast-Brood, but the team is menaced by more boulders when they seek to attack Piper. Magneto finally shows himself. He had dressed himself as the absent X-Man Angel and feigned unconsciousness so that the Avengers would take him to their Quinjet. Magneto overpowers Iron Man, Captain America, and Scarlet Witch and kidnaps them, along with the unconscious X-Men. While leaving, he tells Scarlet Witch that he has a new power, that of mind control. 

Scarlet Witch: “He’s not a robot—and he’s more human than you are!”
Quicksilver: “I will not discuss it further, Wanda! I am the head of our family—and I forbid you to love that thing!” 

·         The credits say that Roy Thomas “blue-penciled” the issue. This refers to an editor’s use of blue pencils to leave notes that will not show up on the final printed copy.
·         The X-Men are not wearing the right uniforms on the cover. The older yellow and black outfits seen here had been replaced by individual uniforms as seen inside the issue.
·         Quicksilver finally contacts the Avengers to tell them he is alive and well. He also announces his engagement to Crystal and expresses his outrage over Scarlet Witch’s relationship with Vision.
·         During the video call, Quicksilver mentions that their father used to make marionettes. He’s referring to Django Maximoff, the gypsy they believe to be their father. This comment will be picked up in Avengers 181, when Django steals the souls of his children into magical marionettes.
·         A mysterious video message showing the X-Mansion is likened to a “Roger Corman flick” that might feature Vincent Price. The two did work together on several films, many of them adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe stories. Roger Corman also produced a Fantastic Four film that was never officially released.
·         While seeking the Black Widow in San Francisco, Hawkeye calls Ivan Petrovich, the Black Widow’s confidant and chauffer, “Papa Joe.” This was Joseph Stalin’s nickname, but being Russian men is the main thing the two men have in common.
·         Captain America mentions his super-strength in this issue. Cap discovered that a chemical reaction in his body from a villain’s use of poison gave him the extra strength in Captain America 159 in March. Apparently the strength boost was the idea of Marvel’s higher-ups, so Englehart wrote it into the story. Cap retains this strength for a couple of years, but it is mentioned less and less until finally in Captain America 218 his strength is established as having returned to its previous peak-human level.
·         Piper did not appear in issue 105 alongside the Beast-Brood, a fact that Vision claims he discovered while researching that team after they had met each other.
·         The X-Men team here only includes Cyclops, Jean Gray, Iceman, and Professor X.


Daredevil Vol 1 99

Daredevil and the Black Widow 99
The Mark of Hawkeye!
May, 1973
Written by Steve Gerber
Art by Sam Kweskin and Syd Shores
Lettered by Artie Simek
Colored by Stan Goldberg 

Hawkeye declares his love for the Black Widow and demands that she chooses either him or her new lover, Daredevil. The tension escalates into a brawl started by Hawkeye. After Daredevil feigns being incapacitated, Hawkeye retreats to the city, but challenges Daredevil to follow him after he recovers. Hawkeye gets into another brawl with a motorcycle gang, and when Daredevil does arrive, the heroes continue their fight with each other. This comes to an end when Daredevil breaks Hawkeye’s bow, and they call it a draw. They return to Black Widow’s house together and find Thor, Black Panther, and Vision there. The Avengers had come to ask for Daredevil’s aid and ask him to join the team. Although he declines membership, he and Black Widow agree to go on this one mission. Hawkeye is also asked to return, but he refuses and storms out. 

Hawkeye: “My eyes are as good as yours, fearless.”
Daredevil: “I’ll just bet they are.” 

Daredevil: “This has to be the most bizarre, ridiculous battle I’ve ever fought. Not to mention the least gratifying.” 

·         Daredevil had been sharing his title with Black Widow since issue 92 of the series, but he would regain his solo spot with issue 108.
·         The storyline is handed off from one Ultraverse founder to another, and both are even named Steve.
·         The spot for a colorist credit is present, but left blank is this issue.
·         The Avengers mention they had already tried to recruit Falcon, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage before coming to San Francisco, but they couldn’t locate them on short notice. All of them will become Avengers in the future.
·         When Hawkeye uses a phosphorous arrow to attempt to blind Daredevil, Daredevil has to fake a reaction in order to keep up the appearance of having his sight. It doesn’t bother him at all.
·         Daredevil in part agrees to help because he owes Black Panther a favor. Black Panther dressed up as Daredevil in Daredevil (1964) 92 in order to be seen on camera with Matt Murdock and protect Daredevil’s secret identity.


Avengers Vol 1 111

Avengers 111
With Two Beside Them!
May, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck and Mike Esposito
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by David Hunt 

After Magneto gloats and displays his mind control powers, he takes his mentally enslaved heroes to an atomic energy conference. The security force is easily overpowered, but Thor and Black Panther arrive on the scene with their allies Daredevil and Black Widow. They skirmish with the mind-controlled Avengers and X-Men while Magneto herds his new hostages onto his ship. Once the ship is airborne, he threatens to throw out the prisoners if he is not allowed to escape. Thwarted, the Avengers plan their next move and notice Vision is missing. Recalling that Magneto attacked them with dinosaurs in their last encounter, Black Panther tracks the distinctive scent of those creatures to Magneto’s layer with his superhuman senses. Magneto reveals his plan to release the atomic energy of the entire country into the atmosphere in order to kill most of the population and mutate the rest into his slaves. The Avengers arrive at the base and attack, starting another battle between the two sets of superhumans. Tiring of the entertainment value of the fight, Magneto proceeds to mind control the free heroes, starting with the Black Widow. At that moment, Piper strikes Magneto, knocking him out. Vision reveals himself from inside Piper, stating that he stayed intangible inside the villain and controlled his motor functions from within. The reconstituted Avengers team offers Daredevil and Black Widow membership. Daredevil declines for both of them, but Black Widow says she will join the team, planning to think over her romantic relationship with Daredevil. 

Black Widow: “Oh, Hawkeye, Hawkeye…they said you were like a child. If so, you only needed me as a woman in so many more ways than one…and I failed you in all of them.” 

Daredevil: “We appreciate it, Cap…but we’ll have to decline. Personal reasons.” (thinking) “Meaning that always having a group around me would be too confusing for my senses, I’d be swamped with impressions.” 

·         The credits for the issue run out of space, so Roy Thomas is credited as “Editor Extraordin (oops!)”
·         Magneto’s new power of mind control is possible for him because he lessens the amount of blood flow to the brain, leaving them in a suggestible state. Just go with it.
·         Magneto mentions he has “hordes” of followers, but we never see more than several.
·         Magneto’s attack takes place at Commissioner Alfred’s mansion. This name is a combination of two Batman characters, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth. One of the security guards at the mansion is Dick, perhaps another nod to Dick Grayson.
·         A security guard refers to Scarlet Witch as “Wanda the Witch.” This is a cartoon character featured on Sesame Street that deals with many W words.
·         Magneto refers to the guards as T-Men, which usually refers to members of the Department of Treasury. It’s unsure why he refers to them as this, as the meeting is of scientists of officials in charge of atomic bases. I guess he just had a lot on his plate that day.
·         Daredevil makes a comment about The Ed Sullivan Show and is informed that it been canceled two years prior. It makes sense that Daredevil doesn’t watch a lot of television.
·         Marvel had started an fan club and magazine called FOOM, for Friends of Ol’ Marvel, in 1973. The sound effect “Foom!” begins to show up in this comic in this issue, perhaps as a subliminal marketing tool. In this issue, it is the sound made when Cyclops’ optic blasts hit the ground.
·         Magneto claims that releasing the atomic energy through the country will kill 92% of the population and turn the other 8% into Mutants.
·         Despite her appearance as a main Avenger in the feature film, it took almost 10 years for the Black Widow to actually join the team after it was founded. She is the last of the movie characters to join the team. 
·         This month has the first appearance of Hydrobase in Sub-Mariner (1968) 61. This island facility will later become the Avengers’ temporary headquarters.



Avengers 112
The Lion God Lives!
June, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck and Frank Bolle
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

In Africa, a tribal ceremony brings forth the avatar of the Lion God, who takes the form of a journalist, Monsieur Umbala. Back in the United States, Black Widow is settling in to the mansion when the ruckus of a protest is heard outside. African men with weapons are rioting and demanding that the Black Panther return to Africa or be killed as a traitor to his home continent. With a few words from the possessed Umbala, Black Panther is mentally enslaved and agrees to go along. The Lion God reveals his true form to the Avengers and disappears with Black Panther. With the Lion God gone, the crowd loses all interest in the protest and disperses. The Lion God reveals that he wants the Black Panther to become loyal to him and turn his back on the Panther God, and he threatens to kill the Avengers to get his way. He teleports to the mansion with the captive Black Panther and manages to defeat Thor and Vision. He summons lions to menace the team, and Black Panther manages to escape and join the fight. Growing frustrated, the Lion God changes his goal to pure destruction. Most of the Avengers are downed, but Thor revives and summons a lightning storm that strikes the Lion God’s Totem Stick. The Lion God is seemingly destroyed, but we see his spirit is waiting to return to Earth. Black Widow decides she will return to Daredevil and leaves the team. 
Black Widow: “You’re acting much more girlish these days than the Scarlet Witch I remember, Wanda.”
Scarlet Witch: “Well, I’m much more in love these days.” 

·         This issue is the first appearance of future Avenger Mantis. She does not wear her costume or style her hair to resemble antenna in this and the next issue. She also does not address herself as “this one,” which is one of her distinctive speech patterns. She refers to herself as Mantis, possibly a deliberate choice made to introduce her properly by her name to the readers.
·         The location in Africa that the Lion god calls home is not specifically established here. They refer to the Boer War, which took place in South Africa, however. This is several countries removed from Wakanda.
·         It is much later revealed that the Lion God is a male form of the Egyptian god Sekhmet, who was often depicted with the head of a lioness. She is the sister to Bast, who, in the Marvel universe, became the patron Panther God of Wakanda. This familial rivalry is in some part the cause of the Lion God’s interest in the Black Panther.
·         The sound effect of “FOOM!” is used again, this time to describe the Lion God’s Totem Stick blasting Iron Man.
·         The blurb on the cover for “the End of an Avenger” just refers to Black Widow leaving the team.
·         Black Widow’s stay with the team lasts longer in page count than Swordsman in issue 19, but was likely shorter in the amount of days with the team. She and the Hulk only lasted for one full adventure with the team as members before quitting, so they’re tied for shortest tenure. I’m retroactively including Avengers 1 ½ to even give the Hulk the one adventure, though.

Marvel Team-Up 9 & 11
The Tomorrow War! & The Doomsday Gambit!
Written by Gerry Conway and Len Wein
Art by Ross Andru/Frank Bolle & Jim Mooney/Mike Esposito
Lettered by Charlotte Jetter & John Costanza
Colored By Stan Goldberg & Glynis Wein

Spider-Man, to Iron Man: "I'm not in the habit of running out on people--even armor-covered jerks like you."

Spider-Man: "In the immortal words of Johnny Storm--'Huh?'"

After an earthquake, Avengers Mansion disappears from view for a second and then returns, but it is now trapped inside a force field. Iron Man arrives at the scene and is unable to gain entry. Peter Parker sees Iron Man's attempts on television and goes to investigate as Spider-Man. A hole appears in the force field, and the heroes enter, only to find themselves in a strange extra-dimensional space. The encounter Zarrko, the Tomorrow Man, who asks for their help against someone who had invaded his time period, the 23rd century, claiming the same invader has the Avengers captive. Iron Man and Spider-Man penetrate the citadel and find the Avengers trapped in stasis chambers. The invader turns out to be Kang the Conqueror, who zaps the heroes into a paralytic state. Zarrko enters the room and covers Kang with a weapon. He tells Kang how he has seized control of the fortress while Kang was distracted and that special "Time Bomb" devices were sent back to 1973 in order turn back time for 20th-century Earth, leaving only a small depot of modern weapons that Zarrko will use to conquer all time. While Zarrko monologues, Spider-Man recovers, but Iron Man's armor does not, so Spider-Man sneaks off and finds a time portal back to the 20th century while Kang easily overpowers Zarrko after listening to his speech.

After foiling the plot in the 20th century with the Human Torch, Spider-Man heads to the Himalayas to enlist the scientific expertise of the Inhumans to get him back to the 23rd century. Maximus is able to engineer one of Zarrko's devices to send Spider-Man, Black Bolt, Karnak, Gorgon, and Triton to the future a few minutes before Spider-Man left. They battle through the soldiers of the future and come upon Kang as we left him at the end of issue 9. Black Bolt uses his sonic power to shatter the capsules holding the Avengers. Zarrko is captured, but Kang's armor is revealed to be an empty shell. The heroes are automatically recalled to the 20th century by the device Maximus used to send them there, and the Avengers also return home.
  • Marvel Team-Up 10 is omitted since none of the Avengers appear in that adventure. Spider-Man and Human Torch stop the Time Bombs. The Human Torch recognizes that the technology used within them resembles something the Inhumans use to protect their city, so he sends Spider-Man there for further aid.
  • When Iron Man and Spider-Man see the Avengers trapped in a grid of stasis chambers, there is an additional empty one, presumably for Iron Man. Jarvis is also trapped in one of the chambers.
  • It's not fleshed out how Kang managed to steal the mansion and overcome all the Avengers, but Kang implies he used the same paralytic ray in his belt buckle that we see him using throughout this adventure.
  • Iron Man is left incapacitated on the floor at the end of issue 9. Though Spider-Man seemingly returns almost instantly in issue 11 due to time travel, we see Iron Man now inside one of the stasis chambers. The chambers' orientation also changes, so that the trapped characters are not in the same spots as when we saw them in issue 9.
  • Captain America and Black Panther are seen as captured in issue 9, but they are never seen in issue 11, either in the future or back in the 20th century. Apparently 12 heroes were just too much to draw that day. Jarvis is still there, though.

Avengers 113
Your Young Men Shall Slay Visions
July, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown and Frank Bolle
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by David Hunt

While repairing the Statue of Liberty with the rest of the team, Vision and Scarlet Witch kiss each other in public. The news of this spreads and engenders both support and criticism among the public for the relationship. The Living Bombs meet and reveal they have been watching Vision for months, afraid that he was a harbinger of living machines taking over humanity. This latest news spurs them to action, and they put in motion a plot to strap bombs to themselves in order to destroy Vision at the cost of one or all of their lives. One member manages to get close to Vision after a public battle against another group, and she explodes her bomb. Vision is left barely alive, and the team takes him to Tony Stark’s plant to do the necessary surgical repairs. The rest of the Living Bombs assault the plant to finish the job, but despite continuing to explode themselves, they are unable to get through the Avengers’ defense. Finally Thor creates a whirlwind to lift the remaining Living Bombs into the sky, and they all choose to detonate their bombs and commit suicide. After ending the attack, the repairs are complete, and Vision is on the road to recovery. 
Captain America, responding to a poorly written letter: “Mister ‘Frend,’ I don’t know about your God—but a God of love is mine!”
·         This is penciler Bob Brown’s first issue of the series. He will be regular artist for much of the next year and also draw Daredevil during this time.
·         The team is helping repair the Statue of Liberty after it was damaged by the monster Gog in Astonishing Tales (1970) 18 while fighting Ka-Zar.
·         The Vision’s yellow background for his word balloons makes a change to white in this issue.
·         The Living Bombs hate group is noteworthy in that it’s very multicultural and inclusive, as long as the members are human. They never appear again, as they all die in this issue.
·         The leader of the Living Bombs likens their plot to kill Vision to that employed to blow up Hitler in World War II by his own generals and also the tradition of Japanese kamikaze pilots. This story was written well before the amount of suicide bombings began to escalate in the 1980s.
·         The team only feels it is possible to repair Vision because of the notes Ant-Man took on Vision’s internal schematics in issue 93.
·         The issue establishes that Captain America still does not know Thor and Iron Man’s secret identities, but Thor and Iron Man had guessed each other’s.
·         This month in Marvel Feature 10, the Avengers discover Ant-Man and Wasp alive in one of their sub-basements. The villain Dr. Nemesis tried to force Ant-Man to open up a secret entrance into the mansion, but the plot fails. The two heroes are able to return to normal size after this issue. That story also describes a hidden tunnel under Avengers Mansion that the terrorist organization AIM used to spy on the Avengers.
·         This issue announces that Marv Wolfman will be Roy Thomas’ assistant editor. Wolfman will later write one fill-in issue of Avengers in 1978.


Avengers 114
Night of the Swordsman
July, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown and Mike Esposito
Lettered by Art Simek
  Colored by Petra Goldberg 
The Scarlet Witch is still angry after the attack on Vision, and she gets into a brawl with some construction workers while in her civilian clothes. Mantis appears on the scene to help Scarlet Witch and goes home with her. The rest of the team is surprised by this stranger and even more shocked when the Swordsman reveals himself as Mantis’ companion. Upon hearing of Hawkeye leaving the team, Swordsman felt it was time to return and try to prove himself. Captain America is set against it, but most of the team feels Swordsman deserves a chance, like that given to other members that reformed. Thor takes responsibility for watching Swordsman in battle during the next few days, and  Swordsman seems to have truly reformed. As his companion, Mantis stays in the mansion with him. After some time has passed, Mantis summons the Lion God from his spirit state into a physical one, and she and Swordsman attack the Avengers alongside the Lion God. The Avengers are all defeated. Before the Lion God can slay them, Swordsman and Mantis offer homage to him in the form of display of blade work and a dance, respectively. Watching them beguiles the Lion God, allowing Iron Man to get free and trip a cylinder that falls from the ceiling, trapping the Lion God. Swordsman and Mantis reveal they only seemed to betray the team in order to capture the Lion God for good in his true physical form. 
Captain America: “If you want to rejoin the Avengers, mister—keep dreaming! You’re the worst security risk I’ve ever met!” 
Scarlet Witch: “Certainly you may, Mantis! With the Black Widow and the Wasp gone, I’ve been needing someone to talk too!” 
·         A street vendor is selling hot dogs for 25 cents. That’s about $1.30 in 2013 value.
·         Harry the construction worker slaps the Scarlet Witch in the face. This is fairly uncommon for the series. She’s gone through dozens of battles, but not even the most ruthless supervillain has actually tried to physically strike her like they do her male teammates.
·         Mantis appears to have antennae growing out of her head, but at this stage, they are colored to match her hair, implying they are simply a hairstyle she favors. Later on, as her abilities and body change, they are colored to match her flesh, so she will have true antennae.
·         The Vision’s word balloons start to have an outer line twice as thick as his human colleagues.
·         The Avengers watch their old friend Hawkeye on television battling Zzzax with the Hulk. This takes place in this month’s Incredible Hulk (1962) 166.
·         It’s implied that Thor creates a portal to another dimension to get rid of the Lion God after the end of the issue.
·         Mantis shows her strength by taking down Thor with a nerve strike. Such paralyzing strikes are pure fiction have not been documented as an actual possibility even with martial arts mastery.
·         Likewise, Mantis has skill in both martial arts and a mystical sensitivity, two things often related to each other in fiction. Since we find out later she was trained by extraterrestrials to excel at both, this is a bit easier to reconcile in her case.

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