Friday, March 29, 2013

Avengers 115 to 119: Avengers/Defenders War


Avengers 115 to 119

Avengers/Defenders War



Dark Dimension seeks
the Evil Eye of legend.
Heroes become pawns.


Black Panther; T’Challa
Captain America; Steve Rogers
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Swordman; Jacques Duquesne
Thor; Donald Blake
Vision 

Featured allies
Mantis 

Featured opponents/allies
Doctor Strange; Stephen Strange
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Hulk; Bruce Banner
Namor; Namor McKenzie
Valkyrie; Barbara Norriss 

The summer of 1973, Marvel didn’t have a bunch of specials or King-size comics coming out as usual, so Steve Englehart pitched an event to editor Roy Thomas that involved both the Avengers and Defenders. Thomas’ main concern was that if Englehart ran behind on either series, the shipping schedule of one of the books would be thrown off, but he gave it the green light. Summer crossovers and events have become quite the tradition since then, but this is one of the first attempted. It probably helped that Englehart was the sole writer involved.
This conflict doesn’t fit in well with the future addition of the Illuminati to the Marvel back story. Namor, Doctor Strange, and Iron Man are all members of that group and yet don’t think twice about talking things out before assuming the other team is evil. Even though Black Panther didn’t join the Illuminati, he knows Doctor Strange. Some people like to place the formation of the Illuminati after the Avengers/Defenders war, but unfortunately narration said they first met  the same week as the end of the Kree-Skrull War. Friendly heroes fighting each other for the slimmest of misunderstandings is well enmeshed in comic-book lore, though, so this will have to be another addition to that tradition.
The pattern of the story is well known. Hero meets hero. They misunderstand each other’s intentions. They fight. They realize each other’s true intentions. They team up to fight the real villain. Now multiply that by 14 heroes and two villains and two series, and you have a tidy summer crossover event.
The Defenders considered themselves a “non-group.” They only gathered infrequently, usually when Doctor Strange needed some help with a problem, and his two main helpers were Hulk and Namor. The team informally met when Doctor Strange lost his own series and one of his plotlines was tied up in issues of Sub-Mariner (1968) and Incredible Hulk (1962). The three heroes together as the Defenders was given a tryout in Marvel Feature (1971) for three issues and were popular enough to garner their own series in 1972, attracting a few more characters to bolster their ranks.




 Avengers 115
Below Us the Battle!
September, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown and Mike Esposito
Lettered by Jean Simek
Colored by Stan Goldberg 

The Avengers go to Great Britain to see why the Black Knight has been out of contact for so long. When they arrive at his castle, they find it is surrounded by a mystical force field. While unsuccessfully attempting to pierce it, they are attacked by a band of underground-dwelling primitive men led by King Skol. Despite being normal men, they overpower the Avengers with “will-sapping gas” that paralyzes them, even Vision. The tribe is upset because they cannot enter the castle and steal food as they did before. When the Avengers shown to be ignorant of why the shield is there, Skol throws them into a pit with an underground monster to dispose of them. After the team recovers from the gas, Mantis defeats the monster. The tribe shuts off the flames providing light, plunging the caves into darkness and giving them the advantage. Black Panther’s enhanced senses allow him to see in the dark, and he defeats several tribesmen easily, causing Skol  to surrender. The Avengers are freed, and they seek official help from the British government for the tribe, which had been hidden for generations. In an epilogue, the now-blind Loki is transported to the Dark Dimension by Dormammu, who proposes an alliance to recover a mystical artifact called the Evil Eye. 

Mantis: “Aiiee! This one forgets that those not trained the in the Oriental arts of defense are not always masters of their fate!” 

Scarlet Witch: “They weren’t really evil, of course—just set upon by an unjust society…which may sound clich√©, but only because it has never ceased to occur!” 

Loki: “Dormammu? The lord of the Dark Dimension? Oft-times hath the All-Father spoken of thee!”
Dormammu: “With dread, no doubt!”
Loki: “Nay! In comparison with me!” 

·         Jean Simek was credited as Jean Izzo in this issue. She is Art Simek’s daughter and was also lettering comic books during this time. She will only letter one more issue of the series, issue 210.
·          “FOOM!” is the sound of Thor’s hammer striking the force field around the castle. They were still hoping for people to join that fan club, I guess.
·         The British division of SHIELD does not want to allow Swordsman into England, as he had been previously deported from the country. Swordsman had mentioned before that many other countries likewise don’t want him in their borders. SHIELD grudgingly gives him temporary amnesty so the Avengers may enter the country.
·         Scarlet Witch attempts to use her power to disrupt the force field, assuming the field is magical, but her power is more of a “science-based” Mutant power than mystical spells, something that will be expanded on when she learns from Agatha Harkness.
·         Mantis reveals some of her abilities this issue. She has empathy with nature, can sense underlying disorder in a natural setting, mentally see past-tense events in the area, and has “total muscle control.”
·         Mantis has green eyes. It’ll be some time before we find out she has a Caucasian father, but this is an early clue she isn’t full-blooded Vietnamese.
·         The Black Knight had been turned to stone in Defenders (1972) 4 by Enchantress. Doctor Strange erected the force field to prevent anyone from entering the castle while the Black Knight was away.
·         The tribe refers to themselves as “the people.” This is common to many tribal societies, whose names, if translated to English, often are simply the word “people” or “humans.”
·         Mantis begins to refer to herself as “this one” in her dialogue with this issue.
·         Vision reveals that he cannot see in total darkness.
·         The tribe claims to have been hidden from mainstream society since “many winters past—hundreds.” Based on the number of “hidden” races and cities in the Marvel Universe, this doesn’t seem too outrageous.
·         “Skol” is a Scandinavian drinking toast.
·         Loki’s story in this issue picks up from the end of  Thor (1966) 207. He was blinded by a lightning strike from Thor.
·         Dormammu had previously promised Doctor Strange in Strange Tales (1951) 127 that he would never attempt to conquer Earth’s dimension. He requires the Evil Eye in order to expand his own Dark Dimension so that it would now encompass Earth and allow him out of his promise on a technicality.
·         The Evil Eye was supposedly destroyed in Fantastic Four (1961) 54, but instead it’s revealed it was split into six parts.
·         The letters page has a letter from Richard Howell. He will later pencil a couple of Avengers Annuals. He will also team up with Steve Englehart on a Vision and Scarlet Witch 12-issue series in 1985.
·         Another letter comes from Duffy Vohland, who will go on to do some editing at Marvel, as well as inking some Avengers pages in the future. In the P.S. to his letter, he requests a story with the Vision finding out he was the Human Torch. This part of the letter was supposed be removed, but the printer accidentally printed it. Apparently Neal Adams had let this idea slip in an interview with another publication, Gallery, which is why Vohland brought it up long before it was revealed to be the truth in Avengers.
·         Also this month, the crossover event starts in Defenders 8. Doctor Strange is attempting to cure the Black Knight from having been turned to stone. He sends a mystical message to Black Knight’s soul, which is in another dimension. Dormammu intercepts the spell and sends back a false response that the Evil Eye is needed to cure the Black Knight, leading the Defenders to quest for the six pieces.

Avengers 116
Chapter 2 Betrayal!
Chapter 3 The Silver Surfer vs. The Vision and Scarlet Witch
October, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown and Mike Esposito
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

Back in New York, the Avengers manage to get past Doctor Strange’s butler Wong briefly, and they glimpse the statue of Black Knight inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange uses a spell to eject them and bar them from reentering. Inside, the Defenders learn the history of the Evil Eye artifact and how it had split into six pieces. The Defenders split up to go after five of the pieces, and Doctor Strange remains at their home base to await the first Defender to return. Loki does not truly want Dormammu’s plan to succeed, so he sends a projection to the Avengers to enlist the aid of Thor. He claims the Defenders seek the Evil Eye pieces for evil purposes, and since the reputation of the Defenders members is either murky or possibly villainous, the Avengers believe him enough to split up and go after the pieces as well. The Silver Surfer arrives on Rurutu in the South Pacific for his piece, and the natives think he is a god. The Surfer begins searching a volcano for the Evil Eye. Vision and Scarlet Witch arrive, and Vision leaves the Quinjet to open negotiations with Silver Surfer. The Surfer is unaware they are even there, and his blasting triggers the volcano to erupt. The resulting explosion destroys the incoming Quinjet and injures Scarlet Witch. The Vision is enraged, and he attacks the Surfer after getting the Scarlet Witch to safety. During the battle, the natives put the Scarlet Witch in the path of oncoming lava, thinking a sacrifice will appease the Surfer, who they think is punishing them with the volcano. The Evil Eye piece becomes dislodged, but Vision breaks away to save the Scarlet Witch, and the Surfer takes the prize and speeds away. 

Narration: “There is actually a moment, then, when Loki considers telling the Avengers the truth—but that would involve blaming himself—and the Prince of Evil could never do that!” 

Silver Surfer, thinking: “Is this being insane? The Black Knight is an Avenger, also—a teammate of his! Why does he not want me to help save him?” 

·         Chapter 1 consisted of the final four pages in Defenders 8.
·         A blurb at the beginning of the story mentions it is the tenth anniversary of Avengers 1, which was published in September, 1963.
·         The Evil Eye had been seen before in Fantastic Four, wielded by Prester John, a survivor from the time of the Crusades, who acquired the Evil Eye in the land of Avalon. Avalon is part of the King Arthur legends.
·         When the Evil Eye broke into six pieces, each piece is the same shape as the original, but they differ in size and nest within each other when put together. Each piece passed through the planet until it came out on another side and stopped when it met sunlight. This was a defensive mechanism to prevent someone from using it improperly twice.
·         This will not be the last time the Avengers fight over the Evil Eye. It is also one of the items in contention during the crossover with DC’s Justice League of America in 2003. Vision and Scarlet Witch (along with Quicksilver) battle Flash and Steel on another island—Wonder Woman’s Paradise Island.
·         Of all the Defenders involved in this “war,” only Silver Surfer will not later become a member of the Avengers at some point.
·         When the Avengers choose their destinations, Swordsman chooses Bolivia in South America because he still feels bad about his criminal actions there in Avengers Special 1.
·         Mantis chooses to go with Black Panther due to her intuition, and Swordsman agrees with that suggestion. He’s not feeling jealous yet.
·         The characters who already had their own series had stylized logos as the title of their magazine. For the chapter titles, those logos would be used for the character’s name. Vision’s name had appeared on the cover of Marvel Team-Up (1972) 5, so that logo was used here. Scarlet Witch’s logo here was not used again for her appearance in Marvel Team-Up 41 in 1976, and Vision’s was replaced in Marvel Team-Up 42 with a new logo as well. 

·         The battle in Chapter 3 takes place on Rurutu in French Polynesia. After the Vision and Scarlet Witch get married, they will come back here for their honeymoon. The natives feel bad for their actions here and serve as hosts in penance.
·         When Silver Surfer rams his board into Vision, the sound effect chosen is “Plow!”
·         The sound that the volcano makes when ejecting lava, Silver Surfer, and Vision is “Foom!”
·         The four Avengers Quinjets shown in this issue seat only two people under a transparent globe, a bit different than the standard design that can carry the whole team.
·         If we take close look at the Scarlet Witch’s gesture on the cover, she may be giving Vision a subliminal message in American Sign Language.





Defenders Vol 1 9 

Defenders 9
Chapter 4 Divide…and Conquer
Chapter 5 Iron Man vs. Hawkeye
Chapter 6 Dr. Strange vs. the Black Panther and Mantis
October, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Frank McLaughlin
Lettered by Artie Simek
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

The Silver Surfer returns to Doctor Strange and fills him in. Doctor Strange discovers that Swordsman is part of the Avengers, and that, along with the involvement of Loki, convinces him that the Avengers have evil motives. Strange races off to Indiana to retrieve another part of the Evil Eye. Valkyrie drops off Hawkeye in Mexico while she goes on to Bolivia. Iron Man arrives in Mexico and finds his piece of the Evil Eye at a college, the Instituto Technol√≥gica, but Hawkeye ambushes him and steals it. The two heroes battle each other, and Hawkeye deflects Iron Man’s repulser blasts to hit a construction site. Iron Man chooses to save students from the collapsing structure, and Hawkeye escapes with the piece of the Evil Eye. Meanwhile, in Indiana, Doctor Strange tracks down the piece easily. The glow from the tracking spell attracts Mantis and Black Panther, and soon the three heroes are battling. To gain victory, Doctor Strange casts a spell that saps the strength of his foes, and he escapes with his piece, bringing the Defenders tally to three pieces. 

Scarlet Witch: “It scares me, Vision. The Avengers have faced every conceivable menace—and won—but the Defenders are so powerful—so ruthless—and yet so like us!” 

Hawkeye, thinking: “I suppose I should swear off chicks, after Wanda and the Widow dumped me…but that’d be like swearin’ off air.” 

Doctor Strange: “I should feel satisfaction…but somehow, I cannot. I have won—but I am filled with loss.”

·         Hawkeye and Mantis were given some logos in the chapter headings, but they did not become official logos for their later appearances. (Unfortunately, the very thick Essential Avengers books and my scanner did not allow me to get good scans of these.)
·         When Silver Surfer relates his battle to Doctor Strange, he omits the fact the Scarlet Witch was even there.
·         Silver Surfer offers to help out the rest of the Defenders team, but Doctor Strange makes him stay and guard the Black Knight’s body.
·         Hawkeye tries to put the moves on Valkyrie and kisses her. Her response is to try to stab him, even though she admits to herself that she kind of liked it.
·         Iron Man speaks fluent Spanish while in Mexico.
·         Hawkeye’s match-up against Iron Man is a replay of Hawkeye’s first appearance as an Iron Man villain.
·         A blast arrow impacting on Iron Man uses the sound effect “Foom!” Ready to join yet?
·         Hawkeye calls Iron Man the “second-strongest Avenger” and himself the “weakest Defender.”
·         A bystander in Indiana compares Black Panther to the “cat person in Chicago.” That is the adventuress The Cat, who will later become the Avenger Tigra. Her series had ended with issue 4 in June of 1973.
·         When Doctor Strange evades one of Mantis’ blows, she says that only three other people have ever dodged her attack. For us, he’s the first.

Avengers 117
Holocaust
Chapter 7 Swordsman vs. the Valkyrie
Chapter 8 Captain America vs. Sub-Mariner
November, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown, Mike Esposito, and Frank McLaughlin
Lettered by June Braverman
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

Dormammu discovers that the Avengers are intruding on his scheme, but he does not want to reveal himself, so he waits to see how it plays out. Swordsman is flying his Quinjet above a castle in Bolivia when Valkyrie attacks and cripples the craft. He manages to land the Quinjet, but this attack makes him eager to investigate the castle, which is occupied by a reclusive American man. They discover Valkyrie looting the man’s belongings, and the two heroes begin to battle. When the owner of the castle tries to retreat behind a massive locked door, Valkyrie barges in and find the piece of the Evil Eye there. Swordsman manages to wrest it away from her, so the owner of the castle shoots him in the back with a ray weapon. Swordsman collapses, wounded, but manages to stab the shooter before he himself passes out. Valkyrie take the prize, but she stays nearby until help arrives and she is sure Swordsman will survive. Meanwhile, Captain America searches for his piece in Japan, but Namor already has it. Captain America seems overmatched, but while he fights Namor, Japanese hero Sunfire comes upon the scene and takes the Eye for himself. Namor gives chase and causes Sunfire to drop the Eye, which Captain America collects. Namor and Cap face off again, but instead of continuing to fight, they decide to talk things over and come to suspect they are both being manipulated. 

Swordsman: “Funny how things that were so important in the past only look ridiculous today!” 

Valkyrie: “Threats? From a man with a pretty mustache?” 

Valkyrie: “…I salute you as a gallant foe. If you were conscious, I think you’d like that.” 

·         Inker Frank McLaughlin is not credited in the issue. He is given credit for helping with the issue in a future letter column.
·         This is the only issue of Avengers to be lettered by June Braverman.
·         Sunfire is referred to as a super-villain on the cover, even though he more known as a hero in Japan. He does have a grudge against Namor, as he last appeared in Namor’s Sub-Mariner series, and the two were at odds.
·         Swordsman and Valkyrie were given some temporary logos for their chapter. Valkyrie’s was changed for her appearance in Marvel Two-in-One 7 in 1975, possibly because her name had been misspelled.




·         During this battle, Valkyrie is using the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade as well as his flying horse Aragorn.
·         Although chapter 7 takes place at a “Nazi castle,” it is currently occupied by someone claiming to be an American. In the letter column for Avengers 122, it is mentioned that this character is a suspect in the Watergate scandal that fled prosecution. Because no one in the real Watergate scandal had been convicted of anything when issue 117 was printed, they decided to drop that reference in order to avoid possibly casting an unfair light on a real person. In the few months between issues, convictions had been handed down, so they chose to retroactively reveal this fact in the letter column.
·         One of the tenets of the Avengers is that they do not kill their adversaries. Swordsman does kill the man who wounded him, breaking this rule, but the team never finds out this fact.
·         Captain America’s battle versus Namor may seem lopsided, but Captain America did still have super-strength during this encounter, so he does give a good showing.
·         Namor reminiscences about his childhood and playing war with his cousin Byrrah. Namor says he always played the Americans in these games.


 Defenders Vol 1 10

Defenders 10
Chapter 9 Breakthrough!
Chapter 10 United We Stand!
November, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Frank Bolle
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Petra Goldberg 

Hulk finds a piece of the Evil Eye in Los Angeles, but Thor arrives as well. At one point, their battle becomes a contest of wills, with both heroes straining in each other’s grip for one hour. Both the Avengers and Defenders arrive in force together, breaking up the fight. We see that Namor brought together the Avengers and led them to Doctor Strange so the fate of Evil Eye could be discussed. Both teams realize they are being manipulated, and they assume Loki and Dormammu are to blame. They lay out the pieces of the Evil Eye, but before they can assemble it, Asti, a mystical minion of Dormammu, appears and spirits the pieces away to Dormammu. Within moments, Dormammu’s use of the Evil Eye causes the landscape of Earth to begin to warp, and citizens turn into monsters. Both teams vow to stop the plot together. 

Hulk: “Yes…Hulk was Avenger once…didn’t like it!” 

·         Rather than Buscema, John Romita did the cover art for this issue. Romita was the current Art Director at Marvel and frequently contributed covers.
·         Letterer Orzechowski is credited as T. Orz.
·         One page is just one panel of Thor and Hulk clashing. Narration suggests you buy a second copy of the issue so you can cut out this page for a pin-up.
·         Hulk is not a big fan of the Defenders either. He’s only helping them because they help the Black Knight.
·         Hulk tries to lift Thor’s Hammer, but of course, he cannot because of the spell on it. A similar scene is in the Avengers film during the Thor and Hulk fight.
·         Swordsman is still recovering from his wound. He has part of his torso covered in bandages, but attempts to jump back into battle anyway.
·         Before this storyline, both villains were last seen at Rutland, Vermont, during the Halloween parade, Loki in Thor 207, and Dormammu in Marvel Feature 2.
·         The sound effect when Hulk smashes the street is FOOM!
·         Doctor Strange knows Dormammu is involved when he sees Asti. Strange battled the creature before in Strange Tales 144.


Avengers Vol 1 118


Avengers 118
To the Death!
December, 1973
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown, Mike Esposito, and Frank Giacoia
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by George Roussos 

After leaving Earth in the hands of its other heroes and SHIELD, the Avengers and Defenders travel to the Dark Dimension. Dormammu’s increased power allows him to discern his so-called ally’s treachery, so he traps Loki in cage of mystical force. The two teams are attacked by The Mindless Ones, aggressive inhabitants of the Dark Dimension, but the heroes fight through to where Dormammu and Loki are observing. The Defenders are all knocked out by a single spell from Dormammu, and most of the Avengers are trapped in quicksand or revert to their powerless civilian identities, leaving only the Scarlet Witch able to act. Loki chooses this moment to turn into a fly and escape his prison. While he struggles with Dormammu, Scarlet Witch casts a hex that activates the Evil Eye, which sucks Dormammu’s energy into it and channels it into Loki’s mind, defeating both villains and stopping the assimilation of Earth. 

Doctor Strange: “The laws of reality you know are altered or negated here! Terrors you cannot even comprehend lurk in the Outer Darks! We will stay together!”
Thor: “Methinks we do sound much like the Avengers alone in our early years: arguing amongst ourselves at every turn! Yet, the magician is correct! The Avengers will follow his lead and accept his authority on all occult matters!” 

·         Narration tells us that it will take one hour for the transformation of Earth to be complete. It’s unclear why some humans change into monsters and some do not. The heroes leave before any of them transform themselves, but some SHIELD members do change.
·         Captain America warns Nick Fury that Fury’s injuries may be too severe to fight. He fails to mention that it was he himself who nearly beat Nick Fury to death in Captain America (1968) 165. Cap thought Fury was the Yellow Claw.
·         The events are important enough that Uatu the Watcher shows up personally to observe.
·         SHIELD zapping a large monster creates a FOOM! sound effect. Hulk striking a Mindless One also elicits a “FOOM!” Mindless Ones are free to join the fan club as well.
·         When Thor strikes a Mindless One, the sound effect is “Crom!” which is the name of a god Conan the barbarian worships.
·         Panels are included which show other heroes battling the monsters on Earth and the rest of the universe, including the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Inhumans, Luke Cage, Ka-Zar and Zabu, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Dr. Doom, Dracula, Adam Warlock, and Thanos.
·         His one panel marks Luke Cage’s first appearance in Avengers. He will later join and lead one of the Avengers groups.
·         It is likewise Thanos’ first appearance in the Avengers series.
·         At the end of the adventure, Doctor Strange casts a spell to remove the knowledge of Iron Man and Thor’s secret identities from the rest of the heroes’ minds. Iron Man’s armor also reappears.
·         Vision experiences a paralyzing fear of the quicksand that stems from his past as the Human Torch.  In that identity, he was buried for years and has a phobia about it, even though he doesn’t remember those events.
·         Being zapped by the Evil Eye reverts Loki to a childlike intellect, but it also restores his sight.
·         The letters page includes a letter by Ralph Macchio. This is not the Karate Kid actor, but he will become a longtime Marvel staff member and write Avengers starting in 1987.
·         The Avengers’ return to Earth and the fate of the Evil Eye and Black Knight are seen in Defenders 11. Doctor Strange uses the Eye’s power to erase the minds of Earth so they forget about the Defenders. Rather than freeing Black Knight from stone, the Defenders are whisked back to the twelfth century, where they find the Black Knight in the middle of an adventure. At the end of the team’s adventure, the Evil Eye is returned to that time period’s Prester John, and the Black Knight stays in the past, feeling more at home there. Black Knight’s story will be picked up again in Avengers 225.
·         This month marks the first appearance of Shang-Chi in Special Marvel Edition 15. He will later become an Avengers member. He was popular enough that the Special Marvel Edition series became Master of Kung Fu with issue 17.


Avengers Vol 1 119


Avengers 119
Night of the Collector
January, 1974
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Bob Brown and Don Heck
Lettered by Art Simek
Colored by Glynis Wein 

As the team returns to the mansion with Loki, they accidentally set off their own defenses and must avoid them before entering. Before long, Mantis is struck with a feeling that something is wrong in the town of Rutland, so the team goes there to investigate. The Halloween Parade is taking place, and the team splits up into smaller groups to canvass the town. Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Captain America are lured to a secluded spot by host Tom Fagan, who reveals himself as the Collector in disguise and traps them all in Coats of Hercules that render them unable to move. Swordsman and Mantis stumble upon the real Tom Fagan who reveals the plot to them. The parade-goers storm into Tom Fagan’s home, which the Collector has made his lair, and distract the Collector long enough for the captured Avengers to be freed by their teammates. Collector summons a swarm of vampire bats with two stones and throws the stones down a booby-trapped chute. He demands his release in exchange for getting rid of the bats, but Mantis immediately kicks him unconscious and clambers down the chute, using her total body control to avoid the traps. Iron Man uses an ultrasonic wave to confuse the bats, and Mantis recovers the stones and dispels them completely. A grateful Tom Fagan and the town offer to watch over Loki in Rutland now that he has reverted to the intellect of a child. 

Swordsman: “Sounds like someone with a gag in his mouth! I’ve heard enough muffled groans in enough dark places to know!” 

Tom Fagan: “I guess I should have expected something like this after it became the ‘in’ thing for superheroes to take a break here each Halloween. In unfamiliar country—surrounded by people in costumes—you make the perfect candidates for a trap. It was only a matter of time until a super-villain caught on. I’m sorry.”
Vision: “For providing pleasure to thousands of adults and children alike? You have done nothing wrong, Tom Fagan.” 

Collector: “Now more than ever, I know why I chose the life of a collector! It is a solitary life!” 

·         Although Don Heck had penciled many issues, this is his first stint as inker on Avengers.
·         One of the defense beams from the Mansion uses the “Foom!” sound effect.
·         Jarvis sets out a large feast for the team, but when they rush out without eating anything, he fears they will instead get their dinner at “MacDonald’s.”
·         Though the real heroes aren’t in the issue, some parade-goers are dressed as Hawkeye and Goliath.
·         Despite Doctor Strange’s spell to make the populace of Earth forget the Defenders, Valkyrie and Doctor Strange are among the costumes on display.
·         A footnote lists some of the past appearances of the Rutland Halloween parade. The last is a cut off “Jus—Ahem!” It refers to DC Comics’ Justice League of America 103, which even featured a cameo by Avengers writer Steve Englehart. That story was loosely tied into Marvel’s own Thor 207 and Amazing Adventures 16, which also took place at the Rutland parade and featured Englehart. This is considered the first, though unofficial, DC/Marvel crossover event.
·         The artifacts Collector uses are earthly ones in this adventure, the Coats of Hercules and two magic stones that summon a swarm of vampire bats. He plans to use the Vultures of Nepenthe, but he never gets the chance. Nepenthe, in lore, is a potion that replaces sorrow with forgetfulness. The Collector claims the vultures have electrically charged talons.
·         Collector didn’t expect the Avengers team. He was waiting for any superhero that came along, whom he would then use as bait for the Avengers. He was able to skip the bait part of his plan.
·         In addition to the reference to McDonald’s. the parade-goers mention a trip to the A&W. A&W actually had more restaurants than McDonald’s at one point in the 1970s.
·         The parade-goers mention that one of the comic book pros there is from San Francisco. Writer Englehart moved to San Francisco around this time, which is soon mentioned in Avengers 121.
·         Rather than striking the “bat stones” together at the bottom of the shaft, Mantis takes the time to climb all the way back up it before sending the bats away.
·         Although Collector mentions his interstellar ship, it does not appear in this story.

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