Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Avengers 127 to 130 (including Giant-Size Avengers 1 and 2)

Avengers 127 to 130 and Giant-Size Avengers 1 and 2

He who wields a blade
must walk the tightrope with strength
or surely falter.
Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Swordsman; Jacques Duquesne
Thor; Donald Blake
Featured Allies
Invisible Woman; Sue Richards
Mister Fantastic; Reed Richards
Quicksilver; Pietro Maximoff
Thing; Ben Grimm
(In today's Avengers news, a new animated series, Avengers Assemble will have an hour-long sneak preview this Sunday, May 26, 2013, on Disney XD before its true premiere in July. Now back to 1974.)
     In 1974, Marvel introduced several books that were longer than a standard comic book, but would only be published every three months. Giant-Size Avengers was one of these series. For the first installment, Roy Thomas took back the reins as writer and put forth a story that would tie some of the heroes from the so-called Golden Age of the forties comic books into the "modern" Marvel universe. Captain America was part of both eras, but per developments in Englehart's Captain America (1968) series in the seventies, we knew that other men had taken on the mantle of Captain America while Steve Rogers was frozen in ice, and that's touched upon here, as well as the fates of some of the other heroes from that time. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver also gained a "father" in the Whizzer, though that would later turn out to be only the first misdirection as to their parentage. It would be another nine years before we find out that their true father is Magneto, and since that's remained unchanged for the past 30 years, I guess they're sticking to it this time.
     Past Avenger Quicksilver was brought back into the storyline for a wedding adventure featuring the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans, and wedding crasher Ultron. The wedding itself was the highlight of a Fantastic Four (1961) issue, as Quicksilver's bride Crystal was a character featured more often in that series. The Avengers saga turns from Quicksilver after this for several years, and he continues to be antagonstic while Scarlet Witch insists on having a relationship with Vision.
     A star appears in the sky above Avengers Mansion and Mantis, heralding the start of the saga of the Celestial Madonna. The two story elements of a star appearing and the title of "Madonna" echo the story of Christ at first, but Mantis is far from a virginal figure. If anything, she is the opposite. It has been hinted she had been a prostitute, but since we will find out that her memories of that life are false, her true past activities are a bit murky. Still, she could be seen as a symbol of a one-woman "Madonna-whore" complex, as put forth by Sigmund Freud. When the role of Celestial Madonna is first explained by Kang, people look to the Scarlet Witch as the likely candidate instead. Strangely, Scarlet Witch's soon-to-be husband Vision and the children they will later have through roundabout circumstances prove to be far more influential to the history of Marvel Earth and the Avengers than the son that Mantis will have, so maybe everyone's first instincts were not far from the truth.
     These issues also feature the death of the Swordsman. He was never  quite accepted into the team with the full gusto most other members were. It was not his criminal past that proved to be a problem for him, but instead his own self-doubt. This mirrors some of the feelings and thoughts that the similarly non-powered Hawkeye has had over the years, but the archer faced his time on the team with full-on bravado, while Swordsman was often on the verge of a nervous breakdown because he felt unworthy of being an Avenger or even Mantis' partner. It would be easier to feel bad for the character if he was being too hard on himself, but to be fair, he did not often contribute a great deal to the team beyond being another body in a fight, bringing Mantis to the team, and ultimately saving her life. In a universe where dead characters often come back at a later time, the original Swordsman still has not been revived, except for a few later adventures where his corpse is used by another or the story specifically revolves around dead characters taking part. Even his distinction of being the trainer of Hawkeye is later modified to lessen that contribution, so the future will not be any kinder to Swordsman. So long, Jacques.

Giant-Size Avengers Vol 1 1
Giant-Size Avengers 1
Nuklo--the Invader that Time Forgot
August, 1974
Written by Roy Thomas
Art by Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins
Lettered by Artie Simek
Colored by Petra Goldberg

The Avengers subdue a mysterious figure in their mansion who is poking around a large capsule they had recently found in a collapsed building and brought back to their headquarters. He reveals himself to be the heroic Whizzer from the 1940's, who is only known by reputation to the team. Whizzer retells the adventures of his team, the All-Winners Squad, and how he had married teammate Miss America. While he speaks, the capsule explodes, and a large humanoid, Nuklo, is let loose. Whizzer claims this is his son. Nuklo battles the team to a standstill and escapes the mansion, but he reveals himself to have the intellect of a small child. During the melee, Whizzer, far from his prime, has a heart attack, and Scarlet Witch moves to aid him. Equipment is calibrated to track Nuklo's unique energy, but three different signals appear. The team splits up to investigate and finds three different Nuklos. These are not as powerful, and the three groups of Avengers are able to herd the Nuklos back to the mansion. While this is being done, Scarlet Witch hears the rest of Whizzer's story. Both he and Miss America were irradiated during a job at a nuclear facility, which affected her pregnancy, and she gave birth to the infant Nuklo. Doctors suggested that Nuklo be placed in that capsule in order to absorb his radiation over a period of 25 years. A building was placed over it so it would remain undisturbed. Based on Whizzer's resemblance to Quicksilver and super-speed abilities, Scarlet Witch prompts him to talk about his travels to Wundagore, and he confirms that he and Miss America had a set of twins there, a boy and a girl. Miss America died in childbirth, and the distraught Whizzer became unhinged and left the area, not returning for several years. After this is told, the three Nuklos come together and reunite into a powerful whole. He defeats the entire team, but Scarlet Witch and Whizzer return from the hospital. Scarlet Witch places a hex sphere around Nuklo, and his energy becomes drained. The Avengers work to repair the capsule so that Nuklo can be returned to it and perhaps be safe in yet another 25 years.

Doctor: "...The worst of it, I'm afraid, is that, within hours, the child will begin to emit dangerous radiation. Don't ask us how. I'm...sorry. These things...happen."
  • The issue's title features the word "Invader," and the Invaders were the precursor superhero team to the All-Winners Squad. Since Whizzer and Miss America were also in the Invaders, Nuklo is like a "second-generation" Invader.
  • Nuklo was not named "Nuklo" as a baby. When Vision calls him a "nuclear nemesis," the infantile Nuklo repeats it as "Nu-klo! Nem-siss!" and he is thereafter called Nuklo. His real name is Robert Frank Jr.
  • Swordsman is not present during this adventure, but Mantis does take part.
  • The Whizzer that appears here is not the same as the those from the Squadron Sinister and Squadron Supreme. He is a Golden-Age hero that debuted in a 1941 pre-Marvel publication. He thought he gained his super-speed from being bit by a cobra and then given a transfusion of mongoose blood, but later information changed that to his being a Mutant that gained his powers during this trauma. This is his first "modern" Marvel appearance.
  • All-Winners Squad villain Isbisa is mentioned in the flashbacks. He will appear in normal continuity as an old man and is involved in the death of Whizzer in Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1982) 2. Another villain, Future Man, does not continue to appear. The name Isbisa comes from the first letters of each of the historical ages, Iron, Steel, Bronze, Ice, Stone and Atomic.
  • Whizzer fought with a Captain America in the All-Winners Squad, but it was not Steve Rogers. Both William Naslund and Jeff Mace used the identity of Captain America during that time period.
  • Although Whizzer married the heroine Miss America, she is not involved with the beauty pageant, and they both think the idea of a beauty pageant is "inane."
  • This is the first appearance of Bova, the evolved cow who was the Scarlet Witch's and Quicksilver's nursemaid when they were infants.
  • Miss America's second child is later revealed to have been stillborn. Bova only showed Whizzer the twins as a way to lessen the pain of his wife's death and also hopefully find the twins a good home away from Wundagore, but Whizzer instead fled.
  • Not only do Whizzer and Quicksilver appear similar, but Scarlet Witch has a similar appearance to Miss America. These turn out to be just coincidences.
  • Captain America says he's "not Baby Snooks." This is a reference to a radio show starring Fanny Brice as a little girl that aired from 1937 to 1951.
  • Whizzer says there were only three adventures of the All-Winners Squad. Two are referenced from All-Winners Comics 19 and 21. There was no All-Winners Comics 20. It was instead called All Teen 20 and featured totally unrelated stories. A footnote promises they'll make up a third adventure at a later date. A new adventure appeared in 2009 in a 70th-anniversary special of the All-Winners Squad.
  • Scarlet Witch assumes only she would be able to defeat Nuklo because they are siblings. Later we find out they are not actually related. So much for that theory.
  • Strangely, in Fantastic Four (1961) at this time, Mister Fantastic had placed his Mutant son Franklin Richards, who was born a supremely powerful mutant due to Invisible Woman's radiation exposure, into an artificial coma so that his abilities would not be dangerous. This parallels Nuklo's story. 
  • The issue also reprints a Human Torch story from Human Torch Comics 33 and a Wasp adventure from Tales to Astonish (1959) 58.
  • Human Torch's partner in the backup feature is the heroine Sun Girl. She does not appear in the modern Marvel continuity.
Avengers Vol 1 127

Avengers 127
Bride and Doom!
September, 1974
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Steve Englehart
The Inhumans' teleporting dog Lockjaw brings Gorgon into the middle of dinner at Avengers Mansion with news of the upcoming wedding of Quicksilver to Crystal. All the Avengers are surprised by the news, but they jet off to the Hidden Land in a Quinjet. The Fantastic Four are also there for the wedding, but Quicksilver himself does not greet the team. While wedding plans are being made, the servant class of the Inhumans, the Alpha Primitives, plot with a mysterious figure. During a public exhibition, Iron Man and Medusa enter a trance and attack some Alpha Primitives. When the two are restrained, they collapse into unconsciousness. After Quicksilver rejects the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision again, Crystal is abducted by the giant Omega android, which had been thought to be disabled and immobile. The heroes suspect troublesome Inhuman Maximus is behind this kidnapping, but they find that Maximus has also collapsed. The Alpha Primitives are then questioned, but they become agitated and start to riot. Maximus revives, though also in a trance, and he shoots Human Torch. Swordsman blasts Maximus, but then he too collapses. A large brawl takes place, but the heroes all become immobile. The Omega android removes a mask to reveal it is Ultron in a new body.
Swordsman: "Is it me you love, or the Vision?"
Mantis: "You demand an answer, Swordsman? This one cannot even be certain of who she may be--whether Saigon street orphan or cunningly-trained priestess--or something else, as yet unknown. And you demand her feelings?"
  • This is inker Joe Staton's first issue of Avengers.
  • Yes, Steve Englehart also did the color guides for this issue.
  • Narration tells us Jarvis was born in the Bronx. He's not British, but it is later revealed that he spent some of his youth in England while flying for the Canadian Royal Air Force and picked up a British accent.
  • Although they do at times wear civilian clothes, all the Avengers are dressed in their hero costumes for dinner when the story begins.
  • The Fantastic Four are wedding guests because they are well known to the Inhumans, but Crystal also used to be in a romantic relationship with the Human Torch.
  • The giant Omega android previously was powered by the accumulated subconscious guilt of the Inhumans in repressing the Alpha Primitives, and it was defeated by their coming to terms with that guilt.
  • This is the first time Agatha Harkness appears in the series. She will become mentor to Scarlet Witch in the next issue and has an extensive history of using legitimate sorcery.
  • Black Bolt, Mister Fantastic, and Iron Man all appear here and are half of the secretive Illuminati team that is active at this time.
  • Ultron was last a threat in Avengers 68. Apparently Maximus retrieved the head of the robot and put it on Omega's body. This giant Ulton is not fully constructed of adamantium. This version of Ultron is Ultron-7.
  • The letters page has a letter from future Avengers writer Ralph Macchio.
  • The sound of Maximus zapping the Human Torch is "Foom!" You'd be mad not to join this Marvel fan club.
Fantastic Four Vol 1 150

Fantastic Four 150
Ultron-7: He'll Rule the World!
September, 1974
Written by Gerry Conway
Art by Rich Buckler and Joe Sinnott
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Linda Lessmann
Ultron-7 gloats over the paralyzed bodies of the assembled Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Inhumans. He is so confident that he frees them from their paralysis to see what fruitless actions they will take. Thing attacks him, but it has no effect. Rather than join Thing in further assault, the other heroes try to figure out a plan. Ultron-7 readily reveals to them how Maximus found his robot brain, brought it to Attilan, and attached it to Omega's body. Ultron-7 nearly immediately got rid of Maxiumus and pursued his own schemes to destroy the heroes. He launches a psychic attack to dissolve the psyches of the all his opponents and leave them brainless. This wakes up the comatose Franklin Richards, who returns the mental assault with more force and totally deactivates Ultron-7's robot brain. After this defeat, we see several of the guests preparing for the wedding and speaking of their own romances. Everyone gathers for the ceremony, and Crystal and Quicksilver are wed. They are teleported away by Lockjaw to their honeymoon while the guests look on.
Narration: "There are probably a thousand things we could say at a moment like this...but we won't say any of them. We like to think...the moment says it all."
  • Although Quicksilver appears on the cover in his green uniform, he wears a silver one in the issue and during his wedding. The rest of the superheroes wear their hero uniforms rather than dress in formal wear.
  • Thing calls Ultron-7 "jaundice jaws." Jaundice usually refers to a yellow pigmentation, which Ultron does not have.
  • Franklin's powers are described by narration as being enough "to consume an entire planet." Later, he uses the power to create an entire new universe, one that temporarily serves as home to the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and others for over a year of publication.
  • Thing says the wedding pageantry resembles a Rose Bowl Parade. The Rose Bowl Parade started in 1890 in Pasadena as a New Year's Day parade and features floats decorated with only flowers and other natural ornamentation such as fruit and grains. It grew in popularity and has been seen on television around in world in over 200 countries.
  • Both Quicksilver and Crystal do not have one line of dialogue in the issue that contains their wedding.
Avengers Vol 1 128
Avengers 128
Bewitched, Bothered, and Dead!
October, 1974
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Steve Englehart
The Avengers and Fantastic Four return from the wedding and are attacked by lightning on the roof of Avengers Mansion. The Fantastic Four's nanny, Agatha Harkness, dispels the mystic attack and tells everyone that she is the target. She also announces that she plans to tutor the Scarlet Witch in the ways of true magic, and Wanda agrees to this arrangement. Shortly, Harkness places the Scarlet Witch's room inside a mystic barrier so they can begin uninterrupted training. The evil wizard Necrodamus, the source of the lightning storm, reveals himself inside the barrier and attempts to steal Harkness' soul. Harkness and her housecat familiar Ebony battle Necrodamus, but they both seem to be defeated. In another part of the mansion, Mantis rejects Swordsman, which sends him into a rage. Iron Man and Thor show up and restrain him while Mantis calmly goes to seek out Vision. Scarlet Witch fights the much stronger Necrodamus and is exhausted by casting three hexes in quick succession. Ebony awakens, and his eyes start to glow, giving the Scarlet Witch an energy boost that allows her to cast another hex. The hex shatters Necrodamus enchanted box, freeing all his trapped souls and whisking him away to parts unknown. Harkness reveals she was not truly hurt and was letting the Scarlet Witch find new reserves of power. Outside the mystic barrier, Vision rejects Mantis' advances and makes clear his commitment to Wanda. Outside, bystanders and then the Avengers are startled by the appearance of both a bright star above the mansion and Kang the Conqueror.
Mister Fantastic: "The next time one of us gets married, I hope it's a nice, quiet ceremony at City Hall!"
Thor: "Farewell, Mr. and Mrs. Richards! I expect any such time to be far distant, thank Odin!"
Scarlet Witch: "If they let you in the theater to see 'The Exorcist,' you already know how beds can be dangerous..."
  • The story title is a nod to the song Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered from the 1940 Broadway musical Pal Joey.
  • This is the last time Englehart does the color guides. He says on his website that he would have liked to do more, but he was just too busy once Giant-Size Avengers was added to the schedule. It is also his last coloring credit on any title.
  • This issue debuts an introductory banner on the first page. Its original text reads: "And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born--to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! Through the years, their roster has prospered, changing many times, but their glory has never been denied! Heed the call, then--for now, the Avenger Assemble! Stan Lee presents: The Mighty Avengers!" (sic)
  • A bolt of lightning causes a "Foom!" sound effect.
  • Thor, as God of Thunder, tries to stop the lightning storm, but cannot because of its unnatural origin.
  • Agatha Harkness claims she can stop taking care of the now-healed Franklin Richards since she deems him "no longer a threat."
  • Harkness moves into Avengers Mansion temporarily. Her usual house on Whisper Hill was currently, um, missing.
  • Harkness' cat Ebony just shows up the Mansion, knowing that she moved there since he is her familiar.
  • Necrodamus had appeared before as a Defenders villain.
  • Scarlet Witch seems to think three hexes is the limit of her power, but she manages a fourth after being charged by energies from Ebony.

Avengers Vol 1 129

Avengers 129
Bid Tomorrow Goodbye!
November, 1974
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Bill Mantlo

Kang's automators, the Macrobots, easily defeat the Avengers. While they are down, he reveals that the star overhead signals the coming of an influential woman called the Celestial Madonna. His historical records are incomplete, but he believes that if he mates with her, their child  and he himself by proxy will have great power. He believes one of the women present, either Mantis, Scarlet Witch, or Agatha Harkness is the Celestial Madonna, and he moves to kidnap them all, as well as Thor, Iron Man, and Vision. Kang leaves Swordsman behind, as he has no use for the powerless Avenger. Within moments, the abandoned Swordsman receives a mental message from Agatha Harkness that tells him where Kang is keeping the captives. Despite his doubts, Swordman pilots a Quinjet to Egypt, where he is shot down by the local air force. Kang monitors these events, but feels secure in his fortress against such a weak foe. Swordsman manages to find a hidden entrance to the pyramid and is about to be slain by an vampire from inside it when the Egyptian army arrives, distracting the vampire and allowing Swordsman to continue deeper into the pyramid. Kang reveals another part of his plan, to place the three male Avengers captives into Macrobot shells which will kill world leaders and throw the planet into chaos. Swordsman overhears this and is about to shoot Kang with his sword's weaponry when Rama-Tut steps from the shadows and stops Swordsman.

Kang: "Her mate, the records say, will be the most powerful man on Earth, though they give him no name--but I, Kang the First, will be he! Father to the child--and through him, ruler of the heavens!"

Swordsman: "Ha! Die, by Crom!"
  • The Vision on the cover seems to be blasting Kang from his hand. Typically he does so from his eyes, not his hands, but that would be difficult with his own hand covering his eyes as in this drawing, I suppose.
  • The introductory banner on page one is fixed to read "Avengers assemble!" rather than "Avenger Assemble!"
  • On his website, Steve Englehart calls the story contained in this issue and its companion Giant-Size Avengers 2 one of his all-time favorities.
  • This is Bill Mantlo's first issue of Avengers and second coloring assignment overall. He would only do color guides for a small number of books, but he would go on to become a longtime Marvel writer around this same time, including a handful of later Avengers issues.
  • "Foom!" is the sound effect when Thor is thrown into Swordsman and later when Swordsman's Quinjet is shot by missiles.
  • Kang uses Macrobots as his shock troops here. They are upgraded Stimuloids, which appeared in Avengers 69. Now they return physical force toward their attacker rather than absorb it. Despite these models being more advanced, it's the original Stimuloid, the Growing Man, that will later reappear most often in the Marvel Universe. Perhaps this is because all the Macrobots are destroyed and Kang had no more.
  • Kang calls the star the Dawn Star and states it is the reason for his continued interest in the 20th Century.
  • These historical records Kang mentions have so far proven to be false. Mantis will mate with an unnamed Prime Cotati, which explains why no name is given to him, as even we don't find out his name. Except for fathering a child with Mantis, the Prime Cotati has not been seen to influence Earth events to a great degree.
  • Kang uses the pyramid of Rama-Tut as his base in the present. It appears to be the Pyramid of Khufu in Egypt.
  • A panel showing a shaft of sunlight striking a sarcophagus is explained in Giant-Size Avengers 2 as what causes Rama-Tut to revive at the end of this issue. Rama-Tut knew Swordsman would open the tunnel and revive him from his own memories as Kang.
  • Kang claims that he created the vampire Amenhotep through forcing him to drink nectar of the undead. He does resemble the Charniputra vampire offshoot later elaborated on in 2010.
  • This month also marks the first appearance of future Avenger Wolverine in Incredible Hulk (1962) 180.
Giant-Size Avengers Vol 1 2
    Giant-Size Avengers 2
    A Blast from the Past!
    November, 1974
    Written by Steve Englehart
    Art by Dave Cockum
    Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
    Colored by Bill Mantlo

    Hawkeye hears the news about the star over Avengers Mansion and the battle there, and he goes to investigate. Jarvis is the only one to greet him, but soon Swordsman and Rama-Tut show up as well. Despite knowing of Rama-Tut as a villain, Hawkeye goes along with a plan to move against Kang. The first Macrobot, containing Vision, attacks the United Nations, and Swordsman and Hawkeye, along with a disguised Rama-Tut, teleport there. The heroes are overmatched until Rama-Tut tells them Vision is inside. Hawkeye obscures the head of Macrobot with goop, hoping that it will cease absorbing solar energy for the Vision to operate inside. The plan works, the Macrobot collapses, and Vision is freed. The second Macrobot, with Iron Man inside, attacks China, but Rama-Tut teleports his allies there as well. Vision attempts to solidfy inside the Macrobot, but encounters a force field inside it that repels even his low-density form. He instead shoves his cape into the Macrobot shell and wills it to fully solidfy, destroying the Macrobot and leaving Iron Man mostly unharmed. Kang's Time Sphere appears, and the third Macrobot, carrying Thor, attacks. Vision frees the hostage women, and they also join in the battle. Scarlet Witch uses a hex to call down a meteorite from space that disables the Macrobot. Kang blasts the stranger among the Avengers, revealing Rama-Tut. When these two contact each other, everyone see scenes from past and future in their minds, and Mantis is revealed as the true Celestial Madonna. Kang can't believe that he would sabotage his own plans, and Rama-Tut prompts Kang to accept how things will turn out. Kang doesn't and fires a beam at Mantis to destroy her. Swordsman leaps in front of the attack and takes the full brunt of the blast. A struggle between Rama-Tut and Kang activates the Time Sphere, sending the the men from the future elsewhere and leaving the Avengers to watch Swordsman perish from his wounds.
    Swordsman: "Now, we are--Avengers!"
    Hawkeye, thinking: "Yeah. Two of 'em...the weakest two, next to the Wasp!"

    Swordsman: "I tried...to be worthy of you...of the Avengers...but...like Kang...I was doomed... from the beginning...I'm...a failure...I'm just...one of those people...who doesn't...count." (dies)
    Mantis: "Darling!"
    Iron Man: "Every Avenger counts, Swordsman. Every one."
    Vision: "Sleep well, Avenger. Rest...in peace."
  • Although Captain America is on the cover, he does not take part in this issue. He had given up his Captain America identity. Just before this adventure, Hawkeye convinced him to continue being a superhero, and Steve Rogers will adopt the Nomad identity next month.
  • The previously seen Rama-Tut was a younger version of Kang, but this story's is an older version of Kang that has settled down after his conquering days and had "retired" to ancient Egypt on a second trip through time. He destroyed his Time Sphere so he could not return, except by waiting in suspended animation for 5,000 years. He claims to be about 77 years of age. (On a side note, his beloved Ravonna had not been revived during his life as Kang.)
  • Rama-Tut claims, in hindsight, that this attempt as Kang to mate with then destroy the Celestial Madonna was the most fruitless of all his pursuits.
  • Kang's targets are the leaders of China and Russia, but in the United States, he targets the Secretary of State instead of the President.
  • When told about the Celestial Madonna, both Scarlet Witch and Mantis believe the Madonna will be the Scarlet Witch.
  • There is a FOOM! when Swordsman and Hawkeye strike the face of a Macrobot and a second FOOM! when Scarlet Witch's hex calls forth lava from the ground. Swordsman never got a chance to join the club, poor sap.
  • Vision suffers another claustrophia attack when he is encased inside a Macrobot, more foreshadowing of his Human Torch history.
  • The sound effect for a tar-like splash from Hawkeye's arrow is "Ploog!" Artist Mike Ploog was currently pencilling the swamp monster series Man-Thing for Marvel, so you could see why his name might be associated with sticky goop.
  • Vision does not typically need to be in sunlight to function, as he stores energy in his jewel for later use. He collapses almost immediately when cut off from the sun here, probably because of the Macrobot's power needs, not his own.
  • When Kang's first Macrobot is defeated, we are treated to a panel of Kang screaming. Apparently they still swear in the far future, as it simply says, "[expletives deleted]".
  • Before she gets her memories back, Mantis exclaims "Hala!" This is the home planet of the Kree, and was probably picked up from her time with the Priests of Pama.
  • Narration likens Swordsman's last charge as being "like a wild-eyed King Kull." Kull was another barbarian character created by Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan. Kull had his own Marvel series as well. His adventures took place about 20,000 years before the modern Marvel age and had been written by Avengers editor Roy Thomas.
  • Narration calls Rama-Tut and Kang "time-lords." The British television series Doctor Who features a race of Time Lords. Marvel published Doctor Who comics, and his universe was given the Marvel designation of universe 5556, but it is only very tenuously connected to the Marvel Universe, as are many other outside properties.
Avengers Vol 1 130
Avengers 130
The Reality Problem!
December, 1974
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Joe Rosen
Colored by Bill Mantlo
At an Avengers meeting, Mantis announces that she will be leaving to bury Swordsman back in Vietnam. Most of the team agree to accompany her and honor Swordsman as well. She selects the gardens around the temple of the Priests of Pama for a burial site. They hear a disturbance outside the temple grounds and find Radioactive Man, Titanium Man, and Crimson Dynamo in pursuit of a man, who they say is a murderer that killed his wife. After they execute him for this crime on the spot, the Avengers move to attack, but the so-called Titanic Three explain that since this is a communist sector, they have authority as allies of the Viet Cong and it is the Avengers who are the "villains" here. An enraged Iron Man moves to attack them anyway, but Thor briefly battles Iron Man to calm him down, and the Avengers leave the scene. They decide to investigate Mantis' past in the streets of Saigon, but she finds that her memories of her life there must be false, as they cannot be corraborated by anyone they question. The Vietnamese villain the Slasher sees the Avengers roaming around and assumes they are there to arrest him for a jewelry robbery he had just committed. He persuades the Titanic Three the Avengers are after him, so the four villains attack the American team together. Since Saigon is not part of the communist sector, the Avengers don't back down. Vision's solar beam to the Slasher reveals stolen diamonds on his person. When the Titanic Three see that the Slasher truly is a thief, they end the battle and leave.
Narration: "The Swordsman was a loser to the last moment of his life, but he tried the level best he could. And isn't that all anyone can do?"
Hawkeye, thinking: "Goodbye, Sword. We were two of a kind, I always thought...but somehow, I always got the breaks--and you never did."
Vision: "But isn't that always the way, Thor? Whenever a war is fought, it is never the people who must fight it--who have any reason to bring it about."
  • During the funeral service and interment, no coffin is visible, so we must assume Swordsman was buried without one.
  • Scarlet Witch does not go with the team to Vietnam. She stays at the mansion for further training from Agatha Harkness.
  • Vision plans to stay out of action because of the recent times he keeps freezing in battle, but the team convince him to stay with them in case he truly needs further help.
  • Hawkeye is mentioned to be officially back on the membership roster at the start of the issue.
  • This is the Slasher's first appearance. He is also called "Buzzsaw" once in the narration, but Slasher is more prevalent. He won't be seen again until 1993, where he then goes by the name Razorblade and is part of group of villains working for the terrorist Viper in Captain America 419. He still has that crazy razor suit.
  • Radioactive Man hasn't been seen since Avengers 83.
  • Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo are longtime Iron Man villains, but this is their first stint in Avengers. Iron Man is enraged at them because his former girlfriend Janice Cord was killed during a battle he had with both of them in Iron Man (1968) 22. This is actually the third Crimson Dynamo, Alex Nevsky, but it is still the first Titanium Man, Boris Bullski.
  • Since Mantis seems to be connected to the Kree, Vision suggests they contact Captain Marvel, but he cannot be reached.
  • A blast arrow to Radioactive Man's face produces the "Foom!" sound effect.
  • During the battle, a robed figure intervenes briefly, staggering the Crimson Dynamo. This is later revealed to be Mantis' father, Libra, who was tracking her movements.

No comments:

Post a Comment