Friday, June 14, 2013

Avengers 131 to 135 (including Giant-Size Avengers 3 & 4)

Avengers 131 to 135 (including Giant-Size Avengers 3 & 4)

Time-lost un-dead trick.
Peer through time with Limbo stick.
Throw two weddings quick.

Hawkeye; Clint Barton
Iron Man; Tony Stark
Scarlet Witch; Wanda Maximoff
Thor; Donald Blake
Featured allies/enemies
Human Torch; Jim Hammond android
Moondragon; Heather Douglas
Nomad; Steve Rogers
Swordsman; Jaques Duquesne (possessed corpse only)
Wonder Man; Simon Williams

     The next few issues had a few guest stars and superhero fights, but their focus was squarely on the histories of three characters--Vision, Mantis, and Immortus--and a bit of the far-flung past of the Marvel Universe as well. Mantis was clearly Steve Englehart's darling, so tying up her past with her future was definitely the central part of the saga. Questions regarding the Vision's origins had gone back to Roy Thomas' time as writer, and this was a strong bid to answer them all and end the mystery of Vision. Well, that is until John Byrne muddies the Vision's waters in 1989, leading to more needed "course corrections" later in Avengers Forever in 1998. But until then, for a decade, Vision's past will stay clear and he will be free to move forward and continue to develop as a character.
     We also get more of the enigmatic Immortus, who we discover is the "good" future version of Kang. The Avengers don't remember his appearance as a villain in Avengers 10, so they don't have any reason to doubt his good intentions. He does seem benevolent for a while after this story, but we will find out years later that he had plenty of ulterior motives for being so helpful and also that he is a constant liar and manipulator, which changes the flavor of his appearance here. At this time, it was comforting to see that Kang had a future as kinder, wiser person. After he is later used by various writers to serve conflicting and more cynical purposes, we're left with Kang having evolved from a brutal conqueror to a bureaucrat who just wants to stay in power through manipulation, damn the consequences to anyone else. So much for a nice guy.
     We are treated to not one, but two Avengers weddings at the end of this cycle. Avengers weddings don't end well. Although most of the relationships have continued to be cordial, none of the marriages have endured. (I don't consider Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman as an "Avengers" wedding. They were married long before they had a brief Avengers stint.) Why do comics writers--or is it comics readers--or is it comics publishers hate marriage for their characters so much? Why do they always get married in such bizarre circumstances? As to the former, drama must be served. Emotions must be toyed with. That's the way of fiction. This is also why there are so many dead parents in fiction. It is just perceived to create more tension and pathos when things go wrong with the heroes' interior (relationships and feelings) as well as exterior (punching and exploding). Thankfully most comics characters seem to know better and just don't bother getting married in the first place, but if they do, something will break them up almost inevitably. Englehart himself also was married in 1975, but he's managed to stay married this whole time. There's something to be said for reality.
     Vision and Scarlet Witch's relationship had been evolving for years in the stories, so even though their wedding is an immediate one after an abrupt proposal, it's not that much of a surprise. As to Mantis, her wedding is a bit more strange. We've already been told that she will give birth to a Celestial Messiah, and Kang had been vying to be the father, but I'm sure he didn't have marriage in mind. When we are finally introduced to the actual father-to-be, who is the perfect expression of plant life in counterpoint to Mantis' perfection as human life, their "wedding" is really only a formality. It was the seventies after all, and if these two beings were going to have a child--however plants and humans manage that--they should be married, right? So they are quickly wed, and they leave the story by turning into pure energy and going off into the cosmos to get down to business.
     Mantis does not even get to know the nameless Cotati Elder before they marry, but she's all right with that. It may seem odd to us in 2013, but I suppose if you look at her background, both as Vietnamese and as a recipient of the extraterrestrial Kree culture, both of those traditions include arranged marriages to some degree, especially the Kree, where children were often just made in labs. She had dabbled with romance with Swordsman, but that didn't work out for her. What had excited her was Vision, who she admired for his "perfection" and how well he complemented her own nature. Her eventual mate, the Cotati, is that to a more heightened degree, having evolved its consciousness over centuries. Rationally, he was a good match for her, so she went along, embracing her supposed destiny. The fact that the Elder uses Swordsman's body is sort of romantic on the surface, but, yes, a bit creepy. Let's just think of it as the best happy ending for Swordsman he could have while remaining dead.
     Englehart did want to continue the story of Mantis, but he had some difficulty getting to it. He didn't let go of her character, even taking her in a fashion to the DC universe. While he was writing Justice League of America in 1977, a woman named Willow makes an appearance, and she refers to herself as "this one," as Mantis was known to do. Her look has changed, but it's implied she is the same character who has traveled to an alternate Earth.

   She's not done universe hopping. Another similar character now named Lorelei shows up in another Englehart series, Scorpio Rose, published for Eclipse Comics.

     She will eventually make her way back to the Marvel Universe after Englehart resumes writing for the company, but the story of her son Quoi, or Sequoia, won't finally get its full due until 2001 in Avengers Celestial Quest. At least the 26 years that passed are enough time for someone to be born and grow to adulthood. But back to 1975! 

Avengers Vol 1 131
Avengers 131
A Quiet Half-Hour in Saigon!
January, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Phil Rachelson
The Avengers, minus Scarlet Witch, are still in Saigon. The costumed hero Nomad arrives and reveals himself to be the new identity of Captain America. While the heroes visit, we see that Kang and Rama-Tut are pulled from a time vortex into Limbo by Immortus. Immortus imprisons Rama-Tut and confides in Kang that he wishes to attack the Avengers with Kang's assistance. Kang knows of Immortus' ability to pull warriors through time, so he uses the equipment to summon a team of champions. They include the Frankenstein Monster, Wonder Man, Human Torch, Midnight, The Ghost, and Baron Zemo. After using his equipment, Kang turns on Immortus and imprisons him next to Rama-Tut. Back in Saigon, Mantis sees a figure that resembles a green-tinted Swordsman on the street, but when she approaches it, it disappears. Nomad gets a message that his enemies have been sighted in Los Angeles, so he takes his leave. While the Avengers and Mantis ponder their next move, they are teleported against their will to Immortus' castle and separated amongst a maze of catacombs underneath it while the Legion of the Unliving is sent in after them.
Immortus: "Welcome to the throne room of--Immortus!"
Kang: "You speak as if your name alone should be enough to impress me! I assure you, it does not!"
Mantis: "You do not understand that this one has no wish to reach new heights. She was she was."
  • This is colorist Phil Rachelson's first issue of Avengers.
  • Steve Rogers appears in his new Nomad identity in this issue. He was actually near Vietnam in Captain America and the Falcon (1968) 181 on a mission in the Pacific Ocean against the Serpent Squad right before the events of this issue.
  • Immortus has not appeared since Avengers 10. Kang/Rama-Tut do not know Immortus is the future identity they will take, and Immortus doesn't inform them of it.
  • Nomad pledges to join the Avengers after he finishes his solo mission, but this is not to be. He won't rejoin until he has reclaimed the Captain America identity in several months.
  • Narration places the total historical membership of the team thus far at 14. This is the same as the number of Avengers appearing in issue 100, so it does not include Rick Jones or Mantis among that number.
  • Immortus himself does not mention his attack on the Avengers in Avengers 10. Almost nobody in the Marvel Universe remembers it either, since Enchantress cast a spell that turned back time at the end of that issue and "undid" it. Kang, however, was monitoring those events outside the timeline and does remember them. Since Immortus is the future self of Kang, that means Immortus must really remember it, too, but he is hiding this fact intentionally from Kang.
  • Despite the name "Legion of the Unliving," the members are all mostly living, pulled from an era when they were alive. The Ghost is an exception, but he was active as a villain while a ghost.
  • The Frankenstein Monster is a part of the Marvel Universe, used freely as a public domain character, much like Dracula. The Frankenstein Monster even had his own series from 1973 to 1975. In this adventure, Kang pulls him from the year 1898, when he was still frozen in ice after the events of Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.
  • The Human Torch android is pulled from 1954. Later histories show he was an active hero during this year. Kang gives no indication that he realizes this is a previous form of the Vision.
  • Midnight has only appeared once before, in Special Marvel Edition 16 in a Master of Kung-Fu story. He also dies in that issue, so he is brought here just before that happens. He is selected as a counterpart to martial artist Mantis.
  • The Ghost is the ghost of the historical Flying Dutchman, Joost van Straaten. He only appeared before this in Silver Surfer (1968) 8 and 9. His soul was "released" from this plane at the end of issue 9, so it seems he was also plucked through time before that happened.
  • The Baron Zemo here is Heinrich Zemo, who died in Avengers 15. Zemo was also an accomplice of Immortus back in his previous Avengers 10 appearance.
  • Vision asks Iron Man for advice on relationships because he thinks he would know a few things from watching his employer Tony Stark, a notorious playboy.
  • Scarlet Witch does not appear in this issue. She is continuing her training with Agatha Harkness.

Avengers 132
Kang War II
February, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Petra Goldberg

Kang leads his Legion of the Unliving into the tunnels after the separated Avengers. The Frankenstein Monster slips away in a daze and encounters and attacks Thor. Rather than defeating the Monster, Thor calms things down and lets the Monster go in order to see if perhaps it can find a way out. Back in Saigon, Libra investigates the spot of the Avengers' disappearance and slips away from the local police. He encounters the image of Swordsman in a deserted alley, and we discover that it was Libra who summoned this specter. Back in Limbo, Vision encounters the whole Legion and is forced to retreat by passing through the walls. The Ghost has the same ability, so he follows Vision alone. Midnight had split himself off from the main group, and he encounters Mantis. After a brief scuffle, Mantis decides to retreat as well. Hawkeye and Iron Man manage to reconnect with each other, and they take on the rest of Legion. Feeling overmatched, Iron Man sends Hawkeye to find the rest of the team, figuring an assembled group would stand a better chance than just the two of them. Alone, Iron Man is overwhelmed, and the Human Torch melts the chestplate that keeps Iron Man's heart beating, killing him. The Ghost tracks down Vision and incapacitates him when he passes his ghostly hand through Vision's body. Mantis hears Vision scream and runs up, sensing that he is near death.
Kang: "My very name is Conqueror, and I'll not have it sullied--even by myself!"

Hawkeye: "Me--pull a women-kids-and-archers first routine? Not on your life life, kiddo. I'm with you all the way!"
Iron Man: "Stop playing stupid, Hawkeye."
  • The cover promises an Avenger on the cover will perish in the issue. It's Iron Man, who is truly dead at the end of the issue and is still dead for much of Giant-Size Avengers 3.
  • Roy Thomas wrote the dialogue for this issue and Giant-Size Avengers 3 due to deadline pressures.
  • The Frankenstein Monster is not as affected by Kang's commands, as it is made up of a variety of dead bodies.
  • The Human Torch announces he is not Johnny Storm to the Avengers when he attacks. They do look identical when on fire, so this is very helpful of him. One might wonder how the android from 1954 would know about Johnny Storm. He probably found out about it off-panel from one of his teammates, as there are plenty of moments spent searching the catacombs that we don't see.
  • Before finding Vision, The Ghost encounters Mantis, but he lets her go, as he has orders not to harm her. It appears Kang has gone from wanting her dead back to his plan to mate with her.
  • Scarlet Witch does not appear in this issue either.
  • The Bullpen Bulletins page announces that Roy Thomas is stepping down as editor. He will be doing more writing and have the title of editor emeritus, which turned out to mean that he would continue to exercise some editorial duties over the publications he wrote. This will be his last month as Avengers editor.
  • The letter column has a letter from Mary Jo Duffy. She would join the Marvel editorial staff in 1979 and also write several series, but not Avengers. Her letter points to how she considers Mantis to be an Avengers villain rather than an ally.
Giant-Size Avengers Vol 1 3
Giant-Size Avengers 3
Kang War II: Conclusion ...What Time Hath Put Asunder!
February, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart and Roy Thomas
Art by Dave Cockrum and Joe Giella
Lettered by Gaspar Saladino
Colored by Petra Goldberg
While Mantis watches over the injured Vision, she is attacked by Midnight. She manages to incapacitate him, but she finds that Vision is gone. He had been taken by the Frankenstein Monster. Thor comes upon Iron Man's body and swears vengeance on Kang. The Human Torch and Wonder Man encounter the Monster carrying Vision's unconscious body. Wonder Man plots how to finally destroy Vision, but the Frankenstein Monster has enough free will to protect Vision, sensing a kindred spirit in the artificial being. Wonder Man slinks away to look for Kang. The Human Torch also is sympathetic to Vision and, upon examining him, is shocked to realize it is his own modified body. With his team scattered, Kang is alone in the tunnels, and Thor attacks him mercilessly. Wonder Man arrives to aid Kang, and a cowed Kang orders Wonder Man to collapse the tunnel in order for them to retreat. Hawkeye enters Immortus' control room to the complex and finds Immortus and Rama-Tut imprisoned there. Baron Zemo tries to defeat Hawkeye, but even trapped in a pile of Adhesive X, Hawkeye manages a trick shot in order to release the two prisoners. Immortus reduces Baron Zemo to a pile of protoplasm. The Human Torch is able to revive Vision, and with the Monster by their side, they come upon Kang, Wonder Man, and also Thor. Kang finds that his commands don't work on the Monster or Human Torch, leaving him with only one ally. Faced with a crazed Thor, he finally decides to disappear back into the time stream.  Immortus teleports all the remaining people to his control room. Through his mastery of time's flow in Limbo, he is able to reverse all injuries and Iron Man's death with his technology. Rama-Tut leaves, and Immortus sends the Legion of the Unliving back to their home time periods. Immortus promises to provide answers about the mystery of the Torch's conversion into Vision and reveals that he himself is another future identity of Kang the Conqueror and Rama-Tut.
Kang: "What use has Kang for locking in hand-to-hand combat with a god of the forgotten, pagan past--"

Kang: "I begin to doubt my wisdom in reviving you six incompetents. Also, I grow weary of this marching to and fro, thru endless tunnels...weary at the lack of scenery...the mindless monotony...!"

Rama-Tut: "I suspect Immortus, that there is much you know--and prefer not to disclose to me."
  • Two of the heroes on the cover, Iron Man and Vision, were left as dead at the end of the previous story, but they both recover.
  • Steve Englehart's credit this issue includes that he thought of the title. I guess he was proud of it, and it seems to tie into the title for Giant-Size Avengers 4, which he fully scripted.
  • This is inker Joe Giella's only Avengers work. He had been active in the industry since the forties. In the seventies, he focused more on newspaper comic strips, including Flash Gordon, The Phantom, and began drawing the Mary Worth comic strip in 1991.
  • Letterer Gaspar Saladino uses the "L.G. Peter" pseudonym for this issue. His three children are named Lisa, Greg, and Peter. He has also uses the pseudonym Lisa Petergreg.
  • This is the end of Roy Thomas' work as editor on Avengers. He'll be back in 1990 as writer for Avengers West Coast and some Avengers Annual (1967) issues. In the interim, he'll write hundreds of other comics, many for rival DC Comics, and for some cartoon shows as well. He's also one of the credited writers on the film, Conan the Destroyer in 1984.
  • A poster is displayed outside Avengers Mansion which advertises Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Moon was the founder of the Unification Church. They were known for weddings that included multiple couples. Giant-Size Avengers 4 will feature two weddings together.
  • Jarvis fields a call at the Mansion to let the team know Libra has escaped. The hooded figure still has not been identified as Libra and does not appear in this issue.
  • A footnote refers to an alternate spellings of Thor's hammer as Mjollner in other reference material by Editions Larousse, a French company known for its reference works. Marvel sticks with the Mjolnir spelling.
  • Hawkeye calls out, "Minnesota Fats," when making a bank shot. Minnesota Fats was a fictional pool player in The Hustler, but a real player, Rudolf Wanderone heard the character might be based on him and took on that nickname in real life. Though he never won a major tournament, he become the most recognized billiards player to the general public.
  • Wonder Man makes a comment that he feels like he is fighting himself when he attacks Vision. You would recognize an android with your own brain patterns, wouldn't you?
  • Thor's hammer striking Kang's face makes the FOOM! sound effect, while Wonder Man's blow to Thor is PHOOM! A footnote attached to the latter sound effect claims they are not the same sound.
  • Scarlet Witch does not appear on panel. Jarvis goes to knock on her door and is sent away by a nonhuman voice that he identifies as resembling hers.
  • When both teams are brought to the control room, The Ghost is not among them. After his attack on the Vision at the end of issue 132, he had not been seen again. Immortus does conjure him up later, saying he must "be brought back." Perhaps whatever interaction nearly killed Vision also destroyed Ghost and he needed to be resurrected?
  • Immortus does not send Human Torch back to his time period. He promises him the same answers that Vision will get. However, at the start of issue 133, the Human Torch is nowhere to be found. Perhaps between issues Immortus realized that the Torch knowing about his own future would be a problem and changed his mind?
  • A letter writer suggest that the X-Men character Havok be added to the Avengers team. The poor guy only had to wait until 2012 for that to happen. I hope he was still alive to see it.
  • The issue also features a reprinting of Avengers 2, though some panels are removed from the original story to fit it into a shorter number of pages. This story featured the Space Phantom as a villain. We soon find out the Space Phantom was a servant of Immortus, who appears in the main story.
Avengers Vol 1 133
Avengers 133
Yesterday and Beyond...
March, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Phil Rachelson
Immortus offers to answer the questions Vision and Mantis have about their backgrounds. He gives Vision a device called a Synchro-Staff that is to lead Vision through time to view his past. A second device is given to Mantis, and the rest of the team accompany her on a journey to thousands of years in the past, where her story began. In space, Moondragon intercepts a radio call for Captain Marvel and feels she must answer it herself. Vision sees the creation of the Human Torch android in 1939 by Phineas Horton. The artificial man appeared human, but any oxygen caused him to burst into flame. The android was buried to prevent it from flaring up, but some oxygen seeped underground, causing him to ignite and become free. In the present, the hooded figure reveals itself to be Libra and is told by the likeness of Swordsman that Moondragon is on her way. Mantis' group sees the events on the planet Hala at the beginning of the Kree civilization. The primitive Kree shared the planet with a plant species called the Cotati. Skrulls arrived on the planet, having mastered space travel and advanced technology. Noticing there are two intelligent races, the Skrull proposed a contest to determine which one will receive the support and technology of the Skrulls in the future. Small groups of each species were taken to an uninhabited, dead planetoid, which is coincidentally Earth's moon. Each group is given supplies and a year to create something to be judged by the Skrull. The Kree create a city in this time frame, and the Cotati create a garden. When it appeared that the Skrulls would choose the garden as the greater accomplishment, the Kree were enraged and killed all the Cotati and then all the Skrull judges.
Synchro-Staff: "The interjection of uncontemporaneous elements can pollute the time-stream!"
Hawkeye: "Sheesh! Do talking sticks haveta make such a big deal out of talking? It may be your only trick, but gee--!"
  • This is the first issue with Len Wein as editor. Wein started his career at DC Comics and wrote some issues of the Avengers' counterpart team, Justice League of America, while there. Wein was the current editor-in-chief of the entire Marvel color line of comics at this time.
  • The scene on the cover does not occur at all during the issue. Only the readers discover that the hooded figure is Libra. The Avengers are still in Limbo.
  • Immortus claims he has had five lives. As far as we know, they are the identities of Nathaniel Richards, Rama-Tut, Scarlet Centurion, Kang, and Immortus. The identity of Iron Lad had not been worked into the history of Kang yet.
  • Scarlet Witch has been in her room training for several days at the start of this issue. Since the Avengers team is outside of time in Limbo, when they return to "regular time" has no correlation to how much time they think has passed.
  • The radio call Moondragon responds to is probably the one the Avengers sent in issue 130.
  • The Synchro-Staffs are later revealed to have been Space Phantoms in the form of a staff.
  • The voice of the Synchro-Staff is female. Hawkeye calls it "ma'am." However, since they speak telepathically, that may just be the voice he chooses to hear in his own head. Studies show that the majority of men and women are more comfortable listening to a woman's voice from automation, such as GPS devices.
  • The Synchro-Staff is a stick from Limbo, making it a "Limbo stick."
  • This is the first true appearance of Moondragon in Avengers. She was in a short flashback in issue 125. She will officially join the team in issue 137.
  • The industrious Kree built an entire city in one year with only 17 men. Skrull culture considers 17 a round number, which is why they had this many participants in the test.
  • The city in the so-called "Blue Area of the Moon" had appeared in a few Marvel comics since its discovery in Fantastic Four (1961) 13 in 1963. This is the first time we find out who built it.
  • During the modern adventures of the Kree, those with blue skin are said to be the purest strain of the Kree species. The ancestors of the Kree shown here all have pink skin, however. It is later stated that the coloring was a mistake and they should have been blue.
  • During the events shown thousands of years ago, the Skrull emperor was Dorrek I. The Skrull Emperor during the recent Kree-Skrull War was Emperor Dorrek VII, and current Young Avenger Hulkling is Dorrek VIII. They are all from the same bloodline.
Avengers Vol 1 134
Avengers 134
The Times That Bind
April, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Sal Buscema and Joe Staton
Lettered by Tom Orzechowski
Colored by Phil Rachelson
The Avengers continue to see the past through the narration of the Synchro-Staffs. The Kree had wiped out the Cotati on their homeworld after losing the Skrulls' contest, but dormant seeds eventually grew a new crop of them. A sect of pacifist Kree, who will later form the Priests of Pama, received a telepathic summons from them, and the two groups entered a secret alliance. The priests were eventually discovered by the Kree military and exiled to a barren planet while the Cotati remained behind undiscovered. As related before, the priests defeated the Star-Stalker there, but their warning about it are not heeded. The priests were allowed to split into groups of two, and they smuggled Cotati seedlings with them across the galaxy. Vision continues to see the history of Human Torch as a crime fighter and begins to get some of the memories from this time back himself. After various adventures and deactivations of the Human Torch occurred, we see that the Thinker had sought the Human Torch android and revived him, bringing him into conflict with the Fantastic Four. He was apparently deactivated again and left in the Thinker's underground lab, later to be discovered by Ultron-5.  In the present, Moondragon arrives at Avengers Mansion and meets with Jarvis. When the Scarlet Witch leaves her room, Moondragon suggests they both go to Vietnam to seek the rest of the team, but Scarlet Witch refuses, intent on her studies. Sensing the Scarlet Witch has changed, Moondragon attempts to probe her mind, but Scarlet Witch discovers it, and the two battle until Moondragon is immobilized. Mantis' tale ends, and those Avengers return to the garden in Vietnam, where they find Libra and the spirit of Swordsman awaiting them.
Synchro-Staff: "It is better for men to find their own way. no man wishes to feel himself a puppet, even in the hands of friends."
  • The image on the cover in no way relates to the action in the issue. The characters are all in the story, but they are in different places and times and don't interact.
  • The 17 Kree warriors with a stolen Skrull spacecraft managed to carve out a star-spanning empire between the years of 0 and 476 on their calendar.
  • The Cotati chose their own evolutionary path to increase their mental power, but at the cost of their mobility, which is why they no longer move.
  • The Kree in the past are still incorrectly colored pink, but the narration does call them "blue men."
  • When the contest between Cotati and Kree took place on Earth's moon, a Skrull claimed life on Earth is still "trilling its cilia," implying it's still microscopic. When the Priests of Pama arrive on Earth, there are humans in Vietnam wearing Vietnamese clothing. This change would have taken millions of years rather than thousands. Outside of being a mistake, it's possible the Skrull was not being literal, but instead knew there were primitive mammals and was insulting them as being very inferior.
  • The two Priests of Pama that started the sect on Earth were named Son-Dar and Teress.
  • The Scarlet Witch continues to talk in a strange voice throughout the issue and has jagged word balloons as well. She claims her new knowledge of witchcraft allows her control over organic materials, and she controls wood and cloth during her battle with Moondragon.
  • At the return to the garden, the four Avengers on the cover of issue 133 are confronted by Libra without his hood, so that cover fits this issue or the start of the next one better.
Avengers Vol 1 135
Avengers 135
The Torch is Passed!
May, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by George Tuska and Frank Chiaramonte
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by George Roussos
Vision continues his viewing of past events. Ultron-5 wanted to mimic a human being in having a son, so he went to the Thinker for an android. The Thinker refused, but he offered the unused Human Torch to Ultron to placate him. Ultron took the comatose Human Torch android and worked on him for months before realizing he needed help. Ulton tracked down the Torch's inventor Phineas Horton and kidnapped him. Horton worked to repair the android's body, but he secretly went against Ultron's wishes and left his memory intact. When Vision awoke, he went berserk in the lab. Ultron fired a beam at Horton, and Vision calmed down and noticed Horton was dying. After a last moment together, Vision attacked Ultron for vengeance, but was shut down by Ultron's failsafe. Ultron continued the work himself and erased the Torch's memory, replacing it with the brain patterns of Wonder Man. Back on Earth, the rest of the Avengers, Libra, and the animated Swordsman are joined by Moondragon at the temple garden. She tells of her beginnings. Her family's car was made to crash by Thanos 22 years ago in order to hide his presence on Earth. Her parents died, but she survived and was taken in by the father of Thanos, Mentor, an Eternal living on Titan, the moon of Saturn, who witnessed the crash. Having finished his journey, Vision is set to return home, but he finds himself transported to a black void.
Phineas Horton: "My Torch, I was not a man for marriage--yet I wanted an issue, creation, some part of me to live on! I thought of you--and the thought grew into a dream--and that dream almost grew into reality! I built you flawed--just as I was flawed--but I gave you life. Tell me, was I...wrong?" (dies)
  • This is inker Frank Chiaramonte's only issue of Avengers work.
  • Colorist Glynis Wein, who had previously done three issues of Avengers, is announced as the new head of the Marvel Coloring Department this month.
  • In Avengers Forever 8, it is revealed that Immortus used an artifact called the Forever Crystal to split the Human Torch into two "chronal duplicates" of himself, allowing two diverging time lines to coexist together. They are both the true original. The fate of the first one is shown here. The fate of the second one was to be buried by the Thinker in a grave. This story was to reconcile two different story lines for the reader, but since most of the characters in Avengers Forever have their memories wiped at the end of that series, they're probably still confused.
  • This issue states that Ultron was 90 days old when he snatched the Vision.
  • The Thinker is protected from Ultron-5's hypnosis because he is coincidentally wearing Hypno Lenses. This tale takes place during Fantastic Four 68, where he had a Dr. Santini as his hostage and was using the lenses to hypnotize his captive.
  • Moments after Ultron-5 takes the Human Torch android, the Silver Surfer also arrives at the lab. This story had been told in Fantastic Four Annual (1963) 5, which was published the same month as Fantastic Four 68.
  • Moondragon's father Arthur Douglas was killed in the car crash she talks about, but his spirit was put into the artificial body of Drax the Destroyer by Mentor in order to combat Thanos. Drax did not keep the memories of his past life, however.
  • Moondragon's training was on Titan at the temple of Shao-Lom, which is unaffiliated with the Priests of Pama.
  • When Phineas Horton is kidnapped by Ultron, he is probably watching The Avengers television show. The voice from the television mentions Mrs. Peel, one of the main characters of the spy show that only shares its title with this comic book series.
  • Ultron-5 demands that Vision's skin be colored scarlet as a reminder of his days as the Human Torch.
  • Vision is activated in September of 1968, so narration says that makes him a Virgo.
  • The letters page mentions that the standard story length for their comics is at 18 pages.
  • This is the first Avengers issue to feature one of the classic full-page Hostess ads that feature Marvel characters in a pastry-related adventure. This one was titled Spider-Man in The Trap. Someone has already archived all these wonderfully bad Hostess ads at if you want to gorge yourself on them. Sadly, there are no Avengers Hostess ads. Solo heroes only.
  • Scarlet Witch does not appear in this issue again. Jarvis hears a male voice in her room, but when he breaks in, it is empty.
  • It is announced that former Avengers inker Mike Esposito will have a staff position making corrections to other artwork at Marvel. There must have been plenty to keep him busy, as he doesn't ink an issue of Avengers again.
  • Also this month, future Avenger Storm has her first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men 1.
Giant-Size Avengers Vol 1 4

Giant-Size Avengers 4
...Let All Men Bring Together
June, 1975
Written by Steve Englehart
Art by Don Heck and John Tartaglione
Lettered by Charlotte Jetter
Colored by Petra Goldberg
We discover that Vision has returned home to Earth, but he has been detoured to the depths of the planet near the molten core. He discovers that Dormammu and his sister Umar have kidnapped Scarlet Witch and Agatha Harkness there, and Vision moves to free them. Back in Vietnam, Immortus is surprised that Vision has not appeared and goes off to search for him. We discover that Moondragon was a strong contender to be Celestial Madonna, but despite her greater mental development, Mantis' deeper understanding of the emotional nature of humanity makes Mantis the most suitable Madonna. The Avengers discover that the villain team the Titanic Three are outside the temple, but they had already been defeated by Kang and left there. Thor, Iron Man, and Hawkeye split up to find Kang in the jungle, and each one runs into Kang in different areas. All three Kangs are defeated, and when the Avengers regroup and see the duplicates, they figure they have been decoyed and return to the temple. Meanwhile underground, the Scarlet Witch is mystically compelled to battle Vision. She uses her magic to drain Vision's power through his jewel, and he collapses, shocking her out of Dormammu's control. She uses magic to release Agatha Harkness and also cool the lava around them that Dormammu is using as an energy source. Vision disables Umar, and the weakening Dormammu surrenders, agreeing to free the captives and give up his designs on conquering Earth. Returned to the Mansion, Vision proposes marriage to Scarlet Witch, and she accepts. Mantis has discovered that her destiny as Celestial Madonna is to mate with the Cotati Elder, and after she mentally connects with its spirit, she agrees that she and it do complete each other, and she agrees to a marriage also. Another Kang appears in his Time Sphere and kidnaps Mantis, but Immortus tells the Avengers to let them go. We discover that Kang has only kidnapped Space Phantom and Mantis was safely hidden. Immortus, as the sovereign of Limbo, officiates over both marriages. Vision and Scarlet Witch plan for a honeymoon, and Mantis and the Cotati become pure energy and head out into space.
Thor (about Kang): "Will it never end? Are we doomed to face this man who laughs at time forever?"
Narration: "Then with lightened step, they adjourn once more to the temple garden--these special men and women who so seldom celebrate joy--and there, two men who are more than men stand proudly beside two women who are more than women--and bonds beyond words unite each with his own."
  • This issue's title seems to be the end of the title from Giant-Size Avengers 3, "What Time Hath Put Asunder."
  • The cover hypes a "wedding of the decade" singular, but there are two. I think the Vision and Scarlet Witch wedding is the one referred to, but draw your own conclusion.
  • This is inker John Tartaglione's first Avengers work. He is credited as John Tartag here.
  • Dormammu is revealed as the strange voice Jarvis heard from Scarlet Witch's room and who compelled her battle with Moondragon.
  • Umar and Dormammu are twins born out of magic, though they don't resemble each other. Umar does not have a flaming head that comes with being ruler of the Dark Dimension, but when she is temporarily ruler there, the Flames of Regency will surround her head.

  • Dormammu's bid to revive himself with the Earth's heat energy continues from Doctor Strange (1974) 7 and is also seen in issue 8 of that series, which takes place after this story.
  • The animated Swordsman corpse/Cotati Elder refers to itself as "this one," just like Mantis.
  • The Cotati says the Celestial Madonna is meant to represent the perfect human, but a man was never in the running. The Cotati Elder may have trouble being the female in the couple.
  • This issue says that Thor is the acting Chairman of the team now that Captain America is not a member.
  • Hawkeye starts to think it might be all right to be leader of the team. He'll get his chance to lead when he forms the West Coast Avengers team in 1984.
  • Immortus claims he only has one subject in Limbo, the Space Phantom. This is a lie. He has a whole group of Space Phantoms.
  • Up to four Kangs appear at the same time. Well, five, if you count Immortus as one. He pulls this off by time-traveling to this date from four different starting points from the future.
  • Since Kang snatches the false Mantis instants after "she" agrees to be married, Mantis is never seen actually accepting the proposal or communing with the Cotati. We have to assume she did so off-panel
  • Agatha Harkness leaves the series, claiming the Scarlet Witch has learned all Harkness can teach her.
  • Before she leaves the series, Mantis is made an actual Avengers member, the 15th to join. She will only appear in flashbacks until 1987, when she returns in Silver Surfer (1987) 3, which will also be written by Steve Englehart.
  • There is a letter on the letters page from Dean Mullaney. He would later go on to establish independent comic book publisher Eclipse Comics, where Englehart would write Scorpio Rose.
  • The giant-size book also reprints an Ant-Man adventure from Tales to Astonish (1959) 38 and a Black Widow adventure from Amazing Adventures (1970) 7.

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