Issue(s): Avengers #105, Avengers #106, Avengers #107, Avengers #108
It's been 10 days since Quicksilver vanished and the Scarlet Witch is getting upset.
The Scarlet Witch hears about an incident that she thinks may related to Quicksilver, and it leads the Avengers to Chile. A bunch of Asgardians are staying at the Avengers Mansion right now (and also Tana Nile, the Rigellian), and Sif accompanies the Avengers. The Black Panther also returns, having been in the area after working with Daredevil recently.
From Chile, they wind up in the Savage Land. On their way there, the Black Panther discusses his recent name change from the Black Leopard and back:
I did not want my personal goals and tribal heritage confused with political plans made by others. But in the final analysis, I decided that made as much sense as altering the Scarlet Witch's name -- because witches are generally thought of as ugly.
Not sure about the witch analogy, but ok.
Once they arrive in the Savage Land, they're attacked by the Savage Land Mutates (called the Beast-Brood here).
You'd think that if Englehart wanted to bring Sif along, it's because he had plans for her. And i guess maybe his plan was to make her look weak and pathetic.
She has a slightly better showing further into the battle, but still. That's sort of her defining moment for the issue.
Later in the battle, the Mutate Lorelei...
...uses her powers to charm all the men (look how happy they are!)...
...but the Vision is unaffected. This demoralizes him. The lead turns out to be false, but the Scarlet Witch immediately discovers another clue (i think she's grasping at straws). The Vision, however, stays behind.
While the Vision is sitting around moping, Captain America returns to the mansion. Before he can dig in too deep into the Vision's problems, Rick Jones shows up.
I think Rick is on drugs or something, because he immediately starts foaming at the mouth yelling about how Cap wouldn't take him on as a partner and he's got Captain Marvel now so nyyaaah.
I thought Rick and Cap had already resolved their issues around this same subject back in Avengers #72, but i guess after last issue when Rick wasn't allowed to come along to fight the Sentinels, old wounds are re-opened.
But Rick's transformation into Captain Marvel induces flashbacks in Captain America.
I think that image is supposed to be Steranko-esque, but it looks more Gil Kane-ish to me.
It turns out that Captain America has some repressed memories that take place after his first fight with Madame Hydra. It turns out that Hydra was taken over by the Space Phantom, and he used their resources to examine Cap and determine that he's the best candidate for a brain transplant for the Vision. The Phantom has teamed-up with the Grim Reaper, who is looking for a new body for his "brother". In order to clear the decks for the Vision, the Grim Reaper also made the entire world forget the revelation that Steve Rogers is Captain America that caused a big mess for Cap some time ago. He then wiped Cap's memory of the incident.
So basically with that retcon, the world didn't know that Cap was Steve Rogers beginning with Captain America #113. A necessary if convoluted retcon.
In an annoyingly convenient coincidence, at the same time Cap is re-remembering all of this, the other Avengers are following up on the Scarlet Witch's second false lead, which also brings them to the Space Phantom (after he causes trouble by making them fight each other, of course).
The Space Phantom is still running a Hydra unit and still in his unlikely alliance with the Grim Reaper.
The Vision agreed to the Grim Reaper's plan, but that was a ruse, and he and Captain America help rescue the other Avengers (when the Black Panther is freed he says "As a kindred spirit once said "Free at last! Free at last! Lord almighty, I'm free at last!", which made me cringe)...
...but then they all get caught again (Thor, who the Space Phantom is powerless against, or at least can't replace, is away at the time). However, when the Space Phantom tries to replace Rick Jones, he finds himself stuck in Limbo instead due to the fact that he shares a body with Captain Marvel. The scene in which the Scarlet Witch proves to be utterly useless, despite looking totally awesome...
...turns out to be another ruse, as explained by Captain Marvel in novel form.
This one was not a winner for Englehart, but it does continue the development of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch's romance, which is nice even if it is getting pretty far into the melodramatic category. The Scarlet Witch never does find Quicksilver, though. He's actually with Crystal and the Inhumans.
I initially read issue #108 without issues #105-107, and i gave it a little leeway for its chaotic nature thinking that it would have been clearer if i'd read the whole story. But... not really. I mean, i can follow it, but it's a schizophrenic story.
One thing that's interesting is that Englehart pretty much opens his run on the Avengers with a plot designed more to a fix continuity problem than tell a good story. I always thought that was more Roy Thomas' thing, but clearly not. And wait until we get to the Celestial Madonna saga!
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor leaves the Avengers in issue #105. Later in the same arc, the Space Phantom says that Thor is in Vermont. So Thor #206-207 take place concurrently with this story. That also means Marvel Team-Up #7 takes place concurrently, since that happens before Thor #206. The Black Panther appears here after Daredevil #92.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (12): show
This may be Dave Cockrum's first art for Marvel after doing the Legion of Super-Heroes for about a year for DC.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2011 4:57 PM
The Cap-and-Bucky Vs. Hydra pages were actually from a leftover inventory story, and Englehart rearranged and dialogued them to make everything fit.
Lorelei had blonde hair in her previous X-Men appearance.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 20, 2011 11:04 PM
Just adding to Mark's last comment here; the lettercol in Avengers #110 says that the Tuska portion of issue #106 was originally intended for Captain America #114 "but then Mr. Lee decided to take a new tack with that strip, and so had Johnny Romita draw a completely different saga. The Tuska story went on the shelf... until we figured we could insert it into the Avengers to back Rich up, and did. It then fell to Stainless Steve to combine two different storylines into one tale". Rich Buckler had been behind deadline, which is what necessitated using the Tuska art.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 23, 2013 4:41 PM
Fandral looks like Colonel Sanders!
Posted by: William Quinter | October 7, 2013 4:50 PM
@ fnord - I can't tell if you made a hilarious spelling error or if this is just Marvel being Marvel, because chili is a kind of food and Chile is a country in South America.
@ Mark Drummond - "Lorelei had blonde hair in her previous X-Men appearance." That's nothing. Wanda starts this page with black hair, later has fairly reddish hair and then has brown hair with a little bit of red by the end of the page.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 11, 2015 6:47 PM
That was all me. I guess i was hungry. Fixed it; thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 11, 2015 9:29 PM
Engelhart got a couple of "low man on the totem pole" assignments when he took over this book and Captain America and the Falcon; here he's supposed to work the 3-year-old Tuska pages into continuity (I'd guess that George was demanding payment for them and Marvel wasn't about to fork over the cash with the pages still sitting in a drawer) and there Roy Thomas had given him the bare-bones of the "explain how the 1950s Cap wasn't really our Cap" plot and told him to go from there. Steve handled the "two Caps" plot with aplomb, but this is kind of a mess, with the heroes winning through largely luck and a ridiculously convoluted "plan".
Still, some good stuff. It's nice to bring back the Space Phantom after all this time (inactive since issue #2), even if he eventually becomes the chronological equivalent of a Doom-Bot, i.e. the lazy writer's device to hand-wave away anything he doesn't know how to deal with. (Ironic given that, in this story, he's here to legitimately fix a continuity problem, not just make it disappear.) We get some Starlin art, and the story serves as a foundation upon which to build other, better "Williams brothers" tales (such as #160's "The Trial") in the future.
Plus we get another moment of Hawkeye Being Awesome, in the "Mustn't point, Shell-Head!" panel shown above. Clint has absolutely zero idea what's going on, he's just been shunted to Limbo and back without any memory of the experience, and he doesn't even have his arrows…
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 28, 2016 8:45 PM
…and yet he instantly grabs Iron Man (!) in a full-nelson, saving the Panther's life.
It may not quite be up there with stopping the nuclear annihilation of Earth single-handedly, without powers or weapons, or hard-ball negotiating with the God who wants to raise you from the dead, or saving all of existence by bluffing out an Elder of the Universe, but it's okay work for a guy in a skirt, I'm thinking.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 28, 2016 8:54 PM
However, my love of Hawkeye and Englehart aside, I still have real problems believing you can walk from Chile to the Savage Land, as in #105 here, convenient underground tunnels aside. It is 620 miles from Tierra del Fuego to Cape Adams (at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula), after all.
Even if we postulate that the Savage Land starts halfway across that (and it's usually portrayed as being accessed through a rift over the Antarctic mainland, not out by the edge of the peninsula), that's still a lot of wear and tear there. Take the Quinjet, guys. Seriously.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 28, 2016 9:04 PM
Here's a puzzle: the Space Phantom/Grim Reaper plan begins ca. CAPTAIN AMERICA #113. But the Grim Reaper only discovered that the Vision had Reaper's brother, Simon Williams/Wonder Man's brain wave patterns in AVENGERS #79. And that takes place around the time of CAPTAIN AMERICA #128. Have I missed something?
Posted by: ubersicht | August 28, 2016 9:18 PM
I seem to remember Shooter saying that he had a similar issue with Englehart ignoring distance when Englehart was writing for Valiant.
Posted by: Michael | August 28, 2016 11:22 PM
The Tierra del Fuego entrance to the Savage Land was Roy Thomas's idea, not Engelhart's; it's a key part of Sauron's origin in Uncanny X-Men #60. And Ry claims int hat issue that Tierra del Fuego "skirts the Antarctic."
And in Uncanny #62, the Angle somehow manages to fall from a mountaintop in Tierra del Fuego into a mysterious chasm and ends up deep in the Savage Land. Later still, we'll learn in a Claremont/Byrne story that when Karl Lykos jumped to his death in that same location, he too managed to end up in the Savage Land.
The idea may be that there's some kind of portal.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | August 29, 2016 5:47 AM
@ubersicht, Space Phantom could have infiltrated Hydra first and only later entered the partnership with Grim Reaper. On Avengers #107, page 28, Space Phantom says that he became a new Supreme Hydra and continued his scheme after Madam Hydra appeared dead, which happened at the end of Cap #113. So it might not have been until after Cap #128/Avengers #79 that Space Phantom realized he needed Grim Reaper's knowledge to further his plans.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 29, 2016 11:03 AM
While the Grim Reaper doesn't appear in those flashbacks, Space Phantom does explicitly refer to him during the exposition that precedes his erasing the memory of "Steve Rogers" from all mankind and the memory of these events from Captain America's own mind. Your own comment pins these events - the retcon that Cap's secret identity is secret again - to ca. CAPTAIN AMERICA #113 and I really don't think there's any basis to take it any other way since Rick Jones is still has partner in the battle leading up to the encounter with Space Phantom.
AVENGERS FOREVER actually could help here. As an agent of Immortus really (but unknowingly) doing these things to further Immortus' plans vis-a-vis Scarlet Witch, we could just accept that he "somehow" foresaw that Grim Reaper would become an ally and have certain motivations. The phrase "projected partner" is a peculiar one but makes some sense if this were the case.
Posted by: ubersicht | August 29, 2016 7:05 PM
My apologies to Steve, then. Albeit with a scornful glance at Roy for the "skirts the Antarctic" line. As if Magellan didn't have enough problems getting around the Cape…
The portal idea actually works, since we know there are the Nuwali portals to Antarctica (and presumably the Savage Land) from FF #313-317. Perhaps Steve was even attempting to cover this question in those issues.
Posted by: Dan Spector | August 30, 2016 1:15 AM
Buscema's art in #105 was a fill-in due to Buckler's wife having a baby.
Wendy Pini has a letter in #107.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 28, 2017 11:05 AM
The flashbacks in issue #107 show that the Space Phantom first approached the Reaper shortly after Avengers #52; he's even colored to show the awful red/green/blue costume he wore in that story.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 2, 2017 6:50 PM
Man I hate The Savage Land, especially the Mutates or whatever they are called. Also there's no way Hawkeye could move Iron Mans arms against his will. That being said, I like this story in spite of it being a mess. I mean what, they planned that The Space Phantom would randomly decide to replace Rick? Maybe Captain Marvel had a vision...
Posted by: OrangeDuke | December 23, 2017 9:12 PM
This will be the first in a string of heroes using villains to erase the knowledge of their secret identity from the entire world. After Cap/Space Phantom, we'll have Iron Man/Mentallo, Spider-Man/Mephisto, and Daredevil/Killgrave (and probably others I'm forgetting). I'm not sure how the non-magical villains erased written and electronic records, unless they planted a post-hyponotic suggestion for their victims to do it themselves.
Posted by: Andrew | December 29, 2017 7:01 AM
Not that it matters much, but "One Moment In Time" revealed that it was in fact Dr Strange, Reed Richards & Tony Stark, using a mixture of magic & tech, who erase the knowledge of Spider-Man's identity, nothing specifically to do with Mephisto who only erased the marriage.
Why it took Mephisto erasing his marriage before Peter could persuade Strange to help is not clear, but that's that abomination of a storyline for you.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | December 29, 2017 9:42 AM
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