Characters Appearing: Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Swordsman, Thor, Vision
Issue(s): Avengers #115
Well, the Avengers are wondering what happened to the Black Knight, so they fly to his castle in England. After a brief, weird scene where the "British division" of SHIELD shows up...
...and tells the Avengers that the Swordsman and Mantis aren't allowed in England and are then easily convinced that maybe it's ok after all, the team finds out that the castle is surrounded by a magical forcefield.
Mantis uses her empathetic powers to learn that the forcefield was created by Doctor Strange, but they don't know if he was working for good or ill.
Michael pointed out in the comments for issue #110 that per the Illuminati retcon, Iron Man should have known how to contact Professor X, and we have a similar problem here. The Avengers aren't sure if they can trust Doctor Strange and are wondering what he might have done with their former teammate, but Iron Man should be able to find a way to say "No, no. He's cool."
Anyway, that's all set-up for the Avengers/Defenders War.
The action for this issue is a group of, erm, troglodytes that have been living in caverns underneath the land around the Black Knight's castle, for centuries.
The story is that they were driven underground in medieval times by knights because they were poachers. And, per a thought bubble from Thor, they engaged in "inbreeding 'til their intelligence and bodies did devolve! They have reverted to savage monsters!". They've been surviving all these years by periodically raiding the Black Knight's castle, and now they're cut off thanks to the forcefield and they assume that the Avengers are responsible since they are dressed similarly to the Defenders.
The troglodytes manage to capture the Avengers thanks to the use of underground gas, which also saps their will.
Eventually the gas wears off and the Avengers fight their way out and turn the troglodytes over to the local authorities.
I was pretty annoyed by this issue when i first read this issue because you've got several pages of the Avengers tied up with common ropes.
It's only later in the story that we learn that the gas was "will-destroying". Until then, you're like, "So break out of the ropes already!".
Even accepting that (and that the likes of Thor, the Vision, and Iron Man could be so easily beaten with gas), this issue is basically the Avengers versus non-superpowered cavemen. Not a very credible threat. Ok, there's also the giant scorpion.
Bob Brown's art can get wonky at times (see also the close-up of the Scarlet Witch above).
This is a proper use of the word "troglodyte", and i knew that, but i was first introduced to the word through Dungeons & Dragons where they are essentially giant lizard men, so accepting these cavemen was difficult for me through no fault of the book.
In the lettercol, someone is enthusiastic about the recent X-Men appearance in issue #110 and asks for their book to start up again, and the response is:
Unfortunately, as of this writing we still don't have a firm date for the merry mutants' reappearance, but we've chosen the writer, worked out the concept... all we're waiting for is the proper opening in our schedule. Just keep hangin' in there, and someday, when you least expect it...
Another letter, by Duffy Vohland, mentions the revelation that the Vision is really the original Human Torch that was published in Gallery. There's no response.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story also includes a prologue to the Avengers/Defenders war with Loki and Dormammu, but, as with the prologue in Defenders #8, i'm covering it in the entry for that crossover, since the prologues were included in my trade.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Richard Howell also has a letter here.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 28, 2017 11:09 AM
Might be one of the saddest showings for the Avengers, losing to unpowered cavemen.
Posted by: kveto from prague | June 4, 2017 8:42 AM
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