Issue(s): Avengers #157, Avengers #158, Avengers #159
As Mark notes below, the statue was woken up by a mysterious hand. Per the link James provides in the comments, Marvel counts this as an Ultron appearance; he's apparently in cahoots with the Grim Reaper in his upcoming appearance.
Per the note from Kurt Busiek at the Appendix:
As for Ultron -- the fact that it doesn't look much like his hand doesn't mean a lot, not at that point in his history. There had only been three villainous Ultrons before that -- Ultron 5 (Buscema Ultron), 6 (Barry Smith Ultron) and 7 (the "Omega" Ultron), and Ultron's body was very different every time. The features of his torso and limbs didn't get standardized until Ultron 8, the first Perez Ultron.
Interesting; and it's a shame that the lateness of the books prevented this plotline, which would have been pretty epic, from getting developed properly.
There's a bit of a Monty Python Black Knight scene where the statue loses limb after limb fighting the Vision but keeps attacking regardless.
As for the Vision comparison, here's a scene with the Scarlet Witch talking to Wonder Man. Interesting to see Wonder Man pick up on the fact that Vision is a copy of him, "except -- I'm still a man".
Starting with issue #158 we have the beginning of Jim Shooter's run on the Avengers (although he scripted #156). It starts with a brawl between the Vision and Wonder Man, both of whom have feelings for the Scarlet Witch due to the fact that they share the same brain pattern.
The Vision is trying to reject his human feelings, and he says he'll soon be abandoning his wife, but in the meantime he won't tolerate Simon moving in on her. Simon seems confused and isn't sure if he really was (although in some scenes it certainly sounded like he was). It's a key point - if Simon has exactly the same feelings and personality as the Vision, then it could be argued that the Vision really is a copy and not an individual person. However, i think it's pretty clear that they have different personalities, even if they are both attracted to the same lady. The fight is shut down by Iron Man without a resolution.
Shooter also introduces a new villain - Graviton.
He's immensely powerful, with abilities that seem more like super-telekinesis than gravity manipulation. He's taken over a research facility and trying to make one of the other scientists loooove him. He makes the whole compound levitate off the ground and float to Manhattan so he can demand things of the UN. The Avengers attempt to stop him but are soundly trounced.
Reserve Avengers Black Panther and Thor show up to help out. Unfortunately, the Black Panther doesn't do a damn thing. He's got an anti-field gadget that makes him immune to Graviton's powers, but he says it was made by Stark Industries, not Wakandan tech, and all he does is free the other Avengers while Thor goes one on one with Graviton.
Even with Thor, the Avengers probably wouldn't have won the fight, except the girl that Graviton looooves jumps off the floating island, seemingly killing herself. This causes Graiviton to compress all of the matter of the compound around himself (committing suicide?). Luckily, the lady scientist was rescued by Jarvis on an Avengers sky-sled.
A letter in issue #157 makes the case that Henry Pym is "no longer of sound mind", citing his recent behavior and his breakdown in Avenger #59-60. It also complains that the Wasp has recently been written as "dull" and "timid".
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #157 ends with the Vision standing over the rubble of the Black Knight Statue, and issue #158 begins with the same scene, so these otherwise unrelated issues are tied together. Thor and the Black Panther's appearances are context-free, so they can fit into any gap in their solo books. Thor specifically, however, is likely appearing here out-of-time. In issue #175 it is revealed that the Collector had been pulling Thor out of the timestream whenever the Avengers were in grave danger. Issues #162 and #165 are specifically cited, but Thor's conversation with Wonder Man in issue #167 indicates that this was a similar situation from his point of view. During Graviton's threat, Daredevil makes a brief cameo just lamenting that all he can do is help the police stop looters. It is also said that Dr. Strange, the other Defenders, and the Fantastic Four are not currently home.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (10): show
The Black Knight statue was brought to life by being touched by a metal hand reaching out from some kind of warp hole thingie. I don't think that ever got explained anywhere.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 16, 2011 5:21 PM
I've read somewhere, I believe in an issue of the Avengers Index that Marvel used to put out, that the "mysterious hand" belonged to Thanos.
Posted by: Bill | April 21, 2012 9:46 PM
I believe Marvel's official line is that the metal hand belongs to Ultron. There's some discussion of it at the Appendix: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/blackknightstatue.htm
Posted by: James | July 1, 2012 2:33 PM
Thanks for that link, James. I'm now listing Ultron as a character appearing since that seems to be the official decision.
The Appendix does mention that some people, like Bill, think it's Thanos, and say that's due to a comment that the In-Betweener makes circa Doctor Strange #28. Unfortunately i can't find the relevant line.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 1, 2012 8:57 PM
Well Kurt Busiek claims it was Ultron.
I'd be interested to know WHY Ultron would do such a thing, and why he hasn't used his statue-animating abilities and his space-warp creating abilities since.
That plus the hand I always figured it might have been the Great Fear, who later placed the spirit of the demon Ningal in the rubble and reanimated it to fight Doctor Strange.
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 9, 2013 6:06 PM
Nathan, one thing that helped convince me that this was the intention is that fact that as soon as Englehart gets back to Marvel and starts up a plot in West Coast Avengers, he basically picks up where he left off here with the same set of villains.
As for how and why, per the Busiek Quote:
The hand animated the Black Knight statue, which bashed a hole in the mansion _and_ shut down the security system. Who benefited from that?
Posted by: fnord12 | January 9, 2013 6:12 PM
@fnord: I'm speechless... genius!!!
Now there's the start of a fix in that. Please, please, please;)
Posted by: Nathan Adler | January 10, 2013 4:30 AM
I don't think Englehart was the source of the Ultron-behind-the-scenes subplot; he's stated in later interviews that his only planned story at the time he quit Marvel was to explore Wonder Man's reactions to modern life after being "dead" so long. Shooter was first hired at Marvel to be assistant to then-EIC Conway with plotting books, so I think Ultron's story was strictly the result of Conway & Shooter plotting together. I think when Archie Goodwin became EIC Shooter may have been relieved of co-plotting duties. As for why Ultron should be able to animate stone and create warpholes...well, this is Gerry Conway for you. He tended to get a lot of details wrong back then. This is the same guy who also showed the Scarlet Witch flying under her own power, and THAT had to be patched up later.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 12, 2013 5:18 PM
Kurt Busiek claims that the Scarlet Witch flying was Buscema's mistake, not Conway's.
Posted by: Michael | January 12, 2013 9:27 PM
I really can't agree with Busiek on that; John Buscema had drawn the Scarlet Witch quite a lot before that and had never shown her flying.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 12, 2013 11:08 PM
The way Marvel books were produced I highly doubt that Conway specifically requested a panel of the Scarlet Witch flying. More likely that Buscema just drew a dynamic pose and didn't much think about it. "Marvel Method" left a lot of power in the artist's hands. Writers didn't dictate visuals that were that specific unless it was a major story point.
Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2013 6:51 AM
Also it's not that logical to argue that it couldn't have been Buscema's doing simply because he'd never done it before. And if you're assuming that he only drew that flying scene "because the writer told him to" then you have to assume that the only reason he hadn't drawn one in the past is because he was similarly beholden to what the writers dictated.
Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2013 7:01 AM
Marvel books back then weren't 100% produced by Stan Lee's writing model--Roy Thomas, for example, always wrote full script. I'm not sure if Conway wrote full script or Marvel-style(giving his large volume at various times, I'm leaning to the latter), but even Marvel-style writing wouldn't prevent Conway from adding a flying scene; that depends on how detailed the plot synopsis was. Given that most comics in the 1976-77 period tended to be 17-18 pages of story, even a detailed synopsis wouldn't take that long to produce. And it certainly is logical to note Buscema never drawing the Witch flying before; he'd never drawn her that way since either. He certainly could have been beholden to what Lee & Thomas wrote prior to Conway, but that wouldn't prevent him from picking up on what characters did and didn't do. For comparison, after working with Thomas on Conan for about 8 years, Buscema proceeded to write AND draw Conan stories for the Savage Sword title--and he didn't get anything wrong there(he didn't show Conan lifting 2000 lb. boulders, for example). The fact that this is one of the few--if not the only--Conway/Buscema collaborations using the Witch, in my opinion, points the finger of blame at Conway. If you need more proof of Conway getting things wrong, just check out his contemporary work at DC at this period; his Swamp Thing issues are especially horrendous(Yes, I know that recommending DC books here is about as popular as asking people to eat chalk for lunch...)
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 23, 2013 3:27 PM
FOOM#15 indeed confirms that Conway was bringing back Ultron. I'm guessing that announcement got overlooked by everybody back then, considering the decades of confusion since.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 31, 2013 5:47 PM
To further confirm the confusion, FOOM#21(4/78) stated that Roger Stern would reveal in Dr. Strange who animated the statue(he never did).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 14, 2013 6:07 PM
Super-telekinesis and gravity manipulation are practically the same thing! Just ask the Red Ghost's Orangutan.
Hm, re-reading it Graviton and the woman he loves seems like a rough draft of the coming Korvac story.
Posted by: david banes | October 23, 2014 12:32 AM
You didn't list Judith Parks in the characters appearing list.
Posted by: Midnighter | December 22, 2015 11:02 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | December 22, 2015 11:35 AM
I'm on board with the Ultron explanation, but didn't "the reaching hand" only appear in flashback? Thus, shouldn't he be removed from the Characters Appearing list?
Posted by: Dan H. | December 22, 2015 12:50 PM
Generally speaking, if a flashback can plausibly take place directly before the main story, i count the appearances as part of the entry. In this case, the flashback takes place "not an hour" before the beginning of the issue, so it's really a media res situation.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 22, 2015 12:58 PM
Ah, that makes sense.
Posted by: Dan H. | December 22, 2015 2:36 PM
The Graviton Character is an under utilized asset in the Marvel Universe in need of updating. The brief exposure i had to a Franklin Hall character made for an interesting and conflicted persona with many potential applications for modern usage.
Posted by: RocknRollguitarplayer | July 12, 2016 6:11 PM
Graviton is one of my favorite underused villains.
Posted by: Mizark | July 21, 2016 5:35 AM
I'd really hesitate to call #157 a "fill-in" issue. Yes, Dashing Donny is deployed to substitute for Perez on the art (I don't know what's happening with George, but he had to leave the FF in Ron Wilson's hands at this same time, with assists from Sal B. on both books), but the story seems to fit right into the Avengers continuity; an austere tale that rids us of the Black Knight statue (no longer needed with Dane's spirit enjoying religious genocide back in the time of the Crusades) while setting up the Simon-Wanda-Vision triangle and laying on the VizhAngst nice and thick.
I rather thought Conway went out on a high note here, with the "were he flesh and blood" narration in the scans about the Stone Knight's suicide paralleling earlier narration about the Vision, and thus reinforcing Vizh's feelings of inhumanity and insecurity. Indeed, the lettercol that covered #158 (#162?) criticized Shooter for tying this up so quickly with a fight, an Iron Man intervention, and a sudden shift to the introduction of a very DC-esque new villain. (I've come to enjoy Frank Hall/Graviton through the years, but this origin is so very cartoonish.) So, much as Heck/Marcos is definitely not my preference on the art front, IMO #157 is the winner of these three.
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 14, 2017 4:16 PM
- if Simon has exactly the same feelings and personality as the Vision, then it could be argued that the Vision really is a copy and not an individual person.
Except that a copy comes after the fact; both Simon and Vision developed their feelings for Wanda after the Vision was created, so it's not as though Vizh is working from Simon's pre-established feelings or anything like that. IMO, it's a "two roads diverged" issue: Vision is Simon with a full body prosthesis, and Wondy is Simon having missed all the time in stasis. Their lives are independent trails from a common starting point, like very-late-in-life identical twins.
(John Byrne would disagree. But he can…well, you know.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 14, 2017 4:20 PM
I think what he's getting at is that the implication is that they are so identical that they end up falling for the same person, or that Simon had already started falling for Wanda before he died and it's only now being acknowledged, since the idea is that falling for Wanda is something that's already embedded in their shared brain pattern. Whether or not that makes any sense is another matter.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 14, 2017 8:19 PM
Simon never knew Wanda before he died... Avengers #9... Wanda was still 7 issues away...
Posted by: AF | June 15, 2017 11:38 AM
Like I said, it doesn't necessarily make any sense. Presumably the idea is that Simon falling for Wanda was in some way "predestined" in his brain pattern?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 15, 2017 3:34 PM
But I'm probably putting way more thought into this than any of the writers involved did.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | June 15, 2017 3:34 PM
Considering Wanda has had a slew of admirers, even for a Marvel heroine, I don't think attraction to her is indicative of any peculiar brain patterns. Vision and Simon do, however, share a tendency to make everything an opportunity for existential self-pity, so they look at a mutual attraction to Wanda as an excuse for "See? See? My life isn't my own!" diatribes.
Posted by: rabartlett | September 22, 2017 10:16 PM
Re: The 5 year old conversation, above, about the Scarlet Witch flying in Avengers #153:
There's a scan from page 21 of Avengers Annual #7, shown here, where I've long thought the Scarlet Witch appeared to use her hex powers to "fly" or at least to control her descent. The Avengers broke through the hull of a Sanctuary ship, and descended to the deck below (artificial gravity appeared to be in effect). Captain Marvel, Vision, and Moondragon all can apparently fly. Captain America and the Beast are presumably robust enough to survive the drop, which appears to be at least 20 feet or more. But what about Wanda? She looks kinda like she might be using her hex power to slow her descent. I've been intrigued by this particular Jim Starlin panel since I first saw it because of the uncommon variety of poses.
Wanda is also shown manifesting her hex power while flying in Avengers #153. Because of the weird nature of her powers, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me that she should be able to approximate the power of flight whenever the situation seems to demand it. JMO; I've long held this opinion with giving it too much thought, and was unaware that the idea was controversial before reading these comments.
Posted by: Holt | March 6, 2018 6:17 PM
I never thought Wanda was flying in that scene. She's clearly starting to throw a hex but there are people shooting at the Avengers- I think that she was trying to hex the shooters. It's possible to survive a fall from 100 feet without permanent injury if you're lucky. So maybe she was using her powers to change the odds to ensure she was unhurt.
Posted by: Michael | March 6, 2018 9:34 PM
I like the idea that she was changing the odds to ensure that she wasn't hurt by the landing. It could also be that whatever artificial gravity they were operating under was less than 1 G. But that's the general idea. I don't think that she can casually fly on a whim like Superman or Ms. Marvel, but rather, that her hex power might do anything she needs to have done, though unpredictably, and maybe without her even being conscious of what she's doing at the time. In Avengers #153 she also survives a long fall after being knocked out of the air by "a burst of sheer, unadulterated light energy," by sending a desperate hex at the ground below and "transforming solid earth into sparkling water -- which cushions her crushing fall!" Which definitely implies that, although she appeared to be "flying" during the opening splash, she wasn't exactly flying under her own power like Superman.
Exactly what got her started flying in the opening splash panel wasn't revealed in #153 as far as I can tell. Maybe Colossus threw her like a fastball special right before the splash, but I'm thinking she was just in a hurry to get there, cast a hex, and didn't even think about it or worry about how she was getting there. Much like the artist wasn't thinking about it either, I guess.:D
Posted by: Holt | March 7, 2018 9:42 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|