Issue(s): Avengers #82
I don't like the Zodiac, but i do like the idea that they are a big group that nonetheless often act independently of each other.
Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Quicksilver have already been captured...
...and the Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Goliath are stuck in Jersey outside of the forcefield that the Zodiac have generated, and so are the Fantastic Four (in upstate New York dropping off Sue at Agatha Harkness' place) and Spider-Man (resting at Aunt May's place in Queens and (my interpretation) not in any state to go anywhere after the death of Captain Stacy). I appreciate that Thomas takes care to mention where the other NYC heroes are at the moment. The Black Panther is free and so is Daredevil. They manage to free the big guns, and then Thor puts a stop to all this nonsense.
That's what Thor thinks of the Zodiac.
In the epilogue, we return to the Avengers' debate about where they should have been focusing their efforts, and conveniently enough, it turns out that all the recent stories were actually related to the Zodiac. We learn here that Van Lunt is associated with the organization, but not yet that he's Taurus.
There's an appearance by the semi-generic president. I normally don't track real historical figures, but that nose means it's Richard Nixon who i track as Secret Empire Agent Number One.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place "less than 24 hours" after Daredevil #69. Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man all appear her directly after their appearance in Avengers #81; see that entry for their individual chronologies. Peter Parker's appearance here is context free (I'm out of sync with the Index/MCP but i don't think there's a problem). The Fantastic Four are dropping off Sue at Whisper Hill. The Index has this appearance directly after FF #94, Agatha Harkness' first appearance. I don't think that makes sense or else Johnny would be saying that they were dropping off Franklin. It seems to me that the team is just dropping off mom for a visit; nothing indicates its their first time to Harkness' place. So i'm also assuming the FF's appearance is context free and can go in any gap.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
Roy Thomas later stated this story was inspired by a novel called "The Siege" about Manhattan being held hostage by a Black Militant army.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 3, 2013 5:56 PM
Daredevil's mention of the "three blind men and the elephant" parable will come back in a truly bizarre and pretty bad issue of West Coast Avengers almost 20 years later.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 1, 2015 9:12 AM
Something that only recently occurred to me... did Thor actually kill Aries and several Zodiac goons when he destroyed their escape craft? That appears to be the case. Of course Thor had justification in doing this, since Aries was right in the middle of using the Zodiac Key to shrink the force field in an attempt to kill everyone in Manhattan. But this does seem to be the first instance of one of the Avengers deliberately using lethal force in their capacity as a member of the team.
In any case, in my estimation this was an stand-out tale. The Zodiac is depicted as a formidable adversary both in their ability to take control of Manhattan and their casual willingness to murder everyone in the city if their ransom demands are not met. It also works well because it's an action-packed done-in-one, with Roy Thomas telling the entire story within a single dramatic issue. Nowadays if Marvel did a story like this it would probably be some sort of decompressed multi-parter that crossed over into several different titles.
(In fact, in the mid-1990s Marvel *did* attempt to do another "Zodiac seizes Manhattan" type Avengers story in the four issue "First Sign" crossover, and it was much less effectively executed than this.)
Posted by: Ben Herman | September 3, 2016 12:27 AM
The splash page seems to suggest that Zodiac was meant to replace HYDRA as the big terrorist/subversive organization of the Marvel Universe.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 3, 2016 8:28 AM
@Ben-yeah, it's confirmed in Englehart's Zodiac story in Avengers 120-123 that Aries died.
Posted by: Michael | September 3, 2016 10:01 AM
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