Avengers annual #23
Issue(s): Avengers annual #23
Loki immediately outsources his efforts to Typhon who is imprisoned in Tartarus (said to be the lowest level of Hades). Typhon still doesn't have his snake legs, but when Loki frees him he takes along a rag tag group of other monsters.
Meanwhile, Henry Pym is performing some amazing acts of tumbling to try to get Hercules' attention.
Captain America is down in the dumps too.
But we're focused on Hercules. He eventually gets bored of tossing Pym around and drops him (nearly breaking his neck). He then goes out on the town with a pair of women, trying to drown his sorrows. But when his dates ask about why he had to perform the Twelve Labors, history nearly repeats itself.
Typhon and his monsters attack at the restaurant, and Hercules is quickly subdued. But his Avengers alert card is triggered and the Avengers come to his aid.
But Typhon escapes, leaving the Avengers to deal with saving civilians from the collapsing building. Observing from afar, Loki is nervous to hear that Typhon says he's going after Zeus next, which wasn't part of the plan. Typhon forces Hercules to drink from the River Lethe, causing him to lose his memories and believe that Zeus banished him (Herc) to Hades. So Hercules accompanies Typhon and his monsters on a raid of Olympus. It turns out that Typhon isn't even after the gods; he just wants his axe which has been kept in the Temple of Promethean Flame. Retrieving his axe from the fire causes the Olympians to become insubstantial spirits.
But Thunderstrike manages to transport the Avengers to Olympus as well.
Captain America taunts Hercules about his dead wife and children. He eventually leads him through another river which washes away the effects from Lethe. So Herc switches sides.
But, having retrieved his axe, Typhon finally gets his snake limbs. Whoohoo!
But despite this development, the Avengers get Typhon's axe away from him and back into the Promethean Flame (reignited by Crystal). That allows the Olympians to return.
Pluto denies any involvement, though, and Persephone (in her first appearance) vouches for him.
Despite his failure, Loki is still confident that Pluto will attempt his end of the bargain.
It's always nice to see John Buscema, but i can't stand Hercules' current design so it's hard to appreciate the art. And the art always feels a little unfinished when he inks himself. But i love his monsters and action shots.
In a second story, Henry Pym is getting his ass kicked again.
But, later, the Vision is surfing the internet and picks up an adorable computer virus called Glitch.
At the next day's training session, Pym is actually winning the fight. And that can't be right, so he - slowly! - realizes that something is wrong with the Vision.
And i mean very slowly. This is two pages after the scan above.
Glitch is defeated thanks to automated defenses within the Vision, not due to anything Pym does.
It's really amazing how without even trying creators always make Henry Pym look unsuited for the super-life. Frankly, i'd replace him with Glitch if i was in charge of the Avengers.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have this between Avengers #376-378 (#377 is a solo Quicksilver story), but this doesn't seem to have any specific dependencies and i've placed it earlier. Cap has "diminished strength". The MCP have this between Thunderstrike #10-11, but there's a discrepancy because Thor appears in Thunderstrike #10 in his new costume, and the MCP have him there during Thor #476. But Thor annual #19 is the second part of this story, and it explicitly takes place during Thor #475 before Thor gets his new costume. So Thunderstrike's appearance here would have to take place prior to Thunderstrike #10.
The MCP consider Mephisto to be behind-the-scenes because Loki is currently a prisoner of his realm, but i don't consider that to be enough to merit tagging him. The MCP have the second story taking place directly after the first.
Following the MCP, i am tagging the cyclops who in this story is called Arges as "Argus", a cyclops who appears in a few other stories.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showArgus, Bia, Captain America, Crystal, Henry Pym, Hercules, Kratos, Loki, Persephone, Pluto, Thunderstrike, Typhon, Vision, Zeus
This was one of the rare occasions when Hercules's killing of his wife and children was mentioned before the 2005 New Labors of Hercules series.
Posted by: Michael | February 19, 2018 8:20 PM
The story's title "Strangers On An Astral Plane" was Roy Thomas riffing on "Strangers On A Train," the Patricia Highsmith novel subsequently filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. The plot, of course, involves two men who propose to "swap" murders, the idea being that they will give each other an alibi, and no one will suspect them since neither would have a motive.
Look, what do expect? It's Roy Thomas! He loves his pop culture references! At least we got a new Avengers story drawn by John Buscema out of the deal.
By the way, that blonde who Hercules was trying to chat up really knows how to put her foot in her mouth... "Hey, look at the bright side. At least now you're available for dating." Ouch! I think Hercules finally discovered the downside of chasing after airheaded floozies.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 20, 2018 10:35 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|