Avengers annual #8
Issue(s): Avengers annual #8
Of course it possesses her...
....and starts trouncing the Avengers.
Ms. Marvel makes a good showing, though.
Luckily the Vision shows up, and he's read Iron Man's report on Spectrum's weakness to ultraviolet light, so he's able to incapacitate her. The Avengers go to Dr. Strange for help in getting Janet unpossessed, but he's busy watching Clea dance.
He does tell them that the other Squadron Sinister members have been given a magical amnesia, and he recommends finding the previous host for the Spectrum gem and re-awakening them. Doing so will re-awaken all the Squadron members, though, so a team of Avengers is assigned to each one.
Hyperion is working as a physical trainer in a gym, and it just so happens that Thundra has shown up at the same gym looking for a job, so when the Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, and the Vision arrive, there's a big fight to be had. In the end, though, the Vision actually talks Hyperion out of his rage, to the dismay of Thundra.
Cap, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye are much less subtle with the Whizzer. They just knock his ass out.
I'm a little unclear about the remaining Squadron member, though. The Beast goes to see a Reverend Billy Roberts, who talks as though he had been previously possessed by the gem. But the last person to own the gem, an individual who previously fought as a member of the Squadron Sinister, was Dr. Kinji Obatu. This was the individual who was fighting the Defenders when his gem shattered and Pym collected the pieces to create the gem for Janet. The MCP confirms that this is Billy Roberts' first (and only) appearance. A flashback shows Roberts receiving the gem from a parishioner who found it in the trash after Iron Man's fight with Obatu in Iron Man #67. Perhaps Roberts briefly held the gem but Obatu came and took it back before the fight in Giant-Size Defenders #4. It's still unclear why Dr. Strange would send the Avengers to Roberts instead of Obatu. Update: See comments below. I believe this is actually a retcon saying that Billy Roberts has been Doctor Spectrum since Defenders #13-14.
In any event, the Beast brings Roberts back to the Avengers, but it turns out Roberts is still evil and he takes the gem for himself. The gem quickly transfers itself to Thor's hammer. Unlike the other possess-ees, Thor retains his real form and costume, but the Avengers still have a fight on their hands.
Eventually Thor is separated from his hammer long enough for it to revert back into a walking cane (and Thor back into Don, but only Iron Man is around and they already know each other's secret IDs), which destroys the gem.
The Wasp is especially poorly depicted in this issue, being flighty and immature about her birthday gift and then not getting any page time to fight back against possession, or even participate in the battle when she is unpossessed. She's wearing one of her weirder costumes, too.
It's an ok story for an annual (if you accept the premise of Pym being dumb enough to think a super-villain's weapon makes a nice birthday gift for your wife), with nice art by George Perez, who is in top form and has tons of characters to draw, which is always his favorite thing.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Ms. Marvel is wearing her black costume. This has to take place after Marvel Team-Up #76-77, because in that arc she says that the Avengers have not yet seen her new costume. The MCP places this between Avengers #177-178; it definitely seems to be before the forced team reduction in Avengers #181.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBeast, Black Panther, Captain America, Carol Danvers, Clea, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Iron Man, Jarvis, Krimonn the Power Prism, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Sinister Doctor Spectrum II, Sinister Hyperion, Speed Demon, Thor, Thundra, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man, Wong
Dr. Kinji Obatu was killed in Marvel Two-In-One #41.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 17, 2011 11:31 PM
I think the Spectrum-gem was later explained as a Skrull that got transformed into gem form(or something like that).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | September 3, 2011 8:57 PM
Actually, it was explained before this in Iron Man 65:
Posted by: Michael | September 3, 2011 9:36 PM
I didn't realize the importance of Mark's comment from July until i went through my Doctor Spectrum appearances recently in prep for adding Iron Man #63-67. I had this issue placed after Obatu's death in MTIO 41. Fixing it is no easy task, however. See the Considerations section above.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 17, 2011 1:52 AM
How does Obatu appear in the Annual? Is it possible his appearance is a flashback?
Posted by: Michael | December 17, 2011 10:17 AM
Michael, you're absolutely right. While the MCP lists Obatu as appearing both in Flashback between Defenders #14 and Giant-Size Defenders #4, and not in Flashback between GSDef #4 and MTIO #40-41, i've just re-read the issue and i don't see him *at all*. I'm going to shift everything back to where i had it originally; thanks for talking me off the ledge.
Additionally, re-reading this issue, i now believe that this issue is introducing a retcon saying that every appearance of Doctor Spectrum since Iron Man #67 was actually Billy Roberts, not Dr. Obatu. The gem was shattered in Iron Man #66 and we see it slowly repairing itself. Then in this annual we see a flashback with a guy finding it during the clean-up of that fight, and it eventually makes itself to Roberts.
So it seems like the MCP has a couple of mistakes around Obatu. One possibility is they were tracking appearances of the Prism itself as a Doctor Spectrum appearance (they don't track Krimonn as a separate character), but that gets confusing since they also list the powerless Obatu in MTIO in the same entry.
Anyway, i've got some revisions to make (and un-make). ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | December 17, 2011 10:54 AM
Carmine Infantino was the originally announced artist for this.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 26, 2012 4:14 PM
In FOOM#21, Roger Slifer says outright that this story is meant to fix Dr. Spectrum's continuity issues in Defenders, but he obviously had difficulties making that clear.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 13, 2013 6:07 PM
What was the point of Hyperion and Whizzer's inclusion? Besides a chance for two pretty unimpressive fights, they ultimately don't add anything to the plot at all and the Avengers going to them serves no purpose to their goals.
Posted by: AF | March 2, 2016 5:22 AM
The explanation is that if the Avengers are going to wake up any of the Squadron Sinister from their amnesia, they're going to wake up all of them. So since they have to wake up Dr. Spectrum, they have to deal with the return of the other two villains. So the Avengers get a little proactive about it instead of just letting those villains roam free.
Narratively speaking, they are definitely detours to allow for some gratuitous appearances and fights, but hey, it's an annual.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 2, 2016 7:35 AM
Hey fnord, I notice your review doesn't mention how Thor is separated from his hammer. It happens because under the gem's evil influence, Thor is no longer "worthy" of the power of Thor. So he can no longer hold the hammer, and after being separated from it for 60 seconds he transforms back into Donald Blake, as a sort of safety valve against a god gone mad. I thought that was a nice explanation of the details of Odin's enchantment that otherwise had seemed pretty arbitrary.
Posted by: Andrew | November 27, 2016 12:16 PM
When I helped write the Krimonn profile over at the Marvel Appendix, I took it as read that this story retroactively makes the Dr. Spectrum seen in Defenders into Billy Roberts. One detail that lines up nicely is that Spectrum's prism doesn't "talk" in any of those Defenders stories; tin Defenders #13, it's claimed in a single line of dialogue that Nebulon removed Krimonn's mind from the gem....which gets retconned here into Roberts suppressing it through sheer force of will.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | March 22, 2017 6:25 AM
Vision bathes Dr. Dpectrum in UV with a pair of sun lamps which Henry Pym had in his home. Doesn't struck me as the type who is into tanning. I hope the lamps were there for experimental purposes.
Posted by: jti88 . | January 26, 2018 3:47 PM
Maybe the sunlamps belonged to Janet Pym. Because she's somewhat more vain and narcissistic than her husband Henry. Maybe. If they're even still married at this point. I've lost track.
Posted by: Holt | March 25, 2018 10:46 AM
Comments are now closed.
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