Issue(s): Avengers #102, Avengers #103, Avengers #104
Scientists on Starcore One detect strange solar anomolies. The characters Dimitri and Hilary on Starcore One will appear again in Claremont's early X-Men stories, but i'm not tagging anyone with only a first name. They report their findings to Peter Corbeau and General Ross, and it eventually leaks out to the press.
Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper summons the Vision, offering to transfer his brain into Wonder Man's body.
The Vision is tempted, thinking if he had a real body he could date the Scarlet Witch. The Scarlet Witch breaks the news to Hawkeye that she loves the Vision, and Hawkeye, "for once in his life, he does something right. For once in his life... he says nothing."
Hearing of the solar anomalies, Quicksilver suspects that the Sentinels are returning to Earth. The X-Men can't be located. "For surely that shaggy Beast reported recently is not the loquacious X-Man of the same name."
The Scarlet Witch dresses up and goes for a midnight walk in Central Park.
She gets attacked by a Sentinel and the Avengers fail to rescue her, resulting in a tantrum from Quicksilver.
(The Vision is the first Avenger to show up to fight the Sentinel. As it scans him to determine how to attack it says "X-Ray visi-probe reveals three decades vintage". It is suggested later that this is proof that the idea that the Vision was built out of the remains of the GA Human Torch had been planned all along. It's also possible that this line of dialogue was an abandoned plot, such as perhaps Thomas originally intended to tie the Vision back to the Golden Age Vision in some way.)
Quicksilver leaves the group and heads for the Sentinel's former base but they are no longer using it. He then heads to the home of Judge Chalmers, where Larry Trask is also residing. Quicksilver grabs Trask, takes off his amulet, and makes him use his precognitive visions to find Wanda.
The Sentinels are demonstrating a Space Warp ability that they didn't have before. I didn't think much of it but apparently that's a major plot point.
The other Avengers are going over what little data is available about the Sentinels when they get a call from Peter Corbeau telling them that the sun is flaring dangerously and the cause of the flares is in Australia. The Avengers head off to Australia, without taking poor Rick Jones even though he saved the universe recently. They arrive in Australia and seeing the Sentinel's underground base, make a reference to my favorite move, Them. Here's their ant hill base:
The Vision, who was previously being written as coldly logical, is now the one who suggests rushing in without a strategy. I suppose it could be subtle character depiction, but it could also be Roy Thomas "anyone can say anything" dialogue.
Quicksilver and Trask also arrive in Australia due to Trask somehow tapping into the Sentinel's newly found Space Warp power.
The Sentinels' plot is to trigger radiation from the sun which will sterilize all humans, thus ensuring there will be no more mutants. Then they will create purebred humans that they can control and protect using genetic engineering. Why kidnap the Scarlet Witch? Well, because she's a girl, and they needed a mutant girl to trigger the solar flares. Does that make any sense? No, it's just lazy. The best thing Thomas could think of that makes the Scarlet Witch unique is that she's a girl? How about "Because your probability altering powers will allow us to trigger what would have otherwise have been a scientific improbability in generating a solar flare that sterilizes all of humanity", something like that? Sheesh, did you even try, Roy Thomas?
There's not really a lot of great battle scenes.
You'd think Iron Man and Thor fighting some super-powerful giant robots would result in some great shots, but the issue doesn't really focus on the fighting. Here's a good shot, though:
The Number Two Sentinel has been acting all funny and has oozy gunk coming out of his seams.
Apparently he mutated when flying around the sun. It's because of him that the Sentinels can now Space Warp. When the Avengers point out that he's a mutant (even though he's not, for a number of reasons, the least of which is that HE'S A GODDAMNED ROBOT!), the other Sentinels destroy him. Then the other Sentinels fall over for no good reason, killing Larry Trask.
The letter page in #103 has letters from two different ladies complaining about Roy's treatment of women. It also has a letter from a geeky guy detailing every Golden Age superhero that sprung out of Rick Jones' head during the Kree-Skrull War, which was helpful to this geeky guy.
This is Roy Thomas' last arc on the Avengers.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Quicksilver is "among the missing" at the end of this issue. He will next appear in Fantastic Four #131. Rick Jones appears directly in Captain Marvel #22.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (15): show
The "two different ladies complaining about Roy's treatment of women" were frequent letter-writers back then and actually ended up working in the comics industry. They're probably better known by their married names: Wendy Pini and Paty Cockrum!
Posted by: Shar | November 3, 2011 9:37 PM
Cool info! Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2011 8:04 AM
From what I've read, Thomas had indeed planned on revealing that the Vision was a transformed original Human Torch. Apparently it was actually Neil Adams' idea and he planted the first seed indicating such in issue #93. It was left to Englehart to make the big reveal. The Golden Age Vision, btw, was from another dimension and as far as I know was never revealed to be any sort of android.
Posted by: Fred W. Hill | February 17, 2012 11:33 PM
Well, to each his own. This is one of my favorite Avengers storyines of all time. Rating" A
Posted by: Tobbit | October 2, 2012 9:21 PM
This ends the Quicksilver-Scarlet Witch pairing. They go different directions after this. Quicksilver would not again become an active member of an Avengers lineup until the 380s.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 4, 2013 3:56 PM
If there is something I like about this is that the Sentinels are tough suckers this time. I read this after the New X-Men trashed the Sentinels arould the late 90s issues.
Posted by: David Banes | April 6, 2014 2:12 AM
It's a minor complaint, but perhaps a better choice of words would have worked for the caption "he does something right for once in his life" regarding Hawkeye. I know we shouldn't take it completely literally here, but one could argue that saving lives regularly and being a member of the Avengers was "doing some right" in his life.
Posted by: George Gordon | June 13, 2014 1:00 PM
In this context, it seems like the "does something right" refers to his love life, not his Avengers track record. Also, some nice Buckler art in here (but then, almost anyone looks good when inked by Sinnot). I especially like the noirish panel of Wanda changing into (out of?) her costume.
Posted by: Zeilstern | June 13, 2014 1:57 PM
I think Claremont contributed a lot more than just an idea for this book. The Scarlet Witch reads very much like a Claremont female, and a lot of the phrasing ("A pose. More's the pity.") is classic Claremont.
Posted by: Andrew | January 6, 2015 10:19 PM
I finally think I've worked out the origin of the Reavers' Australian Outback base.
In Avengers #103 it was revealed that the Mark II Sentinels build a base somewhere in the Australian Outback under Trask's supervision. In addition, the Mark II Sentinels were revealed to be the first model of Sentinels with self-repairing capability. And in Uncanny X-Men #234 and #239 the computer appeared to similarly be self-repairing.
Of further interest in this same Avengers tale, Sentinel Number Two uses a teleportational warp in #102, which Larry Trask goes on to supposedly channel in Avengers #103. While the teleportation warp is suggested to be a power of Number Two, given the story had significant plot assistance from Chris Claremont, I wonder when he finally got back to revealing the origins of the Outback base he would reveal the space-warp had secretly been created by Gateway?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 7, 2015 8:41 AM
But Nathan, the problem is we saw the Sentinel base in West Coast Avengers Annual 1- it had been converted into a particle beam research station by the Australian government.
Posted by: Michael | June 7, 2015 8:56 AM
@Michael: Dagnabbit. I wonder if Claremont was aware of this? Also what Australian desert was it shown in?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 7, 2015 9:27 AM
Larry Hama's Wolverine series also revists the Outback base and the Aussie Sentinels and shows them to be unrelated. Like Natan, I like the idea of a connection, but the published say there isn't one and I don't know whether Claremont ever inrended one. My line of speculation lately is whether Claremont intended the Outback base's creepy subteranean living computer to have any ties to another creepy subterranean living computer, the Mastermind system under Braddock manor.)
Posted by: Walter Lawson | June 7, 2015 8:58 PM
I do like that the Sentinels give the Avengers a lot of trouble and only Thor and Vision seem to have a lot less trouble. Ever thought of making the Sentinels a character of their own? I kept trying to track this one down for a re-look along with every Sentinel appearance.
Posted by: david banes | June 7, 2015 10:01 PM
@Walter: While its self-repairing capabilities may appear to be Claremont suggesting it was the Mark II Sentinels ant-hill base in the Australian Outback, in Uncanny X-Men #239, Storm notes that the Reavers' computer curiously contains a lot of info on the X-Men. I mean, its memory banks in this issue included a picture of Storm's outfit from the dimension the Adversary sent her and Forge too!?
So the dimensional viewing suggests something else entirely.
Its previously been argued it might somehow be connected to the Braddock Manor computer, Mastermind.
However, that never showed dimensional-viewing capability in its previous appearances.
So where did it come from, and precisely who was responsible for its creation?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | June 8, 2015 2:44 AM
@David, similar requests to tag things besides characters has come up a few times lately so i've added it to the Q&A.
Posted by: fnord12 | June 8, 2015 9:52 AM
The Mark 2 sentinals were clearly the most powerful. Only after these did they realise they need to make them a lot less powerful so the xmen can trash a lot of them. What's the point of making robot cannon fodder that doesn't easily get beaten? Kinda like the B.A.T.S. in GI joe. Only designed so that Snake-eyes/Wolverine can look cool destroying lots of em.
Posted by: kveto | June 8, 2015 2:34 PM
Thomas's idea for the Sentinels seems to be that they are invincible, and the heroes have to play on their warped logic to destroy them. It's a very 1950s/1960s take on intelligent machines.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 2, 2017 12:55 PM
Hey fnord, you've forgot to list Rick Jones in the character appearing list
Posted by: Bibs | March 8, 2018 1:43 AM
Added him, thanks Bibs.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 8, 2018 4:00 PM
Comments are now closed.
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