Issue(s): Avengers #164, Avengers #165, Avengers #166
The Avengers' top scientists examine Wonder Man to try and figure out exactly what he's made of.
Tony Stark, Black Panther, and Henry Pym perform the tests. It's still surprising to see Pym just kind of back together with the gang again after his complete breakdown in Avengers #162, but he's already got an appearance in Marvel Team-Up under his belt, so i suppose some time has already passed. The Beast is there, too, but just like in combat, he feels like a second stringer. I was surprised by this; i thought with the recent demonstration of the Beast's lack of power in battle, they'd be setting him up in the scientist role instead, but nope, Shooter is saying he's not up to par there as well. Instead... he discovers he's a hit with the ladies.
Meanwhile, Count Nefaria contacts Erik Josten, formerly known as Power Man until Luke Cage beat the name right out of him. He powers up Josten and also recruits Whirlwind and the Living Laser, creating a return of the Lethal Legion. They go to rob a bank (and they complain about how such a mundane crime is demeaning to them), and bump into the Avengers.
The Scarlet Witch, in particular, makes a nice showing...
...but in general the Avengers don't do so good and the Legion manages to escape. The Avengers spend the next couple of days holed up in their mansion trying to figure out next steps. Iron Man is technically team leader, but it's pretty clear Cap doesn't think he's doing a good job. Shooter shows the team having a lack of discipline and coordination in attacks.
As an aside, i love Byrne's lifelike poses. Check out the way Cap sits in his chair; he's a man of action and clearly a little restless just sitting around. You don't see stuff like that very often.
While they are talking, the Lethal Legion launches an attack on the Avengers Mansion. Again, a lack of coordination results in a poor showing for the Avengers, but suddenly the villains' powers drop out, and Count Nefaria shows up.
The power boosts Nefaria gave to the Legion was actually a ruse; he was really figuring out a way to duplicate their powers for himself. So now the Avengers are facing a guy with the speed of an enhanced Whirlwind, the laser blasts of an enhanced Living Laser, and the strength and invulnerability of an enhanced Power Man.
Wonder Man, who is potentially the most powerful member of the current team, continues to have a real fear of dying after his encounter with Ultron, but he forces himself to face Nefaria.
Doesn't really work out for him.
The Avengers are easily defeated, but then Nefaria has a weird encounter with the Whizzer. The Whizzer tells him, sure, you may be able to conquer the world now, but in twenty or thirty years, you'll die, so who cares? As strange an argument as that is, it seems to resonate with Nefaria, so he returns to the Avengers to use them as bait for Thor, from whom he plans to wrest the secret of immortality. After a rematch with the Avengers winds up being a little harder than round one, he starts to get a little worried, but then he gets what he asked for.
Thor engages in his traditional trash-talk and pounds the crap out of Nefaria for a few pages, but Nefaria rallies and drops a building on Thor.
During all of this, the Vision is being kept in a nutritional bath. He's still deactivated after the Ultron fight. As Thor and Nefaria fight, Yellowjacket re-actives him.
The Avengers continue to fight Nefaria, but it is ended when the Vision comes plummeting out of the sky at full density. Nefaria's confidence had already been shaken when he found out that Thor could hurt him, and when his Nazi scientist showed up to claim that the process that gave him his powers was also aging him at a rapid rate (although it turned out he was lying; Nefaria has really become immortal).
Meanwhile, we get our first glimpses of Henry Gyrich, who is intent on taking advantage of the battle with Nefaria to take pictures.
And a mysterious bearded old man holding pictures of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver heads to America by boat.
After their battle, the Avengers get to bickering. Iron Man complains that Thor showed up only when the Avengers seemed way out of their depth. Thor himself is unable to explain why or how he appeared. Captain America bawls out Iron Man over his own part-time participation and the way the fighting capabilities of the team have fallen apart under shellhead's leadership. Good stuff all around, but helped immensely by Byrne's art.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Thor appears 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, and this appearance is specifically cited. Therefore Thor's appearance here does not need to fit chronologically with any appearances elsewhere, and technically shouldn't "count" as an appearance, although i do have him listed for now.
Update on the footnote problems: An editor's note in issue #168 acknowledges all the footnote errors and blames deadlines and the "Gerber Curse", not that Gerber has anything to do with the issue. The reference to Scarlet Witch's 'flying belt' was apparently attempting to cover for the opening to Avengers #153 that showed her flying, which i presumed was just an unusual application of her hex powers.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (8): show
It's possible that Gerber may have doing the footnotes here, as he was answering fan mail in some letter columns in 1973(at least), though admittedly I can't think why he'd doing assistant editor-type things in 1977.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 28, 2011 12:28 AM
I've always loved the way John Byrne drew the Scarlet Witch. I feel in love with her when I was reading this stuff when I was a kid!
Posted by: Bill | April 21, 2012 10:01 PM
"The Gerber Curse" was just a bullpen joke by this point; I doubt Steve G was doing any footnotes in 1977.
What's with the "Byrne. What a pleasant surprise." and so forth? Perez's work before and after JB's was just as good; IMO even better. This was the point where I noticed that Byrne drew a lot of his females identically; in the scene on the roof with the Whizzer, I was like "oh, look, there's Phoenix" when I saw the random girl. And I can't say I've ever liked the final panel for #165, as shown above. (Although that may be due to Pablo Marcos over-inking the faces, I admit.)
That said, Byrne was invaluable to the creation of these issues; the whole concept was "the Avengers fight Superman", and it was his. Hey, at least Nefaria didn't get Super-Breath. (Try some super-mouthwash, Clark; it'll work wonders.)
Posted by: Dan Spector | February 3, 2013 1:04 PM
FOOM#17 announced that Black Goliath would appear here soon with a new costume, but he wouldn't get one until Marvel Two-In-One in 1979.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 7, 2013 8:54 PM
George Perez, John Buscema, and John Byrne are the three greatest Avengers artists. Byrne's Scarlet Witch is very beautiful.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 5, 2013 6:55 AM
I fell in love with Simon after seeing that first panel in #164 (which fnord has so thoughtfully included here).
Posted by: Shar | November 27, 2013 2:52 PM
There was a little too much action for me when Nefaria got super powers. I normally like it when after a span of less super-strength punchers we get a nice long chunk of it but this was a little too much action over two issues. It was very much 'we need to see how this heavy hitter fights him. Didn't work...maybe this heavy hitter-no good. Uh maybe Vision AND Thor?'
It was enjoyable but maybe if Nefaria left there was a break issue with a smaller issue then he came back to finish it and by then Thor can pop in and Vision recovered.
Posted by: david banes | October 24, 2014 2:49 PM
Jim Shooter first used "Gyrich" as the name of a planet in Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #214(1/76).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 7, 2015 12:55 AM
That's because Gyrich is apparently a real person Shooter knew.
Posted by: Michael | March 7, 2015 11:46 AM
Is the last panel of #165 penciled by Dave Cockrum?
Posted by: Vin the Comic Guy | March 21, 2015 1:21 PM
How appropriate that Byrne draws the arc here where Django Maximoff first appears and then will be back on the book to deal with the story arc where he arrives.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 28, 2015 12:10 PM
It's probably unintentional, but I kind if like the way everyone *except* Whirlwind suffers for their artificial power boost in their next appearances after this story. Power Man's strength never recovers from the drain in issu #164, and it takes his Goliath transformation to give him real, er, power again.
And the Laser's implanted diodes go into overload after this, as shown in Iron Man #152-3; this is what causes his "death" and transformation into a being of light.
But Whirlwind, whose powers are innate and "natural" rather than artificial, suffers no long-term effects whatsoever.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | January 15, 2016 9:41 AM
Classic arc. Makes you appreciate the Avengers AND Superman.
Posted by: Mizark | July 22, 2016 4:58 AM
This issue pops up on the List of Appearances for Alice Nugent over at the Marvel Wikia site. Is the female scientist we see on the splash page supposed to be an unnamed, proto-Alice, sort of like how Misty Knight first "officially" appeared as a mugging victim rescued by Spider-Man>
Posted by: AstroCitizen | July 23, 2016 4:09 PM
It does look like her. I've followed the Wiki and added her as a character appearing. Thanks, AstroCitizen.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 25, 2016 8:30 AM
I like that idea but, sadly, it's not. The Official Index to Avengers lists this character as "Alice (Stark biochemist)" and Nugent never worked for Stark Industries, she was Hank Pym's assistant and in Iron Man #194. And furthermore, she was surprised to see a superhero when Iron Man showed up in that issue. Doctor Spectrum/Alice Nugent profile from the Defenders handbook listed her first appearance as Iron Man #194 and no history as working for Stark Industries.
But Busiek did some absolutely pointless retconning just coz he can to indulge his insistence he loves continuity by pointlessly bringing her back as Hank's boss and revealing some nonsense that she likes to lie and pretend she's less qualified than she is, so I suppose you can do just what he did and say "Oh, she was pretending to have never met a superhero before". Busiek did the same crap with Sunset Bain meeting Iron Man. Wow, this comment quickly turned into moaning about Busiek's fake love for continuity.
Posted by: AF | January 8, 2017 11:13 AM
@AF- Busiek has said that Alice's strange behavior was supposed to be a hint that she was the Crimson Cowl. The idea was that she was working with Ultron, hence her using one of his old aliases. (Read Avengers 15 VERY carefully and it's obvious that someone at the company Hank is working for is helping Ultron.) Understandably, none of the readers got it and Nicieza went in a different direction.
Posted by: Michael | January 8, 2017 11:46 AM
The Marvel Index trumps the Wiki, so i've removed Alice. Thanks AF.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 13, 2017 9:29 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|