Avengers #98-100 (April-June 1972)

These three issues, as many of the Avengers issues around this period, are light on Captain America action, much less anything of ethical of interest, but are interesting for the distinctive pencils of Barry Windsor-Smith (who also drew issues #66-67, but without Cap).

In the aftermath of the Kree-Skrull War (see the previous post), the Avengers are focused on searching for their lost colleague, Clint Barton/Goliath.

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Kind words from Tony—umm, I mean Iron Man, who definitely only works for Tony Stark, silly me. (I’m also fascinating by the symbol for Mars on the back of his chair, which could signify both iron and man. Very clever!)

In the meantime, Cap checks Twitter…

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…and discovers a protest in Manhattan against a visiting leader from an unnamed communist Asian nation, led by a charismatic pro-war agitator named Tallon.

Arriving on the scene, Cap kicks into leader gear, commanding his fellow Avengers while urging them not to hurt the innocent crowd, whom Cap correctly suspects are being influenced by Tallon’s musical friends. (Note he also suspects the presence of Skrulls, which will be a recurring suspicion throughout Marvel history, and also gives writers who are bored with LMDs new ways out of snarled storylines.)

After failing to calm the crowd, Cap tries using his image and name, but finds the mesmerized onlookers doubting his true allegiances…

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…until Cap himself falls prey to the mind-bending music, along with Rick, Wanda, and Pietro.

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(The last panel makes me imagine, in the conspiratorial theme of the story, that Steve Rogers could have been replaced by William Burnside, his 1950s Commie-fighting doppelgänger, whose story was told around the same time by soon-to-be Avengers writer Steve Englehart in Captain America #153-156.)

When the other Avengers arrive, Tony quickly falls under the music’s spell, leaving Thor and Vision alone unaffected. And speaking of Mars, Thor is first to recognize Tallon for who he is…

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Thor and Vision continue to battle their fellow Avengers, with Wanda notably (and impressively) keeping Mjolnir away from Thor in a “hex sphere” until an explosive arrow appears out of nowhere and frees it. After Vision knocks out the floutists (and Ares flees), everyone returns to normal and starts to wonder who shot the arrow. (Hmm, who could it have been?)

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Maybe…?

ollie yeah right

OK, not him.

Well then I just don’t know who… oh yeah, him!

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So Hawkeye returns, sans pantalons. (Such are the casualties of war, I guess.) Don’t worry, Zapp Brannigan will return to his classic costume soon.

Issue #99 begins with Clint telling his tale, including rediscovering archery and using it to defeat the Skrulls, and then, in a return to his roots, finding himself in a circus on Earth, where he encounters an amnesiac Hercules and brings him back to New York to the Avengers.

But all of this pales to what happens next, at least judging by Cap’s reaction.

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Excuse me, guys… Captain America asked you for your name and rank! (Some people.)

The Avengers battle the two strangers, but in the end they fail to prevent them from taking Hercules back to Mount Olympus, where the Avengers swear to follow them. (In a side development, having nothing to do with Cap but an important part of Avengers lore, the Vision reveals his feelings for Wanda to the group when he neglects the battle to tend to her injuries.)

In the landmark 100th issue, all of the Avengers past and present gather to find Hercules. I really like this sequence of silent panels of Cap arriving at the meeting place.

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However, the only items of ethical interest here deal with a couple controversial inclusions to the roster for this adventure, the first of whom Cap initiated and defends (in an always-welcome display of compassion when it comes to this character).

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He’s more skeptical towards the second—understandably.

And it couldn’t be a landmark issue of Avengers without someone giving the rallying cry, and lucky for us it’s Cap who gets the honor.

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ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #98, April 1972: Roy Thomas (writer),  Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Sal Buscema (inks), ??? (colors), Sam Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #99, May 1972: Roy Thomas (writer),  Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils), Tom Sutton (inks), ??? (colors), Artie Simek (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #100, June 1972: Roy Thomas (writer),  Barry Windsor-Smith (pencils and inks), Joe Sinnott and Syd Shores (inks), ??? (colors), Jon Costa (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in: Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume Ten


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #93-97 (November 1971-March 1972)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #148 (April 1972) and Captain America #149-150 (May-June 1972)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #101-104 (July-October 1972)

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