Avengers #147-149 (May-July 1976)

These three issues finish the Serpent Crown storyline begun in Avengers #141 and interrupted by the two-part fill-in story in issues #145-146. This second half of the story actually brings in the Serpent Crown itself and its implications for the politics on the Squadron Supreme’s world (and its links with the Avengers’ own).

Issue #147 opens immediately after the last page of issue #144—go look, I’ll wait here—with the Avengers (with the Beast and brand-new hero Hellcat) and the Squadron transported to the latter’s Earth (Earth-712, for those keeping track at home).

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(“Oh my star and garters” and “donnybrook” — has anyone got 70s Marvel bingo yet?)

The two teams fight (because comics) until the military and the government arrive, and our heroes discover a unique aspect of this Earth, one that should be of particular interest to Cap, given his recent experiences with the U.S. government on his Earth.

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When this Earth’s U.S. president emerges, not only is he another vice-president from our Earth (and we can presume the Avengers’ as well), but he has something familiar on his head that connects even more closely to recent events with Captain America.

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After the Vision snatches the Serpent Crown and gives it to the Scarlet Witch, they hold it hostage to escape for a bit, while we find out a little more about the mysterious object.

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Kids, don’t try this at home!

Wanda finds out even more, including the close links the Crown has enabled between the leaders of industry and government on the Squadron Supreme’s Earth. (Just their Earth, of course, wink wink.)

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There’s an interesting comment above regarding the creeping nature of government corruption, which often goes unseen, and when it is seen it is often gradual enough to go unremarked, enabling further corruption.

Also, we see Cap make the connection to his recent experiences, and his mind. is. blown.

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In issue #148, we see the Squadron Supreme’s satellite headquarters and meet some more members (all, again, with obvious analogues to members of the Justice League of America).

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At the end of the last issue, Wanda and Vision managed to keep the Serpent Crown by fighting off Hyperion, Golden Archer, and Lady Lark, and now the rest of the Avengers split up to try to find their lost teammates—while the Squadron has split up to find the Avengers.

Two of them find Cap and Tony, who are just enjoying hanging out together.

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As Cap battles the Whizzer, they also take time to discuss the depth of this world’s political corruption, which (to absolutely no one’s surprise) includes the Squadron as well.

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The Whizzer paints the Squadron as being paid soldiers or mercenaries more than heroes, to which Cap takes umbrage… a lot of umbrage!

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(We say woke today, Cap… it’s OK, you’ll catch up.)

Of course, Cap’s statement implies that the Squadron would have resisted if they paid enough attention, which is generous of him… but actually on target, as we see in issue #149. After the Avengers have returned to their good ol’ Earth-616 and the Brand Corporation, where they fight the Roxxon Oil security forces, the Squadron confronts their beloved leaders.

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When you’ve lost Hyperion, you know it’s over. (I guess.)

For the rest of the issue, the Avengers are defeated and captured by Orka, the human killer whale, who is then defeated by Thor and Moondragon, recently returned from the past. The other Avengers escape thanks to Hellcat, and after they regroup, Cap has some notes for Thor, and the Thunder God responds with an answer familiar but well said (and which may contribute to his resignation from the team in the next issue).

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Even though his strength does not compare to Thor’s, Cap has had to consciously hold back many times when fighting “normal” persons, as we have seen—especially when they are mind-controlled innocents whom he does not want to injure. (Or Tony. Or Clint.)


ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #147, May 1976: Steve Englehart (writer), George Pérez (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Petra Goldberg (colors), Denise Wohl (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #148, June 1976: Steve Englehart (writer), George Pérez (pencils), Sam Grainger (inks), Hugh Paley (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #149, July 1976: Steve Englehart (writer), George Pérez (pencils), Sam Grainger (inks), Hugh Paley (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in: Avengers: The Serpent Crown and Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume Fifteen.


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #145-146 (March-April 1976)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #197 (May 1976), Captain America #198-199 (June-July 1976), Invaders #6 and Marvel Premiere #30 (May-June 1976), and Invaders #7 (July 1976)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #150-153 and Annual #6 (August-November 1976)

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