Avengers #154-156 and Super-Villain Team-Up #9 (December 1976-February 1977)

In these four issues, the Avengers get mixed up in the business of Atlantis, an adventure that involves both Namor the Sub-Mariner and Doctor Doom that necessitates a quick crossover with Super-Villain Team-Up (a book in which Cap will appear by himself in the next three issues). Not much Cap in this story, so this will be a quick one. (That’s why it’s half-price!)

In Avengers #154, while the Vision makes friends with an Atlantean patrol cruiser (leading to the main storyline), the rest of the team rushes to the hospital with the Whizzer, who was nearly killed trying to “calm down” his overgrown radioactive son in Avengers Annual #6 (the last issue in terms of the story). Cap is apparently rattled, snapping at Wonder Man and claiming the Whizzer as his friend.

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“Sorry, Tony, did you say something?” Ouch, and a bit of a change from the bonhomie we saw in the last post. Another change is Cap’s attitude toward Wonder Man, for whom he felt sympathy when he re-emerged in issue #152, but now returns to a suspicion reminiscent of their first encounter in Avengers #9.

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Meanwhile, an Atlantean warrior known subtly as Tyrak the Treacherous tricked his way into Avengers Mansion by disguising himself as the Inhuman known as Triton. Once the Scarlet Witch and the Avengers’ intrepid butler Jarvis see through his ruse, they begin to fight, and just as Tyrak treacherously defeats Wanda, three of the other Avengers come home.

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I don’t remember Cap throwing his shields vertically before, but he will again, many times, presumably due to some special property of the shield (because otherwise no).

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Well, Cap… it is basically a big frisbee, and that’s how you catch a frisbee anyway (although not vertically). (Has Cap ever played with a frisbee? I have to wonder.)

After beating Iron Man by crushing the power pack in his chest, grabbing Yellowjacket and the Wasp in his fist, and insulting the “surface world,” Tyrak faces a Captain America who has definitely had enough.

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I wonder how much of that anger has been lingering for a while, considering his behavior at the beginning of the issue.

Nonetheless, Tyrak treacherously defeats Cap as well, and after the Beast leaves for the hospital to get Wonder Man and the Whizzer, Tyrak and his Atlantean comrades—respectably treacherous in their own right, I’m sure—take the fallen Avengers into their ship.

As Super-Villain Team-Up #9 opens, we learn what Attuma, Tyrak’s boss, wants the Avengers for.

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Below, we get another perspective on Cap and Tony’s teamwork and friendship as they struggle against Attuma’s slave-collars as well as Tony’s secrecy about the seriousness of his injury at Tyrak’s hands.

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Despite his recent anger issues, the recent mishap, and his suspicions about Tony, Cap is still supportive towards his friend (even if that friend rejects it).

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When the Avengers get to the aquatic research station Hydrobase to look for Namor, they find Doctor Doom instead. Taking advantage of their diminished skill due to the slave-collars, and helped by Namor’s cousin Namorita and others, Doom fights the Avengers, taking out the injured Iron Man by the start of Avengers #155 (seen below in a terrific opening splash page by George Pérez and Pablo Marcos).

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Doom and His Amazing Friends manage to defeat the rest of the not-so-mighty-at-the-moment Avengers and immobilize them. Although things look bad, teamwork and tricky shieldwork enables Vision to get free…

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…not to release his teammates, but rather to talk Doom into doing it (with a little diplomacy and a lot of pluck) in Avengers #156. This issue wraps up the story, bringing the Beast, Wonder Man, and the Whizzer together with their friends, along with Doom and Namor). The only Cap-relevant aspect of his issue is the bottom of the final page, in which our hero explains his brief absence, which we will learn about in the post on Super-Villain Team-Up #10-12.

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“How long was I gone, anyway?”

“Hey, where was Namor?” you ask. I get it! Unfortunately, Namor never interacted with his old friend Cap in this story, but he was reunited briefly with the Whizzer, as seen in the heartwarming panels below (from Avengers #155).

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ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #154, December 1976: Gerry Conway (writer), George Pérez (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Don Warfield (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Super-Villain Team-Up #9, December 1976: Bill Mantlo (writer), Jim Shooter (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), Hugh Paley (colors), Denise Wohl (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #155, January 1977: Gerry Conway (writer), George Pérez (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Glynis Wein (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #156, February 1977: Jim Shooter (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Don Warfield (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in: Avengers: The Private War of Dr. Doom, Avengers Epic Collection: The Final Threat, Super-Villains Unite: The Complete Super-Villain Team-Up, and Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume Sixteen.


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

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #204-205 (December 1976-January 1977), Marvel Team-Up #52 (December 1976), Invaders #11-13 (December 1976-February 1977), Captain America #206 (February 1977)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #157-162 and Captain Marvel #50-51 (March-August 1977) and Super-Villain Team-Up #10-12 (February-June 1977)

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