Despite the threat of Annihilus that brings the Fantastic Four into our story (however briefly), these issues are more “slice of life” stories as far as Captain America and this blog are concerned, so this will be a brief post. (More time to catch up on any you might have missed!)
Avengers #233 opens with Captain Marvel bouncing off an invisible barrier in Manhattan, then rushing to Avengers Mansion, where the Wasp summons the rest of the team… one of whom is at a familiar Brooklyn Heights address, where he is distracted by other concerns, to the point of neglecting his girlfriend.
In other words, business as usual.
All this time, Bernie was worried about Gail Runciter, when she should have been worried about Tony Stark!
We get a clue as to the nature of the invisible wall when it seems to be coming from another familiar address.
(I hope he sang that last part—the kids would really dig it!)
As the team gathers at the base of the expanding force-field, Cap selflessly offers his best friend to try to stop its progress, but to no avail. (At least he didn’t lose it!)
Enter the comic relief…
…before Thor does Cap one better, actually sacrificing his main weapon to the barrier.
While Thor is puzzled over the strange behavior of Mjolnir, it’s left to Cap to point out the uncomfortable ramification of this predicament.
Thor gets clear in time—although I wish he had just said “I must away!”—while Cap sympathizes with his teammate’s frustrated desire to help.
After the Vision manages to phase through the barrier, only to fall motionless to the ground inside it, Starfox does something useful in suggesting that Captain Marvel bombard the force-field from space while in gamma form. Meanwhile, the threat reveals himself.
Yeah yeah yeah… anyway, Starfox and Captain Marvel’s strategy works, so that’s for it for Annihilus (for now). When the Avengers check in with the Fantastic Four, the Thing has rushed his girlfriend Alicia Masters to the hospital after being roughed up by our villain earlier, and Reed provides an update, while the Scarlet Witch is more concerned about the Vision.
As it happens, in Fantastic Four #256, we see the same scene from the other point of view…
…a trick John Byrne pulls again in 1985’s Avengers Annual #14 and Fantastic Four Annual #19.
In Avengers #234, focused mostly on Wanda and Vision—hey, those names sure go together well—Cap shares his concerns about Tony with Thor.
Cap appeals to Thor to talk to him, saying he “has known him longer”… by a whole three issues. (Had they met in the comics before Avengers #1? I don’t think so, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.) But Thor knows who is the more effective among them (especially since Thor quite likes the bottle, or barrel, himself).
For more on this point, see the post on Iron Man #172, just for you! (But tell your friends.)
Avengers (vol. 1) #233, July 1983: Roger Stern (plot and script), John Byrne (plot and pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Christie Scheele (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Fantastic Four (vol. 1) #256, July 1983: John Byrne (writer, pencils, and inks), Glynis Wein (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Both collected in: Avengers: Absolute Vision Book One, Fantastic Four Visionaries – John Byrne, Volume 3, and Avengers vs. Fantastic Four.
Avengers (vol. 1) #234, August 1983: Roger Stern (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Christie Scheele (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Avengers: Absolute Vision Book One.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #231-232 (May-June 1983)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #283 (July 1983), Iron Man #172 (July 1983), and Captain America #284 (August 1983)
NEXT ISSUE: Avengers #235 (September 1983)
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