These three issues of Avengers—still just Avengers, despite the new “The Mighty Avengers” cover logo—continue to set up the “Absolute Vision” storyline that began in issue #238 (in which Captain America did not appear) and lasts through issue #254 (in which he does). We also see most of the team disappear to the Beyonder’s Battleworld for the first “Secret Wars” and return soon thereafter. Finally, we get a quick glimpse at the Black Cat’s visit to Avengers Mansion in a futile attempt of get superpowers to be more appealing to Spider-Man… sorry, I meant to say the Spectacular Spider-Man.
As we know, the Vision was incapacitated after his encounter with Annihilus’s energy barrier in issue #233, and the last time Cap saw him, in issue #236, Vision was still comatose. In Avengers #241, Cap meets Vision for the first time since he came to, thanks to Starfox’s connecting him with ISAAC, the computer that runs his homeworld of Titan. As he explains to Cap below, while Vision’s body is still inert, his mind has expanded in power and reach, controlling the mansion’s computers and allowing his head to appear holographically.
Did… did Vision just sass Cap? Something’s up with him, as Cap starts to realize through these three issues.
But Cap can’t think about that now, because the Avenger who could medal in sass shows up, having re-appeared in issue #239 with his new bride, Mockingbird, after running into Cap in the subway in Hawkeye #3.
Vision starts to correct Hawkeye about ISAAC until… something happens… which starts to make Cap suspicious, until Clint pulls him away to meet his new wife.
In Avengers #242, the team hosts a party for the newlyweds, but indulge me for a moment while we observe the Wasp and her ex-husband (and former teammate) Hank Pym returning from a case, during which we get glimpse into how they get along with each other these days, as well as an insight into Janet’s leadership style.
It’s revealing to see how she feels she must manage her normal personality, which she derisively calls “dingaling Jan,” alongside her “stuffy Avengers chairperson” persona. It is heartening, however, to hear that most of the time she doesn’t feel she needs to get “stuffy” (read: masculine) to command the team.
When Janet gets back to the mansion, she finds the party in full swing…
…and it’s left unanswered whether she’s more shocked by Big Grinning Vision Head or the fact that Clint Barton is married.
Mockingbird subtly acknowledges the effect of this news on the divorced Wasp, while Cap congratulates Clint on taking an admirably adult step in life.
Thor returns to congratulate the happy couple as well, after which the Vision appears in person to alert everybody to a strange energy surge that he needs to monitor. The three longtime Avengers take that a cue to go off by themselves, to catch up on the Asgardian’s eventful life of late and discuss team membership.
Cap puts his two cents in on the membership issue, and in the process reveals his growing concern with the Vision’s recent behavior.
This particular concern is soon allayed, however, as the energy surge turns out to be all too real…
…and what’s more, it’s linked to a mysterious portal into which six of the gathered heroes disappear.
Of course, they’re not the only ones, as many of Earth’s mightiest heroes are gathered to fight in the “Secret Wars” arranged by the powerful being the Beyonder (covered here).
In Avengers #243, the Vision holds a press conference to reassure the public that the disappearance of so many heroes does not augur a Crisis on Earth-616, but finds his words less than reassuring (an impression he later shares with ISAAC while pondering his “plans,” on which more in later issues). Before long, though, the missing Avengers return, minus one She-Hulk but adding one Iron Man.
As Cap affirms that he is intent on following rules and regulations governing the reporting of confidential details about secret wars, let me remind our readers that the role of Iron Man is still being played by Jim Rhodes, as we’ve seen…
…and, as the officer says, She-Hulk returned with Reed and Johnny of the Fantastic Four, for whom she will stand in for the Thing for a while.
After everyone returns to the mansion, Janet takes the opportunity to resign from her leadership role in the team and recommend the Vision as her successor.
Later we will learn that the Vision manipulated Janet into doing this… but Clint’s and Cap’s words are presumably their own, with the latter acknowledging the burdens of his own life while hesitating ever so slightly to endorse the Vision, about whom he still harbors suspicions.
Much more on this in coming issues, but one last thing before we leave: In Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #89, Cap and Janet make it clear to the Black Cat that she came to the wrong place to “buy” super-powers, with Cap detailing the several reasons it just won’t happen, Felicia, sorry, no sale, have a nice day.
After getting the same answer from the Fantastic Four, the Black Cat manages to get “bad luck” powers from the Kingpin, in exchange for a favor. (Who would thought there would be a hitch with him? Shocking!)
Avengers (vol. 1) #241, March 1984: Roger Stern (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott and Andy Mushinsky (inks), Christie Schiele (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Avengers: Absolute Vision Book One.
Avengers (vol. 1) #242, April 1984: Roger Stern (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Rubinstein and Brett Breeding (inks), Christie Schiele (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected in: Avengers: Absolute Vision Book Two.
Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (vol. 1) #89, April 1984: Bill Mantlo (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks), Glynis Wein (colors), Diana Albers (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Collected (in black-and-white) in: Essential Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Volume 4.
NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #244-245 (June-July 1984)