Avengers #113 (July, 1973)

Behind its dramatic cover by Rich Buckler and Joe Sinnott, Avengers #113 begins with the titular superhero group cleaning up someone else’s mess. 

Cover to Astonishing Tales #18. Art by John Romita.

More specifically, it’s the mess made by the giant alien named Gog (remember him from Amazing Spider-Man #103-104?), who, as part of a King Kong-like rampage through New York City, stopped off at Liberty Island long enough to break off its resident Statue’s right arm, torch and all.  This all happened in the “Ka-Zar” feature in Astonishing Tales #18 (Jun., 1973); and while the Lord of the Hidden Jungle did manage to save the day (more or less), you can hardly expect a shirtless, non-super-powered jungle hero to handle the kind of major repair work needed here, even with the help of his faithful saber-toothed cat.  So, who ya gonna call?  (Actually, I suppose you could have called S.H.I.E.L.D., seeing as how Ka-Zar was working with that organization’s agent Bobbi Morse on this one… but never mind.)

None of the creative talent primarily involved in bringing us “Your Young Men Shall Slay Visions!” — i.e., writer Steve Englehart, penciller Bob Brown (whose multi-issue run on Avengers begins with this issue), and inker Frank Bolle — had had a hand in producing Astonishing Tales #18; if any of them had, they’d presumably have remembered that Lady Liberty’s crown hadn’t suffered any damage, at least not that the comic’s readers saw.  But even if the cross-series continuity attempted here wasn’t perfect in its execution, it was still a pretty cool idea… and from an in-story perspective, it’s the kind of thing that you can easily imagine must have come up fairly often in the Marvel Universe’s pre-Damage Control days, even if such activities weren’t normally shown on-panel.

The romance between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision, which had been germinating since around issue #81 (back when Roy Thomas was still writing the book), had come to full blossom around four or five issues into Steve Englehart’s run (which had begun with #105), as the two superheroes finally declared their love not only to each other, but to their fellow Avengers, as well… although, as the page above indicates, they hadn’t shared their newfound joy with the wider world until this moment.

Pay attention to the surly-looking prospective Daily Bugle tipster in that last panel, as he’ll prove to be important in our story going forward… I think.  (Sorry to be cryptic, but I’ll explain what I mean by that in a bit)…

Yeah, it’s that same guy with the red crew cut that we met on the last page.  Or it sure looks like him, anyway.  But just wait…

In April, 1973, my fifteen-year-old self got a big kick out of how Englehart dropped “Reed and Sue” into the middle of a roster of well-known celebrity couples, and it still amuses me.  (I’m going to assume that everybody who reads this will recognize all those famous folks by their first names, even fifty years later… but if I’m wrong, Google will fix you right up, OK?)

Since Wanda Maximoff just mentioned her brother Pietro, aka Quicksilver, this is probably a good place to note that the speedy Avenger — whom you’ll recall went missing at the end of Avengers #104, prompting a multi-issue search for him on the part of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes — had, as of #110, finally deigned to let his sister and other teammates know that not only had he fetched up quite safe and sound in Attilan, the Great Refuge of the Inhumans, but had even begun a romance with a member of that people’s royal family, the elemental named Crystal.  (See last November’s Fantastic Four #131 post if you need more deets.)  Unfortunately, as delighted as Wanda was to hear Pietro’s good news, the latter was equally dismayed to hear of his sister’s own new liaison; to learn that, ignoring his previous warnings, Wanda had dared to defy him by becoming “involved with a — a — a robot!”  That remark led in turn to the following heated exchange (pencils by Don Heck, inks by Frank Giacoia and/or Mike Esposito):

Having delivered his ultimatum, Pietro abruptly broke off contact — leaving a weeping Wanda to seek comfort in her lover’s embrace, and Captain America to silently muse:  “Pietro lived under the same roof with the Vision.  How will the outside world hurt them…?”

Alas, in our present tale, Cap is about to get an answer to that question — delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, no less.  First, though, let’s check back in with Wanda and Vizh, and the end of their conversation which I so rudely interrupted…

My younger self — a committed evangelical Christian of the Southern Baptist persuasion — was highly impressed by the preceding sequence, back in 1973.  No, I wasn’t naive enough to assume that Steve Englehart’s religious beliefs were 100% the same as my own; nevertheless, I welcomed this indication that we seemed to at least be on the same page as to what faith in God was supposed to be all about.  Even today, in my latter, unbelieving years, I appreciate this scene as an acknowledgement of the values that the great religious traditions can inspire, when they’re at their best.

Here we finally get up close and personal with our red-headed stranger.  Clearly, this is the same angry fellow whom we saw on the payphone just a few panels ago.  And he was also the disgusted man-on-the-street interviewee a page before that, right?  But what about the grumpy-looking guy who observed the kiss on Liberty Island, back on page 2?  To me, the figures look identical, right down to that ugly brown checked jacket.  But would the guy in this scene, who’s obviously a member of some kind of right-wing extremist group, have been all that interested in picking up a few bucks from the Daily Bugle for a news tip, just a short while before?  It doesn’t really seem to follow, at least not to my mind.

In any case, the internal comment by Red (as we’ll call him henceforth) about “the country’s swinging to the right” is interesting.  I don’t know if Englehart had a specific journalistic analysis or public opinion poll in mind here, but it wouldn’t have been that hard a conclusion to arrive at in early 1973, just a few months after the Republican Presidential incumbent, Richard Nixon, had defeated his liberal Democratic challenger George McGovern in an electoral landslide to win a second term.

This is an awfully diverse group of right-wing extremists we have here; in addition to Blacks of both sexes, I’m pretty certain that’s supposed to be men of Latino and Asian heritage standing to the left and right, respectively, in front of the Black woman.  (And I wouldn’t be surprised if we were supposed to take the red-haired woman for an Irish Catholic, just because it’s that kind of grouping.)  I do get what our storytellers were trying to say with this narrative choice — but given the importance of white supremacist and misogynistic ideologies in the right-wing terrorist movements of our present era, such diversity may well strike the modern reader as somewhat implausible, though obviously not impossible.

Another thing to note here is that Red calls the Scarlet Witch “a person” here, contradicting his earlier on-camera interview statement regarding both Wanda and the Vision: “They aren’t people!”  Assuming, that is, that this is the same guy.  Honestly, while I have no doubt that artists Brown and Bolle, along with colorist Dave Hunt, assumed that they were rendering one (and only one) character sporting a red crew cut and brown checked jacket in this issue, I’m not completely convinced that Englehart was writing one single character.  Perhaps in his mind, the Bugle tipster, the disgruntled interviewee, and the extremist cell leader were three different guys; if they weren’t, then his scripting here was a bit sloppy.  (That said, this may be a good time for one of our periodic self-reminders to the effect that the folks creating this material half a century ago were laboring under unforgiving monthly deadlines, while also trying to produce such material in sufficient quantity to earn a decent living — with no idea that their work would one day be consistently available in both print and digital formats, and thus be easy fodder for detailed critiques like this one.  Or, to put it more plainly — maybe we should cut them some slack.)

There’s a good reason why Red cites a couple of World War II-era antecedents — Hitler’s would-be assassins and the Japanese kamikaze pilots — rather than refers to “suicide bombers”; and that’s because that phrase didn’t really enter the mass public conscious until after 1980.  (This is one of those instances where I imagine a comic-book writer would just have soon not have been proven as prescient as he eventually was.)

The transition from the scene introducing “the Living Bombs” to the next one of the Avengers in battle is awkward, to say the least.  Who are these uniformed, Nazi-evoking men?  Is there supposed to be a connection between them and Red’s group?  Evidently not, save for their having also “chosen the path of hate instead of understanding”.  We’re never told or shown how the Avengers got called in to deal with this attack on what appears to be an immigrant community (a legit public safety emergency, no question, but one it seems could be handled by the NYPD) — and so we’ll just have to roll with it.

There’s a bit more confusion on this page, as both the content and the lettering style of the bearded gentleman’s dialogue in the fourth panel seem to indicate it was supposed to be the Vision talking.  Oh, well… I did say I was going to cut our storytellers a break, didn’t I?  Besides which, things are about to get very, very serious…

Thirty minutes later, the surviving Living Bombs have learned of their colleague’s unsuccessful sacrifice.  Undeterred, they head directly for the Vision’s current location (as reported by the news media), Stark Industries, where Red vows they’ll finish the job of destroying the android, even if it takes all six of their lives.  Meanwhile, at S.I. itself, Dr. Donald Blake prepares to perform surgery on Vision, assisted not only by engineering genius Tony Stark, but also by the Black Panther — who, as a narrative caption reminds us, “is also one of the world’s foremost scientists.”  (That aspect of T’Challa’s character tended not to get a lot of attention during this era, so the reminder was probably well-advised.)

At first, there’s no response — but then the Vision’s density slowly decreases, until it’s back to its regular status quo, and the operation can at last begin.  But that doesn’t mean that anybody can relax, because, as the Panther notes: “Once we start, we’ll have to be very fast — and not stop for anything — or the shock of the operation alone will kill him!”

And on that ominous note, it’s time for something completely different:

I’m going to interrupt Steve Englehart mid-sentence here to note that this is the second appearance of the mysterious Mantis and her unknown companion, who’d first showed up in a similar single-tier, three-panel sequence in the previous issue.  About the only information given there that you don’t also get here is that the couple’s journey towards the Avengers began “thousands of miles away”, and was prompted by their having received news of Hawkeye’s having recently left the team, reportedly due at least in part to his feeling underappreciated.  “His ego is a fragile thing, I know,” noted the man-in-the-shadows… and yes, that was a big clue as to his true identity.  Though, as Englehart was pointing out before I so rudely interrupted (I seem to be doing a lot of that in this post), just who the mystery man is will have to wait for next time…

Normally, these guys wouldn’t be a match for Captain America (at least, not unless/until they blew themselves up), but they’ve scored a few stun weapons from some Stark Industries guards they’ve overpowered off-panel — and while a blast from one of those isn’t enough to take Cap out, it does knock him off his feet…

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think that Bob Brown’s talents were especially well-suited to the kind of dynamic action sequences Jack Kirby and other first-generation Marvel artists had taught the publisher’s fans to expect.  But, he gets the job done.

I’m sure this didn’t occur to me back in in the day, but in re-reading Don Blake’s thought bubble in the last panel above, the following rejoinder comes to mind:  “Well, Captain America, for one” — since, going by his own thoughts a couple of pages earlier, the Sentinel of Liberty clearly doesn’t have a clue about either Thor or Iron Man’s secret identities at this point.  (And, yes, I get that Cap wasn’t “part of the original Avengers”, as he himself puts it — but, c’mon, that group was only around for three issues prior to Steve Rogers’ joining up in #4.  It’s not like Tony and Don have had oodles more time to suss out the truth.)

But seriously, folks — back in April, 1973, this revelation (if that’s the right word) seemed like a Really Big Deal, at least to your humble blogger.  In hindsight, of course, it seems much, much less consequential, considering that Thor discarded the Don Blake persona, more or less for good, almost forty years ago now; and Tony Stark’s being the guy in the Iron Man armor (usually, anyway) has been common knowledge in the Marvel Universe for close to half that time.  But way back then, this was cool, y’all.

I’m not entirely sure why, but T’Challa’s remark about Red, the illogical demagogue, being “the Vision’s natural enemy” strikes me as a quintessential Steve Englehart line.

Having had time to recover from her previous effort, the Scarlet Witch lets fly a hex which magnetizes one of the facility’s walls — not quite enough to pull the Living Bombs’ stun weapons out of their hands, but sufficient to make them all suddenly point in that direction.  And then…

It’s a grim ending, to what’s been a grim story — and, unfortunately, still quite a timely story, as well.  (Honestly, folks, I’d love to imagine a day when I could write about a fifty-year-old comic book involving bigotry-bred violence and end by saying something like, “Aren’t we glad things are so much better now?”  Alas, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.)

But while Steve Englehart was hardly done with the metaphor-rich theme of anti-android/mutant-romance sentiment, the coming issues of Avengers would be focused on somewhat less weighty matters.  Not that they’d be lacking for drama, by any means — just that such would be occurring in a more traditional kind of superhero genre narrative, by and large.

Beginning with the very next issue, the arrival of Mantis and her mystery man would initiate a storyline that would go on to dominate the pages of Avengers for most of the next two years — although, quite a bit sooner than that, it would first lead into the largest crossover event Marvel Comics had yet attempted.  Our coverage starts in May, when we’ll be taking a look at Avengers #114’s “Night of the Swordsman”… oh, wait… damn, I just gave away the mystery man’s identity, didn’t I?  Oh well, I hope you’ll show up for the discussion anyway.


  1. Steve McBeezlebub · April 22

    Bob Brown was one of my all time favorite Avengers artists so I guess it’s down to taste. There were many unsuitable inkers used on his work but I feel his Avengers and Batman work was amazing.

    And this post made me realize just how much of what Wanda is today is due to Englehart. Did she show any fire at all before that ending? She was a wallflower and a doormat and every issue Englehart built her further and further up. Heck, she would have magic if it weren’t for him or her relationship with Agatha Harkness. Sure, Byrne did his best to ruin both Vision and Wanda but he failed at extinguishing the flame that Englehart lit.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Alan Stewart · April 22

      Bob Brown’s Batman work in Detective is definitely my favorite stuff of his, especially as inked by Dick Giordano.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I consider Bob Brown to be one of those good, solid, underrated artists who could pencil solidly and hit deadlines. I feel that the quality of his work may have been at the mercy of whatever particular inker he happened to be paired with at any given time. Frank Bolle may not have been the best choice to ink Brown. But when Brown was inked by Dick Giordano, or Joe Giella, or Dave Cockrum, the finished work looked really good. Brown inked by Don Heck was a really interesting collaboration, perhaps not to everyone’s tastes, but I liked it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Steve McBeezlebub · April 22

          I didn’t like Heck as a kid but then I saw his pre-Avengers stuff and learned how bad a fit he was for plotting stories with minimal direction. Look at his later stuff where he could just draw and it’s so much better. Brown seemed to fare much better with inkers who were artists and I agree Heck was one of them. I sometimes imagine a world where he hadn’t passed away before taking over X-Men from Cockrum.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. frednotfaith2 · April 22

    I got this issue new off the racks and it was one of those issues that really struck a chord with me, particularly that panel of Cap claiming devotion to a god of love over a god of hate. I was never particularly religious, and as an adult, I’ve now spent over 20 years as a member of a freethought group and writer/editor for our newsletter. Still, Cap’s ringing declaration resonate with me even now, particularly as my extended family has become multi-racial, with my dad & one brother are married to Filipinas, and my other brother is married to an African American, all marriages that would have been seriously frowned upon decades ago, and even now among die-hard racists. Just a couple of days ago, btw, one of my co-workers, a black woman in her 40s, told me that as a child, she was taunted and actually assaulted by other black children here at a school here in Jacksonville, Florida, for being friends with a white girl.
    As noted in a few of my previous missives, I spent most of my childhood in California (as well as Japan, Utah, Texas and, briefly, Massachusetts), and was 27 when I moved to Florida. So I had no experience living in a deeply racist culture, although both my parents did as children in northeast Texas in the 1940s & ’50s. Fifty years ago, I was 10 years old, living in Salt Lake City, and to my recall all my classmates were white, like me, and I don’t recall seeing any non-whites at all during my three years in Salt Lake City or its suburb of West Jordan, although there were plenty in San Francisco, to where my family moved in late 1974. Also, most of the people in SLC would have been Mormon, although that wasn’t something I wasn’t fully aware of at the time. I did learn a bit about the importance of Mormonism to the state as part of the public school education there, but none of my classmates, or teachers, made a big to do about being Mormon. One of my best friends of the period was named Mark Epstein, and it occurred to me decades later that his family may have been Jewish, based on his name, but I really don’t know as it never came up. We were just friends hanging out, reading comics, going camping, etc., being kids.

    Back to the mag, regarding the first appearance of “Red”, I got the feeling that he got the gist of Daily Bugle owner J. Jonah Jameson’s general anti-superhero stance, even if mostly aimed against Spider-Man, and that he playing not so much a typical “tipster” but that he believed Jameson would be supportive of his anti-android outlook and would be as outraged as he was about an android kissing any sort of human, even if she was a mutant, and that as part of his crusade against androids it was his duty to inform Jameson to help spread anti-android mania among the masses. I think Englehart did intend for that to be the same character throughout although his dialogue did make it a bit unclear. But, hey, as you put it, Alan, we can cut him some slack for such glitches (and it’s not as if Lee and Thomas didn’t have plenty of their own in their stories!).

    As to the multi-ethnic nature of the little group, that sort of echoes some of the extremist groups of the far left at the time, such as the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army, who would become infamous a year or so later after kidnapping and recruiting Patty Heart to their cause. Jim Jones’ cult was another example and although in 1973 they hadn’t yet gotten much media attention and were considered benign, even a positive example of social harmony to anyone who didn’t look much underneath the surface of what Jones was doing, and wasn’t aware of how much he sought to control every aspect of the lives of his followers. I don’t know if Englehart took inspiration from any specific actual group, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Alas, that human bombs did become a genuine threat in later decades, wreaking much havoc, death and destruction in Sri Lanka and the Levant, among other regions.

    On Bob Brown’s art, while certainly not anywhere near the level of, say, Neal Adams, I’d rate it several notches higher than that of Don Heck’s recent work and I enjoyed it. I loved that little exchange between Tony Stark and Don Blake, particularly the looks on their faces and Blake’s thought balloon, not registering any genuine surprise that Stark had figured out his secret or any consideration that he had to somehow fool Tony into thinking he isn’t Thor, but just pure acceptance and without spelling it out also acknowledging that he had long ago figured out that Tony is Iron Man. I don’t know if Thomas might have done something similar if he’d still been writing the mag but at least as editor he didn’t insist that the secret identities had to be kept secret at all costs. Even of making everyone involved appear to be idiots or out of their minds, as with Daredevil and the “Mike Murdock” charade! Of course, it was awfully convenient that during the operation requiring both their skills in their civilian identities, they could each take a break to do some derring do in their superhero identities. But that sort of thing was perfectly in keeping with super-heroics and alter egos since the early days of Clark Kent and Superman, when the mild-mannered ace reporter had to give way for his more colorfully garbed other self.

    All in all, IMO, this issue was entertaining and thought-provoking. Not the sort of milestone as ASM 121 & 122, but still a great issue. And enjoyed reading your overview of it, Alan!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 · April 22

    While the anger of Red and his Kamikaze Killers might have made more sense if Wanda had merely been human and not a mutant-in fact, Red has to introduce a fairly twisty argument in there to justify why they care who a mutant falls in love with in the first place-this is still a very well-thought out story about an issue that unfortunately still resonates deeply today. The fear of “the other,” anyone perceived to be different from us (whoever “us” is at the moment) is a powerful weapon easily manipulated by others in so many self-destructive ways. I realize that diversity of Red’s group is off-putting, Alan, but I think Englehart is making an excellent point that no one is perfect and that the person who spends years fighting for their own civil rights and their own “place at the table” can easily turn and be just as fearful and full of hate when they feel those hard-earned rights are threatened by someone else. Fortunately, as each generation of children come forth, blessed for the most part, with a better appreciation of their fellow man and woman and what we mean to one another, the side of hatred seems to be fighting a battle they will eventually lose, though I doubt I’ll live to see it. The future is coming…and the future will win. Thanks, Alan.

    Liked by 3 people

    • frasersherman · April 23

      Yes, there’s a long tradition of “lesser” white ethnic groups (e.g. Italian, Irish) trying to establish themselves by shitting on blacks just like WASPs did.


  4. Chris A. · April 22

    Captain America’s reference to a God of love recalls a sequence in Captain America #105 from 1968 in which Stan Lee has Cap, while battling Batroc, make an oblique reference to Jesus Christ in panels 2 and three on this page:

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chris A. · April 22

      Speaking of Biblical references, the blurb on the front cover is derived from Joel 2:28 (and cited in Acts 2:17): “…your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alan, yes, I agree with you and the other commentors, half a century later this issue remains sadly all-too-relevant. It’s been observed that, though technology has continually advanced, the human condition really has not changed all that much through the centuries & millennia. The same sort of human failings that Homer wrote about in 8th Century BC and the Shakespeare explored in the early 1600s still remain very much with us.

    Over the years it’s been noted that quite a few readers saw the Scarlet Witch and the Vision’s relationship as a stand-in for interracial marriage, which had only been legally recognized by the United States Supreme Court just six years earlier in 1967, and which was considered strange & unusual by a good portion of the country for many years afterwards. (Tragically, some people STILL feel that way about it.) That’s one of the reasons why Wanda and Viz’s eventual marriage & efforts to make a life for themselves outside of the Avengers in suburbia resonated with so many fans.

    That also explains why so many long-time readers were very unhappy when in the late 1980s John Byrne had the Vision dismantled, revealed that the children he and Wanda had together weren’t real, and treated Wanda as crazy for ever having pursued a relationship with “a toaster” as Byrne put it. There’s a lot of unfortunate implications there, especially when Byrne also brought back the original Human Torch, with his Caucasian skin & blonde hair, and had everyone treat HIM like a real person.

    None of this occurred to me at the time because I’d only just begun following comic books regularly in the late 1980s. but having subsequently read a great many of the stories featuring the Vision and the Scarlet Witch from the Silver and Bronze Ages, well, I now understand how much the characters meant to so many readers, and how much of a mistake it probably was for Byrne to trash over two decades of character development by Englehart & other writers.

    Liked by 4 people

    • frasersherman · April 23

      No disagreement on Byrne but I’ll add that disassembling the Vision shouldn’t have been possible — he’s a human with synthetic parts, not something you can disassemble like Machine Man. But Byrne’s “I care so deeply about the original characters so I’m retconning out everything done to them since” was never anything but a fig leaf.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marcus · April 24

        I mentioned before, in the post for Avengers #93, I did not like Neal Adams’ side trip inside the Vision because it showed him to have a lot of mechanical parts. I don’t know if that gave Byrne any ideas for what he did, but it did set the precedent.


        • Steve McBeezlebub · April 24

          Yeah, android originally meant that the biological processes of a human being were replicated using mechanical parts. Misuse has caused a sort of lingual drift so that now android and robot are interchangeable except to pedants like me. Depictions like Adams’ of the Vision are at fault some but Data on Star Trek is the main reason it happened.


        • frasersherman · April 24

          They weren’t human parts — contrary to Hank’s description of Vizh as 100 percent human, just synthetic — but they were obviously (to me at least) not just a machine either.


  6. “We’re never told or shown how the Avengers got called in to deal with this attack on what appears to be an immigrant community (a legit public safety emergency, no question, but one it seems could be handled by the NYPD) — and so we’ll just have to roll with it.”

    I expect that Captain America, who spent half a decade fighting against the actual Third Reich during World War II, would be the first to leap into action at the sight of neo-Nazis attacking immigrants & minorities here in the United States.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. frasersherman · April 23

    Wow. All these years, not being a Ka-Zar fan, I assumed Gog was a reference to one of Marvel’s monster reprint books (“Gog — The Thing That Crushed New York” or the like).
    On first reading I assumed “the Bugle” was a code name for someone in Red’s group. I agree, most likely he thought calling the Bugle would further his agenda.
    I love the Don and Tony moment. The scene of Dr. Blake operating on Vizh reminds me how inconsistently Stan and Jack handled his doctoring: most of them time he appears to be primary care (he talks walk-ins, attends to injured people, kids and sick seniors) but then they have a story or two where he’s one of the world’s greatest surgeons. Of course, they weren’t writing serious medical drama, but still.
    It’s also odd that three or four years after learning he’s a magical creation of Odin, this never comes up — seriously, Don Blake is as much an artificial creation as the Vision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chris A. · April 23

      The name “Gog” was derived from the Old Testament of the Bible in Ezekiel 38 & 39. It refers to a leader as well as people from Russia and Ukraine (later referred to as Scythians). Stan Lee & company cribbed a lot from Bible names and phrases in the Marvel universe.


      • frasersherman · April 23

        Also used in a 1950s movie as a renegade robot, and of course his partner Magog in Kingdom Come.


  8. Terry M. · April 24

    Hey, Alan (and other commentators): I’m excited to see this issue being discussed for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a pretty provocative story – suicide bombers, religious zealots — definitely not just a comic book for “kids.” Second, it’s one of the Bob Brown issues. I always felt he was underrated, and I definitely would have liked to see more of his work on this title than the far-too-many issues by Don Heck or Sal Buscema. But the main reason is a bit broader. This was very close to the time I started reading Marvel super-hero comics on a regular basis after several years of being exclusively a DC fan. I think I’d started with Englehart’s previous issue, #112, and I stayed with the title until his departure. But what motivated me to delve into Marvel? Frankly, I rest the blame on DC’s shoulders. While the Distinctive Competition still had some good stuff – Swamp Thing, Sword of Sorcery, Kubert’s Tarzan, Kaluta’s Shadow — not to mention their horror and war titles, which were also pretty good — their super-hero line had suffered terribly in the preceding year or so. Titles that I’d enjoyed from 1971-72 were either canceled entirely (Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Aquaman, Kirby’s Fourth World) or had returned to the banal, trite, and stupid approach to writing that were trademarks of DC throughout the 1950s and 1960s (Superman, Flash, World’s Finest, Wonder Woman, Justice League). Marvel was a breath of fresh air when I dove in headfirst during the summer of 1973. At their worst, Marvel’s super-hero comics were mindless slug-fests — nothing wrong with that. But whereas DC had abandoned maturity in their super-hero titles, Marvel offered depth and serious themes — as in this issue of Avengers, or in the Gerry Conway Fantastic Four run. I’m looking forward to your posts over the next few months (and years), especially for the Marvel super-hero titles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • frasersherman · April 24

      For me the turning point was Doc Savage’s short, rather unimpressive series from Marvel. After that I picked up Avengers (always a favorite) and Defenders, later Conan. But I way preferred DC (that’s what makes horse races).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. spencerd · April 25

    A thought-provoking issue, especially today, that’s for sure. I just completed my Avengers run (#80 -150ish) and planning on reading through them again in order, once I finish doing the same with my Thor run #150 -220ish. Like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. R67 · April 25

    Why did you say this story’s inker is Mike Esposito, when the artist credited in the 1st page is Frank Bolle?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alan Stewart · April 25

      No reason at all, R67, other than sheer carelessness on my part. I’ve fixed the error now. Thanks for the catch!


  11. FredK · April 26

    I’ve been thinking about this since the weekend, and you and Steve Englehart raise some interesting points. I have to say that looking at the human/android romance from 50 years on, and leaving aside any use of it as a metaphor for any kind of human relations, I think that the antagonists in this issue actually have a better case than the issue gives them credit for. Those points include:
    1) In their world, Ultron had already been a force of evil since 1968;
    2) In our time, white-collar workers are being replaced by AI;
    3) I’d be pretty sore if my kid told me she wanted to marry a robot.
    Sure, we readers know how special the Vision is, but the general public doesn’t have the insight of we omniscient comic readers.
    Side note: Englehart also treated Red Tornado with great sympathy during his run on JLA later in the decade–the RT/Privateer conflict in JLA 150 was a shocking moment for me, a great moment in comics storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • frasersherman · April 26

      Except none of those relate to their arguments. It’s like the John Birch Society campaigning against fluoridation — I’ve read serious medical debates over the merits but “communists contaminating our water” is not concerned with serious questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Avengers #114 (August, 1973) | Attack of the 50 Year Old Comic Books
  13. Bill B · 4 Days Ago

    Red’s name appears to be, “Frank.” One of the bombers says, “It’s useless, Frank,” while they’re firing on the Avengers, and Frank seems to be leading them. We might assume he’s with them now (although he stayed behind initially) because there were seven people in the group (that we see, anyway) and three are dead at that time, leaving the four that blow themselves up in Thor’s whirlwind.

    Liked by 1 person

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