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Avengers #107: Review

Jan 1973
Steve Englehart, George Tuska

Story Name:

The Master Plan of the Space Phantom

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #107 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Hulk appears only in a flashback to AVENGERS #2. Part 2 of a three part storyline. George Tuska is also a penciler in this issue.


Avengers #107 Review by (August 20, 2013)
This whole thing raises the question of when the old unpublished George Tuska story that provides the flashback's here and last issue was *meant* to be released. It appears to start in the cemetery where #113 finished. Who was Supreme Hydra supposed to be when Tuska originally drew it? The dialogue has presumably been rewritten because it's all credited to Steve Englehart. SP's succeeding 'dead' Madame Hydra as Supreme Hydra is a bit confusing. He only appears to have been in the job 5 minutes when Cap unmasks him. Tuska's art *does* reference Madame H, but possibly the original story wasn't meant to follow so directly from CA#113. Madame Hydra presumably returned from Limbo when SP stopped impersonating her. It is unclear why she didn't try to take back control of Hydra. But she will reappear in CA#180 taking over the name and place in the Serpent Squad of Viper, under which nom-de-guerre she will have a long career as an anarchist. The later retconned explanation of Space Phantom's as servants of Immortus based in Limbo throws doubt on at least one part of SP's story here. He couldn't be trapped in Limbo between #2 and Thor #108 because that's where he *lived*. But see my comments next issue for the explanation given in Avengers Forever #8.

George Tuska continues to draw Captain America's flashback, while Jim Starlin takes over the present-day art for this issue only. This was one of Starlin's earliest interior pencilling jobs for Marvel. Previous ones were small stories in anthology titles or shared pencilling tasks like this one. Next month would see his 1st solo pencilling of a complete issue in Iron Man #55. Glynis Wein is the 1st colorist to be mentioned in the credits for Avengers this issue, a trend that will be continued. I believe this is the 1st month that Marvel listed colorists, but not all titles jumped on the bandwagon straight away. We now see that one purpose of this story is to make more sense of Cap's restored secret identity in CA#111-113. Presumably Phantom didn't remove the knowledge that Cap is Steve Rogers from certain people such as Sharon Carter. Space Phantom/Supreme Hydra's claims this issue to have deliberately kept Cap alive should mean that the Hydra troopers in last issue's flashback didn't leave because they thought Cap and Rick were dead, but to avoid having to kill them. One wonders what SP did to stop any other villains killing Cap?! Steve and Rick marvel at Hydra's technology. But other villains have had shrinking rays before then. And probably anti-gravity too. (But the unusualness of anti-gravity was planted as a clue that Supreme Hydra was Space Phantom.)



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #107 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Most of the Avengers have been captured by the Space Phantom and the Grim Reaper. Captain America is slowly recovering his memories of a battle with Hydra, which had been erased by the Space Phantom. The Grim Reaper offers the Vision a chance to be human again, if he will help destroy the Avengers.


Rob Johnson

Peter originally wrote the above short synopsis for the Hulk Library because of the brief flashback of Hulk. I have now appended my own lengthy description for the Iron Man Library.:-

Grim Reaper and the Space Phantom have Black Panther, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Scarlet Witch trapped in an anti-gravity field (courtesy of the advanced alien tech of Phantom's people). Reaper wants to kill them now, but Phantom wants to wait until they have all the Avengers at their mercy.

This means they have to capture Captain America, Thor and Vision. (Like many foes who want to destroy the Avengers, he only considers the current roster.) They know that Thor is in Vermont (in #207 of his own mag). They don't know where Cap is. And they have agreed that Reaper's 'brother' Vision won't be harmed. (Although in true super-villain fashion Phantom doesn't intend to keep his promise.) Reaper expects to turn Vision to their side, a scheme he began in #102.

We, however, do know where Steve Rogers is. He returned from holiday last issue and had a forgotten memory triggered of fighting Hydra with Rick Jones (in his Bucky uniform), who also has completely forgotten it. He's been following the trail of the memory, recalling more of it as he goes. And it has brought him to an old underground Hydra base.

His memory now resumes with Steve and Rick fighting more Hydra guys in the base, who employed an anti-gravity device which was beyond Hydra's capabilities as far as Cap knew. Then they activated units which made them invisible (like phantoms, as Rogers said). Our duo escaped into a kitchen. When the invisible Hydra troops followed, our guys levelled the playing field by coating them with flour and stuff so they could see what to hit.

The Hydra goons escaped through a secret panel. Cap and Rick followed, wondering why the numerous villains weren't trying harder to kill them. It's as though they were under orders to keep them alive.

Suddenly the hooded Supreme Hydra popped up and confirmed their guess, before blasting them with a shrinking ray. The miniaturised guys escaped and sneaked up onto the Supreme one's control panel, as the master villain ranted that he'd been leading these Hydra troops by convincing them he was their leader Madame Hydra.

Cap reached the shrinking ray control and reversed it, returning himself and his partner to full size. They made short work of the Hydra agents in the room (who were seemingly oblivious to their leader's confession). Cap KO'd Supreme Hydra and unmasked him (but we don't see who it was yet).

Now in the present Cap realises that this whole memory must have been erased from his and Rick's mind, probably by the Supreme Hydra. Steve still can't remember whose face he saw under the hood. But he heads deeper into the abandoned Hydra complex hoping to restore more of the memory.

Meanwhile the android Vision has gone for a walk to continue brooding about the fact that he isn't human, and so can't return the love of the Scarlet Witch. Grim Reaper accosts him and repeats the offer he made in #102 to put Vison's mind (patterned on that of Eric Williams' brother Simon, aka Wonder Man, into the preserved body of said brother, so that Vision would get his desired humanity and Reaper would have his whole brother back. The price was Vision's help in destroying the Avengers. But Reaper now simplifies the deal by claiming that the Avengers were already as good as dead. But Vision still says no.

Grim Reaper chooses to believe that Vision turns the offer down because he doesn't believe Simon Williams' body can be revived. He takes him to where the body is stored, but then admits that, yes, Wonder Man is irrevocably dead. (It was still possible to believe such a thing back then, before everybody and his sister had died and recovered at least once.) Then Eric Williams tells him the real plan. With the aid of his ally he will give Vision the body of Captain America.

Reaper then recounts the secret history of the Space Phantom. At the end of #2 SP was himself confined to Limbo when he attempted to send Thor there (as part of his duplicating process). But soon in Thor #108 Loki put Jane Foster in Limbo, freeing the Phantom. SP contacted GR because he needs his knowledge of the Avengers. SP then replaced Madame Hydra (presumably sending her temporarily to Limbo) in the middle of the battle in CA#113, just before she ended the fight by accidentally 'killing' herself with her own missiles. SP then took over as a new hooded Supreme Hydra (which doesn't exactly gel with what SP said earlier in this issue to the Avengers). He then allowed himself to be captured and unmasked in the flashback we've seen.

But SP then whipped out a paralysis ray and froze Cap and Rick. he explained that the battle with Hydra had confirmed that Steve Rogers was the most perfect physical specimen to be used to hold Vision's mind. But the brain transplant requires Cap to be at peace.

To this end SP used his alien tech to wipe the memory that Cap and Steve were the same person from the whole world, completing the attempt to restore his secret identity that Cap had done in CA#111. Then he wiped the memory of this encounter from Cap and Rick, and waited for Steve to achieve satori.

Now Steve has his girlfriend Sharon Carter, and Cap has a new partner Falcon. So Steve is the happiest he's ever been, and now was the time to carry out Phantom and Reaper's plan. Reaper is helping Phantom destroy the Avengers, and Vision can have his mind transferred into Cap's body. And this time Vision says yes.


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George Tuska
Dave Cockrum
Glynis Wein
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Rich Buckler (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Grim Reaper, Space Phantoms.