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Avengers #109: Review

Mar 1973
Steve Englehart, Don Heck

Story Name:

The measure of a man

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Avengers #109 Review by (August 28, 2013)
Dept of misleading covers:- Captain America iss pictured there while he isn't inside. I've lowered the star rating for this issue. I've never been a fan of Don Heck's stiff artwork, but Steve Englehart's plot and script kept the ratings up for last issue. This issue is lacklustre by comparison. These Avengers aren't idle while Hawkeye is training Champion. Iron Man features in a 3 issues #52-54 of his own series, and then is joined by Black Panther, Vision and the absent-from-this-issue Cap for the climax of Ant-Man and Wasp's little run in Marvel Feature #9-10. It doesn't say why Cap isn't in this issue. He could be just not around when Hawkeye leaves. But after this issue the Avengers Big 3 have a joint cameo in Fantastic Four #133. And in between MF#9-10 and FF#133 Cap does his own thing in CA#157-159 during which Viper (the original, not Madame Hydra) accidentally gives him superstrength, as will be seen next issue. So maybe that's why he's not available to help fight Champion. Thor meanwhile has a long sequence of adventures in Thor #209-228 during which he and his companions (seen in #105) leave Avengers Mansion for outer space and Asgard. Imus Champion seems like a 1-shot (with a bow and arrow) villain, but he'll eventually return in the 90's in a Wolverine story in Marvel Comics Presents, which will kickstart his career as a villain. Despite having quit the Avengers Hawkeye will be in the next 2 issues before getting embroiled in the Avengers/Defenders War on the other side.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #109 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The story opens soon after the end of last issue with Thor watching Hawkeye putting himself through a strenuous acrobatic archery exercise. The god knows that Clint Barton is trying to forget that Vision and Scarlet Witch have declared their love for each other, ending his own chances with Wanda.

But now we cut immediately to California, where a limousine places itself in the path of a plane taking off for New York, and its 9ft giant passenger leaps out and manhandles the plane to a halt. The security guards let him board the plane. After all he has a ticket, and he's Imus Champion who owns the airline.

Back in Avengers Mansion Vision has rationalised away the problem that made him think he was incapable of love. In #105 when Lorelei made the male Avengers adore her via her singing, it wasn't that she couldn't affect Vision emotionally, but that his android ears didn't react to her sounds in the same way as human ears. Last issue he proved to himself he had emotions when he risked his life to save his villainous 'brother' Grim Reaper.

Bitter Hawkeye tries to spoil the mood by reminding Wanda that she should still be looking for her missing brother Pietro/Quicksilver. (As she has been doing for the last 4 issues.) But Vision defends and supports her. And Clint decides to leave the Mansion, ditching the medieval costume he's been wearing since #98 in favour of his original outfit.

Outside he muses that he wasn't really in love with Wanda, it's more his injured pride. Especially after Black Widow dumped him (back in #76) and has now taken up with Daredevil (since DD#81).

Clint's musings are interrupted when Champion finds him and wants to hire him. Hawkeye says Avengers aren't for hire, and suggests he try Luke Cage (whose bi-monthly Hero For Hire title has been going for a few months). But the big guy offers to donate a million dollars to Hawkeye's favourite charity if he'll teach him archery.

They fly back to Champion's California mansion jutting out of a cliff by the ocean. His employer suggests Hawkeye write to the Avengers to tell them what he's doing. Clint, still angry, says he won't bother. But Champion forges a letter from him, because he doesn't want to risk the Avengers interrupting.

Hawkeye spends weeks teaching his giant pupil, until he's sure Champion has nothing more to learn. And Clint figures now's the time to go back to the Avengers.

But then he accidentally sees Champion wearing a super-costume, and the villain explains his master plan. Now that he has added archery to his skills he believes he has proved himself better than anyone at anything. So now is the time to strike. His target is a sunken WWII ship containing nerve gas. He's going to put it outside US territorial waters by moving the country away from the ship! By triggering the San Andreas fault to sink California.

Hawkeye if course can't stand for this. But Champion's armoured costume contains weaponry, and he blasts the archer's bowstring. Hawkeye escapes more blasts by diving out a window into the Pacific.

It's taken her all these weeks, but Scarlet Witch suddenly realises that the letter was a forgery because he signed it Hawkeye instead of Clint. The Avengers are now alerted.

Hawkeye swims ashore, but is met by Champion and some masked minions. Champion knocks Clint out, and when he awakes he's tied to one of the bombs that will cause the earthquake. When this bomb is detonated it will triggers the others. And just to show off, Champion will set it off with an arrow.

But of course the Avengers arrive to foil the villain's scheme. But although they temporarily stop him from setting off the bomb, it turns out that Champion and his henchmen are not unprepared for these possible foes. During the battle Champion zaps Iron Man, minions blast Black Panther and Scarlet Witch, and another blast even blinds Thor. Vision manages to hold his own, and frees Hawkeye.

Champion is once again ready to fire an arrow to detonate the bomb. But Hwakeye grabs his bow that the villain had contemptuously left nearby. He quickly replaces the broken string with a spare, and shoots an arrow that cuts Champion's bowstring even as it is propelling the bad guy's arrow forwards. Champion's arrow is deflected off course, and Thor's hammer creates a fissure that traps the giant foe. Hawkeye finishes things off with a knockout-gas arrow.

But despite having saved the day, Hawkeye declares he's quitting the Avengers to go solo. He's tired of being the weakest member of the team.


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Preview Pages
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Page #1from Avengers #109
Page 1

Page #2from Avengers #109
Page 2

Page #3from Avengers #109
Page 3


Don Heck
Frank McLaughlin
Stan Goldberg
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
John Verpoorten (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Charlotte Jetter.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Grim Reaper, Imus Champion.