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Avengers #112: Review

Jun 1973
Steve Englehart, Don Heck

Story Name:

The Lion God lives

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Avengers #112 Review by (September 4, 2013)
This is the 1st appearance of Mantis who will be a prime component of Steve Englehart's main plotline leading to Giant-Size Avengers #4. #114 will reveal that her partner is Swordsman who will go on a journey of redemption during the same storyline, ending with his self-sacrificing death in GSAv#2. One reason why Mantis might think Hawkeye's quitting makes it the right time for them to approach the Avengers is that Hawkeye and Swordsman are old enemies, as explained in #19. Iron Man uses the word ego-boo (for ego boost) which suggests that both he and Englehart are Science Fiction fans, as the term was only in use in SF Fandom at that time. I've put the rating back down to 3 for this issue because it's a filler issue with a throwaway villain, and its main reason for existence seems to be justifying why Black Panther stays with the Avengers. The Lion God *will* strike again, in 2 issues time. But after that he won't be heard from ever again. In fact he was probably invented to give Mantis and Swordsman someone to prove themselves against in #114.

Dept of *not*-misleading covers:- Captain America is in this issue, but he's correctly not shown in the cover battle scene which includes the 3 lions. I think Englehart may have made Black Widow a temporary Avenger just so her leaving this issue justifies the cover blurb 'the end of an Avenger'. Black Widow returns to Daredevil's side in DD#101, and will continue to share his comic and it's masthead until #124. Of course she will overcome her dislike of larger teams to form the Champions straight after that, and to eventually become a regular member of the Avengers, even leading the team sometimes. Black Panther considers returning to Wakanda to deal with the troubles that are brewing there that will eventually lead to his series in Jungle Action. But he doesn't actually seem to go until after #126 (and the Marvel Chronology Project concurs with this).



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #112 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The bulk of this issue follows directly from the previous one. But 1st we have a scene set 4 days before. Reporter Mr Umbala is brought into the presence of a real African Lion God. But he's not going to earn a Pulitzer Prize because he is sacrificed to the hungry god.

In the present the Avengers are welcoming Black Widow, their new recruit from last issue, to Avengers Mansion. Iron Man makes a pass. Scarlet Witch shows Natasha to her new bedroom. Black Panther considers whether the addition of the Widow means he can afford to satisfy his people's desire for him to return to Wakanda.

His decision is put off as Captain America, Thor and Vision see a band of protesters attacking their front door, demanding to see the Black Panther. They appear to be led by Mr Umbala. When T'Challa tries to talk to them they attack the Avengers, some with guns. The Avengers easily hold them off. But the protesters demand that Panther returns to Africa.

When Mr Umbala confronts T'Challa, the Panther inexplicably bows down and follows him. When the Avengers try to intervene, Mr Umbala reveals himself to be the Lion God, who stirs up the mob to attack the Avengers again. During the distraction God and Panther disappear. And the protesters disperse, confused.

We now break for an interlude where we meet a woman who refers to herself as Mantis, talking to an unrevealed man. The man tells her that Hawkeye has left the Avengers (since #109). Mantis considers this the perfect opportunity for them to join the ranks.

The Lion God tells the captive Black Panther (no longer under his mental domination) that he and the Wakandans' Panther God have been rivals for ages. Now T'Challa will tell the Lion God all the secrets of the Panther God, and the Lion will defeat the Panther and reign supreme over Africa. If T'Challa doesn't do what he says, the Lion God threatens to use his powerful totem-stick to kill the Avengers.

The Avengers meanwhile are wondering how to track a god down. Captain America has left to search SHIELD records for any info. And Thor admits that the Asgardians have never explored the pantheons south of the Mediterranean. Their problem is solved when the Lion God busts his way into the Mansion, with captive Panther in tow.

Thor springs to the attack, but the other god avoids his hammer Mjolnir, and fells him with the totem-stick. Immaterial Vision isn't affected by the totem, and tries the materialising-a-hand-inside-his-foe trick. But this only affects the transformed body of Mr Umbala, not the spirit of the Lion-God who successfully uses the totem on the materialised hand.

Refusing to fight a woman, he sicks a lion and lioness on Black Widow. But she tricks them into fighting each other. Showing that Avenging women are not to be ignored, Wanda blasts the god with a hex, before stopping to try to revive Thor and Vision. So the god summons another Lion to attack her.

But Black Panther has used Avengers' tech to break his bonds, and he fights that lion to submission. Meanwhile Iron Man has dealt with the 1st 2 lions. However the enraged god blasts Shellhead, Widow and Witch to seeming death, leaving only the leaping and dodging Panther to face him.

But at this point Thor revives, because gods aren't that easy to kill. He calls on the lightning to strike the totem-stick. And it and it's Lion God lord blink out of existence. And this magic returns the other Avengers to life.

It's epilogue time again, and Natasha resigns from the team. She says she's not comfortable in a big teams. And after seeing Vision and Wanda in love she knows she must follow her heart back to San Francisco. Meanwhile T'Challa decides to stay with the Avengers, who can fight foes from any part of the globe.

Meanwhile again the Lion God isn't dead, just returned to his spirit realm where he promises to strike again.


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Preview Pages
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Page #1from Avengers #112
Page 1

Page #2from Avengers #112
Page 2

Page #3from Avengers #112
Page 3


Don Heck
Frank Bolle
Petra Goldberg
Don Heck (Cover Penciler)
Don Heck (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)