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Avengers #114: Review

Aug 1973
Steve Englehart, Bob Brown

Story Name:

Night of the Swordsman

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #114 Review by (September 4, 2013)
I've bumped the rating up to 4 this issue because Steve Englehart's plot is now starting to kick into gear. As explained in #19 young Hawkeye was Swordsman's protege in the Carnival. The older man encouraged Clint Barton to hone his archery skills. But the partnership broke up when Hawkeye caught him stealing the show's takings. The Lion God really *is* gone, never to be seen again (except in a flashback in #126).



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #114 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
After last issue's attack by bigoted fanatics almost destroyed her love Vision, Scarlet Witch comes to realise how right her brother Quicksilver was that humans hate those who are different - be they mutants or androids. (She seems to forget that Pietro also strongly disapproved of Wanda's relationship with Vision.) Now Pietro has escaped from the human world to be with his love Crystal in the Inhumans' Great Refuge (as seen in #110). But she and Vision will have to endure this world.

The Avengers saved Vision from 'death' last issue, and he is almost immediately back on fighting form. Captain America and Iron Man are checking him fit for duty in a mock battle. He easily defeats them by switching between immaterial and dense forms at will. The pair congratulate him. But the Witch can only hear that they keep calling him android.

So she sublimates her anger by going for a walk in street-clothes. but some workmen recognise her anyway, and one of them insults her about loving Vision. The guy even seems to be winning the subsequent brawn vs hex-power match when a costumed Vietnamese woman with antennae leaps in and ends the fight with some martial arts moves.

The woman introduces herself as Mantis and accompanies Wanda back to Avengers Mansion. Cap is concerned about letting a stranger in, and his worries are justified when Swordsman follows her in. He says he got the taste for heroing when he helped them in #100, and now wants to replace Hawkeye in their ranks. Cap reminds him how they trusted him in his 1st appearance in #19-20, and he betrayed them to Mandarin. And how he fought them in many issues since then (not to mention going up against Cap several times in his own series) (all before #100). Swordsman counters that the life of crime had made him lose himself in drink. Until Mantis saved him and convinced him to go straight.

Cap is still more than skeptical, but the other Avengers remind him how they gave Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver a 2nd chance. Thor offers to take responsibility for Swordsman, and Cap reluctantly agrees.

Mantis doesn't want to join, but asks if she can stay with her companion. Wanda welcomes the female company, since Black Widow and Wasp left.

In the following week Swordsman proves his skill and daring against various opponents. Thor recommends him for full membership. But Black Panther and Vision want to test him in mock combat. Swordsman uses one of the rays that Mandarin added to his sword to best Vision. His agility even lets him get the better of Panther.

Later the Avengers see a news report of Hawkeye back in New York fighting Zzzax with Hulk in Hulk #166. Swordsman dismisses the performance, saying he taught the archer everything he knows.

Later still it seems Cap's concerns about Swordsman may be justified. The new guy follows Mantis to the roof where she uses her (limited) mystical knowledge to conjure up the Lion God, the Avengers' foe from #112. They lead the giant god to the Avengers and help him subdue them all with his mystic hunting spear (his totem-stick was destroyed on his last visit). The god no longer wants secrets of his rival Panther God from Black Panther. Instead he just wants to sacrifice him.

But then Swordsman and Mantis hypnotise the Lion God, with flashing blade and sensuous dance respectively. They manoeuvre him into position, giving Iron Man the chance to lower an adamantium cylinder around him. Then Thor banishes him to another dimension.

Mantis explains that she sensed the Lion God planning to strike as soon as she arrived here. So she decided to lure him here on her own terms, to capture him with hypnotism and allow the Avengers to get rid of him once and for all. She knew the Avengers wouldn't believe her and Swordsman, so she had to trick them as well.

The others are convinced, but Cap still isn't sure.


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Page #1from Avengers #114
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Bob Brown
Mike Esposito
Petra Goldberg
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Art Simek.
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)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)