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Avengers #117: Review

Nov 1973
Steve Englehart, Bob Brown

Story Name:

Holocaust

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #117 Review by (September 16, 2013)
This gets in the Iron Man Library due to a flashback only. The appearance of a Bolivian Nazi castle and an unnamed but murderous American owner in the Swordsman/Valkyrie segment isn't explained. The letters page in #122 will say that the man was going to be a fugitive Watergate conspirator, but Marvel chickened out. The Official Index suggests that the castle may be where Magneto finds Nazi war criminal Hans Richter in the new story in Classic X-Men #19. Somewhat more mysterious is that no-one ever takes Swordsman to task for killing the American. Valkyrie adopted Aragorn in Defenders #4 when Black Knight got turned to stone. Without commenting on it she also adopted his Ebony Blade at the same time. Captain America gained super-strength in CA#158. Sunfire was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #64 and then had an uneasy alliance with Sub-Mariner against 1-shot villain Dragon-Lord in SM#52-54. Cap and Namor don't remember their adventures together in the Invaders, because Roy Thomas hasn't written them yet. This will later be put down to partial amnesia. Cap's due to his frozen suspended animation since WWII. And Namor's because of the actions of Destiny, as revealed in SM#1, which turned him into the homeless man Torch found in Fantastic Four #4.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #117 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This story follows on from DEFENDERS (1972) #9

This issue of the Avengers/Defenders War comprises a 2 page preamble with the main title, and then chapter 7 Swordsman vs Valkyrie and chapter 8 Captain America vs Sub-Mariner.

In the preamble Dormammu and Loki watch the 1st 3 Defenders get their fragments of the Evil Eye. But Dormammu is disconcerted to see that they are opposed by Avengers (Vision & Scarlet Witch vs Silver Surfer in #115, Iron Man vs Hawkeye and Black Panther & Mantis vs Dr Strange in Def#9). He briefly (correctly) suspects Loki of betraying him, but the trickster god points out that he's currently blind and so helpless. Dormammu still can't interfere directly without alerting Dr Strange to his involvement. Loki once again asks his ally to fulfil his promise to cure his blindness, but Dormammu again fobs him off.

In chap 7 the newest Avenger Swordsman returns to Bolivia where he once fought the Avengers for Mandarin (in Av Annual #1). There his plane is forced down by the Defender Valkyrie on the flying horse Aragorn. He figures this means he must be in the right place, and enters a Nazi castle built in the jungle, where he finds a reclusive American who's recently bought it.

He also finds Valkyrie searching for a fragment of the Eye. Cue a sword fight, as Val wields Black Knight's Ebony Blade. Assuming she stole it confirms to Swordsman that she's the villain of the piece. The battle includes many standard movie sword fight moves:- sliding down a stone 'banister', slowing a fall by slicing down a wall hanging, kicking a table at your opponent.

However eventually they both notice the owner sneaking into a locked room. Following him they find the Eye. But he shoots Swordsman with a ray gun to stop him taking it, and severely wounded Swordsman stabs him dead(!). Valkyrie makes sure her foe is found and taken to hospital before leaving with her piece of the Eye.

Chap 8 is set in Osaka, Japan. Captain America arrives to a hostile reception from the locals, but Sub-Mariner already has the Eye piece. However Namor can't help challenging Cap to a fight.

Even Cap's recently-gained super-strength means he only survives against Sub-Mariner for a while. But as Namor heads back to the sea Cap gets up again and hurls his shield to stop Subby regaining his native element. Then they tussle over the Eye. But suddenly a bolt of fire turns the sea around them to steam. Namor drops the Eye, and it is grabbed by the Japanese mutant hero Sunfire.

Cap tries to stop Namor flying after Sunfire, because his aim is to stop the Defender getting the object, not necessarily acquire it himself. As they fight again they each claim to be in the right. Cap says the Defenders kidnapped Black Knight and turned him to stone, and now they want the Evil Eye to rule the world. Subby retorts that that's all Loki's lies. Enchantress turned BK to stone, Dr Strange has tried to restore him, and the Eye is their best hope.

Sub-Mariner dumps Cap in the sea and flies after Sunfire. They fight, and drop the Eye. Cap catches it. But then he hands it over to Namor, saying he thinks they may both have been tricked. They fly by quinjet back to America.

The story will continue in DEFENDERS (1972) #10

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Bob Brown
Mike Esposito
Petra Goldberg
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Letterer: June Braverman.
Editor: Steve Englehart.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Defenders, Hildegarde (Hildegarde), Sunfire.