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Avengers #120: Review

Feb 1974
Steve Englehart, Bob Brown

Story Name:

Death-stars of the Zodiac

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Avengers #120 Review by (November 27, 2013)
Next issue will reveal that Taurus is Cornelius Van Lunt who was supposedly killed in #81. Aries led Zodiac in their debut in #72 and in #80-82 (plus Daredevil #69), where he died. Now Taurus has taken command. He's recruited a new Aries, and a new French Scorpio to replace Jake Fury (in the SHIELD series) and Nick Fury (impersonating him in #72). The other appearance by some Zodiacers since #82 was Iron Man #35-36 (again with a DD issue #73). Taurus' hand-weapon and the larger version are here referred to as Star-Blazers. Next issue the large one will be called the Star-Slayer, along with general references to star-weapons. And in #122 they will be Star-Blasters. The Official Index settles on Star-Blazer hand weapon and Star-Slayer for the large one. This issue and the next are intricately entwined with Captain America #171, also plotted by Steve Englehart. In CA#169-170 Black Panther went to Wakanda with Falcon to get him some wings. Meanwhile Cap was framed for murder and jailed. During the Zodiac attack Cap is busted out of jail by the bad guys in CA#171. Meanwhile F and BP rescue F's girlfriend Leila in Nigeria, and F and L return to New York. In between fights with Zodiac, Iron Man meets F in Cap's apartment and tells him what's happening. And there's more connection next issue. The end caption of the issue wonders how Taurus knew about Mantis' empathy. We'll have to wait for #123 to find out.

Cover boo-boo - Captain America's on the cover but conspicuously not inside. But that's because Jim Starlin's cover features what was considered to be the main selling points of this series - the Big 3 and Vision. The Link brothers' origin was told in a backup story in Astonishing Tales #8. However, after the origin accident in that tale it was cop Damian who got the doubled power when his crooked brother was in danger. The story ended with Damian arresting Joshua. The Link brothers reappeared in the Ka-Zar strip in AT#17-20, where Damian Link was police liaison with SHIELD. Joshua was in jail, but in the meantime he had learned to remote-control Damian and become Gemini. That story suggested that Joshua had been in jail all the time he was Gemini in Zodiac. But Taurus here says that Joshua was arrested as Gemini after joining Zodiac, which doesn't fit with the above. It says Josh makes Damian put the Gemini costume on every morning just in case. And of course Damian never notices he's wearing it. Not even when he goes to the toilet! (But then people in comics very rarely do that.) At the end of the issue both Josh and Damian are in Gemini outfits, which will become relevant in #122. But Josh is keeping Damian in a trance. It seems this way Josh can gain the power of 2 men himself.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #120 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Taurus, the new leader of Zodiac, comes to see Joshua Link in jail in his civilian guise and tells him he knows him to be Zodiac-member Gemini. Zodiac intend to kill every person in New York of star sign Gemini, as Link is. But 1st they'll free Joshua and protect him.

But Joshua says it won't be that simple. He explains about his twin brother Damian, a cop. And how they had an origin accident which linked them psychically. Now he can take over his brother's mind, and in that state his physical abilities are doubled. It was Joshua in Damian's body who was Gemini. However if Damian dies in Zodiac's plot, then Joshua will die too.

Meanwhile Jarvis shows Sgt Damian Link into Avengers Mansion. The cop has had his liaison role with SHIELD extended to cover the Avengers. He's here to talk about Captain America being in jail on a murder charge. At this point brother Josh takes control.

Swordsman catches Link peeking at secret files. He accosts him but stumbles due to his injury from #117. And he accidentally uncovers Link's Gemini costume. Gemini evades Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Vision but is laid low by Thor.

Damian Link revives, wondering what's happening. Mantis takes her lover Swordsman away to tend to his wound. Vision muses for our benefit about Black Panther being home in Wakanda.

Meanwhile Taurus has been watching from a nearby rooftop. The plan was for Joshua to control Damian until he could deliver his body to Zodiac. Now Taurus calls in the rest of Zodiac. They blast through the Mansion wall with a Star-Blazer hand-weapon, and defeat the Avengers - the Star-Blazer's stellar energy even toppling Thor.

Mantis returns from making Swordsman comfortable and takes the Star-Blazer from Taurus. She has the rest of the gang covered, but Josh has regained control of his brother and tackles her from behind. Soon Mantis falls to the whole mob.

Zodiac leave now that they have Gemini. The Avengers awaken, wondering why the villains left them alive. They find a tape recording left for them telling them that Zodiac will display their power at midnight. They will use a giant Star-Blazer to kill all Geminis in Manhattan. Then they'll demand money to not kill another star sign.

As midnight approaches Zodiac have the large Star-Blazer erected atop one of the Twin Towers. As well as Damian, they have also busted Joshua out of jail. And fitted them both with devices to nullify the Star-Blazer's effects. After the usual villain squabbling, they prepare to fire the big gun.

But the Avengers burst on the scene, and Iron Man and Thor zap the gun. They figured the gang would need a high vantage point to fire from. This time they make short work of their foes except Aries and Taurus.

Taurus turns the big gun on them. it is too damaged to blanket Manhattan, but there's still enough power to kill any Geminis among the heroes. Thor says there are none such, but the villain blasts Mantis who is left stunned hanging over the edge of the tower.

Taurus explains that her empathic powere means she feels the pain of any Sign of the Zodiac. That shot was set to stun. Unless the Avengers let them go free, the next shot will kill their friend.


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Bob Brown
Don Heck
George Roussos
Jim Starlin (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Art Simek.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Zodiac.