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Avengers #122: Review

Apr 1974
Steve Englehart, Bob Brown

Story Name:

Trapped in outer space

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Avengers #122 Review by (December 3, 2013)
There's the usual confusion between weight and mass here. The warehouse rocket was weightless because it was in orbit, but it still had the same mass and hence the same inertia, so Iron Man wouldn't have found it easier to move. But then I've no doubt he could move it anyway. But for the same reason weightlessness shouldn't have made it possible for IM to move Mjolnir. If it's mass that makes it impossible for the unworthy to pick it up, then it should still have been immovable. In fact it's more likely to be a magic effect, but then that's all the more reason being weightless shouldn't make a difference. Taurus kept his identity as Van Lunt secret from the rest of Zodiac. He only told the conspirators (and the Avengers and us) when he thought he was sending them to their deaths. But apparently he told Joshua Link when he visited him in prison as Van Lunt in #120. Vision's fear of water is another hint of his connection to the android Human Torch. This is the last time we see Damian Link. But Joshua Link continues as Gemini in Zodiac, presumably still gaining doubled power from his brother. He'll be with them in Iron Man #184 and West Coast Avengers #26 where they get replaced by an android version of Zodiac. Next issue an origin for Mantis.

There are multiple cover artists for this issue because Gil Kane and John Romita have drawn figures bursting through a montage of interior panels by Bob Brown. The panels I recognise come from #120. If this is so then they were inked by Don Heck, not Mike Esposito as the Official Index has it. However it is possible that the interior inker for this issue re-inked them for the cover. In this issue even Thor is pinned to the floor by the g-force of their acceleration. Another example of his powers being played down in Avengers - the whole of which will later be unconvincingly explained as Thor deliberately restraining himself so as not to show up his teammates. Scarlet Witch remembers a similar force field from Zodiac's 1st appearance in #72. But there it was a 'strange substance' which as here even Vision couldn't penetrate. I don't think Mjolnir's enchantment should be fooled by orbital mechanics. After all it isn't fooled by the rotation of the Earth. Aries has the Star-Blaster hand weapon last seen with Taurus. But comments last issue and this suggest that there are several of these hand weapons.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #122 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Avengers Black Panther, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Vision are trapped in a 'warehouse' with a large group of Zodiac members. The warehouse is actually a rocket taking them into space, sent there by Zodiac leader Taurus because this Zodiac faction were planning to rebel against him.

When they reach orbit a steel shutter pulls back from a window confirming they are in space. The window is actually a force field that not even Iron Man or Vision can penetrate. Thor sends his hammer through it OK, but when Mjolnir loops back to return to his hand it is fooled by the fact that the orbit has moved the rocket. It sails right past.

Without his hammer Thor dives for cover as he reverts to Don Blake. But Zodiac spot his move and attack, sensing a weakness. Iron Man, the only one who knows Thor's secret, rushes to his defence. And the other Avengers fight Zodiac too. Until Vision shouts that they need to cooperate to save their lives.

Back on Earth Taurus rants at the 4 Zodiac members who weren't in the conspiracy:- Capricorn, Gemini and Virgo, plus Libra who knew about it but stayed neutral because he epitomises Balance. He dismisses them as wimps.

Later Gemini is chatting with Libra when Libra knocks him out. Libra then goes to wake up Josh Link's captive brother Damian, who's clad in another Gemini suit. He tells the cop to pretend to be the villainous Gemini and keep Taurus distracted while he steals the starship/weapon we saw in the last 2 issues.

In space the combatants have agreed to a truce, and the Avengers concoct a plan. Scarlet Witch briefly opens a hole in the force field window with a hex, and Iron Man flies out. He retrieves Mjolnir, which he can handle while it's weightless in space, and then pushes the warehouse rocket towards the Earth.

But as gravity takes hold Mjolnir falls across his wrist pinning him to the roof. So Shellhead can't change position to slow the descent. The building starts to burn up in the atmosphere .... but then Libra arrives in the Zodiac starship to save them with another force field.

Meanwhile in Avengers Mansion injured Swordsman watches over Mantis who's in a healing trance. Suddenly his lover wakes up crying that Vision is in trouble and she must go to help him. This of course increases Swordsman's fear that he's losing her love to the android.

Taurus is unburdening himself to 'Gemini', the only person he trusted with his identity as Cornelius Van Lunt. But Damian Link betrays his unfamiliarity with their history, and Van Lunt unmasks him as the good brother. Taurus finds Capricorn and Virgo, and they see Libra returning with the starship. But then the Avengers and the rest of Zodiac show themselves.

The Avengers are ready to capture the smaller group of Zodiac. But the rest of Zodiac turn against them. However the Avengers will still prove triumphant.

Vision blasts Taurus into a swimming pool where he starts to drown, like he supposedly did in a flood at the end of #81. he cries that he only survived the flood by luck, because he can't actually swim. Vision wants to leap in and save him but finds that he can't - he's frozen like he was in #118.

Luckily Mantis arrives and does the rescuing. Vision again can't explain why he couldn't act. But a memory faintly stirs in the back of his brain.

Then Thor asks Libra, who'd stayed out of the fighting, why he rescued them. Libra admits that it was a mistake. He'd thought Mantis was with the Avengers, and did what he did because he is her father.


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Bob Brown
Mike Esposito
George Roussos
Bob Brown (Cover Penciler)
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Roy Thomas.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Libra, Zodiac.