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Avengers #134: Review

Apr 1975
Steve Englehart, Joe Staton

Story Name:

The times that bind

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #134 Review by (January 29, 2014)
Another misleading cover shows Thinker setting Human Torch against Iron Man, Thor and Vision. There is no fight between HT and Avengers - Vision can only *watch* HT and Thinker. And the other 2 are off with Mantis. John Romita gets cover credits because he did alterations. The Kree are described as blue-skinned here (although the pictures here and last issue show them as pink). Ronan the Accuser was drawn pink in Fantastic Four #65, as were the crew of Captain Marvel's spaceship from Marvel Super-Heroes #12 on. But by CM#1 Minister Zarek had been coloured blue, and issues of CM started depicted Ronan the same colour. As did the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers. By the 1st edition of the Handbook of the Marvel Universe it will be established that the Kree were originally blue, but the majority became pink by interbreeding with other races. The pure-bred blues are the elite of Kree society. The time-scale for the Kree history doesn't make sense. last issue had them on the Moon while Earth only had primitive life forms (the Skrulls suggest something on the level of amoeba). Now only a few hundred years later we see the Priests of Pama's story which has them arriving on Earth where they are able to set up their temple in Viet Nam. When the atmosphere wouldn't yet be breathable, and the continents would not be anything like we know them now. And so far the 'origins' of Mantis and Vision haven't even mentioned the supposed protagonists! We'll learn in Giant-Size Av#4 that Scarlet Witch is here under the control of Dr Strange's foe Dormammu.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #134 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue continues the origins of Mantis and Vision. Immortus has sent Hawkeye, Iron Man and Thor on a journey through time with Mantis to trace her origin, with a telepathic synchro-staff as guide. Vision is travelling alone with his synchro-staff.

We begin with the Mantis side, which so far is the origin of the Kree rather than of Mantis. Last issue we saw them commit genocide on the telepathic Cotati plant-people who shared their planet Hala, and use technology stolen from the Skrulls to rise to become an empire to rival the Skrullian federation, beginning the everlasting Kree/Skrull War.

Now some centuries later the militaristic Kree oppressed their subjects, including their own pacifists. We now see a replay of the story told by the Star-Stalker in #124, but with extra details (because the Stalker knew nothing of the Cotati). The Kree pacifists formed an underground sect, and developed defensive martial arts. They also trained their minds, and 1 day were telepathically contacted by what turned out to be Cotati survivors.

The dying plant-people had produced seeds, and the next generations had hidden themselves away from the Kree. They had also abandoned their mobility and become rooted plants again. But now the Cotati and the pacifist Kree entered an alliance. The pacifists would look after the plants and the plants would help the pacifists enhance their mental skills.

Meanwhile the Vision is seeing more of the tale of the original android Human Torch. Last issue we covered his origin in 1939. Now we skip to 1949 with info from 1953's Young Men #24. That issue began a 2nd tranche of the exploits of HT and his sidekick Toro, and started by explaining where they'd been since their last appearance in 1949's Marvel Mystery Comics #92.

The story was that Russian agents had drenched the duo with a chemical that doused their flames and paralysed them. Then they buried HT in the Nevada desert, where he lay until he was re-energised by an atomic bomb test in 1953. He found Toro again and they had another year of adventures until they were dropped from comics again.

The Marvel Age Sub-Mariner #14 featured the heroic death of Toro. But before he went he explained that Torch went off on a solo mission in 1955, and he hadn't seen him since. This issue now shows that HT had discovered that the radiation that revived him in 1953 was killing him, and had made him a danger to those around him. So he flew back to the desert and went nova.

And Vision finds that he remembers these events.

The Mantis group watch as the pacifist Kree became priests of a religion, and their temple hid the Cotati. But soldiers came and took the priests to the ruling Supreme Intelligence, the amalgam of the best minds of past Kree. As the Star-Stalker previously told the Avengers the Supremor banished the pacifist priests to a barren planet. And they had to leave the hidden Cotati behind.

But the mighty minds of the Cotati influenced the Star-Stalker and sent him to the pacifists' planet, which he threatened to destroy. The plant-beings were confidant that their allies would suss out the Stalker's weakness, which they did as they used karate chops to open a fissure which spewed molten lava at him.

We take time out now for (almost) the only present-day section of this comic. Moondragon lands her spacecraft on the roof of Avengers Mansion and sees the mini-star hanging in the sky above it. She doesn't know why but she feels she must speak to the Avengers. Their butler Jarvis tries to contact them in Viet Nam, but of course they don't answer.

Scarlet Witch emerges from her training in witchcraft under Agatha Harkness. She speaks in a cold and imperious voice. Moondragon tries to persuade Wanda to accompany her to Viet Nam in search of her teammates. When the Witch refuses, Moondragon tries to read her mind to find out what has changed her. But Wanda evades the probe and hexes wood and cloth into weapons to overcome the other woman. Miss Harkness takes her back to complete her studies.

Vision's synvhro-staff has now brought him into the Marvel Age. In Fantastic Four Annual #4 the Mad Thinker found Torch's android body and resurrected him as his slave. The original HT died again that day, and the FF left his body there in the Thinker's lab. (Although they had a memorial service, presumably without the body, which Toro attended in the already-mentioned SM#14.)

But now we see something new, as Ultron-5 breaks into the room containing Torch's body.

Mantis' journey through the past now ends as we see more of the modified tale told by the Star-Stalker in #123. The pacifist Kree told the Supreme Intelligence about the Star-Stalker and how to defeat it, but he dismissed their tale. But he did allow them to spread themselves through the galaxy to defend worlds against this imaginary foe. And as a precaution he kept 4 of them on Hala.

When they left the priests took the surviving Cotati with them. The pacifists went in male/female pairs to inhabited worlds, each with a pair of plants. 1 pair reached Earth and founded the temple of the Priests of Pama in Viet Nam. Suddenly Mantis recognises the Cotati as trees in a garden in that temple - the garden where they buried her dead love Swordsman (#130).

Even more suddenly they are zapped to that very garden in the present. Where they find Libra and the green glowing ghost of Swordsman, a pairing we have already met in the past few issues.



Joe Staton
Joe Staton
Phil Rachelson
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Layouts: Sal Buscema. Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Len Wein.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Agatha Harkness, Libra, Moondragon.

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