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Avengers #140: Review

Oct 1975
Steve Englehart, George Tuska

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Story Name:

A journey to the center of the ant

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #140 Review by (March 25, 2014)
A note in the Official Index for last issue gave the official position on Dr Doom's 2 time machines in his 2 castles. Last issue seemed to assume that the time machine was always in Doom's Latverian castle in his capital, but previous appearances had all had it in his abandoned US castle. The Index explained that Doom had recently built a duplicate machine in his main HQ, but didn't explain why the Avengers would use *that* one and why Doom wasn't around to stop them. But this issue muddies the waters even further. A caption says that Iron Man and Moondragon have gone half way round the world, which fits with Latveria, but that the castle is 1 that Doom has abandoned. Wasp and Yellowjacket retire injured for a while, just as Scarlet Witch and Vision return to the team. This continues a trend for the 2 women *not* to be on the team at the same time. (And each time they leave their men go with them, Wasp with various incarnations of Henry Pym, Wanda usually with Quicksilver but this last time with Vision.) Ie W left and SW joined in #16, W rejoined in #28 and SW left in #29, W left in #74 and SW rejoined in #77, SW went on honeymoon in #135 and W came back in #137, and now they're swapping over again. Of course the exception that breaks my rule is #38-49 where both females were on the team at the same time. And W&YJ will return in #150 for an extended period with both couples together.

The serum Beast steals from Brand must be the 1 that caused his mutation to evolve, because he never succeeded in finding a cure. I don't know what use either of them would be for Yellowjacket's problem. It's no use trying to make sense of Wasp and YJ's ailments and cures. But even the writer wondered how the insubstantial Vision could transport a substantial serum through YJ's substantial body. So Steve Englehart says that Beast somehow made the serum insubstantial as well. But then how did it eventually affect YJ's body? Beast's creation of the cure depended on Wasp having the same microbe as YJ in her blood. I'm not too sure this is true. Ant-Man was infected by a rabies virus in Marvel Feature #4, where he also took an antidote which supposedly cured the disease but somehow left him stuck at ant-size. Subsequent issues seemed to assume he still had the disease. He and Wasp developed a vaccine in MF#6, but being a vaccine it had similar properties to the original virus. Wasp tested on herself and *she* got stuck at wasp-size. They were eventually cured in MF#10 by someone who knew about the original virus. However #137 said they both still had some of it in their blood, and shouldn't size-change too much. I don't think the virus is mentioned again. So presumably Beast has finally got rid of it from Yellowjacket. And I guess he cures Wasp too.

Marv Wolfman takes over as editor from Len Wein. Henry McCoy was originally researching the cause of mutations at Brand Corporation. He found something that would do the trick, and that's what made him mutate further into his current beast-like form. After that I don't believe he was searching for a cure for all mutations, as he says here, just something to reverse his own evolved state. The personal business Hank mentions was helping his old girlfriend Vera Gantor and her friend Mimic in Amazing Adventures #16 and Hulk #161. Effectively that was the end of his AA series (because #17 was a reprint), and he was never seen working for Brand again. The firing scene here explains why.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #140 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Beast and Yellowjacket captured Whirlwind. Now they return to the hospital where Wasp lies critically injured in a coma. But the size-changing over the last few issues has taken a toll on YJ, because of the microbes in his blood that trapped him at ant-size in Marvel Feature #4. He's been hiding the pain from his teammates, as he rages against his wife's condition. But now he collapses outside the hospital. And Beast detects him visibly growing.

Beast rushes to Janet Pym's hospital room where Thor is keeping vigil. They return to Henry Pym to find him already 20ft long. They can't move him inside if he's going to keep growing. But suddenly Beast dashes off leaving Thor to hold the fort.

Beast in fact heads for the Brand Corporation where he used to work as Henry McCoy, and where he accidentally turned himself into the furry version he is now. He remembers back to when he was working on a cure for mutation. But he had to take a week off for some urgent personal business in Canada (in Amazing Adventures #16 and Hulk #161). This was the last straw for his boss after his recent unexplained absences as the Beast. And so McCoy got fired.

Now he returns to break in to the site to steal some of the serum he invented. After tangling with some guards and getting a bit shot, he finds the serum and escapes. His fast-healing metabolism deals with the gun-shot wounds.

It's interlude time as the red-haired woman from last issue comes to Avengers Mansion asking for the Beast. Jarvis tells her the team is out. We know he's right, but she insists on sitting on the doorstep until Beast does deign to see her. She claims he owes her a favour.

And in a castle abandoned by Dr Doom, Iron Man and Moondragon see the time platform return to the present, with blood on it. The Golden Avenger's 1st instinct is to use the time machine to rescue their missing comrade Hawkeye. But he senses a trap.

Meanwhile Scarlet Witch and Vision return early from honeymoon by quinjet. They happen to spot the giant Yellowjacket and land beside him. Thor brings them up-to-date and Wanda uses her new witch powers to slow his growth down.

Then Beast returns with his serum and says he needs a sample of Henry Pym's blood to examine the microbe that's causing his problem. Thor (with his Dr Blake knowledge) points out that YJ's blood cells will have now grown giant-size. But he adds that they can get similar infected cells from Janet Pym's blood.

Jan's doctor is reluctant to let them near (again) his very ill patient. And he has no reason to believe Beast's medical credentials. Until Dr Don Blake (luckily an old medical school classmate) turns up to vouch for him.

Beast does his research in a hospital lab. And after 5 gruelling hours he comes up with a solution, and rushes out to administer it to Yellowjacket. On the way he learns that Wasp's condition might be improving.

By now YJ has reached the 150ft mark. Vision is ready to deliver the antidote, in payment for the time (#93) when Ant-Man entered his body to repair it. He makes a pouch out of part of his cape and pours the liquid into it. Then he goes insubstantial to phase into the giant body, heading for the heart from where the serum will be pumped throughout the bloodstream. Once there he releases the chemical and leaves.

it only takes 5 minutes for Hank Pym to shrink back to normal size and wake up. He immediately rushes in to the hospital to see how Jan is. And finds that she came out of her coma just 5 minutes ago!

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

George Tuska
Vince Colletta
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Charlotte Jetter.
Editor: Marv Wolfman.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)

(Clint Barton)

(Patsy Walker)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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