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Avengers #144: Review

Feb 1976
Steve Englehart, George Perez

Story Name:

Claws

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #144 Review by (April 1, 2014)
We won't actually know about the vibranium in Captain America's shield until CA#303. Iron Man here suggests that it was Cat's costume that gave her her powers. But Cat had actually been given inbuilt powers by a scientific process. The costume added hand and foot claws for climbing with, and the hand-claws could be shot out like Spider-Man's web or Daredevil's billy-club line. In Cat #1 there were many Cat costumes ready for an army of enhanced females. So this 1 doesn't have to be the 1 that Greer Nelson put on. The Avengers return home in Kang's time-sphere. But according to Hawkeye in #142 he and Kang got to 1873 by accident, without the time-sphere. But then Hawkeye lost Doom's time-platform too, and Kang claimed to have sent that back himself. So maybe Kang was actually more in control than he seemed to Hawkeye.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #144 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue the spotlight returns to the Avengers team in the present-day and the main Serpent Crown storyline. It's the team the past's turn to be relegated to 1 page. But there's still no sign of the actual Serpent Crown.

Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Vision, along with Patsy Walker, have escaped from their cage within the Brand Corporation site. They got there after investigating a small army employed by Brand and its parent company Roxxon Oil, and being defeated by the Squadron Supreme, a group of heroes from another timeline.

The site has been substantially enlarged since Beast worked there as Henry McCoy, and they are on an aerial walkway high up in what appears to be an enormous hi-tech basement. As they try to figure which way to go, the amplified voice of Roxxon CEO Hugh Jones tells them they've been discovered. Which is confirmed when he looses missiles at them inside the giant-sized space.

Scarlet Witch saves them from 1 rocket when her hex causes their platform to sink. Iron Man rides another and shorts out its guidance system. But when he falls off he hits the platform (already destabilised by Wanda), which tips the Avengers off.

Beast catches the Witch and swings her to safety, as Vision floats down. Cap catches Patsy, then hurls his shield to land across 2 steel beams below them. He angles them to hit the shield, and the vibranium in its construction bounces them back up, where they are grabbed by Iron Man.

More missiles are on the way so Shellhead suggests they get out of here. He, Cap and Patsy exit by a door. The other 3 are on a different walkway and take longer to reach it. The 1st 3 find a deserted storage area with automatic lighting, and the costume of the Cat.

Iron Man reviews what he knows of the Cat's career in Cat #1-4 and Marvel Team-Up #8, where her costume gave her powers. After that she disappeared from public view. (We know she was transformed into Tigra in Giant-Size Creatures #1.)

IM and Cap both have the strange idea that Patsy should don the costume. Miss Walker leaps at the chance, and flashbacks reveal why.

Patsy Walker grew up in Centerville, romancing her childhood sweetheart Buzz Baxter and friendly-feuding with her BFF Hedy Wolfe. But what her comics didn't show was that she dreamed about super-heroes and had a crush on Mr Fantastic. 1 of the last things that happened in her comics life was that Buzz went off to fight in Vietnam.

Her memories now continue beyond her comics. Buzz retuned from the war and they got married. But the war had changed him into an angry and abusive husband. The Air Force sent him to liaise with Bramd Corp where the furry Beast was seen. Patsy Baxter helped the injured Beast in Amazing Adventures #15, and in his delirium he blurted out who and what he was. When he recovered Patsy had a talk with him, but we never knew what was said because Beast's series ended soon after.

Now we learn that Patsy told Hank McCoy she'd keep his identity secret, but only if he arranged for her to become a superheroine. McCoy agreed, but then left Brand in AA#16 and didn't return. The now-divorced Patsy Walker tracked him down after he joined the Avengers in #137, and got him to start honouring his promise by letting her tag along on this mission in #141. Now she's being offered her heart's desire.

Steve Rogers starts to have 2nd thoughts. But Patsy grabs the Cat costume from him and quickly changes into it. She announces herself as the new heroine Hellcat.

Now's the time for the 1-page visit to Hawkeye, Moondragon and Thor in the 1873 Wild West. They are saying goodbye to Two-Gun Kid when he asks them to take him with them to the future. The priestess and the god aren't sure about this. But Hawkeye promises to be Matt Hawk's mentor, and announces that he's leaving the Avengers (again).

Meanwhile Beast, Wanda and Vision catch up with the others. They haven't long to ask about Hellcat before they're attacked by the Squadron Supreme (Dr Spectrum, Golden Archer, Hyperion, Lady Lark and Whizzer). Buzz Baxter, Brand's security chief, tells Hugh Jones that the police are here to investigate all the missile firing. So Jones gets rid of (some of) the evidence by sending Avengers and Squaddies to the Squadron's timeline.

This story will continue in #147 because #145-146 are an interpolated tale.


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Elektra

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George Perez
Mike Esposito
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Marv Wolfman.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Hellcat
Hellcat

(Patsy Walker)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Buzz Baxter, Dr. Spectrum (Squadron Supreme), Golden Archer, Hugh Jones, Hyperion (Squadron Supreme), Lady Lark, Moondragon, Two-Gun Kid, Whizzer (Squadron Supreme).