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Avengers #146: Review

Apr 1976
Tony Isabella, Don Heck

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Story Name:

The Assassin never fails

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Avengers #146 Review by (April 29, 2014)
Wasp and Yellowjacket are just visiting here, because of Cap's condition. In continuity terms they were released from their own hospital stay in #148. They'll appear with the team in another out-of-sequence story in CA#224 before returning to Avenging full-time in #150. Hawkeye isn't currently a regular member and will return to his partner Two-Gun Kid for Champions #11 before they get dragged back into the Avengers orbit in #161. The Avengers will be busy between here and #150:- Beast, Cap, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Vision will all appear in the above-mentioned CA#224. Before that Cap will take a trip to England for Marvel UK's Captain Britain #15-27, and then Jack Kirby will take him into the Madbomb story in #193-197 of his own series. Thor will appear more modestly in his #237-239. After CA#224 Kirby's Cap run continues with #198-200, the Bicentennial Battle Treasury Edition. and #201-203. But Iron Man takes the prize with appearances in Marvel Two-In-One #12, his own 3rd Annual (with Vision) and #88-91 (with Beast cameoing in #90), popping in at the end of Scarlet Witch and Vision's stint in Marvel Team-Up 41-44, and then his own spell in MTU#48-51. Cap will then close off the season with MTU#52.

This concludes the 2-part out-of-sequence story. Keith Pollard pencils the 1st 3 pages featuring the other Avengers at the Mansion. This was probably added after the story was moved here from Giant-Size #5. Bill Foster worked with Henry Pym from #32. Since then he has duplicated Pym's growth serum and become Black Goliath in his own (to be short-lived) series. Tony Stark got an artificial heart in #19. That may save him here but it has still caused him problems in intervening issues, requiring him to continuously wear his chestplate with a pacemaker. We never learn who payed for the Avengers to be assassinated, nor any more about the Assassin's family business. We also don't know why that Assassin's minions were disguised as aliens.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #146 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Captain America is in hospital lying near death from an unknown cause. Beast and Scarlet Witch are in Avengers Mansion taking time off from their vigil while Hawkeye, Iron Man, Thor and Vision guard the invalid. They have been joined by Wasp and Yellowjacket and Cap's crime-fighting partner Falcon.

They understand that Dr Don Blake is looking after Cap. Falcon's been unsuccessfully failing to discover who poisoned him. Beast hasn't been able to find a cure, while Reed Richards and Bill Foster are also working on it.

They don't know that Steve Rogers has been poisoned by the Assassin, the 1st stage in a plot to kill all the Avengers. Some of the Assassin's alien-looking underlings are watching the Mansion, ready to attack these targets as soon as the main group at the hospital have been eliminated.

Cap is being operated on by Dr Donald Blake while Iron Man and Thor stand guard. The operation is to implant anti-radiation capsules supplied by Reed Richards. Tony Stark's thoughts clue us in as to how both of Thor's identities can be present at the same time. This Thor is a Life Model Decoy, to help discourage villainous attacks but also to defuse growing suspicion of the connected between doctor and Thunder God.

Hawkeye and Vision are also around. Hawkeye and Iron Man accept coffee from a nurse. But the coffee is drugged, and the pair can do little to help Vision against a horde of attacking 'aliens'. Shellhead is finished off with gas.

Meanwhile more 'aliens' attack Thor, expecting just to lure him into the hospital's generator room where electricity can be used to subdue him. But to their surprise the LMD collapses under their gunfire, and appears dead. Dr Blake has to continue with the operation.

Vision is the only Avenger to continue the fight. He's currently in his diamond-hard form when the Assassin sneaks in behind him and attaches a device that freezes him solid, unable to move or change density. The Assassin explains that the drug in Hawkeye and Iron Man will soon kill them with a heart attack. If they aren't 1st destroyed by the explosion that the device on his back will create within Vision.

The plan is working faultlessly. But then 1 of the 'alien' minions reports that they've actually killed Thor. Assassin can't believe this, and soon detects that Thor is only a robot. But the villain has also deduced that Thor and Blake are the same person, so sets out to shoot the doctor.

But then the 3 'dead' Avengers intervene. Hawkeye explains that his weak stomach vomited up the poison before it could reach his heart. Iron Man claims the same thing (not wanting to admit that he's Tony Stark whose artificial heart isn't susceptible to poison). And when they recovered they were able to give Vision a kickstart.

The Assassin gets the drop on Hawkeye and holds him hostage to keep the other 2 at bay. Until Don Blake comes through the door from the operating theatre, knocking the villain over. Vision destroys the Assassin's ray gun, and Iron Man blasts away the concealing hood, revealing a woman beneath the baggy costume. It's the nurse who served them coffee.

The Assassin pulls out a smoke grenade and makes her escape. Her radio is damaged so she can't contact her team. But she runs into some of her 'aliens'. However they don't recognise her without her hood, and kill her. The Avengers then mop up the gang.

Dr Blake says Mr Fantastic's cure for Captain America was a success.

In an epilogue we discover that the man who hired the Assassin last issue was in fact her father, who had trained his daughter Maria in her trade. His son Angelo confronts him over it. Daddy says he is only following orders, before shooting Angelo and then himself.


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Don Heck
John Tartaglione
Petra Goldberg
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Dave Hunt.
Editor: Marv Wolfman.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)



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