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Avengers #149: Review

Jul 1976
Steve Englehart, George Perez

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Story Name:

The gods and the gang

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #149 Review by (April 2, 2014)
Vision carries the Serpent Crown from the Squadron's Earth back to Marvel Earth. He drops it during the battle and we don't see it again this issue. In #153 Scarlet Witch will return to the ruins of Brand's factory to find it, but Living Laser will find it 1st, leading to a battle in An#6, and then Vision will dump the Crown in the ocean in #154. Orka was an Atlantean who was enhanced by a mad scientist in Sub-Mariner #23-24. After another appearance in SM#66-67 he's been enhanced further by Brand. His next appearance won't be until An#18 as part of the Atlantis Attacks crossover, again involving the Serpent Crown. We're in the middle of an era of long Avengers sagas, so the Official Index takes the opportunity to have the members appear in many comics before next issue. As a group they will only feature in some out-of-sequence issues #145-146 and CA#224. But Cap will star in #193-203 and Annual #3 of his own mag plus his Bicentennial Battles Treasury Edition (all with Jack Kirby writing and pencilling, starting with the Madbomb sequence), Iron Man in IM#82-91 and Annual #3 (with a variety of writers succeeding Mike Friedrich), and Thor will manage just #237-239 vs Ulik. They will also appear individually or in small gatherings in many other comics, including Marvel Team-Up #41-44 (Scarlet Witch & Vision go back to the Salem Witch Trials) and #48-52. Moondragon will only feature heavily in MTU#44, with a cameo in #51. Hellcat won't be seen anywhere in this period.

Marv Wolfman ends his editing run here. Despite the destruction of this factory, Brand will continue to be a genetics subsidiary of Roxxon. They will crop up mostly in the background as the source of supervillain powers (often in later flashbacks or just Official Handbook entries). One such is of special interest:- Buzz Baxter will reappear in Defenders #87, and will then be given superpowers by Brand Corp as Mad Dog. He will menace Hellcat in Def#125-130. He will continue in the role in later apps. Roxxon will appear more often. After several apps it will find the Crown again in Marvel Two-In-One #64-66. It will turn out that Hugh Jones was wearing this reality's Crown invisibly during the current plot, and in the MTIO story he will merge the 2 Crowns, gaining psychic access to all previous wearers. However he is driven mad and replaced as boss of Roxxon by John T Gamelin. The Crown will be handed over to Project Pegasus. Roxxon will continue to appear until the present day. During Amazing Spider-Man #231-236 Brand will also feature, and at the end Brand will be closed down (although its abandoned facilities will continue to be used by various characters). A new Brand genetics company, founded by an ex-Brand scientist but supposedly unconnected with Roxxon, will arise in a set of Annuals beginning with ASM An#26.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #149 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This is the last episode of the Serpent Crown saga. Moondragon and Thor are returning to New York from the Mid-West and a time-travel trip to rescue Hawkeye from Kang. The other Avengers (Beast, Captain America, Hellcat, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch and Vision) are returning from the Squadron Supreme's Earth with that reality's Serpent Crown.

The god duo (Moondragon insists she's a goddess because she was brought up by the Titanians) arrive on the roof of Avengers Mansion. Moonie is still insisting that the Thunder God is wasting his time slumming with mortal heroes. Once inside Jarvis directs them to the Brand Corporation facility where the others went and haven't been heard from.

Their returning teammates have found themselves in pitched battle against the private Brand/Roxxon army that sparked the whole thing off in #141. Roxxon President Hugh Jones and Brand Security Chief Buzz Baxter are watching by security monitor. Jones mentally contacts his fellow servant of the Serpent Crown, President Rockefeller of the Squadron's USA. But he discovers that things are in disarray over there, as the Squadron have publicly denounced the rule of the Serpent Cartel and the people are up in arms (as a result of #147-148). Jones decides it's time to unleash the Final Weapon provided by the Serpent Crown.

The Avengers are holding their own when the soldiers bring on a mobile cannon. Scarlet Witch uses her enhanced hex power to cause the cannon to drive through a wall, and the team escape through the hole. Only to be all felled by a single swipe of a very large blue fist. Jones comments to Baxter that that was the Weapon.

The unconscious Avengers are loaded into a Tracto-Mek, to be taken deeper into the Brand site never to be seen again. But as they leave a flying hammer smashes through a wall, heralding the arrival of Thor and Moondragon. Jones isn't bothered, and sends the Weapon against them. Which turns out to be Orka the human killer whale (from Sub-Mariner #23-24, 66-67).

Brand tech has increased his size, strength and toughness 3-fold, so he easily withstands Thor's hammer and fists. Being a villain of very little brain he also isn't much affected by Moondragon's mental attack, and swats her to the ground. The sight of his fallen comrade enrages Goldilocks, and his mightiest punch yet sends the mass of blubber flying through a wall.

But Orka still fights on, and Jones and Baxter turn their attention away from another viewscreen to deal with their captives. The Avenging 6 are linked up to an Electro-Incinerogram which will vaporise them. Buzz wants to kill them now, including his ex-wife Hellcat. But Jones decides to hold them for a while, presumably as hostages in case Orka loses.

Orka and Thor take their fight outside, by crashing through a roof. Orka doesn't believe Thor is really a god, even when he summons rain and lightning. This enrages the Asgardian even more, and he accompanies blasts from Mjolnir with declarations that he is much more than the other Avengers. And he realises this is just what the bald Titanian priestess was saying.

As Hugh Jones is off watching the fight, Buzz Baxter rants at ex-wife Patsy. He accuses her of being naive. After his experiences in Vietnam he wised up and hitched his star to the rising Brand/Roxxon Corp. But he doesn't notice that she's woken up. And Hellcat tears herself free from her restraints and attacks him. Buzz tries to choke her to death, but she breaks his hold. And threatens to scratch his eyes out (literally) if he doesn't free the other Avengers.

Thor finally downs Orka. Moondragon shows up, admitting that she faked unconsciousness so that the god would have to exert his full might. To show him that single-handedly he could defeat a foe who has felled the rest of the team.

Angry Jones runs back to the Avengers' cell yelling for Baxter to kill them. But finds the team free.

Later Beast consoles Patsy over her ex-husband. And Thor admits to them all that he has been restraining himself while on Midgard. He had to in order to avoid killing human foes. But also subconsciously to avoid showing up his teammates.


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George Perez
Sam Grainger
Hugh Paley
Ron Wilson (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
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)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Buzz Baxter, Hugh Jones, Moondragon, Orka.

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