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Avengers #151: Review

Sep 1976
Gerry Conway, George Perez

Story Name:

At last: the decision

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #151 Review by (June 3, 2014)
Although Thor says that Two-Gun Kid has offered to be on call with Hawkeye, they only refer to *Hawkeye* as being on detached duty. Thus it is not clear if TGK has become an Avenger here. Yellowjacket may claim not to be a full-time member, but he'll be in most issues through to #230. Thor probably transports Hellcat and Moondragon to Titan where, despite MD's stated intention to investigate Earth, the priestess will give the newbie mental training. But in Defenders #44 we will learn that the training is cut short by a threat which Hellcat is sent to Earth to warn about. Patsy then stays with the Defenders. Moondragon will guest in An#7 and Marvel Two-In-One An#2 (a 2-part Thanos story) and will be sucked into the Korvac/Michael saga. Meanwhile Thor goes off for an extended series of adventures in his own title from #239, a lot of them out in space. He will also appear in several Avengers issues leading up to and during the Michael saga, time-sharing in a mysterious way that will be explained then. As mentioned last issue Wonder Man was an Avenger for just #9, and died a hero. (In his recent app in the Celestial Madonna story he was brought through time from before his death.) Vision was given his brain patterns. WM's brother Grim Reaper blames the Avengers for Simon's death, and was seen to have his preserved body in #102&107. You will not be surprised to learn that GR has something to do with WM's reappearance here.

The Official Index places Ben Grimm's appearance before Fantastic Four #171. Ben lost his powerful body in FF#167, and Mr Fantastic gave him a powered Thing suit FF#170. Of course he regained his power soon after. The suit will eventually be reused by Darla Deering in the 2012 F(uture) F(oundation). The FF lineup changes Ben remembers are:- Medusa replaced Invisible Girl from FF#132 after Sue left Reed to look after their comatose son. She stayed until FF#159, even after Reed and Sue were reconciled. Thundra appeared several times during that era, usually on the FF's side, but I don't think she ever actually joined the team. But Power Man *did* join the team in FF#168-170 when they were Thingless as mentioned above. Ben obviously forgets about Crystal replacing Sue while she was looking after her newborn son in FF#81-95. The Champions are here between #6&7 of their own mag. Angel and Iceman left the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #94 after the debut of the new team in Giant-Size X-Men #1. (Beast had already left for his Amazing Adventures. Cyclops had remained as team leader. Marvel Girl officially quit, but soon got dragged back in.) Gerry Conway isn't plugging series he's involve in with the last 2 scenes. The only connection is that George Perez was currently pencilling the FF.

The page breakdown is explained in detail in the letters page of #154. It agrees with where I have Jim taking over from Steve, but it gives Steve 6 pages and Jim only 5. Then Gerry doesn't write my suggested 6th page, but instead does the penultimate page of the issue, with the new lineup mobbed by the press and the onlookers. This mishmash is certainly a lot better than it sounds. Helped of course immensely by George Perez' pencils on the inside, and Jack Kirby on the cover for the 1st time since #30 (unless I'm right about #148). And Jack will be here up to #158. The letters page says that Gerry's additions contain plot points for his future issues. I don't think the Thing and Champions pages fit this description. But the old man is the Golden-Age Whizzer who claimed to be the father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Giant-Size #1. The son he talks about is Nuklo from GS#1. He will become a regular cast member from #153. His stay will include Annual #6 where the supervillain with the Army will turn out to be Living Laser, in a plot involving Whizzer's missing son.

The price rises to 30¢ with this issue. The letters page explains why this issue has 3 scripters. The whole story should have been in last issue. Steve Englehart plotted it, but then ran out of time to write it all. (Due to the Marvel method of working the artist would have drawn the whole issue from the plot and Englehart would write the dialogue and captions afterwards.) When Steve had trouble Jim Shooter wrote the last 6 pages, but not in time. Englehart's 1st 6 pages were used in #150, the rest of the issue filled out with relevant reprint material from #16. This left 5 pages written by Steve and 6 pages written by Jim for #151. Gerry Conway takes over as editor from this issue, and will be scripter from next issue. He wrote 6 additional pages for George Perez to draw to fill the issue out. They are inserted at various points in the book. These are mainly the 4 scenes of other characters watching the news coverage, including the splash page of Thing. But these only add up to 5 pages. My guess for the 6th page would be the page full of Avengers who joined since #16. On that basis Steve's script takes us up to Beast accepting the offer of membership, and Jim starts with Wasp's objection.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #151 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue continues the choosing of the new Avengers roster. Last issue Thor announced a leave of absence (and somehow the media have already got hold of that), and Iron Man asked the recently-returned Captain America if he was leaving too.

Now Cap says he's staying. And Scarlet Witch and Vision are in too. But Wanda asks about Hawkeye, and Thor reminds her that Clint is staying out West with Two-Gun Kid. But both, like himself, will be on call if the Avengers need them.

Wasp leaps in to say that she and Yellowjacket are returning to the fold. But Hank declines, saying he wants to concentrate on his scientific career. And he leaves the room. Angry Jan refuses to go after him.

Iron Man now considers the 3 new applicants for membership:- Beast, Hellcat and Moondragon.

Moondragon also declines - having persuaded Thor to leave it would be hypocritical if she, another self-styled god, were to stay. She wants to explore the world of her birth. (Her superior attitude annoys Tony Stark - probably a clash of egos.)

Beast on the other hand can't wait to accept. But Wasp objects that the team's getting too big (because she's desperate to leave room for hubby Hank to join when she persuades him). Iron Man agrees with her, but wants to take the other Hank on.

Shellhead also says there's room for 1 more, and turns to Hellcat. She too leaps at the chance. But Moondragon breaks in to say that she needs more training, and insists on taking her under her wing. Confused Patsy agrees to go with her. The Avengers decide to give them on-call status, the same as Hawkeye and Thor (and Two-Gun Kid?).

Yellowjacket chooses that moment to return. He's partly changed his mind. He'll move his scientific work into Avengers Mansion, and join the team when they need him. Thus they grant him on-call status as well.

There is a running commentary behind the story as a news report summarises the ever-changing Avengers lineup. It starts where it left off last time with the major team overhaul in #16 when Hakeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch replaced all the earlier members except Cap, and continues with examples of the kooky quartet's exploits against Dr Doom and Swordsman.

Then Giant-Man and Wasp rejoined the team, and Henry Pym went through changes of name and costume to Goliath and Yellowjacket (and back to his original Ant-Man). Meanwhile Hawkeye spent some time as Goliath. And Jan married Hank while he was Yellowjacket.

The TV report mentions lone heroes Daredevil, Spider-Man and Sub-Mariner who turned down offers of membership. But then there were Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow and Hercules who joined for various lengths of time. And Vision who is still there. And the other original members Cap, Iron Man and Thor came back.

The newsman also considers the recent spate of women in Avengers Mansion:- The mysterious Mantis has come and gone. Scarlet Witch and Wasp have had their times off, but now appear to be back to stay. And now Hellcat and Moondragon are petitioning for membership.

Scattered through the book we see the reactions of some viewers to the newscast:-

Ben Grimm, currently wearing a powered Thing suit, remembers some of the (temporary) lineup changes the Fantastic Four has gone through.

An old man hears the reporter speculating that Scarlet Witch might leave now that Hawkeye and Quicksilver have gone. He's not happy about that - now that he's discovered what's happened to his son.

A supervillain working with the military watches footage of the Wasp and complains about Jan spurning his advances.

We see ex-Avengers Black Widow and Hercules watching with their fellow Champions. Angel and Iceman comment on the Beast being an Avenger, and how the original X-Men have broken up. Ghost Rider just wonders why a loner like him is on any team.

At the end of the issue Thor takes Hellcat and Moondragon with him by Mjolnir-express. The new lineup go out to meet the press. And a large crate that has been delivered to the door breaks open to disgorge Wonder Man - shambling like a zombie and pointing to Vision as his eerie voice accuses the android of stealing his mind.


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George Perez
John Tartaglione
Don Warfield
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Dan Adkins (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Irv Watanabe.
Editor: Gerry Conway.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Hellcat
Hellcat

(Patsy Walker)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Angel, Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Moondragon, Whizzer (Golden Age).