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Avengers #156: Review

Feb 1977
Jim Shooter, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

The private war of Doctor Doom

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #156 Review by (June 10, 2014)
#157 won't continue directly from this issue, so the Avengers can take time out to appear elsewhere. Whizzer will drop out to recover from his heart attack until #160. but the Official Index says all the other characters will appear at least once before #157. While Cap is away in SVTU#10-12, Iron Man will be even busier in MTIO#24, #92-94 of his own series, Werewolf By Night #42-43 and Quasar#1. Then they will have a brief cameo with Beast, Scarlet Witch and Vision in Defenders #44 as their ex-trainee Hellcat joins the non-team. After that Cap will finish Jack Kirby's return run in his title in #204-214, while IM guests in the Bloodstone backup in Rampaging Hulk #3-4 and Wonder Man fights the Defenders in their #47-48 (according to the Marvel Continuity Project). And then the whole team, including guest WM, will join most of the Marvel heroes in the Kiss issue Marvel Super-Special #1, which is amazingly supposedly in continuity.

At the end of the issue Captain America nips outside to investigate something. An editorial caption directs us to SVTU#11 (should be #10) to find out what it was. He saw a ship of Dr Doom's manufacture spying on them. The pilot committed suicide rather than talk, but Cap found a symbol of the Red Skull on him. This will lead him into a fight between Doom and Skull in SVTU#10-12. Attuma will now disappear for nearly a decade (of real world time) until he reappears to harass Sub-Mariner again in Alpha Flight #33ff. This will restart his career, resulting in more regular gigs up to current times. Tyrak will pop up more sporadically. His biggest roles will be in #319-324 (The Crossing Line) and his last app to date in Fear Itself:The Deep. Dr Doom & Namor will fight Red Skull in the aforementioned SVTU#10-12, Then in #13 Doom will fulfil his promise to bring Sub-Mariner's fellow Atlanteans out of suspended animation. But Namorita, Tamara Rahn and the fate of the amphibious Hydro-Men of Hydrobase will dropped from that comic. In fact Tamara won't be seen again until 1990. Namorita will leave Hydrobase and appear frequently, eventually becoming 1 of the New Warriors until they die starting the Civil War. The Hydro-Men will be cured by Reed Richards and the Inhumans in Marvel Two-In-One #64-66 and #71-73. And Hydrobase will become a base for the Avengers before being destroyed by Dr Doom during Acts of Vengeance.

Archie Goodwin takes over as editor and Jim Shooter as writer, both from Gerry Conway. however Gerry shares the plotting for this issue with Jim, to finish off this story. Jim was also involved in the Super-Villain Team-Up #9 section of the tale, but only doing breakdowns. Sal Buscema takes over as artist temporarily from George Perez, who will be back to join Goodwin/Shooter in #160. However, just to confuse things, Conway will edit/write #157, with Don Heck on pencils. To maintain continuity Pablo Marcos will continue inking throughout. And Jack Kirby will continue to provide the covers through to #158. A thought bubble by Iron Man explains that the Avengers fight in an air-filled room in Attuma's base, which was necessary for the equipment in there. This can't mean the cell stimulator which was shown working in water last issue. It also doesn't explain how the Atlanteans function there without helmets. But then this also applies to several instances in the past 2 issues.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #156 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue begins where the last 1 left off, with Vision proposing an alliance to Dr Doom. He justifies it by telling the Latverian monarch details of how the Avengers came to attack him. Ie he summarises what he knows of the last 2 issues and Super-Villain Team-Up #9. The Avengers (himself, Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Wasp and Yellowjacket) were captured in #154 by Attuma's warriors including the enhanced Tyrak. Attuma sent them to attack Hydrobase in SVTU#9, expecting to find Sub-Mariner there. But instead they found Dr Doom who captured them too. Last issue Vision escaped and came to see Doom rather than free his comrades.

Vision asks Doom to wonder why, if Tyrak was able to defeat the Avengers, Attuma sent them after Namor rather than Tyrak himself? He theorises that Attuma didn't want Subbie to suspect his involvement, because he has a bigger plan which he isn't ready to expose yet. And Vision makes a deductive leap to guess that Attuma intends to create an army of Tyraks. And even Latveria couldn't stand against that.

Vision's thoughts now reveal that he left his companions in chains because he knew they would instinctively oppose Doom rather than side with him.

Meanwhile another alliance is shaping up. Vision knows that Beast evaded capture in #154. But he doesn't know that Hank McCoy recruited Whizzer and Wonder Man to help him in SVTU#9. And last issue they tracked Attuma to an offshore lab in Maryland where he stole an experimental device. Attuma tricked Sub-Mariner into fighting the Avengers while he slipped away with his prize. But Beast sneaked into Attuma's sub behind him. Finally recognising his WWII ally Whizzer, Namor realised that he was battling the good guys.

Namor, Whizzer and WM now board the Avengers' quinjet to follow Attuma, and get a radio message from Beast. They hope the Atlantean barbarian will lead them to where he holds the Avengers captive.

But of course the Avengers are on Hydrobase, now freed of Doom's restraints and Attuma's slave collars and apparently accepting of Vision's negotiated alliance. Iron Man is getting his armour repaired by the amphibious Hydrobase scientists, damaged by both Tyrak and Dr Doom. Vision continues to act coldly to his injured wife Scarlet Witch. The recent reanimation of Wonder Man, whose brain patterns were the model for Vision's personality, has made the android once again question whether he can truly have emotions.

Doom is tracking Attuma's flagship by the controlling waves emitted to the slave collars. But they must catch up with it before Attuma discovers that the collars are no longer functioning and switches the control device off.

Attuma's ship reaches his base. But Beast is captured before he can tell Namor and friends. However the ever-impatient Sub-Mariner doesn't wait for a signal and dives into the ocean. Wonder Man follows him, leaving Whizzer with his dodgy heart to man the quinjet. Simon Williams sees Namor beaten in hand-to-hand conflict with Tyrak, who is being bathed in a ray from the device Attuma stole. He sees the unconscious Beast too, and hears Attuma boast that the Chloro-Beam cell stimulator will increase Tyrak's power with every dose, eventually making him the mightiest being on Earth.

Wonder Man knows that it's all up to him now to save the day. But his insecurity makes him hesitate.

However Whizzer sees the Avengers and Dr Doom arrive in an Atlantean craft from Hydrobase. It immediately dives to attack the base, protected by Dr Doom's forcefield. Soon the airsub mates with an airlock and the Avengers break in. They scatter the defending barbarians, until the super-sized Tyrak wades into them.

Simon Williams now screws up his courage and joins the Avengers. Everyone piles on Tyrak until Vision and Wonder Man down him with a joint blow.

The Avengers then search the base until they find the limp forms of Beast and Namor. They also find Attuma badly beaten. Vision retrieves his cloak (which Attuma appropriated in #154). And the barbarian tells them Doom has taken the cell-stimulator. The Avengers, including Beast and Wonder Man, join Whizzer in the quinjet and prepare to follow Doom back to Hydrobase.

But down below the humiliated Attuma makes to blast them out of the sky with missiles. Except Sub-Mariner stops him, violently.

Dr Doom reaches Hydrobase, and ignores angry questions from Namorita and Tamara Rahn. He plans to reverse-engineer the captured device and improve it into something that will enable him to rule the world. (Bwa-ha-ha!) But of course the Avengers arrive to stop him.

However all their efforts are of no avail against Doom's protective forcefield, and they have little defence against his weapons. But Vision heads over to the stimulator and reaches a dematerialised hand inside. Turning that hand semi-solid messes with the machine, which then self-destructs.

Doom has no reason to fight now. So swearing vengeance he flies off to Latveria. The Avengers are all happy, except Wanda who is still getting the cold shoulder from her husband. And Captain America nips outside for a short while to investigate something.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sal Buscema
Pablo Marcos
Don Warfield
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Gaspar Saladino.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

(Golden Age)

Plus: Namorita, Tamara Rahn, Tyrak.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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