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Avengers #158: Review

Apr 1977
Jim Shooter, Sal Buscema

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Story Name:

When Avengers clash

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #158 Review by (June 25, 2014)
Archie Goodwin, Jim Shooter and Sal Buscema return as editor, writer and penciller after their 1-off go 2 issues ago. Goodwin and Shooter are here for the long-haul, Archie until #170 and Jim to #177 (and returning for more later). Sal will only be here for next issue, then George Perez will return. Meanwhile Pablo Marcos has been maintaining continuity as inker since #154 and will stick with Jim Shooter to the end. But this is Jack Kirby's last cover for the title. The Avengers will let Dr Strange in DS(1974)#29 know that Black Knight's statue has gone walkies from his house. (This is quite a way ahead in both publication date and continuity, so I don't know why it takes them so long to get in contact.) Strange will visit Avengers Mansion in DS#35 and rebuild the statue, and then take it back to Whitman's English castle in DS#36. Only for it to get shattered again in DS#37. the whole thing will be resolved in #226 where the statue will be transformed back to a living body and reunited with Dane Whitman's spirit. In another of those quick changes that superheroes are capable of, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man have found time to change into their costumes while staggering from where they were knocked out in civilian dress last issue. Wonder Man makes a comment to explain how he is able to go toe-to-toe with Vision this issue while the Black Knight statue was able to easily deal with him last issue. He says his power has mysteriously attained its original level (ie that of #9 when he could take on Thor) after the statue hit him. But I don't think WM was shown with significantly weaker power in say #156.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #158 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue the animated statue of Black Knight attacked the Avengers, believing that he was Dane Whitman. But Vision proved him wrong, and the statue committed suicide by battering himself to pieces against the android's diamond-hard body. (And, no, we wouldn't have believed Vision's explanation if we hadn't seen it for ourselves.)

Now Wonder Man appears, supporting the still dazed Scarlet Witch. After Wonder Man reappeared from the 'dead' in #151, Vision realised that the brain pattern of Simon Williams didn't make the android human. And as a mere machine he was willing to give up his claim to be Wanda's husband. But the sight of WM usurping his role as his wife's support and comforter tips him over the edge, and he lashes out at Simon.

In the ensuing battle Vision uses his solar beam and intangibility powers, but in the end it comes down to a slug-fest between powerful and invulnerable bodies. Vision then tries materialising his arm through Wonder Man's chest. That hurts Simon, but he's the 1st person to resist the pain and punch Vision away from him.

The other Avengers (Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Wasp and Yellowjacket), all defeated by the statue last issue, now turn up. They watch as the combatants test their strengths again. But Vision's solar power is running low. He uses the last bit to blast Simon in the face. Temporarily blinded WM lashes out and decks his opponent.

Chairman Iron Man then tells them both to stop. He can't fire guest Wonder Man, but he could suspend Vision if he doesn't act like an Avenger. At that point Jarvis enters to tell them that he's received an emergency call. He told the caller the Assemblers were busy. This makes the team realise they can't afford to waste time on squabbles.

IM rallies the troops, and they put off deciding what to do with the bits of statue until they've dealt with this problem.

We now move to the source of the distress call, a lonely research centre in the Canadian Rockies. 1 of the researchers, Frank Hall, has taken over the place and forbidden contact with the outside world. He's considering a punishment for Joe who has disobeyed the edict. And he shows that it's not just his armed goons who give him power over Research City, as a gesture of his hand causes the whole city and a large chunk of the surrounding countryside to fly up into the air.

Joe begs Frank to let them down. He says that the Avengers turned down his plea for help anyway. But Frank blasts him with his other hand. Joe's wife Judy runs to help him, much to the annoyance of Frank who desires her. Another female Raquel is glad that Judy is falling out of favour, giving her a chance to supplant the other vwoman.

Later Frank ponders the idea of fighting the Avengers to prove his superiority. Judy brings him a costume he previously ordered made for him. As Hall remembers the lab accident that gave him his gravity power, he dons the costume and renames himself Graviton. And he continues his attempts to persuade Judy be his lover. He's surprised when Judy suddenly agrees with him. But it's merely a ruse to keep him from noticing the approach of the Avengers. Until Raquel bursts in to warn him.

But the Avengers (including Wonder Man) are already smashing their way into the room. Graviton uses Judy as a human shield as he decides what to do. His control of gravity even crushes the wraith-like Vision to the floor. And a burst of anti-gravity sends the other Avengers back out of the room. Vision has turned super-dense to resist that force.  But now Graviton hurls Judy away and floats Vision up to hit the ceiling.

Judy tries to flee, but Raquel KO's her with a lamp. She wants Judy to face Frank's wrath.

Cap and Wondy make it back into the room. But Hall makes Cap's shield super-heavy and he falls to the floor with the shield crushing his chest. Wonder Man tries to pull it off as Iron Man and Scarlet Witch launch blasts at their foe. Graviton raises part of the floor to shield himself, then forms it into a very dense ball and throws it at those 2. He then takes out Wasp and Yellowjacket with a spinning heavy pencil. And then drops the ceiling onto Beast and Wonder Man.

Graviton has beaten the Avengers. Next the world!

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Sal Buscema
Pablo Marcos
Don Warfield
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Franklin Hall)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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