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Avengers #159: Review

May 1977
Jim Shooter, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

Siege by stealth and storm

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #159 Review by (June 25, 2014)
This issue mentions the Avengers sky-sleds. It says Jarvis had forgotten they existed, but as far as I know they were never mentioned before. We will get to actually see the vehicles in #198. Black Panther is between series here. Jungle Action has finished and his own title hasn't started yet, so he'll spend some time with the Avengers. He was already in the US for the last storyline in JA, and since then has guested in Daredevil Annual #4 and the ubiquitous MSS#1. Thor has been off in Asgard and space since Thor #248. #175 will reveal that the Collector is helping the Avengers to ensure they're around to fight Korvac/Michael later. To this end he keeps bringing Thor to their aid, and then returning him to space with no memory of it. But for some reason he takes Thor from earlier moments in time as well. This is the 1st such intervention, and has brought Thor from between his #255 and #256. (But this doesn't explain why this side-trip includes an appearance in MSS#1 (again).) In #255 Thor set off into space to find missing Odin. But he had to deal with the 'Stone Men from Saturn' (his foes from his 1st appearance in Journey Into Mystery) before leaving the Solar System. Between #255 and #256 he travels a long way. Graviton will return in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #4 and then Thor #324. In these appearances he will again be motivated by attraction to (different) women. Later he is treated as a powerful but stock baddie. But nowadays he is 1 of the ruling council of AIM.

The colourist is listed as Doc Martin, but this is a pseudonym for various artists. The Official Index and ComicBookDB suggest the colourist is Charlotte Jetter. This issue asks what other heroes are doing while Graviton threatens New York. It says Daredevil can't reach the floating 'island', and suggests Spider-Man is in the same situation. It also says that Dr Strange's sanctum sanctorum is empty of himself and the Defenders. However the Marvel Continuity Project says that these characters (even Hulk) only appeared in a few comics in this period. Def#44-50 and Marvel Super-Special #1 occured between #156 and #157 of this series and Marvel Treasury Edition #13 was between #160 and #161. So they must be absent for undocumented reasons. This is a general problem when spectacular events don't attract attention outside of the comic they are in. For instance where are the Fantastic Four and the X-Men while this is going on? According to the MCP the FF were also doing nothing between MSS#1 and MTE#13. The X-Men weren't in those issues, but at that time were off doing their own thing, rarely interacting with the rest of the Marvel Universe. There are statuettes of the current Avengers in the Mansion. Wonder Man has 1 despite the fact that last issue confirmed that he was only a guest, and the Official Index will continue to list him as such for a while longer.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #159 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue new villain Graviton defeated the Avengers. Now he turns to Judy, the woman he wants to impress but who betrayed him to our heroes, only to find her knocked out by Raquel who is vying for his attention now he has power (and she expects eventually riches). But he just turns on Raquel.

Frank Hall declared Research City his kingdom last issue and armed some guys who were willing to support him, imprisoning those who defied him. But it seems that the Avengers dealt with the armed guards before confronting Graviton himself. And freed the prisoners who now attack with their guards' weapons. Including Judy's husband Joe.

Graviton uses a gravity shield to deflect the bullets. He is also suspending the city in the air. Now he threatens to throw his enemies over the edge. Judy has woken up and agrees to be Frank's queen to save Joe. So Hall still throws his attackers and Raquel away, but lets them drift safely to the ground below.

Now Graviton flies the large chunk of land from the Canadian Rockies to New York. A gravity shield protects them from attacking jet fighters. He demands that the UN make him world ruler, or he'll destroy NY for starters. New Yorkers panic. Daredevil is helpless on the ground. We don't hear about the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man, but Dr Strange and the Defenders are away.

Jarvis is worried about the missing Avengers when Black Panther and Thor turn up to help. They fly off to the flying city (BP on an Avengers sky-sled).

Graviton has the Avengers pinned by gravity on a slab of rock, and he gloats over them to impress Judy, who is now adorned in jewels and a cape, as befits one who will be queen of the world.

But then the Thunder God breaks through the gravity shield and attacks the villain. But he can't get past Graviton's personal shield, not with hammer or lightning. Graviton throws a building at him which Thor demolishes. But then Graviton causes a blast from Mjolnir to reflect back on Goldilocks, who falls to his own power.

Meanwhile Iron Man uses his boot jets and repulsors to gradually propel himself away from the slab and out of the restraining gravity field. As he falls free he sees Black Panther, who tells him he'll release the others using a field disruptor (designed by Tony Stark).

Iron Man flies to where Graviton is hammering the Prince of Asgard, and assaults his shield. The shield is battered but still holds, and the villain slams the Golden Avenger down again to join his powerful comrade.

Just then Black Panther and the other Avengers attack. But Frank Hall just encloses the whole team in a gravity shield dome.

Now he turns to share his triumph with Judy, but discovers she has gone. He follows a trail of discarded jewelry to the edge of the flying island, and realises she has jumped off!

Distraught with grief he blames the Avengers for distracting him, and determines to kill them all. He summons up all his power to attack them with. But he can't control it, and becomes a major source of gravitational attraction. His levitating lump of land starts to collapse in around him.

The flying Avengers just manage to carry their non-flying teammates to safety as the research city collapses into a large ball hovering over Manhattan. Then Graviton's power fails and the ball plummets to Earth. Only to be caught by the powerhouses of the team:- Iron Man, Thor, Vision and Wonder Man. Who heave it out into the ocean.

The Assemblers return to Avengers Mansion mourning the death of innocent Judy. Only to find her sipping tea with Jarvis. The butler had followed them on a sky sled to see if he could be of any assistance. And had rescued her in midair.


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:




Sal Buscema
Pablo Marcos
Charlotte Jetter
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Defenders.

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