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Avengers #160: Review

Jun 1977
Jim Shooter, George Perez

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Story Name:

The trial

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #160 Review by (July 1, 2014)
Thor has a thought bubble which says he can't stay with the team at this time. But #175 will reveal that in fact he's only been brought here by the Collector to help the Avengers in a time of dire need. I explained in last issue's comments that the Collector will do this several times, and in each case returns him to the place in time and space he gets him from (this time to Thor #256-257 where he'll Sporr, the mutant from Formalhaut), with no memory of what happens here. However nothing is ever said of what Thor thinks is going on *during* 1 of Collector's manipulations. Whizzer will keep hanging around the Avengers, next in #164, until he dies in the 1st V&SW mini-series. There is a small gap between here and #161 wherein many of the team, except guests Black Panther and Wonder Man, will have guest appearances. All the others bar Iron Man are in the framing story of Marvel Treasury Edition #13. Then Shellhead and Vision pop up in Ms Marvel #5, and they are joined by Beast, Captain America and Scarlet Witch against the Super-Adaptoid in Captain Marvel #50. (But noticeably Cap and IM don't have any issues of their own titles.) Henry Pym won't actually increase his and Jan's powers until Marvel Team-Up #59-60.

Grim Reaper claims here to have paid Black Talon to revive WM as a zombie. In #152 BT claimed to have an unknown master, but also said that WM was a zombie when he got him. GR mentions that someone gave him the technology to build the wrist bands that are attuned to each Avengers body and powers. And in #152 WM mentioned a 'silver shadow' being involved in his awakening. Next issue we'll learn that Ultron is behind it all. Grim Reaper will continue his obsession with Vision and Wonder Man in both Vision & Scarlet Witch limited series and in West Coast Avengers, and beyond. He will get killed several times and keep coming back. His latest incarnation is in Uncanny Avengers as 1 of the resurrected Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Twins. It is revealed here that WM is now a being of ionic energy, the end-result of his treatment with Zemo's ionic ray. Power Man (Erik Josten), who was treated with the same ray in #21, will also become such an ionic being in Thunderbolts #47.

George Perez returns as penciller for an on-off run through to #171. This time he'll be providing the covers too (and beyond #171). The Golden-Age Whizzer is recovering from a heart attack. He was last seen in #155-156 where he helped the Avengers against Attuma, Dr Doom and Sub-Mariner. This issue makes it seem like he's been in Avengers Mansion since then, and this is the 1st opportunity to return him to hospital. But the Official Index says that the team members went off on individual adventures between #156 and #157. So maybe Whizzer was now just visiting his (supposed) daughter Scarlet Witch. Yellowjacket made it a condition of being an Avenger that he had a lab in the Mansion. But here he refers to 'the lab' as somewhere else, and next issue will show that he still has a lab at home as well. Black Panther thinks he's not going to stay with the Avengers long this time. Indeed he'll only last until #165, and only as a guest. But he won't stay away long before he gets dragged back into the Michael/Korvac saga. Perez has brought the personalised meeting chairs back again. But it's amazing that new guest T'Challa has his logoed chair in the meeting room. Grim Reaper must have pulled it out of storage especially! (We don't get to see the back of Wonder Man's chair to see if he's been given his own trademarked version too.)




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #160 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers have returned to Avengers Mansion after fighting Graviton. Most of them now go their own ways. Thor flies off carrying Captain America to SHIELD HQ. Iron Man takes Whizzer back to hospital. And Wasp and Yellowjacket fly to Hank's lab, where he intends to beef up his powers. That leaves Beast, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man. And an ominous scythe behind them.

These 5 have some brief personal interactions before they're plunged back into battle again. Beast wonders about having a life outside the Avengers, and remembers his old 'family' the X-Men. Vision and Wanda have abruptly reverted to being loving husband and wife, after the android's sulking about Wonder Man in the issues leading up to their fight in #158. Now it's Simon Williams' turn to look put out. And Black Panther feels unease  in the presence of WM, while he thinks that he can't stay with the Avengers long.

The introspection is brief. Beast bounds off to tidy up the lab that Vision and Wonder Man wrecked. And is immediately sent flying back singed and unconscious to be caught by Wonder Man. The other 3 enter the lab to find Grim Reaper. Simon follows them and recognises the villain's voice. Reaper removes his mask to reveal his brother Eric.

No-one had told WM about his brother's activities while Simon was 'dead'. But they fill him in now (and remind us readers). Eric blamed the Avengers for that death in #9, and attacked them in #52 as Grim Reaper. Wondie knows that Vision was given his brain pattern. Now he hears that GR offered to give Vision Simon's preserved body (or later that of Steve Rogers) if he would help destroy the team (#102,106-108).

Beast joins them only to be knocked out again. Simon can't attack his brother. So Scarlet Witch launches a hex bolt. But Reaper uses his scythe as a helicopter rotor to rise above the blast, and his return fire takes out Wanda, and T'Challa as well. The villain has put the Avengers in comas which only he can bring them out of (as he did in #52). Now he renders Vision and Wonder Man unconscious too.

When the 5 Avengers regain consciousness they are sitting round their meeting table, with wrist bands attuned to their individual physiologies that Eric says will punish them if they don't behave.

Eric says he's not convinced that Wonder Man is his brother come back from the dead.  He intends to hold a trial to see which of Vision and WM is entitled to be considered his brother. The other will die. And Panther will act as defence council for them both.

Reaper calls on Vision to relate his origin. Vizh says Ultron reanimated the android body of the WWII Human Torch, but overwrote his mind with that of Simon Williams (as explained in #58 and #135). Thus he is not Simon. Eric counters by reminding Vision that he agreed to help Reaper in #107-108 in return for having his mind transferred to the body of Captain America, and even acted to save Eric's life. These were the marks of a brother who wanted his humanity back.

T'Challa asks Vision to explain the truth. He went along with Reaper's plan temporarily because Cap told him too. And he saved Eric's life because Avengers don't let people die. Panther continues that Vision has made his own life, even marrying Wanda (GS#4). This must be news to Reaper because he denies that his brother would ever marry a mutant.

Now it's Wonder Man's turn. He tells how Baron Zemo, the Enchantress and the Executioner gave him is power in #9, and sent him to destroy the Avengers. Eric believes the Assemblers then killed him. But Simon sets his brother straight - Zemo killed him when he rebelled. In #151-152 he was again sent against the Avengers by Black Talon as a zombie. But since then he has returned to full humanity.

Eric is ready to accept that WM is indeed his bother. But BP intervenes. His persistent unease has led him to conclude that this Simon Williams is not human. Which Wonder Man confirms by removing the goggles of his uniform - his eyes are a seething energy.

Vision steps forward and tells Grim Reaper to kill him if he must. He is not Simon Williams - he is the Vision. But he suggests that if Wonder Man is indeed more than human, then perhaps they 2 are now the true bothers.

Eric Williams won't allow that! He triggers the wrist bands to render the Avengers unconscious again, and prepares to execute Vision. But Wonder Man's wrist bands had no effect, because his molecular structure is not that of Simon Williams.

The brothers now fight. Amidst the battle Eric gloats that he paid Black Talon to revive WM's body as a zombie. He was supposed to kill the Avengers for GR. But all Reaper's attacks are of no avail against Wondy's invulnerable body. Until at last his scythe is shattered against Simon's chest. WM then decks him with 1 blow, and pushes a button on the scythe's gauntlet to reawaken his comrades.

The Avengers leave Simon to contemplate the unconscious body of his brother.


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Hideth #1 comic

George Perez
Pablo Marcos
Roger Slifer
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (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)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Grim Reaper (Eric Williams).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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