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Avengers #163: Review

Sep 1977
Jim Shooter, George Tuska

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Story Name:

The demi-god must die

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #163 Review by (July 7, 2014)
Typhon's normal power was control of storms. His axe was just a heavy axe. The powers of fire and lightning Pluto supposedly gave him (and his axe?) here seem similar to those his axe temporarily gained from the Promethean Flame in #50. Typhon briefly escaped from Hades before in Marvel Premiere #26, and fought Hercules again there. After this issue he'll stay in Hades for a long time until Loki recruits him in An#23. In both these appearances he regains power from the Promethean Flame. His major return will be as a recurring opponent in the Incredible Hercules series - without the Promethean Flame. The Champions were a short-lived team with their own book that was formed after the original X-Men split up after the debut of the new X-Men in Giant-Size XM#1. Beast had already left for his own series in Amazing Adventures. Angel and Iceman helped form the Champions with sometime-Avengers Black Widow and Hercules and odd-man-out Ghost Rider. The team was just featured in the above-mentioned IM An#4, and before that they were in Godzilla #3 again with Tony Stark. From here they'll move on to Super-Villain Team-Up #14 and then back for the last 2 issues of their own series. When Yellowjacket is well, he'll enhance his and Wasp's powers in Marvel Team-Up #59-60 before rejoining the Avengers next issue.

Hercules remembers IM from IM An#4. But they also fought together in An#1 and #100 of this series, and possibly elsewhere. IM wishes it had been Thor's turn for monitor duty when Typhon showed up. But we're in a period where Thor is off on extended adventures of his own, and just keeps popping up to fight the odd battle by mysterious means which will be explained in #175. IM wasn't on the team when Typhon attacked in #50 - it was during the time after #16 where he and Thor were only very irregular members. IM's original plan was supposedly to warn Black Widow, but page 1 says he didn't know she would *be* there.

This is a fill-in issue as George Tuska subs for George Perez as penciller. GP has only been back for 3 issues, but he won't return as penciller until #167. John Byrne will do the next 3 issues. But Perez still does the covers. And Pablo Marcos keeps on inking. This issue chronologically follows #162, Iron Man Annual #4 and #169 (which will itself be another fill-in to spell Perez). At the beginning of #162 Beast, Captain America, Scarlet Witch were taken to hospital gravely injured, and we'll later learn that Vision was put in a 'coma'. Black Panther, Iron Man, Thor and Wonder Man were left to continue the fight. It is suggested here that Beast was the only 1 so far to recover. But the interpolated #169 has Cap fighting alongside IM and Black Panther, and the Official Index also has him guesting in Iron Fist #12. So his super-soldier serum must have been as good as Beast's healing power.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #163 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man has asked Hercules to come from Los Angeles to New York, and 2 of his fellow Champions, Black Widow and Iceman, have accompanied the demi-god. But when they arrive the Golden Avenger attacks their flying Champscraft. IM forces them to crash, Widow steers the plane to as soft a landing as she can manage, and Hercules takes the brunt of the collision with the ground

Groggy Herc is felled by 1 blow from Iron Man's fist. So BW and Bobby Drake take on their foe until he can recover. Shellhead knocks them both out fairly quickly. But by that time Hercules has risen to his feet, so Tony Stark has to revise his plan (more on that later).

IM leads Hercules away to an open space, causing some property damage as he does so to frighten away innocent bystanders. Then he turns to face the Greek hero, and we hear him thinking that he doesn't want to get close to Avengers Mansion yet.

Herc remembers Iron Man as a noble warrior, most recently from a team-up with the Champions in IM Annual #4. So he seeks an explanation before a fight. But it only takes 1 more blow from an iron fist to tip him over into his usual hit first ask questions later mode.

And Iron Man's thoughts let us know that Herc-foe Typhon is behind all this.

5 hours ago Iron Man and Beast were hanging around in the Mansion (literally in Beast's case). This issue suggests that Beast was the 1st Avenger to recover from his injuries in the last 2 issues, because of his healing power. Shellhead tells Hank McCoy that Wasp/Jan reports that Hank Pym is regaining the memories that Ultron stole/suppressed in #161, and that she and Yellowjacket should be back on the team soon.

Then Typhon materialises and attacks (Stark recognises him from the Avengers' file on #50). The giant villain grabs Beast and threatens to crush him to death unless IM fetches Hercules. Shellhead contacts the Champions in California and asks Herc to come here, without saying why.

While they wait Typhon ties Beast up in steel 'ropes', and does the villain bit of explaining his motive. After being defeated by Hercules in #50 he was sent to Hades. But he's made a bargain with its lord Pluto - his freedom in return for subduing Herc and delivering him to Pluto.

But while they wait Typhon also remembers that the demi-god isn't that easy to subdue. So he conceives the plan of sending Iron Man to wear him down 1st, keeping Beast as hostage to ensure Stark's compliance. Which is where we came in.

Back in the present, Iron Man's thoughts clue us in to more details. Typhon is monitoring events from the Mansion, so Tony can't pull his punches (too much) or tell the Champions what's going on. But his original plan was to slip a radio receiver into Natasha's ear after he stunned her, so he could contact her secretly. But Hercules recovered too quickly (remember) for that. So he's been forced to just drag out the fight with Herc for as long as possible.

But eventually the battle reaches Avengers Mansion. The Golden Avenger dashes inside and the demi-god follows. Stark is on the point of blacking out but he still wants to stop Hercules from walking into Typhon's trap. So he pulls some power lines out of the wall and shocks Herc with them. And his opponent is so worn down by the fight that he falls unconscious too.

Typhon stands gloating over his foe when the event IM had been stalling for happens - Natasha and Iceman arrive. To be joined by Beast who has broken free of the steel ropes. Beast and Iceman do some tagteaming like they used to in the X-Men. But they and the Widow are hard-pressed against Typhon's axe and powers, augmented by Pluto to include fire and lightning, and he defeats all 3.

But by then Hercules and Iron Man have recovered. And Pluto (who presumably has his own monitors) knows Typhon has no chance against all of them. So he transports his catspaw back to Hades.

The heroes all make up, but Beast wonders if the Avenging life is really for him.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

George Tuska
Pablo Marcos
Don Warfield
George Tuska (Cover Penciler)
Pablo Marcos (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: Pluto (Hades), Typhon.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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