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Avengers #179: Review

Jan 1979
Tom DeFalco, Jim Mooney

Story Name:

Slowly slays the Stinger

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #179 Review by (November 19, 2014)
This is part 1 of 2 of another fill-in story, with different creators from last issue. Unlike last issue Jim Shooter is listed as editor, instead of Roger Stern with Shooter editor-in-chief. This would suggest it was written circa #171-172. Black Panther and Thor were both around in #172, and Beast left for a while immediately after. The island name is here spelt Maura and Muara. The Official Index sanctions Maura, but I see Muara more often this issue. It's possibly because Muara is a real place. (But then so is Maura.) Henry Gyrich banned the team from using their quinjets (among other things) in #172. But her Yellowjacket quotes a new ruling by the FAA which allows them to fly out of the Mansion as long as they land at a regular airfield (the little island of Maura has 1?!). he says this is their 1st opportunity to fly 1 since then. (So the 1 they used in Annual #8 must be Black Panther's plane, as I proposed there.) Note that Jarvis tried to use the presumably still-banned communication devices. I suspect that this story was written before the Gyrich story was begun, and the explanation for quinjet-use was shoehorned in later. Around #171 would just about fit the bill. But Black Panther wasn't even contacted until #172, and didn't actually rejoin until #173. So my theory is shaky to say the least.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #179 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Black Panther foils a truck robbery and then continues on his way across the rooftops towards the Museum of Natural History. But he detects someone on an apparently empty roof. A costumed villain calling himself the Stinger stops being invisible and announces his intention to destroy the Avengers. Panther avoids a shock blast from 1 wrist device, only to be paralysed by a drug-bearing stinger on a taser-like wire from the other wrist. Stinger intends to catch the other Avengers as they leave a benefit do at the museum.

Meanwhile  an old man and a heavily-muffled other figure catch a cab from the airport to the same museum. They seek something there, and the disguised man is finding it difficult to control his berserk temper.

Vision and Yellowjacket are already at the museum, in costume alongside Wanda and Jan in evening dress. Vision comments that Captain America is away on the mission that began in CA#229, and Beast and Wonder Man are in Avengers Mansion on monitor duty. We also see Tony Stark and Don Blake in the gathering, but Vision doesn't know this means Iron Man and Thor are also present.

A professor tells Wanda how a particular exhibit is a totem that legend says was created to guard the South Sea island Maura from an occult attack. The 2 men from the airport burst in and claim that the totem was stolen from the island, and they want it back. When guards try to restrain them the muffled man throws off his hat and overcoat to reveal a bird-man with wings and beak, calling himself Bloodhawk.

Bloodhawk takes the totem but is attacked by shrunken Yellowjacket and Wasp (in her underwear). Scarlet Witch magically hurls wooden objects at him, but the birdman calls birds to counterattack. Vision acts in haste to save his wife, allowing Bloodhawk to throw him against a suspemded whale carcass. Thor flies in to stop the falling whale from crushing bystanders, Iron Man joins the battle and repulsor blasts their foe towards Vision, who downs him with his 'hand in the chest' trick.

The old man who accompanied Bloodhawk begs the Avengers for help. He says Maura needs the totem back because it's under mystic attack again. The team take them both back to Avengers Mansion, temporarily foiling Stinger's plan. (Strangely the museum agrees for them to take the totem exhibit as well.)

The old man tells them Bloodhawk's origin. His father was a geneticist (mad scientist) who experimented on his pregnant wife. She died giving birth to Bloodhawk. Wracked with guilt the father left his son in the old man's care, who brought him up on Maura. Bloodhawk is afflicted by berserk madness, and so often has to be confined to a cage.

Bloodhawk wakes up, as usual calling the old man Teacher. Meanwhile Jarvis the butler unwittingly lets invisible Stinger in. (And being invisible means he doesn't set off any alarms!)

Bloodhawk and Teacher want the Avengers to let them take the totem back home to protect the island. The team is divided as to whether they give the threat any credence. So they decide to split up (though not completely along the lines of the vote). Iron Man flies off in disgust. Beast, Thor and Vision take a quinjet to Maura.

Scarlet Witch, Wasp, Wonder Man and Yellowjacket remain behind, and quickly fall victim to Stinger's weapons. Even WM is felled by his blaster. Jarvis tries to phone for help but is downed by the stinger weapon.

The away team arrives at Maura and sees the rocky mound where the totem stone was removed from. They are just in time to see that mound rise up out of the ground. It is the top of the head of a stone giant.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Jim Mooney
Mike Esposito
Bob Sharen
Keith Pollard (Cover Penciler)
Rudy Nebres (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Bloodhawk.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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