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Avengers #190: Review

Dec 1979
Roger Stern, John Byrne

Story Name:

Heart of stone

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #190 Review by (April 7, 2015)
Steven Grant continues as scripter for this issue, and editor Roger Stern won't let go of his grip on the plotting. Emerson Bale was the Champions lawyer and also defended the Wraith in Marvel Team-Up #51. Jeryn Hogarth was Danny Rand's lawyer in Iron Fist, and now represents Heroes for Hire since Danny teamed up with Luke Cage. Since his team-up with Captain America in CA#234-236 Daredevil linked arms with Spider-Man in Spectacular SM #26-28 during the Clone Saga, then faced Death-Stalker in his own mag #157-158. (#158 was the beginning of Frank Miller's pencilling run on the title.) Agent Stanford's testimony is more than slightly wrong. Cap's actions in the Corporation affair weren't interfering with a SHIELD operation The nearest he got to taking over a SHIELD special unit was:- after he exposed 2 of the Super-Agent team as Corporation spies and the 3rd resigned in disgust, the 4th joined him in attacking the Corporation. At the time Stanford only complained about Cap being in a SHIELD base when he wasn't an official SHIELD Agent. Henry Gyrich sneaked into Avengers Mansion in #166 through a hole made by Count Nefaria in #165. The Avengers discovered him there in #168 which was written as though he'd been there all the time, but the team did lots of stuff in between including their own Annual #7, so he must have worked out how to bypass their security on his 1st visit. He came back in #172 and found that ex-Avenger Hawkeye had left the front door open, which led to his confrontation with the archer. We'll learn where Grey Gargoyle came from next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #190 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A meteor plunges towards the Atlantic, but changes direction and crashes in Jamaica Bay. Then it unfolds into a hulking stone creature with some machinery on its back, and heads towards Manhattan.

In the city the 8 current Avengers (including Wasp who's returned from her adventure with the Defenders, and both Ms Marvel and Scarlet Witch who are technically occupying the same slot in the official 7-person roster) arrive for a Senate Investigation hearing at the Federal Courthouse. (A reporter remarks that the last time this happened was for the Alien witchhunt in #93.) They are accompanied by their lawyers Emerson Bale, Jeryn Hogarth and Matt Murdock. Henry Peter Gyrich is asking the 3-person committee to revoke the team's security clearance. (He is convinced that the Avengers alerted the media to this secret hearing to sway the judges.)

Meanwhile the stone being bulls its way into a Brooklyn subway station and disappears into the darkness of a train tunnel, carefully avoiding the live rail.

Emerson Bale presents the case for the Avengers. He characterises Gyrich's argument as claiming that the Avengers are a menace. In rebuttal he reminds the court of some of the times they have saved the day:- Egghead's orbital death-ray (#64). Ultron at the UN (#68). Graviton's flying island (#159). Bale maintains that removing their special priority clearance would hinder their ability to respond to such threats.

The committee accept the Avengers' record but want to hear Gyrich's claim that they are a threat to national security. He brings in as a witness SHIELD Agent Stanford of Internal Security who had a run-in with Captain America in CA#231 after Cap had taken down the Corporation in CA#228-230 (+ Hulk #232). He claims that Cap interfered with an operation and took unauthorised control of a special unit. Angry Falcon shouts that Cap's 'interference' saved his life and exposed 2 double agents in SHIELD. Iron Man and Gyrich get in a slanging match and Wasp is exasperated by the rampant testosterone. Cap calms his defenders down because Stanford's testimony isn't worth worrying about.

Meanwhile the stone beast comes out of the subway system in Manhattan and batters its way through a SWAT team.

Henry Gyrich gives his own testimony:- How he walked into Avengers Mansion several times and was only stopped once, by Hawkeye who was just returning to the team. And Clint Barton just tied him up without waiting for an explanation. (Beast comments that now he knows why Gyrich threw Hawkeye off the team.)

Just then Iron Man gets a call from Jarvis at the Mansion saying the police want their help with the stone creature. The Golden Avenger requests that the hearing be postponed. Gyrich accuses them of staging this, until someone switches on the TV news. Cap says they've got to go, but Beast has another idea. he snaps off a chair leg and hands it to Gyrich, suggesting 'Petey' go stop the monster himself. Nuff said. Gyrich lets them go.

Jeryn Hogarth and Emerson Bale gloat that Gyrich has just won the case for them, as Matt Murdock slips away to become Daredevil and follow the Avengers via the city rooftops.

The blind swashbuckler's radar sense shows him the team attacking the monster. Cap tries to crack the stone with his shield. A flipper-arm hurls him away, and Daredevil swings down to save him from going splat. (DD mentions their recent team-up against the National Force in CA#234-236.)

Wasp taunts the beast with her stings and lines it up for a flying uppercut from Ms Marvel. As it falls Beast back-flips it to Vision who hits it with another blow. Scarlet Witch realises the mechanism on its back is a rocket pack, and she uses her probability hex to fire the rockets. The beast hurtles towards Vision and Iron Man who smash it to bits with a combined punch.

Iron Man reaches out for a sample of the rubble when Daredevil detects a heartbeat within. DD tries to pull IM away, but then they both turn to stone. The other Avengers see Grey Gargoyle rising from the remains of the 'monster', which he describes as his life-support system.

John Byrne
Dan Green
Ben Sean
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Matt Murdock)

(Sam Wilson)

(Franklin Hall)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Defenders.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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