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Avengers #204: Review

Feb 1981
David Michelinie, Don Newton

Story Name:

Claws across the water

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #204 Review by (April 27, 2015)
This issue is plotted by editor-in-chief Jim Shooter and cover penciller Bob Budiansky. Don Newton continues a short run of single-issue pencillers, linked by Dan Green's inking. Yellow Claw had his own short-lived series in the '50's where he was the villain continually foiled by FBI Agent Jimmy Woo. They along with other supporting characters were brought into the Marvel Age by Jim Steranko in Strange Tales #160-167. (But actually they were robot doubles in that story, apart from Woo who joined SHIELD.) Flashbacks in Agents of Atlas for Claw and Woo have since been inserted between these appearances, as has Yellow Claw's involvement in the Lost Generation series. Captain America was part of ST#160-162, and fought the real YC in CA#164-167. Then Claw sank so low as to take part in Black Lama's Contest of Villains in Iron Man #69-77. He redeemed his reputation in Nova #15-18 (involving Nick Fury and SHIELD). then he tangled with Nick Fury again in a story in #18-19 of the British anthology Hulk Comic. Hawkeye will meet up with some of his Avenging buddies in Dazzler #1-2 and Marvel Two-In-One #75 before revisiting this series in Annual #10.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #204 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Shu Han uses a secret simple transmitter she's built to send a (probably Morse) code message. She has to stop and hide it when Yellow Claw comes in to demand an answer to his offer. She begs for more time to consider and he gives her 3 days. She resumes transmission after he's gone.

Next day Hawkeye leaves the Avengers to return to his job as Security Chief at Cross Technological Enterprises. Jarvis brings in the mail and Captain America spots an envelope marked "life and death". It's from someone who picked up Shu Han's transmission from an island in the South China Sea saying Yellow Claw is keeping her prisoner.

For the new robot Jocasta's benefit (and the reader's) Cap explains that the Claw is a genius in the biological sciences who has used his skills to extend his life and try to destroy or rule civilisation. Iron Man recognises Shu Han as an Olympic gold medallist, and Beast knows her as a Nobel Prize winner. Cap intends for the team to go rescue her, brushing aside Vision's caution that it could cause an inernational incident.

Yellow Claw is discussing with Dr Liu the preparations for his latest strike against the world when the Avengers' quinjet arrives and he activates the island's defences. Cap sends Vision and Wasp flying ahead to infiltrate the closed base while he lands the craft for a ground approach. Vision ghosts through the mountainside and disables some guards with his hand-through-the-chest schtick. Wasp breaks through plexiglass covering an air vent and finds her way to Claw and Liu just as a minion reports on Vision's victims. But Claw is more concerned about the insect he thinks Wasp is - it means his base isn't air-tight.

As the other Avengers wade ashore from the quinjet beached in the shallows they don't notice a jelly-like substance attaching itself to their feet. Until suddenly they are pulled into deep water by a giant jellyfish with cyborg attachments - the kind of thing the Claw is famous for. Beast and Scarlet Witch start to drown, and Cap's shield-slinging is hampered by being underwater. Jocasta and Wonder Man are faring better, but Iron Man has gone limp. However this is just a ruse to get the jellyfish to swallow him with its metal mouth. After which Shellhead blasts it apart from within.

Meanwhile Yellow Claw has confronted Vision. In a clash of energies Vizh is stunned. Wasp watches, hoping she can survive to warn her teammates.

Beast has taken to the trees to scout ahead but he has to dodge sharp crescent-shaped projectiles. The rest of the team is also attacked and 1 blade chops a bit of metal off Jocasta. Cap spots where they are coming from and his shield stops the launcher. A giant hologram of YC warns them away, and they are attacked by giant metal birds firing rockets. The 5 team-members each destroy their assailants in their own inimitable ways. Now they find their way unopposed as the climb up to Claw's mountainside base. Iron Man and Wonder Man bust their way in to be confronted by armed guards.

But Yellow Claw calls a halt to hostilities. A screen shows them the captive Vision being drained of power and menaced by lasers. Dr Liu leads the Avengers to Claw's throne room, where the still-undetected Wasp joins them. Cap explains they've come to rescue Shu Han, which for a moment startles the villain out of his composure. But then he sends for the woman who he says is to be his bride.

Shu Han admits that she wasn't kidnapped - she was promised to Yellow Claw when she was young. In the meantime she blossomed as an athlete and a scientist. But now YC has claimed his bride. Claw himself says that his potions can't keep him alive much longer, and he wants to sire an heir. But if Shu Han really doesn't want to be his wife, then she can go free. And he shows them a collection of other women who are happy to comply.

The Vision's inert body is handed over to the Avengers and they leave with Shu Han. But when they are gone the Claw gloats over his masterplan with Dr Liu. The women have all been chosen for their superior genetics - they will give him superior sons. When the sons grow up they will fight each other to the death, and the survivor will inherit the Earth - because YC will ensure that there are no other young people in the world.

Don Newton
Dan Green
Ben Sean
Bob Budiansky (Cover Penciler)
Joe Rubinstein (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Yellow Claw.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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