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Avengers #207: Review

May 1981
Bob Budiansky, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Beyond a shadow

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Avengers #207 Review by (July 27, 2015)
Gene Colan continues his stint as penciller. Bob Budiansky and Danny Fingeroth share the scripting for this 2-parter, which is unusual in that the opponent is different in each issue and they were themselves on opposite sides. But the plot, for what it's worth, is all Budiansky's (returning after his plotting of the #204-205 Yellow Claw tale). The online Unofficial Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe suggests that the Earth Lords tribe might be related to the People of the Black Sea Dimension in Daredevil #77 and Sub-Mariner #40.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #207 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A city materialises in the Mediterranean Sea with a lone male occupant who has returned after 2 millennia in the Shadow World to fight an age-old enemy. He is challenged by a US aircraft carrier, but he raises the seas against it and deposits it on a nearby island.

Meanwhile archaeologists make a find on Mt Vesuvius. They think it's a corpse mummified by the lava from the volcano. But the lava-caked corpse comes to life and attacks them.

Wonder Man is continuing his 'acting' career in a spaghetti Western being filmed in Italy, where he appears to have been hired mainly because he can do stunts that even a stunt double couldn't take - in this case being hit in the stomach point-blank by a cannonball. Trouble is he doesn't know how to fake being hurt.

Beast is there to keep him company. And the film's PR person Rachel Palmer seems like she'd like to keep him company too. But the whole scenario becomes moot when the Avengers get a call from Captain America to investigate the mysterious city.

They head there in 1 of Stark International's planes, and the other Avengers will follow in a quinjet. The Stark jet lands on the stranded carrier. Other ships and planes have fared no better against the invader. Wondy uses his belt-jets to take himself and Beast to attack the mystery man. But they get repelled by a summoned wind and dumped in the sea.

Then they spot Rachel racing to the city in a speedboat, in search of a story that will raise her out of her dead-end job as PR for low-grade movies. But her craft gets lifted up and wrecked by a waterspout. She lands safe but unconscious at the feet of the man. Simon Williams is spurred to a solo attack, only to be smashed down by giant waves. He's rescued by a grapple from the just-arrived quinjet, who have already picked up Beast.

Rachel wakes up inside the city. The man uses his powers to make them understand each other, and launches into an explanation of what's going on. He calls the city the Shadow Realm, and he is the Shadow Lord.

In the days of pre-history his tribe were more advanced than others and hid themselves from their superstitious neighbours, going so far as to build this city on a deserted island. There they pursued their studies and gained control over natural forces. They became known to the outside world as the Earth Lords.

They became aware of an unnaturally powerful immortal warrior who was extremely dangerous in himself, but more so when he attained power within warlike nations such as the Roman Empire. They tried several times to kill him, until they finally caused Vesuvius to erupt while he was on the mountain. He was buried in lava, but the eruption was much bigger than they meant, and engulfed Pompeii.

Overcome with guilt the tribe swore never to use their powers again, and scattered into the outside world. But before that they discovered that the enemy wasn't dead and might return in the future. So 1 among them was chosen to take on the combined power of the tribe, along with a jewelled necklace Shadow Lord wears. He would take the city into the Shadow World and remain there to keep watch for the return of the man called the Berserker. Which has now happened. Shadow Lord also tells Rachel the origin of the Berserker, but we won't learn it until next issue.

Then the massed Avengers attack - Iron Man, Vision, Wasp and Wonder Man flying, ansd Beast, Captain America, Jocasta and Scarlet Witch on sky-sleds. Rachel tries in vain to call them off, and to convince Shadow Lord that they are the good guys. But battle is joined.

The 1st defensive assault is with flying rocks, Beast gets knocked off his sled. A whirlwind takes the others, and only Iron Man is able to power his way out of it. The rest are taken to a whirlpool which leads down to a hole punched through the seabed to hot magma below.

Shadow Lord sees the Golden
Avenger take time to rescue a yacht threatened by the whirlpool. He realises that the Avengers are on the side of good, so he saves them from the their whirly fate. Meanwhile Beast has noticed that bits of the city fall apart when SL uses his powers, and deduces that the city is his power source. He persuades Shellhead to start wrecking it. The other Avengers join in.

Hank McCoy was right, and Shadow Lord falls to the ground. Not only has he lost his powers, but it was the city that kept him alive for 2000 years. Now he is dying, but he tells the Avengers it will be up to them to stop the Berserker. Now he will go to join his beloved Ayshera. His last act is to give his necklace to Rachel, saying "the gates ... open ... the darkness".


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Gene Colan
Dan Green
Ben Sean
Gene Colan (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)