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Avengers #211: Review

Sep 1981
Jim Shooter, Gene Colan

Story Name:

By force of mind

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #211 Review by (September 8, 2015)
Jim Shooter returns for a long run as scripter, after 5 issues and an Annual of fill-in writers following David Michelinie's departure. Captain America, Iron Man and Thor didn't include founder member Wasp in their decision-making (but then she doesn't have her own comic). But the proposal for a 6-member team isn't actually a big change, given that the group was currently only 7-strong anyway plus guest Jocasta and visitor Thor. The new team is really Tigra plus what is usually considered the original Avengers. Ie the team from #4-#16, after Hulk left and Cap joined, with Ant-Man/Giant-Man now using the super-identity Yellowjacket. Wherever Thor went during this issue it wasn't documented in any story. At the end of her adventure in Marvel Two-In-One #61-63 with High Evolutionary, Starhawk, Thing and Her (a female version of Warlock), Moondragon actually went off with Her, not HE. Since leaving the team in #201 Yellowjacket was with them again briefly for Hulk Annual #11. I've been following Hawkeye's career in detail in my comments on this series, and he's not been seen anywhere since Annual #10. After Champions disbanded Angel and Iceman fought a Sentinel with the Hulk in his Annual #7. Then Angel rejoined the X-Men for Uncanny XM #132-148 interspersed with other appearances. That run included the Dark Phoenix saga, Days of Future Past and a run-in with Dr Doom. But in #148 he quit again. Iceman was also with the X-Men for Jean Grey's funeral in UXM#138 and the Dr Doom/Arcade story, mixed with solo adventures in MTIO#76 and Bizarre Adventures #27. He's been in college studying accounting since he left the X-Men in UXM#94.

The 2 other ex-Champions Black Widow and Hercules were last seen in these pages in a previous roster-change gathering in #181. After that BW featured in the classic 'Nancy Rushman' SHIELD tale in Marvel Team-Up #82-85, and then terminated her rekindled relationship with Daredevil in DD#160-165. Another SHIELD case occupied a story within Marvel Fanfare #10-13, but she seemed freelance in MTU#98. Since #181 Herc has appeared in a general Olympians+Asgardians vs Eternals melee in Thor #289-292. Black Panther was also in #181 during the run of his 1st series. After that was finished off in Marvel Premiere, he clashed with the Defenders in Def#84-86 and we learned of his early relationship with Storm/Ororo in a tale in MTU#100. Now we come to 3 who've never been in these pages before:- Dazzler is here between her own series #7 and #8. Moon Knight is also in a gap in his own series between #12 and #13 (but unlike Dazzler he had quite a career before his own title). Immediately before this issue he teamed up with Daredevil, Iron Fist, Power Man and Spider-Man against Purple Man in MTU Annual #4. Tigra also had her own short series as The Cat and then the starring role in a run of Marvel Chillers as Tigra. After that she was a guest of the Fantastic Four with Impossible Man and Thundra in FF#177-184. Then she had a team-up in MTU#67 and a solo tale in Marvel Premiere #42 - but now she's not been seen for 3 years. It's not until this issue as she leaves that Jocasta is listed as a Feature Character in the Avengers. Her thoughts about Ultron are an early sign of pre-programming that will cause her to recreate her creator in MTIO#92, which results in her destruction in MTIO#93 and a funeral in our #231. When she is rebuilt in Annual #17 she will be called a former Avenger.

Most of the characters here will be part of the mass gathering in Marvel Graphic Novel #1 - the death of Captain Marvel, just before the next issue of this comic. But some will have other adventures before then according to the Official Indexes and the Marvel Chronology Project. The best way to put them in some sequence is to consult the OI for Spider-Man, who isn't even in this issue. Moon Knight will join Cap and Iron Man and other heroes in Rom #23. Meanwhile Thor will battle Tyr in his #312-313 and Angel will star in a Savage Land story in Marvel Fanfare #1-4, dragging in Spider-Man, Ka-Zar and other X-Men along the way. Moon Knight will appear again in Amazing Spider-Man #220, while Iron Man and Thor help Moondragon save her father Drax the Destroyer in Thor #314. Spider-Man will meet Dazzler in MTU#108-109 and then Iron Man in MTU#110. Then he'll team-up with Thor in MTU#115-116 while Shellhead tangles with Living Laser in IM#151-153. Now it's time for the grand gathering in MGN#1. Of those here only Dazzler, Hawkeye, Iceman, Jocasta and Moon Knight will be missing. Iceman and Jocasta won't be seen until the next mass gathering in Contest of Champions, the 1st Marvel Mega Event. The other 3 missees will also be there, but will have made other appearances between including Dazzler and Hawkeye turning up for the next roster change in #221, where Clint Barton will rejoin. Hawkeye's apps before then (Def#107 and a solo tale in Marvel Fanfare #3) occur after MGN#1. It is difficult to determine whether Dazzler #8-16 and Moon Knight #13-15 happen before of after MGN#1, but MK#16-20 are definitely later.

The leavers Beast, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man are among those whose next appearances are MGN#1, but of course they won't be back for the following issues of this title. Beast will join the Defenders for a long run, starting with Def#103-109 (including a visit from his pal WM in #104 and the guest shot by Hawkeye and some other Avengers in #107 for the funeral of Nighthawk and Valkyrie, following a crossover with Cap's #268 in #106) before popping back for our Annual #11 when the 2 teams clash. Dr Strange will help restore his girlfriend Vera Cantor from suspended animation in Def#105 (see our #209). Scarlet Witch & Vision will have their own story within Marvel Fanfare #32, then they'll join Beast and the Defenders for Def#112-115 in a tale involving the alternate timeline heroes Squadron Supreme. Among other adventures they'll have their 1st mini-series (4 issues), culminating in learning that Magneto is Wanda's father, before revisiting the old team in #228 for Henry Pym's jury trial. After Def#104 Wonder Man will be included in group shots in Dazzler #21 and CoC.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #211 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Current Avengers Chairman Captain America announced last issue that he and founder members Iron Man and Thor decided that the Avengers needed a roster change. Now he clarifies that they want to trim the group down to 6 members. Beast doesn't want to leave, but Wonder Man would be relieved to go. Married couple Scarlet Witch and Vision will stay or go together. Wasp doesn't seem bothered, and their guest Jocasta keeps quiet as usual.

Cap says they're worn out after the fight with the Weathermen last issue, so he'll give everyone a break and reconvene the meeting later in the day. Thor leaves because he's got things to do. Beast decides to cheer everyone up with a prank, so he steals Wonder Man's glasses which hide his ionic energy eyes. Simon Williams chases Hank McCoy out of Avengers Mansion. Janet Pym also leaves to get her hair done.

Vision and Wanda head for their room, but Vizh is delayed by robot Jocasta. She feels like an outsider in the team, and wants advise from the android how to fit in. But he brushes her off to be with his wife. Feeling lonelier than ever she wonders why Vision found friendship and love when she can't - after all they were both created by Ultron. Then, ominously, she recalls that Ultron loved her.

Outside Beast and Wondy roughhouse for a bit. Then Simon says he's going to quit the Avengers (again) whatever they intend, and go back to acting. Beast will miss him. But Simon asks Hank if being a superhero is really what a man with his brains wants to do with his life.

Later it's meeting time. Iron Man has been conducting business as Tony Stark, Cap has been working out, and Don Blake arrives in a taxi driven by Jake Lockley. Inside the grounds of the Mansion Dr Blake turns into Thor, undecided whether he wants to be a full-time Avenger again.

Suddenly Lockley is stricken by an urge to change too, into his super-id Moon Knight. He pushes past butler Jarvis and enters the room where the Avengers are assembled. Jarvis also explains that the defense system has inexplicably been turned off. Which also explains why a horde of other heroes follows them in - all having felt compelled to come here.

The gathering includes ex-Champions Angel and Iceman (both also ex-X-Men) and Black Widow and Hercules (both also sometime-Avengers) plus more ex-Avengers Black Panther, Hawkeye and Yellowjacket. Then there are the loners Dazzler and Tigra as well as Moon Knight. Apart from Dazzler and MK with their own series, the other heroes are all currently without permanent gigs.

As the heroes come to their senses Hawkeye, Iceman, Knight and Panther make to leave to attend to their own business. But something stops them, and forces Iceman and Moon Knight to fight. Angel suddenly has to fly, and Tigra tries to catch him. Yellowjacket thinks he knows who's behind this, but is struck dumb. And Jocasta detects another presence that no-one can see - until Moondragon reveals herself.

The last the Avengers heard Heather Douglas went off in to space with the High Evolutionary in Marvel Two-In-One #63. But she says she sensed they were in need of organisation. Raised by the demi-gods of Titan the self-proclaimed goddess, and officially an Avenger-on-call since #151, has come to sort them out.

Moondragon now graciously allows Hawkeye to return to his security job, Black Panther to his UN meeting, and Black Widow to SHIELD. The Big 3 Avengers (Cap, IM and Thor) object to her taking control of their meeting, so she mentally paralyses them and turns her attention to those she has summoned as candidates for team membership.

She gets Dazzler to demonstrate her light powers but then dismisses her. Alison Blaire wonders whether to stay to help the Avengers, but Scarlet Witch tells her to go. Then Wanda demands that Moondragon stops all this.

Iron Man manages to mentally activate his boot jets and shoots through the ceiling. Once outside the Mansion he's free of Heather's control. He electronically jams her brainwaves which causes her to lose control of the others. But she is able to fend off a mass attack. However their ungratefulness convinces her she's wasting her time here. She leaves to do important stuff elsewhere in the Galaxy.

Moon Knight and Iceman are now free to leave as they wanted to, to his cab and an accountancy job respectively. Angel exits too. That leaves Hercules, Tigra and Yellowjacket.

Herc asks Wonder Man who he is. When Simon responds that he's almost as strong as Thor, the demi-god hits him - glad to have found a worthy opponent. After a short fight Hercules buddies up with Wondy, and they leave with Herc offering to introduce him to film producers he knows.

Tigra begs for a place on the team. Cap says they're full, but Beast interrupts to say he's quitting to return to science. But Yellowjacket wants back in, because his scientific career is going nowhere. Then Scarlet Witch and Vision announce they're leaving to find a normal life.

That means there's room on Cap's new 6-person team for Tigra, alongside Iron Man, Wasp, Yellowjacket and Thor (whose renewed membership seems to happen without any discussion - strange since he wasn't sure he wanted in earlier). Cap wonders if Moondragon has continued to influence their decisions, but they have to accept what's happened whatever.

Finally they turn to granting Jocasta a substitute Avenger status. But she's already slipped away.


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Gene Colan
Dan Green
Bob Sharen
Gene Colan (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Dazzler.