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Avengers #216: Review

Feb 1982
Jim Shooter, Alan Weiss

Story Name:

To avenge the Avengers

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #216 Review by (September 28, 2015)
This is the end of Alan Weiss's 2-issue stint as penciller, and Bob Hall will be back next issue (but it won't last). Iron Man and Thor learned (or admitted having guessed) each other's identities in #113. They always knew Captain America was Steve Rogers, now he's in the loop too. Tigra's obviously in on the secret too. Molecule Man wouldn't know who Don Blake is, and maybe he didn't recognise Tony Stark. This argument between Cap and Iron Man is a preview of other disagreements they'll have in the future:- Armour Wars, Civil War and the Illuminati. Steve the idealist vs Tony the pragmatist. The Fantastic Four are more characters fresh from the mega-gathering in Marvel Graphic Novel #1 - The Death of Captain Marvel. Mr Fantastic will go from here to Defenders #105 to help cure Beast's girlfriend Vera Cantor (see our #209), and Thing will pop in to Moon Knight #16. From there it's business as usual with various members stealing a bit of the spotlight from Thing in his Marvel Two-In-One #81-86 before all returning to their home in FF Annual #16. Silver Surfer will next turn up in Def#107 for the funeral of Nighthawk and Valkyrie, alongside Cap and Thor. And then he and the Defenders will fight the Avengers in our Annual #11. Molecule Man will go a long way towards rehabilitation, but he will be dragged into Secret Wars (the original). There he will find love with Volcana, and learn that his inability to affect organic molecules was a mental block he'd given himself.

Tigra will resurface in the next gathering of heroes in Contest Of Champions #1. After some other adventures she will get tangled up in the web of Spider-Woman, which will lead her back into these pages for #238,240-241 before joining the West Coast Avengers. The only Avengers are now the core Big 3, but Wasp will be back next issue. There isn't a large gap between this issue and next, and Cap doesn't go anywhere. But Shellhead pops out for a day-in-the-life #155 of his own mag, and in Thor Annual #10 the Thunder God faces the Demogorge.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #216 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Molecule Man killed Avengers Captain America, Iron Man and Thor and their companion the Silver Surfer by crushing them in a press shaped like a giant boot. But he spared Tigra's life because she begged, and said she might like him. Now she's hating herself, stuck with him in the castle he built inside the dome he created over a lot of New Jersey. And later he intends to eat the whole planet.

She hesitantly asks if he's saved her to become his mate. But he brushes that off - he's never been interested in girls in that way - his mother warned him off things like that. But she can be his friend - or better yet his pet.

Now Owen Reece tries to use his power over molecules to construct some food - his childhood favourites. But their structure turns out to be too complicated for him. Tigra asks for the bathroom, but he admits he doesn't know how plumbing works. So he just gets on with preparing to consume the planet.

He starts by clearing away the surface of a large area - getting rid of the living molecules he can't absorb. He reckons that once he really gets going on the planet the damage he inflicts will kill all life anyway, solving that problem.

The Fantastic Four join the army outside the dome. Thing tries to bash his way through and Human Torch tries his nova blast, but to no avail. Then Molecule Man drops a load of water on them.

Then we discover that the Avengers and Silver Surfer aren't really dead (of course). Surfer was never really defeated, and when the press closed on them he used his cosmic power to dissolve the surface below them and they dropped through. Now the others have recovered.

Last issue MM disintegrated Cap's shield, Iron Man's armour, Surfer's board and Thor's hammer. Shellhead was unmasked as Tony Stark, and without Mjolnir Thor has reverted to Don Blake. Steve Rogers now does a double-take because he never knew the identities of his team-mates before (although IM and Thor knew each other's). Recovering from the shock Cap tells them to hide while he and SS tackle the villain. But Don and Tony will have none of that.

Tigra is still beating herself up over being a scaredy-cat. But the Molecule Man is just so much more dangerous than the foes she's used to facing. And so far his power has always alerted him to any attack that was launched, so she doesn't think she has any chance of defeating him by herself. But then she remembers Cap telling her last issue to rise above her fears.

So Greer creeps into Owen's grandiose bedroom (complete with large teddy bear) to kill him. As she crosses the room she doesn't realise she's walking over a web of monomolecular strands which wake Reece up. He waits for her to strike, confidant in his ability to deal with her. Tigra rears up. But then she realises she can't bring herself to kill - and slinks away. Molecule Man can't understand why she didn't try to go through with it.

Outside the bedroom Tigra runs into Cap, and then the others. She's overjoyed that they're still alive. They understand completely when Greer tells them that she backed down from killing the enemy. And when she confesses that she begged him to spare her life, they congratulate her on good tactics. She mumbles something about it not being actually a tactical move, but then realises that 2 of the heroes have been replaced by ordinary men. Cap does the introductions.

Tony Stark produces a device he's cobbled together that will emit a high-pitched noise that will hopefully disorient MM while they attack him. But their foe has been listening and dissolves it, then starts to suffocate Stark in dust. While Cap and Surfer try to save Tony, Reece slaps down an attack by Tigra. Reaching the end of her tether she yells at him what she really thinks of him - a crybaby who blames everyone else for his own shortcomings. But this just makes Owen angrier by reminding him of his mother.

Molecule Man is about to kill them all (again) when he realises someone's missing.  Don Blake creeps up behind him and then punches him in the nose. At which the supervillain runs off crying.

Dr Blake stays to tend to Stark while Cap, Surfer and Tigra follow MM to his throne room. Owen shouts at them to leave him alone, and sends a tidal wave of molecules at them. SS turns it into energy and sends it into the sky. But the effort drains him. Reece tries to hold Cap off with a barrage of giant shuriken stars, but the hero fights his way through and knocks the bad guy out.

Tigra stands guard over Owen while the men discuss what what to do with him. Stark says they must kill him - he's too dangerous to live. Steve Rogers can't agree to that. The other 2 think Tony is right, but they wouldn't be able to bring themselves to do it.

Meanwhile Tigra has been ranting at Reece's body. Earlier Cap had told MM that he was an example of power corrupting. But Greer believes that it just amplifies what's there already. Owen was a nerd before, and now he's just a powerful nerd. She can't see why he won't use his power for good.

Tony Stark is determined to kill Molecule Man, and Steve Rogers is equally determined to stop him. But the subject of their argument settles things by surrendering. Tigra has convinced him to accept jail punishment and see a therapist. And he brings down the dome and his castle, and returns their molecules to where he got them from (but the rebuilt buildings don't have working plumbing). Before he goes he restores Mjolnir, shield and surfboard. He gives Stark some clothes that mimic his armour - Owen couldn't do the complicated details of the real thing.

Silver Surfer takes his leave of the Avengers. Back at the Mansion Tigra says she's going too - she's not really up to the Avenging job. Iron Man gives her 1 of Tony Stark's cards, saying if she ever needs anything she can contact him.

Alan Weiss
Dan Green
Christie Scheele
Alan Weiss (Cover Penciler)
Alan Weiss (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)

(Ben Grimm)


> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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