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Avengers #217: Review

Mar 1982
Jim Shooter, Bob Hall

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #217 Review by (October 12, 2015)
The nearest thing to a regular penciller at this point, Bob Hall pops back for 1 issue. This issue returns to the Trial of Yellowjacket intermittent arc. Despite no longer being an Avenger, YJ's head is still on the masthead. It will be there next issue too, even though Henry Pym won't be in it. Then he'll be dropped from the cover, not even being reinstated for future issues in this arc. Fabian Stankowicz will keep coming back with newer armors, next time in #221 during the next Avengers recruitment drive. In Captain America #352 he'll change tack and apply to join the team, but in CA#354 he'll be hired as their tech-wizard (Iron Man having defected to the West Coast Avengers by then). Cap's been using his motorbike since 1 was custom-made for him in CA#259. Egghead claims to be Ant-Man's 1st foe (in Tales To Astonish #38). This is a slight exaggeration but he was certainly his 1st *enduring* foe. His niece Trish Starr entered the picture in Marvel Feature #5 where Henry Pym had his own series while trapped at ant-size. She lost her arm in Giant-Size Defenders #4 while Yellowjacket was temporarily allied to that team. Egghead will continue to feature in the issues of this storyline, and Trish will return for its climax in #230. No-one mentions here that Egghead supposedly died in Def#43, but this will undermine Henry Pym's defence claims in later issues. #228 will tell us how he survived. Iron Man has a single-issue clash with the Mauler in IM#156, before joining Thor for most of Th#315-317 to fight the Man-Beast. But they'll be back in time for next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #217 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A guy in an armoured suit calling himself Mechano-Marauder stands across from Avengers Mansion daring the Avengers to come out and fight him. Iron Man is the only member there and he goes to confront the 'villain' - he wanted to try out the improved jet roller skates in his boots anyway.

Wasp arrives in civvies in her limousine while they tussle. She ignores them and goes inside. But her chauffeur Carrothers runs off when the Marauder uses the car as a weapon. Iron Man isn't concerned - Jan probably wanted to buy a new 1 anyway.

Captain America rolls up on his motorbike. The Golden Avenger declines his offer of help, and Cap goes in for the weekly meeting - using the overturned car as a ramp to ride over the wall to the Mansion gardens. Just as Thor flies in too.

IM swiftly rips the controls out of his opponent's armour, and leaves him to be arrested by the police. Fabian Stankowicz is just happy with the publicity he'll get for fighting Iron Man.

Inside Janet is telling Jarvis how she's just got a quickie divorce from her husband in the Dominican Republic, so she's now back to her maiden name Van Dyne. Iron Man is trying to make a phone call, but the fight seems to have damaged the outside line. (But their priority lines to the White House, Pentagon, Strategic Air Command, SHIELD and the Fantastic Four are still intact.) He was trying to see if divorcee Henry Pym had contacted Stark International about a job yet.

Hank Pym is wandering the streets of Manhattan remembering the course of his downfall. His scientific research was in the doldrums so he rejoined the Avengers as Yellowjacket (#211). Trying too hard he messed up on their 1st mission (#212). He faced a court-martial in #213. He would probably have been let off, but he ruined his chances by building a robot to attack the team so he could prove himself by defeating it.

His work frustration had also soured his relationship with wife Jan, and he was jealous of her (inherited) money and glamorous lifestyle. In #213 he hit her, and in #214 she threw him out. Now he intends to win her back. But the 1st step is to take up Tony Stark's job offer.

He uses a payphone to ring Stark International. But he gets a temp subbing for Stark's secretary while she's 'powdering her nose', who puts him on hold until his money runs out. Mrs Arbogast is angry when she returns, but it's too late.

At the Avengers meeting Wasp proposes they have the chairmanship election they've been putting off (since #197). Acting chairman Cap agrees, then Jan stuns them by proposing herself. Shellhead hesitantly seconds her. Cap and Thor ask if she's sure she wants the responsibility, then make it unanimous. They all pledge their support.

In a seedy bar Hank Pym is approached by old enemy Egghead (Elihas Starr) with a proposition concerning his niece Trish Starr. Pym remembers how Egghead tried to use Trish's brain in a plot to take over the world, but he as Ant-Man stopped him and saved her life. Another scheme resulted in Trish losing an arm, and Pym was involved again in his Yellowjacket identity. Now filled with remorse Elihas has made a mentally-controlled artificial arm for her. But he's a wanted man and his niece won't trust him. So he wants to pay Pym a lot of money to check it out and get Trish to accept it.

It's enough money to pay off his debts and set him up with a new life and job, but Hank doesn't feel right about accepting it from Egghead. But the villain says he could always donate the amount to charity when he gets back on his feet. So he agrees. He takes the money and the prosthesis and studies it carefully before flying to Arizona and Trish Starr.

Arriving as Yellowjacket, Pym explains the stuation to the young woman. She trusts his judgement and allows him to fit the arm. And it really does respond to her thoughts.

But suddenly the prosthesis takes on a life of its own. And Trish starts talking in Egghead's voice. He explains that the device Pym examined was as it appeared to be, but Egghead could alter its circuitry later by remote control. And now it has given him control of his niece. If Yellowjacket doesn't obey him he will kill Trish. And the arm is also now booby-trapped so it can't be removed.

The villain sends them to SAC HQ in Omaha with a truck. YJ has to infiltrate the base by flying in ant-size and then open up a route in for Trish. But on the way he triggers an alert to the Avengers, hoping that Iron Man will be able to jam Egghead's signals to her arm. Meanwhile the hapless woman fights past the front door guards with the metal arm.

When they meet up, tiny YJ snips alarm wires inside the lock of a vault and then Trish rips the lock off the door. Egghead wants them to steal the government's small stockpile of adamantium resins. He taunts Pym that this is what his evil creation Ultron's later bodies were made of, and what Henry himself used to make the robot to disrupt his court-martial. The resin tanks are on a self-propelled trailer which they drive to their truck, transfer the tanks and escape.

But at this point the Avengers arrive by quinjet and block their escape route. Egghead uses the threat to his niece to compell Yellowjacket to fight his ex-teammates. Wasp orders the team to respond, but they can't help holding back a little. That plus cunning and skill enables YJ to best Cap, IM and Thor. But Jan is wise to all his moves and beats him at his own game.

Now all Hank Pym can do is tell the Avengers about Egghead's plan and hope Shellhead can stop the villain from transmitting the kill order. But IM can't detect any signals, because Egghead has stopped. And IM also can't find any booby-trap mechanism (that was a bluff by Egghead), so he takes the false arm off.

Then the other shoe falls. Egghead has installed false memories in his niece's brain. She tells the Avengers that it was all Yellowjacket's doing - he was the 1 controlling her. And YJ is arrested.

Bob Hall
Dan Green
Christie Scheele
Bob Hall (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)


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