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Avengers #218: Review

Apr 1982
J. M. DeMatteis, Don Perlin

Story Name:

Born again (and again and again)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #218 Review by (October 13, 2015)
J M DeMatteis takes over as scripter for this issue, his only 1 in this series apart from the Beast-centred #209. But Jim Shooter shares the plotting. Don Perlin makes his only appearance in this series as penciller. This issue has 7 inkers. It's probably a fill-in. Yellowjacket ends his run on the masthead here, even though he's no longer in the team or the issue. The cover will correctly feature the remaining 4 Avengers for the next 2 issues, and then #221 will have another recruitment drive. Wasp is for this issue only in the classic red and yellow costume 1st drawn by John Buscema in #55. Morgan MacNeil Hardy's only other 2 appearances are mentioned here - Spider-Woman #33 and Captain America #264 - both by J M DeMatteis. Iron Man's worries are presumably unfounded, as Hardy will never appear again. Unless of course he's secretly been behind everything that's happened since, and turns out to be the real cause of the multiversal collapse and Dr Doom's Battleworld. The Star Core probe is not to be confused with Peter Corbeau's Starcore satellite as seen in Hulk #148 and #102-103 of this series and then lots of X-Men issues. There's a large gap between this issue and next. Iron Man will have a couple of adventures against 1-off villains in his #157-158, while Thor will fight Easter Island statues brought to life by Loki in Th#318, and Captain America guest-stars against AIM in Marvel Two-In-One #82. Then the team join the fray when Galactus returns (again) in Fantastic Four #242-243. Cap and Thor do some stuff after that. Cap has a crossover with the Defenders in CA#268 and Def#106 stopping an attack on the USSR by psychics from CA#264. This results in the (Marvel) deaths of Nighthawk and Valkyrie. Cap attends their funeral in Def#107 before meeting toy tie-ins Team America in his own #269. Meanwhile Thor visits the Norns to remember a tale of his past in Bizarre Adventures #32, before joining Valkyrie's funeral in Def#107.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #218 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A young boy comes to Avengers Mansion on a matter of life and death. Wasp invites him in but he doesn't like her condescending attitude. He rushes into another room where Captain America watches Thor hold up a huge machine so Iron Man can repair the underneath. (Reminiscent of many similar scenes with Thing and Mr Fantastic.) He almost causes a disaster.

Cap denies that the boy is anything to do with him - unlike the kids he showed round in CA#267. Wasp also denies responsibility when she catches up with him. The boy frustratedly interrupts to tell them he's a man cursed with eternal rebirth. And to prove it he whips out a gun and shoots himself in the head.

The Avengers watch horrified as the body crumbles to dust. And then in stunned amazement as it almost as quickly regrows into the young boy.

The boy tells them his story. He has had many incarnations throughout history, but only now can he remember them. His last identity was Morgan MacNeil Hardy who was found as a 15-year-old boy in the ruins of the 1906 San Francisco fire (see Spider-Woman #33). He died in CA#264 after trying to use a group of telepaths to restructure reality more to his liking. It was the psi-energy involved there that caused his current incarnation to remember his past lives.

He's tired of life, but committing suicide just causes him to be born again. He wants the Avengers to cure his problem, and moved chairperson Wasp agrees. After days of study Iron Man concludes that Hardy's life is tied to that of the Earth, and he'll survive as long as the planet does. Shellhead says that understanding the problem is the 1st step to finding a solution. But the other 3 have at last realised that what this boils down to is assisted suicide, and they back down.

The disappointed young lad sees a newspaper headline and slips out of the Mansion. He hops a freight train south, and then blags his way into Cape Canaveral a few days later. There he stows away in the NASA Star Core probe destined to orbit the Sun. The stress of takeoff kills him several times over. But eventually he uses Hardy's scientific knowledge to redirect the probe into the Sun.

When the Avengers hear about the probe and the boy who was seen on the base Wasp briefly wonders if it could have been Hardy, but Iron Man dismisses the idea as unlikely.

However Morgan still doesn't die. He keeps being reborn and destroyed in the raging fire until he evolves into a plasma being that is able to survive, and then escape. And then heads towards Earth and New York.

Wasp leads the team against this new fiery menace. The police can't stop it and various Avengers' tactics fail. Even Thor's thunderstorm can't quench it's flame. But at last it finds its voice, and they recognise the tones of Morgan Hardy. They try to reason with him, but the plasma being is only intent on revenge.

The substance of Cap's shield seem to hurt it, so he lodges it in the being's body. The other Avengers attack that spot and seem to be weakening the Hardy monster. But instead it starts to go nova. Thor summons a vortex which sucks the plasmoid into space, where it explodes safely.

The Avengers think that Hardy's eternal life is at last ended. Until he reforms as a boy again in the hole left by the vortex, as they leap in to retrieve Cap's shield. The boy now appears to have lost the memories of his former lives, so they take him to be adopted. But Iron Man wonders what if the amnesia is faked?


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Don Perlin
Al Milgrom
Christie Scheele
Don Perlin (Cover Penciler)
Dan Green (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)