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Avengers #220: Review

Jun 1982
Jim Shooter, Bob Hall

Story Name:

War against the gods

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #220 Review by (October 26, 2015)
This is Dan Green's final issue inking this title. Jim Shooter has shown an interest in Moondragon, despite that fact that his 1st (co-)scripting job on this title was to write her off the team in #151. He brought her back for the Korvac Saga (admittedly along with every other Avenger). More tellingly he reintroduced her in #211, as a warm-up for this 2-issue tale. Moondragon of course has had a longer connection to the team. After being part of the Thanos/Avengers story in Captain Marvel that included #125 of this title, she was a major player in the Celestial Madonna story arc. Then she stayed on for the Serpent Crown affair. Moondragon interacted a lot with Thor during the Serpent Crown sequence, and she persuaded him to stop slumming with the mortal team in the issues leading up to #151. Then they met again while helping Drax in Th#314. Drax was created by Kronos, an ancestral 'god' of the Titanians, as seen in Iron Man #55. It wasn't until Captain Marvel #32 that we learned of his previous human life as Arthur Douglas, his death by Thanos, and his connection to Heather Douglas/Moondragon. When Moondragon found him in space in Thor #314 he wasn't exactly on a mindless rampage. He'd tried to commit suicide by getting some mental-powered aliens to kill him. But 1 attached itself to his head, and this sent him temporarily berserk. But it is true that Drax is mainly fuelled by anger. Tony Stark lets Wasp know he's Iron Man in #224. Moondragon will be kidnapped along with everyone else to take part in the Contest Of Champions (but she'll only feature in 1 panel, and maybe some crowd scenes). But she'll still be a prisoner in Asgard in Defenders #123 when Odin sends her to join Valkyrie on that team for a long stretch to learn humility. That will be followed by some solo tales in Solo Avengers before reappearing here in #305.

Drax joins Thanos in death, along with Jim Starlin's other creations from the Thanos saga Gamora and Pip the Troll, and Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel who he co-opted into it. But all of them apart from CM will be brought back to life in the 1987 Silver Surfer series. But this issue's aliens won't be so lucky - it's bye-bye Ba-Banis. (For some reason the Official Handbook switches things round and calls the planet Ba-Banis and the inhabitants the Ba-Bani.) The 4 Avengers will fight the Defenders in Annual #11 before next issue. But before that the 3 males will each appear in 1 issue of their own mags. CA#270 has the return of the modern-day Baron Zemo, having dropped the alias Phoenix (CA#168). IM#159 pits Shellhead against the mystical Diablo. And Th#319 introduces a villain called Zaniac.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #220 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
On the planet Ba-Bani Iron Man is trying to convince Drax the Destroyer that his daughter Moondragon has been messing with his mind, literally. Drax sent for the Avengers last issue. When they arrived they found that Moondragon had used her mental powers to pacify the warlike planet. But her powers were stretched and Drax was recently committed to non-violence, so she needed the Earth team to quell a last pocket of resistance. During the battle Drax watched passively, not even warning Captain America when he was ambushed by the rebel leaders.

Shellhead has come to the conclusion that Moonie has been mentally influencing them all. Drax can't accept it. But Iron Man wraps a length of metal round him to prove that he's been affected. The Drax he once knew would have burst free of this bond instantly.

In an attempt to get through to the powerhouse he reminds him of his origin. He was a human who was killed by Thanos and resurrected by the Mad Titan's enemies in a new body designed purely to kill the him. When Thanos was killed by others, Drax lost his reason for existence. He wandered the cosmos aimlessly destroying until his daughter (who the Titanians had raised to become Moondragon) found him and taught him peace.

Suddenly Drax breaks free of his metal bonds and his daughter's mental control. Once more he is consumed with anger, which is now directed towards Moondragon.

Meanwhile last issue Captain America and Wasp discovered that the 'rebels' were peaceful Ba-Banis mind-controlled by Moonie into playing the part for the Avengers. The Golden Avenger and the Destroyer join them and they compare notes before heading to confront the so-called Goddess of Peace.

In her temple Heather Douglas has been 'dallying' with Thor (the Comics Code wouldn't let Marvel actually say they slept together). She confessed the deception to him last issue, as well as how she has been using mind-control on the natives to make them abandon war. But she used her powers on the Thunder God, playing on his tendency to view mortals as inferior and needing guidance and protection from themselves. Now she has him in her thrall, and he agrees to her plan to spread her peace-control throughout the universe.

As Drax and the other Avengers approach, Heather senses her father's renewed rage and his new hatred for her. She tells Thor this, and that his mortal comrades have turned against her too because they don't understand her higher purpose. Thor flies off to defend her.

Drax's angry actions are frightening and endangering the populace. The Avenging trio spring into action to try to stop him. (When she shrinks, Wasp has to change from the clothes she bought here last issue into an insect-sized costume she says Moondragon gave her. Due to Moonie's mental compulsion last issue, she didn't bring any unstable-molecule clothes with her from Earth that would change size with her.)

But their actions are forestalled when Thor drops in and uses his hammer to propel Drax away from the temple. And then to his teammates' surprise he hits Shellhead too. Cap throws his shield and his skysled at the god, to no avail. And of course Wasp's sting only annoys him. Iron Man and the returned Drax join Cap in trying to hold Thor down, but the Thunder God shrugs them off.

Thor hits them all with thunderbolts. The Golden Avenger shields Cap and Wasp so that they are only rendered unconscious. He tells Thor that the unrestrained blasts would have killed them. This opens a crack in the Asgardian's certainty, so he doesn't fight back as Iron Man pummels him. But suddenly Tony Stark falters as he wonders if Moondragon is making him attack his friend so fiercely, and Thor recovers his composure.

Wasp blasts Thor to gain his attention, and then lets him capture her in his fist. She tries to talk sense into him, but he throws her away when she starts scoring points. Thor admits that he suspects the love and devotion he feels for Moondragon aren't real. And he uses a facet of himself that Moonie has ignored - he strikes Mjolnir on the ground and transforms to human Donald Blake.

Wasp is astonished at this. Cap reveals that he and Iron Man already knew about this dual identity - Jan wasn't with them when they found out in #216. (But Steve doesn't tell Jan about the Golden Avenger being Tony Stark - it's up to Stark to reveal his own secret.) Blake isn't under Moondragon's control.

The group finally confront Moondragon, who stops controlling the Ba-Banis in order to concentrate on saving herself (for the good of the universe as she sees it). As the natives return to fighting each other, Iron Man tries to jam her mental waves. But at full power she is able to easily overpower his efforts, and the team are paralysed.

But IM's jamming does allow the anger-fuelled Drax to break his paralysis a little bit, and he inches towards his daughter. A battle of wills ensues, until Drax crumples at her feet.

The intense mind-war has freed the Avengers. Heather Douglas prepares to defend herself with martial arts while her psionic energy builds up again. But Wasp borrows Don Blake's jacket to cover herself when she expands out of her temporary costume, and uses the growth spurt to power a punch which knocks the self-styled goddess out.

Invoking a Star-Trek-style noninterference policy the Avengers board Moondragon's spaceship and leave the Ba-Banis to their war. The mental battle fried Drax's brain, and he dies. Cap points out that Moondragon hasn't committed any crimes for which their Earth courts can punish her. Even Drax officially died years ago as Arthur Douglas. But Thor takes her to Asgard where she can face the justice of her claimed peers.

The other 3 Avengers return to Earth on autopilot. En route Iron Man alters the ship's programming. When they leave the spacecraft takes Drax's body back into space and self-destructs.


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


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)