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Avengers #223: Review

Sep 1982
David Michelinie, Greg Larocque

Story Name:

Of Robin Hoods and roustabouts

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #223 Review by (November 17, 2015)
David Michelinie pops back for another issue as scripter, but we won't see him here again for over 100 issues. Jim Shooter *doesn't* plot this 1. I think this is the 1st time Hawkeye's 1st carnival is named, where he was trained by Swordsman and Trickshot. Taskmaster and his training academies were introduced in #195-196, co-starring Ant-Man. Since then he fought Ant-Man again in Marvel Team-Up #103, where he got to study Spider-Man's moves close up. After this issue he'll return to MTU for #146, and continues on to the present day. The Avengers apart from Hawkeye are only in the penultimate page, and Thor's not with them for this issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #223 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Clint Barton returns to the Carson Carnival of Travelling Wonders where he acquired his archery skills. He's received a plea for help from the young owner Marcella, who he remembers as a tomboy teenager. But a pair of goons, armed with hi-tech guns, bar his way into her mobile office. Clint accepts defeat, but only to don his Hawkeye costume.

Scott Lang has brought his daughter Cassie to the Carnival, but he won't let her ride the Spin-N-Heave. Until he sees Hawkeye rushing past. He pays the ride owner loadsa money to give delighted Cassie as many goes as she likes. Scott is carrying his Ant-Man costume in miniaturised form. But it proves tricky to manipulate until he can activate its enlarging gas with a pin.

Hawkeye sees her guards dragging Marcy away, and he rescues her. Hiding in a big tent Marcy explains that the carny has been taken over by a supervillain. Unfortunately the villain is in the tent with them. When the lights go on Clint sees Taskmaster and an array of training equipment. TM trains lackeys for other supervillains. He's got a chain of secret schools, and he's experimenting with the carnival as a mobile version.

Taskmaster has photographic reflexes, and he easily evades Hawkeye's arrows with moves he's learnt from studying various superheroes. Such study also means that he can anticipate Barton's actions. Finally TM gets Clint to stop fighting by threatening Marcella.

Meanwhile Ant-Man's ants have found Hawkeye for him. Taskmaster has the hero trapped in a large cage with a lion. The bars are electrified enough to render him unconscious and easy prey. The lion charges, but Ant-Man speed-grows to human size beneath the creature and throws it against the bars. Then he shrinks himself and Barton and they both escape.

Taskmaster doesn't know this because the overconfident villain and his henchmen had left Hawkeye to his fate. So he's surprised when the Avenger and Ant-Man (on a flying ant) interrupt him shouting at Marcy. Scott warns Clint about a magnesium flare TM used to escape the Avengers in #196, and the archer shoots it out of his hand. While his men unsuccessfully fight the 2 heroes, plus ants and Marcy with a club, Taskmaster slips out of the tent.

AM and Hawk follow him into the Big Top where a performance is underway. Underlings are loading a bomb into the Human Cannonball's cannon, which will kill lots of the audience when it goes off as it hits a target. The heroes choose to let the villain escape as they stay to stop the bomb.

1 goon stays behind to launch the bomb. Hawkeye wraps him up with a bolo arrow, but he falls against the cannon, makes it point straight up and fires it. Little Ant-Man jumps onto the head of 1 of Hawk's arrows and the archer fires him at the flying bomb. The audience think this is all part of the act as Scott inches his way towards the detonator at the tip of the bomb. He just manages to defuse it and leap onto 1 of his ants before it hits the floor.

Captain America, Iron Man, She-Hulk and Wasp turn up to help the police corral TM's men. Scott rushes over to where he left Cassie, expecting her to be worried. But she just wants to come back tomorrow for more goes on the roller coaster.

Greg Larocque
Brett Breeding
Christie Scheele
Ed Hannigan (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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