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Avengers #228: Review

Feb 1983
Roger Stern, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Trial and error

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #228 Review by (January 1, 2016)
The title gets a regular penciller as Al Milgrom joins for a long run to #250.

The Official Index puts Iron Man's appearance here within IM#167. The Marvel Chronology Project is more specific and puts it between pages 4 and 5. Tony Stark has been run ragged fighting the forces and commercial manipulation of Obadiah Stane. He has the unshaven look sported here, but has so far resisted the urge to drink. He presumably finishes miniaturising the cerebral device before flying to Switzerland on page 5.

Tony Stark's problems in his own mag *will* lead him to drink at the end of #167. They are separate from his concerns over Hank and Jan Pym here, but this stuff presumably contributes to his downfall.

Scarlet Witch and Vision left the team in #211 to set up house together. They've had many adventures since then including a stint with the Defenders, joining the rest of the Marvel Universe in Contest of Champions, and having their own 1st mini-series during which they discovered that the Witch and Quicksilver are the children of Magneto. They were last seen together in Marvel Team-Up Annual #5 facing the Serpent Crown again, and then Wanda had solo outings in MTU#125 and Marvel Fanfare #6. After this they will show up again in #231.

Janet Van Dyne married Henry Pym when he had another personality as Yellowjacket. Vision correctly supposes that this wasn't a firm basis for a marriage.

The Masters of Evil have changed lineup since #222 when they were all captured. Egghead has freed Moonstone and Tiger Shark but left Scorpion and Whirlwind to rot. Beetle, Radioactive Man and Shocker are new additions. RM at least has history with the earlier groups of this name - he was in Zemo's original version and Ultron's successor. He was 1st seen in Journey into Mystery #93 where he displayed the ability to repel Thor's hammer, and last in IM#74 as part of the Soviet Titanic Three. Beetle was originally Human Torch's foe in Strange Tales #123, but he's hopped around the MU promiscuously since then. He was last seen along with most of the villain fraternity in Marvel Two-In-One #96. Shocker is an infrequent Spider-Man villain starting in Amazing SM #46, but last in another mob scene in Defenders #64.

Egghead's remote brainwashing trick worked on his niece Trish too in #217. The tech makes the victim say what Egghead wants, and they still believe it's true even after the tech (Shockers' costume, Trish's prosthetic arm) is removed.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #228 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's the trial of Henry Pym/Yellowjacket. After 2 days of arguing over his mental state the prosecution opens its case. Thor and Pym's ex-wife Wasp are in attendance. But we see it over TV news in Avengers Mansion where She-Hulk gets angry (partly in frustration after abandoning her career as a lawyer to be a full-time Avenger, and having nothing to do between crises).

Trainee Avenger Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) is 'sparring' with Captain America, if you call turning into an aimed bolt of electricity sparring. But when CA deflects the beam with his shield she does re-form and get him in a judo hold. However she then relaxes and he throws her.

CapA then leaves on an errand. After chatting with Shulkie CapM zaps home to New Orleans as a light-ray. And Jennifer Walters sees Thor and Janet Van Dyne returning from court. Jan is holding it together and declines Thor's sympathy. Thor takes the usual founding-member line of respecting the other Avenger's privacy, but Jen can see Jan is hurting inside.

Steve Rogers' errand takes him to Stark International. Tony Stark has been incommunicado for days and his friend is worried. His Avengers ID card gets him into Stark's private lab where Iron Man is lifting a huge piece of equipment. Raising his faceplate Tony tells Steve he thinks Henry might have been under the mental influence of Moondragon since she arranged for him to rejoin the team in #211. The big machine is a cerebral scanner which should be able to prove that, once Stark has miniaturised it enough to take it to court. But Steve is also worried about unshaven Tony who's been working on this without rest, driven by guilt over his affair with Henry's recently divorced wife in #224.

The trial has made national news, and Scarlet Witch and Vision watch helplessly in their New Jersey home. Vizh reminds Wanda of the strange circumstances of Hank and Jan's wedding in #60 (the Witch wasn't there).

Meanwhile a burly man approaches a house in Long Island. Dr Chen Lu is admitted by Dr Karla Sofen and she leads him to an underground lab where Egghead is at work. He needs Lu's radiation expertise.

Dr Lu understood that Egghead was dead, and we finally get an explanation why he isn't. He led a team called the Emissaries of Evil in Defenders #42-43, including a brainwashed Cobalt Man. When freed from the brainwashing CM apparently killed himself and his boss. But now Elihas Starr says he used an experimental teleportation device to escape (but the device didn't survive).

Now Egghead leads another group called the Masters of Evil (after breaking the members out of jail), and 2 of them (Shocker and Tiger Shark) burst battling through the ceiling, followed by Beetle with the cannister of radioactive isotopes they were sent to steal. Karla Sofen as Moonstone helps Beetle break up the bickering pair. TS claims incompetent Shocker nearly wrecked the robbery, but Starr reminds him that Shocker is vital to their plan. Finally, after a racial slur from Shark, Chen Lu turns green and reveals himself to be the Radioactive Man.

Avenger Hawkeye is bored in his day job as CTE's security chief and decides to join the rest of the team for the next day of the trial. They wonder why Iron Man doesn't join them as Henry Pym prepares to take the stand.

But suddenly an explosion blows in the back of the court and the 5 villainous henchmen enter. Moonstone grabs Pym, declaring loudly that she's here to rescue him. And Shocker blasts an exit (though why they can't go out the way they came in I don't know). Chairwoman Jan organises her team. She-Hulk and Thor hold up a falling ceiling while Cap gets people to safety. That leaves Wasp and Hawkeye to chase the villains, joined by She-Hulk when Thor gets a better hold on the ceiling.

It's Hawkeye vs Tiger Shark, Shulk vs Radioactive Man and Wasp vs Beetle. But then Shocker zaps She-Hulk until Hawkeye short-circuits his wrist-shockers with magno-volt arrows. As Shocker falls prey to his own power he wonders why Shark wasn't keeping Hawkeye busy. She-Hulk turns her attention back to Chen Lu. But an intense blast of gamma radiation reverts her to Jennifer Walters, an identity she'd sworn never to return to.

Moonstone has rendered Henry Pym unconscious as she drags him into the back of a lorry. Hawkeye and Wasp are temporarily downed by Beetle and Tiger Shark. Cap and Thor are finally free to join the fray. Thor hurls his hammer, but he's forgotten that RM's energy fields can deflect Mjolnir and Cap staggers as it hits his shield. These 3 villains enter the lorry, which breaks open as a getaway craft flies off.

Shocker has managed to remove his malfunctioning gauntlets and wonders why his teammates abandoned him. Jan whips off his mask and demands to know where they've taken her ex-husband. In a strange voice he says he doesn't know, but that they were acting under orders from Pym himself.

The villains take Hank to Egghead's place where they have to restrain him from attacking his foe. Starr says he wants Pym to help him in his experiments. He turns on the news which describes Henry's daring escape from court. He says Shocker's suit was rigged to brainwash him into believing that Pym was behind it all, and not even a polygraph will say he lies. No-one will believe Pym innocent now, so he has no-one else to turn to. Reluctantly Henry agrees to work with Elihas.

Al Milgrom
Brett Breeding
Christie Scheele
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Al Milgrom (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Jennifer Walters)


> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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