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Avengers #229: Review

Mar 1983
Roger Stern, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Final curtain

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #229 Review by (January 1, 2016)
The reports of Tony Stark and Iron Man being missing here are meant to tie-in with his drinking problem in his own mag, but they don't really mesh. There's a scene that is shared between #231 and IM#170 so the action here is obviously before that. But Stark/IM don't go missing in the lead-up to that. Even when he's on a bender in #168-169 he's very visible. And before that he may go on trips abroad but his staff always know where he is. Stark does go AWOL *after* #170 but IM remains in the person of James Rhodes.

The comments about Henry Pym being gone 3 days and Iron Man nearly a week suggests that IM disappeared straight after last issue's scene with TS working on the cerebral scanner. The Official Index and the underlying Marvel Chronology Project database make the best of a bad job. The scanner scene was placed near the beginning of IM#167 before Stark went to Switzerland. This issue he is credited with a behind the scenes appearance - presumably where he tells Scott Lang to take over the project. That BTS is placed near the end of IM#167, after Tony's return from Switzerland but before his latest girlfriend dumps him, which is the straw that breaks the camel's back and *starts* his drinking.

This means the BTS happened many days before this issue, during which time Lang has worked on the scanner. (This suggests TS *knew* he was going to go on a binge and decided to sort out his affairs beforehand - as drunks do!) But it also means Stark has been drinking for the past week. Maybe IM#168-169 are just the highlights of his drunken spree. And maybe Stark International saying their boss is missing is better PR than saying he's drunk.

Wasp knows Scott Lang is Ant-Man. Hubbie Yellowjacket knew from his origin. Scott wasn't worried about Jan seeing him unmasked in #196 so Hank had probably told her already.

After this Shocker will return to being a mainly Spider-Man foe starting in Web of Spider-Man #10.

Scott Lang will appear as himself in Hulk #285, then as Ant-Man in the Wonder Man 1-shot and ROM #58-59 before next visiting the Avengers in #275-277.

The Trial of Yellowjacket has 1 more issue to go.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #229 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Egghead sent his Masters of Evil to 'rescue' Henry Pym from his trial for treason, making him seem even more guilty and giving the ex-Avenger no choice but to work with his old enemy on his longevity research.

In New Orleans Monica Rambeau, Avenger-in-training Captain Marvel, listens to news about how the authorities are still searching for Pym 3 days after the escape. And also how fellow Avenger Iron Man is missing. She decides to make an unscheduled visit to Avengers Mansion, travelling as a beam of light to New York.

At her destination Captain America and Thor are worried about their teammate in both his IM and Tony Stark guises - they've both been missing for nearly a week. But they watch their words when CapM walks in, careful not to betray the Golden Avenger's dual identity. Monica learns that She-Hulk is also out of action. She was reverted to Jennifer Walters by Radioactive Man last issue and can't change back.

Jen is being comforted by the other 2 Avengers Hawkeye and Wasp. These days she spends all her time as Shulk, being more confidant and in control than in her puny human form. Now she's panicking. Jarvis calls Janet Van Dyne away, and Clint Barton decides to try the tough love approach.

Jan meets Scott Lang from Stark International who's brought something Tony Stark asked him to finish off before he disappeared. Scott is as worried as Jan about her ex-husband, and offers his help as the new Ant-Man. Wasp gratefully declines his offer (because the sight of an Ant-Man would bring back too many memories of Hank).

CapA knows that this thing is the completed version of cerebral scanner Stark was working on last issue. Tony hoped that Hank's erratic behaviour since #211 is the result of Moondragon's mental meddling then, but now they can't try the helmet on him. But CapM suggests maybe Yellowjacket's claim that he was set up by Egghead is true (it's not the 1st time a villain's turned up not as dead as advertised). And maybe the scanner will prove that Shocker's story last issue about Pym being the leader of the Masters of Evil is a lie.

Elsewhere in the building Clint is ranting at Jen Walters, telling her to (wo)man-up. He gets her angry so she starts hitting him. When he laughs at her blows she finally punches him through a doorway - She-Hulk is back! She realises what he's done before hitting him again.

Later the assembled Avengers go visit Shocker and his lawyer in jail. Herman Schultz is certain the scanner will show he's telling the truth, just like a polygraph test. His lawyer doesn't want to risk it until ex-lawyer She-Hulk reminds him that the scanner could prove his client was being mentally manipulated. And as soon as the helmet is fitted Shocker remembers the truth - that Egghead is leader of the MoE, and that they must have deliberately left him behind last issue to 'confess' the false story.

In Egghead's lab Pym announces that Starr's longevity machine is finished. Elihas and the MoE are sceptical and insist that the machine be tested 1st on Pym himself, to make sure he hasn't booby-trapped it. Henry willingly agrees to be strapped in, and Starr throws the switch.

Hank's body is surrounded by a glow that looks suspiciously like a force field. And a cybernetic component enables Pym to control Beetle's armour and send him careening into Radioactive Man. The force field proves impervious to Tiger Shark's attack, and Moonstone's blasts ricochet off and join the hurtling Beetle in being more danger to her allies than to Pym.

Radioactive Man thinks his nuclear power will break through the force field. But cadmium-plated arms grip him and throw him at Tiger Shark, knocking them both out. And a blast of energy downs the fleeing Moonstone.

When the Avengers arrive at the house Shocker told them about they see Beetle flying out of control out of the building. Until Thor stops him. Hawkeye sneaks in and finds the basement lab with the other 3 Masters lying on the floor. Henry Pym is climbing out of his machine to confront Egghead.

Clint watches as Hank points out that it was his scientific knowledge that beat his enemies, not his superhero identities. That is his real superpower.

Elihas Starr lunges at him but Hank downs him with 1 punch, then turns to walk away. But Egghead pulls a gun to shoot him in the back. So Hawkeye shouts out and fires an arrow into the barrel of the gun, which explodes. Hawkeye has killed the villain!

Al Milgrom
Joe Sinnott
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)

(Jennifer Walters)


> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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