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Avengers #231: Review

May 1983
Roger Stern, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

Up from the depths

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #231 Review by (January 18, 2016)
Jocasta's funeral is much-delayed because her death in Marvel Two-In-One #93 was a while ago, both in real-world publishing as well as the Marvel Chronology Project.

Beast has been temporarily absent from the rotating cast of the Defenders. But since their #116 he has only been in crowd scenes Contest of Champions and Hulk #277-279 plus 1 proper appearance sharing the limelight in Marvel Team-Up #124. After this he's back to his own team in Def#120.
Scarlet Witch & Vision had a cameo in #228 just before this issue. Afterwards they'll have their own tale in Marvel Fanfare #58 and do their own team-up with Spider-Man in MTU#129-130, before guest-starring in our Annual #12 because of Wanda's relationship with the Inhumans.
Since we saw him in the 'membership drive' in #211 Wonder Man was also part of the group apps in Marvel Graphic Novel #1, CoC, Hu#277-279 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7 & #96. He managed a couple of guest shots in between. Plus last of all he was in Vision & Scarlet Witch #3 where Grim Reaper meddled again in the lives of his 'brothers' V and WM. Next he'll feature in Thing #5, play in the floating super-hero poker game in MFan#24, and have his own turn in MTU in #136, before guesting back here with Beast in #239

Iron Man here is actually Jim Rhodes who's just taken over the role from his drunkard boss in IM#170. The phone call is shown from the other end in the last panels of that issue. But Captain America and Wasp don't wonder why Shellhead refers to himself and Tony Stark as separate people when he's only talking to 2 people who already know his dual identity.

Jasper Sitwell was introduced as a SHIELD Agent in Strange Tales #144, but he spent a lot of time as liaison to Stark Industries in Tales of Suspense and the 1st Iron Man series. Since IM#113 he's had more of a wandering brief, lastly in Marvel Team-Up #83 during the 4-part Spider-Man/Black Widow/Nick Fury/Shang-Chi mega-team-up.
Technically JS isn't actually seen in this issue - all apps are his simuloid duplicate. He will appear next in IM#174-175 where SHIELD and Rhodey keep Iron Man's old armours out of the clutches of Obadiah Stane, who has taken over Stark International.

Next issue we'll learn that Plantman's partner is the Wizard. They were seen in custody together in #227, but the Plantman in jail was shown to be 1 of his simuloids last issue. In #235 the Wizard in jail will be found to also be a simuloid, and the Avengers will go after the real 1.

Eros of Titan was introduced in the classic IM#55 in the flashback origin of his brother Thanos. But he showed up in current continuity in the Thanos saga in Captain Marvel, starting with #27 which is documented in the Captain America and Iron Man Libraries. This sequence was where he helped the Avengers defeat his brother as mentioned in this issue. He rejoined Mar-Vell for another run from his #58.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #231 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
3 strange figures rise out of Chesapeake Bay next to a SHIELD base. They ooze through the fence and attack a guard. 1 of them takes on his image and memories, which renders the SHIELD Agent unconscious.

Several hours later a group of current and previous Avengers stand over the fresh grave of the robot Jocasta, who died defeating Ultron in Marvel Two-In-One #93. New recruits Captain Marvel and She-Hulk never knew her, but Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor and Wasp did. And Beast, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Wonder Man were on the team when she was. Again the team wonder why Iron Man hasn't shown up.

Nick Fury is bringing the President to inspect the SHIELD base. But when their helicopter lands the waiting SHIELD Agents point guns at them.

The active team members are holding their regular meeting in Avengers Mansion when chairwoman Wasp takes a call from Iron Man. He says Tony Stark needs him full-time at Stark International so he's quitting the Avengers. Even CapA can't talk him out of it. Wasp immediately decides they need to fill his space on the roster.

The Agents have taken their captives to the base commander Jasper Sitwell who announces that the Pres will be held to ransom for a billion dollars. Fury attacks Sitwell but is surprised by the Agent's strength. Sitwell admits to being a replacement, as now are all the men on the base.

Nick rings the White House to pass on the ransom demand. But he slips in the phrase "bad news, Pete", and the hearer (presumably not named Pete) recognises that as the code-name for Henry Peter Gyrich. HPG is contacted, and he calls in the Avengers.

5 of them travel by quinjet while Captain Marvel light-speeds ahead to reconnoitre. She discovers a room full of gas which is keeping the real SHIELD Agents asleep. Then she rendezvous with Fury (the President is asleep). Then back at the jet Monica Rambeau describes her findings and says that the SHIELD Director advises an assault. He'll keep the Pres safe.

Meanwhile we discover the mastermind behind this plot. Plantman is in a submarine in the Bay. He is grateful to his absent partner-in-crime who has provided him with much ultra-technology. And his lead simuloid 'Jasper Sitwell' informs him that all is going to plan.

Except that the base is suddenly struck by bolts of lightning courtesy of Thor, which destroy its defences. And then the Thunder God leaps from atop the quinjet to scatter many simuloid Agents. The craft lands and the other 4 Avengers join the fray (CapM has returned to Nick Fury).

She-Hulk tears a hole in the roof of the complex. The 4 drop through while Thor stays behind to deal with some tanks. CapA and Shulkie take on more 'SHIELD Agents'. Hawkeye and Wasp head towards the real Agents. But Hawkeye has to stop to hold off some more bad guys while Wasp makes her way through the ventilation system.

We break for an interlude back at Avengers Mansion as Eros lands his spaceship on the lawn. He is greeted by Jarvis armed with a frying pan, but the Titanian reminds him how he helped the team against Thanos. Then he turns on his famous charm to get the butler to tell him where the Avengers have gone.

Back in Maryland the fighting continues, and all the Avenging combatants discover their opponents are made of wood. Which changes their tactics - to the worse for the enemy. Plantman orders all his forces to converge on the Avengers. Except JS who will see to the President. Plantie morosely dwells on his previous defeats, including his attempt to destroy London in Sub-Mariner #3.

Hawkeye reaches the gas chamber to find that Wasp has already started purging it. She sends him to help the others. And then she turns to the reviving Agents and orders them to strip to the waist. (This is so the real Agents will be able to tell themselves apart from the fakes.)

Jasper and a few simuloids are about to enter the room where the President is with Fury and CapM. Nick had been searched for weapons, but had the makings of a slingshot hidden about his person. And the payload is a small explosive device. The door opens .... but it's CapA and She-Hulk who've dealt with JS and pals.

The good guys are busy congratulating themselves when there's a loud KBAM that shakes the building. CapM zaps to the surface to see what's up. SHulk follows on the run while CapA stays with NF to guard the President (who's finally been woken by the noise). SH rescues Hawkeye from a pile of rubble, but his leg appears to be broken. They prepare to fight an onrushing horde of simuloids without shirts. Until Wasp flies up and explains that these Agents are the real deal.

Jennifer Walters leaves Jan to look after Clint and runs up to ground-level to find CapM and Thor fighting an extremely large plant thing (crushing a helicopter in 1 fist). Thor is hitting it with his hammer while this time it's Captain Marvel who's striking with lightning bolts, made from her own energy. SHulk lifts up 1 of it's feet allowing Thor to topple it over. Then CapM whizzes round whittling off human-size chunks - which however continue fighting independently.

Monica burns the fragments up, but the main creature is getting back on its feet. But then Eros crashes his spacecraft through it, and the wood-giant is destroyed in the ensuing explosion. But Eros's vessel is unharmed and he lands to greet the Avengers. And Plantman's hidden sub beats a strategic retreat.

Nick Fury apologises to the President for the whole affair. But the Pres was impressed by the way the revived SHIELD Agents dealt with the wooden guys (presumably those which the Avengers hadn't already killed) and he promises SHIELD more funding.

Hawkeye's leg is splinted. We learn that the team had already made trainee Monica Rambeau a full Avenger to replace Iron Man. But Eros announces that he wants to be an Avenger too.



Al Milgrom
Joe Sinnott
Christie Scheele
Al Milgrom (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)



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