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Avengers #250: Review

Dec 1984
Roger Stern, Al Milgrom

Story Name:

World power

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #250 Review by (June 13, 2016)
This is a 'double-size' issue priced $1. But the normal-size next issue will have sneakily raised its price from $0.60 to $0.75.

There have been a lot of changes in the Avengers since Iron Man resigned in #231-232. Then Wasp led a team of Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Starfox and Thor. Scarlet Witch and Vision rejoined in #233 and Hawkeye and Thor become part-timers. In #243 Vision took over as chairman because Wasp and others had disappeared into Secret Wars, and he sent Hawkeye to form the West Coast branch. She-Hulk switched to the Fantastic Four as a consequence of SWars. Captain America also wandered off after #245 and Annual #13, leaving the team as Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Starfox, Vision and Wasp - with none of the characters who feature in our Libraries.

Hercules brings the roster back up to 6. And Captain America will return next issue.

Vision's thoughts say Cap is missing in action in the current story in his book, which would be CA#293-301 where Red Skull dies of old age and Steve Rogers almost does too. But the Official Index has that saga ending with the Avengers saving his life before this issue. So maybe Cap is just recovering.

Maelstrom and his minions were introduced in Marvel Two-In-One #71-72. Maelstrom had another servant Deathurge kill Gronk, Helio and Phobius after they were captured. But other versions turned up later to defend Maelstrom while he tried to kill all the Inhumans because they exiled his father. He failed and he and the 3 died when his base was destroyed. But Maelstrom knew he would be resurrected as a clone and in #247-248 tried to release most of the Deviants from a cosmic block where the Eternals put them since Iron Man Annual #6. He died at the hands of Deathurge again then, but was re-cloned again last issue. Now he's got another plan and he's giving his 3 stooges a 3rd chance.

An editorial comment says the Fantastic Four are travelling in space-time and directs us to their current issues. That would be FF#272-273 where they are in an alternate universe tracking down Reed Richards' father Nathaniel. In the Marvel Chronology Project that doesn't contradict continuity.

The mellow Vision has been in evidence since #238 when the Titanian computer ISAAC helped him recover from the shutdown he suffered in #233. The secret of his personality change and his private lab will build until he tries to take over the world's computers in #254.

We learned in #237 that Starfox hadn't told the Avengers about his pleasure power. We saw him use it in #237 but the Avengers didn't. In #248 we found that Vision had figured it out, and he encourages Eros to use it. This is presumably what Vision's thoughts here refer back too. But really since #237 SF has used his power fairly openly several times - but maybe it wasn't so blatantly obvious.

When Wasp likens Starfox's power to Moondragon's mental control she's probably thinking back to #211 when MD made lots of heroes apply for Avengers membership, and #219-220 where she manipulated the team (and the population of a planet) until they realised what she was doing.

The cosmic Maelstrom will become involved with other cosmic entities especially Oblivion in Quasar #19-25, and will make use of his minions in some of the issues, until he's disintegrated in the end. Then in Fantastic Four Unlimited #10 the minions will revive a Maelstrom clone, but he gets defeated again. And he'll be reduced to fighting the Great Lakes Avengers in their miniseries where he dies and goes to join Oblivion. The cosmic version will turn up in the realm of Oblivion in Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #11-12 and #24. And the minions will pop up in New Warriors (2014) #7-8.

What will the 2 Avengers teams do in the near-future? Iron Man goes off to fight Termite in his own #189-190, with Scarlet Witch and Vision guesting. We learn some of what Vision's up to in Av#251. Starfox and the West Coast males help out in Marvel Graphic Novel #17: Revenge of the Living Monolith, while Hercules has a solo outing in Marvel Comics Presents #12. Vision sends the Avengers off in #252 to investigate some Thanos-related stuff, but really to keep them out of the way while he implements his big plan. Then in #253-254 the WCA without IM join the Av without Wasp to foil his well-meaning plan to take over the world for its own good. In #255 SW and Vision will quit and Wasp will become chairwoman again. But before the end of that issue they'll be diverted with the WCA to help Rom end the Dire Wraith War in his #65-66.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #250 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Deviant/Inhuman hybrid Maelstrom brings his 3 minions Gronk, Helio and Phobius back to life in new cloned bodies.

A week later in Avengers Mansion Vision is examining the charred body of Maelstrom from #248. He knows that the minions died and left bodies like this in Marvel Team-Up #72, but were seen again later that issue. Recently in Annual #13 pseudo-clone Hulks created by Arnim Zola also left bodies like this. He also picked up some fragments of thoughts from Maelstrom when they were linked with the Uni-Mind in #248.

His musings are interrupted by an alarm from his private lab. He ghosts there through the floor to stop whoever is trying to get in. He finds Hercules delivering a large crate of electronics - no-one told him about the no entry rule. It seems Herc has decided to stay on after the Casket of Ancient Winters/Surtur saga in #249 and Thor #350-353. They're short-handed while Captain America is away.

The Greek demi-god joins Scarlet Witch and Wasp at the indoor pool where they are timing how long Starfox can stay underwater. Horseplay ensues.

Captain Marvel isn't with them because Monica Rambeau has zipped over to Switzerland to visit her scientific mentor Prof Andre LeClare (who we met in her origin in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16). But when she gets there she finds that his team have detected that the Earth's rotation is quite rapidly slowing down. If this keeps up then the world will become uninhabitable, preceded by many lesser catastrophes. So she converts to her energy form and zaps right back to New York to get the Avengers on the case.

But instead we go to California where the West Coast Avengers are also enjoying some quiet time. Tigra and Wonder Man watch Hawkeye outdo William Tell by shooting 2 apples at once from the hands of his wife Mockingbird. Then Clint Barton takes aim at the apple on Bobbi's head. But a sudden Earth tremor spoils that aim, and Mocky has to knock the arrow away with 1 of her battlestaves.

Just then the 4 hear a priority alert alarm and rush inside to find Iron Man talking to Vision over a video-link. Multiple scientists have confirmed the news that CM brought, and earthquakes and tremors are the 1st sign of the impending doom. Vizh tried to contact Reed Richards but the Fantastic Four are out of reach.

At that moment Captain Marvel returns from a mission to investigate some areas the synthezoid had calculated as possible sources of the problem. But she's shaking with fear. She relates how by turning into cosmic rays she was able to penetrate the surface at Cape Horn and discover an underground laboratory. But she was detected and a character naming himself Phobius declared the lab belonged to Maelstrom and somehow made her flee in terror.

The files Vision studied earlier told him that Phobius was indeed 1 of Maelstrom's aides and his power was to induce fear. And Maelstrom's power was to absorb kinetic energy, so he could be the cause of Earth's slowing down. Wasp objects that the villain is dead. But Vizh replies that Phobius has died and returned before. That and the evidence from Annual #13 suggests that Maelstrom and his minions are returning via cloning. Also now he can make sense of the scraps of thoughts from #248 and realise that the villain learned from the Uni-Mind how to syphon KE from the planet.

Chairman Vision decides they must go tackle the problem at source, but Monica Rambeau can't stand the thought of returning there. Tigra interrupts over the vid-link with some encouragement. She tells CM how an encounter in #214 with Ghost Rider's hellfire left her very afraid. It took a while to get over it, but from Hawkeye's description of Monica she thinks CM can do better. She passes on words of wisdom from Captain America - it's right to feel frightened, but don't give in to your fears.

The teams fly quinjets from their bases. Inside each member contemplates the upcoming battle in his/her own way. Vision and Hawkeye discuss strategy. But their journey is interrupted by winds generated by Helio. Scarlet Witch calms the air around them, and Iron Man and Starfox fly out to do battle. But Helio's airquakes blow out IM's boot jets, and a vortex knocks SF out.

Shellhead gets his boots working just in time to stop him hitting the ocean. Meanwhile Helio has captured 'Fox. However the Titanian was only feigning unconsciousness while he stimulated the villain's brain. Now Helio is laughing hysterically and happy to help his foes. He gives their jets a wind-assist to their destination and follows them.

When they all arrive a hidden door opens and Phobius and Gronk pop out. Phoby's power negates Starfox's influence and Helio joins them in attacking the assembled Avengers. Tigra takes Phobius out with a nerve pinch. Wonder Man flies Helio out of range. Hercules tackles giant Gronk but finds his fists sticking to him.

The others leave WM and Herc to their fights and enter the base, taking Captain Marvel (and Phobius) with them. Simon Williams KO's Helio with the tap of a mighty finger. Hercules astounds Gronk by managing to pull 1 hand free. Then a mighty blow sends the sticky guy hurtling away, freeing the other hand. But their victory is short-lived as the Golden Avenger and the synthezoid are smashed up through the ground, and an enormous fist comes out of the hole so-created and drags Herc and Wondy in.

Inside the base Maelstrom is now giant-sized and holding off the other Avengers, except Monica who cowers at his feet. IM and Vizh return to the fray too, but repulsor rays and materialising inside the villain's body have no effect. Tigra tries the trick that worked with Molecule Man (#216) - talking the bad guy down. But no go here. Maelstrom wants to destroy life on Earth, before leaving to conquer the universe.

He grabs Hercules, Starfox and Wonder Man and sets them aside behind a forcefield to use as power batteries later. Iron Man just swoops Hawkeye and Mockingbird out of the way of a descending fist. Another hand reaches for frozen Captain Marvel but Tigra knocks her out of the way. So Maelstrom grabs Greer Grant instead and starts to squeeze her to death.

Monica sees Tigra's peril and knows it is her fault. This galvanises her into action and she blasts the baddie as a bolt of lightning. Startled he drops Tigra. CM converts to light and tries to free Herc, SF and WM from their prison, but the forcefield reflects her and turns her human. Vision wants time to find a way to free the 3 so he tells Shellhead to lure Maelstrom away.

IM taunts the baddie and leads him to the room where his minions' spare clones are. Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Tigra and Wasp contribute annoyances. And Marvel joins them after failing again to get through the forcefield.

The prisoners can't smash their way out. Vision can't ghost through it. His wife Wanda's hex can't disrupt it. Vision thinks the bank of equipment inside must be important. He deduces that it is requlating the amount of energy Maelstrom is receiving from the Earth. If the prisoners destroy it he will lose his power source.

But Starfox has another idea - the old overload the bad guy trick. He reckons the forcefield won't be designed to stop that. Vision agrees. Witchy pours all her hex power into the machine.

In the other room Maelstrom is getting bigger as he converts the extra energy into mass. The Avengers there continue to harass him. As he gets bigger his attempts to swat them end up destroying more of his base. Then he breaks through the ceiling out into the open air.

But at last he realises what is happening. He's been getting energy faster than he can convert it to matter. He's been expanding but getting less dense. And the process accelerates. Soon he's bigger than Earth but ghostly. Then he's bigger than the Solar System. Then he disperses out across the universe.

The regulating machine burns out. The 3 captive Avengers are free. All the spare clone bodies have been destroyed in the battle, so the 3 minions surrender because they can't risk dying.

Both Avenging teams return to the West Coast Compound for a party. Amid the chitchat Wonder Man wonders at Vision's current non-robotic personality. And Wasp starts to worry about Starfox's mind-altering power (which Vision had allowed him to keep secret for this very reason) - too much like that of Moondragon. And Eros himself apologises to Monica for not thinking of trying to use his power to overcome her fear. But he is glad he got to see how strong and brave she really is - a worthy successor to the title of his dead friend Mar-Vell.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Arnim Zola, Surtur (Surtur the Fire Demon).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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