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Avengers #39: Review

Apr 1967
Roy Thomas, Don Heck

Story Name:

The torment ... and the triumph

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #39 Review by (April 30, 2022)
The internal colourist isn't credited and it is uncertain if the cover was coloured by Stan Goldberg. But we do know that Sam Rosen lettered the cover.

Captain America isn't in this issue because he's still off in Tales Of Suspense (Cap) #88-91 fighting the Red Skull (again).

Nick Fury says he's confined to quarters as a result of Strange Tales (SHIELD) #155 where he was blamed for a successful Hydra attack on the helicarrier.

Black Widow's 'defection' is part of the build up to #43-44 and her husband Red Guardian.

Mad Thinker is mainly a Fantastic Four villain and was last seen in their Annual #4 where he temporarily revived the WWII android Human Torch. He'll return to his regular stomping ground next in their #68-71 disguised as Dr Jose Santini pretending to help cure Thing but instead turning him against his team. Later (Av#135) it will be revealed that Ultron took the body of the android HT from Thinker and used it to create the Vision.

The 3 minions, called on the cover the Triumvirate Of Terror, are never seen again. Hammerhead and Piledriver are no relation to the other villains with the same names (Spider-Man's foe to be introduced in Amazing SM #113, and the member of the Wrecking Crew who will show up from Defenders #17). Nobody else ever claims the moniker Thunderboot.

Thinker claims to have invented the Triumvirate's weaponry. But power gloves and anti-gravity are also connected with the Wizard so maybe he had some 'help'. (I don't think they'll actually be seen working together until the Intelligencia.) He vows to include Hercules in his calculations next time he attacks the Avengers, but that won't be until #63 when the demi-god will be long gone.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #39 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Captain America left on a personal errand and Natasha Romanov told her boyfriend Hawkeye and the other Avengers that she doesn't want to be on the team and is returning to China. And Hercules joined them as a guest after falling out of favour with his dad Zeus.

Now the remaining Avengers learn from a newspaper that Black Widow has stolen the secret plans of atomic submarine and taken them with her. Hawkeye goes off to digest the news alone. But we get to see Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan and Jasper Sitwell discussing the situation in the SHIELD helicarrier. It seems that BW's actually going undercover to find out what big plan the Chinese are rumoured to have, and the secrets she's got are obsolete. And to round out the current cast we see Herc working out in the Avengers Mansion gym and taking delivery of some clothes Wasp ordered for him under the name Mr Powers.

Hawkeye's gone looking for his old criminal associates (from when he was on the other side of the law in his early apps with Black Widow in Tales Of Suspense (Iron Man)). But he doesn't know that the Mad Thinker is tracking him. He has a plan to kill the heroes and steal all Tony Stark's advanced equipment from the Mansion. While Cap's away is the right time to strike, and he and his computers have included the human factor (such as Hawkeye being distraught over Natasha) into his calculations so now the plan should be foolproof.

As usual Thinker has been able to predict exactly where a target will be at a particular time. So when Hawkeye passes a building and hears a cry for help he rushes in, dismissing the thought that it might be a trap because nobody could know he'd be *here*. But he soon faces a costumed villain calling himself Hammerhead who is operating to a detailed  schedule laid out by the Thinker. This tells him which arrows the archer is going to use when, and exactly how to counter them. For a final move he distracts Hawk with a hologram of Thinker and then KO's him.

Meanwhile 'Mr Powers' goes clubbing.

Back at the Mansion Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Wasp get a Condition Blue alert from Hawkeye's signal ring. That level of emergency only requires 2 of the team to respond so Goliath and Wasp zip off on a Sky-Cycle (previously seen used by Hawkeye in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3). They trace the alarm to a deserted building site and are attacked by a steam shovel. Henry Pym lures it up a slope where he can tip it over. But then he's pummelled by Piledriver's power gloves. Wasp's sting can't penetrate the villain's thick costume, but Goliath appears to gain the upper hand until a flung steel beam knocks him down and debris takes out Jan Van Dyne as well.

Thinker's plan is going as planned so he invades the Mansion with his 3rd minion Thunderboot to confront Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. The lackey's power boots allow him to cause minor earthquakes. The speedster stumbles, giving time enough for Thunderboot to stomp him. Wanda leaps to revenge her brother Pietro, but TB's boots seem enhanced by antigravity so he easily evades her hex. And another slam cause her next hex to backfire on her.

The other 2 goons materialise with their 3 captive Avengers and soon they are all strung up unconscious on a Stark device called the electro-rod which is capable of killing all 5. Thinker savours his victory and gloats while waiting for the exact moment when his computers predicted he would throw the switch (which is of course a bad move on his part) ...

... because Hercules has done carousing and chooses that moment to walk in. The Prince Of Power summarily deals with Hammerhead and Thunderboot while their boss realises that his plan has been foiled yet again by an unforeseen element, and a Greek (demi-)god to boot. Piledriver is faring better against Hercules when Thinker fires a weapon (intended for use against Quicksilver) which paralyses their foe. Then when the other 2 minions pile on Herc is overwhelmed (and Hammerhead's steel headgear gets in what I think is it's only telling blow of the comic).

All seems lost but Goliath has woken up and escaped his bonds by shrinking (to normal human or possibly ant-size). He takes on the baddies giving the Son Of Zeus time to recover and free the other Avengers. The cry "Avengers Assemble" rings out and the fight is soon over. But the Mad Thinker escapes to plot again. And Herc mopes about his exile from Olympus.

Don Heck
George Bell
Stan Goldberg
Don Heck (Cover Penciler)
George Bell (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)

(Clint Barton)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Goliath (Hank Pym), Jasper Sitwell.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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