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Avengers #66: Review

Jun 2003
Geoff Johns, Olivier Coipel

Story Name:

Red zone part 2: Infections

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #66 Review by (February 20, 2021)
J G Jones painted the cover again and the Starkings/Deschesne partnership keeps on letterin'.

Dr Foster is the guy who was Black Goliath and then Giant-Man. He started out in Avengers (1st series) #32 as a scientist helping Henry Pym (at that time Goliath). He used Pym Particles to be come Black Goliath in Power Man #24 followed by his own short series. After some other apps he went to work for Project Pegasus in Marvel Two-In-One #54 and changed his superid to Giant-Man. Later he lost his powers due to events in the Giant-Man (Henry Pym) backup in Av (Double-Feature) #382. So now he's a plain ol' scientist in the CDC.

He'll return for a very brief career as Goliath before being killed in Civil War #4.

Black Panther agreed to rejoin the Avengers in #61 but since then has instead been busy in #48-62 of his 1968 series. This basically involved him quitting his kingdom and spending time in New York helping Kasper Cole become a new Black Panther. Until T'Challa regained his kingship of Wakanda in the finale of that series.

Now, at least in comics terms, he's free to be a regular in this series.

In 2 issues time we'll learn that Dell Rusk is really the Red Skull.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #66 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue a cloud of deadly red gas spread from Mount Rushmore and most of the Avengers went to investigate it and help with casualties. But Iron Man wasn't with them.

Now we see him in a CDC lab where it has been diagnosed as a mutated version of the flesh-eating bacteria known as necrotising fasciitis. This version is extremely fast-acting, and even if a victim's life can be saved there will be severe side-effects. In the Dr Foster's opinion this is a bio-weapon. They're working round the clock to find a way of neutralising the cloud but funding from Tony Stark could help them recruit more help. Black Panther is also there and tells them that Wakandan scientists have been fighting necrotising fasciitis for a long time. They haven't perfected a cure yet but they can release what information they have.

But then Defence Secretary Dell Rusk enters and declares that since the Avengers transferred their allegiance from the US to the UN they are no longer allowed on the premises without prior access being granted. The Avengers UN liaison Henry Peter Gyrich protests that he's been trying to get permission but has been given the runaround. Tony and T'Challa try to be reasonable but Rusk's security staff are told to usher them out. BP KOs the bodyguards and says that he and IM can find their own way out, but he promises Bill Foster will get the data he promised.

There's bad blood between Stark and T'Challa but they meet on the roof. The King of Wakanda says his diplomatic immunity will keep him safe from assault charges, and then reveals that he sneaked out an infected blood sample to take to Wakanda for analysis. But Iron Man takes it off him saying *his* scientists can do that. As he jets off Panther reveals he has a 2nd sample. His plan worked and now there will be *2* extra teams working on the problem.

Last issue infected people (the ones that weren't yet dead) were evacuated by military helicopters to a temporary field hospital in Custer State Park. But then it was discovered that the wind was blowing the cloud in that direction. Scarlet Witch managed to slow the spread temporarily but they still need to evacuate somewhere else.

Now Warbird is there with General Feaster and Park Ranger Hawkins. Everyone is in hazmat suits. We learn that most real hospitals are refusing to take the Red Zone victims as patients for fear of mass contagion. A victim reaches out towards the Gen'l who reacts in fear in case the bug can eat through his suit. Hawkins tries to calm him down but he hits the Ranger. Then Warbird knocks Feaster down with a blast that she says has sterilised his skin. Later she admits to Hawkins and Dr Chen that she just absorbed and redirected some sunlight so she hasn't really disinfected him.

Last issue 6 Avengers ventured into the Red Zone. Ant-Man, Captain America, Scarlet Witch and She-Hulk are in hazmat suits. Jack Of Hearts and the synthezoid Vision haven't bothered because they should be invulnerable. Last issue they supposedly split into 3 teams of 2 but they're actually all together.

1 team Vision and the Witch do wander a bit apart from the others. Vizh confesses to his ex-wife Wanda Maximoff that this situation brings out 1 of his fears. If such a disease wiped out the whole human race the android would be left alone.

Cap and Shulk are also a little bit away from the 3rd team. Cap is using satellite imaging to direct them to the source of the gas. He admits that their UN status has given them access to Russian satellites that have a better view of America than US ones do. Steve Rogers notices Jennifer Walters is sweating inside her helmet and then she says she's feeling sick. Scott Lang and Jack Hart join them as She-Hulk keels over. The other 3 try to help but the green giantess throws them off and gets up. Then she calms down and apologises, saying she got claustrophobic. JOH suggests she dispense with her suit like him, because she is probably immune too.

Meanwhile Wanda notices some trees that are too regularly spaced to be natural. She hexes them away and reveals a door in the ground. The others join them and super-strong She-Hulk forces it open. They follow steps down and find US soldiers dead from the bug. And a large door which announces this as a US bio-weapons lab.

Olivier Coipel
Andy Lanning
Chris Sotomayor
J. G. Jones (Cover Penciler)
J. G. Jones (Cover Inker)
J. G. Jones (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Scott Lang)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jack of Hearts
Jack of Hearts

(Jonathan Hart)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Jennifer Walters)

Plus: Bill Foster, Warbird (Carol Danvers).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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