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Avengers #82: Review

Jul 2004
Chuck Austen, Scott Kolins

Story Name:

Once an Invader (part 1)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #82 Review by (June 4, 2021)
The Richard Starkings/Albert Deschesne lettering partnership continues.

The title of this arc is a play on the oft-quoted 'Once an Avenger, always an Avenger'.

We know almost nothing about Henry Pym's mother at this point. In #79 Hank said she was killed, but here it sounds as if she abandoned him. And what we will eventually learn as he recounts his life history in Age Of Ultron #10AI doesn't mention either of these things. Just that his parents wanted their inventor-genius child to concentrate on practical things while his grandmother encouraged his imagination.

US Agent was a government-sponsored replacement for Captain America after Cap quit in CA#332. (He actually got his powers earlier from the Power-Broker.) He continued working for the government as US Agent after Steve Rogers resumed his role. And later he was a long-term member of the West Coast Avengers and then Force Works. He was last seen temporarily working with the Avengers in our #56.

The 1st Union Jack was Lord Falsworth who fought in WWI. His son Brian was the 2nd UJ who was a member of the Invaders in WWII. The current guy Joey Chapman became UJ 3 in CA#254. He last previous apps were Cap's 'funeral' within CA(1998)#50 and another crowd scene in Thunderbolts #57. Before that he was in the Maximum Security mini-series. Along the way there he was 1 of the Knights Of Pendragon in their 2 Marvel UK series and had his own mini-series

Spitfire is Lord Falsworth's daughter Jacqueline. She too was in the WWII Invaders after getting speedster powers via a blood transfusion from the android Human Torch. She aged naturally but then in Namor The Sub-Mariner #12 she had another such transfusion which rejuvenated her. Since then she's often accompanied UJ 3, including in her latest app X-Men: Hellfire Club #3 where she uncovered her father's involvement with the Club.

Blazing Skull was a Timely hero who had tales in Mystic Comics #5-9. Roy Thomas included him in the 2nd Invaders (mini-)series which is where he fought alongside Cap, but not actually Union Jack. *They* had a documented adventure together in a tale in Midnight Sons Unlimited #9. Despite his look he's not a Ghost Rider. All his previous apps have been in WWII, the last being in the Twelve: Spearhead 1-shot hero-fest.

Warbird was last seen in her Homeland Security job in the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini-series and Uncanny X-Men #445. She'll appear next in the Wonder Man (2007) mini-series before getting dragged into Avengers Disassembled in #501-503.

Ant-Man will duck out of the rest of this story arc (but his daughter Cassie Lang  will make an appearance next issue). He'll be with other Avengers in Marvel Knights Spider-Man #2 and then he'll get killed off in the Av Disassembled opener #500. (But of course he'll be back.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #82 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This new story arc starts in a new place. In a Middle Eastern desert SHIELD has sent John Walker to see a man named Mark Todd who the locals have been keeping prisoner for a long time in a hole in the ground. The man is amazingly well-preserved for someone who was born in 1910, spent time as a pacifist journalist but later espoused the idea of the US *imposing* peace on the world, before he disappeared. Walker asks him to confirm that it's his superpower that's kept him alive this long. Todd suggests if he had the power he could have escaped from here if he wanted to. But Walker continues by telling him that the world has got a lot darker while he's been in the hole, and now he's needed to become an Invader again He asks to see 'the face'. Todd warns him that everyone who's ever seen the face has lived to regret it, including himself. But he obligingly turns his head into a blazing skull.

In the garden of Avengers Embassy the Avengers are holding an empty-casket funeral for Kelsey Leigh. They've already erected a statue for Jack Of Hearts (who died 'heroically' in #76), and now there is 1 for Kelsey holding up Captain America's shield (to defend his unconscious body against Thunderball in #78). Kelsey's children Jenny and Martin are there as is her mother Mrs Shorr. And Warbird is attending even though she left the team to go work for Homeland Security (#70). Cap delivers the eulogy to them and most of the current team (Ant-Man, Falcon, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Vision and new member (as of last issue) the female Captain Britain). (Hawkeye, Henry Pym and Wasp don't attend.)

Cap A includes a sermon on how heroes like the Avengers restrain their powers and sometimes this unfortunately leads to the death of an innocent like Kelsey. Cap B doesn't agree with this and stalks off, and Steve Rogers follows her to hash the problem out. She points out all the statues to fallen Avengers and asks how many of them died because the Avengers treated their opponents with kid gloves. If they'd put Thunderball down in any of their previous encounters with him he wouldn't have been there to kill Kelsey Leigh. And she uses CB's quarterstaff to blast the statue to pieces, saying *this* isn't what she'd want to be remembered for.

Later Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are taking tea with Hank Pym (who's changed from his Yellowjacket uniform to a Goliath 1). Steve opines that Captain Britain *is* Kelsey - CB only appeared after Kelsey's body vanished (#80). And Wanda Maximoff has become very friendly with the new recruit, and it was her suggestion to bring Kelsey's family from England to live at the Mansion. If it's true Tony can't believe she hasn't revealed the truth to her children. Hank is ready to believe a mother would readily ditch her family, raising questions about *his* mother.

Steve says he'll go to see how Clint Barton is recovering (from his injuries in #79). Hank says he'll join him to check on his ex-wife Janet van Dyne who was also injured in the Lionheart Of Avalon story arc. (Wanda's been using her healing magic on them.) He jokes that the 2 patients have been spending such a lot of time together he wonders if he should be jealous. Tony advises Steve not to give Clint a hard time about messing up.

Hawkeye, with casts on his left leg and right wrist, is outside shooting arrows at a moving target and not doing very well. Wasp is watching and they're flirting. Then it turns more serious as Clint admits that part of the reason he foolishly went after the Wrecking Crew alone was his anger at Hank's treatment of her (#79 again). Jan consoles him, and then they kiss.

Back in the desert John Walker is ready to leave with the man he's handed over 1 million US dollars for. But the local boss Malik claims that Todd admitted responsibility for a terrorist bombing (even though he was their prisoner at the time), and he wants another million. Walker pulls out what looks like a light sabre, gets a gun off 1 of the terrorists and shoots them all. As more shoot at him from a rooftop he calls for extraction by someone called Joey, saying he's got the Blazing Skull. The Skull turns on his flame and incinerates the shooters. John has a round shield which he activates to turn it into a star shape with 5 projecting blades, which he hurls at some more foes. And his shirt opens to reveal a Captain America-like costume.

As more terrorists fire harmlessly at Blazing Skull he asks John if he *is* Cap, because they fought together in WWII in the Invaders. But a rope ladder descends from a hovering helicopter, and he also recognises the figure on it as Union Jack (who was also  in the Invaders). But UJ tells Todd he's obviously not the same man. Spitfire is flying the chopper (and despite her youthful looks she actually *is* the same person who was also in the Invaders). She tells them to hurry up. Jack throws a Cap-type helmet down to Walker (who we know of course is actually U.S. Agent), who announces that he's re-forming the Invaders, and this will mean the end of the Avengers.

Scott Kolins
Scott Kolins
Chris Sotomayor
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Scott Lang)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Jennifer Walters)

(Jacqueline Falsworth)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Blazing Skull (Mark Todd), Captain Britain (Kelsey Leigh), Goliath (Hank Pym), Jenny Leigh, Martin Leigh, Union Jack (Joey Chapman), Warbird (Carol Danvers).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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