Avengers 1½ #1: Review

Oct 1999
Roger Stern, Bruce Timm

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Story Name:

The death trap of Doctor Doom

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers 1½ #1 Review by (January 1, 2014)
Ant-Man gained the ability to grow to giant-size, and started using pills to control his size-changing, in Tales to Astonish #49. In #2 his allies are shown already knowing this. This issue reveals when they found out. I don't know if Thor has used a Mjolnir-generated vortex to breach dimensions before this. He will do that at the beginning of #16. I do know that he used one to time-travel in Journey into Mystery #86. Bruce Timm's artwork fits the period perfectly. The cover also has the kind blurbs that were common then. The 'startling new hero' who 'joins the ranks of the Avengers' is presumably Giant-Man. But the cover makes no effort to hide the identity of the 'mystery guest villain'. The comic contains typical ads for other contemporary Marvel comics, including some invented issues with ½ as part of their number. It also has spoof ads for the equivalent of eg Sea Monkeys. And letters from very young readers with names like Kurt Busiek and his bizarro twin Burt Kusiek.

The original Avengers included the Hulk, but only for #1-2. Later series Avengers Classics and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes v1 have interpolated short scenes in this era. But this issue, inserted decades later between Avengers #1 and #2, adds a whole adventure for the nascent team. Jarvis the Avengers butler wasn't originally seen until the Captain America story in Tales of Suspense #59, and he didn't appear in the Avengers until #16. But he has been retconned into many earlier appearances. Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes v1 #1 has Iron Man introducing him as the Avengers Head of Staff at the meeting to formerly set up the group, before the public announcement in this issue. Spider-Man waits a long time before actually joining the Avengers. Kang sends a robot double of him to try to infiltrate in #11. The Avengers offer Spidey membership in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, but he declines. He's briefly a reserve substitute Avenger in #329-333. But since New Avengers #1 they haven't been able to get rid of him. Dr Doom also trapped the members of the Fantastic Four in separate rooms designed to negate their individual powers in FF#17. Since then he's bothered Spidey in ASM#5. None of the FF traps were the same as the ones used on the Avengers here. But then it's a big flying fortress. The FF will soon team up with the Avengers to stop Hulk's rampage in New York in FF#25-26. The real Doom is probably in his US castle seen in his 1st appearance in FF#5. He won't face the Avengers again until the new team in #25.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers 1½ #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A week after the Avengers joined together in Av#1 (after Loki pitted Hulk against the rest - Ant-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Wasp) they officially announce their formation. Tony Stark has let them use his New York mansion, and his butler Jarvis. Mr Fantastic thinks they're a good idea. Spider-Man thinks about joining them, after being turned down by the Fantastic Four in Amazing Spider-Man #1. However Dr Doom is not pleased about potential new enemies.

The public are suspicious of Hulk, despite his pardon in Hulk #6 for defeating the alien Metal Master. Thing recalls the army sending the FF after Hulk in FF#12, before the pardon. Meanwhile Hulk doesn't get on with his partners, especially Thor.

Major Bowman asks Avengers for help against Dr Doom. Ant-Man remembers helping the FF against Doom in a micro-world in FF#16, After he left them in FF#17 Doom attacked again immediately. Bowman describes how the military impounded Doom's flying fortress after that affair. But now the fortress has flown off, presumably under Doom's control again.

Bowman accompanies the Avengers in a helicopter in pursuit of the flying fortress. The male Avengers invade the fortress through a hole punched by Hulk, leaving Wasp, Bowman and the pilot in the helicopter. But the pilot is a robot agent of Doom, and captures Wasp with knockout gas.

The Avengers are caught in individually-tailored traps. Hulk in a room with frictionless surfaces and air blasts that keep him off-balance. Iron Man by a power-sapping robot. Thor by a swarm of power spheres which should eventually transport him to another dimension.

Ant-Man finds captive Bowman. But it turns out that he has been in the fortress all the time. The Bowman who came to the Avengers was actually Dr Doom in disguise. Doom has Wasp in a small transparent sphere. He now completes the set of traps by flooding Ant-Man and Bowman's compartment with a deadly gas.

But unknown to Doom (or the other Avengers) Ant-Man has just (in Tales to Astonish #49) learned how to grow as well as shrink. He pops a pill and becomes Giant-Man, bursting through the ceiling.

We learn at the end of the issue that Wasp has seen a displayed plan of the fortress showing where all the Avengers are. She transmits the info to Giant-Man. He then breaks into Hulk's room and drags him out. They see Thor's whirling hammer creating a vortex which destroys all the power spheres. And Hulk clobbers the robot draining Iron Man, while Thor uses lightning to recharge his batteries.

The Avengers burst in on Doom and free Wasp. Doom flees but Hulk catches him. And tears his head off! Except Doom turns out to be just another robot. Doom has been controlling everything from somewhere nearby.

The fortress is about to explode, and there's only one escape pod. Everyone, including Major Bowman, insists someone else should use it. Hulk settles the argument by shoving Bowman inside and hitting the eject button. Then all Avengers dive out of a hole in the flying fortress's side, as it blows up. And fly/leap to safety (Ant-Man and Wasp on Thor's shoulders).


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Hideth #1 comic

Bruce Timm
Bruce Timm
Bruce Timm
Bruce Timm (Cover Penciler)
Bruce Timm (Cover Inker)
Bruce Timm (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Roger Stern.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Ant-Man
Ant-Man

(Hank Pym)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)



> Avengers 1½: Book info and issue index

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