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Avengers Annual #6: Review

Nov 1976
Gerry Conway, George Perez

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Story Name:

No final victory

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers Annual #6 Review by (June 4, 2014)
Comments on story 2:- This takes place during the 1st story, after Vision's taken Wanda to hospital, and according to the Official Index before the final battle. Whirlwind will be next seen in #164 alongside Living Laser.

In this issue and #153 I can detect the 1st signs of what will become the Beast & Wonder Man partnership. But that's probably only with hindsight. General Pollock will disappear into the woodwork. LL will next show up in #164 in another Lethal Legion, involved with Count Nefaria. Nuklo will be sent to the care of Project Pegasus, as seen in Marvel Two-In-One #54-57, where they'll reduce his radiation and begin the education he was never able to have. Vision leaves the battle after grabbing the Serpent Crown. We'll see in #154 that he dumps it in the Pacific. In MTIO#64-67 both Crowns will be found and merged into 1 super-Crown.

The cover quite correctly dubs this a "big battle issue". Jack Kirby continues his stint on the regular title as cover artist. This story is split into chapters (as usual the 1st chapter just has the story title):- 1 - The events in Avengers Mansion. 2 - Interlude - Beast vs Wonder Man. 3 - Confrontation - Captain America and Iron Man vs soldiers and Living Laser. 4 - Climax - Avengers vs soldiers, Living Laser and Nuklo. 2 of the 1-page inserts in #151 are now seen as preludes to this issue, with Whizzer in 1 and Living Laser and General Pollock in the other. A caption says Laser's infatuation with Wasp began in #44, but he wasn't in that issue. It should really refer to his debut in #34-35. More incorrect captioning also says that the Serpent Crown was destroyed in CA#181, when it was really lost in CA#182. The reference to LL's capture in #79 is correct. In #78-79 he was part of Grim Reaper's Lethal Legion. Laser obviously doesn't know that the Serpent Crown he has isn't the 1 lost in CA#182. It's another 1 from an alternate timeline.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Annual #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This story continues from #153.

The Avengers are in a wrecked lab in Avengers Mansion, standing over a fallen Golden Age Whizzer, when Scarlet Witch breaks through a wall with a bullet wound in her arm. She tells them that someone has found the Serpent Crown they lost in #149. But she collapses before she can tell them who. Vision sends Jarvis for a doctor, and carries his wife away to tend to her.

Beast also leaves to search for Wonder Man who disappeared from the lab in #153.

Whizzer wakes up and explains that when he fought them (also in that issue) he thought they were old enemies Isbisa, Future Man and Madame Death he battled in the All Winners Squad after WWII (in All-Winners Comics #19 & 21). (In #153 we also learned this was a hallucination caused by Living Laser, who is the 1 who has taken the Serpent Crown.)

Iron Man asks Wasp and Yellowjacket to look after Bob Frank while he and Captain America track the Crown. Shellhead took some readings of the Serpent Crown during #147-149 and he can now track that energy via satellite. The pair are soon heading by quinjet to California.

Hank and Jan Pym have dinner with Bob Frank as he tells them how he came for help to a different set of Avengers in Giant-Size #1. They saved his son Nuklo from becoming a nuclear monster, and at the same time Bob discovered that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were also his long-lost children. At that time Whizzer collapsed from a heart attack. From his recovery bed he later viewed the wedding of Pietro to Crystal the Inhuman in Fantastic Four #150.

But when he got out of hospital (before Wanda's marriage to Vision in GS#4) he fell into depression and drink in the Bowery, where Wanda couldn't find him. Months later he awoke in a charity ward and pulled himself together. He tried to find out what the authorities had done with Nuklo. They tried to fob him off, but he used his super-speed to find a top secret document which revealed his son was a prisoner of the Army in California. And that's why he came here today.

Beast can't find Wonder Man, but he happens to give up the search just where Wondy is lurking. Simon Williams attacks, his voice and movements now normal, totally unlike the zombie-like version Beast had seen in #151-153. WM credits his awakening from a frozen state to Living Laser (#153). LL has now sent him to kill the Avengers. After that he'll go to join LL in California. (Simon believes he's justifiably obeying his saviour, but really LL is controlling him with the Serpent Crown (#153 again).)

Hank McCoy does a bit of judo which results in WM knocking himself out against a wall. Beast notices Living Laser's charred footprints, and deduces that he's more powerful than he used to be (as we saw in #153). He picks up Wondy's body and takes him back to the Mansion.

Meanwhile Cap and Iron Man have reached another mansion in California which is occupied by the military, complete with tanks on the lawn. They don't respond to radio calls from the quinjet. A tank shoots the quinjet as they try to land, and the Avengers bail out. IM uses a fancy ricochet shot with his repulsor ray to hit Cap's shield, slowing his fall. Steve Rogers wades into the soldiers, and IM finishes them off with an energy blast caused by merging his 2 palm repulsors. And he physically stops another tank.

More soldiers arrive but their leader holds them back. But it's only so that Living Laser (wearing the Serpent Crown) can bring them down. It appears he's working with the soldiers under renegade Brigadier General Pollock.

As soldiers carry the unconscious Cap and Iron Man inside their base we hear that they intend to attack Washington (presumably expecting to take over the US). Living Laser gloats that he wants the Avengers here to witness his victory (so he must not really have expected Wonder Man to kill them), especially Wasp who rejected his love in #34-35. As well as the soldiers, LL's enhanced power, and the Serpent Crown, they expect to use Nuklo whom the government had put under Pollock's care. But the General had auctioned Nuklo's services, and Laser was the highest bidder.

Arthur Parks explains to the awakened Cap how he came to have his increased powers, before he found the Serpent Crown. He was in jail after his capture in #79 when he read about the Serpent Crown of Lemuria and determined to find it when he got out of prison. But when he did get out he learned that the Crown had been found, and then lost in CA#182. So instead he continued his laser experiments and incorporated laser energy into his body. He's now much more than a villain with a laser gun. He can fire laser blasts from his hands and generate images (which he used to make Whizzer fight the Avengers in #153). (He doesn't mention that he can also materialise and dematerialise as we saw in #153, presumably transporting himself as a beam of light.) (He also doesn't mention that he must later have heard of the Serpent Crown being used and lost at Brand Corporation in #149.)

Laser's rant is interrupted by the Beast bouncing in and knocking the Crown off his head, and Vision swooping in and flying off with it. The rest of the Avengers (except injured Scarlet Witch) also arrive. (Whizzer told them where to find Nuklo.) And allied with them is the fully-functioning Wonder Man. Iron Man is awake too, and repulsor-blasts LL as Cap breaks free of his captors. Wasp and Yellowjacket keep LL off guard with a swarm of ants.

But Pollock frees Nuklo and orders him to attack the Avengers. 1 blow knocks out Wasp, Wonder Man and Yellowjacket, but Living Laser as well. Pollock shouts at Nuklo's stupidity, so Nuklo hits him as well. Beast tries punching him but this has only 2 effects:- Beast gets swatted and Nuklo grows bigger than the house - he's absorbing energy as he did in GS#1.

Iron Man attacks with a reverse-polarity repulsor ray, hoping that will drain Nuklo's energy as Scarlet Witch's hex did in GS#1. But Nuklo just grabs him. The other Avengers recover to join Cap, but only to fight Nuklo, making him grow even more. And his growth is making his radioactive body approach critical mass, threatening to explode and take out most of Los Angeles.

Despite knowing that hitting him just makes him bigger, the Avengers attack (probably because they can't think of anything else). But then Whizzer zooms in and deliberately collides with his son. The contact miraculously causes and implosion rather than an explosion, and the city is saved!

Both Nuklo and Whizzer are unconscious, and Nuklo has shrunk back down. The Avengers take them to a hospital.

The immediate fate of the Serpent Crown will be revealed in #154.


Story #2

Night vision

Writer: Scott Edelman. Penciler: Herb Trimpe. Inker: Herb Trimpe. Colorist: Irene Vartanoff. Editor: Gerry Conway. Letterer: Irv Watanabe.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Vision wanders the streets worried about Wanda's injury and his own possible lack of soul. But his sort of wandering involves ghosting up out of the road in front of a speeding milk truck and absent-mindedly going diamond-hard in front of it. The driver of the wreck is understandably not happy. The police take them both down to HQ ....

.... where Whirlwind stages a prison break, intent on revenge on the Avengers for his defeat in #139. His tornado can't affect Vision's super-dense form, so Whirlwind whirls away instead. But Vision floats after him in super-light mode. He catches up and floats above the whirling villain. Then switching back to heavy he forces them both to crash to the ground, KO'ing Whirlwind.

Danny Cannon is taken back to jail. Vision promises the driver that Tony Stark will pay for the truck. And he flies off to rejoin his team.



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George Perez
John Tartaglione
Petra Goldberg
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Rosen.
Editor: Gerry Conway.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Nuklo, Whirlwind, Whizzer (Golden Age).

> Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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