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Giant-Size Avengers #1: Review

Aug 1974
Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler

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Story Name:

Nuklo -- the invader that time forgot

Review & Comments

4 stars

Giant-Size Avengers #1 Review by (January 7, 2014)
Whizzer will hang around the Avengers for a while, but will die in the battle against Isbisa in V&SW(1982)#2. (SW never tells him he's not her father.) Nuklo will reawaken in Av Annual #6. Av#186 will make it clear he's not really related to P&SW. He will be taken under the wing of Project Pegasus where he will become involved in Isbisa's plot in V&SW(1982). later he will become a member of the Penance Council of the V-Battalion in the pages of Thunderbolts and Citizen V & V-Battalion. Cap abandons his costumed role after this in CA#176, and a few issues later become Nomad. He will pop in as Nomad in Av#131. But he'll rejoin the fold as Cap again in Av#141. This issue contains 2 reprints. Cap guest-starring with Sun Girl and HT in the story 'The ray of madness' from the Golden-Age HT#33. And the Wasp backup tale 'The magician and the maiden' from Tales to Astonish #58.

The High Evolutionary was introduced in Thor #134, but his previous existence has been and will be documented in numerous flashbacks like this. He evolved animals into sentient New Men in his base on Wundagore Mountain. Bova is 1 such. However this is the 1st we've heard of Pietro and Wanda being born there. Their previously-known history started with them as wandering teenagers. In Av#182 a gypsy Django Maximoff will turn up claiming to be P&W's father, but calling them Mateo and Ana. In #185-186 we will learn that P&W are actually the children of Magda, who died in childbirth on Mt Wundagore. Miss America's child actually died, and High Evolutionary pretended that P&W were hers. But after Madeline died also and Whizzer ran off, HE gave the children to Django and his wife to raise. This will explain away Whizzer's supposed fatherhood, to make way for Magneto to be revealed as the twins' real father in the contemporaneous X-Men #175. But it creates other problems. I don't think it is ever explained why P&W don't remember Django as their father in Av#182, and here they think they were raised by HE until they ran away. (But they do start using the surname Maximoff after Av#182, even after they find out about Magneto in V&SW(1982)#4.) And if the Maximoff's called them Mateo and Ana, how come they've been using the names Pietro and Wanda which Whizzer gave them?

All Winners #1-18 featured solo tales, most of them about future members of the Squad. AW#19&21 were the only issues that actually had adventures of the Squad itself, and AW#20 doesn't exist. A large part of WI#4 tells of an exploit after the Isbisa affair, which is the tale Roy proposes here as a missing 2nd adventure that should have been in #20. Of course more adventures of AWS will be invented later:- a time-travelling She-Hulk (1989) #22 and the AW 70th Anniversary Special (which will showcase the return of Future Man and Madame Death). Isbisa will survive to the modern Marvel era in Vision & Scarlet Witch (1982) #2-3 where he will reveal that he caused the nuclear accident that created Nuklo, and will steal Nuklo's power. He will also appear in SHu(1989)#29-30. Of course all these survivors from the WWII era don't fit well with Marvel's sliding timescale which always places FF#1 some 10 or so years ago.

Whizzer and the original Captain America have obviously forgotten that they fought together occasionally in the Invaders. But then Roy Thomas hasn't invented that WWII team yet. Cap and Sub-Mariner both have reasons why their memories are spotty about the Invaders (as I mentioned in my comments to Earth's Mightiest Heroes #2). For Whizzer it may be just old age. At this point in published Marvel Av#4 has told us that Cap went into suspended animation before the end of WWII (and Bucky supposedly died). And CA#153-156 introduced a replacement duo to explain the 1950's comics. However What If #4 (Roy Thomas again) will give us 2 more Cap's between these 2. Cap 2 will take the Invaders (including Miss America and Whizzer) through the end of the War and into the post-War All-Winners Squad. Then he too will die in action, to be replaced by Cap 3 for the remainder of the Squad's career and Cap's later 40's apps. And Whizzer 'knew' that these guys weren't the original Cap. The reason why Sub-Mariner was found amnesiac in Fantastic Four #4 was revealed in modern Marvel's SM#1, and Toro survived until SM#14. The android Human Torch was seen to be revived and then destroyed in FF Annual #4. But upcoming issues of Avengers and GS Avengers will show a different fate. (I suspect Roy is reminding us of the android HT here to prepare us for the revelations soon to come.) However Avengers West Coast will describe yet another fate for HT. And it will be up to Avengers Forever to explain how both the last 2 versions can coexist.

Roy Thomas returns as Avengers writer for the 1st time since Steve Englehart took over the monthly title from him with #105. And Rich Buckler returns as penciller since he left in #106. The Official Index places this between Avengers #126 and Captain America #176. Iron Man's armour has a nose, which it gained between #125 and #126. Black Panther's not here, and he left in #126. Cap's still here, and he quits in CA#176. (Swordsman's missing without comment, but maybe he's still not fully recovered from his injuries in #117 and #123.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Giant-Size Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision and their house-guest Mantis) confront an intruder who has KO'd Jarvis to reach a time capsule they have stored. As they try to apprehend him the guy claims Cap is a fake, and casts off his outer garments to reveal a yellow costume. He moves at super-speed and calls himself the Whizzer. (But he's obviously too old to be the villainous Whizzer of the Squadron Sinister from Avengers #69-70 and Defenders #13-14.)

The speedster manages to plough through or avoid most of the Avengers. But when he tries to smash into Vision the android goes intangible. And Whizzer stuns himself against a wall.

Cap realises this man is old enough to be the WWII Whizzer who fought alongside the replacement Captain America in the All-Winners Squad. (That replacement Cap resurfaced in CA#153-156.) Cap and the recovered Whizzer now realise why they don't know each other.

Whizzer confirms all this with a potted history of the AWS. Cap and the replacement Bucky, the android Human Torch and Toro, and Sub-Mariner joined together with Miss America and Whizzer after the War. He says they only had 3 adventures. The 1st was against Isbisa in All Winners #19. The 3rd was against Future Man and Madame Death in AW#21. (There never was and AW#20, and Roy Thomas here posits a missing 2nd tale of the Squad.)

Whizzer reminds them what happened to Cap, Human Torch and Sub-Mariner, who all dropped out of sight at the end of the 40's and then reappeared briefly in the mid-50's. He assumes Cap knows about his own history. Sub-Mariner just spent his away time in Atlantis. Torch's return in Young Men #24 explained that criminals had buried him in the desert in 1949. But Whizzer doesn't know where HT went after the 50's.

He does give us new information about the fate of himself and Miss America. Bob Frank and Madeline Joyce got married after the Squad. They revealed their identities to the US government, and became super-guards on the successor to the Manhattan Project. In 1949 they survived a nuclear accident.

All during his speech Bob Frank has been sweating and his pulse is racing. With a sense of urgency he skips forward to the present, where he heard about a building collapse where the Avengers found the time capsule. Which now bursts open releasing a large figure glowing with nuclear radiation, who Whizzer claims is his son.

Leaving Scarlet Witch to look after the ailing old hero, the other Avengers attack the newcomer. Even though he doesn't really seem to want to attack them. In fact he seems more like a confused child. Despite that he easily defeats them all. And then disappears in a blinding glare and through the wall.

The team scan the city for high levels of radiation, but find 3 sources. So we have a typical split into sub-teams scenario. Iron Man flies off in 1 direction with Cap, Thor takes Mantis, and Vision flies alone. Meanwhile Whizzer has had a heart attack, and Jarvis has sent for a doctor.

Vision finds the glowing monster in an electric power plant. As he often does, the android comments on what he's doing, and uses the phrase "nuclear nemesis". His opponent echoes this several times, as "nuklo nemsiss". But their confrontation is cut short when Vizh ghosts his arm through the atomic body. The monster obviously doesn't like this and flees from the hero. So Vision starts to herd him back to Avengers Mansion.

Thor and Mantis also find a nuclear being on an elevated railway near Coney Island. This 1 too is shouting "nuklo nemsiss", and Thor takes Nuklo to be his name. After being hit by a train Nuklo cringes away from Thor's hammer, and he too is forced to retreat back towards the Mansion.

Cap and Iron man find a 3rd copy of the being shouting "nuklo nemsiss" and tearing up power lines. This time he's afraid of IM's repulsor rays.

Meanwhile the recovering Whizzer tells Wanda more of his story. Madeline was pregnant at the time of the nuclear accident. And her child was born glowing with radiation. The government put him in suspended animation in the time capsule, and buried it beneath a government building. The capsule was set to keep him asleep for 25 years. Maybe by then the baby's condition would have improved, or he could be treated. But that time is up now.

After this the pair went travelling in Europe, and Madeline fell pregnant again. As her time approached they took refuge on Wundagore Mountain and met the High Evolutionary. With the evolved cow Bova as midwife she gave birth to twins. And Scarlet Witch guesses their names were Pietro and Wanda. Bob Frank is her father!

Whizzer admits that he left the twins behind when his wife died soon after childbirth. And after some irrelevant chat about her history with Magneto and the Avengers, Wanda tells us the news that she and her brother Quicksilver grew up on Mt Wundagore, but ran away when they were teens.

By now the 3 teams of Avengers have driven the 3 Nuklo's back to the Mansion, and the 3 beings meet in an alley and fuse together. The electric power each has absorbed means that the combined Nuklo is even more powerful than before. Again he is too much for the Avengers.

But Whizzer hears the battle, and rushes out carrying Scarlet Witch. She surrounds her new-found brother with a hex sphere. Nuklo expends all his stored energy trying to break out, until he collapses drained. Wanda claims that it was their shared DNA (but not in those words) which enabled her power to cancel his.

Later Tony Stark devises a new stasis chamber for Nuklo, and Don Blake performs an operation to save Whizzer's life.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Rich Buckler
Dan Adkins
Petra Goldberg
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Art Simek.
Editor: Roy Thomas.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: All-Winners Squad, Nuklo, Squadron Sinister, Whizzer (Golden Age).

> Giant-Size Avengers: Book info and issue index

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