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Giant-Size Avengers #2: Review

Nov 1974
Steve Englehart, Dave Cockrum

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Story Name:

A blast from the past

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Giant-Size Avengers #2 Review by (January 13, 2014)
The Scarlet Centurion in Av Annual #2 was in an alternate timeline, but he got there as Rama-Tut I from the main Marvel timeline, and supposedly got *back* to the main timeline to carry on to become Kang. But an alternate *version* of Scarlet Centurion went to yet *another* timeline to menace the Squadron Supreme. This issue suggests Tony Stark still needs his armour to stay alive. This has been an on-and-off condition. Tony's heart problem from his origin was solved in Iron Man #19. But in IM#36-37 he had a heart attack and had to don an old chestplate with a pacemaker fitted. However in #58 he realised he no longer needed the pacemaker. But in #69-70 he had another problem and it was a good job the pacemaker was still there. So I guess at this point he still needs his chestplate to live. This issue includes a reprint of Rama-Tut's 1st appearance in FF#19.

Kang's love for Ravonna and her fatal injury occurred in Av#24. We learned that Kang had put her in suspended animation to keep her from dying in Av#69. This issue says that Rama-Tut remembers Kang's plan being interrupted by himself. This has to be an example of time-travel not causing an alternate reality because the traveller is careful only to do what already happened. Since Kang has supposedly already found out about alternate realities and alternate Kangs, as I mentioned in my comments on Av#129, then Rama-Tut can easily have seen alternate realities where Kang *did* claim the Celestial Madonna as his bride, and the disastrous results. (And in #269 Rama-Tut will get the memories of all Kangs.) So at the end Rama-Tut is presumably hoping that Kang will generate a new timeline by being merciful. Or something like that. Multiple future versions of Kang are described in Avengers Forever #9. Unfortunately the 1 who becomes Rama-Tut II has a significantly different history than depicted here, in that he succeeds in reviving Ravonna. (AvF assumes that only *one* Kang became a Rama-Tut.)

Hawkeye mentions that CA#179 has just happened last night. There he took on the guise Golden Archer to trick Steve Rogers into realising he still wanted to be an action hero. Steve gave up being Cap in CA#176, disillusioned by the end of the Secret Empire story in the previous issue. In between Steve tried to let Falcon deal with Lucifer alone in CA#177-178, but couldn't help sticking his oar in. (Incidentally CA#178 included the death of Aries of Zodiac.) Steve will become Nomad in CA#180. Last we saw of Hawkeye was in the Avengers/Defenders War on the side of the Defenders. Since then he's teamed up with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #22 before his Golden Archer gig. (Incidentally [again] the Squadron Supreme character who called himself Hawkeye in Av#85-86 will also change his name to Golden Archer by Av#141.) Hawkeye and Swordsman's early years together were described in Swordsman's 1st appearance Av#19. More of Hawkeye's carnival life with his brother Barney was revealed in Av#65, after Barney told the Avengers (and us) Hawkeye's real name, Clint Barton.

Captain America is on the cover but he's not currently *in* the Avengers. But Thor is missed *off* the cover. The cover is by Ron Wilson and Frank Giadoia, but John Romita did some alterations, as he did with the cover of Av#127. But presumably even he couldn't change Cap into Thor. Bill Mantlo gets his debut credits here and in Av#129, but as colourist rather than writer. I believe this is Dave Cockrum's 1st outing as penciller for the Avengers - his previous stint was as inker.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Giant-Size Avengers #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This story continues from AVENGERS #129.

Ex-Avenger (since #109) Hawkeye stops a jewel robbery, and the police tell him that the Avengers have been kidnapped by Kang the Conqueror. He rushes over to Avengers Mansion and is astonished to see a star hanging over it. Jarvis tells him what happened in Av#129. Particularly that Kang declared that the star signified that 1 of the females in the Mansion (Agatha Harkness, Mantis or Scarlet Witch) would be the Celestial Madonna who would give birth to the One. Kang intends to marry the Madonna and rule the universe though their son.

When Kang teleported the Avengers away he left Swordsman behind. Jarvis says Swordsman is acting strange now that Mantis has dumped him. The man himself then walks in with a supposed ally Rama-Tut. Hawkeye doesn't buy this because Rama-Tut is supposed to be a younger version of Kang. But he decides to go along with it for now so as not to rock Swordsman's precarious sanity, and because this Rama-Tut is a much older man than he should be. Hawkeye bolsters Swordsman's confidence by reminding him of the great team they made in the carnival where Swordsman taught him to use a bow.

Meanwhile Kang has left the pyramid of Rama-Tut in his time-sphere. He has the 3 women imprisoned in tubes, and paralysed Iron Man, Thor and Vision inside his Macrobots as power sources. (Apparently Vision is also frozen in the same way he was in #118 and #122.) He intends to start World War III by having the Macrobots assassinate the US Secretary of State and the leaders of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China followed by a neutron bomb.

Then Kang will rule the devastated Earth until 1 of the 3 women is revealed as the Celestial Madonna. Mantis and Wanda both think it must be Wanda. Neither think it could be elderly Agatha Harkness. Agatha doesn't think anything because Kang sent her to sleep in Av#129. But before that Miss Harkness had also ruled herself out.

The invisible time-sphere lands outside the UN Building and the Macrobot containing Vision goes in after the Secretary of State. But the disguised Rama-Tut teleports himself and the 2 Avengers there, where he knew Kang would strike. But the Macrobot easily defends itself against trick arrows and a sword with gimmicks.

Rama-Tut hangs back, and we are party to his memories. He remembers being a Pharoah until he was defeated by the Fantastic Four (in FF#19 reprinted in this issue). But he also remembers becoming Kang, and living an empty life while his love Ravonna languished in suspended animation. And now we find out who this man is, as his memory has him retiring from conquest, taking the name Rama-Tut again and returning to rule his people wisely and justly. And he burned his bridges by destroying his time-sphere.

Now his mind returns to the present, and he informs Hawkeye that the robot is powered by Vision within. Clint Barton remembers that Vision is solar-powered through the jewel in his forehead, so he uses a specific arrow to cover the Macrobot's head with black paint. Then they just have to make it fight blind until its power runs down.

Then angry Kang leaves for his next target, Rama-Tut opens the downed robot (he knows how because he built the Macrobot as Kang) to let the weakened but no longer paralysed Vision out, and then he prepares to teleport them after Kang.

Old Rama-Tut again remembers his 2nd reign in Egypt. After many peaceful years he recalled all the time he had wasted as Kang in warfare. And the most useless quest was his seeking the Celestial Madonna. So he decided to return to the 20th century to stop himself. But without the time-sphere he had to find some other way of doing that.

Using a mixture of future science and magic the Pharoah arranged for himself to be put into suspended animation and entombed in a sarcophagus in the pyramid he had built in his earlier reign. He arranged for the beam of light to be reflected onto the sarcophagus when Swordsman broke into the pyramid as Rama-Tut remembered from Av#129. This triggered the opening of the coffin and his awakening. Then he stopped Swordsman killing Kang (because it was his earlier self), and set about helping the Avengers frustrate Kang's plan.

Suspecting the free Avengers somehow learned of his plan, Kang has gone to Peking instead of Moscow 1st. But Rama-Tut still brings the Avengers there to face the 2nd Macrobot, this 1 with Iron Man inside. Vision still hasn't regained much solar power and leans on the disguised Pharoah as Hawkeye and Swordsman attack. But their efforts are again useless, and a blackout arrow of course doesn't affect Iron Man's power.

Meanwhile Mantis and Wanda are bickering in their tubes over who's 'man' Vision is. But now the android has regained enough power to enter the fray. He tries to reach an intangible hand through the Macrobot to short out Iron Man's armour, not realising this would kill Tony Stark. Luckily Iron Man is protected by a force field. Vision then tries a more successful tack. His cloak is made of the same material as his body, and is equally under his mental control. So he takes it off, makes it intangible, stuffs it into the Macrobot's body and wills it solid again. The Macrobot explodes and Iron Man is free - but his armour needs a recharge.

Angry Kang abandons the idea of proceeding to Moscow, and instead makes the time-sphere visible and sends the Thor Macrobot against the Avengers. It easily dispenses with Hawkeye, Swordsman and Vision, and grabs Iron Man who just hangs limply. The robot pours power into Shellhead to kill him. But this is Tony's cunning plan, as Thor's power recharges his batteries. And the Golden Avenger blasts free.

Meanwhile Vision uses his solar ray to smash the tubes holding the 3 women. He stays to look after the unconscious Agatha Harkness as Mantis and Scarlet Witch join the fray. Boiling over with anger and frustration, Wanda taps the inner power that Miss Harkness had shown her last night (Av#128) and calls up molten lava to surround the Macrobot.

Not to be outdone, Mantis gets the robot's neck in the grip of her legs and pounds its head with karate chops. The rest of the Avengers fire away at it, but Scarlet Witch seems to be hanging back. But she is actually casting a hex which brings a meteor plummeting down from space to hit the Macrobot square on.

The robot is finally down, and the Avengers' disguised companion can free Thor. Mantis complains to Wanda that she was still on top of the Macrobit when the meteor hit. It's almost as if the Witch wanted to kill her too.

Kang confronts the man who has orchestrated his defeat, who reminds him of something he said in Av#129 - that the warrior in Kang longed for an opponent who was his equal. The Conqueror blasts away the man's disguise and is shocked to see himself as an old Rama-Tut. And Rama-Tut remembers this moment from Kang's perspective.

The 2 start to fight, and time ruptures. Images of past Rama-Tut/Kang appearances (including Scarlet Centurion from Av Annual #2) are succeeded by those of Mantis' future (including little skulls in the pupils of Swordsman's shocked eyes). And Kang now cries that Mantis is the Celestial Madonna.

The 2 Kang's cease fighting. Rama-Tut explains that he had to stop Kang gaining control of the Madonna, for the sake of the universe. Kang can't believe the future him could think this way, but Tut says time will tell. Current Kang now turns a gun on Mantis. If he can't have her, no-one will. But Mantis calmly responds that if she is destined to be the Madonna then Kang can't kill her else Tut's campaign would be futile.

There is a pregnant pause. Kang prepares to fire. Swordsman leaps forward and pushes mantis out of the way. Rama Tut hurls himself at his younger self. The gun goes off and its blast hits Swordsman.

Tut pummels Kang, cursing himself because he held back hoping that this time Kang would choose not to shoot. Their straining hands knock a control lever and the time-sphere vanishes with them inside.

As Swordsman lies dying, weeping Mantis finally professes that she does love him, and that she done him wrong. His last words are that he didn't deserve her or Avengers membership. He was a weak man who didn't count. And Iron Man gives him his epitaph "Every Avenger counts".

The Celestial Madonna saga continues in AVENGERS #130.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Dave Cockrum
Dave Cockrum
Bill Mantlo
Ron Wilson (Cover Penciler)
John Romita (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
John Romita (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Roy Thomas.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Kang the Conqueror)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Agatha Harkness, Rama-Tut.

> Giant-Size Avengers: Book info and issue index

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