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Avengers #106: Review

Dec 1972
Steve Englehart, Rich Buckler

Story Name:

A traitor stalks among us

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #106 Review by (August 15, 2013)
This is the start of a 3-issue story. Department of misleading covers:- Captain America is in the tunnel squad instead of Scarlet Witch. And Iron Man is supposedly dead (but that's a fairly common cover strategy). Rich Buckler spends the last issue of his stint only pencilling the present day scenes. George Tuska does the recovered memory parts, which are allegedly from an old unpublished inventory tale. This issue and the cover of CA#156 were inker Dave Cockrum's 1st published work for Marvel. Rick Jones had been linked with Captain Marvel since CM#17, whereby the nega-bands enabled them to trade places, one on Earth and the other in the Negative Zone. But CM's series ended and the pair found a way for both of them to exist on Earth in #89 of this series at the start of the Kree/Skrull War saga. At the end of that storyline CM gave his lifeforce to Rick to save his life. But now Marvel has re-emerged in #22 of his revived series, and he and Rick are back in their previous relationship. All of the above happened after Cap and Rick's teamwork around CA#113. Cap shouldn't really be that shocked by the RJ/CM partnership. He learned about the previous go-round during the Kree/Skrull war. But I guess he's never actually *seen* the switch happen before. At this time in the Marvel Age this was supposed to be the only Space Phantom around, although in #2 he was an advance scout for an alien invasion. Later revelations that there are lots of practically identical Space Phantoms, who work for Immortus, make it impossible to be sure which one is which. However the retcon in Avengers Forever #8 does say that this is the one from #2.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #106 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Scarlet Witch led the Avengers on a wild goose chase to the Savage Land looking for her missing (since #104) brother Quicksilver. Now she's taken a group of them off following another possible clue. But 1st we'll see Captain America arriving at Avengers Mansion to find Vision who elected to stay behind.

Cap has just returned from his holiday with Sharon Carter in Miami in CA#153-156 where he wound up fighting the Captain America of the 1950's (there's always something that spoils your vacation!). Vision explains where the others have gone, and admits that he's just sitting around wallowing in self-pity because he's an android not a human, and so is incapable of feeling love for Wanda.

Steve Rogers starts to tell him to pull himself together, but is interrupted by Rick Jones storming in. Rick is still angry that Cap wouldn't let him go with them after the Sentinels in #103 because he had no super-power. Now he shows Steve how wrong he is by clanging his wristbands and transforming to Captain Marvel. But he isn't expecting the reaction he gets as Rogers holds his head and screams in pain.

Cap is having a flashback to CA#113 where he and Rick (in Bucky costume) fought the hordes of Hydra, who had the comatose Avengers in coffins. Our heroes had just seen Madame Hydra die. The remaining Hydra goons now attacked for revenge, and then left thinking the duo were dead too. They were wrong of course.

Cap had revealed his identity as Steve Rogers to the world in Tales of Suspense #95. But by this point he had learned to regret the decision, and in CA#111 he had faked the death of Cap,  with evidence also that SR wasn't a real identity. In #113 he returned expecting the world to believe that he wasn't SR, and maybe that he was a different Captain America.

Rick has reverted back to himself, and Cap explains that the shock of seeing Rick as a totally independent person brought back memories of when they were a team. But the memory of Hydra continuing the fight after Madame Hydra's death was totally new! And Rick can't remember it happening.

Cap returns to the cemetery where the fight with Madame Hydra took place. This brings out more new memories, of how he and Rick trailed the Hydra troops to an abandoned building, fell through a floor and found an underground Hydra base. They took an elevator down further, but it was a trap and the walls started to close in. Rick ripped off the control panel and shorted some wires, which caused explosion that blew the door off, letting them out to face the Hydra agents.

Cap remembers where that building was, and races off to investigate the site.

Meanwhile Black Panther, Hawkeye, Iron Man and Scarlet Witch are investigating the spot where a man was reported to disappear. Wanda is hoping this will be related to the disappearance of Pietro in Australia. Panther is only visiting the Avengers (as of last issue)  but is now thinking about staying.

Suddenly Hawkeye falls through a hole in the pavement, deliberately cut but covered over. The other 3 follow him down into a tunnel, but can't find him. Wanda and Iron Man head off down the tunnel in 1 direction while T'Challa takes the other.

Suddenly Panther is attacked by Hawkeye, stabbing with his arrows rather than firing them, but T'Challa shakes him off. The other 2 hear the commotion and come running. Things go black for an instant, and then a confused Clint denies the attack.

But then Iron Man strikes the Panther, and then seems unsure how to fire his weapons. Hawkeye grabs him from behind to direct the repulsor rays upwards, and Scarlet Witch's hex absorbs most of the blast.

Another period of black and Iron Man goes limp. But now T'Challa knocks Clint out. Panther threatens Wanda, who's temporarily out of hex power. But a recovered Iron Man slams into him. A final time of darkness and all the heroes seem themselves again.

Iron Man has worked out what's happening, as a panel opens revealing the Space Phantom, who hasn't been seen since #2. The other Avengers now catch on, having dutifully read the archives of past battles. The Phantom has imitated the males, sending each in turn into Limbo while he did so, using the darkness to cover the switching.

The Space Phantom, in true super-villain style, explains that he has been biding his time since their 1st encounter, constructing his masterplan to destroy the team. Now the time is at hand, and he caused the man in the street to vanish last issue (by sending him to Limbo) expecting the Avengers to investigate.

The Avengers leap to the attack, but the Phantom holds them in a paralysis ray. Then he reveals that, to make his victory more certain, he is allied with the Grim Reaper (who we recently saw tempting Vision in #102).

Rich Buckler
Dave Cockrum
Rich Buckler (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Roy Thomas.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Space Phantoms.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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