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Avengers #126: Review

Aug 1974
Steve Englehart, Bob Brown

Story Name:

All the sounds and sights of death

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #126 Review by (January 7, 2014)
Cap obviously appears here and last issue between CA#175, where he discovered that a 'high government official' was the head of the Secret Empire, and CA#176, where disillusionment will make him resign as Cap. The Official Index also puts Giant Size Avengers #1 between this issue and CA#176. Iron Man has had #68-71 of his own book since last issue, and in #68 his faceplate gained a nose, which is seen here. I think the only time we've been there was in Fantastic Four #119. Rudyarda is a fictional African country near Wakanda. It was probably based on a mixture of South Africa and Rhodesia. Klaw has been BP's arch-enemy since we 1st met them in FF#52-53. But Klaw lost his hand to T'Challa in a flashback, after Klaw had killed T'Challa's father T'Chaka the previous Black Panther. In between he had his hand replaced with the sonic weapon. And at the end of FF#53 he converted himself to solid sound, and he's cropped up frequently since then. He will next be seen working with aliens in Ka-Zar (1974) #16-20. Solarr has only previously appeared in CA#160. This issue asks the readers to come up with their own explanation of how the 2 villains joined forces. I don't believe anyone ever tried for that No-Prize, but many years later Alpha Flight Special will provide the explanation. It will also show Solarr joining the Emissaries of Evil, the group he will be next seen in during Defenders #42-44.

Steve Englehart brought Black Panther back into the fold with his 1st issue #105. Now he lets him go to belatedly (according to the Marvel Chronology Project) return to Wakanda for the long story that's been running since Jungle Action #6. (With a side trip to Marvel Team-Up #20 before he leaves New York.) This issue itself partly suggests that BP has already popped home for some of the JA issues. And he has mentioned trouble at home before. However JA#6 *does* says that the problem has been building up over time. (The picture and issue reference here strangely belong to JA#5, which was a reprint of an earlier adventure.) BP *did* briefly go home around #120, but that seemed only to concern Falcon in the contemporaneous Captain America issues. And the chronology does work better if the JA issues aren't interrupted by spells with the Avengers. (Like the Captain Marvel/Thanos crossover recently concluded, the problem is exacerbated by a bimonthly [or worse] publishing schedule for a long story.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #126 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We start off with a review of the soap-opera that embroils the characters who don't have their own books. Swordsman loves Mantis, but lately her attention has been drawn towards the android Vision. He and Scarlet Witch are a couple, but Wanda fears he returns Mantis' regard. I believe Vision is blithely unaware of any problem. Any compliment he has payed Mantis is just simple truth. The Witch decides to fight for her man. Which for this issue only seems to involve doing without her headgear.

The other Avengers aren't trouble-free. Captain America is thinking of giving up his heroic id, disillusioned by the climax of the Secret Empire story in his #175. Thor can't understand such an idea, but Iron Man is more sympathetic.

Meanwhile Black Panther is torn between duty to the Avengers and to his homeland Wakanda. The prince left the country in the hands of his advisers, but now there are problems he should really attend to personally.

Panther sees Ronald Pershing the Ambassador of Rudyarda approaching Avengers mansion, and beats Jarvis to the door (possibly to deny Pershing entrance if possible). (In Fantastic Four #119 T'Challa was jailed in that country for being black.) But Pershing is here to ask for protection for his staff. There have been threats, and 1 has been killed.

Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Swordsman and Vision accompany them outside on the way to the Embassy. But Cap, Iron Man and Thor hear a loud zap, and rush out to see Pershing and their comrades enclosed in a large orange sound-bubble. And over them loom a giant-size image of Klaw, Master of Sound, and normal-size Solarr floating in his own bubble.

Klaw explains how he was mistreated in Rudyardan jail after FF#119, and has sworn revenge. But 1st he wants the safety of diplomatic immunity, which he will have if BP makes him ruler of Wakanda. Solarr blasts Pershing with solar rays from his hands, and threatens to kill an Avenger every hour until T'Challa accedes to the demand. Klaw's sound-image then fades, leaving Solarr on guard.

Pershing is dying, but Scarlet Witch uses her hex power to save him. She is amazed that it worked, because the results of her hexes are usually more random. She thinks she must be gaining more mental control over her power.

Meanwhile various Avengers are finding it impossible to break into or out of Klaw's solidified sound barrier. Although it is attuned to let Solarr's sun-blasts through, it is impervious to Vision's solar beam, and to his intangible body. Wanda's hex is also powerless, as Mantis predicts. This further annoys the Witch, as does Vision suggesting she should have rested longer between attempted hexes (as she usually has to do).

Panther has the most experience with Klaw, and estimates he must be within 20 blocks to control the bubble. The 3 Avengers outside the dome race off to Tony Stark's factory to find something to trace the villain with. Equipped with audio-analects they split up to scour the city for traces of the sound frequency Klaw is using, and converge when Cap finds the source.

Cap, Iron Man and Thor makes short work of some orange solidified-sound panthers, but Klaw isn't there.

Meanwhile back in the bubble Wanda confronts Vision about Mantis. But every calm statement he makes to deny any feelings for the other woman only seem to enrage her further. Until finally he suggests that she is not in the mood for rational discussion at the moment.

Luckily for him the other 3 Avengers return. But only to say that they can't find Klaw anywhere nearby. Suddenly Panther leaps on the Ambassador and yanks away the briefcase that he had held onto even while dying. The briefcase comes away with a false hand, which hid the sonic blaster of Klaw!

Klaw drops his disguise, and attacks Black Panther along with Solarr. BP smashes the briefcase, which turns out to be the power source for the bubbles. Solarr falls to the ground when  his bubble bursts, and T'Challa KO's Klaw.

Now T'Challa decides he really must quit the Avengers and go home. And Steve Rogers edges closer to his own decision.

Bob Brown
Dave Cockrum
Petra Goldberg
Ron Wilson (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)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Solarr (Silas King).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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