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Avengers #133: Review

Mar 1975
Steve Englehart, Sal Buscema

Story Name:

Yesterday and beyond ...

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #133 Review by (January 29, 2014)
The reason for sending Vision alone seems a bit irrelevant, and I'm sure Vision doesn't keep what he learns to himself. At the end of GS Av#3 the WWII Human Torch was told he would be accompanying Vision in finding out why they share the same body. This must have been an editorial blunder because HT isn't along for the ride now, and was presumably sent back to his own time. Hala here suffers from the (early) Star Trek small planet syndrome - the 2 races seem to occupy a small part of the planet. They are each small enough to be ruled by 1 leader even though they are at a low level of development. And despite supposedly occupying opposite halves of the planet their leaders are right there when the Skrull ship lands. The Blue Area of the Moon was introduced in Fantastic Four #13 as the place where the Watcher lives.

Immortus says that the affair with Kang was arranged by him to teach Kang the futility of trying to alter destiny - the fate of Mantis as the Celestial Madonna and Kang's pre-ordained path to become Rama-Tut II and then Immortus himself (although Kang doesn't know that last bit yet, and won't until #269). This is supposed to explain why he pretended *not* to even know who Kang was. But his views on fate in the light of his not-yet-revealed mastery of alternate timelines are somewhat strange. Immortus claims to have had 5 'lives' - that's probably Rama-Tut I, Scarlet Centurion, Kang, Rama-Tut II and Immortus, unless his life before Rama-Tut I counts instead of the brief Centurion. Avengers Forever will claim that the synchro-staffs here are just some of Immortus' shape-shifting Space Phantom servants in disguise.

Len Wein takes over as editor after Roy Thomas went out scripting as well as editing #132 and Giant-Size Av#3. Roy hands over the editing of Iron Man to Len at the same time. We've seen the mysterious hooded man in #130-132 and learned that Libra had broken jail in GS Av#3. Now we are told that they are one and the same. The revelation scene at least partially justifies the misleading cover where 4 Avengers witness Libra's unmasking. We last saw Moondragon helping against Thanos in #125 and Captain Marvel #31-33. Now she will be dragged into the Celestial Madonna affair as another potential candidate. We saw Jarvis putting out a broadcast for CM's help in #130-131 for deciphering the Kree aspect of Mantis' history. I said then that there was no answer because he was off on a long space adventure starting in CM#37. This issue suggests that the adventure has only just begun and he's still on the Moon in that issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #133 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue continues from GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #3.

This time we start with an interlude - in Agatha Harkness' room in Avengers Mansion where she has been teaching Scarlet Witch to use her mutant hex power for witchcraft (since #128). Wanda channels her power to make a chair assume man-like form and walk. But this kind of activity weakens her faster than her hex bursts did, and the chair starts to attack her until Agatha restores it to its proper shape. Wanda wonders about the other Avengers in Viet Nam (since #130). But Miss Harkness tells her the Avengers aren't in Viet Nam, or anywhere on Earth.

Hawkeye, Iron Man, Mantis, Thor and Vision are in Limbo in Immortus' castle where they've just defeated Kang and his Legion of the Unliving (#131-132 and GS Av#3). In gratitude to the Avengers he will now arrange for Vision and Mantis to uncover the secrets of their pasts. He gives them both synchro-staffs to guide them. He sends Vision off alone because his past is too likely to affect things if others know of it. The rest go with Mantis.

In another interlude out in space Moondragon intercepts radio calls from Avengers Mansion for help from Captain Marvel. She feels compelled to answer the call herself, and passes the Moon where CM is currently in his own #37.

We now begin to learn the origin of the Vision. As he travels back through time to 1939 he remembers the WWII Human Torch recognising Vision's android body as his own (GS Av#3), and recalls earlier clues (a Sentinel saying his workings were 30 years old in #102, his fear of quicksand in #118 and of water in #122, and his freezing up when shut inside Kang's Macrobot in GS Av#2, to which list others have since added Ant-Man's surprise at his inner workings in the classic #93). He wonders how this will fit with Ultron-5 claiming to have constructed him (before #58).

The synchro-staff speaks to Vision telepathically and tells him that he will be able to see and hear things but won't be able to interfere.

We now see the origin of the android Human Torch in Marvel Comics #1. And how his maker Prof Phineas Horton succumbed to public pressure over his flame powers and buried him in a container sealed in cement. But the container leaked and HT flamed on and escaped, only to be captured by a gangster in a glass-covered swimming pool. These traumas infest Vision's mind still.

A 3rd interlude shows the hooded man and the ghost of Swordsman in the conversation they started last issue. The glowing green 'ghost' assures the other that the plan is coming together - Moondragon is on her way and Mantis is about to learn the truth. And the hooded man reveals himself to be Libra, Mantis' father.

Now we're in the home stretch for this issue as Mantis and co are taken back many millennia by their synchro-stick to see something which seems to have nothing to do with her - the early history of the Kree.

The warlike barbarian carnivorous Kree shared their planet Hala with an intelligent telepathic mobile plant species called the Cotati. One day a Skrull spaceship arrived on Hala. The Skrulls had recently acquired interstellar space travel and had begun to create an empire. They didn't conquer by force - they offered advanced tech in exchange for submission to Skrull rule.

But they only wanted to deal with 1 race on the planet, so they offered a test to see which it would be. Both sides agreed.

The Skrulls took 17 of each race with them. They left the Cotati on a barren planetoid, but brought the Kree to Earth's Moon where they set up an area with an artificial atmosphere and plenty of Skrull tech. The 2 sides would have a year to see what they could make of their destinations.

The Kree built a mighty city, that we now know as the ruins in the Blue Area of the Moon. They were confidant of success. But when the Skrulls took them back to Hala, the Kree learnt that they preferred what the Cotati had done. They had found signs of ancient life on their planetoid and had nursed it back to health, creating a lush paradise.

The barbarian Kree didn't take this lying down. They murdered all the Cotati on Hala and said that the Skrulls would now have to deal with them as the only inhabitants of the world. But the Skrulls were horrified and intended to bar the Kree from galactic society. However the Kree killed the Skrull expedition too, and used the tech from their ship and from the Moon to kickstart their own interstellar armada. And thus began the Kree/Skrull War.

Sal Buscema
Joe Staton
Phil Rachelson
Gil Kane (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski.
Editor: Len Wein.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Agatha Harkness, Immortus, Libra.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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