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Avengers #157: Review

Mar 1977
Gerry Conway, Don Heck

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Story Name:

A ghost of stone

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #157 Review by (June 25, 2014)
Gerry Conway grabs back the roles of editor and writer from Archie Goodwin and Jim Shooter for this issue. Goodwin and Shooter were only in place for #156, but they'll return for a long run next issue. George Perez is still absent, and Don Heck spells Sal Buscema as penciller for this issue. But Jack Kirby continues as cover artist. The Defender's time trip in Def#11 wasn't to see the *first* Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia from Marvel Super-Heroes #17 and his own 1950's series), but an intermediate 12th Century ancestor (Sir Eobar of Garrington) who is the 1 Dane Whitman's spirit is now animating. BK doesn't include Hawkeye and Swordsman in the list of Avengers who betrayed him. Swordsman is dead now, but was as much an Avenger as Mantis was at the time. Hawkeye was temporarily a Defender then, so maybe BK would have included him on that team when he sought them out later. (Of course he's returned to the Avengers since then, but now he's popped off again.) Mantis has gone to space with the Cotati (and to DC with Steve Englehart). Thor is possibly also in space in Thor #255 seeking Odin, from where he will be transported to take part in #159-160. The Official Index says that the hand that animates the statue is that of Ultron.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #157 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Beast, Iron Man and Yellowjacket are doing some maintenance (topical comments say they're shutting the Avengers' systems down for Christmas) when a mysterious figure smashes through a wall and attacks them. He defeats all 3 and pins them under a cabinet. Just before Beast blacks out he sees that their foe is the statue of the Black Knight come to life.

The Knight remembers being turned to stone by the Enchantress in Defenders #4 and left standing in Dr Strange's storeroom after Def#11. Then an hour ago a metal hand appeared out of a glowing hole and the statue lived again. Now Dane Whitman seeks revenge on his old Avenging teammates for abandoning him like that.

The living statue's next targets are Captain America and Wasp. But Jarvis escapes while the Knight adds these 2 to his tally of fallen Avengers.

Then Dane remembers more details of the Avengers/Defenders War that led up to Def#11, as the teams compared notes before him in Def#10. Specifically that the Defenders were trying to return him to life while the Avengers opposed them. The Avengers claimed to have been tricked by Loki. He does also recall that the Defenders were sent on their path by a message in Def#8 from Dane's spirit trapped in limbo. But the Avengers wondered whether that was another of Loki's tricks. He does remember that in Def#11 the Defenders abandoned him too, preferring to travel back in time to visit his ancestor the 1st Black Knight. So the Defenders too will feel his wrath once he's finished with the Avengers.

Scarlet Witch is out walking with Wonder Man. They talk about Wanda's husband Vision who has Simon Williams' brain pattern. Ever since Simon returned from 'death' Vision can't face him. And he has become distant from his wife. Their musings are interrupted  when they have to stop an out-of-control bus and save some pedestrians.

They return to Avengers Mansion to be met by panicking Jarvis. But he has no time to warn them before the Black Knight KO's the Witch. The statue even manages to win a fight with Wonder Man. Dane muses that he now has 3 of the 7 Avengers who betrayed him:- Cap, Iron Man and Witch. Black Panther has returned to Wakanda, and Mantis and Thor have gone beyond his ken. Only Vision remains here to be got.

Said android now makes his entrance. Evading the statue's blows Vision tries to convince him that he can't be Dane Whitman. He causes 'Dane' to remember yet more of his past. When he was turned to stone in Def#4 Whitman's spirit fled the statue for limbo, where he was contacted by Dr Strange in Def#8. And in Def#11 the Defenders took the statue back in time with them to unsuccessfully try to reunite it with Dane's spirit, which was/is occupying the body of 1 of Dane's ancestors.

But the statue can't accept the truth. It continues to batter against Vision's diamond-hard form. And gradually reduces itself to rubble.

When it's all over Vision reflects that he himself may be just as much a false ghost of Simon Williams as the statue was of Dane Whitman.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Don Heck
Pablo Marcos
Don Warfield
Jack Kirby (Cover Penciler)
Joe Sinnott (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino.
Editor: Gerry Conway.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Defenders.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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