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Avengers #165: Review

Nov 1977
Jim Shooter, John Byrne

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Story Name:

Hammer of vengeance

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #165 Review by (July 8, 2014)
The title "Hammer of vengeance" is a bit premature as Thor only gets here on the last page. Nefaria's new powers obviously include better eyesight because he's no longer sporting a monacle. There's no mention this issue that Wasp is lying injured inside Avengers Mansion. The guy with the ID badge we'll learn in #168 is Henry Peter Gyrich, the Avengers' new government liaison. Tony Stark's current problems are mentioned again. See my comments last issue for what they chronologically might be. This is the 3rd time the Collector has snatched Thor from outer space to help the Avengers. This time it's from the middle of his journey in the Starjammer in Thor #260. Whizzer will return to these pages just once more in #173 where he'll retire from superheroing (I thought he already had).

This issue the price goes up from 30 cents to 35 cents.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #165 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Super-powered Count Nefaria is attacking the Avengers outside Avengers Mansion. A caption refers to the defeated Lethal Legion lying nearby, although we never see them. (And Power Man, Living Laser and Whirlwind never called themselves that last issue apart from on the cover.) He says that his lackeys' enhanced powers were supposed to be only temporary - his own new power was the real goal. And now he's here for revenge against the Avengers (eg for his original defeat in #13).

But 1st Beast wants revenge on him for the death of Thunderbird in Uncanny X-Men #95. Nefaria was assumed killed in the same plane crash, but he now says that an automatic teleportation device saved him (the same type of device which teleported his troops around in UXM#94-95). The villain casually bats the hero aside.

An earlier blow stunned Black Panther and Captain America. Now Scarlet Witch magically hurls a big lump of street at him, but laser beams from his eyes melt it. Yellowjacket is up next with disruptor blasts to the eyes, but the Count just plucks his small flying form out of the air. Until he lets go to face Wonder Man.

Simon Williams lays into Nefaria, transcending his fear of dying again (since #9) and hoping his pure power will make up for his inexperience in the hero business. At 1st the flurry of blows has the villain reeling. Until he realises that they're not actually hurting his newly-powered body. Then he just stands there and takes it, and then sends WM flying through a Mansion wall with 1 blow. And Wondy's new costume gets shredded like his old 1 in #160.

Jarvis finds him, and before Simon heads back out into the fray he asks the butler to check he didn't damage the power system as he crashed through the wall. Jarvis runs to check on the tank where Vision is regenerating since being damaged by Ultron in #161-162, and quickly switches on the reserve power.

Outside Nefaria is again duelling with Wanda. Cap and Beast jointly throw Cap's shield at him, but he again displays his unerring ability to pluck something from flight. However he discovers that even his new power is unable to break the thing. So he just tosses it and knocks Panther down again.

Wonder Man joins everyone in a joint attack. But Nefaria drops a building on them.

The police are keeping everyone away from the battle, but a guy with an impressive ID badge talks his way through.

Meanwhile the Count has walked unstoppably out of the police cordon and breaks into a bank. But then he just scatters money around saying he doesn't need it - he can just take whatever he wants without paying for anything. To prove it he flies off with a nearby pretty young woman. (Actually he explains that he isn't flying - just doing very large leaps (like Hulk).)

On a rooftop he goes all master-villainey and explains to the girl that while his scientists were (temporarily) increasing the powers of last issue's 3 supervillains they were also studying their cells. Now he has been given the powers of the 3, but magnified a hundredfold.

But his rant is interrupted by the arrival of the Golden Age Whizzer. The aged speedster rains rapid blows on the villain, which at least gives the girl time to escape. But Nefaria just shrugs him off and uses the speed of Whirlwind to stop him in his tracks. He holds Bob Frank by the throat over the side of the building.

Whizzer responds to comments on his old age by pointing out that the Count is no spring chicken either. Despite all his power he'll all too soon die as well. The shocking realisation makes Nefaria drop Bob (luckily on the roof), and leap off with a new goal - to become immortal.

Meanwhile back in the secret basement lab where Nefaria was transformed into a supervillain, we find it inexplicably wrecked and head scientist Prof Kenneth Sturdy crawling from the wreckage.

Now Iron Man turns up at the Mansion, bemoaning the fact that Tony Stark's personal problems had kept him away from the fight. He starts to blast away the rubble of the fallen building, hoping to find at least some of his teammates alive. But he finds them all OK - Wanda's hex bolts and Pym's disruptor blasts had dug them a hole to shelter in while Wonder Man held the debris up.

Inside the Mansion they hold a 'discussion'. Simon says that the police have taken the Lethal Legion (back) to jail. Yellowjacket has his arm in a sling. Shellhead wants to take Nefaria on alone while the others recover, but the others insist this is still a team - as long as IM is actually there to lead them.

The discussion as usual is cut short by a villain interrupting - Nefaria looking for Thor. Beast says the Thunder God isn't around these days. And Iron Man again says the others should let him take the villain on alone, at least at 1st - but this time he's the leader giving an order.

The Golden Avenger and the newbie supervillain duke it out, until Beast and T'Challa do a double-team attack. But Nefaria brushes them off. Then Wanda (wishing that Thor would appear for 1 of the last-minute saves he's been mysteriously doing lately) uses a hex to drop part of a building on him, while Cap and YJ try to sneak up. But the Count puts on a burst of speed and knocks all 3 out.

Now it really is Iron Man vs Nefaria, with Wonder Man standing hesitantly aside. Tony Stark concentrates all his iron suit's energy into his attack, but it isn't enough, and IM's power runs out as Nefaria hits him with an uppercut, while revealing that he seeks Thor to learn the secret of immortality.

Simon Williams screws up his courage and again goes toe-to-toe with the powerful villain. Cap is back on his feet, and is astonished to see Yellowjacket flying away into the Mansion. But he hasn't long to think about it because Nefaria throws Wonder Man at him.

And then with blasts of lightning and a hurled hammer, Thor does pop in.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

John Byrne
Pablo Marcos
Phil Rachelson
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
Mike Esposito (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Denise Wohl.
Editor: Archie Goodwin.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Whirlwind (David Cannon), Whizzer (Golden Age).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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