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Avengers #186: Review

Aug 1979
David Michelinie, John Byrne

Story Name:

Nights of Wundagore

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #186 Review by (March 17, 2015)
This issue continues from the main part of last issue. I mentioned last time that plotters Gruenwald & Grant are using elements of their Spider-Woman series. Now Michelinie drags in references to Iron Man which he also writes. Despite his head being on the cover Iron Man isn't here, and will remain absent from the next 2 issues while Tony Stark clears IM of murder in IM#125-128. (Cap took over the chairmanship from Iron Man in IM#125.) But Ms Marvel's head is *missing* from the cover, despite the fact that she *is* here. We 1st met High Evolutionary in Thor #134-135. At the end of that he and his New Men left for space. Bova wasn't seen then, she was invented in Giant-Size Av#1 in a flashback about the Franks and the birth of the twins in Wundagore. This issue confirms that story but reveals it as a deception. Th#134 also mentioned the mysterious lights that attended the twins' birth. In the contemporaneous Uncanny X-Men #125 we see that Magda's husband was Magneto. Only readers of both stories could piece together that Magneto was Pietro and Wanda's father. (Which makes it a comic book coincidence that he inducted them into his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.) The 3 characters themselves don't find out until the 1st Vision & Scarlet Witch limited series. But of course now events in the recent Axis and the 2nd Uncanny Avengers series are claiming that *this* parentage is also a lie.

This issue suggests that Modred was corrupted by The Other/Cthulhu in Marvel Chillers #1-2. But he has since made heroic appearances in Marvel Two-In-One #33 and Spider-Woman #1. The Darkhold was actually dreamed up before that by Gerry Conway in the Werewolf By Night's adventures in Marvel Spotlight and his own mag. And early issues of Spider-Woman were involved with the book. This is the 1st use of the name Chthon, but predated by his appearances as The Other in Chillers. But later writers will add considerable backstory to both Chthon and the Darkhold. Jonathan Drew is the father of Spider-Woman. Modred met Jessica Drew in MTIO#33 and ended with him promising to uncover her forgotten past. SW#1 contains a flashback in which he does that, and further flashbacks showing what he found. Jonathan helped the man who would become the High Evolutionary build his lab/citadel on Wundagore Mountain. HE concentrated on accelerated evolution while Drew studied spiders including their ability to survive radiation. When his daughter Jessica was dying from radiation poisoning he tried to save her with a spider serum but it didn't work. Jessica was cryogenically frozen, and Drew left after his grief-stricken wife died. Over the following years The Evolutionary used his evolving techniques to stabilise Jessica, and the result is now Spider-Woman. In Bova's tale Jonathan Drew returned in the meantime to help HE again. More on that next time. But Mark Gruenwald is already doing what he did best tying old threads together.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #186 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue Quicksilver went up Wundagore Mountain in search of his sister Scarlet Witch but was sent tumbling down again, to be found by the evolved cow Bova. Now he wakes in her cottage where she tells him the true story of the twins' birth.

Bova was the 1st animal to be evolved into humanoid form by the High Evolutionary. He soon created more New Men, and Bova looked after their children. Then HE's assistant Jonathan Drew returned to work with him, and 1 night while the 2 men were busy a pregnant woman Magda arrived on the doorstep. She told Bova she was on the run from her husband who wanted to rule the world with his superpowers.

Bova looked after Magda until she gave birth to twins on a night that mysterious lights filled the sky. Magda named them Pietro and Wanda, and then ran away lest her husband track them down.

Bova took the twins to the Evolutionary, who sent for Bob and Maddie Frank who were visiting East Transia. Maddie was also about to give birth, and HE intended to give the Franks all 3 children (pretending she'd had triplets?). But Maddie's child was stillborn, and the mother died. Bova offered the twins to Bob, but grief-stricken he raced off.

So HE went to gypsy shaman Django Maximoff and his wife who has just lost their own children Ana and Mateo. He gave them the twins to raise. Pietro vaguely remembers that childhood, and Bova suggests that he has repressed most of it because of the violent way it ended with what he thought was the deaths of both parents.

The cow-woman also mentions that she stayed behind when the Evolutionary turned his laboratory/castle into a spaceship and left for space with the New Men.

Meanwhile Scarlet Witch was betrayed by her guide Modred the Mystic last issue, and now hangs by magical restraints over the book called the Darkhold. Modred muses that he used to think the Darkhold evil but since he fought The Other (in Marvel Chillers #1-2) he's now a believer in his plan to rule the world. But Wanda knows the demon is evil.

Her magic isn't as strong as Modred's, but she can channel her mutant hex power to free her from the bonds. Modred says his master wants her kept alive, but he can still subdue her with magic bolts that the Witch is barely able to counter. So she pretends to surrender, and then punches him in the face and off their precarious perch.

But Modred loops back and attacks her from behind rendering her unconscious with his mystic power. He rants that she was chosen by his master at birth, and will now be the instrument of his 2nd rising.

Pietro is about to take his leave of Bova and renew his search for Wanda when an evil version of her face appears before him. A remaining scrap of her compassion urges him to go, and then Quicksilver speedily carries Bova out of the way as the grim visage zaps the place they were standing. As the vision dissipates Bova advises him to seek help.

The mutant speedster races down the mountain and into the forest where he meets Django Maximoff, the foster father who had brought them here to Transia. He still calls the twins Ana and Mateo. Suddenly they are grabbed by animated branches. Pietro vibrates his way free and attacks the branches holding Django, despite Maximoff telling him not to harm the wood because it's his friend.

When his father is free Quicksilver carries him at speed through a storm of rain, thunder and falling stones until he reaches the village and the only telephone in the Post Office. He puts through a call to Avengers Mansion where Vision is on monitor duty.

Beast, Captain America, Falcon, Ms Marvel and Wasp are having a meal and discussing Iron Man's absence. He's given up his armour in IM#125 after (he says) it acted out of his control when it killed the Carnelian Ambassador in IM#124. For the time being he's off the team and Cap has temporarily taken over the chairmanship.

Vision ghosts through a wall to tell them what Pietro has reported. Cap immediately mobilises the team to go help, but Henry Gyrich enters and tells them to stand down. Quicksilver isn't a current Avenger so he can't call the team out, the problem in Bulgaria isn't a proven threat to the US, and the US doesn't need another international incident after SHIELD 'invaded' Russia in IM#119-120. But Cap calls the President who tells Gyrich to let them go. Except Gyrich makes Vision stay behind on monitor duty, despite Viszh getting very angry because it's his wife Wanda who's in trouble.

Back in the Transian Post Office Django and Pietro are attacked by a transformed Scarlet Witch who now calls herself Chthon.

John Byrne
Dan Green
Roger Slifer
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
Terry Austin (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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