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Avengers #188: Review

Oct 1979
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

Elementary, dear Avengers

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #188 Review by (March 17, 2015)
This is a fill-in issue that still obviously connects with the previous 1. Jim Shooter is back as editor for this issue only, and also supplies the plot. Bill Mantlo pinch hits as writer for this and Annual #9. John Byrne only does breakdowns here, leaving more of the work for Dan Green, who in turn has to leave inking the last 6 pages to Frank Springer. The Inhumans aren't appearing often at this time. Most of them were last seen 2 years ago in Fantastic Four Annual #12, but Black Bolt later put in an appearance in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #4. An editorial comment directs us to FF#207 to see where the missing Medusa is, but all we'll learn there is that she's been captured by the Enclave. This plotline is then forgotten about until FF#240 when the Enclave story is told as a flashback, and Medusa escapes in time to join the Inhumans in their exodus to the Moon. The Inhumans (without Medusa) and Quicksilver are next seen in MTIO#71-72. The elemental beings are called the Elements of Doom on the cover, and that name will stick. Their human creator will flee to America and create a bigger team in Thunderbolts #6-8. AIM will have a 3rd go in our vol 3 #56. The team will next assemble in Annual #9 to be followed immediately by #189. But before then Cap will meet Punisher for the 1st time in his own #241 and in #242 fight the Manipulator from our #178. He then pops in to Falcon's solo adventure in Marvel Premiere #49, which will make Sam Wilson miss An#9. Wasp will also be away for that in Defenders #76-77. (She'll phone Yellowjacket in #189 to come join her for Def#78-81.) Ms Marvel will miss both issues and return in #190.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #188 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers (Beast, Captain America, Falcon, Ms Marvel and Wasp) with their ally Wonder Man are flying back from Mount Wundagore after rescuing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch from Chthon last issue.

They make a detour to Attilan in the Himalayas to drop Quicksilver off with the Inhumans. His wife Crystal comes to meet them with Gorgon and Karnak. Black Bolt stays away, worried about his missing wife Medusa. Crystal tells Pietro she's pregnant, and Wanda wonders if she and the android Vision can have children.

Next day the quinjet resumes it's journey to New York using a polar route over the USSR. Wanda contacts her husband Vision to give him the news. Then she spots Beast reading the Darkhold they took from Modred and Chthon, and angrily blasts it out of his foot. Reading that evil tome is very dangerous.

They are buzzed by Soviet jet fighters. Beast, who turns out to be fluent in Russian, tells them who they are and requests permission to cross Soviet airspace. But before he can get a reply the MIG they're talking to is disintegrated in midair. Luckily the other planes realise it wasn't the Avengers' fault, and then they get recalled to base.

The team disagree about whether they should enter Russian space to help. Cap intends to consult their government liaison Henry Gyrich but the radio suddenly conks out (because Ms Marvel sneakily disables it). So he follows the majority opinion and takes them in. (Falcon's tokenist paranoia continues as he nurses a grudge because nobody asked his opinion. But nobody asked anybody else's opinion - they all just chimed in.) (And without Falcon's input it was a 3-3 draw - maybe Cap discounted his own opinion when he abided by the majority.)

Their destination is a nuclear power plant where soldiers are under attack from within. Despite that they aren't pleased to see the Avengers until the arrival of a Colonel who remembers Cap fighting with them in WWII. (Beast keeps up a running translation.)

Then another blast scatters the army and a large humanoid form calling itself Vanadium lumbers out. (This creature communicates telepathically so no translation is required.) It bats Ms Marvel aside but Wonder Man smashes it to bits.

The team move into the building and find 4 more monsters, all different, named Phosphorus, Carbon, Radium and Chlorine. Carbon turns to diamond and Cap's shield bounces off. Beast's punch sinks into Phosphorus' waxy flesh, who then flares up. Wasp tackles him next with her sting, as it's WM's turn to get batted - by diamond-Carbon into MsM. Falcon takes on Chlorine who smothers him in poisonous gas.

Scarlet Witch's hex disperses the gas and the Avengers beat a strategic retreat. But Sam Wilson sees Wasp is missing and goes back to find her. But instead he runs into a reformed Vanadium - literally as he flies into his fist. Outside the friendly Colonel has gone and Russian soldiers are all over and inside the quinjet. Until Wanda disperses them with another hex.

The Wasp runs to join her teammates. She had passed out from chlorine gas. When she awoke she saw the enemy turning a captured technician into a Cobalt being. And then they brought Falcon in, so she's come for help.

Ms Marvel and Beast rip a laser cannon off a tank and carry it with them as Wonder Man busts through a wall and Wanda's hex lifts Falcon out of danger. Then the laser breaks open the reactor and hot plasma melts the elemental foes.

Wonder Man smashes another hole this time in the roof. Wasp follows him out as Falcon and Ms Marvel give Cap, Beast and Wanda an airlift. The grateful Russian soldiers shoot at them as they board the quinjet and fly away.

John Byrne
Dan Green
Bob Sharen
John Byrne (Cover Penciler)
Terry Austin (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

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