Comic Browser:


Avengers #271: Review

Sep 1986
Roger Stern, Tom Palmer

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #271 Review by (October 21, 2023)
I forgot to set T Vernon as the author of these Comments.

Comments: “Avengers Under Siege” part two of eight. Wasp and Paladin had a romantic vacation in issue #251. Wasp’s chauffeur Ernest Carrothers makes his final bow here; his first seven appearances were scattered through issues #212-234. Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) was introduced in issue #264; this is her second appearance and her name is revealed for the first time. Screaming Mimi was introduced in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #54-57; her most recent appearance was in THING #33 and eventually she becomes the good guy Songbird. Grey Gargoyle goes way back to JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #107; his most recent appearance was in MARVEL FANFARE #22. The events of the “Scourge of the Underworld” story arc in CAPTAIN AMERICA #318-320 are mentioned. Issue #277 includes a note that several panels were miscolored, obscuring the fact that Grey Gargoyle was changed back to normal by the Ebony Blade and are shown correctly colored; on Marvel Unlimited, the issue has been corrected. The letters page includes one by Rob Goodin who may be future cartoonist Robert Goodin.

Review: Enjoyable tale lets the reader see the thought processes going into the story. Since none of the three baddies, Grey Gargoyle, Screaming Mimi, and Yellowjacket, is formidable on his own, step one is to winnow the Avengers down to make them less than a match for the baddies. First, the two strong guys must go, so Namor took off last issue and Hercules is off sulking in this one. Then the most powerful hero, Captain Marvel, is sent to the sun where she is incommunicado for eight minutes at least. Then Captain America is out of town, the easiest excuse of all. But that leaves the two comparatively weakest members and so they need a guest character, one with no special powers, to set up the three-on-three battle suggested by the cover, which never really happens. So, guest star Paladin shows up for some lovey-dovey with Wasp and is roped into fighting some baddies, Grey Gargoyle and Screaming Mimi (Rita DeMarr sans costume is useless). Then the battle spills out to the highway where Yellowjacket splits and Wasp and Black Knight take on the Gargoyle while off-page Paladin captures Mimi. Pretty cool battles are scaled down to the weaker Avengers. And again, Paladin doesn’t leave much of an impression: he can fight and he can…er, what? And his purple costume looks quilted or inflatable, not an impressive look for a hero. Yet the story is a fun one with side issues such as Hercules’ antics as well as his insult to Wasp which must be dealt with a few issues down the line. And it does tie into the “Under Siege” story arc eventually, a lot better than the next issue does.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #271 Synopsis by T Vernon
When she learns from Hercules and Black Knight that Namor has left the team, Wasp is angry. BK explains and Herc adds that it was a matter of honor, though he wouldn’t expect a woman to understand such things. Wasp bristles at this and points out that they could have lent Namor a Quinjet to arrive in Atlantis much quicker. Herc rebels against her words and walks out; Wasp tells Black Knight to let him go….

Soon, Hercules is walking down a city street, fuming over Wasp’s treatment of him when he chances upon an overturned tractor-trailer blocking traffic. He flips it back on its wheels and accepts the driver’s offer to treat him to a beer….

Several blocks away, Wasp is sitting in her limo, fuming about Namor’s departure and Herc’s insult when she hears an alarm from her apartment. She flies there directly and discovers Paladin waiting for her. He apologizes for the break-in and asks her to tell him what’s bothering her. Then the phone rings and they are off to the Passaic County jail….

Captain Marvel drops in on FBI Agent Derek Freeman via the sunlight steaming through his window. CM is interested in Moonstone’s escape from police custody after the altercation at Avengers Mansion (last issue). Freeman ties it to several recent escapes of noted bad guys including Grey Gargoyle, Whirlwind, and Mister Hyde. He asks her to dinner; she is pleased but busy so they arrange to get together soon. Monica returns to the Mansion and finds Dane running tests on his Ebony Blade, having discovered in the fight with Moonstone that it can absorb energy. They then move on to the matter of her powers. CM can manifest as any sort of energy and Dane suggests that she could become neutrinos and wants to test her against the sun….

At the New Jersey jail, Wasp questions Rita DeMarr, whom she fought as the new Yellowjacket, wanting to know how she obtained Hank Pym’s suit and technology. Her lawyer and his assistant arrive to advise her not to answer—but Wasp recognizes the “lawyer” as Paul Duval, the Grey Gargoyle. The assistant turns out to be Screaming Mimi who unleashes a shriek that fells the others. Paladin recovers quickly and fights GG. Wasp topples Mimi who lets out another scream, this one inducing hallucinations in Wasp….

Captain Marvel is flying around the sun, monitored by Black Knight. Then Wasp’s emergency beacon goes off. CM is an eight-minute call away. Dane contacts Hercules who is in a bar, arm-wrestling five sailors simultaneously and he beats them all, breaking the radio receiver in his wristband. Captain America picks up the message but he is hours away on his motorcycle. Black Knight worries: he must help Wasp as quickly as possible but if Captain Marvel encounters trouble and he isn’t there….

Back at the jail, Wasp breaks out of the stone wastebasket the baddies had trapped her in and Paladin, stuck under a stone filing cabinet, tells her to pursue the baddies. On the way out of the building she discovers multiple jail staffers turned to stone by Grey Gargoyle. Wasp goes on ahead and, catching up to the bad guys’ getaway car, shoots out a tire with her sting, causing a crash. Yellowjacket receives a call from their mysterious leader who tells her how to escape. GG is chasing Wasp all around when Black Knight arrives on the atomic steed, using the Ebony Blade to slice up the stone tree GG is using for a weapon. GG grabs the blade and it absorbs his power, turning him back into a normal man; BK knocks him out. Paladin arrives, having nabbed Screaming Mimi as she tried to run. Captain Marvel arrives, having returned to the Mansion and seen BK’s message. BK worries that he endangered CM so he could look like a hero in front of Jan and is jealous that Jan and Paladin seem chummy….

Later, Black Knight tells Captain America about the incident: neither Grey Gargoyle nor Screaming Mimi would say why they broke Yellowjacket out of jail. Cap says he will look into it and Dane asks him about Paladin. Then they receive a call from Namor, the Sub-Mariner: he has been repulsed at Atlantis and admits he will need the Avengers’ help to take back his kingdom or Marrina will die….

Story continued in ALPHA FLIGHT #39.

Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
Christie Scheele
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Layouts: John Buscema. Letterer: Jim Novak.
Editor: Mark Gruenwald. Editor-in-chief: Jim Shooter.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Monica Rambeau)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Paladin, Screaming Mimi (Melissa Gold), Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

Share This Page