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Avengers #273: Review

Nov 1986
Roger Stern, Tom Palmer

Story Name:

Rites of Conquest

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #273 Review by (November 11, 2023)
Comments: “Avengers Under Siege” part four of eight. Marvel 25th anniversary issue; cover border by John Romita. Captain America and Sub-Mariner are mentioned by Hercules but do not appear. Moonstone and Blackout met in issues #236-238. Whirlwind is mentioned as being part of the Masters of Evil, sent to intercept Cap in Southern Florida; this takes place in CAPTAIN AMERICA #324, also featuring the Trapster. Absorbing Man and Titania have a side mission, which they fail to complete as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #283; the mission is revealed in THOR #391 to have been picking up Mongoose from the airport.  

Review: Strange cover: Black Knight looks like he’s disappointed in us. This month Marvel had formal portraits for the covers of most of its titles, including this one, with an elaborate border by John Romita.

So we finally get to the classic “Under Siege” arc even though the previous three issues are considered a part of it. The issue is villain-heavy, as it should be, and holds a lot of promise for the subsequent story. For now, it seems a bit odd that Baron Zemo’s brilliant Master Plan is: the strong guys break into Avengers Mansion while all the heroes are away. Can’t wait for part two of this work of genius which must be…gang up on the Avengers when they come home! Joking aside, this is a pretty exciting story arc, an action-packed classic.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #273 Synopsis by T Vernon
At Mike’s Bar, Hercules has taken a bet that he can lift a table full of customers off the floor for five full minutes. With only seconds to go, the table breaks under the weight; Mike complains about the broken table but Herc promises the Avengers will make it good. The big guy who made the bet concedes that Hercules won and buys a round for the house. Big guy asks about the Avengers and Herc describes each of his teammates in glowing terms—but omits Wasp. The other guy notices this and makes fun of Herc for taking orders from a woman. Hit in his sore spot, Herc punches the guy through the window and into the busy street. Seeing a truck coming, Herc dashes out and interposes his body so that the truck is wrecked against him. Herc promises the truck driver (uninjured) and the bar owner that the Avengers will pay for the truck and the window; the big guy enters a truck down the street and dons the costume of the Wrecker. The conversation in the bar was monitored by the villain Yellowjacket who reports to headquarters, leaving the message with Moonstone. Moonstone is met by Baron Zemo, leader of the new Masters of Evil, who asks the scientist Moonstone why she is on monitor duty when she has more specialized work to do. She answers insolently that their mission would fail without her contribution and flies off. Zemo broods over all of the complicated factors that must be coordinated for the plan to succeed….

Meanwhile, Captain Marvel is exploring the moon, zooming around it as a beam of light and then changing to subatomic particles to zip through its core and back to light again. Feeling a bit hungry she speeds to a Paris café for breakfast, vowing to do more world traveling….

Zemo’s monitors detected the unusual energy pattern on the moon and he deduces it was Captain Marvel. He visits Moonstone’s lab and she shows him her project: the villain Blackout who, though semi-catatonic, can project the Darkforce as a shield around them, one which even Captain Marvel cannot penetrate. Zemo is appreciative but recognizes that this puts him further in Moonstone’s debt. The room shakes and Zemo and Moonstone head to the next room where Mister Hyde is beating up Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew, having lost his temper over the other man’s goading. Zemo places a hand on Hyde’s shoulder and speaks gently to him; Hyde immediately calms down and leaves, which surprises Moonstone. After she departs, we discover the truth: Zemo ordered Piledriver to start a quarrel with Hyde so that Zemo could inject a sedative into the brutish Hyde through his shoulder with the objective of surprising and overawing Moonstone….

That evening, Black Knight and Wasp arrive at a posh nightspot for a charity event to benefit the March of Dimes. Wasp captivates the crowd with some size-changing bit and showing off her stylish gown. Joseph Edkin, reporter for CBS News, interposes himself to ask about Namor, insinuating some trouble on the team. Paladin interrupts him and draws his attention away from Wasp. At his base, Baron Zemo is satisfied with the reaction his anonymous tip drew; he detects a closeness between Wasp and Paladin and a hostile reaction from Black Knight. Fixer arrives to present Zemo with the headband he had been constructing. He asks about Operation Flag and Fixer informs him that Captain America is in Florida and Whirlwind has been sent to intercept him. Zemo has everyone assemble in the briefing room (those already mentioned plus Thunderball, Bulldozer, Absorbing Man, Titania, Goliath (Erik Josten), Tiger Shark). He outlines his plan of forming a team to battle the Avengers by outnumbering them and then, after they have been destroyed, attacking the Fantastic Four. Moonstone raises the question of why does Baron Zemo have to be the leader? Zemo responds by commanding Blackout to seal her in a black globe of Darkforce, demonstrating that with his new headband, he, not Moonstone, controls Blackout. She submits and is set free. Zemo reveals his plan….

That night, Hercules, assigned to monitor duty, has been drawn away by a pretty girl with an invite to a yacht party so Jarvis is the sole staff member at the Mansion. And that is the time the Masters of Evil invade, the strongest members of the group knock down the front gate, destroy the defenses in the yard, Bulldozer smashes through the front door, they take down the internal defenses, and Fixer jams the emergency signal Jarvis sends out. Absorbing Man and Titania are elsewhere on another part of the plan. Hyde breaks down the door to the monitor room and Jarvis is taken prisoner. Zemo and Fixer land their aircraft on the roof and Zemo joins the others, proclaiming victory….

Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
Paul Becton
Tom Palmer (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.

Absorbing Man
Absorbing Man

(Crusher Creel)
Baron Zemo
Baron Zemo

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Monica Rambeau)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Mister Hyde
Mister Hyde

(Calvin Zabo)

(Karla Sofen)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Blackout, Fixer, Goliath (Erik Josten), Masters of Evil, Paladin, Titania, Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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