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Avengers #281: Review

Jul 1987
Roger Stern, Tom Palmer

Story Name:

By Gods Betrayed

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #281 Review by (February 17, 2024)
Comments: Part one of five parts. Thor grew a beard in THOR #367, was cursed with brittle bones by Hela in #372, and donned the elaborate armor in #378. Italian ice is a frozen confection made of ice and fruit juices, also known as water ice in Philadelphia (pronounced “wooder ice”).

Review: Well, this looks bad. Yes, the issue started as a mystery then turned into an action-packed adventure involving a group having to fight its strongest member. And a crazy She-Hulk is a formidable foe indeed. But then the Greek pantheon is pulled into the tale as a trickier, more focused set of foes. And so this story arc is off to a thrilling beginning and may even keep up the quality.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #281 Synopsis by T Vernon
The Avengers are at the hospital, investigating the kidnapping of the comatose Hercules. Black Knight scans for radiation, while She-Hulk holds up his huge science machine, and Doctor Druid scans for psychic traces, while Captain America and Captain Marvel question the nurse who was the only witness via video monitor; as she is describing the assailant, Thor in full armor walks in and the nurse points, saying Thor is the culprit she saw. Thor denies it, then spots someone outside the window and leaps after him flying through the air; Captain Marvel follows him and the others catch up to them as Thor is hitting a tree with Mjolnir, striking at something no one else can see. Thor says this is no matter for mere mortals and flies off. CM again follows, catching up and she questions Thor, refusing to accept his high-and-mighty tone. Thor just asks her to trust him and he creates a space warp, vanishing to another realm….

The Avengers reunite on a city street; as they ponder the matter, Dr. Druid casts an illusion spell so that passers-by see only a group of ordinary humans. She-Hulk buys an Italian ice from a street vendor then suddenly goes berserk, hurling things (Dane’s boxed machine, nearby cars) at her teammates while shouting, “Kill!” The vendor watches from a nearby alley with satisfaction. CM transforms herself into electricity against Shulkie but it doesn’t stop her. Doctor Druid detects a supernatural cause and searches for it….

Meanwhile, Thor arrives in Olympus and finds it largely deserted. Then he sees his quarry, Hermes, and snags him by the ankle, forcing him to confess he was the one who carried off Hercules. Then Hephaestus, blacksmith of the gods, attacks Thor so that Hermes can complete his mission against the Avengers….

The electric charge finally knocks Jen flat and as Dr. Druid tries to counteract whatever is controlling her mind, the vendor strengthens it and She-Hulk lashes out again. While Cap tries to calm her, Black Knight, having spotted the vendor still hanging around, tries to subdue him but the vendor hurls him through the air. CM blasts the vendor who resumes his original form: Dionysius, Greek God of Wine. Then Hermes dashes through the site, bowling over the Avengers but Captain Marvel can move at the speed of light and so catches up with him on a rooftop….

Thor battles Hephaestus but is knocked out from behind by one who is soon revealed to be Ares….

Captain M tries to question Hermes but a magic arrow fired by Artemis pierces her shoulder and she falls to the rooftop….

Below, Druid examines the fallen Dionysius who has been faking and he seizes Dr. D by the throat. She-Hulk clobbers him from behind and he lands on the sidewalk and bounces back up laughing. He then blows a potion in Shulkie’s face and it knocks her out—a shame as Artemis would have liked to hunt her….

The Avengers, including Thor, awaken in Olympus and see Ares, thinking he is the one behind their capture but no…it is Zeus who holds the Avengers responsible for Hercules’ injuries and sentences them to death by torment….

Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
John Wellington
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)
Doctor Druid
Doctor Druid

(Doctor Droom)

(Jennifer Walters)


Plus: Artemis, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Dionysius (God of Wine), Hephaestus, Hermes.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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