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Avengers #77: Review

Jun 1970
Roy Thomas, John Buscema

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Story Name:

Heroes for Hire

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers #77 Review by (December 4, 2011)
But even this new status quo didn't stop the mix-and-matching. Hank and Jan went on honeymoon in #61-62 (dropping the team to 3 again). Panther was officially on leave #66-72. Meanwhile Cap, Iron Man and Thor were very frequent guest stars, either singly or combined. Now Wasp and Yellowjacket have left, and Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have taken their places. Noticeably Clint Barton (Hawkeye/Goliath) is the only constant since the big shake-up in #16. The new 5-person team will remain until Panther leaves in #88. But the big 3 will continue to bulk up the numbers in most issues. Until in #93 they will officially return to take over leadership of the core 4 for the Kree/Skrull War and beyond.

As this is an issue short on Comments, I thought I'd take a look back at the Avengers membership changes. The original 5-person line-up was pretty stable for the 1st 15 issues, with only Hulk quitting in #2, to be replaced by Captain America in #4. And after #16 the new 4-person team was unchanged until #28, when Goliath and Wasp returned, making a 6-person team for the 1st time. #28-46 were also pretty stable. Pietro and Wanda went away in #32 and came back in #36. And Hercules guested from #38, bumping the team up to 7. But then Cap leaving in #47 started an era of chaos. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch followed him in #49. And Hercules left in #50, reducing the team to 3. Black Panther replaced Cap in #52. And Vision joined in #58, to give a base team of 5.

This issue only has Iron Man as Tony Stark. Van Lunt may only be a businessman villain here, but in #121 it will be revealed that he is Taurus of Zodiac from #72. In the meantime he will show up in #80-81 in a storyline which 'coincidentally' features Zodiac as well. Secret Warriors #25 will claim that he was Taurus in an earlier incarnation of Zodiac too. Wilkins/Kronus and half of the Split-Second Squad are never seen again. But just to show that even the most minor characters aren't forgotten in the Marvel Universe, 3 of them make 1 more appearance amongst a plethora of villains in Defenders #64 during the Defenders membership drive arc. And despite their obscurity they even feature as the cover villains. #79 will give Panther's teacher identity the fuller name Luke Charles. It is suggested in this issue that this was the name he used while being educated in Europe and America. This is a poor issue by the standards of the recent ones. It is really just here to set up Van Lunt as an opponent. Iron Man won't be in next issue, but Cap will be on hand to help fight the Lethal Legion. And Iron Man and Thor will join in for the conclusion in #79.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #77 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

Tony Stark comes to the Avengers and tells them he is fighting a takeover bid for Stark Industries by a businessman named Cornelius Van Lunt. He needs all the money he can get, including the back rent he hasn't charged them for the Mansion. The Avengers agree to raise the money to pay him. Although Black Panther stuns them all when he tells them he won't be able to devote all his time to this as he's just started a job as a teacher. And he's not allowed to use Wakanda's wealth to bail Stark out.

A criminal gang called the Split-Second Squad, with masked leader Kronus, are reviewing recent jobs that were foiled by various Avengers. Kronus predicts that the Avengers won't be a problem soon.

The Avengers advertise themselves for hire, specifying they want a lot of money quickly. Van Lunt offers to hire them. In fact he admits that the whole thing was a scheme to get them to work for him as a wrecking crew, and he'll drop the takeover bid after they've done the jobs he wants.

All this was a flashback, and the opening scene has Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision using their powers to demolish a building for Van Lunt. It turns out the city was going to knock it down and replace it with a playground. But Van Lunt bought it out from under them. Now the site has been cleared, he can sell it back to the city at a profit.

Meanwhile Panther is teaching in a ghetto school as Mr Charles.

The four Avengers next job is to make safe an abandoned tunnel under the East River. But Kronus blows it up while they're in it. Then he and his gang rob a bank. But they are stopped by Black Panther. And then the rest of the Avengers turn up.

Kronus is unmasked as Van Lunt's assistant Wilkins. Van Lunt had bankrupted him, bought his business, then hired him as a gofer. Wilkins was trying to frame Van Lunt by wearing a fat-suit as Kronus.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

John Buscema
Tom Palmer
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Goliath (Clint Barton), Taurus (Cornelius Van Lunt).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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