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Avengers #79: Review

Aug 1970
Roy Thomas, John Buscema

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Story Name:

Lo, the Lethal Legion

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #79 Review by (December 14, 2011)
Power Man and Swordsman have been a team in #29-30, in the Cap story in Tales of Suspense #88, and in Annual #1. But this is the end of their partnership. Swordsman will appear in #100 along with all the other characters who have ever been Avengers (he was technically one in #19-20). Then he will genuinely ally himself with the team from #112, in the storyline that partners him with Mantis and leads to his death in Giant-Size #2. Round about that time Power Man will relinquish his nom-de-costume to Luke Cage in Power Man #21, and then resurface as another Goliath in #164. Monica Lynne will be a constant supporting character to Black Panther, starting in his Jungle Action series. Man-Ape will forget about Panther for a long time. He will reappear infrequently as a generic henchman, initially tagging along with Reaper in a tale in West Coast Avengers #1-2 and Vision & Scarlet Witch #2. Living Laser will also continue a career as a villain-for-hire, only coincidentally sharing his next storyline with Reaper in #151-153 and Annual #6. Grim Reaper meanwhile will change tack in #102, abandoning revenge in favour of transferring his brother's mind from Vision to a human body.

Iron Man and Thor are only in the first 3 pages of this issue. I suppose it is a triumph of non-hype that they aren't on the cover. Vision disguising himself as a human will briefly continue next issue, before he returns to the ranks of the Avengers. But he will vacillate in future between accepting his android nature and trying to pass as human. Grim Reaper blames the Avengers for the death of Wonder Man in #9. Skipping over the fact that Baron Zemo was really to blame, as Swordsman points out Captain America is the only Avenger they've captured who was there at the time. Reaper has let Iron Man and Thor go off chasing a false lead. And Hank Pym and Jan Van Dyne left the Avengers for Alaska in #75. Black Widow left Clint in #76 without any explanation. She's done it before (going on a SHIELD mission in #38), but this time it's for real.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #79 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

Last issue Black Panther was captured by his enemy Man-Ape. But before that the villain deliberately attacked Captain America. This makes the Avengers and Captain America think Man-Ape wasn't working alone. So they have called in Iron Man and Thor as reinforcements.

While they discuss who could be behind Man-Ape, Vision dons a human disguise for the first time, to let the school where Panther teaches as Luke Charles know that he won't be coming in today. But his rubber-like mask and cold voice fluster the Principal Miss Hotchkiss.

The Avengers are right. Man-Ape is part of the Lethal Legion, with Living Laser, Power Man and Swordsman led by Grim Reaper. They all want revenge on the Avengers. Most just for previous defeats. But Reaper has his own reason.

The villains split up and leave to execute their parts of Reaper's plan, leaving Panther chained up with his friend Monica Lynne behind a force field. But the force field fails and Panther breaks his chains. Then he contacts the Avengers to tell them who their foes are, and to warn them where the Legion members have gone.

But then his contact fails, and Reaper reappears. Panther's 'escape' was all part of a plan to split the Avengers up. Those who have gone to Greenwich Village to intercept Reaper will find they are on a wild goose chase. And the Legion will be waiting for the others.

Panther and Reaper fight while the villain of course explains all that. And also reminds Panther that he blames the Avengers for his brother Wonder Man's death, as he did in T'Challa's debut issue #52. Ranting over, Reaper gasses Panther and Monica unconscious with his scythe.

Goliath and Scarlet Witch enter the water main below Avengers Mansion looking for Power man and Swordsman. Clint is still smarting after being dumped by Black Widow, and brusquely brushes aside Wanda's suggestion that he might need her help. The villains blind them with an intense beam of light (equipment courtesy of Living Laser?). Even so Goliath does well against Power Man, while the Witch holds off Swordsman. But then Clint runs into an overhead pipe, and his flailing fist knocks Wanda out. While Goliath is dazed Swordsman renders him unconscious with gas from his sword.

Captain America and Quicksilver tackle Living Laser and Man-Ape in the local power station. Man-Ape brings the stairway they are on crashing down. The ensuing battle rapidly devolves into Cap vs Man-Ape and Pietro vs Living Laser. Quicksilver easily dodges laser's blasts, but is felled by flying concrete. Cap holds his own against Man-Ape until he is smashed to the floor by a flood of pressurised water from broken hydraulic generators.

Iron Man and Thor of course went looking for Grim Reaper, and aren't seen again in this issue.

Later Reaper is gloating over Cap and the four captured Avengers dying from a slow-acting poisonous gas. Even though Swordsman reminds him that only Cap was actually an Avenger when Wonder Man died.

Then Power Man returns from Avengers Mansion with an unconscious Vision, who gets thrown into the gas tank with the rest. But he has also brought along the Avengers' personal files. And the horrified Reaper learns that Vision has Wonder Man's brain patterns. Desperate to save what remains of his brother he smashes the gas tank, releasing the Avengers.

But 'Vision' turns out to be a groggy Power Man. And Vision himself floats out of his Power Man disguise. Turning diamond hard he shatters Swordsman's sword. Cap and Pietro make short work of their erstwhile opponents. And Black Panther kicks Grim Reaper to sleep.

The issue wraps up by explaining that Panther had suspected that his earlier escape was too easy, and his message to the Avengers had included a code phrase meaning 'beware of a trap'. So the Avengers were ready when the Lethal Legion attacked them. They were never really knocked out. They allowed themselves to be captured so they could get the whole gang together.

But their plan obviously backfired when they were locked in the gas tank. Vision is the hero of the hour (even though Goliath claims they would have smashed their way out without him). So they're shocked when he declares he is quitting the team, because he feels an android doesn't belong amongst humans.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay
Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Goliath (Clint Barton), Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Lethal Legion, Man-Ape, Monica Lynne, Power Man (Erik Josten).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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