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Avengers #98: Review

Apr 1972
Roy Thomas, Barry Smith

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Story Name:

Let Slip the Dogs of War

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #98 Review by (February 14, 2012)
An editorial aside in this issue doesn't know whether this story comes before or after Thor #198. The problem is exacerbated because there Thor is in the middle of a long uninterrupted storyline in #182-205, which includes villains such as Infinity, Mangog and Mephisto. The Index chooses to put the Avengers story before Thor's saga. The goat-footed pipers are Satyrs, beings from Greek myth associated with the god Pan. The pipes they play are named after him as pan-pipes. Of course Ares and Hercules are also Greek gods, and this issue portends a war between the Greek Olympus and Asgard. Hercules and the Olympians featured (after a debut in Journey into Mystery Annual #1, set millennia ago) in JiM#124-Thor #126 and Thor #128-131. Hercules found time in the gap to tangle with Hulk in Tales to Astonish #79. Then Herc guested with the Avengers in #38-50, with other Olympians at the beginning and end of that stretch. Ares only featured as a villain once before, in #38 where he teamed up with the Asgardian Enchantress, and was responsible for Herc's exile to Earth. In his other appearances he has only been a background character, sometimes speaking out against Hercules. Although one such outburst did get Herc exiled again, in a tale that started in a backup in the otherwise reprint Ka-Zar #1 and finished in Sub-Mariner #29. The actual villain in those 2 issues was the Huntsman of Zeus. Now Ares has graduated to headline villainy.

This is the 1st of a 3-parter which will culminate in the 100th anniversary issue. Barry Smith will pencil all 3 issues. Since his last job in these pages in #66-67 Barry has developed his lush style on Conan the Barbarian. (But these issues don't have the dramatic layouts of that earlier pair.) He is midway through his run at this point. In fact Conan #14-15 are approximately concurrent with this storyline, guest-starring Elric and his sword Stormbringer, a close cousin of Black Knight's Ebony Blade which will feature in #100. Rick Jones accompanies the Avengers in this trilogy, presumably so he can take his place among #100's cast of everyone who has ever been an Avenger (though he himself has never been a full-fledged one). He lost his symbiotic connection with Captain Marvel at the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War in #89, and didn't retain the mental power he briefly used to end the war last issue. (But he has Marvel's life-force within him, and their dual existence will resume in CM#22) The Avengers continue rotating the chairperson of their meetings. This time it's Vision, who therefore also gets to call the shots in their mission. Vision and Scarlet Witch told one another of their mutual attraction in #91, but since then Vision has tried to suppress his feelings. Wanda appears to have taken his coldness as rejection. The suppressed emotions will boil over next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #98 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

It's a week since the end of the Kree/Skrull war, and the Avengers, this issue led by Vision, are worried about the missing Clint Barton. He abandoned the source of his Goliath power in #94, but in #96 went to stop a Skrull spaceship from blowing up the Earth. As Iron Man says, the Earth's still here so he must have succeeded, but is he dead?

Thor leaves for Asgard to use Asgardian magical devices to search for him. Iron Man heads off to use some of Tony Stark's advanced technology for the same purpose. Captain America, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Rick Jones stay at Avengers Mansion to use more conventional means. (SHIELD is also looking.)

Meanwhile out on the streets Mr Tallon, leader of the Warhawks, is stirring up hatred against a Chinese delegation to the UN, with the help of cloaked characters playing pan-pipes. Leaving behind Vision to coordinate the search for Clint, the other Avengers break up the riot. But the music of the pipes fills them with hate too.

Thor returns to the mansion because the way to Asgard is blocked. He and Vision then discover that Iron Man is in the sway of the Warhawks too. Vision resists the urge to rush to Wanda's side, and instead sends Thor there while he goes to Stark's lab.

Vision and Iron Man engage in a typical hero vs hero battle, which ends when Iron Man knocks Vision into the cloaked piper accompanying this bunch of Warhawks, accidentally killing him. Iron Man and the Warhawks then come to their senses.

Meanwhile Thor recognises Mr Tallon as Ares. He digs a trench to surround the rioting mob, including the Avengers. Vision and Iron Man arrive, but Iron Man falls under the spell again. Ares pits the rest of the Avengers against Thor and Iron man, and Scarlet Witch traps Thor's hammer in a hex sphere.

But before Thor can revert to Don Blake, his hammer is freed by an arrow. Vision KO's the pipers, who turn out to be goat-hooved creatures. Their spell dissipates as before, and Ares beats a hasty magical retreat.

The archer who saved them was of course Clint, now returned to his old identity of Hawkeye (but dressed in medieval fantasy style). And he's brought an amnesiac Hercules with him, mouthing a prophecy that Ares will conquer Earth and Asgard.

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

Barry Smith
Sal Buscema
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Barry Smith (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


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