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Avengers #57: Review

Jun 2022
Jason Aaron, Javier Garron

Story Name:

History's mightiest heroes part 1 - Soldier Supreme: stalked by the Soul Sniper

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #57 Review by (July 1, 2022)
We've briefly seen Sgt Szardos and other historical Avengers before in #50. Some of the others are also on our cover:- the dinosaur Starbrand, Wong Fei-Hung (master of the Drunken Dragon Fist), Reno Phoenix and the Starbrand Kid of the Wild West, Musashi Miyamoto (the Samurai Of Vengeance) and young Thor with his axe Jarnbjorn.
The Avengers seem to be on a time trip to help some of them against Mephisto in various ages. The next 2 issues will continue that theme with the Samurai Of Vengeance and the Wild West duo. But then in #60 it's back to the present for the Judgement Day event. Who knows if the time trip will resume after that?

The Szardos name is already known in Marvel's mystical circles. The witch Margali Szardos of the Winding Way was introduced in X-Men Annual #4 where it was revealed that she had briefly adopted young Nightcrawler, and that X-Men char Amanda Sefton was actually her daughter Jimaine. They've both remained semi-regulars in the X-Universe. But does that make Sgt Szardos an historical Avenger? Well he has the Eye Of Agamotto later owned by Dr Strange who was a long-time member of the New Avengers.

Blade was born in 1922 so his young app in WWII isn't a problem. And as a semi-vampire he's long-lived.

War-Thing pre-dates the current Man-Thing, but there are other Man-Things including a whole species of them.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #57 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is set in 1943 in the Irish Sea as a mystery man prepares to defend a hospital ship full of nuns from the Nazi Thule Society's latest supernatural weapon. He's in a diving suit allowing himself to be towed on a rope behind the boat. Something beneath the waves rushes at the stern of the boat and the diver uses a big gun (that's on fire even though it's underwater) to destroy with Breathing Bullets the U-Boat built from cursed metals and enchanted Leviathan bones. The U-666 had no crew because it itself was possessed by a demonic creature.

Meanwhile Sgt Sebastian Szardos, the 2-fisted mystic, the sorcerer Joe, the Soldier Supreme, has told us his origin. He was part of a unit in 1942 chasing Thule Society tomb raiders in the Himalayas when Astral Assassins killed all his team-mates. But his family claimed to have witch blood from their ancestors on Wundagore Mountain and the Winding Way. And somehow he not only survived this encounter but killed all the Assassins. And then he was visited by the Ancient One.

Now after the latest battle he wakes up washed up on a tropical island occupied by some other GIs whose ship had been sunk by the same demonic U-Boat. But the Sarge knows that he didn't kill the demon and it will be after him, so these other guys aren't safe while he's around. He needs to cast a spell to get his own squad to come pick him up.

But then a soldier named Phil falls as if hit by a sniper bullet. However it's the demon possessing him and he starts shooting. Szardos defends himself with a mystic shield as the other GIs pin their pal down. However the demon just shifts to another squaddie Steve who shoots Phil and then fires at the Sarge, demanding that he hand over the Eye Of Agamotto. The Ancient One may have taught him much but he doesn't know how to kill the demon so he's forced to kill the man.

Weeks later Szardos has buried the last of the GIs, but he knows the Soul Sniper isn't finished yet. The Ancient One appears to him to tell him that the enemy appears to be an archfiend of the netherworld. To defeat him he must discover the fiend's true name and then lay hold of a body it is possessing to cast it out. The AO then vanishes as a Nazi fighter plane starts shooting at the Sarge. But 3 little birds of fire appear saying "Mephisto". (Later events will suggest that these are manifestations of Echo's Phoenix power.)

Meanwhile a German battleship has turned up off-shore and landed a load of troops, all after our hero. However they are shelled by powerful mortars (bearing the Starbrand symbol). Their fighter planes are struck down by what seems to their German pilots to be a Valkyrie on her winged horse. And the battleship is sunk by a sudden thunderstorm (and we see Thor at its centre). Sgt Szardos has come across an American fighter plane (and we definitely see Captain Marvel watching him). He takes off to chase the demon who's in the plane that shot at him.

In the aerial dogfight that follows the demon seems to spend more time insulting his foe than shooting at him, and explains that he wants the Eye Of Agamotto to keep it hidden from future use (ie by Dr Strange). Despite this it's Szardos' plane that gets shot to bits, so he climbs out of it in midair and leaps at his opponent's plane shouting the name "Mephisto" and exorcising him.

Later the German plane has crashed on the ground, its human pilot is dead and the demon is gone but Sarge is still alive when a hellfire-covered tank drives up onto the shore from the sea. Its Ghost Rider driver apologises for their late arrival because they'd been busy defeating a squadron of vampire Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front. The other members of the Secret Invaders are War-Thing and a young Blade. Sarge says he had some help from some avenging angels, and we see an Avengers quinjet flying off.

Javier Garron
Javier Garron
David Curiel
Javier Garron (Cover Penciler)
Javier Garron (Cover Inker)
Alex Sinclair (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric Brooks)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)


(Jane Foster)

Plus: Ancient One, Phoenix (Maya Lopez), Sebastian Szardos, Starbrand (Brandy Selby).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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