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Avengers Spotlight #26: Review

Dec 1989
Dwayne McDuffie, Dwayne McDuffie

Story Name:

Tales From the Vault—Acts of Vengeance Prologue

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers Spotlight #26 Review by (August 3, 2022)
Review: And so one of Marvel’s strangest crossover events begins. Strange in that there is no central miniseries, just installments running through most Marvel titles for a few months; the story need be read in no particular order and, as the chapters involve mostly fights between unusual parings of hero and villain with little plot development, missing multiple issues doesn’t hurt it. Covertly, Loki organizes a gang of major villains and has them swapping heroes to fight which makes for some cool stuff; this initial chapter isn’t all that interesting, mainly featuring Hawkeye arguing with Iron Man. And mediocre art really hurts the issue. Oh, and for a cute touch, Dwayne McDuffie adds a brief cameo by his beloved Damage Control.

Comments: Begins the “Acts of Vengeance” crossover series; second installment is NEW MUTANTS #86 though this event doesn’t really demand to be read in order. Iron Man previously attacked the Vault in IRON MAN #228, part of the Armor Wars story arc. Additional bad guys seen in the first story include Hydro-Man, Klaw, Titania, Griffin, and Angar; the latter’s power comes from his voice which can cause madness so imprisoning him in a normal cell that isn’t soundproofed should have been a big problem long before this. Second story: additional bad guys include Whirlwind and Molten Man. Letters page includes the results of the 1989 Favorite Avengers poll. 


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Spotlight #26 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The supervillain known as the Wizard is taken to the Vault, the maximum security prison for superhuman criminals. Guardsman Frank Ensign is assigned to escort him to his cell and explain the rules of the establishment. Once in his cell, Wizard discovers another, disguised person there (spoiler: it’s Loki); the one-sided conversation is picked up by the monitors and Frank goes over to investigate. He discovers the Wizard in his gadget-laden costume able to fight back. Wizard defeats Frank and releases all the prisoners from their cells; the Guardsmen head to the scene only to come face-to-face with a formidable gang including Mr. Hyde, Armadillo, Electro, and Scarecrow. In the office they discover the cables to the power plant have been cut and the silent alarms have been disabled. An automatic call to the Avengers has, unknown to anyone at the Vault, been diverted to the offices of Damage Control. Frank is able to repair his helmet radio and send a message to the Avengers, which is picked up by Peggy Carter, before he passes out again….

“Tales From the Vault Part 2”
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie. Pencils: Dwayne Turner. Inks: Chris Ivy. Colors: Paul Becton. Letters: Jack Morelli.
Synopsis: Iron Man is the first Avenger to arrive at the Vault and immediately finds himself grappling with a scaled-down Orka. Defeating the baddie, he turns on the master power switch and sees the carnage left by the prisoners’ revolt.…

Meanwhile, Hawkeye breaks into the control room to find three staff members barricaded inside. He escorts them safely out of the building before returning to search the prison where he encounters Iron Man and immediately assumes that Shellhead is responsible for the breakout, recalling his attack on the building during the Armor Wars. Iron Man tries to cover up, claiming that he is a new hire, replacing the previous Shellhead but Hawkeye knows that it’s Tony Stark both times. Finally, Clint makes him so mad, he presses his gauntlet with the repulsor ray against Hawkeye’s face and tells him to help rescue the Guardsmen or not. Iron Man tears up a huge section of the floor and they put all of the wounded Guardsmen on it as a makeshift stretcher while Hawkeye continues to harass Shellhead about his responsibility for the breakout. When Shellhead lifts the giant stretcher, Hawkeye is seized from behind by the Scarecrow, holding a knife to his throat and demanding to be shown the way out. Hawkeye flips him and aims an arrow at this heart to force the baddie to lock himself into a cell. Hawkeye uses an explosive arrow to blow the wall out of the building but only succeeds in awakening the giant Yetrigar. They make it outside and Iron Man remotely closes and seals all cell doors until more Avengers arrive. Hawkeye tests an electro-magnetic pulse arrow developed by Hank Pym. He fires it and it completely shuts down all electronic devices in the immediate area, including Iron Man’s armor and his own hearing aids….


Dwayne McDuffie
Chris Ivy
Paul Becton
Keith Pollard (Cover Penciler)
Keith Pollard (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Max Dillon)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Loki Laufeyson)
Mister Hyde
Mister Hyde

(Calvin Zabo)

Plus: Guardsmen, Orka, Peggy Carter, Scarecrow (Ebenezer Laughton), Yetrigar.

> Avengers Spotlight: Book info and issue index

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