Bargain Comic Reviews

New Reviews of Old Comics

Avengers #161 (July 1977)

Purchase price: $1

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I have quite a few issues of the Avengers.  When I saw this one a couple weeks back I thought “Cool cover” and added it to my buy pile.  I also thought it looked kind of familiar, but couldn’t remember for sure if I had it or not.  My Avengers collection has a clear dividing line (at least in my mind); #199 and above I assume I have.  Anything below that I have to wonder and if I’m not positive I have it, I buy it.  I’d rather have the double than kick myself later because an opportunity was missed.  I’ve always been a fan of Ant-Man so that’s double incentive to get this one.

Jim Shooter and George Perez teamed up on this one entitled “Beware the Ant Man!” (and if I have to say who’s the writer and who’s the artist on the team you need to reevaluate your status as a comic fan).  The splash page has Ant-Man sitting in the ceiling of Avenger’s Mansion with his ant buddies watching the current team stroll in, but he doesn’t seem to recognize them so he attacks; because quite frankly, that’s what one does in comic book world.  Naturally an angry fight scene ensues with Ant-Man (and ants) taking out Iron Man, Captain America, Wonderman, Scarlet Witch, Beast and Black Panther before the Wasp steps (flies) in with a knock-out sting.  Obligatory slugfest out of the way we can get to the Wasp’s story of poor Hank Pym losing his mind, their rocky marriage and how it has all come to a head.  The Avengers try to figure out what’s wrong by calling other Avengers.  Hawkeye can’t answer because he’s hanging out with the Two-Gun Kid.  Yes, the western hero.  Readers of Avengers #144 will know Two-Gun did some time traveling; I only know because of the editor’s note.  If you’re thinking this all sounds very tame for a 1970’s Marvel title, you’d be right until Ultron comes bursting in to initiate another fight scene.  *phew*  Once again all of the Avengers get their asses whipped, though the Scarlet Witch puts in the best effort with her improbability spells messing up Ultron’s logical computer brain, but even she gets taken out.  This leaves the robotic baddie to vacuum up Ant-Man, call him “father” and peel out before Jarvis returns to yet another mess.  In one issue “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” get bitch slapped twice; first by a swarm of ants led by a tiny man and then by a single crazy robot.  Maybe they need to pass that title off to Power Pack or something.

For me this is classic Avengers and the type of story that hooked me on them from the beginning of my comic reading days.  There was definitely a sense of déjà vu while reading this so I’m almost positive I have another copy (likely in better condition) somewhere amongst my disorganized piles of comic books.  I hope #162 is down there too because now I want to see what happens next.


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