Bargain Comic Reviews

New Reviews of Old Comics

Avengers #156 (Feb. 1976)

Avengers_156Purchase price: $1

Did Avengers back issues experience an increase in popularity/price after the summer blockbuster movie?   If so, that’s bad news for me because I love old Avengers comics and I’m really cheap.  I’ll be stuck with Marvel Essential black and white editions, and those only go up so high.  Thankfully there are always well loved (i.e. beat up) issues that no one is willing to pay a premium for, which works out well for me.  Case in point.

Jim Shooter wrote “The Private War of Doctor Doom!” based on a Gerry Conway plot, while Sal Buscema and Pablo Marcos collaborated on the art.  It starts out with the Vision in the unlikely scenario of making an ally of Dr. Doom, yes that Dr. Doom.  Readers of the previous issue (but not me) will know Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are fighting Attuma and the Vision has convinced Doom that Attuma’s army would eventually make its way to Latveria so it’s in his best interest to help the Avengers; kind of like Vision’s own little “domino principle” but with a demon looking thing from Atlantis instead of Communists from southeast Asia.  Elsewhere Simon Williams, aka Wonder Man, is dwelling on the fact he was once dead and the Vision uses Simon’s brain pattern, which is a little unnerving.  His pal Whizzer, from the Liberty Legion is helping Namor up after a kerfuffle  between the Prince and Wonder Man (again, last issue).  Eventually the Vision comes across the newly freed other Avengers where his wife, Scarlet Witch, is especially happy to see him.  Too bad he’s preoccupied with his self-centered thoughts to appreciate the reunion.  After more jabber-jawing the complete Avengers team meets up with a powerful Tyrak who knocks out everyone except the Vision and Wonder Man, which is OK because a one-two punch from those guys is enough to beat the tar out of the nasty fishman and bring him back down to size.  A surly Vision gets his cape back.  Never come between a petulant android and his cape.  Dr. Doom, remember him, finds the machine he was looking for that will help him rule the rule the world, but a still crabby Vision walks through a wall and wrecks it before Doom can make tracks with it. You thought Dr. Doom was evil before?  He’s really pissed now.  The issue ends with a cold Vision walking away from a heartbroken Scarlet Witch.  That’s what you get for marrying a creepy android.

Was this the best issue of Avengers I’ve ever read?  Not even close.  For as much as I like the Avengers the Vision has never been a fave, and this issue is heavy on Vision.  It doesn’t help this is the concluding issue of a storyline and it’s the only part I’ve read; feeling a little lost.  Shooter’s story is fairly wordy with the standard cheesy 70s Marvel dialogue.  Buscema & Marcos art is serviceable, but nothing spectacular.  For me the highlight was seeing Whizzer.  Has there ever been a super-hero with a worse name than Whizzer?  He even wears a yellow costume!

I’d give a minor appendage to know who drew the cover for this issue, because it sure doesn’t look like Sal Buscema/Pablo Marcos.  It almost looks like a Kirby/Sinnott collaboration.  Anybody know for sure?


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