AVENGERS #107-108 (1973): Cap gets his secret identity back

Grim Reaper is on the cover, but this story starts with the team kidnapped by Space Phantom.

Actually, before we get to any of that, look at this:

I just love this panel.  I wish I had a T-Shirt of it.

Continuing the search for Quicksilver, we get a story about Space Phantom-one of The Avengers’ earliest foes.

Phantom kidnaps the Avengers and takes a particular interest in Captain America.  He acknowledges the “identity” issues Cap has been struggling with in his own comic, and he mindwipes the world.  The whole world.  So, now Cap has a secret identity again-nobody knows he’s Steve Rogers.  Who knew he was this powerful!?

This is a flashback that retcons Cap for over 20 issues back.  Yeah, it’s a deus ex machina that is simply used to reboot the character for Steve Englehart, who writes both Avengers and Cap’s own book.

Meanwhile, Vision is wrestling with Grim Reaper’s invitation to put his brain waves into Simon Williams’ body. 

Space Phantom turns on Reaper.

And where Vision initially said “no…

He then says, “Yes.”

But that’s really just a trick, to enable him to rescue The Avengers from Space Phantom, who is in league with Reaper.  I’m omitting a lot of detail here because this is an extremely heavily plotted story-lots of text, lots of tell don’t show. 

Vision goes to rescue his captured teammates and guess who he frees first?

He probably saves her first because he digs her but also, the Witch is a badass.

The best of all: Vision offering to console Scarlet Witch about her missing  brother (“I can offer my shoulder, if you wish it.”)  This is the real beginning of one of Marvel’s most fascinating romances.  It had started earlier, but this is where it begins in earnest.

Not Englehart’s best work, but he’s clearly trying to set up the readers for a new and different version of these characters who had been around for about ten years, and were in need of a freshening up.

1 thought on “AVENGERS #107-108 (1973): Cap gets his secret identity back”

  1. I disagree- this IS some of Englehart’s best work. As noted, the plot is extremely elaborate, and look at some of the vocabulary being tossed around by these characters, especially the Space Phantom! ( and just what in the hell IS a “valerian”, anyway-?? ) This issue also has a scene that lays to rest a controversy about the Vision I have been wondering about since forever- ( no, NOT whether or not he has junk- John Byrne would solve that mystery fifteen years later in ‘West Coast Avengers’#42 ) can he carry passengers while he flies?? It would seem to me that he would not be able to, since he achieves lift by lowering his density to zero, ( which would presumably cause him to float ) but if he goes weightless and formless, how can he carry passengers and cargo??? It’s a physical impossibility, but there he is doing it, hauling his lovely squeeze right out of her cage! Science tells us that Nature is just full of creatures that can perform all kinds of feats which utterly and totally defy physics as we understand it, so I guess this business with the zero-density Vision carrying people through the air is just one more of them! An “unsolved mystery”, as Robert Stack used to like to say! And how ABOUT that lovely Wanda-?? Boy, could that Dynamic Dave Cockrum draw her!! Mmmm-mmm-MMMM!! The Avengers should have confiscated the Space Phantom’s ultra-convenient machine which can erase an entire planet’s memories of somebody’s secret identity!! Why not-?? Don’t they also already have Dr. Doom’s time machine?? ( see issue#56 ) I would give this issue a “B”, at least, simply based on a pre-New X-Men Dave Cockrum’s artwork, alone! Word UP!!


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