I am fairly certain that this story is the first male on male rape in comics.
Yes, you read that right. This is the most bizarre issue of The Avengers ever.
Machinesmith is a gay robot-making villain who, himself, now lives in a robot body (as seen in the pages of Marvel Two-In-One). It turns out, when a homosexual goes into a robot body, he starts getting wood for male androids.
The story, written by Mark Gruenwald, takes place during a formal reception/party, which proves to be such a ripe idea for stories that Larry Hama (his run begins next) does an extended party-arc in which he introduces Rage and Avengers Cupcakes. But more on that we when we get into #332-333.
Anyway, Machinesmith knocks Vision out and takes advantage of him, and then there’s an explosive love scene after which we see them spooning…
Obviously, more happens in these issues. But that’s the standout.
Let’s go over the main tale, which is called “The Crossing Line” and has tons of characters in it.
Stingray joins the team to save a British nuclear sub, in international waters, that has been hijacked by Russian terrorists.
Margaret Thatcher asks for help from George Bush (the first), who then goes to The Avengers…
Apparently, the President always has an unfurling flag behind him.
The gang of Russian superbeings who called themselves Supreme Soviets last time we saw them (where they were rebranding the Soviet Super Soldiers moniker), but now are renamed the People’s Protectorate. Pick a name, guys!
They fight with the Avengers for the right to take out the terrorists first.
During the interhero combat, an Atlantean army shows up to try to take the sub as well–hoping to kill all the air-breathers.
And speaking of rebranding, the Atlanteans are led by U-Man who now goes by Merrano.
And the Soviet hero Fantasia is now called Fantasma. Hm.
Increasing the territorial stupidity, Alpha Flight also wants the right to save the world from the terrorists.
Extended Prerun/Orka fight.
Among other fights.
Yes, it’s stupid–but it’s always kinda fun to see a gang-bang of heroes. And speaking of gangbangs, Sersi almost gets into a threesome with Cap.
OK, not really.
The bomb in the sub eventually does go off. Shaman prevents nuclear war by keeping the explosion in his bag of holding.
And kinda brags about it.
It takes these teams six issues to overcome their differences and eventually stop the terrorists–because of all the in-fighting.
But it’s not a full six issues, because a back-up series called “Avengers Crew” runs through these comics, which focuses on guys like Jarvis the Butler, John Jameson (the team’s pilot), Fabian the tech guy, Guardsman the security chief, etc., as they try to rebuild Avengers’ Mansion and fight Mother Night and Machinesmith. The installments are by Mark Gruenwald with James Fry on art. It’s the tale that leads this post–has the interaction between Machinesmith and Vision.
It’s a good story–I like that the bad guys pull out a vision of Crimson Cowl from Jarvis’ memory. Crimson Cowl once beat the snot out of Jarvis back in a classic Avengers story. (Crimson Cowl was really Ultron.)
Also, John Jameson becomes Man-Wolf again. He’s been hanging around the Avengers comic for over a year and hasn’t transformed–the writers at Marvel have shown remarkable restraint.
It culminates in issue #325, which is a “clean up” issue from the Crossing Line story and where the heroes return home to save their crew.
The whole story starts with their heads.