Page 45 Review by Stephen
An absolute classic whose main meat I am inordinately fond of, this nonethless kicks off with four issues of enormously sexist silliness drawn by Sal Buscema with The Avengers reduced to The Vision, The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. And yes, this is where that oddest of Marvel relationships kicks off with The Vision discovering that not only can an android cry, but he can also love and is quite prepared to beat a bastard to death because of it. That scene, which I probably wasn't alone in being stunned by at the time, comes later during the Neal Adams climax.
Clint Barton has swapped his bow and arrow as Hawkeye for Hank Pym's growth serum as bare-skinned muscle-and-metal Goliath, whilst Captain America, Thor and Iron Man return to find they've managed to disband The Avengers. How could they?! They didn't. Nor was it a group of three cows that shot down the Vision. Well, not exactly. We're going waaay back to earliest days of the FANTASTIC FOUR.
Mar-Vell (Captain), Rick Jones, Ant-Man, The Inhumans and Carol Danvers are also caught up in the war raging above and so below, whilst the public are incited into anti-alien lynch mobs by political opportunism, scare-mongering and imprisonment-without-trial in a McCarthy-esque witch-hunt that will be as all too horribly familiar to modern Americans as it would have been at the time to those who'd witnessed or even endured the U.S. internment camps for the resident Japanese during World War II.
By which point Neal Adams has taken over the art, and it becomes pure, purple-prose, neo-classical gold! With the Vision in a coma after his bovine beating, Ant-Man is called on to shrink even further than ever in order to navigate what passes for the android's blood stream only to be assaulted as an alien entity by anti-bodies. Superbly visualised by Adams, but that's just the beginning: the sheer scale of Goliath bashing on a spaceship; Triton emerging from the Hudson, his gloved left hand the very model of foreshortening; and the ever-impassive Vision losing his cool for the first and worst time ever in search of his beloved Wanda:
"Vision - stop! Your android strength -- ! You'll kill him! You don't know what you're doing!"
"Another correction, Iron Man: my brain is a miniaturised, high-speed computer. I always know precisely what I am doing. I - AM - KILLING - HIM!"