Page 45 Review by Stephen
I am told by those that know that this is important to you now.
He appears in your video games, and I understand why given their often acquisitive nature. Precisely whom we speak of I will not say, but this was where he was best utilised and it came as a surprise both to us as readers back then and to our off-guard Avengers...
Ah, Marvel in the mid 1970s! What a thing to behold: billowing capes, ballooning boots, improbable team-ups and epic plots cascading over a dozen issues. Melodrama on a scale rarely experienced since the days of Caligula, all epitomised by this very book, distilled into a concentrate so strong that it's virtually toxic.
This is the Dynasty of the superhero genre, where even the over-dubs wear shoulder pads:
"The Enemy tumbles backwards, the stunning impact of the blow ripping through the sum of his being. Somewhere in the depths of the cosmos within his mind, a planet shatters -- and in unison, the billion billion souls who inhabit the sub-reality of The Enemy's id scream in utter horror as their entire dimension trembles!"
Not just horror, but utter horror! Whoa!
Naturally I wasn't around back then, having barely hit my teens last week [errrr... - ed.], but if I had been around to buy the originals I'd be able to tell you that I lapped it all up and then some. Almost every Avenger at that point bar the Hulk appeared, each blinking out of existence, one by one, through successive chapters in front of the others as they tried to deal with the immediate emergencies on hand. You know, like Ultron. Gradually the abductions accelerate leaving those remaining both helpless and petrified for their own safety.
What a terrific sub-plot: any one of them could fall prey at any moment!
The original Guardians Of The Galaxy from the future guest starred, everyone bickered, and X-Men nemesis Henry Peter Gyrich made his first appearance, promptly rescinding the Avengers' National Priority Status so that several dozen high-ranking superheroes had to take the number 11 bus into action. Hawkeye cracked some gags which I swore blind were the funniest things I had ever heard back then, as Earth's Mightiest attempted to locate their nigh-omnipotent Enemy in leafy suburbia and failed to find more than some antique fittings.
"Terrific. 'Avengers Attack Suburban Home! Defeated By Stylish Decor!' The tabloids are going to love this!"
And then - then - the really big fight happens with all 6,289 Avengers versus a single self-possessed dude in a pair shorts. Had I been old enough, I would have spontaneously ejaculated.
Now, of course - now that I've reached double figures - the whole thing sounds ludicrous. No, make that utterly ludicrous.
The plots have holes in them so big that even I could whack a golf ball through them, the exchanges are hokey, and the fact that you can just stroll into the Avengers' Mansion off a little side-street beggars belief.
But this was written way before the summer blockbusters which we now take for granted like the original SECRET WARS, the subsequent SECRET WAR, the modern SECRET WARS or the socio-politically searching CIVIL WAR, so we'd never seen so many heroes sharing a sofa before. The only thing that could have topped it was if renowned crowd-scene maestro George Perez had drawn the whole thing rather than just the first few issues and some spectacular covers.