Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Avengers #132. The Celestial Madonna Saga: Part 8. More of the Legion of the Unliving.

Avengers #132, the Legion of the Unliving
Some people might pay good money to hang around in mazes but I don't get the feeling the Avengers would be amongst them.

Abducted by Kang, our super-doers find themselves separated, trapped in the labyrinth beneath Immortus' castle, with no way out and no choice but to roam its passageways until they find someone.

What they find are various members of the Legion of the Unliving who waste no time trying to do for them.

While Mantis and Hawkeye escape their respective confrontations unscathed, Don Blake's almost killed by Frankenstein's Monster until it occurs to him to turn back into Thor, Iron Man's seemingly killed by the Original Human Torch and, at the tale's climax, the Vision lies close to death, having had The Ghost pull the same materialising-inside-you stunt on him that the Vision usually pulls on others.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, strange things are afoot with the Swordsman's ghost...

The Original Human Torch kills Iron Man, Avengers #132
Rarely have things looked so grim for our heroes as they seemed destined to die, one by one, in Kang's inescapable trap.

Admittedly, it'd do their cause good if they actually tried activating their brains at some point. I'm really not sure at all why, at a time of high danger, Thor decides to change back to Don Blake. He claims it's because Don Blake might have more hope of escaping Kang's labyrinth than Thor does but it's hard to see why he'd think that. It's also hard to see why, having made the change, he tries to  fight Frankenstein's Monster while still in his Don Blake guise.

Then again, Thor starts off the issue knowing that Kang's behind it all but, within a few pages, seems to have totally forgotten Kang's behind it all.

Don Blake/Thor vs Frankenstein's Monster, Avengers #132
It does feel wrong to see the original Human Torch as part of the Legion of the Unliving. Obviously plotter Steve Englehart flung him into the mix because he knows the Vision's the original Human Torch in remodelled form and, with Wonder Man in the team, the Torch might as well be there too.

But you can't get round the fact he just doesn't belong. The rest of the Legion of the Unliving are all to some degree misanthropes, while the Human Torch isn't. We're given the explanation that Kang somehow has control over them by virtue of being the one who revived them but - what with Torchie having been brought back and used for wrong-doing by the Mad Thinker in Fantastic Four Annual #4, and now this - of Marvel's classic Golden Age trinity, he does seem to have been the one most poorly served by later writers.

The Ghost vs the Vision, Avengers #132
Still, you can't knock the drama of it all, with poor old Don Blake nearly coming a cropper, Iron Man seemingly deceased and the Vision on the verge of death at the issue's climax, it's beginning to look like one of those days when nothing can go right for our heroes.

They might be up against the Legion of the Unliving but, at this rate, the tag, "Legion of the Unliving," could end up being a fit description for the Avengers too.

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