With the exciting news that, during the Olympics, some of us are to have the army stationed on our roof, complete with missile launchers, it's time to look back on a far simpler time when the only things people had to worry about turning up on their rooftops were groups of super-doers.
Turning up on the Avengers' rooftop this issue is the Black Panther who discovers he's been summoned to their mansion to help mull over whether the newly introduced Vision should be accepted for membership. I don't think I'm giving away too much by saying his application is indeed successful, although it does make you wonder what he'd have done if it hadn't been.
Regardless of such questions, this was always one of my favourite Avengers tales when I was a kid, mostly because of its celebrated closing shot of the Vision crying like a great big sissy after he's been voted in.
Well, super-heroes - and androids - crying might have seemed a novelty back then but, looking at it now, it's plain to see how atypical the whole issue is. For once, there's no super-villain to fight, just twenty pages of exposition and flashbacks as the team get to the root of just who the Vision is and where he came from.
Right from the start, it's established he's solar powered. Was this a sign that, even at this early stage, writer Roy Thomas was thinking in terms of the android having once been the original Human Torch? I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise, given that he was clearly revelling in a chance to let his love for comic book continuity hold sway. We already had the Vision as a partial revival of the Golden Age character of the same name, and now, in this tale, we find out he's also a partial revival of Silver Age Avengers' foe Wonder Man. Such is Roy's love of continuity, he even gets a plug in for Hank Pym's previous fight with Dragon Man.
Nice to see that the creation of Ultron was all Hank Pym's fault. You do have to worry that, if things are to be taken as they're told here, Pym not only accidentally created a homicidal robot but somehow gave the prototypical Ultron a deadly weapon without realising it. The Avengers really should have been asking questions about that man's state of mind long before they did.
Top of the Pops: 15th December, 1977.
5 months ago