Avengers assemble, true believers! Inspired by my post the other day, I've been for a rummage in my Steve Does Comics Cave and found Avengers #157 lurking there.
I was motivated to do this because it dawned on me that, although I have it, I don't think I've ever read it.
How could I allow this oversight to continue?
So, here goes.
The first thing that leaps out at me is that the inside front cover is a full page ad for the 1976 King Kong remake.
It's the ad where Kong's straddling the twin towers of the World Trade Centre while plucking jet fighters from the air. You know? The one that makes it look like it's a movie that's a million times better than it actually is and makes it look like Kong himself is going to be totally awesome?
It only goes to prove how advertising can lie to us.
As for the Avengers story, the first thing that strikes me about that is that it's drawn by Don Heck.
I must confess there've been times in my life when discovering that a story's drawn by Don Heck has been enough to send me into a dizzying combination of depression and indignation.
But now, oddly enough, separated from the publication of this comic by almost exactly forty years, seeing his work here makes me feel strangely warm, fuzzy and nostalgic. I can't deny it, there's something psychologically fulfilling about seeing him work again on the strip whose pages he did so much to grace in its early years.
It's got to be said that it's not Heck at his best - but, then, nor is it him at his worst.
I suspect this may be down to the inking of Pablo Marcos who manages to add a touch of polish and tidiness to the pencils that helps to hold them together in a way that some other inkers failed to do in this era.
The script is by Gerry Conway, so I started this tale assuming that someone's girlfriend was going to die.
Along the way, we discover that he's not really the Black Knight. He's just the now-soulless statue of him, which has been brought to life by an unnamed villain and, thinking he's the real Knight, is out to gain vengeance on the Defenders and Avengers for leaving him to stand around as a statue for the rest of eternity.
From what I can gather from the dialogue, he's not long since been revived and seems to already be thinking that he and not the Vision should be the Flake in the Scarlet Witch's 99. Given that he and the Vision are effectively the same character and that Marvel heroes can't deal with a problem without hitting it, I suspect this can only end in fisticuffs.
But that'll clearly have to wait for a later issue.
As will the identity of the true villain of the piece. Tragically, in this issue, we're never told who animated the statue. All we see is a hand that I don't recognise. I will therefore assume it belongs to either Kang or Ultron because, well, it's an Avengers story.
All of which, I suppose, proves there's a merit to simplicity when it comes to story-telling.
And that's basically it. I've fulfilled my duty and finally got round to reading a thing that had been unread for so long. It was a pain-free experience and I thoroughly recommend reading unread things, to everyone who views this post.
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