Monday, 3 October 2011

Avengers #131. The Celestial Madonna Saga: Part 7. The Legion of the Unliving.

Avengers #131, Legion of the Unliving
It might sometimes feel like the life of a super-hero is like mine - non-stop action. But it seems that even super-doers can have their hiatuses.

And Avengers #131 is just that, as the team have probably their least action-packed day ever.

Their tribulations with the Titanic Trio over and done with, the team hang around in Saigon, with not a lot to do but take stock of just where they're at in their lives. The Vision mulls over his love triangle with Mantis, Mantis mulls over her claimed destiny as the Celestial Madonna, Hawkeye mulls over where he fits in with the group as they are now.

And Captain America...?

Well, Captain America reappears from nowhere, in a silly costume and calling himself Nomad. It'd be nice to say his guise as Nomad lends him a certain dignity but the truth is that, looking at him, it wouldn't be a surprise if instead of "Nomad" he'd renamed himself Captain Cheesy, so corny does he look. And let's face it, it takes something special to make a man who normally runs around wearing a flag look cornier than usual.

Kang and Rama-Tut, Avengers #131Someone who'll never be normal is of course Kang the Conqueror who's in no mood for mulling. He and Rama-Tut have been plucked from their fight in the time-stream and taken to the castle of Immortus.

Immortus is, as long-standing fans will recall, the King of Limbo. Sadly, this doesn't mean he's the world champion at dancing under a horizontal pole.

It does mean that, like Kang, he's had past doings with the Avengers.

And this means that, within moments of meeting, Kang and Immortus have agreed to an alliance and, using Immortus' equipment, Kang brings the Avengers to the catacombs beneath Immortus' castle, where they'll have to face the Legion of the Unliving, a group of battlers Kang's constructed from the ranks of deceased super-beings.

Nomad/Captain America, Avengers #131
From the point of view of our heroes it's a strangely low-key issue. Up until the final two pages, when they're abducted, the only excitement most of them get is right at the start of the tale when Mantis gets to kick-up a mugger. And you have to hand it to the mugger; there can't be many street-crooks optimistic enough to try and rob the Avengers.

But even now, all is not quiet, as a figure appears at one point who seems to be the late Swordsman.

And just who is that hooded mystery-man lurking in the shadows?

Iron Man meanwhile is as much use as a wet paper bag, as he refuses to give the Vision any advice on his love-life. He's Tony Stark: international playboy womaniser. Has all that womanising taught him nothing of the ways of lurv?

But, with the Avengers in introspective mood, the focus is all on Kang as he refuses to accept he's going to reform, and sets about his latest scheme. You do wonder how block-headed he is that, even when knowing Rama-Tut is his future self, he still won't listen to any of his warnings.

The Legion of the Unliving, Avengers #131
I do like the Legion of the Unliving. The grouping of Frankenstein's Monster, the original Human Torch, Wonder Man, Midnight, the Ghost and Baron Zemo is so disparate it could only occur if justified by them all being not alive. And I'm especially happy to see Midnight back - not least because he looks remarkably like my own legendary super-hero The Masked Manhunter.

But can the Avengers possibly overcome such odds as a load of dead men?

Only time will tell.

But wait, there is no time in Immortus' Limbo.

Now we're in lumber.

Limbo lumber.

With linguistic skills like that, God alone knows why they won't let me write comic books.


Super-Duper ToyBox said...

i never caught the story of Steve becoming Nomad, but yes i wondered...why??

B Smith said...

Cross-promotion, presumably, given they were both Englehart-scripted books...and Cap/Nomad really was in that neck of the woods in his own title, so it wasn't that implausible (though one might wonder how he'd heard the Avengers were even in the area)

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