Sunday, 23 July 2017

Avengers #158. Wonder Man vs the Vision.

Avengers #158, Wonder Man vs the Vision If there's anything we all like to see, it's super-heroes fighting each other.

In fact, it sometimes makes you wonder why comics companies have ever bothered to invent super-villains when they could just give us good guys trying to bash each other's heads in each month.

And so it is that, in The Avengers #158, we finally get to see the Vision vs Wonder Man, which, bearing in mind that the Vision has Wonder Man's brain patterns (whatever they are), means it's Marvel inter-hero antagonism taken to its logical conclusion, as we effectively have a super-hero fighting himself. No doubt, next month, we'll be treated to twenty pages of Captain America punching himself in the face.

The reason why it happens is the Vision's decided that Wonder Man has his eye on the Scarlet Witch and he's now in one of his, "I'm not human. What can an android know of love? I'd better fly into a tempestuous rage about my lack of emotions," moods.

Avengers #158, Wonder Man vs Vision, Sal Buscema
Sadly, despite making the cover, the fight only lasts a few pages before the Avengers get an SOS and set off to deal with Graviton who's still new to his powers and has seized control of the research facility where he works. Consequently, he's now having fun pushing the staff around and making the place float around like a balloon.

I do have to say I like the cut of Graviton's jib. He has the air of an early Silver Age Marvel villain about him, which means you could have imagined him turning up in a formative issue of Spider-Man or The Fantastic Four.

Inevitably, despite their vast numerical advantage, the Avengers soon fall victim to the fiend, mostly because none of them has the smarts to think of sneaking up on him from behind.

Avengers #158, Wonder Man vs Vision, Sal Buscema
I wish I could claim to have strong feelings about this issue but I don't. It's a solid tale written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Sal Buscema, with lots of conflict and drama. Personally, I could have done with the Vision vs Wonder Man action taking up the whole issue, with Graviton being tackled in the next one but at least we can't accuse the mag of skimping on action.

While I'm here, I do feel I should say a word about inker Pablo Marcos. I'm generally not a fan of his work as either a penciller or an inker but his style goes well with Buscema's pencils. For me, Buscema always benefited from having an embellisher who was exactly that, willing to add extra detail to his generally sparse pencils, and Marcos was just such an inker.

Avengers #158, Graviton triumphant
"But hold on a moment, you blathersome blundersquid!" I hear you cry. "Never mind all that cobblers about inkers and pencillers and writers and gravity and stuff! What about what we came here for? Who won the fight between the Vision and Wonder Man?"

Well, obviously, no one did. It being a 1970s Marvel mag, it's a draw, with both parties basically running out of steam before being interrupted by Iron Man who tells them off for causing needless damage to the mansion.

Reading comics back in those days, it could be so incredibly frustrating.


Anonymous said...

This happens to be the first issue of the Avengers I ever owned. I was a mere lad, with cheek of tan and an untamed cowlick and endless dreams about the future...
Waitaminit. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. I didn't know who any of these cats were, apart from Captain America and Iron Man (no Thor! dang it). This was my introduction to the team, and it seemed pretty dysfunctional. The EU runs smoother than this.
Seeing these two apparent heavyweights duke it out and cause horrible damage to both the floor of the Avengers mansion and each other was a thrill. But it instilled in me the idea that I've always carried, to wit, the Vision is a real dickhead. Build a nice robot!
It's a great comic, but I don't think the inks work very well here. It seems a bit off, and doesn't seem to capture Sal Buscema's kinetic energy very well. A bit rough.
I do think this comic is great and warrants it's own post on this esteemed blog. Graviton is a great villain. I wish I could make stuff fly around like that. There are some things and people I would like to send into space.


Steve W. said...

I must admit that what surprised me reading this issue is that it's Graviton's first appearance. I never read this issue as a kid but I did read the next one and I assumed he was a long-standing villain because he had his act so completely together. He was clearly a quick learner.

Anonymous said...

If Graviton was like an early Silver Age villain then it was a pretty formulaic one - Magneto without the back story or cool helmet - badly in need of a gimmick to make him stand out from all the other mad scientists wanting to take over the world.
The whole story is a bit like that - not bad, but not exactly full of unexpected twists and turns either. Which is understandable, as it was the beginning of Shooter's run as writer - how else to get the hang of it?
He got better as he went on.

Agree about Pablo Marcos, Steve, but then I've never been much of a one to appreciate the work of Sal Buscema. Which probably puts me in a minority around these parts.


Steve W. said...

I do really like Sal's work, seeing him as a good, reliable story-teller with an appreciation of simplicity. He was pretty dependent on his inkers though. Under some, he could look like his brother John. Under others, he could look like Don Heck. Under Sam Grainger, in his very first Avengers stint, he even managed to look like Steve Ditko in places.

Joe S. Walker said...

Just read that issue, and Graviton has an old-fashioned freak-lab-accident origin. If you could really get super-powers that way, industrial injury tribunals would have more to think about.

Steve W. said...

I still live in hope that, one day, I'll fall into a vat of electric eels and get Electro powers.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought falling into a blast furnace and becoming a man of steel or some such would be more your thing, Steve. Maybe that's a bit anachronistic these days, but you know - something appropriate for a superhero from Sheffield.


Steve W. said...

I keep hoping that I'll fall into one of Sheffield's cutlery factories and be transformed into The Human Spoon.

Steve W. said...

My scooping powers will be unstoppable.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You SHeffield guys...

You could become "New Wave Man" or "Human League Dude" or "Heaven 17 Stud" by falling into a vat of...??? I don't know... hair gel? hair blowers? folks who like to sing in minor keys?

Help me out hair!

Anonymous said...

We have bats around here, so maybe I could get bitten by one and develop bat-like powers.
My senses would be keen, and I would patrol the town on mighty wings, like Man-Bat.


dangermash said...

Got me wondering now what Captain Sheffield or even just Sheffield would look like in a Marvel Comic.

Anonymous said...

A 70s Marvel Sheffield, dangermash?
Not hard to picture the bobbies with funny helmets on the cobbled streets. Or superstitious inhabitants with burning torches (sorry Steve, couldn't resist).
Captain Sheffield fights - "Scoop On!" - the Human Spoon due to a misunderstanding before teaming up to fight the council, run by a villain not unlike a cross between Dr. Doom and the Red Ghost.
A Claremont script would be best.


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