The Coming Of The Red Wolf

Avengers #80

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #80

Plot Summary

Fighting a torrent of rain, a trench-coated man runs for his life though darkened New York streets. As he stops for a moment his peace is interrupted by a tomahawk burying itself in the telephone pole next to him. The tomahawk’s owner is not far behind, a muscular Native American man in traditional garb accompanied by a large gray wolf. Immediately the man takes off in a terrified run, only for his pursuer to once again take up the hunt. Desperate, the man attempts to shoot his attacker, but to his horror, every shot misses its mark. As the chase continues, the man knocks over an innocent bystander. Fortunately for him, this bystander is no ordinary citizen, but the synthizoid Vision, recently departed from the Avengers. Leaving behind his disguise, Vision follows the pair. Just as the Native American man gets the better of his prey and prepares to throw him into a construction pit, Vision appears and allows the trench coat man to escape. Angered by this turn of events, the mysterious man attacks Vision, but is quickly foiled by the android’s mass phasing abilities. Not knowing what else to do, Vision takes the man and begins to make his way back to Avengers Mansion.

In Avengers Mansion, the team meets to discuss their next mission, going after the reformed criminal organization known as Zodiac. While many of the Avengers including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are on board with this plan, though there are several voices of descent. Black Panther and Scarlet Witch feel that the team should be spending their time on going after more local organized crime instead of chasing around the globe in search of villains in costumes. Just as the discussion begins to become heated, Vision enters with his ward, much to the surprise of the rest of the Avengers. As the man regains consciousness he introduces himself as Red Wolf and without hesitation begins to berate Vision for interfering with his business. Surrounded by the Avengers, Red Wolf is asked to calm down and explain his side of the situation so that the Avengers may get a better idea of what is going on.

On a reservation in the American southwest, a young Native American man watches as his culture is denigrated and made light of, all for the entertainment of white tourists. Though this frustrates him,  he takes solace in secretly watching the Dance of the Red Wolf, a ritual that no tourist has seen. The dance tells the story of Red Wolf, a warrior who came to his people in times of old to lead the people. The legends say he would come again when he was needed most and that he would face those that would stand against him. As time goes on, the child grows up, goes to war and moves to the city to find work. All the while, his people are under threat from Cornelius Van Lunt, an industrialist who demands the Native Americans sell their land to him. Eventually the man returns home, only to find Van Lunt threatening his family for refusing to sell. Later that night his house is shot up by Van Lunt’s men, killing the man’s entire family. In the aftermath, the man staggers away in a near feverish state, eventually making his way to the sacred mountain and performing the Dance of the Red Wolf. When he is finished, the man is visited by the spirit of Red Wolf. The spirit informs the young man that he is the new Red Wolf who was said to come again. After facing off against a wolf and killing it, the man knew what he must do. Returning to New York he began to stalk Van Lunt in search of the men who killed his family. Eventually he discovered that Jason Birch was the man responsible and was hunting him when Vision intervened.

In the present, Vision vows to make amends for his actions and help Red Wolf with his mission to bring Birch to justice. Red Wolf objects to the idea of justice, lacking faith in the white man’s system of justice. This new mission only adds to the disagreement between the Avengers. Eventually two teams take up the different missions while Black Panther ventures out on his own. As the teams head towards their separate objectives Several members begin to wonder if this inability to agree on a mission is the beginning of the end for the Avengers.


Black Panther
Captain America
Iron Man
Scarlet Witch


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