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.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Lo! The Lethal Legion

Avengers #79

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #79

Plot Summary

In Avengers Mansion, reserve members Iron Man and Thor arrive, responding to the emergency summons of their fellow Avengers. The pair can only surmise that something major must be happening based on the grim expressions on everyone’s faces. With pleasantries out of the way Captain America declares that the team must stand together or else they will almost certainly fall. Noting that Black Panther is missing, Cap recalls the attack he suffered at the hands of M’Baku and the solo mission on which Black Panther embarked. Based on the available evidence the Avengers are forced to conclude that they face not just one villain but a cabal of such rogues. Before the Avengers can formulate a plan, Scarlet Witch points out that Black Panther has recently begun teaching at a local school and that classes were about to start in a few short minutes. Quickly donning a disguise, Vision volunteers to inform the schools administration that Black Panther’s alias, Luke Charles, will not be in class today. As the synthazoid departs, Iron Man wonders if the villains were having a similar meeting in which the fate of the Avengers was being decided.

Little does Iron Man realize how correct he really is. Though they are meeting in similar fashion, the Lethal Legion fill the room with their contempt for one another. Melodramatically grandstanding in front of the others, Grim Reaper attempts to remind the assembled villains that it was he who was responsible for the formation of their team. Reaper takes things a step too far when he claims credit for the capture of Black Panther and Monica Lynn. M’Baku promptly interrupts Reaper and demands to know why they have yet to kill Black Panther. Grim Reaper responds that it would be much more fitting that all the Avengers die together and proceeds to give orders to the rest of the team in preparation for ambushing the Avengers in their mansion. With this the villains depart.

Almost the moment Grim Reaper leaves the room, the force field imprisoning Black Panther and Monica Lynn disappears. Not waiting for an explanation to the fortuitous event, Black Panther smashes his way out of the restraints and begins to scour the base for a transmitter in order to warn the Avengers of the imminent attack. Managing to contact his teammates, he informs the Avengers of the Prometheus Priority alert. Just as he finishes explaining the situation to the Avengers, Black Panther’s transmission is cut off by Grim Reaper. Unknown to the Avenger, Reaper had set him up and allowed him to escape and contact the Avengers as part of his master plan. While Black Panther lands pummeling blows on Grim Reaper, the deadly villain reveals that he has been training and preparing. To back up his words, Grim Reaper unexpectedly gases Panther and Monica Lynn in to unconsciousness.

At Andrew Jackson High School, Vision arrives to complete his mission. Although he successfully covers for Black Panther in his absence, his visage isn’t quite as convincing as he believed and his chilling, inhuman voice leaves the secretary haunted and flustered.

In the sewers beneath Avengers Mansion Goliath and Scarlet Witch begin their search for the villains they know to be lurking. Unfortunately for them, the pair of Swordsman and Power Man lay in waiting, using a high intensity light beam to blind the heroic duo. Although Power Man is able to take advantage of Goliath’s momentary disability, Scarlet Witch uses Swordsman’s voice to locate him and rain down hex bolts on him. As Goliath regains his sight he is able to turn the tables on Power Man and the villains find themselves on the verge of defeat until Swordsman gases the heroes.

Meanwhile, Captain America and Quicksilver explore the power station. The Avengers suddenly find themselves under attack from M’Baku and the Living Laser. While Cap and M’Baku square off in a rematch of their earlier encounter, the Living Laser attempts to demolish Quicksilver. Unable to keep up with Quicksilver, Living Laser gets lucky when debris from his attacks manages to trip up Quicksilver, removing him from the fight. Meanwhile Cap is overwhelmed when M’Baku uses damaged equipment to shatter the hydraulic generators behind Cap, nearly drowning the star-spangled Avenger.

Returning to their lair, the Lethal Legion imprisons the disabled Avengers within a mammoth hourglass. The hourglass is then slowly filled with a toxic vapor as Grim Reaper watches excitedly, vengeance for the death of his brother so close at hand. As the vapors continue to collect, Power Man returns dragging Vision along with him. The Legionnaires decide to throw him in with the others, hoping he would also die. Along with Vision, Power Man returns with secret files about each of the Avengers. As Grim Reaper reads the files, he discovers that Vision’s brain pattern is based on that of his deceased brother, Wonder Man. Panicking and terrified of losing his brother yet again, Grim Reaper smashes open the hourglass, saving the heroes. As Vision crawls out, gasping for air, M’Baku realizes that Vision is not who he seems to be, but is in fact Power Man. His cover blown, Vision abandons his Power Man disguise and attacks, shattering Swordsman’s sword. Soon the rest of the Avengers join the fight, admitting they were playing along. Black Panther’s use of the Prometheus Priority informed the Avengers that they were walking into traps and as such they were prepared. With the Lethal Legion defeated, Vision stuns the Avengers by announcing his departure from the team. His feelings of alienation and lack of humanity have finally caught up with him and Vision must go and find his place in the universe.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Grim Reaper
Living Laser
Man-Ape
Power Man
Swordsman