1980 · The 80s

September 1980: Avengers 202 Or when your boss suggests he may threaten to kill you, you may have the wrong job

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Synopsis: Avengers 202 was written by David Michelinie, with art by George Perez and Mike Esposito and opens with Janet (The Wasp) VanDyne crashing through the window of Avengers Mansion. Vision pulls his wife Wanda (Scarlet Witch) Maximoff to the side while the rest of the Avengers try to get out of the way of flying broken glass, the rest of the team being Clint (Hawkeye) Barton, Steven (Captain America) Rogers, Tony (Iron Man) Stark and unofficial team mascot Jocasta. Jan gets up and tells the team of being attacked at her husband’s laboratory by robots who took the materials needed to form adamantium. Iron Man quickly guesses that this means the return of Ultron. Hawkeye mouths off about Jan’s husband Hank (Ant Man/Giant Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket) Pym having created him. Captain America steers the conversation to the realisation that they need to protect the Scarlet Witch, who was the only Avenger to be able to stop Ultron, when his body was coated in adamantium. Vision steps up to protect his wife and the two wander off, while Hawkeye tries to apologise to Wasp for his thoughtless words. As the sun rises, Vision and Scarlet Witch enjoy and slightly odd romantic moment, while Wasp flirts with a training Captain America, while Hawkeye decides he hasn’t been enough of a d**k this issue and mouths off again.

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In his private office, Iron Man realises that he is the person who helped set up Ultron’s recreation. Ultron often uses the technique of hypnotising people to rebuild him, just in case his plans fail. Vision did it before, this time it’s Iron Man. He dictates notes about this, prints a copy and hands it to Jarvis, the Avengers’ housekeeper and butler. His instructions are to give it to Thor, or if Iron Man acts ‘like I’m not, well myself’ to give it to anyone in the mansion, but not give back to Iron Man, even if he threatens to kill him. Right there, RIGHT THERE, you have to wonder about working for that guy. I need you to give this to my friend, if I go crazy, give it to anyone, don’t give it back to me, I may threaten to kill you. Does your boss do this?

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Anyway, day turns to night and Iron Man starts acting not, well himself and the first thing he does is help Jocasta to use her cybernetic senses to track Ultron, he plugs her in to what he says is a de-scrambler and then turns it on. He then goes to the Vision and Scarlet Witch’s room and tells the Vision to check out the foundations. Vision goes immediately and Scarlet Witch wonders why it’s so obvious, not realising that it isn’t, Iron Man knocks her out and takes her to Ultron. As he leaves, he burns the envelope he gave to Jarvis. He drops Scarlet Witch in front of a reborn Ultron.

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Thor arrives and receives the note explaining it all, Jarvis having photocopied it, without reading it, Hawkeye finds the broken Jocasta as the Vision points out that Scarlet Witch has gone. Using some of Iron Man’s technology, the Avengers track Iron Man to Ultron. Before they arrive, Iron Man comes out of his hypnosis and attacks Ultron, not getting very far with that. Wasp flies in to attack Ultron, giving Iron Man time to get back up, Ultron isn’t worried and gloats that no power in the universe can stop him. And that’s when Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor smashes into him.

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The fight after is brutal and Ultron is finally defeated by being coated with adamantium resin, which hardens over all of him, trapping him in an metal shell.

Notes: I liked this issue, it was one of the earliest I remember reading, getting it from a comic mart years ago, the story is one I have a fondness for. George Perez is the Avengers artist for me and his versions of Ultron, Vision, Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye are to my mind definitive. The gaps in the action allow for characterisation, opening up characters and relationships that add depth to this team that often only exists because it does. Vision’s devotion to his wife, Wasps constant flirting and Iron Man’s need for control is all here, even though each gets only a few panels, showing how skilled and concise the writing is.

Ultron is one of the classic Avengers villains, so you already know he will be back at some point but you’re looking forward to what will doubtless be a great story. The only sub-par part of this story is Jocasta, who doesn’t really need to be in it and is taken out quickly as an afterthought. It’s almost like someone had to have it pointed out, that Jocasta was living there at the time. On the whole this was a fun issue in a great Avengers era, accessible, action packed and well worth looking for.

 

Next Time: X-Men again, but this time with TIME TRAVEL!!!

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