Amazing Adventures #14 (1972, September)
So, this is my hundredth post. That’s pretty cool. I was going to do something special, but decided not to bother. Oh well. Today’s story is “The Vampire Machine.”
Beast shows up to talk to Iron Man while Iron Man is testing his armour’s maneuverability against hunter missiles. Iron Man is amazed at Beast’s agility, fires a guard who shoots Beast, and Beast is pleased that Iron Man calls him a man twice. As Beast returns home, he thinks about Linda. Linda pays him a visit, and he pretends to be sick. After he gets rid of her, the mystery lady from the previous issue drops by, but he’s fled out the window before she can ring his buzzer. He goes back to the Brand Corporation to retrieve his main disguise, and gets shot at by the guards there. Hank wanders out of the building in his disguise, and Baxter starts to interrogate him. Linda shows up, and he keeps trying to lie about what happened. Baxter insists on knowing where Hank’s been, and Hank says he’s been with Linda. Linda disagrees. The Beast is spotted on the other side of the factory, and Buzz runs off. Hank is angry at Linda for not backing him up, but she says she loves him.
He spends the night in his lab, and sees something in the shadows. He chases after it, and catches Quasimodo. Who’s as idiotic as ever. He’s trying to steal the Beast’s life force. They debate philosophy for a bit. Quasimodo can’t understand why Beast wouldn’t make the logical choice and let Quasimodo take his life force, but Beast says being human is about emotion. Beast keeps trying to make emotional appeals. Quasimodo fires some rivets at him, which penetrate his hide. While he freaks out wondering what happened to his powers, Quasimodo grabs him, and starts draining his life force. When Beast refuses to give up, Quasimodo realizes that he’s wrong, and throws himself from the construction site to kill himself.
The middle of the story’s not bad, with Hank digging himself deeper and deeper into his lies. The fight with Quasimodo was lame. This whole series is pretty weak and forgettable.
More interesting is Avengers #102 (August 1972), 103 (September), and 104 (October), all by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, with a plot suggestion from Chris Claremont for #102. #102 has Starcore One monitoring the sun, and see the Sentinels on their way back to Earth. The Scarlet Witch goes for a walk, and Vision sees her attacked by a Sentinel. He rushes to save her, but the Sentinel siphons his solar energy. Quicksilver bounces off it ineffectually, and the other Avengers show up. The Sentinel flees into a space-warp. In #103, the Avengers are trying to figure out where the Sentinels are. Quicksilver runs back to where he was taken by the Sentinels the last time, but it’s empty. He knows they were there, though, and remembers Larry Trask. He finds and abducts Larry. The Avengers are still looking, and get a call from Peter Corbeau, who’s reporting that some outside force is trying to cause a solar flare. The source is Australia, and time is running out before one wipes out the Earth. They start flying towards Australia, while Quicksilver takes off Trask’s medallion. Trask’s memories come back, and he also realizes the Sentinels are in Australia. The Avengers attack a giant ant-hill, and a pair of Sentinels come out and attack. On a plane heading for Australia, Quicksilver gets Trask to create a space-warp that gets the plane to Australia immediately, but then Trask has visions of the Avengers dying, a solar flare destroying the Earth, and then nothing.
#104 has Quicksilver rushing with Trask towards the Sentinel base. They sneak in through another entramce, while the Avengers battle at the main entrance. Vision takes both Sentinels down in seconds by phasing through them before they can adapt. They make their way down inside. Then we see thepartly-melted Sentinel named Number 2 explaining his plan to the Scarlet Witch. he’s going to use a solar flare to sterilize humanity. Then, once all the humans eventually die off, the Sentinels will just create them in labs, with no mutants. Quicksilver ha managed to get inside, and distracts a Sentinel while he has Trask continue on. Eventually, he simply runs smack into a wall, and the Sentinel hits it behind him, destroying itself. The Avengers encounter Number 2, and are blasted unconscious. He’s stopped from killing them by the Scarlet Witch, freed by Vision. Trask, watching from cover, activates a mutant detector in the room, and the Sentinel starts to glow. So do Trask and the Scarlet Witch. The Sentinel is a mutant, and is destroyed by the other Sentinels. The Sentinels then collapse, with one falling on Trask, killing him. Cool issues, with some very good characterization from Thomas. The Avengers was where he was at his best.
Then, over in Marvel Team-Up #4 from September, by Gerry Conway and Gil Kane, the original X-Men, minus Beast, cameo. Spider-Man finds himself accused of kidnapping a Dr. Jorgenson, who was actually abducted by Morbius. Xavier decides to check it out, and sends his four students out to bring Spider-Man in, peacefully. They find him, but a fight inevitably breaks out. Spider-Man keeps dodging their attacks, until Jean grabs him telekinetically. Scott says they wanted to talk, and Spider-Man passes out. They take him back to Xavier, who scans Spider-Man’s mind, and learns that Morbius is the one they should be chasing. They head out again, and find Morbius. He attacks immediately, scattering them. He grabs Jean to use as a human shield against Scott’s eye beams. Luckily, Scott is a bad-ass, and he simply bounces a blast off a mirror behind Morbius, knocking him out. Jean and Xavier scan Morbius’s mind to find Jorgenson, and bring the doctor and Morbius back to the school. Spider-Man wakes up, and learns about what happened. He thanks Jean by giving her a big kiss on the mouth before jumping through a window to leave. It’s a fun issue.
That’s not quite all. There’s also Sub-Mariner #53, by Bill Everett.Namor has Sunfire rescue the American sailors while Namor himself rights the boat. Then Namor creates a huge whirlpool, giving Sunfire a chance to burn a hole in the bottom of the sea bed that the defoliating agent goes into, before being sealed with another blast from Sunfire. The two of them then break into Dragon-Lord’s base.
And THAT will be all for today.