Writer – Roger Stern
Artist – John Buscema
The first mutant Namor the Sub-mariner gets the spotlight in this issue. The citizens of New York are divided over Namor’s recent induction into the Avengers. A large protest is held outside of Avengers Mansion where members of Veterans of Foreign Wars praise Namor for his service with the Invaders during World War II, while others haven’t forgotten Namor’s attempt to take over the planet with his fellow Atlanteans.
Jarvis is inside the mansion watching the news of the protest when a newscaster announces that Moonstone has escaped from a federal penitentiary in Vermont. What the Avengers and Jarvis don’t know is that Karla Sofen aka Moonstone is in the crowd of protestors, disguised as a widow of a longshoreman. She tells everyone that her husband was killed by Namor. As Captain America and the rest of the Avengers address the crowd, the protestors cry out for justice and want Namor arrested for murder.
As Moonstone tries to escape from the group of protestors and avoid being seen by the Avengers, she causes a distraction by blasting a helicopter high in the air overhead. Namor flies from the mansion and catches the helicopter in mid-air but is unable to keep it aloft. Captain Marvel flies to help Namor but its too late…the helicopter crashes in Central Park.
The Wasp battles Moonstone and the Avengers try to keep innocent bystanders from being caught in the crossfire. Once Moonstone is captured, Captain America orders Hercules to check the wreckage of the helicopter for survivors. Captain Marvel and Namor are seen waking back to the mansion with the pilot and FBI Agent that was sent to apprehend Moonstone in tow. Both men have minor injuries but are otherwise fine, as the crowd cheers Namor for his heroism.
The issue ends with Moonstone taken into custody and on her way back to prison. The two uniformed officers taking her back to Vermont are revealed to be Absorbing Man and Titania, who have an offer for the supervillain she won’t be able to refuse!
One of my favorite eras of the Avengers is the Stern/Buscema run. The Wasp was chairwoman of the Avengers and Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and the Black Knight (Dane Whitman) got the spotlight they deserved that made them fan favorite heroes for years to come. Add Hercules, who is always ready to rumble, and Avengers cornerstone Captain America and you have one of the best lineups of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
As you can see in this issue, Namor is probably one of the most controversial characters in the Marvel Universe. I compare him to the Big Show (I know there are some wrestling fans out there); one-minute Namor’s a good guy then a bad guy and writers never know what to do with him. I enjoyed the X-men run when he stood alongside his fellow mutants; that is, until he ended up destroying a large part of Wakanda, drawing the ire of T’Challa aka the Black Panther. You will have to tell me if you like Namor as a hero or villain in the comment section.
At the very end of the issue, Namor is called back to Atlantis to fight Attuma, who has taken control of Atlantis and is holding Namor’s friend/love interest hostage. The Black Knight thinks to himself that he is unable to stop Namor by himself. This dangling plot thread is both interesting yet confusing because I had thought all the Avengers had accepted Namor into the fold. I guess ill have to track down the next couple issues to see how this plot point is resolved.
Next Issue – BREAKAWAY! It’s Wasp and Paladin against The Grey Gargoyle! Meanwhile, supervillains are being sprung from prisons all over the country! Featuring Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Hercules!