The first thing that strikes you about this issue is that it's inked not only by Tom Palmer but also by Neal Adams and Alan Weiss, giving it a more rough-hewn look than we've grown used to. For some of us this is a good thing. Pleasing though Neal Adams' efforts have been so far, I can't deny I've found the look of it all a little too smooth and polished for my liking. A few rough edges certainly go down well for some of us right now.
Not going down so well for the Avengers is what's happened to their missing colleagues. Deciding it's time they finally got proactive, they take to Hyper-Space in a ship borrowed from SHIELD and powered by Thor's hammer. So, it's off to the Andromeda Galaxy to kick some skrull butt.
This is of course insane, the idea that one dinky little shipful of people - even super-powered ones - could take on an entire galactic empire. Then again the Fantastic Four did the same thing in Fantastic Four #37, when they were out to find the killer of Sue and Johnny Storm's father, so at least there's a precedent for it.
Sadly, the Avengers don't get as far as the Fantastic Four did and're soon greeted by a vast skrull invasion fleet headed for Earth. Adams' full page depiction of that fleet is one of the visual highlights of the issue - as is his depiction of the skrulls, stopping just short of total caricature.
In no mood to stand and gawp, the Avengers attack the skrull flagship, while, fed up of being subtle, the skrulls launch a bomb-laden vessel on a mission to destroy the Earth. On the kree home world, the captive Rick Jones gets to meet the Intelligence Supreme and then, thanks to being flung into the Negative Zone by him, gets to re-meet Annihilus. As the issue draws to its close, it seems things are not looking good for any of our heroes.
Most memorable moment of the tale is of course the one depicted on the cover as, in a fit of a temper over the abduction of the Scarlet Witch, the Vision tries to beat a skrull to death. I suppose you do have to ask whether it's actually possible to beat a skrull to death. Bearing in mind their shape-changing powers, wouldn't they just absorb the impact of the blows, as Mr Fantastic does?
Regardless, with the Avengers nowhere near where they need to be, the Earth about to be blown up, the Intelligence Supreme pulling strings all over the place and Rick Jones about to be killed by a giant grasshopper, it seems everything's moved into place ready for the grand finale and I can't wait to see how Neal Adams handles that one.
Top of the Pops: 15th December, 1977.
5 months ago