Hey everybody! Welcome back to another installment in Ye Olde School Café! This time around, we’ll be checking out one of Marvel’s all time greatest Avengers stories! In 1968 there was a transition at Marvel. Young guns like Roy Thomas were beginning to take the reigns more, as Stan Lee stepped back slightly from writing. Roy would eventually take over as Editor in Chief, but step down to go back to writing and editing, which is his passion.
One of his earliest masterpieces is found in Avengers #57-58. This first appearance of a certain android was a magnificent spectacle that has garnered much praise over the years, and deservedly so. Now, without further interruption, let us journey back to 1968 and relive this classic tale by Roy ‘The Boy’ Thomas, ‘Big’ John Buscema, George Klein, and Sam Rosen!
As a light rainfall descends on New York City, a colorful figure moves across the sky. This shape is on a mission, and as it reaches its destination the Wasp and Pym conclude an early evening together. Hank tells Jan to get some sleep while he heads back to the lab for more work. As he leaves, she gets angry that he’d rather spend the night with test tubes than her. Mere seconds after he leaves, though, she gets more action than she bargained for! The spectral form that was watching from the window enters and attacks her without warning. She tries to escape, but cannot. Just as her tormentor is closing in on her, it crumbles to the ground in some sort of painful seizure.
Down on the street, Hank gets a signal from upstairs that there’s trouble, so he grows to Giant Man size to investigate. Once he gets there, Jan tells him what happened, and they take her assailant to Avengers HQ. At the moment over at HQ, Hawkeye and Black Widow are having a spat over her dealings with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Black Panther is also making his way to headquarters, but stops to foil a robbery on his way. After everyone is gathered together, Hank performs tests on this “synthezoid.” He discovers little before it awakens, and a brawl begins. We soon see that Ultron is behind this attack, and that he also has a back-up plan should his synthezoid fail.
As this synthetic man leads the Avengers to his home, they soon find out that this is a trap, and a good one at that! Pym immediately gets captured, but Black Panther, Hawkeye, Wasp, and Vision are still free. They squabble amongst themselves, but then the Vision decides to phase through the walls to find their tormentor. He does, and then the two artificial beings wage war. Ultron gets the upper hand, and hurls Vision into a vat of pure energy. Vision quickly turns intangible, though, and Ultron is stunned at his mastery over his abilities. Ultron gets so angry he leaps at Vision, who once again turns intangible, and Ultron falls into the vat, and a huge explosion seemingly destroys him.
Later, as a child roams around, he finds the head of Ultron. It seems lifeless, so the kid kicks it around like a tin can, then discards it in a pile of refuse. The head then seems to flicker as if not quite dead yet.
As the next day is upon them, the Avengers are back together, as a whole, and the Vision asks to join the team. The members that have seen him in action, are fine with it, but Cap, Thor, and Iron Man want to know if he can cut it. The three attack Vision, and soon find out that he’s up to the task. He is then inducted into the membership of the team.
They all want to help Vision know more of his origins, so they determine that Pym was the last person known to have worked on such things, and they depart for his old laboratory. To their amazement, it has been restored from rubble to its working status. Hank then tells Jan to hit a switch, while he climbs into a memory machine. It reveals that Hank was working on such a project, and that his robot betrayed him. They then theorize that his robot is the one that came back here, and has been working in secret. They also notice that something, one thing, is missing from the lab. The memory tapes of Simon Williams!
Hawkeye questions who that is, and Iron Man recounts the first time they met Wonder Man, and how it almost cost them their lives. He was in league with Baron Zemo, The Enchantress, and the Executioner, and after being set-up, they were almost killed by them in battle. Vision now knows that he isn’t a real man, but a synthetic being, with the brain patterns of a now dead Simon Williams, A.K.A. Wonder Man. The team then heads back to HQ, and gives Vision a full welcome to the team. He’s so overcome with all of this, he retreats to the outside of the complex, and begins to weep. Even an android can cry….
Anyone that’s a fan of Marvel comics knows this story. It’s a classic and is worth revisiting once in a while, no doubt about it! Check back in two weeks, as I’ll be focusing on another great one from Roy Thomas! See you then!