Avengers (1st series) #102

Issue Date: 
August 1972
Story Title: 
What to Do Till the Sentinels Come!

Roy Thomas (writer), Rich Buckler (artist), Joe Sinnott (inker), Sam Rosen (letterer)
From an idea suggested by Chris Claremont

Brief Description: 

The Vision goes to a clandestine meeting with the Grim Reaper. Surprisingly, the villain considers the Vision him to be his brother, as he shares the brainwaves of his brother, Simon Williams, and offers to transfer the Vision’s mind into Wonder Man’s body, if he will stand back while the Reaper destroys the Avengers. The Vision refuses but is somewhat tempted, as he could admit his love for the Scarlet Witch as a human. He takes the medallion the Reaper gives him to contact him but claims he will consider it only a memento. Back at Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye makes advances to the Scarlet Witch and kisses her, just as the Vision returns. Unnoticed, the Vision leaves. He doesn’t witness how Wanda turns Hawkeye down, because she is in love with the Vision. In the meantime, the solar observation station Starcore One notices strange objects coming from the sun and moving toward Earth. They notify Gamma Base who are trying to keep a lid on the news. Nevertheless, it gets out and, while the Scarlet Witch goes for a late night stroll in Central Park, the other Avengers learn about the mystery. Wanda, in the meantime, is attacked and about to be abducted by a Sentinel. Looking out of the window, the Vision sees that, shouts a warning to the others and flies off to help the Scarlet Witch. Unfortunately, the Sentinel quickly adapts to his powers and siphons off his solar energy. The other Avengers cannot best the Sentinel either, especially as Thor and Iron Man have to hold back to not injure the Wanda. Quicksilver offers himself instead of his sister but is rebuffed. The Sentinel teleports away with his prisoner. Quicksilver berates his fellow Avengers and vows he will find his sister alone.

Full Summary: 

Manhattan’s Lower East Side:
A not so nice neighbourhood through which the Vision walks at night. Two men attack, one with a knife. Not even breaking his stride, the Vision phases, the knife passes through him and he walks on. Not getting the message, the one would-be mugger is angry. The Vision ´walks into a dead end. They follow to see that he has vanished.

They don’t know that he phased through the wall into a frozen food locker. He senses he is not alone and orders the person to step from the shadows. No need for melodramatics, the person replies and reveals himself as the Grim Reaper. When that unsigned letter came, he half suspected, the Vision muses aloud. Not all that astute, the Reaper laughs. Who else should ask the Vision to meet him alone in this godforsaken place – but his beloved brother.

No man is his brother, the Vision announces, least of all he! Now state his purpose before— Purpose? The same one that has haunted his dreams for years, the villain replies darkly. His desire to destroy the Avengers, each and every one! With the Vision’s kind assistance, of course.

He dares think he might be persuaded to join such an enterprise? the Vision shouts. Then surely he is as mad as ever! The Reaper hisses at him not to call him mad and fires an energy blast from his scythe at the Vision. Does he make himself clear? Clear enough, the Vision decides, to assure him that his assessment was correct. Clear enough that he will never leave this place without him!

He risked too much coming here, the Reaper announces. He will not be stopped by his own brother!

Brother; again that word. And perhaps the Vision could fell the Grim Reaper if he lashed out with a vengeful fist, but instead he stops short, uses rather the heat-beams which feed on the solar battery within and they are not enough. Rays leap out from the Reaper’s formidable scythe, neutralize those heat beams in mid air, and the moment fades. As he sees he cannot defeat him, will he join him instead, brother? the Reaper asks.

The Vision announces he is an android, a thing of plastoid flesh… synthetic blood. Why does he persist in calling him brother? How could they ever be anything more than implacable foes? Because they already are more, the Reaper replies and melts the wall behind him with his scythe to reveal the lifeless yet preserved body of Simon Williams aka Wonder Man in a stasis tube. Simon’s brain patterns formed the basis of the Vision’s artificial mind. He was his brother and so - like it or not - is the Vision. Join him and he can transfer the Vision’s mind into that body – and make it live again.

The Vision hesitates, probing his inner depths. He tries to recall what it was like to be human and cannot. And then he thinks of the Scarlet Witch.

The Reaper sees he is mulling it over and warns him not to mull too long. Even his patience is not without limits. He’ll make it easy on him just to expedite matters: He won’t expect the Vision to help him destroy the Avengers – merely to stand aside and do nothing while he annihilates them.

Logically, the Vision points out, if this is true, what prevents him from capturing the Reaper here and now, then seize his former human shell? The Reaper grins that the brother of an inventive genius like Simon Williams is not without resources. Take the body with his blessings, but half an hour from now it will disintegrate. In short: it is booby-trapped to the hilt. He tells him to decide: are they allies – brothers even? Or does he continue to walk among humans who fear and despise him? Will he join him?

No, no! the Vision cries and turns away. The Reaper expected this response but is sure he will see things differently soon. He thinks not, the Vision replies coolly. Now, if they have no different business to conclude—

The Reaper gives him a black medallion with a skull and crossbones symbol. With it they can communicate if he has a change of heart. The Vison decides it seems harmless enough and wants to keep it as a memento. The Reaper tells him only to deceive himself but never him. They depart, but the Reaper cries he will be begging for this.

The Vision exits through the same wall he entered. Outside, the muggers are still waiting. As they threaten him, he begins to finally notice them and steps out of the shadows. They finally notice his face and realize they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. He phases his fists into their torsos and solidifies them briefly, causing them agony. Then, he walks on.

In Avengers Mansion, the Scarlet Witch steps out of the shower and gets dressed in her costume, her thoughts on the Vision. She goes to relieve Hawkeye on monitor duty. He considers sticking around. She greets him coolly. Is that any way to greet the future father of her little witchbrood? he jokes. He’s always dug her and he thinks it’s time they let it all hang out. She agrees. That’s why she’s got to tell him… He shushes her and kisses her on the lips.

That moment, the Vision steps in, unnoticed by either. Quickly and silently he leaves, never seeing that Hawkeye stops the kiss, because Wanda isn’t kissing him back. That’s what she tried to tell him. She’s in love with the Vision. Clint is shocked and for a moment about to give a sarcastic retort. Then he looks into her sad eyes and walks away, saying nothing.

The UN sun watch station Starcore One, built by Dr Peter Corbeau:
The scientists aboard get signals of some large, moving mass, orbiting close to the sun. They figure it’s an instrument error, like the previous alerts. However, on the visi-scanner, they briefly see shapes moving away from the sun and heading towards Earth. They realize they must report this.

And the Sentinels head toward Earth…

Starcore calls the base known as Hulkbuster and informs them. General Ross decides to keep a lid on this. If the newsboys get hold of this too soon, they’ll have e a panic on their hands.

But it’s hard to keep a free press down and so at 11 PM Iron Man, Thor, Quicksilver and Hawkeye catch the news report, about despite official denials something heading to Earth from the sun. Pietro wonders aloud how the newsman learned what he did. Maybe his third cousin’s married to Jack Anderson’s sister, Hawkeye quips. Who cares? Quicksilver agrees. The important thing is the source of the strange shapes reported by Starcore. The sun itself, he muses. He wonders if— then he tells himself it isn’t possible. Thor presses but Pietro shakes it of. It was just a passing memory.

The Vision phases into the room. Hawkeye sharply asks him why he is prowling around the city, not telling anyone. The Vision reminds him that they are all free agents. He owes no one an explanation or apology. Pietro tells him Hawkeye is merely feeling a bit tense.

A newsflash: Under pressure because of the security leak and by special request of the UN, Starcore One has released a photo. Identification of the shapes is still impossible. However, scientists calculate they will reach the atmosphere in three days.

Quicksilver’s thoughts are no longer on the newscast but speed back to some time ago.

To the hidden headquarters of the Sentinels that had been reactivated by their creator’s son, Larry Trask. They had captured several mutants, among them Quicksilver and his sister, and even the X-Men proved no match for them. Hadn’t the Sentinels vanished at last into the heart of the sun? he recalls. Perhaps the X-Men could— but no. There has been no trace of them for months. For surely that shagged Beast reported recently is not the loquacious X-Man of the same name.

Should he tell his fellow Avengers of his half-formed fears, ask to be protected… hidden? His pride won’t allow that. So he says nothing.

Wanda joins them, dressed to the nines in a red mini-dress. She jokingly tells them to leave a talk show on for her when she returns. Her brother asks her if she intends to go walking in Central Park at night, dressed like this? She reminds him he promised not to mother her anymore. Besides, the day the Scarlet Witch can’t fend off a mugger the police had better get bodyguards.

Pietro asks the Vision to talk to her.  Perhaps she will listen to him. But the android refuses. It is not his place to meddle in the affairs of humans. What can an android claim to know about such things?

Thor believes that in every way but the body the Vision is human. The Vision wonders and there are moments when he wishes he truly knew. Iron Man decides they have to start their monthly meeting without Captain America. He has an early morning meeting with Tony Stark. The walk off, sure the pensive Vision will join them shortly.

The Vision looks after Wanda, wishing he could tell her of his feelings. Wanda too is lost in thoughts of the Vision, so lost she doesn’t even notice the flying black shape, which flits across the moon’s face. But the Vision does. He tells Jarvis to summon the others and send them to the Park, then he flies outside, but too late. Already the giant robot appears behind the pensive Wanda and grabs her.

Avengers HQ:
Cap arrives late to see everybody rush out. There’s trouble in the park with Wanda, Hawkeye informs him.

In the park, the Vision fires energy beams at the robot. The captured Scarlet Witch warns him the Sentinel will be able to adapt to his powers. He can’t stop it. No one can!

Indeed, the Sentinel quickly analyzes its foe: an android of highly special design. Three decades old, later modifications by addition of solar battery. It observes a slight weakening in its foe due to the use of the heat blast. It siphons off the Vision’s remaining solar battery and the Vision falls depleted.

The Sentinel turns to leave with its captive but Quicksilver arrives and strikes it with a somersault at superspeed from behind, though the strike has not much effect. Wanda shouts at her brother to flee. The weak Vision tells Pietro they must combine their powers. Only by cold calculation can they defeat the robot. Pietro doesn’t buy it. He is Wanda’s brother and blood is thicker than plastic!

The rest of the team joins them just as the Sentinel swats the Vision aside. The android sinks down into the lake and the Sentinel blasts at Quicksilver. Pietro realizes it will adapt itself to his speed, so the Avengers mustn’t give the robot that time.

The others attack the robot while Wanda shouts at them to save themselves. The robot announces its mission is completed - it is time to leave with the female. Pietro pleads with it to take him along then as well. As the Sentinel takes off, it replies its orders were for one mutant only. It calls someone named Number Two. It is primed for ultra-linear leap. A moment later, it disappears with the Scarlet Witch in some sort of space time warp.

Iron Man asks Pietro what that was. A Sentinel. They sought to capture all mutants, but they never had the power simply to vanish. Thor regrets that he and Iron Man didn’t dare unleash their full power, for Wanda’s sake.

Yes, Wanda, the Vision groans as he climbs out of the water. Must help her— Cap helps him up and the Vision assures him he is all but indestructible, but his energy was drained away. He needs a new solar charge.

Cap puts a hand on Pietro’s shoulder and tells the young mutant he mustn’t blame himself. They’ll head back to the mansion and devise a plan to find Wanda.

Plan? Pietro shouts and shakes off Cap’s hand. He wants no part of their moronic plans! What good did their precious Avengers plans Wanda do when one lone Sentinel came for her? They call them the mighty Avengers – what a joke! When his sister’s life might have hung in the balance, they could do nothing! He turns away. Vision tells the others to come. He will join them in his own good time.

Will he? Pietro shouts and decides he will find Wanda himself. He will track the Sentinels to their lair. And when he has tracked them down he’ll—he’ll… He sinks down, as if he cannot believe it himself.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision (all Avengers)

Scientists aboard Starcore One
General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross
Staff of Gamma Base

Grim Reaper

Corpse of Wonder Man

Story Notes: 

Wonder Man died in issue #9.

Starcore One was introduced in Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #148.

Jack Northman Anderson was an American newspaper columnist and is considered one of the fathers of modern investigative journalism. 

This is a sequel to the Sentinels story from X-Men (1st series) #57-59.

Actually, the Beast in Amazing Adventures is the Beast from the X-Men, but he was physically mutated.

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