Avengers (1st series) #103

Issue Date: 
September 1972
Story Title: 
The Sentinels are Alive and Well!

Roy Thomas (writer / editor), Rich Buckler (artist), Joe Sinnott (inker), Sam Rosen (letterer)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers manage to find out only little about the Sentinels without Quicksilver’s help. Peter Corbeau finally contacts them and lets them know that something, presumably the Sentinels, is creating hourly dangerous sunflares. The origin is a basis in the Australian Outback. He asks them to hurry, as the next flare might destroy human life. Rick Jones shows up and asks to come along but is gently rebuffed by Cap. Thanks to Tony Stark’s modifications of the Quinjet, it can be powered by Mjolnir and arrives in the Outback in under an hour. They find the Sentinels base but are immediately attacked by two Sentinels, which adapt to the Avengers’ powers and attacks. Meanwhile, Quicksilver has raced to the Sentinels’ base in New York, to find it empty. He recalls when he and Wanda where there the last time after the X-Men tricked the Sentinels and Judge Chalmers had freed the mutant prisoners. Chalmers mentioned living in Long Island. Hoping that this will give him some hint as to where Larry Trask, son of the Sentinels’ creator, is he runs to Chalmers’ home, to find Trask is his houseguest. However, he is also an amnesiac. Over Chalmers’ protests, Pietro kidnaps Larry. Noting he still wears the same medallion and that it seems to weaken Pietro’s power, he tears it off and Larry begins to remember enough to reveal his father built a second Sentinel base in Australia. Pietro uses his Avengers’ status to charter a plane and asks if Larry can somehow hook onto the Sentinels’ teleportation beam. Incredibly he can and soon they are flying over Australia. However, with his memories, Larry’s mutant powers are returning as well, precognitive visions that show that the Sentinels’ next flare will destroy Earth.

Full Summary: 

The Sentinels are alive and well! Iron Man grimly announces to his teammates, the only question is why have they returned and where are they hiding? Thor and Hawkeye tell him not to be so melodramatic and wish for the return of Captain America and the Vision, who luckily show up that very moment with the intel they could gather from SHIELD.

Iron Man tells them it’s useless. His employer Ton Stark prepared SHIELD’s data from expert testimony. Only, as far as the Sentinels are concerned, there don’t seem to be any experts.

So what does he suggest? Captain America snaps. If he’s got a better idea on how to find those metalloid monsters, not to mention rescue the Scarlet Witch from them, they’ll be happy to have him share it. He guesses he had that coming, Iron Man sighs. It’s just, despite the lack of hard evidence, he finds himself thinking that more than even Wanda’s life is at stake. He can’t help fearing that the whole planet is on the brink of imminent disaster. He’s putting into words what they’ve all been thinking, Cap admits. What has the Vision to say? Noting until he’s formulated a hypothesis. Bully for him, Iron Man snaps, but they mere mortals have to be a bit more pragmatic. What’s more, the one Avenger who might have an idea why Wanda was captured and not he is Pietro and his chair is empty. Where is Quicksilver?

Quicksilver races at superspeed along the New York State Thruway, one man shouts an anti-mutant slur at him. “Mutant!” No matter what he and Wanda do, Pietro thinks bitterly, they are still tarred with that unthinking brush. Help the Avengers save the world a hundred times! Let people sleep easier who have earned no sleep, they still have nothing but hatred for them.

He arrives at his destination, the once secret HQ of the Sentinels, but finds it empty. He refuses to sink to despair. He is an Avenger. The chamber is empty but they were here, he concludes. He can see their recent presence in the glass cylinders they removed. In trails of unsettled dust and scratches on the metal floor. They’ve taken all that away with them But why and where? He tries to remember when last he and Wanda were here…  and the others…

The mutant prisoners were encased immobile in those glass cylinders. The X-Men had left. While Larry Trask sat there unmoving, Judge Chalmers pressed a button to release the mutant captives.

Some were less grateful than others. Villains like the Blob wanted to do some violence. Quicksilver warned them that he and his sister were ready to oppose them. Mastermind tattled that the Scarlet Witch had lost her power for the nonce and Pietro alone is no match for them. Luckily, the Toad intervened, claiming that he had no love for Pietro and Wanda either. But what do they gain by fighting each other when all of humanity hates them as well?

Judge Chalmers shouted at them to listen to the Toad, while he put his hand protectively on Larry’s shoulder. For all they know, the authorities could already be on their way. He freed them so they could go! He begged them to do so.

The villains agreed. Only the Toad wished to leave with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, instead of with other Brotherhood members.

The twins whispered to each other as they noticed feeling weakness whenever they came close to Larry Trask and wondered why.

Pietro asked Chalmers if they could take him and Larry somewhere. Chalmers thanked him and replied they would make it back to Long Island under their own steam.

Pietro decides if any person knows where the Sentinels might have moved the devices from this place it would be the son of their creator. He will help him or regret it! he vows.

Once Pietro recalled Chalmers lived in Long Island, it wasn’t hard to find out his address.  Soon, he reaches his mansion.

Inside, Larry Trask is getting out of the swimming pool, still wearing his ubiquitous medallion. In his study, he joins Judge Chalmers, who asks his houseguest if he enjoyed his swim. Larry did, but it didn’t do what Chalmers wanted it to do. It didn’t erase Larry’s desire to… remember things. For both their sakes, pray that it does, Chalmers implores him.

That moment, Quicksilver breaks in through the window. Larry doesn’t recognize him. Chalmers shouts he wants Larry but he’s not going to get him while Chalmers is alive! He points a gun at Quicksilver, who replies that, if Chalmers has deduced that much from the TV reports, then he knows he means Larry no harm. He only wants to talk to him – to ask him—Chalmers cuts him off. It is dangerous, so he will ask him nothing. He doesn’t want to use this gun—Then don’t! Pietro replies and disarms him with a quick karate chop at superspeed. He grabs Larry and runs off. The police only see him speed away and wonder why an Avenger would kidnap the judge’s permanent houseguest.

At Avengers Mansion, Captain America contacts Nick Fury, director of SHIELD, who had his people try and gather intel on the Sentinels. But they have nothing to report. They are planning something big, Cap worries. Iron Man interrupts them, as he is getting a message directly from Starcore Satellite.

Vision heads to join them, his thoughts not on the danger of the Sentinels but on the Scarlet Witch, the girl the android has dared to love. And one more thing: the megalomaniac ranting of the so-called Grim Reaper, a hate-maddened foe who claims to be also a brother. He remembers the Reaper’s offer: He told the Vision to stand aside when he’d kill the Avengers and he’d make him human again. Refuse and remain an android forever! He looks at the medallion the Reaper gave him through which he can contact him, but he did decide and the answer was ‘No’. And that’s irrevocable, isn’t it?

He joins the others and asks if there is news. The word is ‘standby,’ Iron Man replies, but the caller is Peter Corbeau himself.

The creator of Starcore informs them he is in direct contact with Starcore and the situation is dire. Something is wrong with the sun, fatally wrong. Some outside force is trying to provoke a nova-form resonance pattern in the sun’s energy field. In short: trying to blow it up or create a solar flare of fantastic intensity. Already it’s induced flares, which shoot several million miles into space, though none powerful enough to harm the Earth – yet. Using its tracking equipment, Starcore has found the origin of the outside force. The flare-inducing beam comes from some agency based in the Great Australian Desert. Every hour on the hour, a new flare is evoked and the next one could be the one to eradicate all organic life on Earth!

So much for the weather report, Hawkeye jokes. Early morning solar flares followed by nothing. Iron Man orders him to help Jarvis prep the Quinjet. Hawkeye protests they aren’t fast enough. Iron Man tells him to just do it. Cap gets his plan The Quinjet might not be able to make it to Australia in under an hour on its own steam but it might with the help of a certain Asgardian and his stormtossing hammer…

That moment, their friend Rick Jones comes running in. Cap thought he had a concert date. Shove the concert date! Rick replies. He heard the news about the solar flares. He figured the Avengers would get in on the act and Jarvis told him the rest. So make room, they got themselves another passenger!

Cap and Iron Man refuse. They might have their toughest fight ahead of them and can’t protect him. Protect him? Rick shouts. They got to be kidding! A few weeks ago, he conquered the whole freakin’ universe! He zapped the Kree and the Skrulls all by his lonesome!

Cap reminds him that was a oneshot deal with the help of an alien supermind. The fact remains Rick doesn’t have any superpower— Neither does he, Rick retorts. And take away Hawkeye’s bow and arrows, and what have you got? A guy who could still take Rick over his knee, Clint Barton shoots back, so zip it! Cap admonishes Clint and tells Rick they have to go. He has to understand. He’ll try real hard, Rick replies bitterly, but don’t hold your breath waiting.

Soon the Quinjet is on its way. Installed within is a device rigged by Tony Stark for emergencies only, powered by Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir.

Thousands of miles away, Quicksilver has stopped running and confronts Larry Trask. He demands to learn all Larry knows of the Sentinels. The amnesiac Larry replies he has never heard of them. Quicksilver again feels a weakness close to Larry, then notices the amulet he is still wearing. He tears it off and Larry begins to scream. The sights… the sounds… take them away! he pleads. Quicksilver holds the amulet out of his reach. Larry announces he must have it or he sees things!

That is precisely what he must do! Pietro informs him. If he cannot see where his sister lies, then he wants him to remember the Sentinels…

Remember? Larry asks. Pietro reminds him that his father created the Sentinels to hunt down mutants. But he died by their hand and Larry carried on his evil work. Now they are back and he must tell him where they are hiding. Larry tries and then with a look of horror on his face he remembers. He remembers reading his father’s notes, how he had the Sentinels prepare two secret bases, one in New York and one in Australia.

Horrified, Pietro realizes that, if Larry is right, they may never reach them in time to save Wanda. He hands him the amulet, grabs him and orders him to pray that they do, for if she dies he swears by every god that ever was so will the son of the creator of the Sentinels!

In the meantime, the Thor-propelled Quinjet has reached the Australian Outback. The Avengers suddenly bail out of the flying Quinjet, which explodes moments later. The Vision announces the invisible ray that hit the Quinjet and began to roast them alive can only have come from the mountain below them. Iron Man compares it to the movie “Them.” It looks like a giant anthill. Yet teeming not with insects, but super-powered Sentinels, Thor fears as they land.

Iron Man is itching for a rematch. Uncharacteristically cautious, Hawkeye reminds everybody they did poorly against one Sentinel. Thor agrees. They need a plan. There is no time for that! the Vision decides and flies ahead to reconnoiter.

He is above the hill when a giant hand reaches up and traps the Vision. The Sentinel analyzes him and assumes he is the same android that earlier attacked Number Five. It adapts and the Vision finds he cannot phase through the robot’s hand.

Iron Man fires a thermal blast, which frees the Vision. He too finds that the Sentinel is quickly adapting. Hawkeye fires a vibro-shaft arrow, which gives the Sentinel pause though another Sentinel joins it.

While Cap looks after the Vision, Hawkeye is about to fire another arrow. Thor warns him the second Sentinel shares the first one’s knowledge and will adapt, but already the first one has adapted to the vibro-shaft and fires a blast almost hitting Cap.

Meanwhile, Pietro and Larry are on a plane far away, which Quicksilver commandeered from JFK with his Avengers ID. The pilot tells him nothing short of a miracle will allow them to reach Down Under land in the time he wishes. Pietro orders him to keep flying the plane at maximum speed while he sees if any miracles are in the offing.

He turns to Larry and asks if he is ready. Larry is hesitant. He doesn’t remember his father’s Sentinels as having any space-warp powers like Pietro told him about. And, even if they did, he doesn’t see how non-Sentinels could latch onto them. But it’s their only chance.

Larry Trask concentrates on the very idea of a space-warp and suddenly he senses something happening. They and the plane are wrenched… elsewhere.

He did it! Pietro marvels. He somehow mentally intercepted whatever beam is emitted by their power source. What’s wrong? he asks as Larry holds his head and shouts his brain is on fire. He remembers everything now. How he is really a mutant, how his father protected him from the Sentinels and his memory with that strange amulet. But now that he does remember his mutant power will come back, the mutant power he can’t bear to live with!

What power? Pietro demands. He can see the future, Larry groans. And his curse is that he can’t turn it off. He can see mere minutes into the future, where he sees the Sentinel called Number Two blasting Quicksilver’s fellow Avengers to atoms! He sees a little farther. It’s too much! he screams. He sees one great final sunflare striking Earth and he sees Earth destroyed! And now he sees nothing but blackness all around. But what else can he expect to see after the end of the world?

Trask breaks down into sobs and Pietro too would perhaps cry, had he not things to do…

Characters Involved: 

Captain America,  Hawkeye, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Thor ,Vision (all Avengers)
Rick Jones

Larry Trask
Judge Robert Chalmers


On computer screen:
Peter Corbeau
Nick Fury

In memories:
Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch

Judge Robert Chalmers
Larry Trask
Blob, Mastermind, Toad, Unus

Story Notes: 

The flashback is from around X-Men (1st series) #59-60

The Vision met the Grim Reaper last issue.

Rick shortly gained powers thanks to the Supreme Intelligence during the Kree-Skrull War.

Rick is next seen in Captain Marvel.

Logic? Larry Trask’s medallion weakens Quicksilver’s power when he stands close to him, but does not when Pietro carries him around and is therefore actually closer to Larry and the medallion.

Written By: