Avengers (1st series) #172

Issue Date: 
June 1978
Story Title: 
Holocaust in New York Harbor!

Jim Shooter (writer/editor), Sal Buscema (breakdowns ), Klais Janson finishes), Phil Rache (colorist), Denise Wohl (letterer)

Brief Description: 

After the Avengers beat Ultron, Captain America and the mysterious Jocasta vanish into thin air. The Avengers return home to examine the phenomenon, where they are expected by the prodigal Hawkeye, who informs them of Two-Gun-Kid vanishing as well. Unfortunately, Hawkeye tied up Agent Gyrich, who in a rage takes away the Avengers’ priority status. Scarlet Witch gets a call by her sister-in-law Crystal, learning her brother Quicksilver has vanished as well. That moment, Jarvis informs them of the Atlantean Tyrak raging in the harbor. A small group takes on Tyrak, while the rest is to stay in the mansion and call former members, and while Iron Man examines the problem. The small group in the harbor beats Tyrak but they find they cannot take him prisoner without the vessels granted to them by their former special status. Left with the choice but to either let him die or let him go, they choose the latter. However, Vision vanishes as well. The Avengers call Black Panther, Whizzer, Hercules and are then called in turn by Captain Marvel. Beast and Thor take off on mission of their own and Iron Man is stumped, unaware he is being watched by the true culprit.

Full Summary: 

Anybody home? Hawkeye calls out as he enters Avengers Mansion, having returned to the team after quite some time. So much for the big welcome he expected. He calls for the Avengers’ butler Jarvis. No reaction either. He figures it’s his day off and the others might be on a mission. Or maybe they all disappeared into thin air like Two-Gun Kid did, he muses, then chides himself for being morbid. First he’ll check out the whole house, then he’ll wait, then he’ll panic. He wanders through the house, leaving the front door wide open.

Somewhat later, Henry Gyrich enters, furious when he sees that. He rages, asking how could the nation have ever entrusted the Avengers with top secret data and classified hardware? as he slams the door shut. Anyone might stroll in and steal the data or even a priority one decoder unit! Might as well leave it in Grand Central Station!

Meanwhile, the Avengers are gathered at a Catholic convent miles to the north, looking at the wreckage of Ultron lying at their feet. Suddenly, Beast notices that Ultron’s bride Jocasta disappeared while he was looking at her. A moment later, the same thing happens to Captain America.

A nun enters and thanks them but asks them to leave immediately. The Avengers exit, leaving Ultron’s remains behind. They hope to find some answers to Cap’s disappearance at the lab.

They arrive at Avengers Mansion and find Hawkeye ,who has just fried himself some eggs. Scarlet Witch happily hugs her old friend. The others greet him, too. Hawkeye mentions the missing Two-Gun Kid and also that there was some red-haired bozo with a briefcase sniffing around. He’s trussed up in the library. Hawkeye was going to call the cops after fixing himself some grub. The others look at him shocked. They hurry to the library and Vision immediately frees the bound, gagged and livid Gyrich.

Iron Man begins to apologize but points out their security worked this time. Bull! is the reply. When their security works, it is an accident! He’s never seen anything so haphazard! As the authorized agent of the National Security Council, he hereby revokes their Avengers Priority Status! From this moment, their ties with the federal government are severed! He hands them copies of the documents that terminate all their special privileges. He turns to leave. Iron Man tries to stop him, pointing out that will cripple all of their operations. They should have thought of that before, is the reply.

That moment, their special Avengers Frequency Communicator beeps. The Scarlet Witch figures, thanks to Gyrich, it is almost illegal for her to respond. Yet, how can she not?

Iron Man, in the meantime, groans that now they cannot fly their aircraft, use their motors, their priority status and security clearance are gone. Vision and Thor suggest maybe Gyrich can be reasoned with after he calms down.

Wanda, in the meantime, has taken the message from her Inhuman sister-in-law Crystal. Frightened she informs the others that her brother Quicksilver has disappeared as well.

That moment, a flustered Jarvis bursts in. He was out jogging when he heard a police report. Tyrak is attacking the harbor! Isn’t he the goon who almost trashed them all? Wonder Man recalls. Ms. Marvel suggests they go corral him if he is that dangerous. Iron Man interrupts the discussion with an order. Whatever force is abducting Avengers one by one isn‘t likely to give them a timeout to fight Tyrak. They dare not ignore that threat.

The Wasp points out that Tyrak might kill innocents. Iron Man swears. She is right. He orders Vision, Wanda, Hawkeye and Wonder Man to fight Tyrak and adds Ms. Marvel if she is inclined to help them (which she is).

He orders Yellowjacket and Wasp to man the communication system, then corrects himself - the phone, and call every former Avenger. They need them now. Thor and Beast are on stand-by, in case another disaster pops up. Everyone stay with someone else at all times! Iron Man will go to the lab to work on the disappearances. Alone? Beast asks. He will be in constant contact with Tony Stark, he doesn’t quite fib.

Soon the team arrives at the harbor. Ms. Marvel drops Hawkeye to confront Tyrak. Scarlet Witch agrees with Ms. Marvel’s decision. She and Hawkeye need some distance to be most effective.  She asks Wonder Man to drop her on the cutter. She urges him to help Ms. Marvel. Wonder Man silently muses he has never seen anyone as aggressive as Ms. Marvel. And she is fighting like a man!

Flying toward Tyrak, Ms. Marvel asks what the point of this idiocy is. He isn’t interested in fighting her. He wants revenge against the Avengers who humiliated him before. She hits him and he hits harder in return and she lands seven hundred yard away.

Hawkeye notes this and hopes it will take her down a peg. He fires an arrow with a sonic device that causes Tyrak pain but he manages to destroy it. He vows Hawkeye will die too.

The Vision appears behind Tyrak in his ghost form and asks if he thinks killing the Avengers will leave the surface world without protection? Tyrak doesn’t care about the surface world but if he kills the Avengers, Attuma’s disgrace will be greater than his, and so Tyrak will rule the Atlanteans!

The Vision announces he will prevent this. He becomes solid and the ship starts to sink, thanks to his increased density. He hits Tyrak. The villain reminds the Vision he was not strong enough before to beat him and hits him hard. Tyrak boast that he is the mightiest being, for he alone bathed in the rays of the cell stimulator before it was destroyed. Vision falls against a coast guard vessel and, relieved of his enormous mass, the ferry lurches and Tyrak loses his footing, falling into the water.

Meanwhile, Wonder Man has a hard time lifting the unconscious Vision out of the water as the synthezoid’s mass is still immense.

The coast guards throw Hawkeye in the water a life ring.

Tyrak is on the pier, cursing the humans and figuring he will humiliate the Avengers by destroying their city. That moment, a recovered Ms. Marvel attacks again. When Wonder Man sees this, he drops the Vision and runs to join the fight. The Scarlet Witch notices his uncharacteristic behavior.

Wonder Man hits Tyrak and orders him to leave her alone. “Let’s settle this man to man!” he roars. Tyrak grabs both of them by the throats. This makes hex-casting difficult for the Scarlet Witch, as her friends are between her and Tyrak, so she casts a spell carefully. Tyrak feels dizzy and has to drop the two heroes. However, the spell quickly passes and Tyrak attacks the Scarlet Witch, intending to kill her before she can cast another hex. Luckily, the Vision has recovered enough to blast him with his thermo-rays, heat being Tyrak’s Achilles Heel and he quickly dehydrates. Before he can crawl to the sea, Tyrak passes out.

They discuss what to do ,as Tyrak will die within minutes if they don’t get him water. The Scarlet Witch intends to summon a military skycraft so they can transport him to Avengers Mansion, where Stark can rig him a semi-arid cell, but there is no reaction on her comm-device. The Vision gently reminds her that they have lost their priority status.

Having no choice unless they want to become killers, Wonder Man grabs Tyrak and throws him into the ocean. Anxiously, the Avengers watch the waters if Tyrak should return but there is only silence. A few minutes later, they decide the crisis has passed.

The Avengers decide to return to the mansion. Wonder Man asks Ms. Marvel if she wants to come along. With a teasing grin, Ms. Marvel demurs. She has a life of her own. But she promises to be back. She‘d like to see more of him. He has a lot to learn about liberated women, especially her, but a hunk like him might be worth educating. She takes off.

Not exactly your demur shrinking violet type, Hawkeye jokes. In agreement, Wonder Man asks for someone to explain to him what has happened to women during the long time was in suspended anima… He cannot even finish the sentence before the Vision suddenly vanishes.

At that moment, at the seldom used modest apartment of one Luke Charles, said Luke Charles – or really King T’Challa of Wakanda aka the Black Panther – reads a letter by the New York City school board, asking him to teach a short series of special courses on African culture. He decides to do it, as he plans to be in the city for a while and it will help keep his Luke Charles identity alive. That moment, the phone rings.

It’s the Wasp, telling him about the Avengers’ problem. T’Challa explains he is working on a missing persons case of his own currently, but of course the Black Panther will attend a meeting and remain on call thereafter.

In the Avengers’ lab, Iron Man hasn’t made any progress. The sensors cannot trace the energy bolt that struck the harbor area a few minutes ago. He’d bet his family fortune another Avenger disappeared there. He hears a buzzing sound at the door. Figuring to protect his secret ID, he quickly dons his helmet.

Yellowjacket and Wasp enter, happy to see him. When he didn’t reply at once, they feared he had vanished as well. They explain they got in contact with Hercules, the Black Panther and the Whizzer. Wasp adds Captain Marvel called them. He was aware of their need. Can he believe that? But that’s not the big news. The Beast got a mysterious phone call, then ran out on them. He took a Quinjet despite Gyrich’s orders and flew off. That idiot! Iron Man swears.

There’s more, Yellowjacket continues. Thor took off to check out a disturbance uptown and right now he is slugging it out with a huge stone giant in Jamaica Bay. They’d better go give him a hand.

Iron Man nixes that. Thor can handle himself. Their only concern is trying to find out how their people are being abducted… and by whom!

A mysterious being watches the events on a screen. In his lab are transparent tubes, each holding one of the missing Avengers and allies. Oh come, Iron Man! he laughs. How can he not have guessed by now?

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Black Panther, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man, Yellowjacket  (All Avengers)
Ms. Marvel

Agent Henry Peter Gyrich


On screen:

Story Notes: 

The note wrongly states Two-Gun-Kid disappeared in issue #170. It was #168.

Tyrak fought the Avengers in #155-156.

Black Panther took the ‘Luke Charles’ identity in #77 to work undercover as a teacher.

Black Panther’s case is told in Marvel Two-in-One #40.

Beast’s reason for disappearing is a phone call by his former teammate Polaris as can be seen in Marvel Team-Up #69 and X-Men (1st series) #111.

The second part of the Marvel Team-up- story (#170) has Thor battling the Living Monolith.

Hawkeye tying up Peter Henry Gyrich is no doubt meant to mirror his first Avengers appearance from #16, in which he broke into the mansion and tied up Jarvis.

Grand Central Station is a major rail terminal located in midtown Manhattan.

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