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Quote1 Just like the good old days in the X-Men, Eh, Mr. Drake? Quote2
-- Beast

Appearing in "The Demi-God Must Die!"

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Synopsis for "The Demi-God Must Die!"

As the story opens, three members of the Los Angeles-based superhero team the Champions (Hercules, Black Widow and Iceman specifically) have been summoned by a distress call from the Avengers. But en route to the NYC mansion, the three heroes are inexplicably attacked by Iron-Man! The golden Avenger concentrates on subduing Hercules. The Widow and Iceman leap to their teammate’s defense but are quickly overpowered.

Hercules recovers faster than Iron-Man anticipates and the two engage in extensive melee in the streets of Manhattan, prompting civilians to scatter. During their fight, Iron-Man thinks to himself how he wished Thor had been on duty when Hercules’ old foe Typhon attacked them earlier.

The story segues into a flashback showing Iron-Man and the Beast (the only two Avengers on duty at that moment) taken by surprise when Typhon appears out of nowhere. The Titan has been dispatched by the villainous Olympian Pluto to kill Hercules. Mistakenly believing him to still be an Avenger, Typhon has sought him out at the mansion. He takes the Beast hostage, and forces Iron-Man to lure him to the mansion. But as hours passed while the Champions were on their way, Typhon lost his nerve and ordered Iron-Man to attack the approaching trio before they reached the mansion, softening them up enough so that Typhon could easily finish them off.

Flashing forward once more, Iron-Man thinks to himself that he’d hoped to secretly alert the Black Widow to Typhon’s gambit but was unsuccessful and is now stuck slugging it out with Hercules. Iron-Man does manage to maneuver Hercules so that they approach the mansion on foot, then ducks in the front door. Using high-voltage wiring in the mansion’s walls, he manages to stun the lion of Olympus, but exhausts all his own reserves at the same time.

Typhon emerges from hiding intent on finishing Hercules off. However the Black Widow and Iceman have recovered, followed after their allies, and now confront the Titan. The Beast has also managed to free himself from the ropes Typhon left him bound up in and joins in the ruckus as well. After several minutes more of combat, Hercules and Iron-Man both revive and join the heroes’s side. Typhon is dismayed to realize that Pluto has been watching from afar and deemed that he is unable to take on all five heroes at once. The Titan is thus unceremoniously teleported back to imprisonment in the depths of Tartarus. After learning how Typhon intended to ambush him, Hercules quickly absolves Iron-Man of any blame. The Beast however silently broods over what he considers his ineffectiveness as an Avenger.

Notes

  • Letters (story pages): Saladino (uncredited) page 1, Wohl pages 2-17.
  • This story for this issue is effectively a filler, not building upon the events of the previous issues nor introducing any new developments for ongoing storylines.
  • The Champions were a short-lived superhero team based in California during the mid-1970s. In effect, they were a precursor to the West Coast Avengers who would become popular roughly 10 years later. The Champions had several crossovers with, and were frequent guest stars in other Marvel series at the time in hopes of boosting their popularity, to little effect. Their own series was canceled after only 17 issues. After the fact, they would often be referred to as "the Champions of L.A." to distinguish them from the relatively contemporary "Champions of Xandar." It's worth noting that in the last issue of their own series (cover dated January, 1978), the fate of the Champions as a team was left hanging and the final page boasted that their storyline would be concluded in a future issue of the Avengers. (It wouldn't; the team's dissolution would be chronicled in "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man" #s 17 - 18 instead.)
  • Slight error in geography: during his one-on-one slugfest with Hercules, Iron-Man is shown in a panel passing a street sign reading "48th Street." He's then shown almost immediately afterwards in another panel with the Christopher Columbus statue from Columbus Circle (About West 59th) in the background - about 11 blocks away. It's also on the other side of Central Park from the Fifth Avenue, where Avengers' Mansion is famously located. Given the tight timeframe of this story and the fact that Iron-Man and Hercules are shown duking it out in the middle of congested city streets instead of the park, it seems highly unlikely that Iron-Man could've led Hercules to the Mansion's doorstep, especially since Hercules cannot fly and has to pursue him on foot.
  • Typhon previously fought the Avengers (including Hercules) in Avengers #50.
  • In dialogue during the flashback scene, Iron-Man remarks that Hank Pym's amnesia was completely reversed by a device Iron-Man had created and that the Pyms would be "back on active duty in a couple of weeks." Thus, the issue of Hank Pym's mental illness and the trauma the Wasp faced in dealing with his breakdown, as well as being tortured by Ultron -- all in the previous two issues -- was rather curtly swept under the rug for the time being.
  • As well as the Pyms, most of the regular active team of Avengers are still recovering from the devastating effects of Ultron's attack. The Black Widow's thought balloons infer that the Beast, thanks to his enhanced regenerative mutation, recovered faster than the others. Wonder Man and the Black Panther's absences are left unexplained.
  • The issue of Beast feeling he isn't pulling his weight as an Avegner, introduced in the final panel of the last page, is left hanging, never to be addressed again.
  • This issue contains a letters page, "Avengers Assemble". Letters are published from Paul Carlini, John Barrett, Dave Pfeil, Dwight Miyakawa, and Bryan Reeves.

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