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Appearing in "Slowly Slays the Stinger!"

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Synopsis for "Slowly Slays the Stinger!"

The Black Panther is busting up a small-time drug running outfit in Harlem when he is accosted by a new villain, the Stinger, who can become invisible. Taken by surprise, T’Challa is easily captured by him.

At the American Museum of Natural History, several Avengers -- Yellowjacket, Wasp, Vision and the Scarlet Witch -- are guests of honor at a gala benefit. Tony Stark and Dr. Don Blake are also in attendance at the fete. Wanda takes an interest in a particular totem which a curator explains originated from a Pacific island known as Maura. As the curator is explaining this, a mysterious figure in a trenchcoat and fedora bellows that the totem was stolen from the island’s natives and that he’s come to reclaim it. The museum’s security are about to eject him, but then he reveals himself to be the strange, avian-like being Bloodhawk and quickly tears through the guards.

The Avengers spring into action but find Bloodhawk to be a formidable foe. As their battle ensues, Bloodhawk succumbs to a berserker rage and runs amok. He hurls the Vision into the model Blue Whale, causing the cables holding it to snap and sending it plummeting toward the party guests below. Thor appears on the scene and snatches the model while Iron-Man subdues Bloodhawk.

After the battle, an older man who had accompanied Bloodhawk to the museum steps forward to explain. The man, identified only as “Teacher” (what Bloodhawk calls him), apologizes for his actions but says that it is vital that the totem be returned to Maura. Iron-Man asks for museum permission to take the totem and then the whole team returns to the mansion along with Bloodhawk and Teacher.

At Avengers Mansion, the team are joined by Beast and Wonder Man (who were on monitor duty at the time). Teacher relates the sad history of his pupil: Bloodhawk’s father, an unethical biochemist, subjected his pregnant mother to dubious experiments hoping to produce a superior race of humans. Bloodhawk was the mutant offspring. His mother died in childbirth and Teacher claims that his father, repulsed at what he’d created, abandoned the infant Bloodhawk. Teacher took custody of him and took him to the remote island of Maura to raise in him in relative privacy. Yet his pupil has been plagued throughout his life by moments of berserk fury in which he loses all reason. As Teacher wraps up his story, the Scarlet Witch silently empathizes with Bloodhawk’s tragic mutant history.

Bloodhawk awakens and demands the totem be brought back to Maura. He claims the island’s gods left it there eons ago to protect the natives from a dire curse. Since it’s been removed (or stolen as Bloodhawk insists), the island has been suffering from increasing tremors. Iron-Man, a rationalist skeptic of magic, is dismissive of any talk about curses or magical totems but several of his teammates disagree. The team take a vote and it is decided that a contingent of Avengers will accompany Bloodhawk and Teacher back to Maura with the totem to at least investigate the matter. Iron-Man, angered that the Avengers are giving credence to magic, storms off in a huff.

While the vote is taking place, Jarvis is in the kitchen and hears a knock on the door. He answers it but sees no one there. It’s actually the invisible Stinger, who then strolls right into the mansion.

Thor, the Vision and the Beast accompany Bloodhawk and Teacher back to Maura. (Yellowjacket remarks that they were given special one-time permission to use a quinjet for this.) The Stinger then attacks, waylaying Hank, Jan, Wanda and Wonder Man. Jarvis sees the melee and rushes to the alarm controls to alert the rest of the team. Unfortunately he too gets taken out before he can sound an alert.

Some time later, the quinjet arrives at Maura, just in the nick of time apparently as tremors rock the island. The totem had long been ensconced on a small temple just offshore. To everyone’s surprise, that “temple” is revealed to be just the top of the head of a giant stone behemoth! The stone giant emerges from beneath the waves and stomps toward the island intent on destroying its native residents.

Notes

  • Iron-Man's angry dismissal is a bit out of character for him, since as an Avenger he has repeatedly encountered magical-weilding beings including his own teammates Thor (a Norse god) and the Scarlet Witch (who was trained in witchcraft by Agatha Harkness).
  • The remarkably easy way that the Stinger infiltrates the mansion actually supports Agent Gyrich's argument that the Avengers are far too lax about their security measures. If a minor, C-list villain like the Stinger can simply stroll into the mansion and take the team by surprise, then perhaps the team shouldn't have access to top secret government intel. (Fortunately, this will be addressed in forthcoming issues.)
  • This issue contains a Hostess Fruit Pie advert featuring Captain Marvel.

Trivia

  • The American Museum of Natural History is a real place and actually does have a life-sized replica of a blue whale suspended above the floor of its marine gallery.
  • On page 10, Iron Man's helmet is coloured all yellow instead of yellow and red.

See Also

Footnotes



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