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Appearing in "On the Matter of Heroes!"

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Synopsis for "On the Matter of Heroes!"

Wonder Man and Beast catch a movie and afterward discuss the psychological role that heroes play for the general public. Wonder Man is baffled as to why regular people flock to heroes instead of leading their own lives. The Beast suggests that normal people need to have heroes to shake up their everyday lives. He demonstrates by performing a superhuman feat of agility on the street, much to the admiration of passers-by.

When they return to the mansion, Wonder Man inserts his key and is caught off guard when security coils emerge from the doorway to apprehend them. The two manage to disentangle themselves, however. Thinking something is wrong, Wonder Man bursts through the door to find a technician (Scott Lang) installing new hardware. Wonder Man confronts Lang but Tony Stark and Agent Henry Gyrich stop him. Stark informs them that the coils are part of new security parameters being installed. Stark has convinced Gyrich to reinstate the team's security clearances provided they agree to a new set of terms and conditions. Gyrich then curtly instructs the two heroes to go to the conference room where he'll make known the rest of his demands for the Avengers' priority status to be returned to them.

In his private quarters, Stark changes into his Iron-Man armor and laments how "fighting through red tape has become harder than punching through brick walls."

Outside the Mansion, a cab drops a mysterious white-bearded person. He produces an odd-looking gemstone and begins to chant.

In the conference room, Gyrich addresses the entire roster of Avengers (including assorted “hanger-ons” such as Jocasta, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Moondragon, and the Guardians of the Galaxy). He tells them that they have to pare down to seven members and then proceeds to tell them who those members will be, much to Iron-Man's chagrin. Gyrich names Iron Man (as chairman), Vision, Scarlet Witch, Beast, Captain America, Wasp, and...the Falcon!?

Hawkeye stridently objects that he's being excluded and that a non-member who's never even met most of the team is being inducted. Iron Man also objects but Gyrich tells them equal opportunity for minorities is a federal requirement for all government-related agencies. Captain America chimes in to defend his friend the Falcon. Quicksilver also pipes in that the Avengers shouldn’t be subject to such restrictions but suddenly keels over, alarming the Scarlet Witch. Thor carries Pietro to the infirmary and then departs to get a doctor (i.e., turn into Dr. Don Blake). Outside, the mysterious white-bearded man smiles as he places something in a large carpet bag.

Most of the cut members leave en masse, including the Black Panther, Black Widow, Hercules, Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Moondragon, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The few remaining non-core members --- such as Hawkeye, Wonder Man and Yellowjacket -- have to be gone in 24 hours. At that moment, Wanda also mysteriously collapses.

Dr. Blake reveals that Wanda's symptoms appear to be similar to her brother's and that Quicksilver's test results just came in: his heart no longer beats and his he is no longer breathing, but his body isn't decaying. He and Wanda are neither dead nor alive.

Soon afterward, the mysterious white-bearded figure checks into a hotel in the Bowery and opens his bag to reveal two little wooden figures carved to look like Wanda and Pietro in cages, and they're moving! Not only that, but the man refers to them as... his children??


  • Letters (story pages): Saladino (uncredited) page 1, Heinl pages 2-17.
  • The movie that the Beast and Wonder Man are watching at the beginning of the story is The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Erroll Flynn. The splash page uses a rare instance of Jack Kirby's photo-collage technique in which real photos (in this case, a still from the film) are inserted into the comic book artwork.
  • In hindsight, it's quite ironic that two of the heroes who raise objections to Gyrich's demand are Iron Man and Quicksilver. They each voice the opinion that the Avengers is an elite force and cannot trust simply anyone to become a member. The irony is that both Iron Man and Quicksilver will go on to betray the team in future stories. Quicksilver becomes a villain again in West Coast Avengers Annual #1. Iron Man is revealed to be Kang's sleeper agent in "the Crossing" storyline (even though this was retconned.)
  • This is the second time someone has claimed to be Wanda and Pietro's father. The first was the Whizzer in Giant-Size Avengers #1.
  • This issue also contains an advert for Hostess Cupcakes featuring the Hulk.
  • As noted in Brian Cronin's Comics Should Be Good column on this issue, the plot point concerning the Falcon joining the team is based on a misconception of the Equal Opportunity Employment act. Equal Opportunity means that willing applicants for jobs be given equal consideration regardless of their race. The idea that the Falcon MUST join the Avengers (especially given that he has not applied for membership and later expresses reluctance at the prospect of joining them) to fill a quota is not true to life.
  • The events of this issue will later factor into a future story arc concerning Hank Pym's breakdown and betrayal of the team (in # 213 - 230). In Vol 1 227, Pym will confess to a psychiatrist that being cut from the Avengers while the Wasp was retained for active membership was a major blow to his self-esteem and contributed to his eroding mental state.
  • Similarly, while Hawkeye is removed from the active roster, he will continue to be a regular character in the series and his bitterness over being cut will be an ongoing storyline until Vol 1 189, when he achieves employment elsewhere.


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