Connecting dots and stuff!
Today, we check out I Am An Avenger #5, and Blast to the Past for The X-Men #28. Enjoy and spread the word!
So close to closing the gap between Heroic Age and Fear Itself!
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
Let's get our anthology on!
I Am An Avenger #5
Writer: Tim Ursiny
Artist: Nick Dragotta
In this story:
• Is this another silent story?
• Pretty much. Meet Zach, he's about to throw himself off a building for a variety of reasons.
• Then, the roof explodes due to a Captain America/Hydra battle on another rooftop.
• With Zach cheering him on, Captain America faces a Hydra war suit. His shield ends up on the rooftop right next to Zach.
• The kid throws it back over and the man in the war suit blasts the roof further.
• James Barnes uses the shield to finish off the Hydra goon.
• Zach is left on the only bit of roof left standing. Cap gives him a thumbs up.
• Instead of committing suicide, Zach calls up a suicide helpline.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
This is one of those public service announcement stories. I'm not saying it's terrible just because it can be categorized as a PSA. I'm just giving you the warning before we get into it. It's also a silent story. Only at the very end do we get a single word balloon.
Zach McKenzie and his mom live pretty high up in a skyscraper apartment. Zach's life is NOT perfect. Who's is? Anyway, two and a half years ago, Zach lost his father to a hit and run driver. Right now, he's failing most of his classes (getting a "C" in Physical Education but the teacher is Tom Brevoort and we all know he's a big old softie ;) ). He's bothering an ex with way too many text messages. His mom isn't doing much better. The bills are piling up. She's out on a date right now which Zach probably has issue with since his dad has only been dead for a couple years now.
Anyway, it's a lot to deal with for your average teenager. It's not insurmountable, but this guy doesn't want to deal with it anymore. Zach has climbed the fire escape up to the roof and with tears in his eyes, he takes a step off into open air.
The roof explodes and Zach is violently thrown back up onto solid ground. McKenzie looks over the edge and sees a Battle underway on the next rooftop. It's Captain America versus a platoon of Hydra Agents.
Just in case you were wondering, this is still the Heroic Age so your Captain America for the evening is going to be James Buchanan Barnes. This doesn't really affect the story at all but it's good to know.
Barnes goes to town on the Hydra Agents, using his shield to great effect. When this fight is over with, Captain America stands triumphant in a pile of unconscious bad guys. From his roof perch, Zach McKenzie cheers on the hero.
Oh, that was only round one. Round two involves a giant Hydra war suit. Barnes tosses his shield at this thing and the war suit deflects it... right up to Zach's roof. Instead of grabbing his gun and firing it at this Hydra creation, Captain America leaps at the giant and is grabbed out of the air.
While James is getting the snot beaten out of him, Zachs is figuring that maybe he should toss that shield back down there. He turns around, lifts it up, and hurls it back down to Captain America. It hits the Hydra war suit in the back.
The Hydra suit pinpoints where the shield came from and fires on Zach's location. James is still pinned to the ground by the Hydra suit's hand but is able to reach over and grab the returned shield. Barnes uses it to slice off the machine's fingers, freeing himself.
From there, it's a close range attack with the shield and a the pilot of the war suit is revealed. He's also unconscious.
We focus back over to Zach's rooftop perch. It's totally a perch now. The blast demolished everything around McKenzie EXCEPT the little bit of floor he was occupying.
After checking on the Hydra, James looks over at his little helper and gives Zach a thumbs up.
Zach heads back to his apartment. He calls up the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and asks for help.
Writer: B. Clay Moore
Artist: Filipe Andrade
In this story:
• The Irredeemable Ant-Man breaks into Avengers Mansion on Hank McCoy.
• He enters the living room and decides to mess with Stature. O'Grady is swatted away by Justice.
• After that, Ant-Man is nearly stepped on by Iron Man.
• He finds himself in the kitchen with Steve Rogers and James Barnes trading battle stories.
• Next stop is the training area where he loses his jet pack to one of Hawkeye's arrows.
• Finally, Quicksilver catches him and tells the miniature man that he's not fooling anyone. Everyone knows he's here.
• Eric O'Grady turns around, exits the mansion, and re-enters it, full size. Steve welcomes him in.
Eric O'Grady is the Irredeemable Ant-Man and in his time, he's been on a whole lot of teams. During Secret Invasion, Ant-Man was part of the Avengers Initiative. During the Dark Reign, O'Grady was a member of the Thunderbolts. These days, Eric is playing Secret Avenger.
Right now, though? He's kind of up to his old tricks. Sticking to the back of the Beast, Ant-Man attempts to break into Avengers Mansion, thinking that the systems won't pick him up this close to an Avenger in good standing. He's wrong... but he's also one of those good standing Avengers. The defense systems let him inside.
And now, we're on a trip down the proverbial ant hill. At insect size, O'Grady explores the mansion which is full of activity. In the living room, Ant-Man finds Beast joining up with Tony Stark, Quicksilver, Vision, Stature, Justice, and Wolverine.
Seeing Cassie Lang, Ant-Man flies in to give her some payback for his treatment in the Siege issues of Thunderbolts. This is where the "being insect size" bit goes against him. Justice sees him and thinks that a bug is trying to land on her. He gives Eric a swat, sending the Irredeemable one flying off.
O'Grady lands on the floor and is facing the repulsor boot of Tony Stark, innocently walking across the room. Ant-Man saves himself from that close call but gets shocked when he attempt to grab onto Iron Man's heel.
Recovering, Eric flies into the kitchen where Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes talk about how Tony Stark had once modified his shield with transistorized magnets. Quicksilver has left the living room and is busying himself in the kitchen.
This is all way too boring for Ant-Man. He flies off, looking for trouble. Eric finds it in the Avengers training area.
Inside, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman are training. In the dark. I guess? I don't know, it's like something SHOULD be in the background but instead it's all inked in.
Whatever the two are fighting, a stray arrow strikes O'Grady in the back, ruining his jet pack. It looks like the Irredeemable hero will be hoofing it out of here. Or, he might just use a nearby ant as a steed just like Hank Pym used to do. This bug isn't of the flying variety but it beats walking.
Before Eric makes it too far, Quicksilver stops him. Picking the miniscule invader up, Pietro explains that it looked like Ant-Man was frozen in place to someone with HIS abilities. Quicksilver had plenty of time to see what he was looking at in great detail.
And, really, who is he fooling? The Mansion's defenses identified him as soon as he got close. Even if they had failed, the Vision, Tony Stark, and Wolverine had all spotted him in their own ways.
The two take a walk outside to Avengers Park. After Quicksilver tells him how VISIBLE he was, Eric explains that he was uncomfortable entering this place and thought he would scope it out before making the plunge. Pietro explains that he's an Avenger now and it's time to man up and belong despite any past issues he's had.
From the top of the Founding Members statue, Eric O'Grady gets a good look at Avengers Mansion from the back of his ant ride. He plucks up the guts and enters the Mansion properly, right in the middle of a Grey Gargoyle story.
When the Avengers see him, Steve welcomes him inside.
Writer: Alan Davis
Penciler: Alan Davis
In this story:
• After a hard three or four minutes in the training area of Avengers Mansion, the Young Avengers take a break and decide to play some baseball. When they get to the front door, they realize that there's a storm going on outside, courtesy of the god of thunder.
• Thor lands and asks if the Young Avengers are going to stand in his way from entering the Mansion.
• Realizing that he's ruined a perfect, sunny day, Thor taps his hammer on the ground twice, ending the storm.
• The Young Avengers decide that maybe they should go back inside and practice instead of wasting all this time outside with nature.
The Young Avengers are working out of Avengers Mansion now that it's rebuilt. Some of the members of the team are the ultimate Avengers fan boys but they all have the feeling that the Mansion, with the walls covered in memorabilia from previous missions and team photos, is less of a headquarters, less of a home, and more of a mansion. That's why they leave in the middle of a training session to go play outside. A little baseball is on the agenda.
Here's your team: Vision, Stature, Speed, Wiccan, Hawkeye (the girl one), and Hulkling. Patriot is absent. This might be because everytime Alan Davis draws a black man, they end up looking more like an unflattering stereotype at least 80% of the time. The rest of the reason is unclear. Eli was also absent from the Young Avengers tale in I Am An Avenger #1. Maybe he had other things to do?
Back in our story, the Young Avengers open the door to the Mansion to find the sun has gone buh-bye. In it's place is a full blown storm. This is unexpected because the weatherman predicted sunny skies and we all know that the weatherman is NEVER WRONG. He's like wikipedia that way.
Anyway, the reason for the sudden rain is made clear. It's Thor, coming in for a visit. Storm gods.
This issue is weird all over. In the previous story, the Mansion was filled with Avengers who normally don't live or work here. In fact, the only people in the above story that had business being in Avengers Mansion were Vision, Stature, and Wolverine. They all belong on teams based in the Mansion. The rest were just there to eat Luke Cage's food.
Thor in this story is the same deal. The Asgardian is part of Maria Hill's Avengers team and should be working out of the Tower. I'm cool with these guys hanging out at the Mansion. In fact, I think it would have been a cool story point. Like, everyone is more comfortable hanging out at the old Mansion instead of Stark Tower. I almost wish we would have gotten that story because it would explain why everyone shows up at the Mansion.
As it is, it just looks like everyone is freeloading or there's a party going on that no one is officially talking about.
Either way, The Young Avengers' quick baseball game is ruined. Thor notices all the long faces and guesses at why they're all moping. He taps Mjolnir on the ground twice.
The sky clears up. Clear skies and sunny, just like wikipedia predicted!
Instead of enjoying the beautiful day, Hawkeye decides that they should return inside. They have a lot of practicing to do to make themselves worthy of hanging out with gods.
The X-Men #28
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Werner Roth
In this story:
• The Banshee screams his way into New York and robs an art gallery, stealing one Gaelic painting.
• The Mimic tests out the range on his powers and nearly falls out of the sky when he gets too far away from Angel.
• Banshee's partner, the Ogre, berates the low-grade criminal. Banshee is out of smokes and makes another trip into the city to steal some tobacco.
• Cerebro detects the Banshee this time and registers him as more powerful than Magneto. Then, he get back under to protective field of the Ogre's headquarters and the signal disappears.
• The Ogre starts a fire in another section of the city so that he can launch his chibi rocket shaped headquarters. He's learned the location of the X-Men and is on his way to face them directly.
• The X-Men have equipped themselves with ear guards but it's no use against the wailing power of the Banshee. When the X-Men are unconscious, the Ogre sneaks in and abducts Professor X.
• Marvel Girl was placed in another location and is prepared to rescue her instructor. She delays the Ogre long enough for the X-Men to recover and join the fight.
• The Ogre is no match for the X-Men. He calls in the Banshee for another strike and gets away as his mutant partner lays down a wall of sound.
• Professor X had a chance to scan the Ogre and learned a better way to protect themselves from Banshee's sonic barrages. They implement these changes immediately.
• When the Banshee flies in for round three, his powers have no effect on the X-Men. They capture him, putting the mutant in an anti-gravity room with just enough oxygen to breath but not enough to get a good scream going.
• The Ogre attacks ones more and tries to kill his partner for failure. He loses in a battle against the Mimic. It's revealed that Banshee only followed the Ogre because of the device attached to his head. Free from it, he turns out to be a pretty good guy.
January 1967! Fantastic Four #58, Avengers #36, Amazing Spider-Man #44, Daredevil #24, and Tales of Suspense #85 are on the stands. In The X-Men #28, the Banshee is introduced by Roy Thomas and Werner Roth. Sean Cassidy is a bit... different from what you'd expect. He's robbing art galleries and stealing tobacco. He's a BAD GUY. While we've seen that some of Marvel's most loveable heroes started their careers on the other side of the tracks, the Banshee has a history of being a police officer, working for Interpol to bring down international criminals. Life had dealt the mutant some heavy blows by the time the evil organization Factor Three got a hold of him.
Which is why this comic opens up with Sean Cassidy flying low in New York City. While screaming, the Banshee vibrates his body until he's invisible. He keeps this up until his cries cause everyone in the area to drop, unconscious. With that bit done, Sean breaks into an art gallery and steals one specific painting. It's a Gaelic landscape which he doesn't think the normals will appreciate. When people start waking up, they don't have a clue what happened. It makes filling out a police report for the missing painting a chore.
So that's one of our two villains for this issue. Before we meet the second, let's check in on the strangest teens of all. The X-Men. A couple issues ago, the Angel was injured by Cyclops' own optic blast. The details are unimportant. Just know that Scott feels REALLY bad about it. In fact, he's stepped down as deputy leader of the X-Men. To bolster the X-Men's ranks and provide a new deputy leader for the team, Professor Xavier has recruited... the Mimic.
This might seem strange because it is. When last we saw Calvin Rankin, he was busy being a super douche with the powers to copy anyone. It made him arrogant beyond all reason. Rankin managed to do himself in when he activated a machine of his father's design, thinking it would make his stolen powers permanent. Instead, they took his mimicking abilities away. After that, standard X-Men practice required a mind wipe, just like Men in Black. None of this makes Cal a great choice for an X-Man much less team leader.
Mostly, it's a testament about how great the threat is that the mutant teenagers face. At the same time, the Mimic seems to genuinely want to be on this team. In the three issues that he is an X-Man, he goes through a transformation from all-time jerk into something approaching a decent human being. It's wierd. As far as deputy leader goes, Rankin's not really doing much leading. Scott Summers still calls out orders and no one reminds him that he stepped down.
Currently, the Mimic is testing the range of his abilities, flying in ever increasing circles around the X-Mansion. Being the Mimic, though, he's gotta push it. He goes beyond Xavier's prescribed limits and starts losing his Angel wings. Rankin is JUST able to return to the mimicking range in time to regrow his wings before he crash lands.
When Calvin returns to the X-Men, he brushes off Professor X's criticism and says that he got the job done and learned the range of his abilities. Xavier shelves the conversation for later. He and Cyclops have to go look at Cerebro for signs of mutants. Scott tells X he'll catch up and when the Professor is gone, he chews the Mimic out for not being a very good deputy leader. It's a short conversation that will be echoed in the future when Cyclops has to deal with Wolverine and Thunderbird.
And now, it's time to meet our second villain of the story: the Ogre. The Ogre is a human who uses a number of gadgets to compete in a world full of ever increasing super-powered heroes and villains. He's the bossy one of the duo and when he sees that the Banshee went out to steal a painting, he yells at his ally for revealing himself too soon. He has just located the location to the X-Men's headquarters so action is imminent. Sean agrees to be ready for his part of their master plan but he's also out of tobacco for his pipe. It looks like he's going to have to head back into the city.
It's a quick scream through New York to O'Neil Tobacco Shop. After repeating his performance from the beginning of the issue, knocking everyone unconscious with a scream, he enters the shop and goes about picking out some fine tobacco. The only man he missed in his scream fit is the half-deaf janitor who was in the back room of the shop during the attack. He wasn't affected because he couldn't hear it. When the janitor sees what's going on, he locks up the shop before Cassidy has chosen his poison. This doesn't slow Banshee down for long. He screams his way through the gate and flies back to his secret base.
At the X-Mansion, Cerebro picks up the mutant signature of the Banshee which registers in a range stronger than even Magneto. This version of Cerebro is a lot different from the modern verion or the one that showed up in the movies. There's no headgear. There's just a giant wall of gadgetry. It'll be a while until Cerebro requires Xavier's telepathy.
At once, the Banshee's mutant signature disappears. The reason isn't totally clear but later on they allude to the Ogre's base being invisible to mutant detection.
Jean Grey is a part time X-Men at this stage. She's decided to attend Metro College and continue her education. It is at MC that she met Ted Roberts. This is before she and Cyclops finally declare that they might, just MIGHT, have feelings for each other. That means she's a free woman and can date whoever she wants. So they're are kind of, sort of, but not really, dating.
Ted is all upset because he wants to get his family's love the same way his brother (the future Cobalt Man) has but every time he tries talking to Jean about his feelings, they're distracted by some random event or another. This time, it's the radio reporting the recent crimes in the city. While the Banshee's first crime in New York kept his identity hidden, the tobacco trip had the janitor as an eye witness. Besides that, the story is light on details but both Ted and Jean make note of it.
The Ogre's secret headquarters is a building hidden on the docks in New York. The walls are fake. The real HQ is a fat rocket-like vehicle hidden within the structure. Since he's taking his whole base to Westchester to fight the X-Men, the Ogre starts a giant fire on the other side of the bay.
Looking in on the chaos, the news reports that those subjected to the mysterious attacks earlier are terrified of the police and fire sirens. The Ogre picks up on the fact that his ally made another trip out into the city and vows that Factor Three will hear about this breach in protocol. For now, he needs to complete his mission. That rocket looking headquarters? It turns out it's a submarine. Who knew?
While the Ogre's sub tries to find a way to upstate New York, we skip over to the X-Mansion where they are preparing for attack. All of the X-Men have put on ear protection. The Mimic, Cyclops, Beast and Iceman man the monitors as the still injured Angel and the X-Men leader, Professor X look on. When the attack happens, none of their preparations do any good. The Banshee's attack blasts right through their ear protectors and everyone is knocked unconscious before they can do anything.
Before the Mimic gets a chance to copy his abilities and gain a natural immunity to the Banshee's powers, Sean flies off, leaving the next part of the mission to his human partner. The Ogre flies into the Mansion using his boot jets and then takes off with the X-Men leader. As he hoofs it through the lawn, he's attacked by the only X-Man not present earlier, Marvel Girl. She trips him up with a telekinetically moved branch.
The Ogre attacks Jean as the rest of the X-Men recover and join the party. Even with all his tricks, the pure unpowered human has no real chance against the X-Men. He summons up his partner and the X-Men are again subjected to the powers of the Banshee.
This time, Cassidy attacks with a wall of sound instead of his knockout scream. That's because he can only use the KO scream when he's at full power. The attack is still effective but the Ogre doesn't have a chance to recapture Xavier before retreating. When the two villains meet up at their secret base (which is now on solid land and might be both a rocket AND a sub), they both play the blame game about what went wrong. This is the first Banshee mentions that he might not be doing this strictly for the evil of it... he might be being manipulated. At any rate, failure isn't an option. They'll just have to try this one again.
At the X-Mansion, new plans are being implemented. Xavier had a chance to scan the Ogre's mind and learned how the villain avoided falling prey to the Banshee's attacks. With that information, they've crafted better sonic shielding and placed it on their ears. It's a good thing that their leader is a telepath so that they can communicate telepathically.
Fully charged, the Banshee attacks once again. This time, things aren't in his favor. With their new shielding, the X-Men are impervious to his sonic attacks. Sean sticks around long enough for Calvin to absorb his powers and for the X-Men to capture him a sonic shielded steel mesh net. Sean is knocked unconscious and brought to a more permanent prison. He's loaded into an anti-gravity chamber and put into a suit that provides him with JUST enough air to breath but not enough to scream.
Cyclops is sent to the cellar to get some more oxygen for their guest. While he's down there, he notices an ominious door. It's locked and he wonders what the Professor is hiding inside... but we won't learn that in this issue, so we move on...
The Mimic is sent out on a wild goose chase so that the Ogre will have enough confidence to attack on his own. The villain sneaks inside and fires a blast from his repello-ray gun. It sends the X-Men careening in different directions. Before attempting to kidnap Xavier again, the Ogre decides to clean up his loose ends and kill his partner. Before his gun can be aimed, Cyke destroys it with an optic blast.
The human villain knows when he's licked and uses his boot jets to escape the Mansion. In the skies, he finds himself facing the Banshee's powers, courtesy of the Mimic! During the aerial combat, the Mimic smashes the control mechanisms on the Ogre's chest. This shorts out the villain's boot jets and has ANOTHER unintentional consequence.
Inside the X-Mansion, the Banshee has been freed by Professor X. Using his scream to break out of his oxygen suit. When Sean is freed, he explains that he was working with Factor Three because they had put that kooky headgear on him that would detonate if he disobeyed them. He couldn't take it off or it would have blown up. When Mimic damaged the Ogre's chest gizmos, the device was deactivated. None of this explains why he was robbing art galleries and stealing tobacco against orders but... well, the Ogre must have been a lenient slave master.
Outside, the Ogre is captured by the Mimic. Inside, the Banshee tells the X-Men that the organization they're up against, Factor Three, is more powerful than they could ever imagine.
In the preceding years, Banshee didn't show up too many times. He helped the X-Men topple Factor Three and was later captured by Sentinels. That was about it. When the team made its dramatic return in Giant-Size X-Men #1, Banshee was one of the new members and hung around until joining Moira MacTaggert on Muir Island. He was an off and on member of the team after that, settling into the role of Co-Headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy (Generation X). When Moira was killed by Mystique, Sean took it hard, forming the X-Corps. This proved to be more of Mystique's manipulation and it end with his throat being cut and his powers temporarily disabled.
The Banshee was one of the mutants that retained his powers after M-Day, the event that depowered almost all of the world's mutant population. He didn't keep them long. In X-Men: Dark Genesis, he found himself in the path of a plane and couldn't get out of the way in time. While currently dead, Sean Cassidy is survived by his daughter, Teresa, and his cousin, Black Tom.
Interesting enough, the Banshee was supposed to be female but Stan Lee told Roy to make the character male. It always bothered him to have a male Banshee character and he made up for it years later when Sean's daughter was introduced. Sure, she had to go by the name Siryn but finally, Marvel had a female Banshee.
That is the end of today's lesson. One more article and we've closed the gap between Heroic Age and Fear Itself! Are you as excited as I am?
Again, much thanks to bkthomson. Without his help and never ending comic supply, you would never have seen a Super Reads for I Am An Avenger #5. Thank you VERY much, sir.
Until next time: Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX