Tag Archives: Zodiac

MANTIS 12: SHOCKING REVELATIONS IN THE SHOWDOWN WITH ZODIAC

READER INTEREST IS THROUGH THE ROOF FOR THESE LOOKS AT THE SUPERHEROINE MANTIS. FOR PART 1 CLICK HERE 

Avengers 122 Trapped in Outer SpaceTHE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 122 (April 1974) Trapped in Outer Space 

It’s kind of nice that you readers have been so enthusiastic about these nice little bits of escapism. That’s why I’m doing two per week now. We can all use a light-hearted distraction now and then. 

As our last installment ended, five Avengers (Thor, Iron Man, The Scarlet Witch, The Black Panther and The Vision) were battling seven of the twelve members of the supervillain team called Zodiac (Aries, Leo, Cancer, Aquarius, Pisces, Scorpio and Sagittarius).

The Avengers called MANTIS and the Swordsman were recovering from their injuries back at Avengers Mansion. Taurus, the leader of Zodiac, had lured the seven mutinous members of his criminal cartel to a seeming warehouse that was really a trap.

The Avengers, all unknowingly, had trailed the Zodiac superteam to that locale and had attacked them, only to have the battle royal interrupted by the taunts of Taurus. Taurus – openly revealing his true identity of billionaire Cornelius Van Lunt – launched the warehouse/ disguised spaceship into orbit to let his enemies die when their air runs out.    

TRAPPED IN OUTER SPACE

Synopsis: At first all of the Avengers and Zodiac members are pinned to the floor by G-Forces but eventually the huge deathtrap reaches its programmed altitude and settles into orbit. The reinforced steel door slides right to reveal the Earth far below and a mostly transparent force-field enclosing the entire warehouse.

Thor hurls his hammer at the force-field, but it just penetrates the force-field, which re-forms after it passes through. The hammer tries to return to Thor’s hand like usual but his relative position to the hammer has changed as the spaceship/ trap has moved along in its orbit. Thor’s hammer remains floating outside in the vacuum of space.

Mantis trapped in outer spaceThe Vision is not able to phase through the force-field because it is the same technology that Zodiac used to seal off Manhattan from the rest of the world in one of their previous clashes with the Avengers. In 1974, when this story was published, Thor would still magically transform back into his secret identity as the lame (as in limping), mortal Dr Donald Blake after 60 seconds without his hammer.

He leaps behind one of the prop boxes in the phony warehouse and pulls some tarp over himself just in time to avoid having Zodiac see what has happened to him. The villains HAVE noticed how paniced Thor became without his hammer Mjolnir and realize something is up. Aries leads his teammates in an attack to finish off Thor, who is obviously in dire straits.   Continue reading

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

MANTIS 11: AVENGERS VS ZODIAC CONTINUES

OUR SUPERHERO-CRAZED SOCIETY IS LOVING THESE LOOKS AT THE SUPERHEROINE MANTIS. FOR PART 1 CLICK HERE 

Avengers 121 Houses Divided ...THE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 121 (March 1974) Houses Divided Cannot Stand

AVENGERS ROSTER: Thor, Iron Man, The Scarlet Witch, The Black Panther, The Vision, The Swordsman and MANTIS. 

HOUSES DIVIDED CANNOT STAND

Synopsis: Atop the World Trade Center Towers the battle between the Avengers and the supervillain team called Zodiac has come to a pause. That pause was brought on by Mantis’ mutant empathic powers filling her with the pain that Taurus’ Star Blazer Cannon inflicted on New York’s Geminis. This caused her to be overwhelmed and fall down, teetering on the edge of the roof and in danger of plummeting to her death below.

With all the combatants now focused on Mantis’ potential fate the Zodiac member Aries encourages their leader Taurus to unleash another blast from the damaged cannon to hopefully cause Mantis to fall.

Taurus refuses. With Zodiac’s attempt to kill every Gemini in New York thwarted by the damage done to the Star Blazer during the clash of superteams he now wants to simply make an escape and offers to spare Mantis if the Avengers let Zodiac go. He hints at Mantis being very, VERY important and thinks the Avengers are bluffing when they (truthfully) say they don’t know what he is talking about. 

Mantis action figureThe Scarlet Witch – using her romantic partner the Vision’s body as cover, quickly maneuvers into position and unleashes her mutant hex power on the Star Blazer, completely destroying the weapon. The other Avengers rush forward to attack Zodiac in order to keep them away from the prone form of Mantis and hopefully capture them.   

Virgo defeats the Scarlet Witch for the second time in as many days, then joins her teammates in using their superior numbers to keep the Avengers hard-pressed by attacking in cadres. At length Aries fights his way through the Avengers and tosses Mantis’ body over the ledge. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

MANTIS 10: ZODIAC RETURNS

These nice, escapist bits of fun have proven very popular with readers of Balladeer’s Blog. FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MANTIS CLICK HERE   

Avengers 120THE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 120 (February 1974) Death Stars of the Zodiac 

Obviously the February 1974 date means this was years before Star Wars, so the “Death Stars” of the title are just a generic reference to astrology. This individual issue kicks off a multi-part story that significantly advances the MANTIS narrative as we head toward the Celestial Madonna Saga.  

Zodiac was a team of supervillains who had fought the Avengers multiple times previously. Periodically individual members of Zodiac would clash with individual Avengers in the pages of their own comic books. 

DEATH STARS OF THE ZODIAC

Synopsis: The opening scene features Taurus, in his secret identity of billionaire Cornelius Van Lunt, visiting an imprisoned Zodiac member, Joshua Link. Link is the “evil” twin of the Gemini duo. Van Lunt, who has concealed his true identity from his teammates in Zodiac, has been forced to reveal himself to Joshua Link.

The reason for that is to get Gemini ready for an upcoming jailbreak, since Taurus wants ALL the members of Zodiac on hand as the team enacts his master plan.

NOTE: Cornelius Van Lunt had been a background figure in the Avengers’ comic books for quite a while by this point. He was one of those people from Old Money in New York and his family was friendly with the family of Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp), likewise from New York Old Money. As in all the way back to when New York was a Dutch possession in the 1600s. 

For a real-life example of such types think of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. Hell, if you go back far enough their family was known as “the Van Roosevelts.”

Mantis Death Stars of ZodiacAt any rate Cornelius had often used his family ties to try to romance Janet Van Dyne and his family fortune to hassle Tony Stark and would try plots to leverage Avengers Mansion out of their hands to force the team out of New York City. Until it was revealed that he was secretly Taurus he just seemed like the typical Marvel Comics civilian character who harasses the heroes, like J Jonah Jameson with Spider-Man, Senator Kelly with the X-Men, General Ross with the Hulk and the Yancy Street Gang with the Thing.

Getting back to the story, after Taurus busts Joshua Link out of jail and welcomes him back to Zodiac, their next move is to have Joshua move against his “good” twin, Damian Link. Damian is the New York Police Department’s Liaison with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. Continue reading

14 Comments

Filed under Superheroes