Review: The Avengers #101

The Avengers #101 cover
Cover by Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia

The Avengers #101
Published and © by Marvel, July 1972

Title: “Five Dooms to Save Tomorrow!”
Synopsis: A “nebbish” named Leonard Tippit is tasked by the Watcher to stop a nuclear holocaust – by executing five innocent people!

Writer (story and plot): Harlan Ellison
Writer (adaptation and script): Roy Thomas
Penciler: Rich Buckler
Inker: Dan Adkins

Review: As a Harlan Ellison fan, this reviewer was eager to jump into this one. Sadly, Avengers #101 disappoints. This tale of a lowly accountant given cosmic powers by the Watcher makes little sense, with hectic pacing and poor characterization crowding out whatever hint of a good story might be here. The Watcher, in particular, is poorly handled: How can a character committed to non-interference – even one who often breaks that vow – justify enabling a cosmic-powered hit man? Rich Buckler’s art is an unexpected high point, but it’s not nearly enough to save this surprisingly poor story.

Grade: C-

Cool factor: Not so much.
Not-so-cool factor: Bad Watcher! Bad, bad Watcher!

Notable:  The “Avengers Assemble” letters page includes an LoC from future comic-book writer Paul Kupperberg, who found “The Kree-Skrull War” to be “FAAN-TASTIC.”

Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a 6p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there are also Mark Jewelers and National Diamond variants.

Character quotable: “Not that I’m sure this metality-retrogressor I whipped up will work – but it was our best chance to keep Tippit subdued for study. ” – Iron Man, getting all Reed Richards on poor Leonard Tippit

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Sept. 7, 2012.

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