The Avengers #157
Published and © by Marvel, March 1977
Title: “A Ghost of Stone!”
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve 1976, the Avengers are attacked and defeated by a stone ghost of the Black Knight.
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: Pablo Marcos
Review: This is an odd little story from Gerry Conway: Odd villain, odd setting, odd payoff. The villain is an automaton that thinks it’s the Black Knight turned to stone, out for revenge against his old allies. Confused? Several flashbacks offer little help – but do hinder the dramatic pacing of the story. The Christmas Eve setting also fails to add much, as Conway does little to develop it. The payoff offers some nice character moments for the Vision, though the Monty-Python-esque self-destruction of the villain limits those moments’ power. This one’s not horrible, but it’s not very entertaining, either.
Cool factor: The best part of this issue? The way Wanda’s hand drapes over the Vision’s leg on the cover. It’s a nice character touch from Jack Kirby.
Not-so-cool factor: Don Heck’s art (though, to be fair, inker Pablo Marcos has it looking better than usual here).
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a Whitman variant and a 12p British variant of this issue. … According to MyComicShop.com, there is also a Mark Jewelers variant.
Character quotable: “Why don’t we adjourn to the kitchen, and have Jarvis heat up some mugs of Yuletide …” – Iron Man, thirsty as usual
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Dec. 17, 2009.