Avengers (1st series) #139

Issue Date: 
September 1975
Story Title: 
Prescription: Violence!

Steve Englehart (writer), George Tuska (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), I Watanabe (letterer), Phil Rachelson (colorist), Len Wein (editor)

Brief Description: 

Yellowjacket shows the Toad how his wife, the Wasp, lies near death, before the police take the Toad into custody. Problems continue when Whirlwind arrives at the hospital. He wants the Wasp, and Iron Man, Thor, the Beast and Yellowjacket all fail to prevent their foe from getting to their ill teammate - but Moondragon succeeds in stopping the villain and sends him whirling away. Thor notices Yellowjacket seems to be in pain, but Yellowjacket tells him to mind his own business. Despite the danger to him, he shrinks down and runs away. Iron Man and Moondragon depart to go and look for Hawkeye, leaving Thor and the Beast at the hospital. Yellowjacket walks out onto the street, where he is greeted by his old chauffeur, Charles, who claims he wants to know how the Wasp is. Yellowjacket reminds Charles that he was fired, and tells him to go back wherever he came from. What Yellowjacket doesn’t know is that Charles actually is Whirlwind, and he goes back into the hospital, but leaves when he discovers Thor and the Beast. Iron Man and Moondragon get to know each other en route to Doom’s castle in search of Hawkeye. They almost kiss, but Moondragon accuses Iron Man of being like all other men, and reminds him that she is not an Earth woman. Back at his home, Yellowjacket spends some time remembering his wife, when Whirlwind arrives and attacks him. Yellowjacket has a disruptor pistol which he plans to use on his foe, but when Whirlwind sees it, he takes off - and Yellowjacket grows suspicious, as Whirlwind had not seen that weapon before. Moondragon and Iron Man arrive at Doom’s castle and find that the time machine has not returned, meaning Hawkeye is still in the past. Yellowjacket tracks Charles down, and the chauffeur finally reveals himself as Whirlwind. They argue and battle extensively, with Yellowjacket forced to increase his mass, endangering himself. He eventually shrinks to ant size and stings Whirlwind’s chest. Whirlwind is about to stand on Yellowjacket when the Beast arrives on scene and knocks the villain out. Yellowjacket is somewhat annoyed at the Beast’s involvement, and wonders how long it will be before his pain returns. Elsewhere, the Vision and Scarlet Witch are still on their honeymoon, but decide that it is time they returned to the Avengers, worried about how others will react to them now. Meanwhile, a mysterious woman learns that the Beast has joined the Avengers, and swears that he will not escape her again.

Full Summary: 

‘All right, Toad: You’re responsible for my wife’s coma! Now you cure her - or else!’ Hank Pym a.k.a. Yellowjacket shouts as he holds the mutant Toad up over the bed where Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp lies motionless. Hospital staff watch in shock, while several Avengers are also present in the room - Tony “Iron Man” Stark, the Mighty Thor and new recruit Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast. It was only yesterday that Yellowjacket was cajoled by the Wasp into rejoining the Avengers, and last night, she was nearly blown to bits. Pym has not taken it very well. ‘What do you expect me to do, fool? I am but a thief of others’ armament, knowing nothing -’ the Toad begins. ‘That’s not good enough!’ Yellowjacket shouts. He reminds the Toad that they thought he was the Stranger, that they pulled out all the stops to track him down. ‘I won’t accept an impostor! My wife won’t die because of you!’ Yellowjacket shouts as he throws the Toad across the room.

Yellowjacket starts to run towards the Toad, ‘You’re going to undo your damage, or by God -’ he begins, before Iron Man and Thor grab their friend and hold him back. ‘None of that, Hank - none of that’ Iron Man remarks, while Thor points out that the Toad cannot aid him. The doctor tells everyone to be quiet, and adds ‘Superheroes or not, in this hospital you follow my orders - and this patient needs peace and quiet’. He then announces that he is clearing the room.

Soon, in the corridor: ‘C’mon, mutie!’ a police officer exclaims as two of them start to take the Toad away. ‘Swine! You haven’t heard the last of me!’ the Toad threatens, while the doctor stands with the Avengers and remarks that he should never allowed them inside in the first place. ‘What do you mean? What do you MEAN?’ Yellowjacket raises his voice. The doctor explains that Ms Pym has been stable thus far, but that she is still critical. ‘Then why did you let us in there?’ Yellowjacket snaps. Iron Man reminds his old friend that it was he who insisted on it, as the Wasp’s husband. ‘Butt out, Iron Man!’ Yellowjacket snarls, before declaring that Jan wouldn’t be lying in the hospital bed if she hadn’t accepted the Avengers call to join up again. ‘I don’t want to hear from you!’ he adds, turning around he tries to hit Iron Man, but only harms himself.

Suddenly, a blur whirls into the corridor, ‘Aw, don’t take it out on them, YJ! Even if all she did was knit socks by the hearth, you’d both still have me to contend with!’ The Avengers turn to the strange blur as new recruit Heather “Moondragon” Douglas asks ‘What is that?’ Thor tells the priestess that it is a he, who calls himself Whirlwind, an ancient foe to Pym and his wife. ‘And to us as well’ Thor adds. ‘Right you are, Thor - but today, it’s only the Wasp I want!’ Whirlwind declares as he stops spinning and appears in his human form. Suddenly, ‘Oh, excuse me - I must be going - see you around again, sometime!’ Whirlwind declares as he spins past Thor, who declares ‘Hold, villain!’ But Whirlwind keeps spinning and points out that he has only got the one power, and he is not about to give it up - especially when it is such a good power.

Thor is knocked aside, and the Beast is unable to catch Whirlwind, either, as the villain declares that nobody can lay a glove on him, that they never could, ever since he was a little kid. ‘Face it, fans: I’m going inside!’ he boasts, as Iron Man steps towards Whirlwind, ‘Except that I don’t have to soil my gloves on you while I have my repulsor rays, Whirly!’ Iron Man points out as he fires one - but Whirlwind shifts too fast for Iron Man’s repulsor ray to do anything. ‘I can shift too fast for you to get a bead on me!’ Whirlwind exclaims, as he arrives in the Wasp’s room. He starts to pull the blankets back as the Wasp lays motionless still. ‘Just think: You can miss me before I’m gone. You can miss Jan afterwards’ he tells Yellowjacket, who appears behind him, thinking ‘He got pass all the others as I knew he would. My only chance is now while he’s stopped to grab her’.

But, before Yellowjacket can act Whirlwind, in his human form, turns around and punches him, knocking Hank backwards. ‘No good, Yellow-Giant, or whatever your name is! You can’t sneak up behind a man who’s used to looking all directions!’ Whirlwind takes Jan in his arms, and decides that only Pym would be dumb enough to try something like that anyway, when suddenly, he puts a hand to his head, as he starts to feel dizzy, which is supposed to be impossible for him. But, ‘Not so, Whirlwind. The power in my mind…makes much possible’ Moondragon declares as she uses a mind-burst on the villain. ‘Feel it sear through your brain - choke your very thoughts’ she tells him. Whirlwind drops the Wasp on the floor, as he spins and announces that he has to get away, as he can’t fight this.

As the Avengers gather themselves and a nurse tucks the Wasp back into the bed, Thor remarks that Whirlwind will return as he came - at such times he be least expected. He adds that there has been no other foe they have faced that has proved more elusive than the Whirlwind. ‘That’s for sure! He just vanishes right into thin air!’ Iron Man points out, while Yellowjacket declares that now there is a new menace after Jan - that it is just one long string of disasters. ‘This is insane!’ he exclaims. The Beast points out that the super-hero business is like that, while Iron Man reminds Yellowjacket how Jan told them herself how she missed this kind of life. ‘All I care about is her death, Avenger - which could come at any moment! What am I going to do? I can’t -’ Yellowjacket begins, before he cries out in pain.

Thor asks Yellowjacket what it is that ails him, but Yellowjacket claims it was just something he ate. ‘I told Iron Man before to butt out of my business! The same goes for you!’ he snarls, before telling the Avengers that if they won’t leave, he will. Pym then shrinks down to a much smaller size and rushes away, ‘Blast it!’ he thinks to himself. ‘The pain is back - worse than before! I knew it was dangerous to shrink - with that microbe that trapped me at ant-size before still in my blood! But had to do it - and I’m getting good at standing pain’ he tells himself. The other Avengers watch Yellowjacket leave, and Thor mutters ‘To think he helped found the Avengers!’ Iron Man decides that Yellowjacket has to let it all out somehow, and tells his teammates that since there is nothing more they can do here, he thinks they had better see what has happened to Hawkeye.

Iron Man tells the others that Hawkeye still has not come back from his trip on Doc Doom’s old time machine, and that worries him. He then reports that he and Moondragon will go check it out. ‘Iron Man! Must we again engage in argument over which one of us doth chair this team?’ an angry Thor asks. ’There’s no argument, Thor!’ Iron Man replies, before pointing out that Thor got to “observe Moondragon fort the purpose of determining her suitability for becoming an Avenger last time”, and now it is his turn. He then bids Thor and the Beast adios, before telling Moondragon to leave quickly, as there is a storm brewing. ‘Odin’s blood!’ Thor exclaims, raising his hammer. ‘Is there to be no order any longer? He asks. ‘The super-biz is like that, though’ the Beast points out.

While, out on the streets, Yellowjacket strides down the sidewalk, passing a man dressed as a chauffeur standing by a car. ‘Dr Pym! I’ve been waiting ever since I heard the news reports! How is your wife, sir? They won’t tell me anything! A chauffeur doesn’t qualify as immediate family’ he calls out. ‘Ex-chauffeur, you mean - or have you forgotten that we fired you?’ Hank reminds Charles the chauffeur, before asking him why he is in that uniform, anyway. ‘Well, I thought perhaps old associations would help her out, sir’ Charles replies, adding that he only wanted to help. Yellowjacket walks past Charles and tells him that Jan doesn’t need his help, not unless he is God in disguise. Charles smirks and thinks to himself ‘My, we are in a snit today, aren’t we?’ while Yellowjacket carries on down the street and tells Charles to go back where he came from.

Charles takes off towards the hospital, running up the front stairs, he thinks ‘But as a matter of fact, I will go back to where I came from, “Sir” - since that’s your wife’s sickroom! You’d never guessed that “Charles” really is a disguise - for the Whirlwind!’ His thoughts wander back to earlier encounters with the Wasp and Giant Man, as Hank was then known. ‘Oh yes: you’ve played the fool right along, “sir” - right from the day we first met’ Whirlwind thinks to himself. He remembers kicking Pym around in all his identities, then he disappeared in the one place Pym would never look. Charles walks through the hospital corridors, ‘It’s been lotsa loadsa laughs, but I’ve let it go on too long!’ He decides that it might have let the Pyms live happily in retirement - but if they want to stage a comeback, then so does he - and what better time to kick somebody than when they’re down?

Whirlwind decides that the Wasp will be easy to take, particularly with visiting hours having rolled around. He approach the door to her room and thinks ‘Who knows? Maybe it’s destined for “Charles” to succeed where the Whirlwind failed! That would be the largest laugh of all!’ However, when the sinister smirker swings the door open, he finds an unexpected hitch in his rosy reveries - ‘She already has visitors?’ he tells himself, as he sees the Beast and Thor standing over Jan’s bed. Thor recognizes Charles and asks him to enter. But Charles is unimpressed and tells Thor that three is a crowd. ‘And they told me not to disturb her’ he adds, while thinking to himself that he thought the others would all have been gone when Pym left, too.

Meanwhile, aboard an Avengers Quinjet, Iron Man tells Moondragon that it is going to be a long flight, so they will finally have a chance to get acquainted. He admits that even under the circumstances, he has been looking forward to it. ‘No doubt’ Moondragon remarks, adding that she heard Thor speak of his affinity for the feminine. Iron Man puts a hand on Heather’s shoulders and tells her that his armor may be iron, but that there is most definitely a man underneath it. ‘And you’re an extremely striking example of the feminine’ he adds. ‘And so?’ Moondragon asks. ‘Should I now turn to you like this, and press my yielding lips to your cold metallic ones?’ Moondragon asks, turning her body into Iron Man’s and moving her face to his. ‘Wha -?’ Iron Man asks. Moondragon pulls away and puts a hand to her head, telling him that men are all the same - first Daredevil, then Mar-Vell, and now him. ‘All grasping for love, for companionship’. Moondragon asks if she cannot be left on peace. ‘Can you not see that though I was born on Earth - I am not an earth-woman?’

Elsewhere, ‘Oh my God!’ a woman, unseen, exclaims as she opens a newspaper and sees a photo of the new Avengers on the front page - including the Beast. ‘So that’s where he is!’ she mutters, before ripping the photo out of the paper, she drops the rest of it and walks away, while declaring ‘Look out, Beast! You won’t escape me again!’

Yellowjacket has arrived back at the home he shares with Jan and looks at a photo of her for minutes on end. He drifts on the daze of the past, when Jan laughed and lured him from his sombre studies, played with his life and made him play - and made him the happiest of men. But should the dream die, lurking fury is there to replace it - gone is remembrance, now there is only action, quick and sure, as Whirlwind appears, ‘Howdy, Yellowjacket!’ he shouts out. ‘Your number’s up!’ Yellowjacket has moved outside, and he leaps past the Whirlwind, where the insects, his insects, live. Pym summons all his mental control, he seeks the million minute minds beneath his seemingly empty lawn, and when the Whirlwind whips onto that lawn scant seconds later, Whirlwind finds the footing somewhat less solid than expected.

‘Ground a little crumby, wise guy? Blame the ants - and now blame me!’ Yellowjacket exclaims, raising a cellular-disrupter pistol. But it never looses its body-blitzing blast - because Whirlwind swirls himself back up on his feet- only he doesn’t swirl forward - he flees into the air! Like a vagrant breeze, Whirlwind is lost to the night. So swiftly has he come and gone that it almost seems another dream - a form of nightmare. But Yellowjacket knows it was real. The Whirlwind blew away rather than face Pym’s weapon - of whose function Whirlwind should have no knowledge. ‘Why? Why? Because…!’ Hank exclaims, snapping his fingers. He races back inside and phones the hospital, asking for his wife’s room, the Beast answers. ‘No change, huh? Well, at least that’s not bad news’ Pym remarks, before telling McCoy that he needs the answer to a question.

‘That’s an affirmative’ the Beast replies back in the hospital ward, before asking Yellowjacket if he wants him to come over. ‘No! This is something I have to do alone!’ Yellowjacket replies. The shadows cluster closer around the shoulders of the Beast as he ponders what he has heard.

Even as the shadows crowd the castle once commanded by Dr Doom, far below a Quinjet on a quest to Latveria. The ship settles, and two grim figures debark. Their emotions are ruled less by the foreboding fortress than the silent truce between them. ‘Follow my chest-light, Priestess’ Iron Man tells Moondragon as she follows him and the beam of light that is emitted from his armor. ‘Unless it’s too suggestive for you?’ Iron Man adds. He explains that he wasn’t here on the last trip, but assures Moondragon that he has done his homework on this place. However, when they reach the room where Doom had abandoned his time machine, ‘It isn’t here!’ Iron Man gasps. ‘Then - Hawkeye has never - returned!’ Moondragon exclaims.

Meantime, on an exotic island, ‘Return’ Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch remarks as she and her android husband called Vision stand on the sand and overlook the rocking waters before them. The Vision tells Wanda that he thinks it best, as their honeymoon is certain to continue in any event, but he believes they should learn what their marriage will mean to their lives among other people. Wanda hangs her head and tells the Vision that she is not worried about them continuing, but asks him if he doesn’t think they should continue a little bit longer right here. The Vision replies that he would like that, too, but that there is a very real problem before them which they will have to face sooner or later. ‘If out love spawned a storm of protest, what will our marriage do?’ He is very logical, the Vision, and for the first time, Wanda wonders if that is altogether a blessing.

Back in New York, “Charles” stumbles towards his car, signing and wobbly on his legs. A door to his car suddenly opens, ‘Why - Dr Pym!’ Charles gasps. ‘What are you -’ he asks. ‘’Can’t you guess, Charles?’ Yellowjacket asks. Pym steps out of the car and grabs Charles by his jacket, he declares ‘It’s taken me years to lft my nose off the grindstone and look beyond it - but tonight, Whirlwind ran from a weapon very few people have ever seen! You’ve seen it, Charles!’ His cover blown, the Whirlwind spins, shedding his chauffeur uniform, ‘Yes, I have, you utter clod! Someday, the light had to dawn - but I never would’ve supposed it would take the light years!’ Whirlwind declares, standing before Yellowjacket, he tells the scientist that he really is a fool. ‘While the Whirlwind is a -’ the villain begins to say, but Pym snaps ‘Oh, stuff it!’ as he increases his mass, ‘You - you’re growing - you aren’t supposed to do that!’ Whirlwind exclaims.

Hank slams a fist down on the sidewalk, ‘Do you think I care, now? This is for keeps, Whirlwind!’ Hank shouts. ‘Ha! Missed!’ Whirlwind calls out as he twirls to safety. ‘I’m going to do anything I have to - to make you pay!’ Yellowjacket warns Whirlwind. Whirlwind slams against Yellowjacket’s chest and reminds him that he has been saying that since he was known as the Human Top. ‘Look, Stretch - I’m still too fast for you, at six feet or sixty - and that’s the name of this game!’ Yellowjacket points out that he is twenty feet, and reminds him that the Human Top never outlasted Giant Man. The behemoth Yellowjacket lunges at Whirlwind, ‘Yes, you’ve fooled me all these years - but only because an and I had other interests besides super-heroing! You’re right, Windy - you’re more of a fanatic than I am!’

But Whirlwind spins out of the way, ‘Look man, there’s no way you can get a hold on me! No way!’ Whirlwind shouts as Yellowjacket slams to the ground. ‘You can call me all the names you want, but you’re fresh out of stick and stones! Your reach exceeds your grasp - get me? You’re a dead man!’ Whirlwind exclaims. Yellowjacket gets to his feet, ‘Mister, you are living in a fool’s paradise! You owe me!’ he booms, his fist slams against a nearby building as he tries to grab Whirlwind, but once again the criminal spins to safety. ‘Aren’t you embarrassed, you clumsy ape?’ Whirlwind asks, telling the hero that he is making a fool of himself in front of the whole city, as civilians gather on the streets below. Whirlwind spins a bit faster, so he flies like a helicopter, so even twenty feet won’t help Yellowjacket. Whirlwind sets down on a rooftop, and looks around. ‘Where is he?’ he wonders when he doesn’t see Yellowjacket.

Most men would be stopped right there, unable to perceive their imminent peril, but the Whirlwind is used to seeing in all directions. Even at that, he is almost too late, as Hank has shrunk down to Ant-Man size, and he lands on Whirlwind’s chest plate. ‘Pretty smart! Changing sizes nearly sucked me in - but I’ve had practice fighting the Wasp!’ Whirlwind points out as he spins off the rooftop. ‘You’re tiny little things - like straws in the wind! You’re easily blown!’ he declares. But though the Whirlwind could justifiably change his name to Tornado, Cyclone or Hurricane in the next few seconds, he cannot snake his silent assailant! The ant-sized Avenger has found shelter beneath the spinning chest plate before he could be spun out. ‘I’m coming for you, Whirlwind! And by the way - the name’s not Ant-Man! It’s still Yellowjacket!’ Pym declares.

‘You’ve never really fought me before!’ Yellowjacket tells his foe, who suddenly cries out in pain. Pym points out that he has a set of stingers in his palms. ‘They don’t feel so food full force, do they?’ he asks, zapping his stingers straight onto Whirlwind’s chest. The ploy is successful, as Whirlwind totters, and then topples. Suddenly, Yellowjacket’s pain strikes again, as Hank has been in an abnormal size for too long. He falls, double over, and this time, the pain does not pass. Hazily, he looks up, as Whirlwind prepares to bring his boot down on the tiny hero. ‘You little creep - this is it!’ the villain exclaims, but before his foot strikes, a furry blue fist punches him over. ‘Sorry, Whirly - that was no doubt, dirty pool. But even though YJ lets his feeling get the better of him sometimes, I could hardly let you continue’.

Whirlwind falls to the rooftop, as Yellowjacket returns to his true size. ‘Beast! Didn’t I tell you to stay away from here?’ he asks. ‘You did!’ McCoy replies. ‘But as Samuel Collins said in the 1943 Superman newspaper strip - never mind me. Attend to that arch fiend!’ The heroes return to the ground, and walk down the sidewalk, with the Beast carrying the unconscious Whirlwind over his shoulder. ‘Just chalk it up to a hope for friendship and worry about your welfare, YJ’ the Beast remarks. ‘But now you’ve got me wondering: why’d you fall out of his chest plate?’ the Beast enquires. ‘Oh, I - just slipped’ Yellowjacket lies. He tells himself that the pain is back under control at last, and that the Beast does not suspect. ‘But pulling out all the stops against Whirlwind wasn’t good for me - I know it!’ Pym then wonders how long it will be before the pain hits him again.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Iron Man, Moondragon, Thor, Yellowjacket, Wasp (all Avengers)
Scarlet Witch & Vision (both Avengers on leave)

Patsy Walker (unidentified woman)



Hospital staff

In Whirlwind’s thoughts:
Giant Man & the Wasp

In Yellowjacket’s memory:
Wasp & Yellowjacket

Charles / Whirlwind

Story Notes: 

The Wasp was injured in Avengers (1st series) #137, shortly after she and Yellowjacket rejoined the team.

Yellowjacket experienced pain after shrinking down last issue.

Hawkeye announced he was going to travel to the Twelfth Century in Avengers (1st series) #137 to ask the Black Knight to rejoin the Avengers.

The Whirlwind was indeed Hank and Jan’s chauffeur, and he was fired for trying to defraud Jan’s estate back in Marvel Feature #9, although no-one knew at the time that he was the Whirlwind. They first met Charles back in Tales to Astonish (1st series) #50.

The Avengers were previously at Doom’s castle in Avengers (1st series) #56.

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