Avengers (1st series) #158

Issue Date: 
April 1977
Story Title: 
When Avengers Clash !

Jim Shooter (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Pablo Marcos (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Don Warfield (colorist), Archie Goodwin (editor)

Brief Description: 

Vision has an identity crisis. With Wonder Man around he feels like a ghost or a cheap copy of the original. The two Avengers fight and only after both are exhausted Iron Man steps between and puts them into their rightful places. At a research station in the Canadian Rockies, an experiment failed. As a side-effect Frank Hall, one of the involved scientists gained full control over gravity. Calling himself Graviton he isolates the station by lifting it into the air, and tries to get the attraction of Judy, one of his colleagues. The Avengers investigate the airborne research facalty but are quickly defaeted by the new super-villain.

Full Summary: 

Vision is standing over the crumbling remains of the turned-to-stone Black Knight (see last issue). He is again having an identity crisis and feels that he too is nothing more than a ghost. “A being of synthetic flesh animated by science and imbued with the brain patterns of the once lost Wonder Man”. Wanda staggers into the door assisted by Wonder Man : “Lean on me Wanda..." The Vision goes berserk : “You push me too far HUMAN! I’ve already relinquished my foolish delusions of humanity-- and since a machine has no right to a woman of flesh and blood, I will soon relinquish this, my wife!" Wonder Man tries to calm him down calling him friend, at which point the Vision sends Wonder Man flying across the room with a mean right. "I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND!" The fight has begun in earnest! Wonder Man gets buried under a crumbling wall, but manages to rise. He lunges at Vision who avoids him by turning intangible, then Vision increases his density but Wonder Man strikes the floor and sends the Vision flying.
Iron Man finally regains consciousness from last issue and thinks that the Stone Knight must still be in the building because he hears the sounds of battle. Wanda is pleading with both Vision and Simon to stop fighting, but they won’t listen. Vision then sticks his immaterial hand through Simon to disrupt him. Simon screams, but fights back and lands a mean punch to the Vision’s face. “Impossible! No human can resist disrup-- UHH!" The rest of the team arrives in the lab and Wanda pleads "Someone-- Help me stop them before they KILL each other!" However Iron Man prefers to let them fight it out amongst themselves. Both Vision and Wonder Man are staggering, but still going at it. Finally, they are both swaying on their feet when Iron Man finally steps in. He reminds Simon that he is a guest in the mansion and then tells Vision that if he doesn’t stop acting like an emotional kid, he’ll be forced to suspend him. Just then, Jarvis walks in and explains that there was a call for help which he turned away because the Avengers were involved in "private matters". Iron Man is livid and realizes that something needs to be done.
Cut to a scene in an isolated research facility in the Canadian Rockies where we are introduced to Frank Hall. A man named Joseph is taking a tongue lashing from Frank for trying to contact the Avengers. Hall decides to truly isolate the facility by raising it and a sizable chunk of Canadian real estate into the air. Frank then downs Joseph while his girlfriend Judy sobs. Frank then orders his men to take Joseph away to be locked up. Later on, Judy delivers a package to Frank’s suite. He takes the time to explain what happened to him.
Apparently, he was a scientist working on creating a teleport beam. The experiment was failing, so he decided to double the power. The resultant surge fused the device’s circuits and caused the beam to grab Frank. The beam also seized an experimental anti-gravity element that was being bombarded with atomic rays elsewhere in the complex. The beam then scrambled Frank’s molecules with the radioactive anti-gravity element. Frank then realized he had power. As other people started to realize it, they started to fear Frank. Frank went on a power trip and seized control of the research city.
As he finishes his flashback, "But such petty things are behind me now! No longer am I Frank Hall, now and evermore, I am ... GRAVITON! And soon the world will fear that name!"” He keeps talking, but Judy seems distracted, she tries to stall him but a woman named Raquel bursts into the room telling Graviton that “The Avengers are right behind you!” Sure enough! The crew bursts through the window. AVENGERS ATTACK!
The Vision is the first to feel the might of Graviton as his intangible form is hurtled to the floor. With one gesture, Graviton then sends Cap, Iron Man, Beast, Scarlet Witch, Wasp, and Yellowjacket flying! The Vision tries a new tack by increasing his mass/density to it’s ultimate, but Graviton sends the Vision flying straight up through the ceiling. Cap then tries to throw his shield, but Graviton increases its weight causing the shield to fall on Cap crushing him. Wonder Man tries valiantly to remove the shield from Cap’s chest. Judy is trying to sneak away from the fight, but Raquel catches up to her and knocks her out from behind. Wanda and Iron Man try a coordinated attack using repulsors and hex power, which Graviton counteracts by simply causing a piece of the floor to rise, blocking the attack. He then rearranges the pieces of the floor into a solid mass and compresses it into an ultra-hard solid ball which he sends hurtling to knock out Iron Man and Wanda. Yellowjacket and Wasp try to sneak up on Graviton, but are discovered and knocked out by a pencil which Graviton has increased the weight of. Beast and Wonder man are felled by a slab of the ceiling. Graviton stands triumphant! “"I DID it! It’s over! I BEAT THE AVENGERS!"

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man, Yellowjacket (all Avengers)

Jarvis, the Avengers’ butler
Graviton / Frank Hall
Joseph, Judy, Raquel (former colleagues of Frank Hall)

Story Notes: 

First appearance and origin of Graviton.

Written By: