"Day of the Godslayer!"
writer: Jim Shooter
pencils: John Byrne
inks: Pablo Marcos
Karen: OK folks, are you ready for the thrilling conclusion of this superb Avengers story?
Doug: I know I am! And how about that cover? Perez is of course the gold standard for the Avengers in the Bronze Age, but how 'bout Ernie Chan's (Chua's) inks on this cover? While I sometimes thought he overpowered John Buscema on the Conans on which they collaborated, his inks here provide some real depth to the illustration. Not to mention the fact that we've watched Nefaria just bulldoze the team -- but apparently not here, as two of the heavy-hitters are now on the scene!
Karen: We start right in the middle of the action, as Thor appears out of nowhere to take on the super-powered Count Nefaria! At first it would appear that the Thunder God has the situation in hand, but as Nefaria begins to realize that he's taken Thor's best and is still standing, he gains confidence. He then repeats himself, and drops a building on Thor! This doesn't stop Goldilocks and the two continue to go at it. Shooter and Byrne do a good job in showing Thor in all his glory and power - which makes Nefaria seem even more impressive.
Karen: As the battle rages, Pym finds a way to revive the Vision, who attacks Nefaria and discovers his powers of intangibility do not work against him. I liked that panel of the Vision on the ground, about half-phased through the sidewalk!
Karen: Professor Sturdy, the German scientist who helped Nefaria become a super-man, arrives on the scene and tells Nefaria that he is aging at an accelerated rate, and will die in two days time. This drives Nefaria over the edge, and he jumps off in a rage. Meanwhile, the Avengers try to re-group. One of my favorite scenes in this whole storyline occurs here, as an injured Captain America hands his invincible shield to Wonder Man, telling him to take it for protection against Nefaria's laser vision. A clearly stunned Wondy says, "It's an honor I don't feel I deserve! I - I don't know what to say, Cap...I....Thanks!"
Karen: As Nefaria continues to rampage, jumping and blasting buildings, the Vision realizes that he cannot fly and so, if his momentum is halted, he has to fall. He brings the Count down and the other Avengers move in to take him on. This time, they act as a team, much more successfully. Still, although they stagger Nefaria, they don't bring him down. There's a terrific shot here of Thor punching the heck out of Nefaria!
Karen: The Vision comes up with his own personal solution: he increases his mass and density to their most extreme and drops like a bomb on Nefaria! This finally put the Count down for the count, so to speak.
Karen: On the final page, as Cap and Iron Man bicker over how the team has been performing, we find out that Sturdy's comments to Nefaria were a ruse: his rapid aging was a temporary side-effect; in reality, his super-energized cells had made him immortal!
Karen: I read this when it first hit the stands and I loved it then. It hasn't lost a thing in 33 years! It's a rousing battle with lots of great characterization, and great art. I highly recommend getting these books.