Avengers #188

Marvel ⋅ 1979

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Key Facts

1st team appearance of the Elements of Doom: Carbon, Chlorine, Cobalt, Radium, Phosphorus, Vanadium

Issue Details




Bill Mantlo


John Byrne

Cover Artist

John Byrne


Dan Green


Frank Springer


Bob Sharen


Gaspar Saladino

Cover Artist

Terry Austin


October 1979


"Elementary, Dear Avengers" The Avengers take Quicksilver home to Attilan. Most of the team is dazzled by the sight of the futuristic city. Crystal is on hand to greet her husband and the team upon their arrival. She reveals the news that she is pregnant with a very stunned Pietro. Although Wanda is happy for Crystal, she is suddenly plagued with doubts about her own potential for motherhood -- could she and the Vision have a child? Should they even try? The next day, the Avengers depart for home. Onboard the quinjet, the Beast begins reading the Darkhold, much to the consternation of the Scarlet Witch who reacts with alarm. She warns him that the Darkhold is full of passages that are magical traps to ensnare unwary readers. Captain America alerts the team to a potential problem on their course home. The most direct route to their home base takes them into Soviet airspace, something they probably should avoid. But before they can change course, they are intercepted by MiG fighter pilots. The Beast, who speaks Russian, tries to ask permission to fly through. But suddenly, one of the MiGs bursts apart in midair and the other abruptly speeds away, back to base. The Beast relates that he overheard chatter about a disaster taking place at a nearby nuclear power plant. Cap wants to use the distraction to beat it out of there. The Beast and Ms. Marvel however want to lend a hand at the disaster site. The team debates whether or not to do anything, with Ms. Marvel arguing the hardest that they should help. Wonder Man takes Cap’s side, wary of the Russians, regardless of the dangers they face. Cap insists on contacting Agent Gyrich before they act, even though everybody is sure what his response will be. But Ms. Marvel has secretly removed a vital component of the comm system, preventing this. Reluctantly, Cap steers the quinjet toward the power plant. The Falcon quietly stews that nobody bothered to ask his opinion, taking it for a sign that nobody cares about him. The Avengers arrive at the power plant, which is besieged by the Soviet army. They don’t quite get the greeting they’d hoped for as the military level guns at them. But one older Colonel orders the troops to hold their fire. The Beast interprets that this Colonel remembers that Cap fought alongside Russian forces against the Germans in WWII, something Cap confirms did occur. The Colonel directs the Avengers to the reactor control center, where malevolent beings have taken control. They first encounter Vanadium, a being composed of the very super-strong alloy. Despite initially repelling the Avengers, Vanadium is shattered by Wonder Man. In the plant’s control room, he Avengers encounter the Elementals, a bizarre group of humanoid beings, each one of them displaying properties of a particular element from the periodic table. The two groups battle each other, but one of the Elementals - Chlorine - fills the chamber with poison gas, driving the Avengers away. As they retreat, though, the Falcon realizes the Wasp is not among them and flies back alone to rescue her (hoping to prove himself to his teammates.) Unfortunately, he is knocked out cold by Vanadium, who has reassembled himself. Outside, the remaining Avengers are once again confronted by the Russian Army. The Colonel who granted them permission to access the plant is nowhere to be seen and a small platoon of technicians is crawling all over the quinjet. Infuriated, the Scarlet Witch scatters the troops with a hex bolt. Another hex bolt drives the technicians away from the quinjet and they all keep their distance thereafter. The Wasp joins them, explaining that she passed out due to the gas. When she awoke, she saw that the Elementals were subjecting imprisoned plant workers to a procedure that transforms them into more Elementals. She also confirms that they have the Falcon. The team plans their second assault on the control room; Ms. Marvel removes the laser cannon from a nearby tank to use as a weapon. Once more down below, the Elementals are about to subject the Falcon to the transformation when his teammates return to rescue him, much to his relief. As soon as he’s clear, Ms. Marvel and the Beast fire the laser cannon into the reactors, causing radioactive material to flood the room. It engulfs the Elementals but the Avengers manage to escape unscathed. Boarding the quinjet once more, they take off and head home with no more delays. A narration caption states that Soviet Union’s news outlets report the closure of a Siberian power plant, with no details given.

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