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Comic Book / The Gatherers Saga

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The Gatherers saga is a storyline of The Avengers (1963), from #343 to #375.

The Gatherers are Avengers from alternate timelines, brought together by the enigmatic Proctor. They are mentally unstable until they are "merged" with their counterparts from the main universe, which in turn erases the main version. The main universe's version of Magdalene was Marissa Darrow, a powerless girl, who is "merged". A new member was Coal Tiger, but the attempt to merge him with Black Panther failed, and the alternate Swordsman was captured by the Avengers. Proctor captured an alternate Vision and made him impersonate the Vision, but he was eventually discovered and used to take the fight to Proctor's lair, who left.

The Black Knight had a love triangle with Sersi and Crystal at the time. He preferred Crystal, but Sersi advanced over him anyway, and eventually the Eternals turned him into her "Gann Josin" (husband under Eternal laws, and with a common mind link). Sersi was suspected of going crazy, but it was eventually revealed that Proctor was influencing her. When the Avengers finally killed Proctor, she left to an alternate universe where she would be free of her madness... and the Black Knight left with her.

The larger saga was interluded by two crossovers: Operation: Galactic Storm and Blood Ties (Marvel Comics).

Provides examples of:

  • And This Is for...: When the Avengers stormed into Proctor's base, "For the Coal Tiger, for the Swordsman!". Magdalene did not understand why did they mention her beloved Philip.
  • Alternate Self: The Gatherers are a, well, gathering of Avengers from alternate realities, like Coal Panther to the Black Panther, Anti-Vision to Vision, and Proctor to the Black Knight.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The Swordsman hated the Avengers, they have no honor, because (in his world) they simply stood there and left him to die. When the Coal Tiger was about to be merged by the Black Panther, he asked him: "Is this what you consider honourable?"
  • Cassandra Truth: Marilla told the Swordsman that their universe's Swordsman died protecting his girlfriend Mantis from Kang, was resurrected as a talking tree and married her. He found that hilarious, and she protested that it was the truth. Eventually, the Vision informed him of the whole story.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Cassandra is just a weak and frail elder woman, who can hardly walk by herself without falling dwn. Oh, come on, she can't be a threat for the Mighty Avengers! No, of course not. Oh, did we mention her deadly psychic blasts?
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: The Coal Tiger thanked the Swordsman for saving his life, by interrupting the merger with Black Panther. The Swordsman was ashamed to clarify: he did not save him. Instead, by interrupting it, he guaranteed his death. The Tiger thanked him anyway, because he would not have liked to live at the price of someone else's life.
  • Internal Homage: the Gatherers once recluited the Coal Tiger, an alternate T'Challa from an Expendable Alternate Universe. That is actually one of the names that Lee and Kirby considered when they were first creating the Black Panther. See here for a comparison between Kirby's design and the character seen in the adventure.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Where to begin? Quicksilver and Crystal were having a crisis, and on the verge of breaking up. Crystal likes the Black Knight, but Sersi also likes him, and is a lot more dominant. She even took it so far as to make him her "Gann Josin", her husband under Eternal laws, with a mind link (even if Dane had never accepted that, or even be asked). But Sersi is stalked by Proctor, a scorned Black Knight from an alternate reality dumped by his local Sersi and who kills all the Sersis of the multiverse. He works with the Gatherers, other Avengers rescued from alternate realities, and loves one of those, Magdalena. But Magdalena loves her fellow gatherer the Swordsman, who reminds her of her late husband, the Swordsman of her own reality (note that the Swordsman of the main reality is still dead amid all this). Hercules, famed womanizer, falls in real love with Taylor Madison, a shy girl who thinks that she's about to die and does not dare to get engaged. The Black Widow starts to have a crush on Captain America. If you thought that the Vision, turned into an emotionless machine, would be spared from all this, think again. First he is kidnapped and replaced by an alternate Vision, who is a pervert that almost ruined Proctor's plans by trying to rape Crystal. The real Vision gets back, but he's so confused by everyone's emotional crises that he wants to retrieve his lost emotions and be capable to love the Scarlet Witch again. Better than a Mexican telenovela, right?
  • Oh, Crap!: Cassandra, when the Avengers removed their shields, and were no longer invisible.
  • Orcus on His Throne: He may be sending the Gatherers to do things, but Proctor himself doesn't do basically anything in his hidden fortress, until the Avengers come for him.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The skies were burning in Polemachus, and Anskar wanted to sacrifice a girl to appease the gods. Arkon and the Avengers got a delay in that: they have a day to fix the problem as best as they can, or else the girl will be sacrificed. The Avengers managed to fix the rings of the planet, but Anskar killed the girl anyway: the Avengers prevailed because the Gods allowed them to, and they must be appeased, they must have a sacrifice. And Sersi asked, "why only one", and killed him right there.
  • Put on a Bus: At the very end of the saga, Black Knight and Sersi enter a portal and leave the main reality of the Marvel Universe. However, Black Knight is transported to another universe: The Ultraverse.note 
  • Shipper on Deck: Hercules wants to call Taylor Madison and invite her to lunch, but he's suddenly shy and unsure of calling her or not, fearing that she may reject him. Black Widow took the phone number from his hand and made the call herself. No problem, Taylor comes tonight!
  • Shotgun Wedding: The Eternals visited the Avengers, and Sersi told Ikaris not to threaten the Black Knight, because she wanted him to be her "Gann Josin", meaning her husband under Eternal laws, and that included a permanent telephatic link between both, so both shared the other's thoughts as in a single mind. Angered by his discussion with the Avengers, Ikaris turned the Black Knight into Sersi's Gann Josin right away. And the Black Knight? Fine, thanks for asking. Nobody ever asked him if he wanted that, and he certainly didn't.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Anskar killed a girl in Polemachus, as a human sacrifice, and Sersi killed him on the spot. The Avengers were horrified, and asked her why did she do that. Simple: she was an Avenger!
  • Woman Scorned: Proctor is a gender-inverted example. In his alternate reality, he got married to Sersi, and shared a Psychic Link with her. However, she eventually lost interest in him, and left him to have fun elsewhere. Proctor was driven mad by her rejection, retrieved the cursed Ebony Blade and killed her with it, and (not being satisfied with that) he started to kill all the Sersis from all alternate universes.