Episode 6: Invasion of The Lava Men

Avengers #5

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Paul Reinman
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

The Avengers return to their mansion, discussing the repairs required after their recent encounter with The Hulk (Fantastic Four #25 and #26) and following a brief conversation decide to go their separate ways and address any personal business they may have. A few days later, at a Stark lab, a prototype artillery computer is destroyed by high intensity sound waves. Similarly, Ant-Man and Wasp are nearly buried alive in an ant hill when they also encounter the sound waves. Thor, in his guise as Donald Blake, reads about these occurrences in the paper and decides they require the attention of The Avengers. Quickly slipping to the roof of his office building, Blake manifests as the god of thunder and takes off to assemble the team. Thor’s first stop is Captain America, who is demonstrating various acrobatics and martial arts for Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade. Again, the team members are assaulted by the sound, and they return to the mansion to confer with the remaining Avengers. The sound is determined to be coming from a military site in the southwest, under the command of General “Thunderbolt” Ross (who was responsible for the gamma bomb test that turned Banner into Hulk). At the site, a large rock is discovered to be slowly pushing its way through the ground. Conveniently, General Ross’ daughter, Betty arrives with her boyfriend, Dr. Bruce Banner in tow. Ross immediately begins to dress Banner down but suspends his insults to address the matter at hand and pressures Banner into helping investigate the mysterious event. As the scene shifts beneath the rock, it is revealed that the Lava Men are responsible for the strange occurrence. After one Lava Man, Molto, fought Thor and lost, the rest of his race decided to fear all surface dwellers and  have launched an attack using the Living Rock. The Avengers show up and join in the investigate. Iron Man attempts use his repulsors on the Living Rock, but to no effect. Adjusting his strategy, Iron Man blasts his way down below the rock and is quickly overwhelmed by waiting Lava Men. The assaulting Lava Men are driven back by Thor, who proceeds further underground to confront their leader. After passing unscathed through lava, thanks to the magical power of Mjolnir, Thor speaks with the King of the Lava Men and his Witch Doctor. The god of thunder learns that the Living Rock was discovered after an underground atomic upheaval, that it is capable of unparalleled destruction, and that it will soon explode. The Lava Men hope that by moving it above ground, their enemy will be destroyed and they will be spared. Above ground, Ant-Man and Wasp finish their investigation of the Living Rock and discover a single weak point that can only be exploited by the precision of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. On the orders of the Witch Doctor, the Lava Men begin to strike at the remaining Avengers before The Hulk appears The Avengers redirect their attention to him. Underground, Thor is accidentally turned back into Donald Blake by the Witch Doctor’s radiation rod, but the resulting transformation frightens off the Witch Doctor and Blake passes out. Since Thor and his hammer are nowhere to be found, The Avengers trick hulk into pounding the exact correct spot on the Living Rock that will cause its destruction without exploding, thus saving the day. Blake wakes up and transforms himself back into Thor. Speaking to the Lava Men, Thor convinces them to give up their hopeless invasion and to return home. The team reunites just as Betty finds a restored Bruce Banner alone, beaten and half naked in the desert. Just as The Avengers are preparing to leave, they receive an urgent message from the Teen Brigade…

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Lava Men
Hulk

Show Notes

Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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