Episode 8: Their Darkest Hour

Avengers #7

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

The issue begins with an Avengers court of inquiry. Iron Man stands accused of failing to respond to an Avengers alert. Admitting his guilt and offering nothing in his defense, Iron Man is suspended for a week by his fellow Avengers, Thor delivering the verdict. At the same moment, Thor’s father Odin is delivering a verdict of his own. As punishment for their attack on Thor (Journey Into Mystery #103) Enchantress and Executioner are banished from Asgard and sent down to live among the mortals of Midgar (Earth). Upon arriving in Manhattan, the pair of exiled Asgardians find a newspaper detailing The Masters of Evil’s fight with The Avengers (Avengers #6) and decide that they should join forces with Baron Zemo in order to affect their revenge against Thor. Meanwhile, after a rousing workout with some professional wrestlers, Captain America’s mood is shattered by the appearance of Rick Jones, wearing Bucky’s old costume. Cap flies into a near rage, and demands that Rick never again wear the costume.

Deep within the Amazon jungle, Enchantress and Executioner find Baron Zemo attempting to raise funds in order to fuel his private war against Captain America. Zemo jumps at Enchantress’ offer to help him defeat The Avengers and the newest Masters of Evil join Zemo is plotting their master plan. While the rest of The Avengers are off attending to personal matters, Captain America is confronted by Hans Grubervelt, a man who claims to have been Zemo’s second in command, and who is looking to redeem himself. Grubervelt offers to tell Cap Zemo’s current location as a demonstration of his changed ways. Armed with this information, Cap immediately leaves to confront his hated enemy. Little does Cap realize that Grubervelt is none other than Executioner in disguise and that Cap is playing right into his foe’s hand.

Even as Cap is speaking with Grubervelt, Thor is quickly slipping under the control of Enchantress. Lured by her voice to a rooftop, Thor is quickly placed under her spell and then Enchantress begins to warp Thor’s mind. When her work is finished, Thor now believes that The Avengers are his true enemy and they must be stopped at all costs.

Captain America finally reaches Zemo’s jungle kingdom and is immediately assaulted by a waiting Zemo. Though he is able to quickly deal with the surprises that he encounters, Cap eventually falls into a pit trap from which he is unable to escape.

On receiving an emergency call from Thor, Giant Man and Wasp return to New York, only to be attacked the moment they arrive. Giant Man makes a valiant effort, but is nearly defeated, until Iron Man shows up, in defiance of his suspension. Seeing that the fight in New York is going well, Enchantress decides to investigate how things are proceeding in the jungle. Upon seeing Cap in the pit trap, Enchantress attempts to cave in the pit, but her efforts have the unexpected effect of allowing Cap to escape. Now free, Captain America wreaks havoc on Zemo and his minions until Zemo flees with Cap catching a ride on Zemo’s plane.

Iron Man is finally able to break the enchantment on Thor using a flash of bright sunlight. Just as The Avengers are reorganizing themselves, Zemo’s plane shows up and is magically pulled towards Enchantress and Executioner’s location. Just as the plane arrives, Cap attacks Zemo through the windshield. Fortunately for Zemo, Executioner steps in and disables Cap, allowing the The Masters to escape. As soon as the plane takes off however, Thor traps it in a Space Warp, sending it, and The Masters of Evil inside, off to an unknown location.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Enchantress
Executioner

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