Episode 17: Now, By My Hand, Shall Die a Villain

Avengers #15

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Mikey Demeo (Mike Esposito)
Letterer: Art Simek
Layouts: Jack Kirby

Plot Summary

With the closing of yet another Avengers meeting, the heroes each go their separate ways. Giant Man takes the opportunity to escort the recently recovered Wasp out for the evening, while Captain America and Thor both quietly depart Avengers Mansion. Once his teammates have left, Iron Man quickly removes his suit, and as Tony Stark, settles in for a quiet evening.

While The Avengers may be taking some much needed time off, Baron Zemo of The Masters of Evil decides he has been resting on his laurels far too long and that the time is right to once again strike at his hated foes. Zemo rushes off to his airstrip, gives instructions to his waiting pilots and soon they are off, putting their master’s evil plan into motion.

Meanwhile in New York, Captain America is busy mailing a letter he wrote to his former comrade, Nick Fury, asking the Colonel for help in finding meaningful work in the modern world. Just as Cap is about to drop off his letter, he spots Enchantress and Executioner in the back of a car. Though Cap pursues the villains, Enchantress is able to prevent him from keeping up with the use of her magic. When they arrive at their apartment, the Asgardian pair receive a communication from Baron Zemo, who provides them with instructions for the part they will play in the mastermind’s latest scheme.

The Avengers however are no fools and they quickly assemble to discuss Captain America’s recent encounter with two of The Masters of Evil. Though the team expects that The Masters are up to something, everyone is surprised when Cap’s young companion, Rick Jones, is suddenly pulled uncontrollably up into the air. Those Avengers who are capable of flight immediately take off in an attempt to save the teen, only to be met with a concussion bomb which knock out Thor and Iron Man. Rick is pulled into the plane, which turns out to be the very same one that took off from Zemo’s South American fortress. Once he has regained his senses, Iron Man quickly summons a Stark Industries jet, so that The Avengers can give chase.

Elsewhere, Black Knight and Melter are sitting in prison, awaiting the arrival of some men from Washington D.C., who intend to investigate their villainous equipment. As Melter paces the cell, a magical portal suddenly opens. Seizing the opportunity presented, the pair rush through the portal and are met by Executioner and Enchantress, who is in possession of Black Knight’s lance and flying horse. Needing no further explanation, Black Knight immediately takes to the sky and attacks the jet carrying The Avengers. Although Thor quickly engages Black Knight, the plane is almost immediately attacked by Melter, who is hiding on a nearby roof. Iron Man decides that he will deal with this new threat. The remaining Avengers decide that Cap will continue on to South America when Giant Man and Wasp will join Iron Man and Thor in dealing with The Masters of Evil. Although The Masters of Evil put up a strong fight, they are quickly beaten back and encircled by The Avengers. The Masters attempt to dissuade The Avengers from continuing the fight by threatening to harm innocent bystanders, but The Avengers are not fooled, and a standoff ensues.

Eventually Captain America arrives in South America, only to be immediately fired upon by Zemo’s waiting henchmen. When Cap returns fire, Zemo springs his trap and catapults the captive Rick Jones right into Cap’s line of fire. Rick barely escapes with his life. After abandoning his damaged aircraft, Cap joins Rick, only to be set upon by Zemo and his legion of henchmen. Only quick thinking by Captain America prevents the duo from being overrun and they now face Zemo alone. In spite of the fact that Zemo has Cap in his sights, Cap is able to overcome Zemo by blinding him with sunlight reflected in Cap’s shield. Unable to see, Zemo fires his weapon wildly, causing an avalanche. When the dust settles, Zemo is dead, buried beneath the rocks. The issue closes as Cap takes a moment to reflect on Zemo’s death and he takes solace in that fact that Bucky’s death has been avenged.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Black Knight
Enchantress
Executioner
Melter

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