Episode 22: Vengeance Is Ours

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Wally Wood
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

Picking up from last issue, Captain America plummets to his death. Thankfully, Cap’s teammates aren’t so keen on his imminent death and Quicksilver, with the aid of a hastily acquired television antenna, manages to create an updraft which slows Cap’s decent. Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch join in the rescue effort by freeing Cap from his bondage and providing a beam for him to land on. Now out of immediate danger, Quicksilver provides Cap with his shield and the mighty Avengers swing into action to bring Swordsman in for his crimes. Just as the team manages to corner him, Swordsman begins to disappear right before their eyes. More astonishingly it soon becomes clear that even Swordsman has no idea what is happening to him. Before they can do anything, Swordsman is gone and the blame begins to fly among the Avengers. Hawkeye is certain that had Cap not told the team to hold back from attacking then Swordsman would not have evaded capture. As the accusations spread, tempers flare hotter and hotter.

Meanwhile, Swordsman finds himself in an unfamiliar location and drawn in by a pair of doors that seem to open all on their own. Within he finds the source of his mysterious transportation, the Mandarin. As the Mandarin explains, he desires for Swordsman to aid him in destroying his nemesis, Iron Man. Although Iron Man has left the Avengers, Mandarin suspects that he will one day return. With this in mind, Swordsman’s mission is to infiltrate the Avengers so that when the time is right, Iron Man and the Avengers can be destroyed from within. Although Swordsman is no fan of the Avengers, he attempts to tell Mandarin that he is not interested, that he works for no man. Instead, Mandarin uses the technology of his rings to take Swordsman’s sword and then stun him into unconsciousness.

Having returned to Avengers Mansion, the team decides to lay all of their grievances in the open. As Hawkeye gives Cap a piece of his mind, Quicksilver decides to involve himself, leading to confrontation between himself and Hawkeye. As a test of skill, Hawkeye suggests that he fire an arrow at the calendar on the wall while Quicksilver races the arrow and attempts to pull a page off the calendar before the arrow strikes it. Although the race is a close one, Quicksilver’s speed wins out.

Back at the Mandarin’s secret headquarters Swordsman wakes up to find his “host” standing before him with Swordsman’s sword in hand. While Swordsman was unconscious, Mandarin made some modifications to his sword, giving it various new abilities, such as projecting lighting, flame, or even a disintegration ray. Armed with his enhanced signature weapon, Swordsman is escorted to yet another room filled with all manner of technological wonders. In this chamber, the Mandarin creates an image that looks and sounds just like Iron Man, but under his complete control. The villainous pair then send this image directly to Avengers Mansion to deliver a message to the heroes. In the guise of Iron Man, Mandarin informs the Avengers that it was him who sent Swordsman to join the team. Although the majority of the team is less than willing to accept Swordsman, Captain America takes Iron Man at his word. Iron Man’s parting words are of scorn to Hawkeye, reminding him that he too was accepted on the Avengers, despite also having a questionable background. With their ruse in place, Mandarin transports Swordsman to a location near Avengers Mansion where he can transit the remaining distance on foot.

Though Captain America welcomes Swordsman to the team, he makes sure to keep a close eye on him, as do the rest of the Avengers. In spite of their constant vigilance, Swordsman still manages to plant a powerful explosive within the mansion, waiting for the day that Iron Man returns to the team. That evening however, Swordsman is woken up in the middle of the night by an image of the Mandarin telling him to leave the mansion because he has changed his mind. Instead of waiting for Iron Man to return to the team, he will set off the explosive and use the deaths of the Avengers to draw Iron Man home, where Mandarin and Swordsman can trap him. Swordsman is significantly bothered by this sudden change in plans and decides to remove the device. Ironically, Swordsman is caught by Cap and Hawkeye while he is removing the device. With his cover blown Swordsman must fight his way out of the mansion, which is always easier said than done. Eventually, and with the help of a hex turned askew from Scarlet Witch, Swordsman gains his freedom, though his efforts have earned him the ire of the Avengers and the full-fledged hate of the Mandarin.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Swordsman
Mandarin

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