Episode 25: Once An Avenger…

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: John Romita
Letterer: Sherigail

Plot Summary

With the departure of Captain America last issue, the remaining Avengers begin to discuss what has happened. While Hawkeye claims that he had nothing to do with it, Scarlet Witch knows better and refuses to let Hawkeye fail to acknowledge that he has been harassing Cap almost since they joined the team. As the group tries to come to grips with things, Scarlet Witch takes a moment to reflect on how much she will miss Cap’s presence.

Cap meanwhile has made is way north to Westchester where seeks employment as a sparring partner for a boxing champion. Initially the boxer’s trainers don’t think that Cap is up to the challenge and they attempt to chase him away. It is to the trainer’s surprise that Cap quickly knocks both men on their butts. Just as the scuffle is wrapping up, the coach runs up to Cap, offering him the exact job he was seeking, starting immediately. While Cap begins to train with the champ, he quietly reflects on how much he enjoys having a purpose again. At night however, Cap’s thoughts turn back to the Avengers.

From the distant future, Kang the Conqueror watches as the Avengers travel down their separate paths and decides that this is a fitting opportunity to take the Avengers down. Although he is the master of the year 4000, the fact that the heroes of the 20th century still resist him is a constant thorn in his side. This time, Kang chooses to attack the Avengers in their home, landing a fake, extra floor on top of the mansion. Once it is in place, the Avengers are tricked into running into the new room. After making their way inside, Kang attempts to dazzle the trio with brilliant lights, though this is stopped by a quick arrow from Hawkeye. The Avengers suddenly realize that the air in the room is getting thin and they are sealed in. Hawkeye attempts to use a second arrow to blast the door open, but it is stopped by internal defenses. Quicksilver makes a vain attempt to crash through door at speed, but fails and succumbs to unconsciousness.

Just as the team fades, an image of Kang appears and then the conqueror pulls the heroes from their normal timeline and into his future. After completing the task, Kang takes a moment to pay an unannounced visit to Princess Ravonna, Kang’s appointed puppet ruler and the woman whom he is in love with. Kang reminds Ravonna and her father that he could wipe out their kingdom with but a fraction of his army were it not for his love of Ravonna.

While Cap is off practicing with the champ, he hears a radio announcement that the Avengers have gone missing and that foul play is suspected. The momentary lapse in focus due to the announcement allows the champ to land one on Cap, but Cap quickly turns around and knocks out the champ with a single punch. With that Cap rushes off to investigate what has become of his teammates.

In the year 4000, the Avengers find themselves trapped inside some kind of glass containers. While Hawkeye and Quicksilver are unable to escape their chamber, Scarlet Witch manages to use her hex powers to their maximum extent and breaks the glass. Once free, she is able to release her fellow Avengers, though the exertion of using her powers has driven her to the brink of collapse. With Hawkeye offering aid, the team is off in an attempt to escape from their captor. Using three of Hawkeye’s special arrows, the trio is able to avoid most of Kang’s guards by swinging to freedom. Their attempt is short lived however as a massive fan pulls the Avengers from mid-air and smashes them against a large metal grate. Hawkeye realizes that while he may not be able to shoot it, a blast arrow is perfect for this situation. The crafty Avenger instead allows the fan to pull the arrow towards it, causing the fan to be destroyed when the arrow finds it’s mark.

With this, Kang chooses to take personal command in dealing with the Avengers. While he is able to disable Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye with an immobilizing ray, Quicksilver outruns the ray and makes his way towards Kang’s control room. Just as Kang is about to deal with Quicksilver, he sees that Cap, back in the 20th century, is calling him out as a coward. Cap has used a device the Avengers got from Thor to replay the recent past and discover that Kang was responsible for the disappearance of the Avengers. With Ravonna watching, Kang cannot stand to lose face and instead pulls Captain America into the future as well, though to a place of Ravonna’s choosing.

Cap is quickly reunited with Quicksilver and the pair make their way to Kang’s control room where they intend to face off with the conqueror. Both men however fail in their initial assault. Quicksilver merely bounces harmlessly off Kang’s force screen, while Kang turns Cap’s shield against him, enlarging it and trying to crush Cap with it.

With the Avengers seemingly under control, Kang again demands that Ravonna marry him. This time however Kang follows up his demands with a threat that he will call down his army if she refuses. Under the circumstances, even Ravonna’s father urges her to marry Kang, though she continues to hold out. As she does, the Avengers are able to regroup and with the recently freed Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, the team is once again at full fighting strength. Emboldened by the latest challenge to Kang’s superiority, Ravonna refuses, causing Kang to call in his army just as the Avengers are ready to once again strike.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Kang

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