Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Art Simek
Featured Issue: Avengers #69
Making their way though a Manhattan hospital, the Avengers seek out the room of their ally, Tony Stark. Having been injured battling a Life Model Decoy that attempted to take his place, Iron Man teeters on the brink of death as the Avengers arrive. In hopes of helping their friend, the Thor rushes the best specialist available, Dr. Santini, to the hospital. As the doctor evaluates Mr. Stark, Wasp notices an odd looking figurine hidden beneath the dresser. After a brief investigation, Wasp throws the figure into the garbage can, causing it to grow and allowing it to climb out of the can. The figure then attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents guarding Stark, growing yet again after being shot by the agents. The figure, soon identified as the Growing Man breaks into Stark’s room, kidnapping the industrialist.
The Avengers attack that followed only makes things worse, as it allows the Growing Man to dramatically increase in size. Goliath attempts to pursue but is unable to match Growing Man’s size while also being able to fight and Growing Man is able to escape with Stark. Fortunately for the Avengers, they manage to hitch a ride in the same transportation beam that Growing Man used, pursuing their foe wherever he may go.
Thrust through time and space the Avengers are stunned to find themselves delivered to the feet of their time traveling foe, Kang the Conqueror. When the Avengers refuse to serve Kang, his minions attack, but are quickly defeated. Just as the Avengers are about to turn on Kang himself, they are called to reason by a surprising individual, Black Panther. The Panther informs his teammates that Kang drew him from the past before them and implores Kang to explain his actions and the Avengers to listen.
Heeding Black Panther’s advice, Kang tells the Avengers that in his search for a way to bring back Ravonna, he was approached by a cosmic being calling himself the Grandmaster. This strange creature offers Kang the power over life and death if he should win in a contest of Grandmaster’s design. Should he lose however, Grandmaster would send the Earth into oblivion. Knowing how powerful the Avengers are, Kang drew them to his future in order that they may serve as his champions, not to just save Ravonna, but also to prevent Grandmaster from wiping out Earth. Faced with this new information, the Avengers agree to help Kang. With the return of Grandmaster, Thor, Goliath and Captain America are transported back to Earth and their own time where they come face to face with the champions of the Grandmaster, the Squadron Sinister.
Kang the Conqueror
One thought on “Let The Game Begin”
Love this insightful podcast. This is a great issue with Thomas and Sal Buscema at their peak. Buscema is highly underrated.
So many stock concepts and characters are introduced in this issue. This strikes me as one of the most absorbing Kang storylines, but it would be blown out of the water years later by the Celestial Madonna saga. Hope you continue these podcasts at least until you cover Mantis’ time with the Avengers.