Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Featured Issue: Avengers #72
As Captain America makes his way across the roof of Avengers Mansion, he collides with another man running along the roof. To Cap’s surprise, it’s his former sidekick, Rick Jones. While Rick is initially terse with Cap, things calm when Cap explains that the “Cap” who recently treated Rick poorly was in fact Red Skull in disguise. Reunited, the pair enter the mansion so that they may attend a meeting, called at Cap’s behest.
Encountering the other Avengers, Cap and his teammates gather around their meeting table as Cap calls the meeting to order. Noting their missing members and their reasons for not being present, Cap goes on to say that several top New York City officials have gone missing. Not only that, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten involved and will provide the Avengers with a briefing. Almost on cue, and interrupting Vision, the video transceiver alerts the Avengers to an incoming message from Dum Dum Dugan, the right hand man of Director Nick Fury. Dugan informs the heroes that the city officials have been abducted by a man named Scorpio. Fighting off tears, Dugan further tells the Avengers that he is making the call because Nick Fury has been murdered by Bulls-eye while attending a concert.
Shocked by the news, the Avengers attempt to regain control of the situation but are interrupted by Rick Jones. As he explains, he was on Nick Fury’s roof, looking to discuss with the spymaster the potential of becoming his sidekick. When Rick made his way inside through an open window, he encounters Scorpio. The surprised villain unleashes an energy blast on Rick. Unbeknownst to Scorpio, and the Avengers for that matter, Rick has become connected to the Kree hero Captain Marvel. As he struggles to get up, Marvel convinces Rick to give him a chance at Scorpio. By slamming together two golden bands on his wrists, Rick switches atoms with Captain Marvel, releasing the hero from the Negative Zone and sending Rick in his place. Captain Marvel quickly pursues Scorpio and even manages to get the upper hand for a moment. But when Scorpio turns on Captain Marvel and releases another blast from the Key to the Zodiac, Marvel is laid low.
As Rick finishes his story, of course leaving out his personal connection to Captain Marvel, he presents the Avengers with a list of three city officials that was dropped by Scorpio. The Avengers are shocked to discover that the list matches exactly. Just as Cap is about to press for more answers from Rick, he is cutoff by a voice coming from the display screen. Suddenly the faces of the three missing men appear on the screen. Almost as unannounced, the faces begin to dissolve into a single face, that of Scorpio. Without warning and on Scoprio’s command, the Avengers’ view screen explodes in a massive fireball, an impressive attempt to rid the world of the heroes.
When the Avengers awaken, they find themselves imprisoned by Scorpio, unable to move or speak. As Scorpio gloats over his prisoners, he reveals his co-conspirators, the criminal cartel Zodiac. It becomes clear that Scorpio has undertaken all his actions in order to be welcomed back into Zodiac. While Scorpio is distracted, Yellowjacket uses his control over ants to free the Avengers, send the insects into the controls for the device holding the Avengers captive.
As the Avengers take on the various members of Zodiac, they are stunned to find that Scorpio is none other than Nick Fury. Although they have tons of questions, they must first deal with the threat at hand. Meanwhile, Rick and Captain Marvel discuss the what must be done and they agree that Rick must do what he feels is best.
The Avengers and Fury make quick work of the Zodiac, until Ares inflicts the Key to the Zodiac on the heroes, With the plan rapidly unraveling, the members of Zodiac flee, covering their escape route with an impenetrable substance to prevent the Avengers from pursuit. With the situation under control, Nick Fury explains that he impersonated Scorpio in order to flush out Zodiac. What he tells the assembled heroes is that, much to his surprise and shame, the real Scorpio was in fact Fury’s own brother.