Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Featured Issue: Avengers #76
Deep within Avengers Mansion, Quicksilver and Vision watch as Black Panther and Captain America attempt to put the finishing touches on their D-Machine. With this device the Avengers hope to bridge the gap between their dimension and that of Arkon the Magnificent. There mission is one near and dear to their hearts; the rescue of Scarlet Witch. Impatient, Quicksilver chides his former teammates for taking their time know his sister’s life could be in danger. Vision however is quick to point out that there is far more at stake than just Scarlet Witch’s life and Quicksilver should not be so fixated on a single life when there are so many others in peril. In spite of Quicksilver’s earlier statements, Black Panther defends the speedster, noting that if Vision were human he might understand better what Pietro was going through.
Putting their banter put aside for a moment, Black Panther tells Cap to initiate the device. Unfortunately Panther’s fears are realized when the machine’s power supply proves unstable, causing him tremendous amounts of pain from the wild energy. Quicksilver attempts to intervene and rescue Black Panther but is rebuffed by force fields put in place to protect the device. With Black Panther barely holding on, Captain America acts quickly to free his friend, causing significant damage to the device in the process. With this latest setback, Quicksilver is unable to contain his frustration any more and releases it all on his former teammates. Tempers flare and Quicksilver storms out. Elsewhere in the mansion, Goliath works to create an oversized crossbow which matches his inhuman size, finding a way to possibly contribute since he is unable to travel dimensions with Black Panther. Has his experiment finds success, he is disturbed by an unexpected visitor, Black Widow. To his horror Widow announces that she will no longer be able to see Goliath. Stunned, Goliath demands that Widow tell him that she never loved him as proof of her intent. As tears well up in her eyes, she manages to force out the words as she walks away.
Elsewhere, a stranger creature journeys across an alien landscape. Riding on this beast of burden is the Scarlet Witch and her captor, Arkon the Magnificent. As they approach his city, Arkon chides Scarlet Witch for looking so glum. In his mind, the woman who will soon be his queen should be excited by the prospect, but Wanda has other ideas. She finds herself unable to have any pleasant feelings towards someone who would be willing to commit the mass murder of the people of Earth. As the pair arrive, they are greeted by Arkon’s elderly advisor who urges the conqueror to act quickly in order to save his world. Arkon inquires as to the status of the scientists building his nuclear device, but is told that they have not completed their work. Venturing to the dungeons, passing an imprisoned Toad on the way, Arkon attempts to persuade the scientists to his cause. When words fail, Arkon orders the most defiant of the men placed in a machine which will forcibly remove the knowledge they seek. With this knowledge, the advisor is able to create a handheld orb capable of accomplishing Arkon’s mission.
With his victory all but assured, Arkon takes the opportunity to win Scarlet Witch’s affections. Telling her the lie that he managed to find a way to save both planets, Arkon watches Scarlet Witch begin to soften. Taking things a step further, Arkon takes Wanda to see a special flower which is to be picked by the Imperion’s betrothed and worn on her wedding day. As Scarlet Witch picks the flower, she is reminded of a “Flower in the Crannied Wall” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Slowly the two are drawn to one another but just as they are about to kiss the moment is disturbed by a guard warning that a hole is space has opened and invaders sally forth through it. Immediately recognizing this as a counter-attack by the Avengers, Arkon summons his warriors for battle.
Even though the Avengers are vastly outnumbered, they manage to inflict devastating attacks on Arkon’s forces. Overwhelmed by the might of the assembled heroes, Arkon is forced back within his stronghold. Upon reaching his throne room, Arkon seizes upon the atom sphere which he intends to use to destroy the Earth. Scarlet Witch is appalled to learn she has been deceived, becoming even further incensed when Arkon claims to be above truth and falsehood. When the Avengers interrupt his escape, Arkon uses one of his lightning bolt javelins to transport back to Earth, arriving at the pinnacle of the Empire State Building. Thankfully the Avengers are right behind Arkon, thanks to the magic of Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir. While Goliath scales the side of the build King Kong style, Quicksilver races to the top of the building. Although he is the first to arrive, Quicksilver is deflected by Arkon and knocked off the building, being saved at the last moment by Goliath. Repelling attacks from both Black Panther and Vision, Arkon attempts to deploy his world destroying weapon. Goliath is the only thing standing between the Earth and Armageddon and even his strength is being tested by the other-worldly visitor. Just as all seems lost, Arkon’s advisor appears in the sky telling the Imperion that there is no need for him to continue as Iron Man and Thor have created a device that is even now restoring the life giving rings around the planet. Seeing their quarrel at an end Arkon takes a moment free Scarlet Witch from her betrothal, if it is her will, before returning to his home. As the rest of the Avengers return home, Scarlet Witch finds herself once again staring at the Flower of Life, lost deep in her own thoughts.
Arkon the Magnificent