The Summons Of Psyklops

Avengers #88
Story: Harlan Ellison
Adaptation: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Jim Mooney
Letterer: Shelly Leferman

Featured Issue: Avengers #88

Plot Summary

That poor, unfortunate and misunderstood former Avenger known as the Hulk finds himself at the unrelenting mercy of two pulsating electrodes. Within Boulder Dam, and at the direction of General Thunderbolt Ross, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and Professor Xavier attempt to use the device in question to subdue the Hulk. After months of preparation and in concert with Tony Stark, the scientists are nearing the end of their work, the goal of which is to rescue Bruce Banner from the curse he is forced to live with. Although the Hulk is mighty, eventually even he succumbs to the power flowing in to him. As Hulk’s consciousness slips away, Ross orders the power cut so that they may move on to the next step of their plan.

Elsewhere, in a remote jungle, the Avengers find themselves slogging in search of answers. Only a few short hours ago Captain America agreed to join his partner, Falcon, on a mission to locate a friend who had gone missing near New Orleans. Upon arrival in the Big Easy, the pair discover that Ralph had wandered off into the bayou in some form of trance. As they traced their query, the heroes quickly stumbled on a voodoo ritual being performed. Cap and Falcon are almost immediately discovered and attacked by the cultists who have been driven to a frenzy by the words of the voodoo priest. Unbeknownst to the heroes, the local police department is waiting just on the edge of the bayou, ready to confront the cultists. As the situation deteriorates and the police move in, Falcon is saved from a potentially mortal blow from the priest by his trusty bird, Redwing. Falcon is then able to unmask the priest and to his horror he discovers that it is Ralph, the friend he had been looking for. Ralph is still in some form of trance, only muttering a set of longitude and latitude coordinates. With this information, the pair return to Avengers Mansion in order to investigate things further.

Back at their headquarters, the assembled Avengers agree to join Cap and Falcon in their search, though not all of the team will be joining. Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision have all promised Reed Richards that they would stay behind on monitor duty. Even more shocking is the announcement by Black Panther that he will be leaving the team and returning to his kingdom of Wakanda, and thus will not be joining the expedition. With this, Captain America and Falcon are joined by Thor, Iron Man and Goliath on their quest for answers. As the team wades through the jungles of an unnamed Pacific island, they are shocked by what they encounter. At first it appears to be a living, breathing dragon, but on closer inspection it is a stone carving of unknown design. What is most shocking however is that the face of the creature matches exactly the mask worn by Ralph, the voodoo priest. An unlikely coincidence to be sure.

Back in Boulder Dam, Reed Richards directs a soldier on how best to use a special crane to lift the motionless body of the Hulk for transport into the specially designed Coma-crypt. Just as the team is ready to begin their task, the Hulk starts to become transparent and eventually blinks out of existence entirely. Or at least that is what the team at Boulder Dam is lead to believe. In reality, Hulk has been transported by a humanoid being that identifies itself only as Psyklops, a member of an ancient race that occupied the Earth before mankind. Psyklops has been awakened by the Dark Gods whom his people worshiped and who also placed his race in an eternal slumber. Just as he is about to explain their nefarious purpose, Psyklops senses the approach of the Avengers. Not wishing to be disturbed, he dispatches a creature to deal with the intruders. The beast is powerful to say the least, but eventually the Avengers are able to gain the upper hand and a powerful final strike from Mjolnir lays the creature low. Entering the subterranean lair, the Avengers find the passageways lined with bizarre looking gargoyles which remind Iron Man of something straight out of a comic book. With time growing short, Psyklops explains that he intends to use Hulk as a food source to power the Dark Gods to which he answers in order that his people may be awakened once again. So that he may make the best use of Hulk’s awesome power, Psyklops decides to shrink him down so that he may be more easily analyzed. Just as the shrinking process begins, the Avengers arrive on scene and immediately confront Psyklops. His attention distracted, Psyklops accidentally allows Hulk to be shrunken down, past the intended point, and apparently into nothingness. With his experiment a failure and knowing he is out number, Psyklops turns a device on the Avengers who are instantly transported back to New York, landing on a subway platform. Not only that, but the device wiped their memories clean of the whole incident, leading the team to wonder exactly why they were trying to catch a train in the first place.


Black Panther
Captain America
Iron Man
Scarlet Witch



Look Homeward, Avengers!

Avengers #87

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Mike Stevens

Featured Issue: Avengers #87

Plot Summary

Returning from their recent dimension hoping adventure, the Avengers settle down for some well deserved relaxation. While the general tone around the mansion is cautious, one Avenger can’t help but be distracted in their new found down time. Questioned about it by Iron Man, Black Panther admits that he is suffering from home sickness, that most common of maladies. In an effort to help their teammate, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch encourage Black Panther to tell them about his home. With this, Black Panther begins to regale the Avengers with the story of how he became the legendary protector of Wakanda.

As son of the great chief T’Chaka, T’Challa was groomed from birth to follow in his father’s footsteps. Soon after sharing the secret of vibranium with his son, T’Chaka is killed by Klaw. Refusing to give him the vibranium that he sought for his sound transformer, Klaw orders his men to cut the chief down. Still being a young man, T’Challa is sent away for his schooling while the kingdom is ruled over by N’Baza, the witch doctor and his father’s most trusted advisor. Accompanying him on his journey is N’Baza’s son, B’Tumba. For years the pair are inseparable, studying and competing with one another, but still remaining close friends. After graduation, the pair return to Wakanda so that T’Challa may finally claim his throne.

On his arrival, T’Challa is greeted by N’Baza and immediately must begin the trials that will prove he is worthy of succeeding his father as chief. First he must face off against a half dozen of the best warriors, a challenge he quickly completes, though a lesser man would have fallen before any one of his foes. Next, T’Challla must hold a vigil in the temple of the panther god. Again having successfully completed his task, T’Challa was lead in to a gigantic panther statue where he finds the costume of the Black Panther. Donning the suit, T’Challa emerges to the cheers of an assembled crowd and ready to face his final trial. T’Challa must travel to the great plateau and obtain of the rare, heart-shaped herb. If successful, T’Challa must then eat the herb in order to gain the powers of the panther. With this, T’Challa sets out to fulfill his destiny.

Through jungles and swamps and up sheer cliffs, T’Challa overcomes any and all obstacles that cross his path. Just as his journey is coming to an end, T’Challa hears unexpected voices in the distance. On further investigation he discovers a small expedition from Advanced Idea Mechanics, AIM for short. The team is busily loading up a shipment of refined vibranium for transport back to their headquarters. As T’Challa contemplates the ramifications of his discovery, he himself is discovered by a hidden camera left behind by AIM. The young king is quickly ambushed by the now alerted AIM squad.

Although surprised and outnumbered, T’Challa quickly takes the offensive and shows off the incredible power now under his control. His speed, strength and agility end up proving no match for the technological wonders of AIM and he is soon brought down the their portable sonatron. While he recovers, Black Panther demands to know who is responsible for this brazen act of thievery. The traitor is soon revealed to be none other than T’Challa’s close friend B’Tumba. In the process AIM also reveals that it is there intent to beat the US and Soviets to the moon using a rocket constructed of vibranium, eventually leading to a invulnerable space station made of the same metal.

Broken and imprisoned by AIM, Black Panther can only face his death with dignity. His final demand is that his former friend B’Tumba be the one to pull the trigger and end his life. After T’Challa’s repeated taunts, B’Tumba finds himself unable to do the deed and instead decides to free his friend and make their escape. AIM it seems is less forgiving than the Wakandan king and they attack both T’Challa and B’Tumba. With his enhanced abilities as Black Panther, T’Challa is able to avoid the onslaught, but B’Tumba is not so lucky. With the AIM soldiers defeated, Black Panther returns to B’Tumba’s side just in time to comfort him in his final moments. Leaving the body behind, Black Panther returns to his kingdom a changed man.

In New York, the Avengers listen to the end of the story and offer words of sympathy and comradeship to Black Panther. As he leaves to the room, Black Panther informs the Avengers that N’Baza, who has been ruling Wakanda as T’Challa’s regent, has just died and so Black Panther must now choose whether to return home or stay in New York with the Avengers.


Black Panther