Now, By My Hand, Shall Die a Villain

Avengers #15

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Mikey Demeo (Mike Esposito)
Letterer: Art Simek
Layouts: Jack Kirby

Plot Summary

With the closing of yet another Avengers meeting, the heroes each go their separate ways. Giant Man takes the opportunity to escort the recently recovered Wasp out for the evening, while Captain America and Thor both quietly depart Avengers Mansion. Once his teammates have left, Iron Man quickly removes his suit, and as Tony Stark, settles in for a quiet evening.

While The Avengers may be taking some much needed time off, Baron Zemo of The Masters of Evil decides he has been resting on his laurels far too long and that the time is right to once again strike at his hated foes. Zemo rushes off to his airstrip, gives instructions to his waiting pilots and soon they are off, putting their master’s evil plan into motion.

Meanwhile in New York, Captain America is busy mailing a letter he wrote to his former comrade, Nick Fury, asking the Colonel for help in finding meaningful work in the modern world. Just as Cap is about to drop off his letter, he spots Enchantress and Executioner in the back of a car. Though Cap pursues the villains, Enchantress is able to prevent him from keeping up with the use of her magic. When they arrive at their apartment, the Asgardian pair receive a communication from Baron Zemo, who provides them with instructions for the part they will play in the mastermind’s latest scheme.

The Avengers however are no fools and they quickly assemble to discuss Captain America’s recent encounter with two of The Masters of Evil. Though the team expects that The Masters are up to something, everyone is surprised when Cap’s young companion, Rick Jones, is suddenly pulled uncontrollably up into the air. Those Avengers who are capable of flight immediately take off in an attempt to save the teen, only to be met with a concussion bomb which knock out Thor and Iron Man. Rick is pulled into the plane, which turns out to be the very same one that took off from Zemo’s South American fortress. Once he has regained his senses, Iron Man quickly summons a Stark Industries jet, so that The Avengers can give chase.

Elsewhere, Black Knight and Melter are sitting in prison, awaiting the arrival of some men from Washington D.C., who intend to investigate their villainous equipment. As Melter paces the cell, a magical portal suddenly opens. Seizing the opportunity presented, the pair rush through the portal and are met by Executioner and Enchantress, who is in possession of Black Knight’s lance and flying horse. Needing no further explanation, Black Knight immediately takes to the sky and attacks the jet carrying The Avengers. Although Thor quickly engages Black Knight, the plane is almost immediately attacked by Melter, who is hiding on a nearby roof. Iron Man decides that he will deal with this new threat. The remaining Avengers decide that Cap will continue on to South America when Giant Man and Wasp will join Iron Man and Thor in dealing with The Masters of Evil. Although The Masters of Evil put up a strong fight, they are quickly beaten back and encircled by The Avengers. The Masters attempt to dissuade The Avengers from continuing the fight by threatening to harm innocent bystanders, but The Avengers are not fooled, and a standoff ensues.

Eventually Captain America arrives in South America, only to be immediately fired upon by Zemo’s waiting henchmen. When Cap returns fire, Zemo springs his trap and catapults the captive Rick Jones right into Cap’s line of fire. Rick barely escapes with his life. After abandoning his damaged aircraft, Cap joins Rick, only to be set upon by Zemo and his legion of henchmen. Only quick thinking by Captain America prevents the duo from being overrun and they now face Zemo alone. In spite of the fact that Zemo has Cap in his sights, Cap is able to overcome Zemo by blinding him with sunlight reflected in Cap’s shield. Unable to see, Zemo fires his weapon wildly, causing an avalanche. When the dust settles, Zemo is dead, buried beneath the rocks. The issue closes as Cap takes a moment to reflect on Zemo’s death and he takes solace in that fact that Bucky’s death has been avenged.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Black Knight
Enchantress
Executioner
Melter

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Even Avengers Can Die

Avengers #14

Writers: Stan Lee & Larry Lieber
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Layouts: Jack Kirby

Plot Summary

Picking up from the dramatic cliffhanger in Avengers #13, The Avengers are rushing a gravely injured Wasp to the hospital as fast as superhumanly possible. On their arrival, Wasp is taken to be examined while her teammates are forced to wait outside for news. As the reality of the situation begins to set in, Giant Man finds himself on the verge of breakdown, given his previously unacknowledged feelings for Wasp. When the doctor returns the situation does not improve. With a collapsed lung and the other one failing, Wasp is given only 48 hours to live. And though the doctor is unable to help he does mention Dr. Svenson, a specialist who might be able to help.

The Avengers quickly nominate Thor to travel to Norway and enlist the aid of Dr. Svenson. When Thor arrives however, Dr. Svenson is unwilling to leave his work. Thor however realizes that time is of the essence and forcibly takes Dr. Svenson back with him to New York. When the pair arrive, Svenson again begins to protest, but Giant Man can’t take it and assaults Svenson. Things go from bad to worse when it is discovered that the man Thor returned with is not Svenson, but an alien impersonator who dies almost immediately after being unmasked. Before he expired though, the alien admitted that the real Dr. Svenson is with the rest of the alien’s people, somewhere on Earth.

With this information The Avengers each use their skills and resources in an attempt to find the aliens. Though they are unable to locate the aliens, the heroes can deduce that they are located somewhere that is devoid of human life. This leaves only the North and South Poles. Quickly boarding a jet on loan from Tony Stark, The Avengers travel to a point equidistant from each pole, and use Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to indicate which direction they should travel. Soon the team is headed north.

Upon reaching their destination, The Avengers begin digging in order to find where the aliens are hiding. As Iron Man uses his repulsors, the ground beneath The Avengers collapses and they fall down a massive hole beneath. The team manages to save themselves, only to be immediately attacked by the very aliens they seek. The heroes manage to drive off the first wave, and as they advance, discover an entire city hidden beneath the ice. While beginning to explore the city, The Avengers are caught unaware and stunned. The helpless supers are then brought before the alien leader, who tells them that the aliens are present on Earth because they are looking to rebuild their forces after being forced to retreat in an interplanetary war. The aliens are unable to breathe the oxygen available on Earth, and were only saved by the fortunate arrival of Dr. Svenson, who has been aiding the alien survivors ever since.

Unknown to the alien leader, Thor, being an Asgardian is less effected by the alien stun technology. After learning what he can, Thor springs into action and takes the leader hostage, demanding the aliens release The Avengers. After complying with Thor’s demand, the aliens renew their attack on The Avengers. The battle rages until Dr. Svenson himself intervenes in the situation. Svenson says that he has chosen to stay of his own free will and help the aliens.

Just as tensions begin to ease, the race that had defeated the aliens locates the aliens on Earth and makes their presense known by destroying a listening outpost. With this new threat added to the equation, the aliens now insist that  they must fight their pursuers here on Earth. Of course, this option is unacceptable to The Avengers and they vow that if the aliens must give fight on Earth, then they will be forced to fight The Avengers as well. Realizing that his people cannot successfully fight on two fronts, the alien leader asceeds to The Avengers demands and allows them to return to New York, along with Dr. Svenson, using a teleportation portal. Once the team is clear, the aliens begin their withdrawal from Earth.

Back in New York, Dr. Svenson quickly examines Wasp. Though he is unsure if he can help her or not, he says he will try and tells Giant Man to have faith. And as The Watcher journeys through the abandoned alien city, Dr. Svenson returns to   The Avengers, telling them that all is well; Wasp will be alright.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Unnamed Aliens