Lo! The Lethal Legion

Avengers #79

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #79

Plot Summary

In Avengers Mansion, reserve members Iron Man and Thor arrive, responding to the emergency summons of their fellow Avengers. The pair can only surmise that something major must be happening based on the grim expressions on everyone’s faces. With pleasantries out of the way Captain America declares that the team must stand together or else they will almost certainly fall. Noting that Black Panther is missing, Cap recalls the attack he suffered at the hands of M’Baku and the solo mission on which Black Panther embarked. Based on the available evidence the Avengers are forced to conclude that they face not just one villain but a cabal of such rogues. Before the Avengers can formulate a plan, Scarlet Witch points out that Black Panther has recently begun teaching at a local school and that classes were about to start in a few short minutes. Quickly donning a disguise, Vision volunteers to inform the schools administration that Black Panther’s alias, Luke Charles, will not be in class today. As the synthazoid departs, Iron Man wonders if the villains were having a similar meeting in which the fate of the Avengers was being decided.

Little does Iron Man realize how correct he really is. Though they are meeting in similar fashion, the Lethal Legion fill the room with their contempt for one another. Melodramatically grandstanding in front of the others, Grim Reaper attempts to remind the assembled villains that it was he who was responsible for the formation of their team. Reaper takes things a step too far when he claims credit for the capture of Black Panther and Monica Lynn. M’Baku promptly interrupts Reaper and demands to know why they have yet to kill Black Panther. Grim Reaper responds that it would be much more fitting that all the Avengers die together and proceeds to give orders to the rest of the team in preparation for ambushing the Avengers in their mansion. With this the villains depart.

Almost the moment Grim Reaper leaves the room, the force field imprisoning Black Panther and Monica Lynn disappears. Not waiting for an explanation to the fortuitous event, Black Panther smashes his way out of the restraints and begins to scour the base for a transmitter in order to warn the Avengers of the imminent attack. Managing to contact his teammates, he informs the Avengers of the Prometheus Priority alert. Just as he finishes explaining the situation to the Avengers, Black Panther’s transmission is cut off by Grim Reaper. Unknown to the Avenger, Reaper had set him up and allowed him to escape and contact the Avengers as part of his master plan. While Black Panther lands pummeling blows on Grim Reaper, the deadly villain reveals that he has been training and preparing. To back up his words, Grim Reaper unexpectedly gases Panther and Monica Lynn in to unconsciousness.

At Andrew Jackson High School, Vision arrives to complete his mission. Although he successfully covers for Black Panther in his absence, his visage isn’t quite as convincing as he believed and his chilling, inhuman voice leaves the secretary haunted and flustered.

In the sewers beneath Avengers Mansion Goliath and Scarlet Witch begin their search for the villains they know to be lurking. Unfortunately for them, the pair of Swordsman and Power Man lay in waiting, using a high intensity light beam to blind the heroic duo. Although Power Man is able to take advantage of Goliath’s momentary disability, Scarlet Witch uses Swordsman’s voice to locate him and rain down hex bolts on him. As Goliath regains his sight he is able to turn the tables on Power Man and the villains find themselves on the verge of defeat until Swordsman gases the heroes.

Meanwhile, Captain America and Quicksilver explore the power station. The Avengers suddenly find themselves under attack from M’Baku and the Living Laser. While Cap and M’Baku square off in a rematch of their earlier encounter, the Living Laser attempts to demolish Quicksilver. Unable to keep up with Quicksilver, Living Laser gets lucky when debris from his attacks manages to trip up Quicksilver, removing him from the fight. Meanwhile Cap is overwhelmed when M’Baku uses damaged equipment to shatter the hydraulic generators behind Cap, nearly drowning the star-spangled Avenger.

Returning to their lair, the Lethal Legion imprisons the disabled Avengers within a mammoth hourglass. The hourglass is then slowly filled with a toxic vapor as Grim Reaper watches excitedly, vengeance for the death of his brother so close at hand. As the vapors continue to collect, Power Man returns dragging Vision along with him. The Legionnaires decide to throw him in with the others, hoping he would also die. Along with Vision, Power Man returns with secret files about each of the Avengers. As Grim Reaper reads the files, he discovers that Vision’s brain pattern is based on that of his deceased brother, Wonder Man. Panicking and terrified of losing his brother yet again, Grim Reaper smashes open the hourglass, saving the heroes. As Vision crawls out, gasping for air, M’Baku realizes that Vision is not who he seems to be, but is in fact Power Man. His cover blown, Vision abandons his Power Man disguise and attacks, shattering Swordsman’s sword. Soon the rest of the Avengers join the fight, admitting they were playing along. Black Panther’s use of the Prometheus Priority informed the Avengers that they were walking into traps and as such they were prepared. With the Lethal Legion defeated, Vision stuns the Avengers by announcing his departure from the team. His feelings of alienation and lack of humanity have finally caught up with him and Vision must go and find his place in the universe.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Grim Reaper
Living Laser
Man-Ape
Power Man
Swordsman

The Sting Of The Serpent

Avengers #73Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencillers: Frank Giacoia & Herb Trimpe
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #73

Plot Summary

In a secret hall, speaking from a platform in the form of a viper, the Sons of the Serpent spout their venomous, hated soaked speech.

On the other side of the ocean Black Panther makes his way from his ancestral homeowners Wakanda to his newly adopted residence in New York. Little could he suspect that while he convinces himself that little is likely to have changed, a terrorist bomb is just then tearing its way through a New York high rise Containing an Equal  Employment opportunity office . As firefighters and paramedics descend on the catastrophe, a strange serpent staff is found near the ruined building. Only one organization could be behind this attack and could have left that calling card. Then when a local African-American television host, Montague Hale demands the bombing be investigated as the terrorist act it most obviously is, Hale is attacked by the Sons of the Serpent. As a result of the ensuing controversy, Hale’s show is cancelled.

In the wake of his firing, Hale is invited as a guest on the Dan Dunn Show, a rival show hosted by the obviously bigoted Dan Dunn. The two men begin to exchange barbs, but Dunn quickly cuts off Hale in order to introduce Monica Lynne, an attractive young African-American singer. When her performance is done, Dunn invites the young woman to join the debate. Though she joins the pair, Lynne declines to participate in the conversation, much to Hale’s frustration and Dunn’s thinly veiled pleasure. After departing the studio, Hale attempts to convince Lynne to be more politically active and to fight discrimination though Lynne wants nothing to do with Hale’s cause. Little does Ms. Lynne know that the Sons of the Serpent already have their sights set on her.

In Avengers Mansion the heroes have assembled themselves to address the situation presented by the return of the Sons of the Serpent. Before they can truly get started though, Yellowjacket fills in Vision on the team’s previous encounter with the hate mongers. Following an attack on Pym’s assistant Bill Foster, Captain America was kidnapped by the Sons. The Avengers were told that if they wanted their teammate back they would need to publicly support the Sons. Initially Hank Pym agrees, but once he takes the stage Pym instead denounces the group. The Avengers are then confronted by an imposter Cap, while Hawkeye and Black Widow rescue the real Cap. In the end, the Supreme Serpent is unmasked as a foreign general trying to sow dissent. As the Avengers attempt to guess their foe’s next move, little could they foresee that it is already underway.

In a park near where she was dropped off by Montague Hale, Monica Lynne is attack’s by several men robed in the garb of the Sons of the Serpent. Just as her assailants prepare to murder Lynne in cold blood, they are thankfully interrupted by the timely intervention of Black Panther. Although he manages to draw their attention, Black Panther is unable to immediately defeat the Sons and is forced into a quick retreat. Before they have a chance to regroup however, Black Panther is once again on top of them. With the outcome now in doubt, the leader of the Sons, who has been watching remotely, chooses to kill his followers rather than let them be beaten by Black Panther. When the police finally arrive on scene it becomes clear that the attack was racially motivated and that the experience has shaken Ms. Lynne our of her political apathy.

Following the attack the Avengers tune in to the next episode of Dan Dunn’s show where Lynne and Hale have returned as guests. As Lynne explains her recent experience, Dunn is quick to dismiss the idea that race had anything to do with the attack, and once again tempers begin the flare. The situation at Avengers Mansion also heats up as the team decides that the time has come for their involvement. Unfortunately Black Panther disagrees, demanding to take on the Sons on his own. His teammates reluctantly agree, wondering aloud if one person, even one as capable as Black Panther, is up to the challenge.

After making contact with Monica Lynne to explain his mission, Black Panther begins to hunt the Sons of the Serpent. Finding several members out on a mission, Black Panther discreetly incapacitates one of the men and quietly takes his place. As the men return from the mission they are confronted by a sentry demanding they recite the Serpent’s Oath. While his would be comrades are well versed in this passcode, Black Panther is unable to finish the oath when it comes his turn and he is quickly revealed and captured by the Sons of the Serpent. As his voice booms out over the intercom, theSupreme Serpent makes it clear that the whole situation was a setup in order to obtain the last, key piece that will make their plan successful, Black Panther himself.

Avengers

Black Panther
Goliath
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Sons of the Serpent