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

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Let The Game Begin

Avengers #69

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #69

Plot Summary

Making their way though a Manhattan hospital, the Avengers seek out the room of their ally, Tony Stark. Having been injured battling a Life Model Decoy that attempted to take his place, Iron Man teeters on the brink of death as the Avengers arrive. In hopes of helping their friend, the Thor rushes the best specialist available, Dr. Santini, to the hospital. As the doctor evaluates Mr. Stark, Wasp notices an odd looking figurine hidden beneath the dresser. After a brief investigation, Wasp throws the figure into the garbage can, causing it to grow and allowing it to climb out of the can. The figure then attacks the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents guarding Stark, growing yet again after being shot by the agents. The figure, soon identified as the Growing Man breaks into Stark’s room, kidnapping the industrialist.

The Avengers attack that followed only makes things worse, as it allows the Growing Man to dramatically increase in size. Goliath attempts to pursue but is unable to match Growing Man’s size while also being able to fight and Growing Man is able to escape with Stark. Fortunately for the Avengers, they manage to hitch a ride in the same transportation beam that Growing Man used, pursuing their foe wherever he may go.

Thrust through time and space the Avengers are stunned to find themselves delivered to the feet of their time traveling foe, Kang the Conqueror. When the Avengers refuse to serve Kang, his minions attack, but are quickly defeated. Just as the Avengers are about to turn on Kang himself, they are called to reason by a surprising individual, Black Panther. The Panther informs his teammates that Kang drew him from the past before them and implores Kang to explain his actions and the Avengers to listen.

Heeding Black Panther’s advice, Kang tells the Avengers that in his search for a way to bring back  Ravonna, he was approached by a cosmic being calling himself the Grandmaster. This strange creature offers Kang the power over life and death if he should win in a contest of Grandmaster’s design. Should he lose however, Grandmaster would send the Earth into oblivion. Knowing how powerful the Avengers are, Kang drew them to his future in order that they may serve as his champions, not to just save Ravonna, but also to prevent Grandmaster from wiping out Earth. Faced with this new information, the Avengers agree to help Kang. With the return of Grandmaster, Thor, Goliath and Captain America are transported back to Earth and their own time where they come face to face with the champions of the Grandmaster, the Squadron Sinister.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Thor
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Growing Man
Kang the Conqueror
Grandmaster