Episode 8: Their Darkest Hour

Avengers #7

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

The issue begins with an Avengers court of inquiry. Iron Man stands accused of failing to respond to an Avengers alert. Admitting his guilt and offering nothing in his defense, Iron Man is suspended for a week by his fellow Avengers, Thor delivering the verdict. At the same moment, Thor’s father Odin is delivering a verdict of his own. As punishment for their attack on Thor (Journey Into Mystery #103) Enchantress and Executioner are banished from Asgard and sent down to live among the mortals of Midgar (Earth). Upon arriving in Manhattan, the pair of exiled Asgardians find a newspaper detailing The Masters of Evil’s fight with The Avengers (Avengers #6) and decide that they should join forces with Baron Zemo in order to affect their revenge against Thor. Meanwhile, after a rousing workout with some professional wrestlers, Captain America’s mood is shattered by the appearance of Rick Jones, wearing Bucky’s old costume. Cap flies into a near rage, and demands that Rick never again wear the costume.

Deep within the Amazon jungle, Enchantress and Executioner find Baron Zemo attempting to raise funds in order to fuel his private war against Captain America. Zemo jumps at Enchantress’ offer to help him defeat The Avengers and the newest Masters of Evil join Zemo is plotting their master plan. While the rest of The Avengers are off attending to personal matters, Captain America is confronted by Hans Grubervelt, a man who claims to have been Zemo’s second in command, and who is looking to redeem himself. Grubervelt offers to tell Cap Zemo’s current location as a demonstration of his changed ways. Armed with this information, Cap immediately leaves to confront his hated enemy. Little does Cap realize that Grubervelt is none other than Executioner in disguise and that Cap is playing right into his foe’s hand.

Even as Cap is speaking with Grubervelt, Thor is quickly slipping under the control of Enchantress. Lured by her voice to a rooftop, Thor is quickly placed under her spell and then Enchantress begins to warp Thor’s mind. When her work is finished, Thor now believes that The Avengers are his true enemy and they must be stopped at all costs.

Captain America finally reaches Zemo’s jungle kingdom and is immediately assaulted by a waiting Zemo. Though he is able to quickly deal with the surprises that he encounters, Cap eventually falls into a pit trap from which he is unable to escape.

On receiving an emergency call from Thor, Giant Man and Wasp return to New York, only to be attacked the moment they arrive. Giant Man makes a valiant effort, but is nearly defeated, until Iron Man shows up, in defiance of his suspension. Seeing that the fight in New York is going well, Enchantress decides to investigate how things are proceeding in the jungle. Upon seeing Cap in the pit trap, Enchantress attempts to cave in the pit, but her efforts have the unexpected effect of allowing Cap to escape. Now free, Captain America wreaks havoc on Zemo and his minions until Zemo flees with Cap catching a ride on Zemo’s plane.

Iron Man is finally able to break the enchantment on Thor using a flash of bright sunlight. Just as The Avengers are reorganizing themselves, Zemo’s plane shows up and is magically pulled towards Enchantress and Executioner’s location. Just as the plane arrives, Cap attacks Zemo through the windshield. Fortunately for Zemo, Executioner steps in and disables Cap, allowing the The Masters to escape. As soon as the plane takes off however, Thor traps it in a Space Warp, sending it, and The Masters of Evil inside, off to an unknown location.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Enchantress
Executioner

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Episode 7: The Mighty Avengers Meet The Masters of Evil

Avengers #6

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

While stopping to refuel on their way back to New York, The Avengers take the opportunity for Captain America to try out the modifications Iron Man made to Cap’s shield. While Cap is impressed by the improvements to his signature weapon he also laments the fact that Bucky isn’t around to witness all of the scientific wonders of the modern world. Cap cuts his own grief short though and vows that he will take revenge on whoever caused Bucky’s death, no matter where they are. Somewhere in South America, Baron Zemo, former chief Nazi scientist, is ruling over a tribe of natives  when his yearly delivery of supplies, scientific journals, and newspapers arrives. Upon inspection of the newspapers Zemo flies into a rage when he learns that not only has Cap been found alive but that he has also joined The Avengers. Zemo then regales the delivery pilot with the story of how Cap caused Zemo’s hood to be permanently adhered to his head. Armed with this new information, Zemo decides it is time to return to civilization to have his revenge on Captain America. Zemo sets the pilot to assemble several other supervillains in a bid to defeat the Avengers. The team the pilot assembles is The Masters of Evil. Each of the members were chosen specifically because they nearly defeated a different Avenger. This way the other Avengers will be occupied or defeated, leaving Zemo free to deal with Cap. To this end, Zemo provides the Black Knight, Melter, and Radioactive Man with canisters Adhesive X, the same substance that caused Zemo’s deformity. Armed with the adhesive the Masters of Evil go about gluing all of New York in an effort to lure out The Avengers. The Masters’ acts do not go unnoticed and the Teen Brigade sends out an emergency alert to The Avengers, who are just then returning.  The Avengers quickly face off against their old adversaries with less than ideal results. Though they manage to escape, Cap and Giant Man have been glued to the pavement. Zemo finally arrives on the scene and when he realizes that The Avengers will try to find a solution to Adhesive X, he changes the plan in order to acquire that solvent and free himself from the hood. After failing to free Cap and Giant Man on their own, The Avengers enlist the help of former villain Paste Pot Pete, master of adhesives, who has a solvent that might do the trick. Iron Man rushes to acquire the solvent and upon his return The Avengers use it to free Cap and Giant Man. Now free, The Avengers hatch a plan to stop The Masters of Evil, which entails The Avengers switching foes, so as to confound their foes and defeat them while they attempt to adjust their strategy. With the aid of the Teen Brigade, Cap also manages to switch out the canisters of Adhesive X for Paste Pot Pete’s solvent. When the Masters of Evil attempt to use the new canisters to further snare New York, they instead begin to free those already trapped. The Avengers are able to defeat The Masters of Evil, who are caught off guard by the change in The Avengers strategy. Eventually Cap takes on Zemo in single combat, and while Zemo manages escape with a canister of solvent, Cap reveals that he managed to replace Zemo’s personal canister with tear gas. As the issue comes to a close, Zemo’s aircraft is seen swerving wildly, an indication that he has discovered Cap’s little surprise.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Black Knight
Melter
Radioactive Man