Episode 21: The Coming of…The Swordsman

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

Meet the Swordsman! A swashbuckler and all around treacherous individual. As the issue begins, Swordsman is explaining that he wishes to join The Avengers because once he has an Avengers ID, he can get away with anything.

Over in Avengers Mansion, brother and sister Pietro and Wanda Maximoff are on call for the evening and are beginning to feel the strains of boredom. Just as they start to think it will be a quiet night, they are alerted to an intruder in their home. Rushing off to investigate, Pietro comes across Swordsman within Avengers Mansion and immediately confronts the stranger. Soon Wanda has joined in the fight, though her Hex powers go awry, causing Pietro to slam into a nearby computer. Though Swordsman attempts to halt the fighting, his own pride prevents the cessation from lasting long. Eventually Captain America joins his teammates and upon investigating Swordsman’s background, they determine that he is wholly unfit to serve as an Avenger. Upon hearing this revelation, Swordsman makes a quick exit and the Maximoff siblings pursue him into the night.

When Cap tells Hawkeye of the evenings events, Hawkeye is stunned to hear that the Swordsman was their visitor. Not only is Hawkeye familiar with the man, but he practically raised Hawkeye and his brother after their parents died. At the time Swordsman worked in a circus and he taught Hawkeye to shoot a bow and arrow. When Hawkeye caught Swordsman stealing money from the circus, Swordsman confronted Hawkeye and in the end left him for dead. Of course, unknown to Swordsman, Hawkeye survived when the tightrope managed to arrest his fall.

Elsewhere in New York, we see the letter Captain America wrote to Nick Fury just sitting on a desk. That desk however is under surveillance by Hydra who is trying to determine Fury’s location. The vile Hydra agents use a beam to transport the letter to their hiding place so that they may read it and see if it contains information regarding the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or his whereabouts. Fortunately for the Colonel, it contains no such information and the Hydra agents quickly dispose of it out a nearby window where it is discovered by a passerby.

As luck would have it, that passerby is a local lowlife and card player. As he partakes in his usual card game, word comes around that Swordsman is looking for any information that might be used to trap an Avenger. Having just such information, he departs his game and makes straight for Swordsman. When the card shark arrives, Swordsman forcibly takes the letter and refuses to pay the man until after he has successfully trapped Captain America.

The next day at Avengers Mansion, Cap is overwhelmed with joy. After weeks of waiting, Nick Fury has finally responded to Cap’s letter and requests a meeting with Cap. Unfortunately, his fellow Avengers are less thrilled with Cap becoming a part time member of the team. After some harsh words are exchanged, Cap departs for his meeting and Hawkeye goes out on patrol to relieve some stress. While he is out on the streets, Hawkeye manages to break up a safe robbery. As he confronts the getaway driver, who is the very same man that discovered Cap’s letter, Hawkeye finds out that Captain America is walking into a trap. Though initially he doesn’t want to get involved because of their earlier confrontation, Hawkeye realizes that his duty as an Avenger is more important than his current personal feelings. As such, he rushes back to Avengers Mansion to enlist the aid of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Just as Hawkeye is returning to the mansion, Captain America enters a warehouse and suddenly has a bad feeling about things. Of course, Cap’s feeling is justified when moments later Swordsman swings down from a stack of boxes and attacks Cap. The two combatants battle through the entirety of the warehouse as they crash crates and spare parts on one another, finally culminating when Swordsman crashes a forklift into a stack of boxes and manages to knock out Captain America. While all of this is going on, the remaining Avengers track Cap down using the homing device in his belt.

When they arrive on scene, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver find Cap and Swordsman high above them on the building next door. Cap is tied up and has been forced out on a narrow plank at sword point. Now that he has their attention, Swordsman delivers his ultimatum; either The Avengers accept him as their new leader, or he will push Captain America off the plank, letting him plummet to his death. As the trio debates what to do, they suddenly see Cap fall from the plank. Although they are stunned, they realize that it wasn’t Swordsman that force Cap over the edge, but Cap himself, sparing his teammates the impossible decision. All they can do now is watch in horror as Cap hurtles towards the ground below.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Swordsman

Advertisements

Episode 20: When The Commissar Commands

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

As the issue opens, Captain America is sitting in Avengers Mansion, contemplating his life. Cap is still frustrated by the fact that he is not able to earn his way in the world and that he is essentially living off of someone else. Cap also wonders why he has yet to hear back from his former comrade, Nick Fury. Elsewhere in the mansion, Pietro is watching circus acrobats perform on TV when his sister invites him to join her in seeing a play. Pietro instead explains that he already has tickets for the circus and the pair head to their respective shows. While at the circus, one of the acrobats nearly falls to his death when his partner’s arm cramps, but is saved just in time by Quicksilver reattaching the safety net. Hawkeye on the other hand is enjoying a nice evening in his workshop, perfecting a new arrow he has been working on.

Meanwhile in the small country of Sin-Cong, a local village is being terrorized by the communist leader known only as The Commissar. When he discovers the village still harbors disloyal sentiments, The Commissar decides to demonstrate his inhuman strength by hurling boulders and smashing rock formations. By the time he is done, the entire village is bowing at The Commissar’s feet. This is not enough however and The Commissar feels that he must prove how weak his capitalist foes are by defeating the most powerful capitalists he can think of, The Avengers. To this end, The Commissar sends out a false radio transmission claiming to be an underground movement. Captain America picks up on this signal and immediately decides that The Avengers must step in to help these poor, repressed people. Cap immediately calls “Avengers Assemble” and the team makes their way back to the mansion. Upon returning and learning of Cap’s plan, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are not wholly convinced, but after a rousing speech by Hawkeye, the decide to join in the endeavor.

When The Avengers arrive in Sin-Cong, they are met by some of The Commissar’s men and escorted to his capital. Shortly after reaching their destination the heroes find themselves in the jaws of a closing trap. But being prepared as they are, The Avengers spring into action and quickly overwhelm all of the guards The Commissar has sent against them. Just as they appear to be achieving the upper hand, The Avengers are surprised by trap door that opens beneath them, dragging Scarlet Witch down. Following Wanda’s cries, the remaining Avengers quickly locate her and attempt to free her using one of Hawkeye’s flare arrows. Though the arrow does its job, the team is quickly overcome by the sleeping gas that The Commissar has been pumping into the room.

When they awake, Hawkeye, Captain America and Quicksilver find themselves face to face with The Commissar. The mighty foe delivers an ultimatum to The Avengers; face him in single combat before the assembled peasants, or he will execute Scarlet Witch instantly. With no other options, each of the team members take a turn attempting to defeat The Commissar, but without success. Just as the Commissar claims victory over his capitalist foes, Cap points out there is yet one Avenger he has not defeated, Scarlet Witch. The Commissar agrees, claiming that he will easily defeat the lady Avenger. Scarlet Witch on the other hand has a very different plan. Noticing that The Commissars henchman Major Hoy disappears behind the curtains every time The Commissar fights, she investigates only to find The Commissar is a robot and that Major Hoy is controlling it. All it takes to defeat The Commissar now is a little of Scarlet Witch’s Hex powers and the robot lays defeated at her feet.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

The Commissar