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

Advertisements

Episode 19: Four Against The Minotaur

Avengers #17

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

This issue opens with the historic first meeting of the new Avengers. After the departure of Iron Man, Giant Man and Wasp, the team has added Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Captain America serving as the team’s leader. As their leader, Cap takes some time to size up his new recruits. While Hawkeye and Quicksilver both feel that they will be running the team in short order, Cap manages to put a quick end to that line of thinking, telling Hawkeye to get with the program, whether he likes it or not. Cap also reminds the team of Iron Man’s last piece of advice before departing; find Hulk.

Just as The Avengers are discussing Hulk, word goes out by radio and by newspaper of their intention to bring him back within The Avengers fold. Little do the heroes know that Hulk is on an adventure of his own, fighting The Leader, another victim of gamma radiation who has been gifted with extreme intelligence.

Before departing on their mission, Cap decides to run his teammates through their paces in the “play room”, a training site within Avengers Mansion which can simulate any threat The Avengers might encounter in the field. While Hawkeye gets off to a quick start he is nearly taken down when his overconfidence gets the better of him. Only thanks to the speed of Quicksilver is Hawkeye saved. The exercise isn’t quite over yet as Quicksilver soon discovers that the rays which were once intended for Hawkeye are now trained on him. Hawkeye though is quick to repay his debt and disables the controls to the trainer before Quicksilver is harmed. The team is just about to take a breather when a giant, emerald hued robot smashes its way into Avengers Mansion. The machine has come to deliver a message, but The Avengers are wary and rush to disable to invader. With the threat neutralized, the robot’s message continues to play, telling The Avengers that Hulk can be found in the desert. Cap quickly assumes that the team should begin their search in the New Mexico desert that Hulk so often frequented.

Little could do the Avengers suspect that they are secretly being watched by none other than Mole Man. Knowing that The Avengers have lost several key members, he believes they are vulnerable and intends to take full advantage of the situation by pitting the heroes against the Minotaur.

Arriving in the New Mexico desert, The Avengers quickly survey the scene, but can find no trace of Hulk. Unbeknownst to them, Hulk is actually less than a mile away, locked in a life and death struggle with The Leader. Just as The Avengers are about to expand their search area, the ground beneath their feet gives way, thanks to a special trap door activated by Mole Man. Thinking at superhuman speeds, Cap tells Hawkeye to use one of his arrows to deploy a rope for the team to cling to before they all plummet to their deaths. Hawkeye acts without hesitation and the team is once again saved.

Upon reaching the bottom of the chasm, The Avengers find a tunnel system and Quicksilver speeds ahead to scout the way. The speedster is gone mere moments when he comes blazing back to the rest of the group, unable to believe what he has just seen. As the team rounds the corner, they come face to face with the Minotaur! Immediately the team springs into action but find to their horror that their attacks seem to have no effect on the monster. Hawkeye is nearly killed when the Minotaur counterattacks after being hit by Hawkeye’s blast arrow. If not for the quick warning of Scarlet Witch, the beast would have surely gotten him. As the team flees before the Minotaur, they are separated when the creature causes a cave in.

As Quicksilver attempts to rejoin his colleagues, he is suddenly attacked by moloids. While he makes quick work of them, Quicksilver is unprepared for them to use a gas gun and is subdued by the noxious fumes. When he regains consciousness, the speedster finds himself the prisoner of Mole Man, who demands to know the secret behind Quicksilver’s incredible speed.

Trapped on the opposite side of the collapsed tunnel, the remaining Avengers must face the Minotaur without one of the own. But being the master strategist that he is, Cap quickly devises a new plan. Using Hawkeye’s flare arrow to blind the Minotaur, Cap then baits the creature into attacking him, but quickly dodges out of the way. Once the Minotaur’s horns are buried in the rock, Cap has Scarlet Witch use her hex powers to cause even more rock to crash down on the Minotaur, preventing it from pulling itself free. As The Avengers go forth to recover their missing teammate, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch remark that even if the Minotaur is able to free itself, death will certainly follow close behind.

Because Quicksilver refuses to tell Mole Man the secret of his mutant powers, Mole Man is left no choice but to torture Quicksilver into revealing this information. Luckily for Quicksilver, his fellow Avengers arrive on scene and rescue him, destroying the malicious device he was strapped into. As the situation deteriorates, it becomes clear to Mole Man that he can’t win this fight and so instead of continuing to fight, he instead transports The Avengers back to the surface so that he might escape once again. As The Avengers realize that they were able to defeat this latest threat without the help of Hulk, it is revealed that Bruce Banner has been killed as a result of Hulk’s battle with The Leader.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Mole Man