Brain-Child to the Dark Tower Came…!

Avengers #86

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Jim Mooney
Letterer: Shelly Leferman

Featured Issue: Avengers #86

Plot Summary

As the Avengers race across the sky, time is running short. With Nighthawk at the controls, the Squadron Supreme’s aircraft hurries towards the launch site or Brain Child One, the solar probe which will soon be responsible for the destruction of the Earth and the extermination of humanity. Little do the Avengers know that their every action is being closely monitored by a mysterious figure.

At the launch site the remaining members of the Squadron Supreme spot the incoming aircraft and wonder what it could possibly be doing at the launch site so close to launch. After landing, the Avengers rush out in an attempt to stop the launch while Nighthawk remains behind to power down the aircraft. Seeing four unknown costumed persons rushing towards them, the Squadron Supreme spring in to action, fulfilling their sworn duty to protect the rocket launch. When Quicksilver attempts to rush past, he is sent reeling in the opposite direction after a collision with Hyperion. Not waiting to see how the rest of the scenario plays out, Dr. Spectrum orders Whizzer to immediately launch Brain-Child One. Although Whizzer completes his mission the rocket is stopped by the incredible powers of Scarlet Witch’s Hex Bolts which cause the engines to misfire. Just as the Squadron Supreme is poised to take the offensive, Nighthawk intervenes.

With the situation diffused, Nighthawk and the Avengers take a minute to explain their apocalyptic experience and the encounter in Avengers Mansion. Again in their discussions the name of Brain-Child comes up and when the Avengers press the question, Dr. Spectrum fills in the heroes. Although Arnold was born a seemingly normal child, at a young age he began to show incredible intelligence, attributed to the radiation exposure both of his parents received. As he aged and his intellect grew he began to experiment on himself in order to further increase is brain power. As a side effect he began to suffer from a severely distended skull, causing others to treat him like a freak. At age 9 he began to work for the military designing missiles. Even this did not satisfy him and he soon moved to an island off the west coast where he could work in peace. The Avengers and Squadron Supreme decide that a visit to Brain-Child’s island is in order question the genius further. Back on Earth, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Thor work ceaselessly in an effort to find their friends and bring them home.

On that same island, named the Dark Tower, Brain-Child watches as the heroes make their way towards his home, his plans for world annihilation thwarted. Upon their arrival, the heroes are greeted by a metallic probe extending from Brain-Child’s complex. Over the probe’s speaker, Brain-Child fully admits that his rocket was designed to cause the end of the world. The probe then attacks the assembled heroes but is quickly destroyed by Dr. Spectrum. With this, the heroes break up into four teams, with one Avenger and one Squadron member on each team, and attempt to penetrate Brain-Child’s defenses. Quicksilver and Whizzer are initially confronted by a storm of rocks which they subdue by using their combined super speed to create a tornado to pull in all the rocks. Having escaped that fate, the speedsters make their way inside only to be trapped by a super adhesive. Scarlet Witch and Nighthawk enter and encounter a monstrous humanoid who quickly defeats Nighthawk and causes Scarlet Witch to forget her entire purpose. Vision and Dr. Spectrum don’t fare much better when they encounter an oversized amoeba. The creature quickly adapts to the powers of both heroes and they are overcome. All that remains is Hyperion and Goliath, who prepare to face off against Brain-Child himself. The pair are unexpectedly attacked by the very objects in the room which Brain-Child is controlling with his immense mind. After Hyperion is disabled and Brain-Child taunts Goliath with brain bolts through the skull, just like an arrow, Goliath uses the materials around him to construct a bow and launches the unconscious Hyperion directly at Brain-Child. The sudden impact and defeat start a chain reaction inside Brain-Child, causing him to physically revert to a normal child. With this, the Dark Tower and all his creations disappear as they were only creations of Brain-Child’s mind.

Their mission accomplished, the Avengers are suddenly pulled away from the island and returned to their own dimension. Their friends are overjoyed to see them and all but Vision retreat for some relaxation and to regale their teammates with the story of their latest adventure. On his way out, Quicksilver ask Vision if everything is alright and Vision admits that he can’t help but wonder if they’ve actually returned to their home dimension or yet another parallel dimension that is all but identical to their own. And, if that is the case, how would they ever really know.


Black Panther
Iron Man
Scarlet Witch