Enter, The Avengers

X-Men #9

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

Plot Summary

A beautiful day at sea is suddenly interrupted when an iceberg emerges from a fog bank. As the ocean liner barrels towards it, unable to maneuver out of the way, the crew braces themselves for the worst. Then by some miracle, the iceberg is destroyed, saving the ship, and all who sail aboard her. Of course, in reality it is no miracle, but the actions of an American teenager, Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops of The X-Men.

Unfortunately for Scott, the tremendous effort of destroying the iceberg with his optic blasts has overwhelmed him, and he is quickly rushed off, to be cared for by his fellow X-Men teammates. While the mutant heroes are caring for their acting leader, Professor X contacts the team telepathically. The Professor informs his students that he is currently deep underground, on the trail of Lucifer, the man who is responsible for the injury which left The Professor paralyzed. Xavier warns the teens that if something should happen to him, they must continue his work, and prevent Lucifer from causing any harm to the world. At this, The Professor is caught in an artificial dust devil, sent by Lucifer, who has been watching The Professor’s progress. The dust devil takes Xavier to Lucifer, where it solidifies and traps The Professor. In spite of his imprisonment, Xavier attacks, shooting at Lucifer, only to be warned that if any harm should come to Lucifer, the entire world would be in peril.

Nearby and above ground, The Avengers arrive in a small European town. The team has been following strange impulses being emitted by Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. The impulses indicate a great evil and have lead The Avengers to this town, little knowing that Lucifer lies beneath their feet. As they begin to determine their next course of action, an American tourist drives nearby. Knowing that the situation is likely to soon degrade, The Avengers encourage the lost tourist to quickly depart the area. The confused motorist eventually makes his departure, only to run smack into the X-Men. Relaying a description the bizarre people he just encountered (The Avengers), The X-Men take it on themselves to investigate the tourist’s claims.

Returning underground, Lucifer shows Xavier the inner workings of a massive nuclear weapon that Lucifer has in his possession. Judging correctly, Xavier is horrified to learn that Lucifer has connected the trigger for the bomb directly to his own heartbeat. If anything were to happen to Lucifer, then the bomb would detonate with enough force to destroy an entire continent. Additionally, knowing that Xavier’s lauded X-Men must be nearby, Lucifer sends a blast of ionic energy to eliminate the unsuspecting teens.

In his mental illusory state, Xavier is able to warn The X-Men in time, and they just barely avoid Lucifer’s attack. The team then suits up and begins to investigate the surrounding area in earnest, this time finding The Avengers. Although The Avengers initially offer to help The X-Men, Xavier warns the team to prevent The Avengers from reaching Lucifer, as any injury they may cause could be disastrous for the world. The situation escalates quickly and The X-Men soon find themselves fighting The Avengers.

While Lucifer is distracted watching the two teams of superheroes battle, Xavier uses his incredible telepathic abilities to incapacitate Lucifer, without damaging his heart. With the immediate threat neutralized, Xavier is able to contact Thor, the Avengers’ chairperson for the week, and explain to him the situation. With this knowledge, Thor convinces his fellow Avengers to end their assault and the team leaves The X-Men to complete their mission.

Once the team has joined their mentor, The X-Men quickly act to disable the bomb’s fuse. As The Professor locates their target, Lucifer’s heart begins to flutter, indicating that the bomb could go off any second. With only moments to spare, Cyclops is able to destroy the fuse, and thus save the world from total destruction. With the threat removed, Xavier wakes up Lucifer and allows him to go on his way, reminding his students that they have vowed to never harm a human being.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

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