Once An Avenger…

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: John Romita
Letterer: Sherigail

Plot Summary

With the departure of Captain America last issue, the remaining Avengers begin to discuss what has happened. While Hawkeye claims that he had nothing to do with it, Scarlet Witch knows better and refuses to let Hawkeye fail to acknowledge that he has been harassing Cap almost since they joined the team. As the group tries to come to grips with things, Scarlet Witch takes a moment to reflect on how much she will miss Cap’s presence.

Cap meanwhile has made is way north to Westchester where seeks employment as a sparring partner for a boxing champion. Initially the boxer’s trainers don’t think that Cap is up to the challenge and they attempt to chase him away. It is to the trainer’s surprise that Cap quickly knocks both men on their butts. Just as the scuffle is wrapping up, the coach runs up to Cap, offering him the exact job he was seeking, starting immediately. While Cap begins to train with the champ, he quietly reflects on how much he enjoys having a purpose again. At night however, Cap’s thoughts turn back to the Avengers.

From the distant future, Kang the Conqueror watches as the Avengers travel down their separate paths and decides that this is a fitting opportunity to take the Avengers down. Although he is the master of the year 4000, the fact that the heroes of the 20th century still resist him is a constant thorn in his side. This time, Kang chooses to attack the Avengers in their home, landing a fake, extra floor on top of the mansion. Once it is in place, the Avengers are tricked into running into the new room. After making their way inside, Kang attempts to dazzle the trio with brilliant lights, though this is stopped by a quick arrow from Hawkeye. The Avengers suddenly realize that the air in the room is getting thin and they are sealed in. Hawkeye attempts to use a second arrow to blast the door open, but it is stopped by internal defenses. Quicksilver makes a vain attempt to crash through door at speed, but fails and succumbs to unconsciousness.

Just as the team fades, an image of Kang appears and then the conqueror pulls the heroes from their normal timeline and into his future. After completing the task, Kang takes a moment to pay an unannounced visit to Princess Ravonna, Kang’s appointed puppet ruler and the woman whom he is in love with. Kang reminds Ravonna and her father that he could wipe out their kingdom with but a fraction of his army were it not for his love of Ravonna.

While Cap is off practicing with the champ, he hears a radio announcement that the Avengers have gone missing and that foul play is suspected. The momentary lapse in focus due to the announcement allows the champ to land one on Cap, but Cap quickly turns around and knocks out the champ with a single punch. With that Cap rushes off to investigate what has become of his teammates.

In the year 4000, the Avengers find themselves trapped inside some kind of glass containers. While Hawkeye and Quicksilver are unable to escape their chamber, Scarlet Witch manages to use her hex powers to their maximum extent and breaks the glass. Once free, she is able to release her fellow Avengers, though the exertion of using her powers has driven her to the brink of collapse. With Hawkeye offering aid, the team is off in an attempt to escape from their captor. Using three of Hawkeye’s special arrows, the trio is able to avoid most of Kang’s guards by swinging to freedom. Their attempt is short lived however as a massive fan pulls the Avengers from mid-air and smashes them against a large metal grate. Hawkeye realizes that while he may not be able to shoot it, a blast arrow is perfect for this situation. The crafty Avenger instead allows the fan to pull the arrow towards it, causing the fan to be destroyed when the arrow finds it’s mark.

With this, Kang chooses to take personal command in dealing with the Avengers. While he is able to disable Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye with an immobilizing ray, Quicksilver outruns the ray and makes his way towards Kang’s control room. Just as Kang is about to deal with Quicksilver, he sees that Cap, back in the 20th century, is calling him out as a coward. Cap has used a device the Avengers got from Thor to replay the recent past and discover that Kang was responsible for the disappearance of the Avengers. With Ravonna watching, Kang cannot stand to lose face and instead pulls Captain America into the future as well, though to a place of Ravonna’s choosing.

Cap is quickly reunited with Quicksilver and the pair make their way to Kang’s control room where they intend to face off with the conqueror. Both men however fail in their initial assault. Quicksilver merely bounces harmlessly off Kang’s force screen, while Kang turns Cap’s shield against him, enlarging it and trying to crush Cap with it.

With the Avengers seemingly under control, Kang again demands that Ravonna marry him. This time however Kang follows up his demands with a threat that he will call down his army if she refuses. Under the circumstances, even Ravonna’s father urges her to marry Kang, though she continues to hold out. As she does, the Avengers are able to regroup and with the recently freed Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch, the team is once again at full fighting strength. Emboldened by the latest challenge to Kang’s superiority, Ravonna refuses, causing Kang to call in his army just as the Avengers are ready to once again strike.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Kang

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The Road Back

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Wally Wood
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

After the disastrous events of last issue, the Avengers struggle with what to do now that they have been disbanded as the result of a court order. While Captain America is convinced that Power Man couldn’t have managed such traps without help, the others seem unaffected, instead choosing that it’s time move on. Though Cap attempts to motivate his teammates, his methods are flawed and only serve to widen the existing divide that already exists. When Cap insults Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver escalates the situation by attacking Cap. Only when Hawkeye steps in to restrain Quicksilver does the fight end and the warring teammates part ways. With the others gone, Cap begins to wonder how things could have gone so wrong and how he will ever face the original Avengers again, given his unquestioned failure as team leader.

While Cap is off thinking things through, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch all begin looking for jobs to sustain themselves with. While Hawkeye is turned down by the Ed Sullivan Show, Quicksilver is laughed out of an agent’s office and Scarlet Witch is dismissed out of hand at an audition. Unbeknownst to the Avengers, the Circus of Crime, recently released from prison, has become aware of their predicament and comes to offer employment. When the Avengers arrive to met their new colleagues, they are stunned to discover the Circus of Crime’s illicit intent. When they refuse to join in the Circus’ plans, Ringmaster tries to hypnotize Quicksilver. The mutant speedster is far too quick to fall into that particular trap and the Avengers spring to action against the rest of the Circus. As the heroes make short work of the would be criminals, Ringmaster decides to call the police, knowing that the Avengers had been forcibly disbanded, hoping that they would assume the team was breaking the court order. With the police on their heels, the three heroes make their escape with the help of a smoke arrow from Hawkeye.

Meanwhile, throughout the country, a heated debate rages as people both support and condemn the Avengers. Many wonder where the original members have gone to and why they haven’t come to retake their rightful place.

As for Power Man and Enchantress, they are enjoying the fruits of their labors and are beginning to explore the potential future of their partnership. Suddenly a knock at the door brings them back to reality and they are confronted by a man claiming to be a publicity agent. Realizing that with the Avengers gone, there is a vacancy for a super hero team, the publicity agent suggests that Power Man and Enchantress form a team. Both Enchantress and Power Man immediately jump at the idea and the press agent tells them that it’s the logical next step in his mind since he was the one who orchestrated the discrediting of the Avengers. Knowing that this man could have absolutely no connection with discrediting the Avengers, Power Man explains to him exactly how he and Enchantress were responsible, much to the displeasure of Enchantress. With that confession, the press agent reveals that he is none other than Captain America.

Now unmasked, Cap attempts to make a quick exit with the recording tape he had hidden within his briefcase, but not before tangling with Power Man for a bit. This time however, Cap is aware of the effects of Enchantress’ sorcery and ensures that he remains unaffected. Fighting at his full strength, Cap is able to fight off Power Man and make is way out to the roof of the building. Although he was initially beaten down by Cap, Power Man quickly recovers, catches up with, and overpowers Cap, carrying him back down to Enchantress. When he arrives though, Enchantress is on the floor and he finds himself face to face with one of Hawkeye’s arrows. Throwing Cap at Hawkeye, Power Man realizes that he must now face the entire Avengers lineup. Though he initially fares well, he quickly finds himself surrounded. Just as it appears that Enchantress will enter the fight, she decides to abandon Power Man. With his paramour gone, Power Man loses the will to keep fighting and surrenders.

Once the police and city council are provided with the recorded evidence, the Avengers have their names cleared and are permitted to return to duty. The city even holds a celebration in their honor. Just as things are getting back to normal though, Cap drops a bomb on the team; he is leaving the Avengers.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Circus of Crime
Enchantress
Power Man