Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Featured Issue: Avengers #71
Deep within the bowels of Garrett Castle, Black Knight rushes to ignite the Brazier of Truth in the hopes that he might speak with the spirit of Sir Percy, his ancestor. Black Knight is attempting to discover what has happened to the Avengers following the events he witnessed in London. Although Sir Percy is scornful of Black Knight’s impatience, he begins to fill in his successor of those events occurring in the 41st century. In addition, Black Knight is told that the fight he interrupted was only one of four as part of the Grandmaster’s game which pitted the Avengers against the Squadron Sinister. Unwittingly Black Knight disrupted the final battle and as a result, Grandmaster removed all the combatants for a final round to determine the result of the game.
In the 41st century, Kang wanders through the corridors of his headquarters, pining over his love Ravonna who is trapped between life and death. At the feet of her pedestal Kang rededicates himself to the cause and becomes more determined than ever to beat the Grandmaster’s game. Back in his control room, Kang dials in the vidscreen so that he may watch the final round and while he does, he questions the Grandmaster about his replacement champions. Kang is informed that he will see them soon enough.
The remaining three Avengers, Vision, Black Panther, and Yellowjacket find themselves standing in front of the Louvre, which is flying a Nazi flag. Vision identifies that they have been transported back into the middle of World War II, but before the Avenger can truly come to grips with their surroundings, they are attacked by several Nazi soldiers. Although no match for the super heroes, the Avengers find that they are not the only foes nearby. Emerging from a portal step the Human Torch, Namor and Captain America just as they had been back in 1941. As their future teammate and his allies don’t recognize the Avengers, they attack, assuming that they are allied with the Nazi scum inhabiting Europe at the time.
In modern England, Black Knight continues to search for a way in which he can help the Avengers to make up for the mistake he had committed. Sir Percy does what he can by putting Black Knight into astral contact with his ancestral sword. With this, the Ebony Blade pulls Black Knight through space and time, depositing him in the 41st century. Finding himself in front of four Avengers, seemingly trapped in some dreamlike state, Black Knight is attacked by several of Kang’s guards before he can gain his bearings. After making quick work of his attackers, Black Knight makes his way out of the chamber and stumbles upon Wasp, still hold up in Kang’s fortress. Wasp enlists Black Knight’s help in order to rescue the Avengers so that they might have a fighting change to win.
Back in 1941, the Avengers face off against the contemporary heroes. Although Cap and Namor are the matches of Black Panther and Yellowjacket, Vision proves to be the most difficult to defeat and ultimately the key to the Avengers victory. After some back and forth, Vision is able to line up all three heroes and phase through them, becoming solid just long enough to disrupt the trio and leave them beaten.
With this, Kang celebrates the victory of his champions over those of the Grandmaster. Since Grandmaster decided the first round was a stalemate, he grants Kang the power over either life or death, half a prize for half a victory. As Kang contemplates his choice, the recently freed Avengers and Black Knight arrive in the control room. Admitting that Kang saved the Earth, the Avengers request to be sent back to their own time, leaving Kang alone as a thank you. Kang is unwilling to let the Avengers go, as he still considers them to be his most dangerous enemy and Kang once again demands that Grandmaster grant him power over both life and death. When Grandmaster refuses, Kang chooses the power over death, so that he might eliminate the Avengers. With his new power, the attacks by the Avengers bounce off him harmlessly, with Mjolnir even passing straight through Kang. No longer amused to watch his foes hurl themselves helplessly against him, Kang uses his new power to bring the Avengers within a hair’s breadth of death. As Kang gloats over his defeated foes, he is interrupted by Black Knight, who, not being an Avenger is unaffected by Kang’s new power. Knocking Kang senseless with the flat of the Ebony Blade, Black Knight redeems himself with the very act that initially condemned him. The game completed, Grandmaster departs, returning the Avengers to their mansion, in their own time. In gratitude for their rescue, the Avengers offer their frequent ally Black Knight the ultimate honor they can, membership amongst their ranks. Black Knight accepts, and they team celebrate with a vigorous “Avengers Assemble!”.
Kang the Conqueror