Lo! The Lethal Legion

Avengers #79

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Art Simek

Featured Issue: Avengers #79

Plot Summary

In Avengers Mansion, reserve members Iron Man and Thor arrive, responding to the emergency summons of their fellow Avengers. The pair can only surmise that something major must be happening based on the grim expressions on everyone’s faces. With pleasantries out of the way Captain America declares that the team must stand together or else they will almost certainly fall. Noting that Black Panther is missing, Cap recalls the attack he suffered at the hands of M’Baku and the solo mission on which Black Panther embarked. Based on the available evidence the Avengers are forced to conclude that they face not just one villain but a cabal of such rogues. Before the Avengers can formulate a plan, Scarlet Witch points out that Black Panther has recently begun teaching at a local school and that classes were about to start in a few short minutes. Quickly donning a disguise, Vision volunteers to inform the schools administration that Black Panther’s alias, Luke Charles, will not be in class today. As the synthazoid departs, Iron Man wonders if the villains were having a similar meeting in which the fate of the Avengers was being decided.

Little does Iron Man realize how correct he really is. Though they are meeting in similar fashion, the Lethal Legion fill the room with their contempt for one another. Melodramatically grandstanding in front of the others, Grim Reaper attempts to remind the assembled villains that it was he who was responsible for the formation of their team. Reaper takes things a step too far when he claims credit for the capture of Black Panther and Monica Lynn. M’Baku promptly interrupts Reaper and demands to know why they have yet to kill Black Panther. Grim Reaper responds that it would be much more fitting that all the Avengers die together and proceeds to give orders to the rest of the team in preparation for ambushing the Avengers in their mansion. With this the villains depart.

Almost the moment Grim Reaper leaves the room, the force field imprisoning Black Panther and Monica Lynn disappears. Not waiting for an explanation to the fortuitous event, Black Panther smashes his way out of the restraints and begins to scour the base for a transmitter in order to warn the Avengers of the imminent attack. Managing to contact his teammates, he informs the Avengers of the Prometheus Priority alert. Just as he finishes explaining the situation to the Avengers, Black Panther’s transmission is cut off by Grim Reaper. Unknown to the Avenger, Reaper had set him up and allowed him to escape and contact the Avengers as part of his master plan. While Black Panther lands pummeling blows on Grim Reaper, the deadly villain reveals that he has been training and preparing. To back up his words, Grim Reaper unexpectedly gases Panther and Monica Lynn in to unconsciousness.

At Andrew Jackson High School, Vision arrives to complete his mission. Although he successfully covers for Black Panther in his absence, his visage isn’t quite as convincing as he believed and his chilling, inhuman voice leaves the secretary haunted and flustered.

In the sewers beneath Avengers Mansion Goliath and Scarlet Witch begin their search for the villains they know to be lurking. Unfortunately for them, the pair of Swordsman and Power Man lay in waiting, using a high intensity light beam to blind the heroic duo. Although Power Man is able to take advantage of Goliath’s momentary disability, Scarlet Witch uses Swordsman’s voice to locate him and rain down hex bolts on him. As Goliath regains his sight he is able to turn the tables on Power Man and the villains find themselves on the verge of defeat until Swordsman gases the heroes.

Meanwhile, Captain America and Quicksilver explore the power station. The Avengers suddenly find themselves under attack from M’Baku and the Living Laser. While Cap and M’Baku square off in a rematch of their earlier encounter, the Living Laser attempts to demolish Quicksilver. Unable to keep up with Quicksilver, Living Laser gets lucky when debris from his attacks manages to trip up Quicksilver, removing him from the fight. Meanwhile Cap is overwhelmed when M’Baku uses damaged equipment to shatter the hydraulic generators behind Cap, nearly drowning the star-spangled Avenger.

Returning to their lair, the Lethal Legion imprisons the disabled Avengers within a mammoth hourglass. The hourglass is then slowly filled with a toxic vapor as Grim Reaper watches excitedly, vengeance for the death of his brother so close at hand. As the vapors continue to collect, Power Man returns dragging Vision along with him. The Legionnaires decide to throw him in with the others, hoping he would also die. Along with Vision, Power Man returns with secret files about each of the Avengers. As Grim Reaper reads the files, he discovers that Vision’s brain pattern is based on that of his deceased brother, Wonder Man. Panicking and terrified of losing his brother yet again, Grim Reaper smashes open the hourglass, saving the heroes. As Vision crawls out, gasping for air, M’Baku realizes that Vision is not who he seems to be, but is in fact Power Man. His cover blown, Vision abandons his Power Man disguise and attacks, shattering Swordsman’s sword. Soon the rest of the Avengers join the fight, admitting they were playing along. Black Panther’s use of the Prometheus Priority informed the Avengers that they were walking into traps and as such they were prepared. With the Lethal Legion defeated, Vision stuns the Avengers by announcing his departure from the team. His feelings of alienation and lack of humanity have finally caught up with him and Vision must go and find his place in the universe.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Grim Reaper
Living Laser
Man-Ape
Power Man
Swordsman

The Blaze Of Glory…The Flames Of Love

Avengers #76Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #76

Plot Summary

Deep within Avengers Mansion, Quicksilver and Vision watch as Black Panther and Captain America attempt to put the finishing touches on their D-Machine. With this device the Avengers hope to bridge the gap between their dimension and that of Arkon the Magnificent. There mission is one near and dear to their hearts; the rescue of Scarlet Witch. Impatient, Quicksilver chides his former teammates for taking their time know his sister’s life could be in danger. Vision however is quick to point out that there is far more at stake than just Scarlet Witch’s life and Quicksilver should not be so fixated on a single life when there are so many others in peril. In spite of Quicksilver’s earlier statements, Black Panther defends the speedster, noting that if Vision were human he might understand better what Pietro was going through.

Putting their banter put aside for a moment, Black Panther tells Cap to initiate the device. Unfortunately Panther’s fears are realized when the machine’s power supply proves unstable, causing him tremendous amounts of pain from the wild energy. Quicksilver attempts to intervene and rescue Black Panther but is rebuffed by force fields put in place to protect the device. With Black Panther barely holding on, Captain America acts quickly to free his friend, causing significant damage to the device in the process. With this latest setback, Quicksilver is unable to contain his frustration any more and releases it all on his former teammates. Tempers flare and Quicksilver storms out. Elsewhere in the mansion, Goliath works to create an oversized crossbow which matches his inhuman size, finding a way to possibly contribute since he is unable to travel dimensions with Black Panther. Has his experiment finds success, he is disturbed by an unexpected visitor, Black Widow. To his horror Widow announces that she will no longer be able to see Goliath. Stunned, Goliath demands that Widow tell him that she never loved him as proof of her intent. As tears well up in her eyes, she manages to force out the words as she walks away.

Elsewhere, a stranger creature journeys across an alien landscape. Riding on this beast of burden is the Scarlet Witch and her captor, Arkon the Magnificent. As they approach his city, Arkon chides Scarlet Witch for looking so glum. In his mind, the woman who will soon be his queen should be excited by the prospect, but Wanda has other ideas. She finds herself unable to have any pleasant feelings towards someone who would be willing to commit the mass murder of the people of Earth. As the pair arrive, they are greeted by Arkon’s elderly advisor who urges the conqueror to act quickly in order to save his world. Arkon inquires as to the status of the scientists building his nuclear device, but is told that they have not completed their work. Venturing to the dungeons, passing an imprisoned Toad on the way, Arkon attempts to persuade the scientists to his cause. When words fail, Arkon orders the most defiant of the men placed in a machine which will forcibly remove the knowledge they seek. With this knowledge, the advisor is able to create a handheld orb capable of accomplishing Arkon’s mission.

With his victory all but assured, Arkon takes the opportunity to win Scarlet Witch’s affections. Telling her the lie that he managed to find a way to save both planets, Arkon watches Scarlet Witch begin to soften. Taking things a step further, Arkon takes Wanda to see a special flower which is to be picked by the Imperion’s betrothed and worn on her wedding day. As Scarlet Witch picks the flower, she is reminded of a “Flower in the Crannied Wall” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Slowly the two are drawn to one another but just as they are about to kiss the moment is disturbed by a guard warning that a hole is space has opened and invaders sally forth through it. Immediately recognizing this as a counter-attack by the Avengers, Arkon summons his warriors for battle.

Even though the Avengers are vastly outnumbered, they manage to inflict devastating attacks on Arkon’s forces. Overwhelmed by the might of the assembled heroes, Arkon is forced back within his stronghold. Upon reaching his throne room, Arkon seizes upon the atom sphere which he intends to use to destroy the Earth. Scarlet Witch is appalled to learn she has been deceived, becoming even further incensed when Arkon claims to be above truth and falsehood. When the Avengers interrupt his escape, Arkon uses one of his lightning bolt javelins to transport back to Earth, arriving at the pinnacle of the Empire State Building. Thankfully the Avengers are right behind Arkon, thanks to the magic of Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir. While Goliath scales the side of the build King Kong style, Quicksilver races to the top of the building. Although he is the first to arrive, Quicksilver is deflected by Arkon and knocked off the building, being saved at the last moment by Goliath. Repelling attacks from both Black Panther and Vision, Arkon attempts to deploy his world destroying weapon. Goliath is the only thing standing between the Earth and Armageddon and even his strength is being tested by the other-worldly visitor. Just as all seems lost, Arkon’s advisor appears in the sky telling the Imperion that there is no need for him to continue as Iron Man and Thor have created a device that is even now restoring the life giving rings around the planet. Seeing their quarrel at an end Arkon takes a moment free Scarlet Witch from her betrothal, if it is her will, before returning to his home. As the rest of the Avengers return home, Scarlet Witch finds herself once again staring at the Flower of Life, lost deep in her own thoughts.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Arkon the Magnificent