Writer: Stan Lee
Art: Dick Ayers
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Letterer: Art Simek
Returning the action to New York after last issue’s dramatic climax, The Avengers, minus Captain America, find themselves facing off against The Masters of Evil. As the heroes close in on their prey, The Masters threaten to mettle out massive harm on the innocent citizens of New York unless The Avengers let them go. While The Avengers know this is a ploy to allow their foes to escape, they cannot risk so many non-combatants. Instead, Iron Man tells Thor to execute Plan D, which creates a space warp to transport The Avengers and The Masters to a dimension where they will be safe to fight without the risk of collateral damage. Having been trapped in a space warp before, Enchantress and Executioner recognize what is happening and swiftly manage to escape the warp, while Melter and Black Knight are not as fortunate. With the odds now in their favor and the threat to bystanders removed, The Avengers quickly subdue the remaining villains and return to their home dimension.
Meanwhile in the South American jungle, Captain America finishes putting his foe, Baron Zemo, to rest. Although Zemo’s followers offer Cap the opportunity to replace Zemo, Cap declines, only wishing to return to New York. As Rick and Cap make their way to the only remaining plane, they are ambushed by the remains of Zemo’s henchmen. The pair quickly drive the henchmen back, but in the fight, the plane is destroyed forcing Cap and Rick to find another way home.
With things starting to quiet down, Iron Man, Giant Man and Wasp sit down in Avengers Mansion for some much needed down time. Slowly, the conversation turns to the fact that all three Avengers desire some time off from their duties as Avengers. Unfortunately, just as the conversation begins to get serious, the room begins to fill with smoke. The trio rush out, only to find Hawkeye holding Tony Stark’s butler, Jarvis, hostage. Even more shocking than this sight is that Hawkeye declares his desire to join The Avengers. The Iron Man foe goes on to tell the assembled heroes that he never intended to end up on the wrong side of good, and that he has seen the error of his ways and wishes to make amends. After a quick demonstration of his skill and with the support of Iron Man, the rest of The Avengers present agree to allow Hawkeye to join the team.
Now that they have begun recruiting new members, The Avengers send an invitation to Namor, The Sub-Mariner. The only stipulation given is that Namor must give up his desire for conquest. While this is a term that Namor cannot agree to, he tells The Avengers that their offer has done him honor.
Far from the oceans, in a Swiss ski chalet, Pietro Maximoff returns to his sister Wanda bear a newspaper. The former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants members quickly read that The Avengers are entertaining new members. The pair agree that this is the opportunity to change their lives that they have been waiting for and Pietro quickly pens a letter to the chairman of The Avengers.
Back in New York, the available Avengers hold a press conference introducing Hawkeye as their newest member. The ever vigilant press corps picks up on the fact that Iron Man referred to Hawkeye as a replacement, forcing Iron Man to quickly redirect the question toward that of the currently “missing” Avengers. As the press conference wraps up Iron Man and Hawkeye exchange pleasantries and Hawkeye expresses how much he had been hoping to fight alongside the Avengers, and now is disappointed that he won’t be able to.
While their teammates are safe and comfortable back in New York, Cap and Rick are forging their way through the South American jungle, avoiding crocs, fighting snakes and even saving a man from a jaguar attack. And as luck would have it, their new friend is just the person to escort them out of the jungle and return the pair to civilization.
As Cap and Rick begin their voyage, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are just about to complete theirs as they arrive in New York. The duo are met by Tony Stark who escorts them to Avengers Mansion. Pietro of course can’t help himself and takes the opportunity to show off a bit by racing the car back to the house and beating it there. Once they arrive, Wanda and Pietro are shown in, while Tony Stark takes a minute to change into his Iron Man suit.
Cap and Rick finally make it back to New York and when they arrive at Avengers Mansion, they find it swarming with people and reporters. Not wanting to deal with the crowd, Cap uses his rental car as a spring board and launches himself into the mansion. Making his way to the meeting room, Cap is greeted by his overjoyed teammates who welcome him home. The homecoming is bittersweet as Iron Man, Giant Man and Wasp quickly reveal that they are planning to take a leave of absence and that Cap will now be in charge of the new team. Iron Man then goes out and addresses the waiting crowd, telling them that Cap will be the leader of a newly revised Avengers lineup, and that they will be out momentarily.
As Iron Man prepares to leave the mansion for a final time, he leaves the new team with a final mission; go find Hulk. With the loss of Giant Man, Thor and Hulk, the team is severely lacking in brute strength, and this is something Hulk can help provide. And as the new team meets the waiting crowd, Giant Man, Iron Man and Wasp all say a parting few words to one another before going their separate ways.
Masters of Evil