Invasion of The Lava Men

Avengers #5

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Paul Reinman
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

The Avengers return to their mansion, discussing the repairs required after their recent encounter with The Hulk (Fantastic Four #25 and #26) and following a brief conversation decide to go their separate ways and address any personal business they may have. A few days later, at a Stark lab, a prototype artillery computer is destroyed by high intensity sound waves. Similarly, Ant-Man and Wasp are nearly buried alive in an ant hill when they also encounter the sound waves. Thor, in his guise as Donald Blake, reads about these occurrences in the paper and decides they require the attention of The Avengers. Quickly slipping to the roof of his office building, Blake manifests as the god of thunder and takes off to assemble the team. Thor’s first stop is Captain America, who is demonstrating various acrobatics and martial arts for Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade. Again, the team members are assaulted by the sound, and they return to the mansion to confer with the remaining Avengers. The sound is determined to be coming from a military site in the southwest, under the command of General “Thunderbolt” Ross (who was responsible for the gamma bomb test that turned Banner into Hulk). At the site, a large rock is discovered to be slowly pushing its way through the ground. Conveniently, General Ross’ daughter, Betty arrives with her boyfriend, Dr. Bruce Banner in tow. Ross immediately begins to dress Banner down but suspends his insults to address the matter at hand and pressures Banner into helping investigate the mysterious event. As the scene shifts beneath the rock, it is revealed that the Lava Men are responsible for the strange occurrence. After one Lava Man, Molto, fought Thor and lost, the rest of his race decided to fear all surface dwellers and  have launched an attack using the Living Rock. The Avengers show up and join in the investigate. Iron Man attempts use his repulsors on the Living Rock, but to no effect. Adjusting his strategy, Iron Man blasts his way down below the rock and is quickly overwhelmed by waiting Lava Men. The assaulting Lava Men are driven back by Thor, who proceeds further underground to confront their leader. After passing unscathed through lava, thanks to the magical power of Mjolnir, Thor speaks with the King of the Lava Men and his Witch Doctor. The god of thunder learns that the Living Rock was discovered after an underground atomic upheaval, that it is capable of unparalleled destruction, and that it will soon explode. The Lava Men hope that by moving it above ground, their enemy will be destroyed and they will be spared. Above ground, Ant-Man and Wasp finish their investigation of the Living Rock and discover a single weak point that can only be exploited by the precision of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. On the orders of the Witch Doctor, the Lava Men begin to strike at the remaining Avengers before The Hulk appears The Avengers redirect their attention to him. Underground, Thor is accidentally turned back into Donald Blake by the Witch Doctor’s radiation rod, but the resulting transformation frightens off the Witch Doctor and Blake passes out. Since Thor and his hammer are nowhere to be found, The Avengers trick hulk into pounding the exact correct spot on the Living Rock that will cause its destruction without exploding, thus saving the day. Blake wakes up and transforms himself back into Thor. Speaking to the Lava Men, Thor convinces them to give up their hopeless invasion and to return home. The team reunites just as Betty finds a restored Bruce Banner alone, beaten and half naked in the desert. Just as The Avengers are preparing to leave, they receive an urgent message from the Teen Brigade…

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Lava Men
Hulk

Show Notes

Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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The Avengers Meet The Sub-Mariner

Avengers 3

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Paul Reinman
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

This issue begins with the remaining Avengers discussing the events of the previous issue and deciding that they cannot let Hulk just run around on his own. Iron Man uses a piece of Stark tech to project an image of himself to various other heroes including the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men, attempting to gain aid in their attempts to locate Hulk. Much to his frustration, none of the other heroes are available to aid the Avengers in their search. Back in New Mexico, Rick Jones manages to find Hulk fishing a jeep out of a lake, the driver having bailed out and run away in fright after seeing Hulk. Rick Jones joins Hulk and convinces him to return to the secret cave lab that Banner has set up. Within the lab is equipment which uses gamma rays to forcibly transform Hulk back into Banner. The equipment works and Rick helps Bruce into bed. Unfortunately, Rick failed to use a high enough dose of gamma rays and while lying in bed, Banner reverts back to the Hulk and smashes through the barred door. Rick alerts the Iron Man who in turn contacts the remaining Avengers and the team converges on Hulk’s location. As the heroes arrive, they each attack Hulk in turn, without much effect. Making use of his superior knowledge of the local terrain, Hulk dives into an old mine tunnel and eventually escapes on a train. After leaving the train, Hulk hides out in a truck hauling dirt and after being dumped into a stream, Hulk makes his way out to sea. Several days go by and Hulk is eventually pulled aboard a passing cargo ship, nearly drowned. Watching all of this is Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Upon regaining his strength, Hulk jumps ship and heads for a deserted island where he can be alone. Much to his surprise and frustration, Hulk finds Namor waiting for him. Namor announces that he wants Hulk’s help in getting his revenge against the surface dwellers that have “ruined” his life (Fantastic Four Annual #1). Hulks only desires to be left alone and so he proceeds to assault Namor. After being defeated by Namor in the water, Hulk agrees to help, though both men secretly plot to betray one another after the Avengers have been dealt with. The duo issue a challenge to the Avengers to fight them in Gibraltar. The Avengers promptly accept the call to battle and vow that this time they won’t be pulling their punches. A significant fight ensues which neither side is winning until Hulk begins to turn back into Banner after being verbally assaulted by Namor. The helpless Banner runs away, leaving Namor to fend for himself. Namor is nearly defeated but is able to get back in contact with water and promptly retreats. The Avengers choose not to pursue Namor because of how valorous he was, but also recognize that they may come to regret their decision.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Hulk
Namor