Episode 18: The Old Order Changeth

Avengers #16

Writer: Stan Lee
Art: Dick Ayers
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

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.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Black Knight
Enchantress
Executioner
Melter
Masters of Evil

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Episode 17: Now, By My Hand, Shall Die a Villain

Avengers #15

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Mikey Demeo (Mike Esposito)
Letterer: Art Simek
Layouts: Jack Kirby

Plot Summary

With the closing of yet another Avengers meeting, the heroes each go their separate ways. Giant Man takes the opportunity to escort the recently recovered Wasp out for the evening, while Captain America and Thor both quietly depart Avengers Mansion. Once his teammates have left, Iron Man quickly removes his suit, and as Tony Stark, settles in for a quiet evening.

While The Avengers may be taking some much needed time off, Baron Zemo of The Masters of Evil decides he has been resting on his laurels far too long and that the time is right to once again strike at his hated foes. Zemo rushes off to his airstrip, gives instructions to his waiting pilots and soon they are off, putting their master’s evil plan into motion.

Meanwhile in New York, Captain America is busy mailing a letter he wrote to his former comrade, Nick Fury, asking the Colonel for help in finding meaningful work in the modern world. Just as Cap is about to drop off his letter, he spots Enchantress and Executioner in the back of a car. Though Cap pursues the villains, Enchantress is able to prevent him from keeping up with the use of her magic. When they arrive at their apartment, the Asgardian pair receive a communication from Baron Zemo, who provides them with instructions for the part they will play in the mastermind’s latest scheme.

The Avengers however are no fools and they quickly assemble to discuss Captain America’s recent encounter with two of The Masters of Evil. Though the team expects that The Masters are up to something, everyone is surprised when Cap’s young companion, Rick Jones, is suddenly pulled uncontrollably up into the air. Those Avengers who are capable of flight immediately take off in an attempt to save the teen, only to be met with a concussion bomb which knock out Thor and Iron Man. Rick is pulled into the plane, which turns out to be the very same one that took off from Zemo’s South American fortress. Once he has regained his senses, Iron Man quickly summons a Stark Industries jet, so that The Avengers can give chase.

Elsewhere, Black Knight and Melter are sitting in prison, awaiting the arrival of some men from Washington D.C., who intend to investigate their villainous equipment. As Melter paces the cell, a magical portal suddenly opens. Seizing the opportunity presented, the pair rush through the portal and are met by Executioner and Enchantress, who is in possession of Black Knight’s lance and flying horse. Needing no further explanation, Black Knight immediately takes to the sky and attacks the jet carrying The Avengers. Although Thor quickly engages Black Knight, the plane is almost immediately attacked by Melter, who is hiding on a nearby roof. Iron Man decides that he will deal with this new threat. The remaining Avengers decide that Cap will continue on to South America when Giant Man and Wasp will join Iron Man and Thor in dealing with The Masters of Evil. Although The Masters of Evil put up a strong fight, they are quickly beaten back and encircled by The Avengers. The Masters attempt to dissuade The Avengers from continuing the fight by threatening to harm innocent bystanders, but The Avengers are not fooled, and a standoff ensues.

Eventually Captain America arrives in South America, only to be immediately fired upon by Zemo’s waiting henchmen. When Cap returns fire, Zemo springs his trap and catapults the captive Rick Jones right into Cap’s line of fire. Rick barely escapes with his life. After abandoning his damaged aircraft, Cap joins Rick, only to be set upon by Zemo and his legion of henchmen. Only quick thinking by Captain America prevents the duo from being overrun and they now face Zemo alone. In spite of the fact that Zemo has Cap in his sights, Cap is able to overcome Zemo by blinding him with sunlight reflected in Cap’s shield. Unable to see, Zemo fires his weapon wildly, causing an avalanche. When the dust settles, Zemo is dead, buried beneath the rocks. The issue closes as Cap takes a moment to reflect on Zemo’s death and he takes solace in that fact that Bucky’s death has been avenged.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Black Knight
Enchantress
Executioner
Melter