Enter, The Avengers

X-Men #9

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

A beautiful day at sea is suddenly interrupted when an iceberg emerges from a fog bank. As the ocean liner barrels towards it, unable to maneuver out of the way, the crew braces themselves for the worst. Then by some miracle, the iceberg is destroyed, saving the ship, and all who sail aboard her. Of course, in reality it is no miracle, but the actions of an American teenager, Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops of The X-Men.

Unfortunately for Scott, the tremendous effort of destroying the iceberg with his optic blasts has overwhelmed him, and he is quickly rushed off, to be cared for by his fellow X-Men teammates. While the mutant heroes are caring for their acting leader, Professor X contacts the team telepathically. The Professor informs his students that he is currently deep underground, on the trail of Lucifer, the man who is responsible for the injury which left The Professor paralyzed. Xavier warns the teens that if something should happen to him, they must continue his work, and prevent Lucifer from causing any harm to the world. At this, The Professor is caught in an artificial dust devil, sent by Lucifer, who has been watching The Professor’s progress. The dust devil takes Xavier to Lucifer, where it solidifies and traps The Professor. In spite of his imprisonment, Xavier attacks, shooting at Lucifer, only to be warned that if any harm should come to Lucifer, the entire world would be in peril.

Nearby and above ground, The Avengers arrive in a small European town. The team has been following strange impulses being emitted by Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. The impulses indicate a great evil and have lead The Avengers to this town, little knowing that Lucifer lies beneath their feet. As they begin to determine their next course of action, an American tourist drives nearby. Knowing that the situation is likely to soon degrade, The Avengers encourage the lost tourist to quickly depart the area. The confused motorist eventually makes his departure, only to run smack into the X-Men. Relaying a description the bizarre people he just encountered (The Avengers), The X-Men take it on themselves to investigate the tourist’s claims.

Returning underground, Lucifer shows Xavier the inner workings of a massive nuclear weapon that Lucifer has in his possession. Judging correctly, Xavier is horrified to learn that Lucifer has connected the trigger for the bomb directly to his own heartbeat. If anything were to happen to Lucifer, then the bomb would detonate with enough force to destroy an entire continent. Additionally, knowing that Xavier’s lauded X-Men must be nearby, Lucifer sends a blast of ionic energy to eliminate the unsuspecting teens.

In his mental illusory state, Xavier is able to warn The X-Men in time, and they just barely avoid Lucifer’s attack. The team then suits up and begins to investigate the surrounding area in earnest, this time finding The Avengers. Although The Avengers initially offer to help The X-Men, Xavier warns the team to prevent The Avengers from reaching Lucifer, as any injury they may cause could be disastrous for the world. The situation escalates quickly and The X-Men soon find themselves fighting The Avengers.

While Lucifer is distracted watching the two teams of superheroes battle, Xavier uses his incredible telepathic abilities to incapacitate Lucifer, without damaging his heart. With the immediate threat neutralized, Xavier is able to contact Thor, the Avengers’ chairperson for the week, and explain to him the situation. With this knowledge, Thor convinces his fellow Avengers to end their assault and the team leaves The X-Men to complete their mission.

Once the team has joined their mentor, The X-Men quickly act to disable the bomb’s fuse. As The Professor locates their target, Lucifer’s heart begins to flutter, indicating that the bomb could go off any second. With only moments to spare, Cyclops is able to destroy the fuse, and thus save the world from total destruction. With the threat removed, Xavier wakes up Lucifer and allows him to go on his way, reminding his students that they have vowed to never harm a human being.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

The Avengers Break Up

Episode 11

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

Like any good team of heroes, The Avengers begin this issue with a training exercise. Captain America attempts to evade is fellow Avengers while the remaining members work together in an effort to capture him. Although Cap manages to set a new record, he is disappointed in his inability to last a full minute. After having completed their vigorous workout, our heroes settle down to conduct their weekly meeting.

Chairman Thor initially recognizes Giant Man who immediately yields to Iron Man. The Golden Avenger proposes that The Avengers finally make Rick’s membership on the team official. Upon hearing this, Cap objects on the basis that only he is permitted to determine Rick’s fate with the team. With support from other Avengers, Cap puts the motion to rest and the meeting continues. At it’s conclusion, Cap is confronted by Rick, who overheard the discussion. Cap tells Rick that he must think on things further and that they will talk about things later.

Off in the South American jungle, The Masters of Evil are having a meeting of their own. As the villainous team struggles to develop a new plan to defeat The Avengers, Enchantress senses a power mental probe. Without further warning, Immortus, the ruler of Limbo, appears before the assembled Masters. Immortus offers to join The Masters in order to further his own purposes. In the process, however, Immortus manages to insult Zemo and Executioner and Executioner attacks. Choosing to disappear, rather than fight, Immortus sends Paul Bunyon to fight in his stead. Executioner is only saved by Zemo’s pleads that the battle will destroy his castle. Having demonstrated his power, Zemo now demands that Immortus demonstrate his loyalty by destroying one of The Avengers. The Ruler of Limbo readily agrees and sets out to enact his master plan.

After leaving Captain America, Rick Jones sets out for the Teen Brigade. While meeting with his companions, one of them shows Rick a comic book ad for super powers. Rick is immediately interested, seeing the promised powers as a means of finally joining The Avengers. Rick is so impatient to get the powers that he doesn’t bother with mailing in the coupon and instead heads directly for the company’s headquarters. When he arrives, he is instead greeted by Immortus and Attila the Hun, who Immortus has borrowed from history. The pair quickly capture Rick and send him to The Tower of London in 1760 for safe keeping.

Having spent some time thinking, Cap sets out to find Rick so that they can have their promised talk. When Cap is unable to find Rick he contacts Rick’s friends at the Teen Brigade who inform him that Rick was looking into the comic book ad. Upon reading the ad, Cap immediately realizes that there is something very wrong and makes his way to find Rick. On his arrival Cap finds Immortus waiting. Immortus informs Captain America that Rick is unharmed and that the whole thing was set up by his fellow Avengers who seek to control Cap through Rick. Cap is enraged by Immortus’ revelation and immediately returns to Avengers Mansion to confront his teammates.

His fellow Avengers are stunned and confused when Cap returns and begins to attack them. Eventually the team agrees to accompany Cap back to Immortus to get some answers. When they arrive, Immortus reveals that it was all a ruse and that The Avengers must each fight a champion, drawn from all of history and specifically chosen for their ability to defeat one particular Avenger. Giant Man is forced to face Goliath, Iron Man must defeat Merlin and finally Thor overcomes Hercules. After watching 3 of his champions suffer defeats, Immortus decides to cut his losses and pulls Captain America into the past with him and offers him a deal. If Cap can defeat all the guards in The Tower and rescue Rick, then Immortus will return the pair to their rightful time.

With Cap gone, the remaining Avengers return to the mansion to contemplate the loss of teammate. Unbeknownst to The Avengers, The Masters of Evil have been observing the whole ordeal and determine that now is the time to strike, while The Avengers are a man down. Breaking into the mansion, The Masters very nearly triumph over The Avengers and the team is only saved by the timely arrival of Captain America. Having rescued Rick, Immortus fulfills his end of the agreement and returns Rick and Cap just in time to save The Avengers. Outmanned and outclassed, The Masters are forced to retreat and Enchantress takes the drastic step of transporting The Masters back in time, to a point before the arrival of Immortus. Armed with the knowledge of future events, The Masters are quickly able to avoid contact with Immortus and prevent their defeat, yet again. The issue closes with The Masters of Evil musing on what might have been, while The Avengers are just sitting down to their weekly meeting.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron ManThor
Wasp

Villains

Masters of Evil
Baron Zemo
Enchantress
Executioner
Immortus