Vengeance Is Ours

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Wally Wood
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

Picking up from last issue, Captain America plummets to his death. Thankfully, Cap’s teammates aren’t so keen on his imminent death and Quicksilver, with the aid of a hastily acquired television antenna, manages to create an updraft which slows Cap’s decent. Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch join in the rescue effort by freeing Cap from his bondage and providing a beam for him to land on. Now out of immediate danger, Quicksilver provides Cap with his shield and the mighty Avengers swing into action to bring Swordsman in for his crimes. Just as the team manages to corner him, Swordsman begins to disappear right before their eyes. More astonishingly it soon becomes clear that even Swordsman has no idea what is happening to him. Before they can do anything, Swordsman is gone and the blame begins to fly among the Avengers. Hawkeye is certain that had Cap not told the team to hold back from attacking then Swordsman would not have evaded capture. As the accusations spread, tempers flare hotter and hotter.

Meanwhile, Swordsman finds himself in an unfamiliar location and drawn in by a pair of doors that seem to open all on their own. Within he finds the source of his mysterious transportation, the Mandarin. As the Mandarin explains, he desires for Swordsman to aid him in destroying his nemesis, Iron Man. Although Iron Man has left the Avengers, Mandarin suspects that he will one day return. With this in mind, Swordsman’s mission is to infiltrate the Avengers so that when the time is right, Iron Man and the Avengers can be destroyed from within. Although Swordsman is no fan of the Avengers, he attempts to tell Mandarin that he is not interested, that he works for no man. Instead, Mandarin uses the technology of his rings to take Swordsman’s sword and then stun him into unconsciousness.

Having returned to Avengers Mansion, the team decides to lay all of their grievances in the open. As Hawkeye gives Cap a piece of his mind, Quicksilver decides to involve himself, leading to confrontation between himself and Hawkeye. As a test of skill, Hawkeye suggests that he fire an arrow at the calendar on the wall while Quicksilver races the arrow and attempts to pull a page off the calendar before the arrow strikes it. Although the race is a close one, Quicksilver’s speed wins out.

Back at the Mandarin’s secret headquarters Swordsman wakes up to find his “host” standing before him with Swordsman’s sword in hand. While Swordsman was unconscious, Mandarin made some modifications to his sword, giving it various new abilities, such as projecting lighting, flame, or even a disintegration ray. Armed with his enhanced signature weapon, Swordsman is escorted to yet another room filled with all manner of technological wonders. In this chamber, the Mandarin creates an image that looks and sounds just like Iron Man, but under his complete control. The villainous pair then send this image directly to Avengers Mansion to deliver a message to the heroes. In the guise of Iron Man, Mandarin informs the Avengers that it was him who sent Swordsman to join the team. Although the majority of the team is less than willing to accept Swordsman, Captain America takes Iron Man at his word. Iron Man’s parting words are of scorn to Hawkeye, reminding him that he too was accepted on the Avengers, despite also having a questionable background. With their ruse in place, Mandarin transports Swordsman to a location near Avengers Mansion where he can transit the remaining distance on foot.

Though Captain America welcomes Swordsman to the team, he makes sure to keep a close eye on him, as do the rest of the Avengers. In spite of their constant vigilance, Swordsman still manages to plant a powerful explosive within the mansion, waiting for the day that Iron Man returns to the team. That evening however, Swordsman is woken up in the middle of the night by an image of the Mandarin telling him to leave the mansion because he has changed his mind. Instead of waiting for Iron Man to return to the team, he will set off the explosive and use the deaths of the Avengers to draw Iron Man home, where Mandarin and Swordsman can trap him. Swordsman is significantly bothered by this sudden change in plans and decides to remove the device. Ironically, Swordsman is caught by Cap and Hawkeye while he is removing the device. With his cover blown Swordsman must fight his way out of the mansion, which is always easier said than done. Eventually, and with the help of a hex turned askew from Scarlet Witch, Swordsman gains his freedom, though his efforts have earned him the ire of the Avengers and the full-fledged hate of the Mandarin.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Swordsman
Mandarin

The Coming of…The Swordsman

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Don Heck
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Art Simek

Plot Summary

Meet the Swordsman! A swashbuckler and all around treacherous individual. As the issue begins, Swordsman is explaining that he wishes to join The Avengers because once he has an Avengers ID, he can get away with anything.

Over in Avengers Mansion, brother and sister Pietro and Wanda Maximoff are on call for the evening and are beginning to feel the strains of boredom. Just as they start to think it will be a quiet night, they are alerted to an intruder in their home. Rushing off to investigate, Pietro comes across Swordsman within Avengers Mansion and immediately confronts the stranger. Soon Wanda has joined in the fight, though her Hex powers go awry, causing Pietro to slam into a nearby computer. Though Swordsman attempts to halt the fighting, his own pride prevents the cessation from lasting long. Eventually Captain America joins his teammates and upon investigating Swordsman’s background, they determine that he is wholly unfit to serve as an Avenger. Upon hearing this revelation, Swordsman makes a quick exit and the Maximoff siblings pursue him into the night.

When Cap tells Hawkeye of the evenings events, Hawkeye is stunned to hear that the Swordsman was their visitor. Not only is Hawkeye familiar with the man, but he practically raised Hawkeye and his brother after their parents died. At the time Swordsman worked in a circus and he taught Hawkeye to shoot a bow and arrow. When Hawkeye caught Swordsman stealing money from the circus, Swordsman confronted Hawkeye and in the end left him for dead. Of course, unknown to Swordsman, Hawkeye survived when the tightrope managed to arrest his fall.

Elsewhere in New York, we see the letter Captain America wrote to Nick Fury just sitting on a desk. That desk however is under surveillance by Hydra who is trying to determine Fury’s location. The vile Hydra agents use a beam to transport the letter to their hiding place so that they may read it and see if it contains information regarding the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or his whereabouts. Fortunately for the Colonel, it contains no such information and the Hydra agents quickly dispose of it out a nearby window where it is discovered by a passerby.

As luck would have it, that passerby is a local lowlife and card player. As he partakes in his usual card game, word comes around that Swordsman is looking for any information that might be used to trap an Avenger. Having just such information, he departs his game and makes straight for Swordsman. When the card shark arrives, Swordsman forcibly takes the letter and refuses to pay the man until after he has successfully trapped Captain America.

The next day at Avengers Mansion, Cap is overwhelmed with joy. After weeks of waiting, Nick Fury has finally responded to Cap’s letter and requests a meeting with Cap. Unfortunately, his fellow Avengers are less thrilled with Cap becoming a part time member of the team. After some harsh words are exchanged, Cap departs for his meeting and Hawkeye goes out on patrol to relieve some stress. While he is out on the streets, Hawkeye manages to break up a safe robbery. As he confronts the getaway driver, who is the very same man that discovered Cap’s letter, Hawkeye finds out that Captain America is walking into a trap. Though initially he doesn’t want to get involved because of their earlier confrontation, Hawkeye realizes that his duty as an Avenger is more important than his current personal feelings. As such, he rushes back to Avengers Mansion to enlist the aid of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Just as Hawkeye is returning to the mansion, Captain America enters a warehouse and suddenly has a bad feeling about things. Of course, Cap’s feeling is justified when moments later Swordsman swings down from a stack of boxes and attacks Cap. The two combatants battle through the entirety of the warehouse as they crash crates and spare parts on one another, finally culminating when Swordsman crashes a forklift into a stack of boxes and manages to knock out Captain America. While all of this is going on, the remaining Avengers track Cap down using the homing device in his belt.

When they arrive on scene, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver find Cap and Swordsman high above them on the building next door. Cap is tied up and has been forced out on a narrow plank at sword point. Now that he has their attention, Swordsman delivers his ultimatum; either The Avengers accept him as their new leader, or he will push Captain America off the plank, letting him plummet to his death. As the trio debates what to do, they suddenly see Cap fall from the plank. Although they are stunned, they realize that it wasn’t Swordsman that force Cap over the edge, but Cap himself, sparing his teammates the impossible decision. All they can do now is watch in horror as Cap hurtles towards the ground below.

Avengers

Captain America
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch

Villains

Swordsman