The Coming Of The Red Wolf

Avengers #80

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #80

Plot Summary

Fighting a torrent of rain, a trench-coated man runs for his life though darkened New York streets. As he stops for a moment his peace is interrupted by a tomahawk burying itself in the telephone pole next to him. The tomahawk’s owner is not far behind, a muscular Native American man in traditional garb accompanied by a large gray wolf. Immediately the man takes off in a terrified run, only for his pursuer to once again take up the hunt. Desperate, the man attempts to shoot his attacker, but to his horror, every shot misses its mark. As the chase continues, the man knocks over an innocent bystander. Fortunately for him, this bystander is no ordinary citizen, but the synthizoid Vision, recently departed from the Avengers. Leaving behind his disguise, Vision follows the pair. Just as the Native American man gets the better of his prey and prepares to throw him into a construction pit, Vision appears and allows the trench coat man to escape. Angered by this turn of events, the mysterious man attacks Vision, but is quickly foiled by the android’s mass phasing abilities. Not knowing what else to do, Vision takes the man and begins to make his way back to Avengers Mansion.

In Avengers Mansion, the team meets to discuss their next mission, going after the reformed criminal organization known as Zodiac. While many of the Avengers including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are on board with this plan, though there are several voices of descent. Black Panther and Scarlet Witch feel that the team should be spending their time on going after more local organized crime instead of chasing around the globe in search of villains in costumes. Just as the discussion begins to become heated, Vision enters with his ward, much to the surprise of the rest of the Avengers. As the man regains consciousness he introduces himself as Red Wolf and without hesitation begins to berate Vision for interfering with his business. Surrounded by the Avengers, Red Wolf is asked to calm down and explain his side of the situation so that the Avengers may get a better idea of what is going on.

On a reservation in the American southwest, a young Native American man watches as his culture is denigrated and made light of, all for the entertainment of white tourists. Though this frustrates him,  he takes solace in secretly watching the Dance of the Red Wolf, a ritual that no tourist has seen. The dance tells the story of Red Wolf, a warrior who came to his people in times of old to lead the people. The legends say he would come again when he was needed most and that he would face those that would stand against him. As time goes on, the child grows up, goes to war and moves to the city to find work. All the while, his people are under threat from Cornelius Van Lunt, an industrialist who demands the Native Americans sell their land to him. Eventually the man returns home, only to find Van Lunt threatening his family for refusing to sell. Later that night his house is shot up by Van Lunt’s men, killing the man’s entire family. In the aftermath, the man staggers away in a near feverish state, eventually making his way to the sacred mountain and performing the Dance of the Red Wolf. When he is finished, the man is visited by the spirit of Red Wolf. The spirit informs the young man that he is the new Red Wolf who was said to come again. After facing off against a wolf and killing it, the man knew what he must do. Returning to New York he began to stalk Van Lunt in search of the men who killed his family. Eventually he discovered that Jason Birch was the man responsible and was hunting him when Vision intervened.

In the present, Vision vows to make amends for his actions and help Red Wolf with his mission to bring Birch to justice. Red Wolf objects to the idea of justice, lacking faith in the white man’s system of justice. This new mission only adds to the disagreement between the Avengers. Eventually two teams take up the different missions while Black Panther ventures out on his own. As the teams head towards their separate objectives Several members begin to wonder if this inability to agree on a mission is the beginning of the end for the Avengers.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

The Man-Ape Always Strikes Twice

Avengers #78

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #78

Plot Summary

On a quiet night Captain America makes his way to the rooftop entrance to Avengers Mansion, responding to a summons by his teammates. Upon his arrival Cap is immediately attacked by M’Baku, the Man-Ape. The mighty warrior quickly overpowers Cap, but in his arrogance he is fooled when Captain America feigns unconsciousness and strikes unexpectedly. Although Cap is no match for M’Baku’s unnatural strength, he has bought enough time for the rest of the Avengers to join the fight. Rushing to Cap’s rescue, Quicksilver and Vision manage to stop Cap from plummeting to his death on the street below. Now facing the combined might of the entire Avengers, M’Baku flee with the help of his former major domo, N’Gamo. As he escapes into the night sky, M’Baku vows to return and destroy the Avengers at a time of his choosing.

Having returned inside the mansion, the Avengers begin to fill Captain America in on their previous encounter with M’Baku. In spite of the beating he inflicted on Cap, Goliath insists that M’Baku is really a small time villain and that he was most likely waiting for Black Panther to show up so that he could finish their duel. Captain America is unfortunately forced to disagree with Goliath’s assessment given that he has a written note, signed by Black Panther, urgently telling Cap to come to the mansion. It is clear that even though M’Baku has never met him, Cap was his intended target that evening. The heroes can only wait for Black Panther to return in the hopes of shedding some light on this mystery.

North of the mansion, in Harlem, Monica Lynn expresses her frustrations at the government’s inability to help those people who are most in need. The former singer has given up her music career in order to take up social work after her close run in with the Sons of the Serpent. As her exasperation reaches its peak, Monica Lynn is surprised to once again see Black Panther. Despite initially sharing some tense words over what Monica perceives as Black Panther’s lack of devotion to the cause, the two quickly reconcile and Black Panther vows to do more and to show that the Avengers can be even better friends to their community. Black Panther soon leaves, telling Monica that he would like to speak again once he has reported in to the Avengers. Unfortunately for Monica she is attacked by M’Baku just after Black Panther’s departure.

In Avengers Mansion Black Panther is stunned when he sees Cap’s note and hears the Avengers’ story. When he last saw M’Baku, he had been crushed beneath a statue. Black Panther can only assume that N’Gamo and some secret herbs are responsible for the villain’s return. As if on cue, the image of M’Baku appears on the Avengers’ monitor demanding to fight Black Panther to the death. If Black Panther should decline M’Baku’s offer, then M’Baku insinuates that he would be forced to harm Monica Lynn, whom he shows to the Avengers so that they are aware it is not a hallow threat. The team prepares to mount a rescue mission when Black Panther demands to face M’Baku alone, saying that he must keep his word to face M’Baku in single combat. As the chief of Wakanda his word is his sacred bond and he is unwilling to break it,  even for one such as the Man-Ape.

Taking a Quinjet to face off against M’Baku, Black Panther arrives at the designated location and finds a massive helicopter waiting for him. Swinging aboard the helicopter, M’Baku attempts to ambush Black Panther but is given away by the sounds of his hiding place sliding open. As the pair fight, Black Panther uses his superior agility to bring the fight to M’Baku. While this works for a while, M’Baku is able to land a single punch that sends Black Panther sprawling. Just as N’Gamo is about to finish off Black Panther with a mace, Black Panther seizes the weapon and uses it to launch N’Gamo at M’Baku, disabling the pair. Using this opportunity, Black Panther scours the aircraft for Monica Lynn, eventually finding her trapped in a small room. On closer inspection however, Black Panther discovers that this Monica is in fact a mannequin. The dummy Monica subsequently explodes, knocking Black Panther unconscious. Having defeated his foe, M’Baku again contacts the Avengers in order to gloat over his victory and threaten the remaining Avengers with capture.

Having arrived at M’Baku’s underground lair, Black Panther and the real Monica Lynn are thrown into a small, dark room. In front of the pair is a mantle with statues of all the Avengers, formed almost like award statues. As he clutches the figure of Black Panther, M’Baku calls out to the others that he, the Man-Ape has drawn first blood. Slowly Black Panther’s begins to see several other figures entering the room. Soon the hero is confronted by the Living Laser, Power Man, Swordsman and Grim Reaper. Declaring their animus towards the Avengers, Grim Reaper calls the assembled group of villains the Lethal Legion.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Vision

Villains

Man-Ape