Even Avengers Can Die

Avengers #14

Writers: Stan Lee & Larry Lieber
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Chic Stone
Letterer: Sam Rosen
Layouts: Jack Kirby

Plot Summary

Picking up from the dramatic cliffhanger in Avengers #13, The Avengers are rushing a gravely injured Wasp to the hospital as fast as superhumanly possible. On their arrival, Wasp is taken to be examined while her teammates are forced to wait outside for news. As the reality of the situation begins to set in, Giant Man finds himself on the verge of breakdown, given his previously unacknowledged feelings for Wasp. When the doctor returns the situation does not improve. With a collapsed lung and the other one failing, Wasp is given only 48 hours to live. And though the doctor is unable to help he does mention Dr. Svenson, a specialist who might be able to help.

The Avengers quickly nominate Thor to travel to Norway and enlist the aid of Dr. Svenson. When Thor arrives however, Dr. Svenson is unwilling to leave his work. Thor however realizes that time is of the essence and forcibly takes Dr. Svenson back with him to New York. When the pair arrive, Svenson again begins to protest, but Giant Man can’t take it and assaults Svenson. Things go from bad to worse when it is discovered that the man Thor returned with is not Svenson, but an alien impersonator who dies almost immediately after being unmasked. Before he expired though, the alien admitted that the real Dr. Svenson is with the rest of the alien’s people, somewhere on Earth.

With this information The Avengers each use their skills and resources in an attempt to find the aliens. Though they are unable to locate the aliens, the heroes can deduce that they are located somewhere that is devoid of human life. This leaves only the North and South Poles. Quickly boarding a jet on loan from Tony Stark, The Avengers travel to a point equidistant from each pole, and use Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to indicate which direction they should travel. Soon the team is headed north.

Upon reaching their destination, The Avengers begin digging in order to find where the aliens are hiding. As Iron Man uses his repulsors, the ground beneath The Avengers collapses and they fall down a massive hole beneath. The team manages to save themselves, only to be immediately attacked by the very aliens they seek. The heroes manage to drive off the first wave, and as they advance, discover an entire city hidden beneath the ice. While beginning to explore the city, The Avengers are caught unaware and stunned. The helpless supers are then brought before the alien leader, who tells them that the aliens are present on Earth because they are looking to rebuild their forces after being forced to retreat in an interplanetary war. The aliens are unable to breathe the oxygen available on Earth, and were only saved by the fortunate arrival of Dr. Svenson, who has been aiding the alien survivors ever since.

Unknown to the alien leader, Thor, being an Asgardian is less effected by the alien stun technology. After learning what he can, Thor springs into action and takes the leader hostage, demanding the aliens release The Avengers. After complying with Thor’s demand, the aliens renew their attack on The Avengers. The battle rages until Dr. Svenson himself intervenes in the situation. Svenson says that he has chosen to stay of his own free will and help the aliens.

Just as tensions begin to ease, the race that had defeated the aliens locates the aliens on Earth and makes their presense known by destroying a listening outpost. With this new threat added to the equation, the aliens now insist that  they must fight their pursuers here on Earth. Of course, this option is unacceptable to The Avengers and they vow that if the aliens must give fight on Earth, then they will be forced to fight The Avengers as well. Realizing that his people cannot successfully fight on two fronts, the alien leader asceeds to The Avengers demands and allows them to return to New York, along with Dr. Svenson, using a teleportation portal. Once the team is clear, the aliens begin their withdrawal from Earth.

Back in New York, Dr. Svenson quickly examines Wasp. Though he is unsure if he can help her or not, he says he will try and tells Giant Man to have faith. And as The Watcher journeys through the abandoned alien city, Dr. Svenson returns to   The Avengers, telling them that all is well; Wasp will be alright.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Unnamed Aliens

This Hostage Earth

Avengers 12

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

Plot Summary

Once again hard at work in their lab, Giant Man and Wasp receive an urgent call from Giant Man’s ant allies. However, when Giant Man attempts to decipher the message, he is unable due to the panicked nature of the communication. Believing this to be a sign of great peril, Giant Man immediately summons his fellow Avengers to an emergency meeting.

Upon their arrival, The Avengers are unamused by Giant Man’s assertions. Thor in particular receives the explanation poorly. When Giant Man explains that the disturbances might be caused by Mole Man, Thor quickly shoots the idea down since The Avengers know that Mole Man was destroyed by the Fantastic Four. When it becomes clear to Giant Man that his teammates will not aid him, he tells them off and decides to proceed on his own. The rest of The Avengers depart so as to avoid coming to blows with Giant Man.

Little do The Avengers know exactly how right Giant Man really is, for at that exact moment, Mole Man is working tirelessly to put his evil plan into motion, literally. Mole Man has constructed a device that is slowly speeding up the Earth’s rotation. Eventually this increased rotation will cause massive destruction, at which point Mole Man will stop the Earth all together, destroying everything on the surface and leaving if free for conquest.

Back at the lab, Giant Man prepares to investigate the source of the ant distress call, but Wasp refuses to join him. Hank attempts to physically block her way, but eventually relents and goes off alone. Shortly after reaching the ant hill in question, Giant Man, in his diminutive Ant-Man size, falls victim to a collapse of the ant hill. Ant-Man is only saved by the quick application of his size changing abilities. When Giant Man reaches the bottom he finds a massive fence made of light bars blocking his path. When he attempts to break through the barrier, Giant Man unknowingly sets off an alarm, causing Mole Man and his moloids to attack. Though he is the superior fighter, Giant Man is eventually surrounded and stunned from behind, allowing Mole Man to take him prisoner.

As Mole Man’s machine is allowed to continue unchecked, the rest of the world begins to notice its effects. Buildings and bridges begin to tremble as the Earth slowly but steadily turns faster and faster. As these effects become more widely known, The Avengers, minus Giant Man, assemble to discuss their options. Realizing that Giant Man was right, the team is now determined to locate their comrade and join in his efforts. Instead of blindly travelling beneath the surface however, Wasp decides to use Tony Stark’s image projector in an attempt to ascertain Giant Man’s whereabouts. When she stumbles on the same light fence that Giant Man found, Mole Man decides it is time to take the offensive to The Avengers.

Just as the Avengers are formulating a plan to journey below the surface, a train loaded with moloids attacks Avengers Mansion. With some effort The Avengers are able to drive the moloids back and force them into a retreat. With the immediate threat eliminated, The Avengers set to their task of modifying an automated fox hole digger invented by Tony Stark. While Iron Man, Thor and Wasp begin work, Captain America and Rick Jones go to a Stark warehouse to obtained the last required parts. As the pair approaches, they discover several mobsters taking advantage of the current crisis to perform a little robbery. With Rick’s help, Cap makes quick work of the criminals and the pair returns to the rest of the team, parts in hard.

While The Avengers are finishing their work, Mole Man has a surprise guest, Red Ghost. Red Ghost suggests that the two villains might combine their abilities in order to finally finish off The Avengers and rule the world. Just as the pair finish their conversation though, The Avengers arrive at the light fence. Making their way into Mole Man’s lair, The Avengers find themselves confronted by Red Ghost and his ray gun. The team is saved thanks to Iron Man quickly deflecting the blast and then disabling Red Ghost with his Sound Blaster. Meanwhile, Wasp is off searching for Giant Man, whom she finds imprisoned in a beam that prevents him from changing size. Once freed however, Giant Man begins to wreck havoc on the moloids.

The Avengers continue their relentless assault on Mole Man and Red Ghost, eventually driving them back to Mole Man’s control center. With his moloids routed and nowhere else left to go, Mole Man place is final card and threatens to destroy the Earth that instant. Even as Mole Man blusters away Ant-Man disables his machine from within, causing it to fail just as Mole Man is prepared to make good on his threat. With powerful attacks from Iron Man and Thor, Mole Man’s device and subterranean base are both destroyed and The Avengers return to the surface. The story ends with Red Ghost and Mole Man arguing about whom is to blame for the failure of their plan.

Avengers

Ant-Man
Captain America
Iron Man
Thor
Wasp

Villains

Mole Man
Red Ghost