Episode 31: This Power Unleashed!

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciller: Don Heck
Inker: Frank Giacoia
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot Summary

As his teammates look on, Quicksilver works feverishly to restore Goliath to consciousness with his thermo-reviver discs. Unfortunately his efforts have little effect and the Avengers are forced to look for outside help. Their first options, Dr. Donald Blake, is unavailable (due to his duties as Thor, God of Thunder), so the Captain America suggests a former Army Medical Corps doctor, Major Carlson. After examining Goliath, Dr. Carlson proclaims that while he will recover, Goliath cannot change size again or else he may die from the strain. While the doctor is unsure of the permanency of this condition, he is certain of it’s immediate consequences. Being stuck in his oversized form drives Goliath into alternating rages and depressions and while Cap attempts to talk his friend down, he is unsuccessful. Having failed in his task, Cap asks Wasp to see if she can get through to her paramour, only to discover that Goliath has left.

In the Far East, Hu Chen addresses the Black Widow. After having betrayed her masters and being grievously wounded, Black Widow was taken back to those same masters. As punishment, Black Widow was brainwashed into compliance and now stands ready to return to America to destroy the Avengers. After arriving in country, Black Widow seeks out Swordsman, who has returned to his life as a circus performer. When offered the chance to take his vengeance on the Avengers, Swordsman immediate takes Black Widow up on her offer. The villains now leave to seek out the final member of their new alliance.

As Hawkeye stops by while Cap is in the middle of a workout, Cap informs his teammate that Black Widow is back in the country. Still madly in love with her, Hawkeye is overjoyed, but Cap warns that Black Widow has almost certainly been brainwashed. Unfortunately, because of his feelings towards her, Hawkeye can’t help but go find Black Widow, regardless of the risk involved. Although Cap lets Hawkeye go, he asks Wasp to follow him and report back if Hawkeye gets into trouble.

When he arrives at Black Widow’s Long Island mansion, Hawkeye discovers, much to his delight, that she has in fact returned. Hawkeye immediately begins to make romantic advances towards her, only to be turned away and informed they have company. To his shock, Hawkeye turns around to find Swordsman and Power Man standing in the doorway. When he incorrectly assumes that she is being held captive, Black Widow informs Hawkeye that she is not a captive and that the three of them intend to have their revenge on the Avengers. Although Hawkeye is torn between his love for Black Widow and his duty to his teammates, he decides to attack Swordsman and Power Man. His efforts are in vain and he is quickly disabled. After seeing this, Wasp tries to bring a warning to the rest of the Avengers. But instead of delivering her message Wasp must evade a swallow and when she returns to normal size in a tree, the branch gives way and she is knocked out.

Because the Avengers never received Wasp’s warning, Captain America is caught off guard by Swordsman and Power Man. Cap initially fights well but in the end he is unable to deal with the combined might and skill of his opponents and his knocked out and taken captive. When he wakes up, Cap finds himself in a dungeon. Thankfully the villains failed to check Cap thoroughly and he is able to use his hidden communicator to contact Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch who immediately mount a rescue. Before leaving however, the Maximoff siblings leave a message for Wasp so that she can follow when she returns to Avengers Mansion. Knowing that her own power wouldn’t be enough to turn the tide, she attempts to contact Goliath, hoping his sense of duty will override his current melancholy.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch arrive at Black Widow’s mansion and Quicksilver uses his super speed to quickly search the home for Cap. In mere moments, Quicksilver has located the team leader, only to be trapped in the dungeon along with Cap. Similarly, Scarlet Witch is attacked by Swordsman and taken captive.

As Black Widow begins to tell her allies about her master’s plan, Goliath smashes through a solid oak door, quickly engaging Swordsman and Power Man. The duo are almost immediately driven back and are forced to fight frantically just to keep Goliath at bay. Meanwhile, Wasp slips in the mansion and prevents Black Widow from turning the mansion’s technology against Goliath as well as freeing the rest of her Avengers’ teammates. In mere moments the Avengers have pushed their foes against a wall. The villainous duo are saved by the quick action of Black Widow who opens a hidden door behind them, allowing the trio to escape. While the attempt to make their escape, Hawkeye draws on the villains, but is unable to follow through due to his feelings towards Black Widow. Dejected, Hawkeye presents himself for rebuke by his teammates. Surprisingly, Captain America says that he has done nothing wrong, only acted to the best of his abilities. While the mood is lightened, Goliath still wanders off alone, struggling to deal with his affliction in spite of the team’s recent victory.

Avengers

Captain America
Goliath
Hawkeye
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Wasp

Villains

Black Widow
Power Man
Swordsman

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Episode 22: 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