The Sword And The Soceress

Avengers #84

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: John Buscema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Mike Stevens

Featured Issue: Avengers #84

Plot Summary

Racing through the air of an alien world, Black Knight urges his winged horse, Aragorn, onward ever faster.  With palpable urgency the pair make their way to a roiling cauldron in the ground known as the Well at the Center of Time. Black Knight is determined to hurl his enchanted sword, the Ebony Blade, into the Well and rid himself of its vile influence once and for all. But when the moment comes, he cannot bring himself to part with the malevolent weapon. No sooner does he abandon his attempt than he is attacked by a swarm of warriors native to this world. Black Knight makes a valiant stand but is eventually struck down by the leader of his attackers, Arkon the Magnificent.

As Black Knight plummets towards the ground, a vision of his fate intrudes upon the mind of the sleeping Scarlet Witch. Though safe in Avengers Mansion, she is startled awake by the dream. When her fellow Avengers rush in to see what is wrong, Scarlet Witch insists that something is wrong with Black Knight and the Avengers vow to look into the matter. Taking the obvious first step, Quicksilver and Black Panther place a call to Dane Whitman’s English manor, only to be told by his butler that Whitman is not home and that his current whereabouts are unknown. Believing that Arkon is involved with the disappearance of Black Knight, based on Scarlet Witch’s vision, the Avengers rush to summon Thor and his magical hammer, Mjolnir. With this, the heroes hope to open a portal into Arkon’s dimension and rescue their friend.

Back in Arkon’s throne room, Black Knight is brought before the warlord who, believing Black Knight a spy, demands to know the details of his mission. Black Knight insists that he is on a personal quest and refuses to speak of it further, only serving to further enrage his host. Enchantress offers to unlock the secret of his mission and kisses the Black Knight deeply. Now under her spell, Black Knight begins to tell the tale of how he came to Arkon’s dimension. After having stopped a pair of jewel thieves in an overzealous manner, Black Knight is forced to confront the fact that the Ebony Blade’s maligned influence over him is growing. Seeking guidance from his ancestor, Sir Percy, the hero is sent to Stonehenge on a quest to destroy the Ebony Blade and rid himself of its poison. Upon arriving Black Knight is greeted by a mysterious ancient figure who sends him to Arkon’s dimension in order to find the Well at the Center of Time. From there, Arkon knows the rest of the story. Arkon is unconvinced and decides that he must take the attack to the Avengers.

Just as Thor and Black Panther approach Avengers Mansion they are confronted by a wall of magical energy engulfing the mansion, causing it to vanish before their eyes. As the energy clears, Thor clearly sees the face of Enchantress and is warned to stay on Earth if he knows what is best for him. Meanwhile, within Avengers Mansion, the rest of the team find themselves roughly transported to Arkon’s world. This time, Arkon’s guards are waiting for them and although the Avengers spring into action, they are quickly subdued by the guards. Scarlet Witch is the last to fall, after being overpowered by Enchantress’ magic. Encased in Perma-Blast, the Avengers are brought before Arkon, Enchantress and a bewitched Black Knight. After Scarlet Witch once again spurns Arkon’s advances, the entire team is sent to the tower.

Luckily for the Avengers, Thor and Black Panther refused to heed Enchantress’ warning and arrive in the alternate dimension. While Thor engages with the guards, Black Panther secretly makes his way to the tower where the Avengers are being held. When he finds his teammates, they are in a magically induced dejected state. Only Black Panther’s regal commands manage to break through to Vision. Once Vision is free, his fellow Avengers find courage in his actions and soon free themselves as well. The Avengers join Thor in his assault on Arkon and his minions, though they are fighting an uphill battle. The tide finally turns when Scarlet Witch attempts to use her hex magic on Arkon, forcing Enchantress to concentrate even harder on Arkon and lose her grip on Black Knight. Freed from the spell, Black Knight confronts Arkon and in the resulting skirmish, the Ebony Blade disappears into the Well at the Center of Time. With Enchantress’ spell broken, Arkon ceases his fight with the Avengers, admits his error and is then forced to confront the resulting damage to his world as the Avengers return to their home.

Avengers

Black Knight
Black Panther
Goliath
Quicksilver
Scarlet Witch
Thor
Vision

Villains

Arkon
Enchantress

Hostage!

Avengers #82

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

Featured Issue: Avengers #82

 

Plot Summary

In the early hours of September 21st, 1970, the island of Manhattan begins to awake to a new and horrific reality. As the sun rises, the citizenry is stunned to find that they are being held hostage by a small and well armed military force. Although the NYPD make a desperate stand, they are laid low by a gas attack, knocked unconscious by the non-lethal concoction. With the primary form of resistance under control, the army goes about destroying bridges and tunnels and then taking the mayor into custody.

Deep within the White House, the President receives the ransom demands from Aries, leader of the criminal cartel known as Zodiac. Aries makes it clear that he and his forces are in complete control of Manhattan, having just defeated an attempt by Army paratroopers to invade the island in an effort to retake it from Zodiac. Not only was the invasion defeated, but now all the paratroopers have been added to the island’s population as hostages. To make matters worse, Aries displays the motionless figures of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Quicksilver. Aries then demands one billion dollars in ransom or else he will begin to execute the entire population of the island. As the news makes its way across the nation, the remaining Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man all wonder what kind of help they might be able to render from outside the ensnared island.

Unbeknownst to the invading army, the Avenger, Black Panther remains free and on the run. Having recently aided Daredevil, Black Panther heads to Hell’s Kitchen in order to again illicit his aid in saving the city. Unfortunately, Daredevil’s alter ego, Assistant District Attorney Matt Murdock is wanted by the occupying army. Just as they are about to take him in to custody, Black Panther kills the lights in Murdock’s office allowing Daredevil to make quick work of the two soldiers. Black Panther then quickly catches Daredevil up on the current situation and that to the best of his knowledge the pair are the only two heroes left free in Manhattan. The duo decide that their first objective should be to rescue the Avengers from the television studio where they were being held.

Smashing their way through a skylight, Daredevil and Black Panther eliminate the waiting guards. Unfortunately for them, Aries had foreseen this possibility and moved the Avengers away from the studio shortly after recording his ransom message. Although he faces the heroes alone, Aries still holds the Key to the Zodiac, his supremely powerful badge of office. Using the emblem, Aries destroys the station, knocking out Black Panther. Fortunately for Black Panther, Daredevil faired better and manages to drag his comrade out of the burning building.

Knowing that his position is vulnerable, Aries decides to make an example of the captive Avengers as punishment for Daredevil and Black Panther’s defiance. Soon, Zodiac’s army has rounded up thousands of New Yorkers and herded them in to Madison Square Garden in order to watch the execution. Among those in the crowd is Daredevil, once again in the guise of his alter ego, Matt Murdock. When Aries’ plan becomes clear, Murdock begins to rouse the crowd into an angry mob, hoping to overwhelm their captors. While some members of the crowd join in, others are too afraid to resist. Murdock is quickly taken captive by the soldiers, but not before launching a fine wire out of his cane and into the machine holding the Avengers in suspended animation, causing it to fail. No longer immobilized, the Avengers break free of their restraints and with the help of Black Panther and Daredevil, quickly route Zodiac’s army. Aware that he is rapidly losing control of the situation, Aries flees in his aircraft but is pursued by Thor. Before the Asgardian Avenger is able to stop him, Aries directs the nerve paralyzing force field around the island to begin closing in, attempting to kill everyone in Manhattan. Thor then manages to land on the aircraft and using his enormous power, destroys the plane and shutting down the field. With their leader gone and a counter attack sure to begin any moment, Zodiac’s army surrenders to the Army. Back at Avengers Mansion, the reunited team realizes that their various missions were all related as Cornelius Van Lunt was using his land in order to train the invasion force. When the Avengers thwarted Van Lunt’s plans, Zodiac was forced to move up their time table so they wouldn’t be detected by the Native Americans. Their mission complete, Daredevil says he farewells and takes leave of the Avengers.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Daredevil
Iron Man
Quicksilver
Thor

Villains

Aries
Zodiac