Endgame

Avengers #71

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #71

Plot Summary

Deep within the bowels of Garrett Castle, Black Knight rushes to ignite the Brazier of Truth in the hopes that he might speak with the spirit of Sir Percy, his ancestor. Black Knight is attempting to discover what has happened to the Avengers following the events he witnessed in London. Although Sir Percy is scornful of Black Knight’s impatience, he begins to fill in his successor of those events occurring in the 41st century. In addition, Black Knight is told that the fight he interrupted was only one of four as part of the Grandmaster’s game which pitted the Avengers against the Squadron Sinister. Unwittingly Black Knight disrupted the final battle and as a result, Grandmaster removed all the combatants for a final round to determine the result of the game.

In the 41st century, Kang wanders through the corridors of his headquarters, pining over his love Ravonna who is trapped between life and death. At the feet of her pedestal Kang rededicates himself to the cause and becomes more determined than ever to beat the Grandmaster’s game. Back in his control room, Kang dials in the vidscreen so that he may watch the final round and while he does, he questions the Grandmaster about his replacement champions. Kang is informed that he will see them soon enough.

The remaining three Avengers, Vision, Black Panther, and Yellowjacket find themselves standing in front of the Louvre, which is flying a Nazi flag. Vision identifies that they have been transported back into the middle of World War II, but before the Avenger can truly come to grips with their surroundings, they are attacked by several Nazi soldiers. Although no match for the super heroes, the Avengers find that they are not the only foes nearby. Emerging from a portal step the Human Torch, Namor and Captain America just as they had been back in 1941. As their future teammate and his allies don’t recognize the Avengers, they attack, assuming that they are allied with the Nazi scum inhabiting Europe at the time.

In modern England, Black Knight continues to search for a way in which he can help the Avengers to make up for the mistake he had committed. Sir Percy does what he can by putting Black Knight into astral contact with his ancestral sword. With this, the Ebony Blade pulls Black Knight through space and time, depositing him in the 41st century. Finding himself in front of four Avengers, seemingly trapped in some dreamlike state, Black Knight is attacked by several of Kang’s guards before he can gain his bearings. After making quick work of his attackers, Black Knight makes his way out of the chamber and stumbles upon Wasp, still hold up in Kang’s fortress. Wasp enlists Black Knight’s help in order to rescue the Avengers so that they might have a fighting change to win.

Back in 1941, the Avengers face off against the contemporary heroes. Although Cap and Namor are the matches of Black Panther and Yellowjacket, Vision proves to be the most difficult to defeat and ultimately the key to the Avengers victory. After some back and forth, Vision is able to line up all three heroes and phase through them, becoming solid just long enough to disrupt the trio and leave them beaten.

With this, Kang celebrates the victory of his champions over those of the Grandmaster. Since Grandmaster decided the first round was a stalemate, he grants Kang the power over either life or death, half a prize for half a victory. As Kang contemplates his choice, the recently freed Avengers and Black Knight arrive in the control room. Admitting that Kang saved the Earth, the Avengers request to be sent back to their own time, leaving Kang alone as a thank you. Kang is unwilling to let the Avengers go, as he still considers them to be his most dangerous enemy and Kang once again demands that Grandmaster grant him power over both life and death. When Grandmaster refuses, Kang chooses the power over death, so that he might eliminate the Avengers. With his new power, the attacks by the Avengers bounce off him harmlessly, with Mjolnir even passing straight through Kang. No longer amused to watch his foes hurl themselves helplessly against him, Kang uses his new power to bring the Avengers within a hair’s breadth of death. As Kang gloats over his defeated foes, he is interrupted by Black Knight, who, not being an Avenger is unaffected by Kang’s new power. Knocking Kang senseless with the flat of the Ebony Blade, Black Knight redeems himself with the very act that initially condemned him. The game completed, Grandmaster departs, returning the Avengers to their mansion, in their own time. In gratitude for their rescue, the Avengers offer their frequent ally Black Knight the ultimate honor they can, membership amongst their ranks. Black Knight accepts, and they team celebrate with a vigorous “Avengers Assemble!”.

Avengers

Black Knight
Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Thor
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Kang the Conqueror
Grandmaster
Captain America
Namor
Human Torch

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When Strikes The Squadron Sinister

Avengers #70

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Featured Issue: Avengers #70

Plot Summary

Our issue opens with Kang the Conqueror eschewing his feast in order to concentrate on the upcoming battle between the Avengers and the chosen champions of the Grandmaster. Leaving his banquet hall, Kang questions the Avengers about the progress of the battle, but the Avengers divulge that Grandmaster will not speak with them as they are only pawns in his game with Kang. After finally being confronted by Kang regarding the delay, Grandmaster reveals that he is using the computers on his home planet to create suitable opponents for the Avengers. Secretly though, Kang’s soldiers take position in an effort to assassinate Grandmaster, but the attempt is thwarted by a mere thought from Grandmaster. Shocked by this sudden turn of events, Kang agrees with Black Panther that the strategy was flawed and that he will not make the same mistake twice.

Turning to Kang’s time-scanner, the Avengers, Kang and Grandmaster watch their teammates Captain America, Goliath, and Thor back in the 20th century. The trio is soon joined by the newly restored Iron Man (Tony Stark having recovered after the events of last issue). Just as the Avengers get done catching Iron Man up on the details of their mission, the Squadron Sinister again appears before the quartet of heroes. The Squadron members admit that they are in fact not present, but that the Avengers are only seeing their astral images. As such, the Squadron Sinister decides to fill in the Avengers on their origin, since there is no risk to the Squadron. Being the master of time and space that he is, Grandmaster reached back and altered the lives of four Earth men in order for them to become the super powered villains Nighthawk, Hyperion, Dr. Spectrum, and Whizzer. As they finish, the four figures dissolve into images of four famous locations on Earth, the Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal, Big Ben and the Sphinx, implying that a member of the Squadron Sinister is located at each. With that, Iron Man sets off for the Taj Mahal while Thor uses the powers of Mjolnir to transport the other Avengers to their battles.

Up first is Captain America, facing off at the most fitting of locations, the Statue of Liberty. As he evaluates the situation, Captain America notices a figure watching from the statue’s crown, but fails to notice the snare set on the ground and Cap is caught in it as he moves forward to investigate the figure. Battered against the figure, Cap is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, the Avengers finds himself the prisoner of Nighthawk. Even more astonishing than his imprisonment, is the fact that the pair in flying in Nighthawk’s aircraft, carrying the Statue of Liberty in tow. When Nighthawk threatens to destroy the statue if Cap does anything to interfere with the Grandmaster’s plans, Cap reacts immediate and destroys the detonator with his shield. In a last ditch effort to destroy the statue, Nighthawk leaves the aircraft and attempts to release the statue in midair. Again Captain America’s quick thinking saves the day as he attacks Nighthawk and manages to turn the tables on when Nighthawk tries to kill Cap with an explosive capsule. In the 40th century, Kang points out that one of the Grandmaster’s champions has already fallen.

Next to fight is Iron Man, facing off against Dr. Spectrum and his sentient power prism. Saved from an initial blast by his new armor, Iron Man quickly takes to the offensive only to find that his attacks are useless against Spectrum’s defenses. Thinking quickly, Iron Man catches on to something Dr. Spectrum said and bathes Spectrum and his prism in ultraviolet light. Drained of his power, Dr. Spectrum collapses to the ground and another of Grandmaster’s champions is defeated.

In Egypt, Thor arrives but finds no enemy. Only when the ground begins to quake and Hyperion explodes from beneath him does Thor realize that he has fallen victim to a trap. After narrowly avoiding the ambush, Thor confronts Hyperion only to find that Mjolnir bounces off the most powerful member of the Squadron Sinister. Struck low by a blast of Hyperion’s atomic vision, Thor is forced back on the defensive and must use Mjolnir to block the incoming attack. Finally given a moment to think, Thor hurls Mjolnir at Hyperion, who, in his overconfidence allows Thor a free shot. Instead of ineffectually bouncing off Hyperion again, Mjolnir instead encircles Hyperion and traps him within a bubble of glazed sand.

Lastly we find Goliath in London, preparing to face off against Grandmaster’s final champion. Before he can find his foe however, Goliath is confronted by Avenger’s ally, Black Knight. Although he offers to help Goliath, Black Knight’s assistance is rejected. As Black Knight prepares to depart, the heroes notice that something moving at great speed is travelling around Big Ben. This can be none other than Goliath’s adversary, Whizzer. Although outmatched in size, Whizzer speeds around Goliath, making a near tornado around the supersized hero. Unfortunately for the Avengers, Black Knight decides to intervene and attacks Whizzer with the flat of the Ebony Blade, his mystical ancestral sword. Goliath quickly attempts to step in and stop Black Knight, but the damage is done. With the outside interference from Black Knight, Grandmaster interrupts the game and removes both Avengers and their competitors for a final round. With this, the Black Knight is left alone to swear that he will make amends for his interference, though he is uncertain of how he will do this.

Avengers

Black Panther
Captain America
Goliath
Iron Man
Thor
Vision
Wasp
Yellowjacket

Villains

Kang the Conqueror
Grandmaster
Hyperion
Nighthawk
Dr. Prism
Whizzer