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.


Black Panther
Captain America
Iron Man



Did You Hear The One About Scorpio

Avengers #72

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

Featured Issue: Avengers #72

Plot Summary

As Captain America makes his way across the roof of Avengers Mansion, he collides with another man running along the roof. To Cap’s surprise, it’s his former sidekick, Rick Jones. While Rick is initially terse with Cap, things calm when Cap explains that the “Cap” who recently treated Rick poorly was in fact Red Skull in disguise. Reunited, the pair enter the mansion so that they may attend a meeting, called at Cap’s behest.

Encountering the other Avengers, Cap and his teammates gather around their meeting table as Cap calls the meeting to order. Noting their missing members and their reasons for not being present, Cap goes on to say that several top New York City officials have gone missing. Not only that, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has gotten involved and will provide the Avengers with a briefing. Almost on cue, and interrupting Vision, the video transceiver alerts the Avengers to an incoming message from Dum Dum Dugan, the right hand man of Director Nick Fury. Dugan informs the heroes that the city officials have been abducted by a man named Scorpio. Fighting off tears, Dugan further tells the Avengers that he is making the call because Nick Fury has been murdered by Bulls-eye while attending a concert.

Shocked by the news, the Avengers attempt to regain control of the situation but are interrupted by Rick Jones. As he explains, he was on Nick Fury’s roof, looking to discuss with the spymaster the potential of becoming his sidekick. When Rick made his way inside through an open window, he encounters Scorpio. The surprised villain unleashes an energy blast on Rick. Unbeknownst to Scorpio, and the Avengers for that matter, Rick has become connected to the Kree hero Captain Marvel. As he struggles to get up, Marvel convinces Rick to give him a chance at Scorpio. By slamming together two golden bands on his wrists, Rick switches atoms with Captain Marvel, releasing the hero from the Negative Zone and sending Rick in his place. Captain Marvel quickly pursues Scorpio and even manages to get the upper hand for a moment. But when Scorpio turns on Captain Marvel and releases another blast from the Key to the Zodiac, Marvel is laid low.

As Rick finishes his story, of course leaving out his personal connection to Captain Marvel, he presents the Avengers with a list of three city officials that was dropped by Scorpio. The Avengers are shocked to discover that the list matches exactly. Just as Cap is about to press for more answers from Rick, he is cutoff by a voice coming from the display screen. Suddenly the faces of the three missing men appear on the screen. Almost as unannounced, the faces begin to dissolve into a single face, that of Scorpio. Without warning and on Scoprio’s command, the Avengers’ view screen explodes in a massive fireball, an impressive attempt to rid the world of the heroes.

When the Avengers awaken, they find themselves imprisoned by Scorpio, unable to move or speak. As Scorpio gloats over his prisoners, he reveals his co-conspirators, the criminal cartel Zodiac. It becomes clear that Scorpio has undertaken all his actions in order to be welcomed back into Zodiac. While Scorpio is distracted, Yellowjacket uses his control over ants to free the Avengers, send the insects into the controls for the device holding the Avengers captive.

As the Avengers take on the various members of Zodiac, they are stunned to find that Scorpio is none other than Nick Fury. Although they have tons of questions, they must first deal with the threat at hand. Meanwhile, Rick and Captain Marvel discuss the what must be done and they agree that Rick must do what he feels is best.

The Avengers and Fury make quick work of the Zodiac, until Ares inflicts the Key to the Zodiac on the heroes, With the plan rapidly unraveling, the members of Zodiac flee, covering their escape route with an impenetrable substance to prevent the Avengers from pursuit. With the situation under control, Nick Fury explains that he impersonated Scorpio in order to flush out Zodiac. What he tells the assembled heroes is that, much to his surprise and shame, the real Scorpio was in fact Fury’s own brother.


Captain America