> Avengers Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"It's like old times again, being in costume, on the trail of some strange, unknown menace! This is what I was meant to do! This is the destiny I can never escape!”

-- Captain America, page 12

Classic panel sequence in which Captain Americais reclaimed for Marvel's Silver Age.

(Click panels for larger images.)


Avengers #4
March 1964 • 23 pages

Script: Stan Lee • Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby • Inks: George Roussos (uncredited)

Ranked #7 in 100 Greatest Marvel Comics of All Time list

Lineup: Captain America • Giant-Man • Iron Man • Thor • Wasp

Joins Team: Captain America

Title: “Captain America Joins...The Avengers!”

Origin/First Appearance: Silver Age Captain America, Medusa alien

Villains: random gangsters, Sub-Mariner, Atlantean soldiers

Guest Appearance: Rick Jones, Captain America, Teen Brigade

Cameo: Bucky (flashback)

Letters Page: (no letters page in this issue)

Synopsis: The action begins with a flashback to Sub-Mariner's pitched battle with the Avengers at Gibraltar and his subsequent retreat. He swims through the ocean licking his wounds while lamenting the loss of his people, the Atlanteans. His itinerance takes him to the Arctic, where he sees a bunch of Eskimos praying to a block of ice. Inside the block of ice appears to be a human figure, and as Namor goes into an anti-human rage, he scares off the Eskimos and tosses the block of ice into the sea.

The ice block floats through the currents of the ocean, gradually melting, until finally the human figure is free of the icy restrictions and begins floating through the water column of the ocean. As if by fate, the Avengers are cruising through the underwater in their bathyscaph, and having spotted the submerged human body, pull it on board. They discover the identity of this lost soul as Captain America, based on his costume, mask and shield that is on his person.

And suddenly, Captain America wakes with a fright, shouting "Bucky! Bucky! Look out!" After calming the excited WWII superhero down, the Avengers insist on the man proving he is indeed Captain America. A minor scuffle ensues, where the super soldier is able to dodge Thor's hammer, knock down Iron Man and tumble Giant-Man onto his bum! The Wasp is able to calm all the horseplay down, and the team then cajoles an explanation out of Cap about what the heck is going on. According to Captain America, the last thing he remembers is a time during the end of the second world war when he and Bucky were chasing a drone plane loaded with explosives. Bucky leaped onto the back of the airplane, but Cap was unable to make the jump. The plane was boobytrapped and it exploded, sending Bucky to a fiery death in the sky, while Cap fell into the icy waters off Newfoundland and passed out, not caring at that point if he lived or died in the wake of his partner's death. They assume that Captain America spent all the time after WW2 in a state of suspended animation, since it is clear that he has not aged a bit since his disappearance.

As the Avengers reach their home city of New York, they clamber out of their submarine and receive theadulation of the assembled press. Before they can reintroduce Captain America to the world at large, a blinding flash envelops them and turns them into stone statues! The reporters assume it's a trick, andwalk away disappointed. Captain America is the last to climb up from the sub, and notices the Avengersstanding in stony silence. He assumes they are honorary statues, and wonders why the Avengers havedeserted him.

Captain America decides to check out the modern world he has missed out on: he takes in the pretty girls, walks up to the United Nations building and meets up with a cop who is overtaken by emotion when herealizes the one and only Captain America is standing before him. Cap makes his way to a hotel to get some rest,and it's while he slumbers that what appears to be the apparition of Bucky Baxter makes him jump from hisbed. It's not Bucky, though; it is Rick Jones, and he wants to know from Cap where the Avengers are. Capapologizes for calling Rick the name of "Bucky," and Rick is indeed a little weired out by Cap's reaction, buttogether they resolve to find the Avengers.

They check out some photos taken of the crowd that greeted them at the docks, and discover a man witha strange weapon that was posing as a cameraman. Sensing they've gained a clue in the mystery, Rick Jonesraises the Teen Brigade on his radio and put them on the lookout for the man. Cap is on his own patrol, andspots the man handling the very gun seen in the photo! He crashes through the window of the man's hotelroom and is immediately fired upon by a bunch of goons who are gathered to protect him. Cap springs intoaction, easily dispatching the thugs as if he'd never been out of practice.

Finally reaching the man with the gun, Cap acts on a suspicion and pulls a mask from his face, revealinghim to be an alien creature. Knowing the gig is up, the alien explains: hundreds of years previous, he hadcrash landed his ship in the deep ocean. Not meaning any humans harm, he wandered the planet lookingfor someone who could help repair his ship, but was always met with fear, trepidation and violence. Wheneverhe had to, he defended himself with his gun that would turn his targets to stone for 100 hours. With his appearance,he became known as the mythical Medusa. Lately, the Sub-Mariner told him he would help repair his ship, ifonly he would turn the Avengers into stone.

Cap promises to help repair his ship if the Medusa can turn the Avengers back into their real forms. He does so,and witnessing all that is transpiring is Namor himself. Disturbed that his plan has failed, he notices a troopof his elite guard swimming nearby! Reunited with his loyal subjects, he takes them onto his next plan, to strike once again at the Avengers!

The Medusa alien leads the Avengers to the location of his ship, and the team manages to help raise it from the murkyground below. The alien repairs the ship below while the Avengers regain each other's company on the surface...and then-the Sub-Mariner strikes! Along with his elite guard, they launch an attack on Iron Man, Thor, Giant-Man and the Wasp.Faced with a coordinated assault, the foursome act as a united team and repel the assault, both on the ground and under the water. Captain America hangs back, watching the formidable quartet of Avengers enact theircommon bonds of courage, as well as appreciating the fearsome battle capability of Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

The battle seems to be at an impasse when Namor decides to take Rick Jones hostage, which sends Cap into a rage, and he finally enters the fray, pushing the guardsman who held Rick aside. Namor grabs Cap and tosses himaway, but before battle can continue, an earthquake starts that sends Namor and his men back into the sea,thinking the quake will finish off the Avengers. It turns out that it's not a quake after all, but the alien rocket shipfinally taking off for space. Able to finally take a breather, the team formally extends an offer of admission toto the Avengers to Captain America, and Cap accepts. Rick worries what the Hulk will think to find out thatCap has replaced him as his partner.

-- synopsis by Gormuu

-- panel images by Avengers Assemble

Issues Reprinted
Avengers #1-10

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

AVG #1 AVG #2 AVG #3 AVG #4 AVG #5
AVG #6 AVG #7 AVG #8 AVG #9 AVG #10


All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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