> Avengers Masterworks Volume 1

Click panels for larger images

From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Disturbance! It's more than that! There's a gol-durned mountain popping up right near my launching site! Get rid of it!”

-- General Thunderbolt Ross, page 7

Welcome to the Avengers, Cap! Nice to have ya on board!

(Click panels for larger images.)


Avengers #5
May 1964 • 23 pages

Script: Stan Lee • Letters: Sam Rosen
Pencils: Jack Kirby • Inks: Paul Reinman

Lineup: Captain America • Giant-Man • Iron Man • Thor • Wasp
Title: “The Invasion of the Lava Men!”

Origin/First Appearance: Lava Men, Witch Doctor

Villains: Lava Men, Witch Doctor

Guest Appearance: Rick Jones, Teen Brigade, Betty Ross, General Thunderbolt Ross, Hulk/Bruce Banner, Molto the Lava Man

Cameo: Jane Foster

Innovation: The Living Rock

Letters Page: Page One

Synopsis: The action picks up from the Avengers battle alongside the Fantastic Four (see FF #26), where Tony Stark is left to pick up the pieces of his mansion after a titanic battle with the Hulk. The team breaks up and goes their own way, with Captain America taking Rick Jones under his wing to promise him battle training.

A few days later, a strange noise overtakes one of Stark's weapons labs and destroys the equipment. Scientists call Stark on his private line to pass the news to him. He promises to rush off to inspect the damage, but only after he can wean himself off the device that reconstitutes the rhythm of his heartbeat. At the same moment, Giant-Man (shrunk to ant size) and the Wasp are doing science experiments in an anthill when the same strange noise reverberates through the anthill and brings it down around them. And in the office of Dr. Don Blake, Thor's alter-ego is reading the newspaper with its front page headlines about strange sounds destroying a train. It is his idea to solve this mystery by summoning the Avengers. He changes into Thor and heads out to gather Captain America, who he finds instructing Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade on acrobatic skills. Suddenly, the strange noise reverberation topples the two Avengers from standing, and in fact destroys a nearby tree to splinters! The duo rush off to join the other Avengers who have by now isolated the noise to the American southwest.

Down in the southwest, General Thunderbolt Ross and his men are witness to an odd disturbance emanating from the ground. A large green, glowing rock is pushing itself up from beneath the desert sand. Betty Ross gleefully brings Dr. Bruce Banner to the scene, but the General is interested only in how to get rid of the rock. While they wonder about how best to do this, beneath their feet are a strange race of people, pushing the green, glowing rock up through the ground by the use of a large set of gears. This strange race of people is the Lava Men, and they are presided over by their supreme ruler who commands them to continue lifting the rock slowly above ground. Defiantly urging him to stop doing this is Molto, a Lava person speaking so because he thinks the human race does not deserve the menace of the rock. However, the Lava Man Witch Doctor harps that the only way to save their race of men is to push the dangerous rock away from their subterranean cave. Molto is a brave minority, speaking out alone.

The Avengers arrive on the scene and immediately set out to work. Iron Man tries to blast the rock with his repulsor rays, but to no avail; the rock keeps growing. Iron Man's attack on the rock is felt below, though, and the Lava Men take it as an attack. Hordes of Lava Men spring into action, rising up to take on the EarthMen. Iron Man tries to stop their advance, but finds his armor is not impervious to the searing heat they can generate. Thor brushes them off of Iron Man and asks to speak to their leader. Molto recognizes Thor asthe god who defeated him in battle and returned him graciously to his people.

The Witch Doctor tells Thor that Earth should surrender to them, for the Living Rock is a weapon which can easilydefeat them. Molto reluctantly concurs. They tell the story of the Living Rock: long ago there was an atomicexplosion underneath the ground. Where the explosion occured, they found a strange, glowing rock and triedto destroy it with a hammer. When struck, it exploded, causing massive destruction. Their solution was to let it continue to grow, and then push it up to the Earth's surface, where an explosion wouldn't shatter the entire planet, but only the surface of the planet. The Lava Men will then reign supreme over the whole planet. The Witch Doctorcalls on his people to attack the Avengers once again, despite Thor's efforts to help.

While Cap and Iron Man take on the gathering hordes of Lava Men, Giant-Man and the Wasp search for a weakpoint to shatter the Living Rock without causing a "cataclysmic explosion." Hank Pym thinks he's found it, but theywill need the power of Thor's hammer to enact the plan. Giant-Man and the wasp join their teammates in battle, with Giant-Man using the rotors of a helicopter to blow the Lava Men back down their subterranean hole.

Bruce Banner, like Hank Pym, has determined a solution to the problem, but unfortunately turns into the Hulk! Confused as to what is going on, the Hulk hears the voices of the Avengers down below and decides to smash them once and for all! Thor faces off against the Witch Doctor, who uses his atomic rod to blast him, and in a freak accident of nature, causes Thor to turn into Dr. Don Blake! The Witch Doctor witnesses this transformation and assumesthat Thor is bewitched with a power far stronger than he, to be able to change form, and he runs away in fear!

While Dr. Blake rests, the Avengers are fighting the Hulk on top of the Living Rock itself! The team has gone over its plan and they get the enraged Hulk to pound his fist at the Wasp, missing her and instead hitting the exact pointof the Living Rock that causes it to collapse into the ground, utterly destroyed. Blake turns back into Thor and warnsthe Lava People that Earth only wants to live in peace with them, and to return to their kingdom and never botherhumans again. The area where the rock exploded is now a sheet of glass, the team compliments each other on a job well done, andBetty Ross finds the weary body of Bruce Banner in the desert. The Avengers receive a "code red" emergency bulletin from the Teen Brigade, and it's back into action for the Avengers!

-- 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.

Website design by Doug Roberts and John Thomas. All images on this site are copyright of Marvel Comics. This site is for reference purposes and promotion of the Masterworks line of books as well as Marvel Comics and their properties.

Reader Reviews and Commentary To contribute: Send to Gormuu!
Submit only with understanding your text may be edited by gormuu for
space, content and syntax/grammar considerations!