> Avengers Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"You kiddin??? If we want any more action, we'll get in the ring- where it's safe!

-- Crusher, to Cap, page 6

And this ain't the last personal problem you'll have...is it, Tony Stark?

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Avengers #7
August 1964 • 22 pages

Script: Stan Lee • Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Jack Kirby • Inks: Chic Stone

Lineup: Captain America • Giant-Man • Iron Man • Thor • Wasp
Title: “Their Darkest Hour!”

First Appearance: Rick Jones as Bucky, Crusher and his wrestlers

Villains: Masters of Evil: Baron Zemo, Executioner/Hans Grubervelt, Enchantress

Guest Appearance: Rick Jones, Crusher and his wrestlers

Cameo: Odin, Loki

Gadgets & Technology: Vibra-Gun

Innovation: Thor's space warp

Letters Page: Page One

Synopsis: Iron Man stands in front of his Avengers teammates,asked to explain why he refused to heed their call to action (see Iron Man in ToS #56.) He offers no explicit defense, exceptto say that it was a personal problem. Thor declares their decision- that he is suspended from active duty as an Avengerfor one week.

In Asgard, mighty lord Odin is banishing two miscreants from his realm- the beautiful Enchantress and the Executioner. Their crime?Attacking Thor (see JiM #103.) Despite being driven out of Asgard, the Enchantress thinks it will be good to be nearer to "the handsome Thor," while the Executioner realizes he will be extremely powerful against mere mortals, whilehoping to gain the heart of the Enchantress. They are forced to walk the span of Bifrost and settle on Earth, wherethey come down in the middle of a busy city street. The duo realize theat despite their great power over mortals, theyknow little of Earth customs, and seek out someone to lead them in their fight. They spot a newspaper thathas an article about Baron Zemo, and they presume that perhaps he is the one they seek.

In a neighborhood gymnasium, Captain America spars with a crew of rough and tough wrestlers, led by a man named Crusher. Using his formidable acrobatic skills, Cap makes easy sport of the roughnecks. Retiring back to his quarters, he ponders on the reality that although he has such great skill, it wasn't enough to save Bucky. Ironically, Rick Jones enters his roomdressed in Bucky's old costume, thinking it would impress Cap to see his young partner in the outfit. Just the opposite, Cap flips out, ripping his mask off and telling him never to wear the costume again! "I lost one partnerand I won't lose another," he tells a dejected Rick. Cap then stews over the man responsible for the death of Bucky- one Baron Zemo!

Meanwhile, in the wilds of the Amazon jungle, Baron Zemo presides over his jungle kingdom. Suddenly, ghost imagesof the Enchantress and the Executioner appear in front of him, appealing to him to form an alliance to defeat Captain America and Thor. Baron Zemothinks this is a fine way to reconstitute his Masters of Evil (all the while, the Enchantress thinking of a way to turn this scheme intochance to make the mighty Thor her lover.)

Back in America, the Avengers part ways- Giant-Man and the Wasp to study ant hills and Thor to attend to personal matters, leaving Cap and Rick Jones behind. They are met by a man named Hans Grubervelt, who claims to be a former associate ofBaron Zemo. This raises Cap's suspicions, but Grubervelt claims he has come to repent for past evils. He tells Cap of Baron Zemo'sSouth American stronghold, which entices Cap to spring into action. As Cap wanders off to go to battle againstZemo, Grubervelt sheds his disguise and comes out as the Executioner. He has convinced Cap to go into battle alonewhile his teammates are seperate from him.

As Thor flies off to his personal deed, he hears a haunting sound in the distance. He alights on a rooftop where the sound comes from,and finds it is the Enchantress, who has been able to hypnotize him to sleep. While he slumbers, she feeds terrible nightmaresinto his subconscious, with fearsome images of his fellow Avengers haunting him, menacing him. The dream is so forceful that he awakesconvinced that the Avengers mean to do him harm!

In South America, Captain America parachutes from a plane to take on Zemo. But not being taken by surprise, Zemo launches a gas missile at him in midair.Cap pulls his parachute around him to cover for the gas, then when he has passed through the gas cloud, he tears through his chute and lands on the ground, his shield absorbing the dramatic impact. When he hits the ground, he is attacked by Zemo's jungle-dwellers withsub-machine guns. Cap puts up a fierce fight, but in his haste to escape winds up falling into a trap hole

Back in New York, Thor has beckoned Giant-Man and the Wasp to return. As their helicopter passes by, Thor hurls his hammer at them, destroying their copter and sending them scrambling for safety. Giant-Man sprawls across the top of a building, but he is weakened while expanding in size so quickly.News reports of Thor running amok reach the television set of Tony Stark as he recharges his batteries. Iron Man decides to forgo his suspension in orderto save his friends. He flies to the aid of Giant-Man and the Wasp, binding Thor up in a blast from his magnetic repulser ray. While the Enchantress and the Executioner watchthe Avengers battle from afar, they check in on Zemo's fight against Captain America. Using her powers to create a mystical image of the action,she sees Cap at the bottom of the trap hole. Deciding to aid Zemo, she causes a cave-in to bury Cap, but despite her efforts, Cap turns it to his advantage, usingthe rocks to climb up out of his trap to freedom. Next stop for Cap: to settle accounts with Baron Zemo!

Noting that Captain America has escaped, Zemo rolls out his vibra-gun to fire at him. Cap is able to push awayhis slaves to gain control of the Vibra-Gun for himself. He fires it at Zemo's palace, destroying it. Zemo tries to escape in his plane, but Cap manages to grab ahold of the side with his magnetic gloves. Back in New York, Cap's teammates continue fighting to a stalemate, until Iron Man uses his ingenuity to breakThor from his hypnotic spell. At just the right angle, he uses the light of the sun to glare into Thor's eyes, breaking him free from the Enchantress' mental grip. Zemo'sship is now in New York air space, and with the help of the Enchantress guiding him to the battle, he sets his stun gun turrets to fire onthe Avengers. Unbeknownst to him, though, Captain America crashes through the windshield of Zemo's craft and he climbs inside to pummel the Nazi fiend. Before he can, though, the Executioner climbs into the ship (which the Enchantress has allowed to land safely on the rooftop,) and knocks him out with a "Vulcan grip."They toss Cap outside the ship and try to make an escape, but Thor captures them inside a space warp generated by his hammer, sending them to some unknown destination, unknown to Thor (that's how space warps work, y'see!)

Cap returns to consciousness and they vow to defeat Zemo and his new compatriots- the Enchantress and the Executioner!

-- 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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