> Avengers Masterworks Volume 1

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"And where Iron Man has transistor-powered jets to enable him to fly, Wonder Man uses miniature rockets which he wears on his belt!...Remember, I was one of Hitler's top rocket experts during World War Two!”

-- Baron Zemo, page 9

Wonder Man in action!

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Avengers #9
October 1964 • 21 pages

Script: Stan Lee • Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Don Heck • Inks: Dick Ayers

Lineup: Captain America • Giant-Man • Iron Man • Thor • Wasp
Title: “The Coming of the...Wonder Man!”

Origin/First Appearance: Simon Williams/Wonder Man

Villains: Baron Zemo, Enchantress, Executioner

Guest Appearance: Simon Williams/Wonder Man

Cameo: Happy Hogan, Pepper Potts, Teen Brigade, Bucky (flashback)

Gadgets & Technology: The Ionic Ray Machine

Letters Page: Page OnePage Two

Synopsis: While Captain America has a near emotional breakdown in his Avengers training session, the villain he is obsessing about is floating through other dimensions of time and space with the Enchantress and the Executioner. Baron Zemo commands the blonde-tressed villainess to find a way to return them to Earth, and in quick order, the Enchantress has cast a spell to remove them from Thor's space warp. They alight at the South American base camp in their flight craft to begin their next diabolical plan to destroy the Avengers. The first part of the plan is to woo one Simon Williams into their fold. They greet Mr. Williams where he is being arraigned for embezzlement. The Enchantress, in disguise, bails him out and convinces him that her partnership can help him get back at Tony Stark, who Williams blames for his downfall.

The unsuspecting Avengers have all returned to their daily lives while Zemo begins the second phase of his plan: empowering the form of Simon Williams with intense ionic rays. This newfound strength allows Williams to resist bullets fired at his chest, to lift trees out of the ground by the trunk, to smash solid rock to dust and to take on none other than the Executioner in hand-to-hand combat. Zemo offers him a multi-colored costume to wear, which protects his identity and is outfitted with jet packs that enable him to fly. The costume is part of Zemo's plan to insinuate Simon Williams- now known as Wonder Man- into the membership of the Avengers! And the kicker is that Zemo has poisoned Wonder Man so that if he doesn't obey his orders, he will deny him the antidote to the disease that will take his life in seven days.

To that end, Zemo and his Asgardian Masters of Evil fake a bank robbery that the Avengers are alerted to. A battle ensues that Wonder Man leaps into from out of nowhere. He quickly dispatches the Executioner with one punch, destroys Zemo's ray gun weaponry with the squeeze of his fist, and dispatches the Enchantress with ease. Zemo calls an end to this staged combat and ferries his partners away in their flight craft, leaving the Avengers to greet the newest super-man on the block.

Wonder Man relates his origin (fake though it is) to the Avengers. His story involves his claim that he "is from the heart of the Amazon jungle." While vacationing there, he was kidnaped by Baron Zemo and forced to undergo experiments, but he finally escaped. Captain America is skeptical of the veracity of this story, and challenges Wonder Man on his facts. Zemo, who is watching this whole scene on closed-circuit TV, gets Enchantress to cast a spell on Captain America, getting him to go along with the story and in fact enhance it with the idea that Wonder Man has sought the Avengers' help to cure him from a rare disease. Inspired by the mentally coerced Captain America, Hank Pym, Tony Stark and Dr. Don Blake leap into action trying to find a cure for Wonder Man's disease.

While the Avengers struggle to find a cure, the next element of Zemo's plan goes into action. Wonder Man joins the Masters of Evil in South America and calls to the Avengers on the radio that he has been kidnaped once again, and not only that but the also hold the Wasp captive! Iron Man flies to their rescue and is immediately snared by a giant magnet that is in Zemo's lair. Cap and Thor arrive, with Wonder Man punching Thor in the face causing him to lose his grip on his hammer and fall into a deep pit. Wonder Man, now apparent to all as one of the Masters of Evil, rolls a heavy rock over the pit.

Giant-Man grabs Wonder Man demanding to know where the Wasp is, and a fight ensues that destroys Zemo's magnet mechanism, freeing Iron Man. As they all fight in the super-heroic melee, they wonder- "where is Thor?" The battle between Iron Man and Wonder Man is fierce, and Iron Man is unable to push away the giant rock that covers the pit, as the Enchantress casts a spell that puts him to sleep, where he joins the subdued Giant-Man and Captain America. Zemo now announces the final step in his plan- the murder of the Avengers! Wonder Man, in a final bout of conscience, decides he will not be a party to murder of people that tried to help him, and he destroys Zemo's ray machine. He pushes away the boulder which has sealed up Thor, but is quickly felled by the supreme power of the Executioner's punch.

Unbeknownst to all, the hand of Dr. Don Blake reaches up to grab the hammer Mjolnir, thus turning him back into Thor! Realizing the tide has turned, the Enchantress uses her enchanted mist to allow the trio to escape,leaving behind the Avengers to witness the final last words of Wonder Man, who explains his last deed of nobility before he succumbs to death.

-- 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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