> Avengers Masterworks Volume 3

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Hey, winghead, are you sure the 'bad guys' aren't payin' you to give us Avengers a bad name? How'd we ever win the war, with you on our side?

-- Hawkeye, dishing it out to Cap, page 16

The Enchantress suckers another galoot, Erik Josten, aka Power Man, in the years before he became yet another white man disenfranchised by Affirmative Action.

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Avengers #21
October 1965 20 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Don Heck Inks: Wally Wood

Lineup: Captain America Hawkeye Quicksilver Scarlet Witch

Title: "The Bitter Taste of Defeat!

First Appearance/Origin: Power Man/Erik Josten

Villain: Enchantress, Power Man

Cameo: Wonder Man, Baron Zemo, Executioner (all in flashback)

Innovations: Avengers break up

Gadgets & Technology: "Cap Copter"

Letters Page: Page One Page Two

House Ad: Page One

Synopsis: As Hawkeye busies himself with a repair job on one of Tony Stark's machines, Captain America comes along and warns him that nobody is to touch the high-tech machinery except for Stark. Hawkeye snaps back at Cap and a fight between them almost breaks out. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch show up and the team begins bickering amongst themselves, all coming back to who should be leader of the team.

A continent away, near the jungle lair of the now dead Baron Zemo, a former lackey of the villainous German named Erik Josten wanders through the area, looking for the doorway down to the control room. He recalls the time he witnessed Zemo powering up a man into Wonder Man (see AVENGERS #9), and thinks perhaps he could do the same for himself. Looking from afar, the Enchantress comes onto the scene and sees her chance to help create a new partner to defeat the Avengers. She helps Josten accrue his new powers by helping operate the machines and, once he has his new powers, she gives him a costume and a name- Power Man! She also warns him not to turn against her like Wonder Man did. As the Enchantress fills him in on her plan, Power Man looks on at her glowing beauty.

Later, the Avengers get an urgent message from the Teen Brigade about a giant monster attacking the city. When they arrive, they are first at the scene, but their attacks go clean through the evidently transparent monster, and they do nothing but create a big mess. The police finally show up, but the Avengers are shocked to find out that nobody but them even saw the monster, and the police are wondering why the Avengers decided to go on a rampage for no reason. Looking down from an apartment window, Power Man and the Enchantress laugh at the successful first stage of their plan.

Next, Quicksilver responds to a call that some subway tracks have been tampered with. When he shows up, he sees the tracks bent out of shape, and Power Man comes from a dark corner and bats him beside the head, knocking him out. The rest of the Avengers show up and see Quicksilver passed out on the tracks with a runaway subway train bearing down on him. Hawkeye fires an arrow at the empty train and it explodes. The police show up and blame the Avengers for the senseless carnage. As the team gathers to discuss who it could be that is setting them up for failure, Hawkeye once again goes all out against Cap's leadership. Scarlet Witch, a staunch defender of Cap, speaks up on his behalf.

The next step in the Enchantress' plan involves Power Man breaking up a fake robbery. He tosses a boulder at a car driven by a couple thieves dressed up as armed guards when Captain America spots him while he's cruising around in his helicopter. Cap assumes Power Man is stealing from the armed guards and he attacks Power Man. The two fight each other for several long minutes until finally Power Man wins the day and knocks Cap out. Civilians walk up and thank Power Man for recovering their stolen property, and wonder why Captain America was trying to stop him from getting justice done. Headlines scream the embarrassing news about Captain America; even the mayor calls to find out what is going on.

Responding to information given in the newspaper article about Cap, Hawkeye decides to pay a visit to the home of Power Man to find out what he is up to. Once inside, Power Man turns the lights out and surprises Hawkeye by destroying all his arrows. While they prepare to fight, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are having the same idea Hawkeye did, about visiting Power Man all by themselves and investigating him. Once Power Man takes care of Hawkeye, Quicksilver is on the scene, and as the Enchantress casts spells that sap his energy, Power Man uses a water hose to stop Quicksilver dead in his tracks. Scarlet Witch, who is skulking around in the shadows, is stopped by policeman who have been called to the property, and carted away for trespassing!

With the team consistently caught in compromising positions, the city council declares the Avengers a public menace, and outlaws them! The team gathers for a meeting, where Captain America confesses he has blown his leadership.

(continued in AVENGERS #22)

--synopsis by Gormuu

--panel images provided by Avengers Assemble

Issues Reprinted
Avengers #21-30

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

AVG #21 AVG #22 AVG #23 AVG #24 AVG #25
AVG #26 AVG #27 AVG #28 AVG #29 AVG #30


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

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