> Avengers Masterworks Volume 3

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"The harm is already done! We have lost a fellow Avenger! We may never see his like again! How I miss the sight of him working out in our private gymnasium! So confident...so handsome! To me, he was every inch an Avenger!

-- Scarlet Witch, lamenting the departure of Captain America, page 2

Come on, Kang. I've read a lot of crazy things in Marvel comics, but this? You're gonna stop being merciful? Yeah, right! A humanitarian like you? It's 'cause you're all heart that you say stuff like this!

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Avengers #23
December 1965 20 pages

Script: Stan Lee Letters: Sherigail
Pencils: Don Heck Inks: John Romita

Lineup: Captain America Hawkeye Quicksilver Scarlet Witch

Title: "Once An Avenger...

First Appearance/Guest Appearance: Princess Ravonna

Villain: Kang

Gadgets & Technology: Opti-View Lab, Spectrum Inverter, Molecule Expander, Spectro Wave

Letters Page: Page One Page Two

House Ad: Page One

Synopsis: As the three new members of the Avengers reel from Captain America's shock announcement that he's leaving the team, Scarlet Witch reminds Hawkeye that it was his belligerence that lead Cap to feel like he needed to move on. As for Cap, he's gone off to upstate New York to make a new life for himself. He applies for a job as a sparring partner at a boxing camp, and quickly impresses everyone with his skills, despite not looking like a match for his opponents.

From afar, Kang looks on, knowing that the time to strike is now, since the Avengers are disincorporated and at a weak moment. He sends a time travel machine in the form of a camouflaged rooftop that sets itself down on the Stark mansion. Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch respond to the emergency call, and by the time they errantly enter Kang's "top floor", they are trapped. They try to escape, but they lose enough oxygen as the ship travels through time and space that they pass out. Finally, they are in the future, at the mercy of Kang!

Kang holds court with the beautiful Ravonna, and her father, the king of a domain that he has taken hostage. He demands that Ravonna marry him, but she refuses, not wanting to consort with a "commoner." Kang threatens her with the domination of her kingdom, but privately yearns for her affection. Down on earth, radio reports of the Avengers disappearance reach Steve Rogers, and he races from the boxing camp to check on his former teammates. As for them, they are currently inside large glass tubes, being held prisoner by Kang. Scarlet Witch casts a hex spell to break her tube open, and before she passes out from exhaustion, she frees Hawkeye and Quicksilver. The speedster races around the facility, but finds no way out, and then Kang sends his army hordes out after the escapees. Hawkeye fires an arrow that gives them all ropes to swing away across a wide impasse to get away from the army, but they fall into a suction chamber and are pulled into a large restraining net. Hawkeye looses a blaster arrow that explodes the suction device, allowing them to escape once again.

Kang watches them run away through the sight of his Spectrum-Inverter, and he fires! The weapon disorients all but Quicksilver, who races through the perimeter free from Kang. Taking his attention away from Quicksilver is Captain America, who appears on Kang's viso-screen, wielding the Recreater device that allowed him to look into the past and figure out Kang's hand in the disappearance of his fellow Avengers. As Cap challenges Kang to face him once and for all, Princess Ravonna goads the proud conqueror to accept the challenge. Feeling the need to impress her, he brings Captain America forward into the future, where he lands near Quicksilver, with whom he takes on Kang's shock troops. Quicksilver tells Cap how glad he is too see him!

Next, Cap and Quicksilver pout into Kang's control room, eager to do battle, but Kang employs a force screen which pops up in front of Quicksilver, knocking him down, then using his Molecule Expander to increase the size of Cap's shield ten-fold and dropping it on top of him. As Ravonna looks on, Kang ups the ante on his foes and uses his Spectro Wave to deliver the knockout blow to the Avengers duo. With their defeat, Kang demands Ravonna's answer: will she marry him, or will he deliver on his threat to annihilate her kingdom. As Kang's massive army waits outside the city limits, Ravonna's father offers the wisdom that perhaps she should sacrifice herself for her kingdom.

While Ravonna dwells on her angst-ridden decision, an arrow imbeds itself in the wall in front of Kang's face: Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch are on the scene! Kang is infuriated that Ravonna has not made her decision, and signals to his warriors to begin the fight. As Hawkeye and Wanda martial their powers against Kang, the signal goes out, and the mightiest army ever assembled begins its full-scale assault on the walls of Princess Ravonna's kingdom!

(continued in AVENGERS #24)

--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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