Appearing in "Hammer of Vengeance!"
- Lethal Legion (Referenced)
- Power Man (Erik Josten) (Referenced)
- Thunderbird (John Proudstar) (Mentioned)
- X-Men (Mentioned)
- Agatha Harkness (Referenced)
- Butler Jarvis
- Ultron (Referenced)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Numerous unnamed New Yorkers
- Captain Jean DeWolff (Mentioned)
- National Security Council (First appearance) (Unnamed)
- Henry Gyrich (First appearance) (Unnamed)
- Dave (First appearance)
- Barb (First appearance)
- Whirlwind (David Cannon) (Mentioned)
- Adolf Hitler (Mentioned)
- Project N
- Professor Kenneth Sturdy (First name first revealed)
- Quicksilver (Pietro Frank) (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Hell (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "Hammer of Vengeance!"
Count Nefaria, once a non-powered villain who employed supervillains to do his dirty work, bats Captain America and the Black Panther away with incredible strength. The Beast leaps toward him and is likewise swatted away with amazing speed. The Scarlet Witch then propels a slab of concrete at him with her hex. He renders it into molten slag with laser vision. Nefaria has the combined abilities of his most recent lackeys - Power Man, Whirlwind and the Living Laser - only magnified a thousand-fold!
Yellowjacket takes a crack at him but is nearly crushed in the palm of his hand. Wonder Man leaps into the fray and does slightly better… for just a moment. And then Nefaria punches him hard enough to launch him through the walls of the mansion like a rocket! Jarvis narrowly misses being pummeled by him.
While Wonder Man returns to the battle, Jarvis goes to check on the Vision, who is still incapacitated from Ultron’s attack (back in issue #161) and being kept in a regenerative tank.
Outside, Count Nefaria discovers he is not quite entirely unstoppable. When Captain America and the Beast hurl Cap’s shield at the villain, he snatches it out of the air, intent on crumpling it like tinfoil. He’s surprised when even his newfound strength can’t even dent it. Annoyed, he tosses it at the Black Panther and then uproots a nearby townhouse and topples it on top of them. Satisfied that he’s killed them all, Nefaria departs the scene.
Meanwhile, riot police have several blocks around the mansion cordoned off. But a certain red-haired “man in black” breezes past the barricades. When an officer attempts to stop him, he flashes a badge which the cop is immediately deferential to. The red-haired man strolls into the battle scene toward the mansion.
Nefaria strolls into a nearby bank and rips open the vault, sneering that his newfound powers make money useless to him -- what can take whatever he wants, so why bother with money? To demonstrate his point, he randomly grabs an attractive woman and carries her away against her will.
The Whizzer challenges him and distracts Nefaria long enough to allow the woman to escape. The Count taunts the Whizzer, mocking him for his age until the Whizzer points out that Nefaria himself is well past his prime and doesn’t have too many years to enjoy his newfound superpowers. This instills Nefaria with a new purpose: he wants to become immortal!
And at Nefaria’s townhouse (seen the last issue), Prof. Sturdy drags himself out of the wreckage of the lab, apparently, the only survivor after Nefaria trashed it.
Iron-Man returns to the mansion after having been distracted by events in his own series. Expecting to find the corpses of the Avengers, he instead discovers that they managed to survive thanks to Wonder Man who held the debris off them. After regrouping, Iron-Man suggests the team step down and let him take on Nefaria alone. They are unanimously incensed by this suggestion and demand Iron-Man lead them or step down.
The argument is halted by Nefaria’s sudden return. He wants Thor, from whom he is convinced he can extract the secret of immortality. Iron-Man leaps into action, irking his teammates whom he orders to hang back. He doesn’t succeed against Nefaria, but neither does the rest of the team when they attack.
Towards the end of their second battle, the Avengers are once again losing badly. Yellowjacket flies away into the mansion, surprising his teammates who believe he’s fleeing.
Count Nefaria has defeated the team but is stopped from killing them by a cascade of lightning bolts. Thor has suddenly appeared on the scene and is ready to take him on!
This story is continued in the next issue.
- As the Beast's remarks, Count Nefaria's last appearance (prior to the last issue of this series) was in X-Men #94-X-Men #95, in which he was believed to have been killed in the same explosion that did in the X-Man Thunderbird. Nefaria explains that he teleported away from that explosion via the same method used to teleport his henchmen, the Ani-Men, into the NORAD base. (This however begs the question why Nefaria even bothered to try and escape via a plane when he simply could have teleported himself away.)
- Wonder Man's new costume, which he only just began wearing, is destroyed after having lasted a mere five issues (including one issue he didn't appear in). A possible reason for it being so short-lived is that it was a very "busy" design which may have been hard to draw repeatedly, especially in fight scenes.
- The Vision, who was struck by a different type of power blast by Ultron than his teammates, is taking much longer to recover from his injuries than they did. The Wasp, who suffered a particularly hard blow last issue, doesn't appear. (Next issue, it will be revealed that she was recovering in an upstairs room.) Yellowjacket injures his arm badly enough that it's in a sling in the latter half of the issue and all of the next issue.
- This issue contains the first appearance of the Avengers' NSC liaison (and a thorn in their side) Agent Henry Gyrich, even though he's not named yet.
- This issue contains a letters page, "Avengers Assemble". Letters are published from R.J.J. Bedard, David Donavan and Barb Garcia.