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Appearing in "...To Avenge the Avengers!"

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Synopsis for "...To Avenge the Avengers!"

Story continued from the previous issue.

The Molecule Man has sealed off rural New Jersey with a force field as he prepares himself to devour planet Earth. He gloats after having (so the believes) killed the Avengers and the Silver Surfer. Only Tigra, who’s caved into the villain out of fear, was spared.

Outside the barriers he’s erected, the Fantastic Four have arrived in an attempt to confront him. They fail to penetrate the barrier though and he easily repels them. Afterwards, Tigra asks what he intends to do with her. Molecule Man confesses he has no interest in a girlfriend (or sex partner), but is interested in keeping Tigra as his pet cat! She acquiesces.

Unknown to the Molecule Man, the Avengers were saved by the Silver Surfer, who used his cosmic power to bore holes beneath the crushing boot for the heroes to escape through. Things still look bad though: without his armor, Iron-Man is just powerless Tony Stark, and without his hammer, Thor has reverted back to his Donald Blake persona. Nevertheless, they intend to fight against the Molecule Man, despite his amazing powers.

After nightfall, Tigra - feeling ashamed at surrendering while her team-mates (seemingly) died - sneaks into Molecule Man’s bedroom intent on killing him. Unknown to her, Molecule Man has secret sensors set up to alert him to any possible intruders. He pretends to be asleep and waits for her to strike before reacting. But Tigra balks, unable to bring herself to commit cold-blooded murder no matter what the situation. She retreats. A surprised and baffled Molecule Man decides to investigate.

Cap reveals himself to Tigra and brings her down to a lower level where the team is planning their next move. Tigra confesses to him that she sold out the team to save herself. Cap compliments her “strategy” to keep herself alive in order to keep fighting on even if the rest of the team was dead.

The Molecule Man attacks. Enraged at his behavior, Tigra no longer hesitates to fight back. Although the heroes seem hopelessly outmatched, they openly defy him. Tony punches the Molecule Man in the nose, prompting him to run away crying.

Cap and Tigra confront him in his “throne room.” Eventually, the heroes succeed in overpowering the Molecule Man, who proves himself to be a coward and weakling no matter what abilities he has. Afterwards, Cap, Tony, Don and the Surfer debate what to do with him: he couldn’t possibly be contained in a prison cell, but they can’t risk him running amuck anymore. Although Cap is opposed to killing him, Tony sees no other option. Tigra however solves the dilemma by talking it out with Molecule Man and getting him to realize that his bullying show of power only alienates people… and what he wants most of all is to have friends and some respect. To everyone’s surprise, the Molecule Man surrenders!

Notes

  • Captain America, Tigra, and the Silver Surfer all learn that Iron Man is Tony Stark and Thor is Don Blake. (Tony and Don have known their respective secret identities for several years at this point.)
  • It's left deliberately vague as to whether Cap actually believed Tigra was acting strategically to keep herself alive to keep up the fight against the Molecule Man, or if he knew she chickened out against him but was willing to give her a second chance.
  • The Avengers offer Silver Surfer membership in the group, but he refuses.
  • Tigra leaves the Avengers after only four issues. Writer Jim Shooter later explained that her story arc was meant to drive home a point, that not every superhero can cut it as one of "Earth's mightiest heroes." However, she would later return as a member of the West Coast Avengers and prove her worth to the team.
  • The Molecule Man decides to reform and live an "ordinary" life (as much as he can). This will become a permanent change and become an important part of his characterization going forward.
  • This issue contains an advert for Hostess Fruit Pies featuring Daredevil Vs "Baby Face" Johnny.

See Also

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