Appearing in "The Invasion of The Lava Men!"
- Jane Foster
- Betty Ross
- Frank (First appearance)
- Hulk (Bruce Banner)
- General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross
- Ant-Man's Ants
- U.S. Army
Races and Species:
- Iron Man Armor MK II
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Living Rock (First appearance)
Synopsis for "The Invasion of The Lava Men!"
Days later, a mysterious high-pitched sound destroys a computer in one of Tony Stark's Long Island factories and Iron Man is informed. Meanwhile, Giant-Man and the Wasp are conducting experiments inside a large anthill. They are also affected by the noise and escape before the anthill collapses. In his medical office, Don Blake reads about the effects of the noise in the newspaper. Thor meets Captain America and Rick Jones, who are still training, and they witness another shockwave. The six heroes investigate the source of this new unknown threat.
Meanwhile, in an army base in the west of the country, a strange rock breaks the surface of the earth and the soldiers investigate. Overseeing the events is General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. They are interrupted by his daughter Betty, accompanied by Bruce Banner. Banner is deep in thought, mentally reliving the accident that changed him into the Hulk, as well as battling against his former allies the Avengers. His daydream is broken by General Ross, who demands that Banner investigate the giant rock. Banner deduces that the rock is actually being pushed to the surface by something underneath.
Beneath the ground, it turns out that Banner was correct. The Lava Men have created a machine that slowly pushes the "living rock" to the surface. Molto, one of the Lava Men, pleads with Basallo, the king of the Lava Men. Molto wishes for the Lava Men to stop raising the rock, as the humans are not evil and do not deserve this. He is however struck down by Jinku, the Lava Man witch doctor, and accused of cowardice because of his defeat by Thor.
Back on the surface, the army is about to destroy the rock with missiles when the Avengers arrive. Iron Man tries to cut through the rock, only to discover it is actually alive. He blasts underneath the rock to see what is below it and stumbles across some Lava Men. They overwhelm him with sheer numbers and begin to overheat his armor. At the last minute, Iron Man is saved by Thor and Captain America. Due to his immortality, Thor decides he is the only one that can continue. As he approaches, the Lava Men melt the earth below him, changing it into lava. Thor casually walks through it, to the Lava Men's amazement. Thor finds Basallo and Jinku, and demands that they stop raising the rock. Basallo explains the origin of the rock and that if anybody attempts to destroy it, it will explode with tremendous power. Their only hope is to push it to the surface before it explodes so that it will only destroy the surface life and not the entire planet. Thor tries to think of a way to save both the planet AND the life on the surface.
The Lava Men attempt to invade the surface and come face to face with Captain America. He fights bravely but is stopped when the Lava Men bind him with cinders. Rick Jones rushes to his aid and begins to break Cap free while Iron Man faces the Lava Men.
Elsewhere, Giant-Man and the Wasp have been analyzing the living rock and they find a patch that isn't pulsating. If this spot is struck with enough power, it should cause the rock to implode, rather than explode. They rush to find Thor and find Iron Man, Captain America and Rick Jones. Giant-Man lifts the Avengers' helicopter and blows back all the Lava Men with the spinning rotors. Rick Jones finally sets Cap free and they travel underground to find Thor.
Back on the surface, Bruce Banner is still carrying out his research when he turns into the Hulk. He hears the voices of his enemies, the Avengers, and proceeds towards them. The Avengers panic and try to lure Hulk away from the living rock. Thor attempts to join in the fight but is ambushed by Jinku. He points his witch doctor's rod at Thor and miraculously changes him back into Don Blake, as well as causing the tunnel to collapse. He flees, thinking that Thor is bewitched and able to change his form, leaving Blake injured in the rubble.
On the surface, the rest of the Avengers attempt to deal with the Hulk. Cap, Giant-Man and the Wasp have a plan. Using their growth capsules, Giant-Man and the Wasp taunt and tease the Hulk, luring him onto the living rock. They take him to the correct spot to strike and coax him into striking it, causing the living rock to implode.
Underground, Don Blake uses the last of his strength to change back into Thor as the tunnel completely caves in around him. He breaks free and confronts the Lava Men, convincing them to stop their invasion and to return to their own land.
Outside, General Ross declares the threat to be over and Betty rushes off to look for Bruce, finding him injured, but alive. As the Avengers leave, they receive a "condition red" distress call from the Teen Brigade.
- This issue contains the title's first letters page, "All About the Avengers". Letters are published from: Morton Hughes, Roger Gilman, and Alan Weiss. The letters page also contains a "Special Announcement Section". The letters page will eventually be re-named "Avengers Assemble.
- Thor is last seen in Journey into Mystery #103 and #104 where he returns from the future battling Zarko the Tomorrow Man and ends up in a battle with Enchantress and the Executioner, and later battles Skagg the Storm Giant and Surtur. These events likely occur prior to Thor's appearance in Fantastic Four #25 and #26.
- Iron Man is last seen in Tales of Suspense #52 in which he battles the Crimson Dynamo and Tales of Suspense #53 where he battles the Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff). These events likely occur prior to Fantastic Four #25-26.
- Giant Man and Wasp are last seen in Tales to Astonish #54 battling El Toro, and in #55 against the Human Top. These adventures likely occur prior to Fantastic Four #25-26.
- Captain America and Rick Jones are last seen in the previous issue of the Avengers, as well as Fantastic Four #25-26.
- This issue begins directly after the events of Fantastic Four #25-26.
- Although last seen being swept away by a river in New York in Fantastic Four #26, it is not explained how Bruce Banner manages to get back to New Mexico in such a short amount of time.
- The flashback presented by Bruce Banner details events that were originally told in Incredible Hulk #1.
- The Lava Men in this issue once sent one of their own to battle Thor, who defeated Molto (Earth-616), the self titled Lava Man, back in Journey into Mystery #97.
- All the Avengers would appear (chronologically) in Avengers #6, although there were two issues of their solo titles (minus Captain America and Rick Jones, who didn't have their own solo series as yet.)
- Giant Man and Wasp will be seen again in Tales to Astonish #56.
- Iron Man would be seen again in Tales of Suspense #54.
- Thor appears next in Journey into Mystery #105.
- Bruce Banner/The Hulk will not be seen again until Amazing Spider-Man #14.
- Banner takes another dose of Gamma Rays through a Gamma Pill which Rick throws into the Hulk's mouth.
- The Lava Men will appear again in Marvel Team-Up #26.
- This story is Job# X-652.
- An Epic Tale, Told with High Drama and Heroic Dignity by: Stan Lee
- Illustrated with Deep Sincerity and Dazzling Beauty by: Jack Kirby
- Inked by: Paul Reinman
- Lettered by: S. Rosen
- references: Fantastic Four #26, Avengers #4, and Journey into Mystery #97
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