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Essential Series Vol 1 Avengers 9
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Appearing in "The Yesterday Quest!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #185.

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Synopsis for "The Yesterday Quest!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #185.

The story opens in the aftermath of the previous issue’s battle with the Absorbing Man. Iron-Man placates the arriving police by stating the Avengers will pay for damages. Captain America introduces Falcon to his new teammates. Disgruntled and embittered, Hawkeye sticks around just long enough to utter a few snippy remarks before storming off in a huff.

Across the ocean, in East Transia, Wanda (the Scarlet Witch), Pietro (Quicksilver), and Django check into a hotel for the night. Pietro shares a room with Django across the hall from Wanda’s own. He advises her that she can call on him easily if there is any trouble. Wanda remarks that she feels completely safe, as if she’s come home.

Pietro has difficulty sleeping. Despite believing his parents to be the Whizzer and Miss America, he has hazy recollections of an earlier life lived among gypsies and of a pair of adults making him promise to always look after Wanda if something should happen to them. Despite his troubled mind, Pietro eventually drifts off to sleep.

Very late at night, Wanda's sleep is disturbed by a mysterious visitor, Modred the Mystic. He offers to help her find the answers she seeks but only her alone as the path is dangerous for those without arcane abilities. Reluctantly, she agrees to go with him. Modred magically clothes her in her costume and they fly off into the night. They are seen flying away, however, by a wakeful young villager from her bedroom window.

Modred takes Wanda to the precipice of Wundagore Mountain. She is startled to see the remains of the High Evolutionary’s citadel which have fallen into ruins since he departed the world. Yet still there are defensive security devices that attack them. Although Modred receives a minor injury from one, but Wanda disables it with a hex. They enter the ruins of the stronghold itself and see before them a floating book and altar. The book, Modred intones, belongs to his dark master. Then, Modred fells Wanda with a bolt of arcane energy before relating that the altar... is for Wanda! The mountain is silent except for the low rumble of laughter.

The next morning, Pietro discovers Wanda missing. Alarmed, he races around the village searching for her but finds no clue. As he slumps to the ground in despair, a young girl (the eyewitness from the prior evening) tells him she saw Wanda fly up to the top of Wundagore last night. Pietro suddenly recalls that Django said there were lights in the sky over Wundagore on the night he and Wanda were born. He races up the side of the mountain so fast that he isn’t aware of someone watching him. He slams full-tilt into a force field barrier, gets knocked unconscious, and tumbles a good length of the way back down the side of it.

Quicksilver awakens much later in a small mountain cottage way up the mountain side. He sees a matronly figure who is re-sewing his torn costume and addresses him by name. When he asks who she is and how she knows him, he sees her face for the first time. She is a humanoid bovine and she claims to have brought him into the world!

Appearing in "Nights of Wundagore!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #186.

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Synopsis for "Nights of Wundagore!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #186.

The story continues from last issue.

After taking a tumble, Quicksilver has awoken in the cottage of an anthropomorphic cow who apparently knows him very well. While tending to his cuts and scrapes, the bovine relates her story...and Quicksilver’s own.

Pietro’s rescuer is named Bova and she was the first of the new men created by the High Evolutionary who would become the Knights of Wundagore. Bova was created specifically to be a midwife, nursemaid and nanny to any children in the citadel.

One winter night, a desperate and very pregnant woman came to the citadel seeking sanctuary. Her name was Magda and she was fleeing from her husband, a man who had acquired extraordinary powers but used them cruelly. Having grown afraid of him, she ran away shortly after she realized she was pregnant. Bova delivered Magda’s twin children, a boy and a girl (Pietro and Wanda). Bova recalls seeing peculiar lights in the sky on the night the twins were born. However, soon after the birth, Magda vanished. She left a note stating that if her husband ever found out about the twins, he would seek them out. Fearing his evil influence on her children, Magda instead chose to wander out into the storm and end her life rather than risk her husband discovering them.

Bova asked the High Evolutionary what they should do with the infants. They agreed that Wundagore was no place for normal human children, so he invited a traveling American couple, Bob and Madeleine Frank (who had formerly been the WWII-era superheroes the Whizzer and Miss America), to the citadel. Madeleine had already given birth to one mutant child (the Avenger’s former opponent Nuklo) and was pregnant again and feared the worst. The High Evolutionary intended to have Bova deliver Madeleine’s child and give them the twins as well. Alas, Madeleine’s labor was a disaster. Her horribly deformed child was stillborn and the mother died shortly afterwards. Bova presented the twins to Bob Frank and attempted to pass them off as his own. But when he learned his wife was deceased, he fled from the citadel in grief (thus, this led to the Whizzer’s later mistaken belief that he was the twins’ father.)

Finally, the High Evolutionary presented the twins to a Roma couple, Django Maximoff and his wife, members of a caravan in the foothills of the mountain. Django’s wife had recently lost twins of her own. The gift of the twins was seen as a kind of divine intervention, their children were being restored to them.

At the end of Bova’s recounting, Pietro realizes that Django is the man who raised him and Wanda. When he asks who his father is, Bova cannot tell him as she doesn’t know. Pietro is left with one unanswered question: Where is Wanda?

Far up the mountainside, Wanda is magically bound by Modred atop the unholy altar as he intends to use her as a vessel to bring his dark master back to this world. She frees herself via a hex and a magical battle ensues. Wanda realizes she can’t fight Modred on this level and cedes the battle. Then she surprises him with a roundhouse left, knocking him off the cliff and down the mountain. But Modred has a surprise in store as well as he appears behind her and knocks her out with a bolt of mystical energy.

Just as Quicksilver is saying goodbye to Bova, Wanda’s face appears as a sinister apparition in the night sky. The vision lashes out at Pietro and Bova with a lightning bolt although Pietro’s speed save him and Bova. The vision warns that he will die if he attempts to seek out Wanda.

Quicksilver runs down the mountain and encounters Django in the woods. They are attacked by magically animated trees but escape. Braving a number of magical assaults, they return to the village where Quicksilver places a call to Avengers Mansion. The Vision answers the call.

In the mansion dining room, the rest of the active team is enjoying a meal together and discussing Iron-Man’s current dilemma (see Notes below). Captain America has temporarily taken over as team leader in Iron-Man’s absence. The Vision then bursts in and tells them of Pietro’s call. Just as they start getting ready to go, Gyrich refuses to allow them to go! He states that Pietro is not an active member of the team and there is no U.S. security interest, thus they don't need to “start another international incident.” Exasperated, Cap leaves the room to place a mysterious call. The Beast and Gyrich trade insults, then Gyrich gets a call from the U.S. President authorizing the Avengers mission! Cap smirks in the background. Once more, the team is about to leave, but Gyrich still has to throw his weight around -- he demands that the Vision remain behind! One active member must remain behind on monitor duty at all times and the Vision is in the middle of his shift. Fed up, the Vision is about to slug Gyrich when Cap intervenes. He promises to bring Wanda safe and sound. The Vision relents, though he’s extremely unhappy.

Back in East Transia, Django and Quicksilver are ambushed by Wanda. Except it's not Wanda. She is possessed by the demon Chthon!

Appearing in "The Call of the Mountain Thing!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #187.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Modred (Main story and flashback)
  • Chthon (Main story and flashback)

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Synopsis for "The Call of the Mountain Thing!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #187.

The story continues from last issue.

A quinjet hurls through the skies of Transia near Wundagore Mountain in the middle of a ferocious storm. Onboard, Captain America thanks Wonder Man for filling in on this mission while Iron-Man is on leave. The Beast is piloting and warns them they are losing control of the quinjet due to the storm. Wonder Man, who is invulnerable, volunteers to pilot the ship to ensure it doesn’t land on anyone while the rest of the team bails out. Ms. Marvel, Falcon, Cap and Wasp all jump out but the Beast refuses, insisting on landing it himself. Wonder Man yanks him out of pilot chair, straps his jet belt onto him and tosses him out the hatch. Unfortunately, the Beast has no experience using the belt and he careens out of control.

The rest of the team make it to the ground but are immediately attacked by Modred the Mystic.

Wonder Man does his best to steer the craft but it crashes deep in the woods. As he climbs out of the wrecked ship, he sees Wanda (although she doesn’t appear “onscreen.”) She snares him in a spell, paralyzing him and floating him away.

Modred takes out the Avengers, one by one: Cap, Ms. Marvel and the Falcon. But the Wasp gets the drop on him, knocking him out. Alas, she is then knocked out with a bolt of arcane energy by Wanda, who has turned ashen white after being possessed by Chthon.

Elsewhere, the Beast endures his own crash landing on the mountainside. After dusting himself off, he finds a skull wearing a helmet. The skull doesn’t look human and the perplexed Beast wonders what kind of animal wore helmets?

Sometime later, Chthon and Modred stand before the altar with their captives: Cap, Ms. Marvel, Falcon, Wasp, Wonder Man as well as Quicksilver and Django Maximoff. All of them float in midair, paralyzed.

While awaiting the proper alignment of stars to conduct a conjuring spell, Chthon “monologues” his ancient history: In primordial times, when the old gods were threatened to be replaced by newer ones, Chthon’s sister Gaea infused her spiritual essence to the Earth itself while Chthon inscribed the book of sorcery, the Darkhold, as a means to return to this plane of existence some day and fled to another dimension.

Throughout the centuries, the evil tome passed through many hands and was used for malevolent purposes. In Medieval times, the sorceress Morgan Le Fay and her cult of “Darkholders” conjured up Chthon himself, expecting to use him as their minion, only to find him too powerful. Morgan and her cult attempted to banish him, but only succeeded in binding his spirit to the mountains of Wundagore. Morgan’s repentant follower Magnus stole the Darkhold and placed it in an enchanted tower which only good and noble people could enter. Alas, the human Modred entered the chamber, hoping he could use the Darkhold for good purposes, and lost his soul to the demonic being “the Other.”

Meanwhile, Chthon lingered in Wundagore Mountain as a disembodied spirit, observing the rise of the High Evolutionary’s citadel and the Knights of Wundagore. Chthon observed the birth of Wanda and Pietro and infused the infant Wanda with magical energy. Twice in her lifetime, he caused her mutant hex power to fade, hoping she would turn to witchcraft. When finally Wanda did study witchcraft under Agatha Harkness, she became an ideal vessel for Chthon to possess.

Having finished the monologue, Chthon is about to begin a spell to return his corporeal form to Earth and thereby become an apocalyptic menace to humanity. But the ritual is interrupted by a surprise intruder -- a knight of Wundagore? Astride a flying chariot!? The Knight is actually the Beast. After deducing what the skull he was looking at was, he dug up the rest of the skeleton and found the armor and sky chariot. Using it, he snatches the Darkhold away, disturbing Chthon’s spell holding the Avengers in paralysis.

The Avengers attack Chthon but he is more than a match for all of them. On the sidelines, Django is watching the battle with dismay when he feels something stir in his coat pocket. It is the marionette of Wanda he carved. Wanda’s soul has been transferred to it once again! Django shouts the news to Pietro just before keeling over. After realizing what he’s saying, Pietro grabs the figurine and attempts to “will” Wanda’s soul back into her true body. He can’t do it himself, but all the Avengers join hands and unite their willpower. This is enough to reverse the possession spell: Wanda takes control of her body once again, while Chthon’s essence is transferred to the marionette. Pietro hurls the figure into the mountain side and Wanda uses a hex bolt to cause a massive avalanche, burying the marionette and trapping Chthon forever.

The battle hasn’t come without a toll, however. Django suffers a massive heart attack and dies.

Afterwards, Pietro and Wanda bury Django in the foothills of Wundagore. Without Chthon’s control, Modred has become as mindless as a newborn child. Bova, who was created to care for children, takes custody of him while the Avengers, with Wanda and Pietro in tow, depart.

Appearing in "Elementary, Dear Avengers"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #188.

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Synopsis for "Elementary, Dear Avengers"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #188.

The Avengers take Quicksilver home to Attilan. Most of the team are dazzled by the sight of the futuristic city. Crystal is on hand to greet her husband and the team upon their arrival. She reveals the news that she is pregnant to a very stunned Pietro. Although Wanda is happy for Crystal, she is suddenly plagued with doubts about her own potential for motherhood -- could she and the Vision have a child? Should they even try?

The next day, the Avengers depart for home. Onboard the quinjet, the Beast begins reading the Darkhold, much to the consternation of the Scarlet Witch who reacts with alarm. She warns him that the Darkhold is full of passages that are magical traps to ensnare unwary readers.

Captain America alerts the team to a potential problem on their course home. The most direct route to their home base takes them into Soviet airspace, something they probably should avoid. But before they can change course, they are intercepted by MiG fighter pilots. The Beast, who speaks Russian, tries to ask permission to fly through. But suddenly, one of the MiGs bursts apart in midair and the other abruptly speeds away, back to base. The Beast relates that he overheard chatter about a disaster taking place at a nearby nuclear power plant.

Cap wants to use the distraction to beat it out of there. The Beast and Ms. Marvel however want to lend a hand at the disaster site. The team debates whether or not to do anything, with Ms. Marvel arguing the hardest that they should help. Wonder Man takes Cap’s side, wary of the Russians, regardless of the dangers they face. Cap insists on contacting Agent Gyrich before they act, even though everybody is sure what his response will be. But Ms. Marvel has secretly removed a vital component of the comm system, preventing this. Reluctantly, Cap steers the quinjet toward the power plant. The Falcon quietly stews that nobody bothered to ask his opinion, taking it for a sign that nobody cares about him.

The Avengers arrive at the power plant, which is besieged by the Soviet army. They don’t quite get the greeting they’d hoped for as the military level guns at them. But one older Colonel orders the troops to hold their fire. The Beast interprets that this Colonel remembers that Cap fought alongside Russian forces against the Germans in WWII, something Cap confirms did occur. The Colonel directs the Avengers to the reactor control center, where malevolent beings have taken control. They first encounter Vanadium, a being composed of the very super-strong alloy. Despite initially repelling the Avengers, Vanadium is shattered by Wonder Man.

In the plant’s control room he Avengers encounter the Elementals, a bizarre group of humanoid beings, each one of them displaying properties of a particular element from the periodic table. The two groups battle each other, but one of the Elementals - Chlorine - fills the chamber with poison gas, driving the Avengers away. As they retreat, though, the Falcon realizes the Wasp is not among them and flies back alone to rescue her (hoping to prove himself to his teammates.) Unfortunately, he is knocked out cold by Vanadium, who has reassembled himself.

Outside, the remaining Avengers are once again confronted by the Russian Army. The Colonel who granted them permission to access the plant is nowhere to be seen and a small platoon of technicians is crawling all over the quinjet. Infuriated, the Scarlet Witch scatters the troops with a hex bolt. Another hex bolt drives the technicians away from the quinjet and they all keep their distance thereafter.

The Wasp joins them, explaining that she passed out due to the gas. When she awoke, she saw that the Elementals were subjecting imprisoned plant workers to a procedure that transforms them into more Elementals. She also confirms that they have the Falcon. The team plan their second assault on the control room; Ms. Marvel removes the laser cannon from a nearby tank to use as a weapon.

Once more down below, the Elementals are about to subject the Falcon to the transformation when his teammates return to rescue him, much to his relief. As soon as he’s clear, Ms. Marvel and the Beast fire the laser cannon into the reactors, causing radioactive material to flood the room. It engulfs the Elementals but the Avengers manage to escape unscathed.

Boarding the quinjet once more, they take off and head home with no more delays. A narration caption states that Soviet Union’s news outlets report the closure of a Siberian power plant, with no details given.

Appearing in "-- Today the Avengers Die!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers Annual #9.

Featured Characters:

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Antagonists:

  • Project Tomorrow (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
    • Arsenal (Origin revealed) (Death)
    • Mistress (First appearance) (Apparent death)
    • Unnamed Allied scientists (Only in flashback)

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Synopsis for "-- Today the Avengers Die!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers Annual #9.

The Avengers meet to discuss the threat of Arsenal. Exploring, Hawkeye and the Beast discover a hidden complex beneath Avengers Mansion, even as their teammates learn that Arsenal has been discovered to be a forgotten secret weapon developed during World War II by Project Tomorrow, which was headed by Tony Stark's industrialist father. The project was located beneath the Stark family townhouse, now Avengers Mansion, where a newly repaired Arsenal has now captured Hawkeye and the Beast, whom it believes to be Axis agents. Invading the underground base, the Avengers battle both Arsenal and Mistress, the computer guiding its actions, until Iron Man reaches the inner computer chamber and frees the two captives. He then informs Mistress that the war is over and that Howard Stark is dead. The computer, its personality based on Maria Stark's brain patterns, self-destructs, even as Thor and the Scarlet Witch finally defeat the robot.

Appearing in "Wings and Arrows!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #189.

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Synopsis for "Wings and Arrows!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #189.

In the aftermath of the confrontation with Arsenal (see Notes below), Thor is departing once again. After bidding Jarvis farewell, he soars through the sky and narrowly misses colliding with Falcon who is just returning to the mansion after a solo adventure.

Falcon returns to see the mansion abuzz with reservist Avengers who were called in to help with the Arsenal case. He uses the retinal scanner to verify his ID and officially return to active duty. Upon seeing Hawkeye, Sam pulls him aside and apologizes for having to replace him but Clint will have none of it. After insulting him, Clint storms away in a huff once again.

Yellowjacket has just received a call from the Wasp who is in Las Vegas (working alongside the Defenders). Her quinjet was destroyed and she therefore needs a ride home. Hank leaves in a second quinjet to pick her and the Defenders up. Wonder Man leaves as well, stating that he has to get to rehearsals for the play he’s performing in.

Cap reports in to Gyrich (on a viewscreen) in Washington D.C. He informs him that the reserve members are all gone now. For once, Gyrich seems pleased as the active team roster has settled down to those members he personally selected. All that’s left is to demote Ms. Marvel to reserve membership and things will be fine. Except...the Scarlet Witch announces she wants to extend her leave of absence for a while longer. This comes as a shock to everyone, including the Vision. Gyrich is outraged and bellows in rage, telling them not to move an inch until he gets there. Wanda is surprised at the reaction to her announcement.

Hawkeye returns to his apartment, a dingy studio walk-up, to find rejection letters galore. He gets a letter from Jarvis saying that reserve Avengers are getting a $200 a month retainer fee, which won’t even cover his rent. In the want ads, he zeroes in on a security guard job at something called Cross Technological Enterprises.

The next day, the chief operating officer at CTE arrives to work and is informed that there has been another break-in at the warehouse. As he makes his way to his office, the manager ponders how thieves could possibly be making their way through their high-tech security parameters. But he’s surprised to find Hawkeye awaiting him in his office, seated at his desk! Hawkeye offers his services as chief of security, reasoning that if he can manage to break into his offices, he should be able to outwit any thieves.

Hawkeye scores the gig! On his first night on the job, an intruder breaks into the warehouse and He investigates. The intruder is Deathbird, Ms. Marvel old’s foe. They duke it out and Hawkeye is wounded in his bow-arm. But after a grueling fight, Hawkeye outwits her and wraps her up in a titanium mesh net. Afterwards, Deathbird is being led away by security guards but promises revenge on Hawkeye. He plants a big kiss on her to remember him by and walks off as she sputters, much to the amusement of the guards.

The next day, Jocasta returns to the mansion after taking a stroll. She finds the whole team in a standoff with Gyrich. Fed up with what he believes is the teams’ obstinate behavior, Gyrich tells them that “this is the end of the Avengers.” [1]!

Appearing in "Heart of Stone"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #190.

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  • Egghead's Space station (Recap)

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Synopsis for "Heart of Stone"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #190.

A meteor makes an impossible turn in midair and crashes into the marshes of Brooklyn's Jamaica Bay. The rocky shape changes, hatches, and transforms into a stone behemoth and begins marching toward Manhattan.

In the Manhattan courthouse, the Avengers arrive for a Senate hearing into their activities. Their NSC liaison Henry Gyrich has declared the team to be a security threat and is demanding their dissolution. After fighting their way through a mob of reporters, they enter the hearing chambers and find Gyrich awaiting them, smugly confident that he will get his way. Matt Murdock acts as the team’s legal counsel.

In a Brooklyn subway station, the rocky behemoth smashes through the ticket booth and jumps down into the darkness of the subway tracks. It continues its unstoppable march to Manhattan.

At the senate hearing, opening statements are made. Murdock mentions several adventures from the team’s history to emphasize the team’s importance in defending the world. However, one of the committee members overseeing the hearing dismisses this defense, stating that those instances are in the past and the committee are inclined to agree with Gyrich’s claim that the team is an inherently dangerous enterprise. Gyrich calls his first witness: S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Lt. Dwight Stanford.

The stone monster crushes a S.W.A.T. blockade of the subways. Back at the hearing, Gyrich is giving testimony of his own experiences with Avengers' security when Iron Man gets word of an N.Y.P.D. request for assistance. He asks for the hearing to be rescheduled. Gyrich accuses the team of making up the attack as a PR stunt. Captain America is about to get into a verbal spat with Gyrich, but a bailiff draws everyone’s attention to a TV set showing news reports of the attack, confirming it’s for real.

Before the Avengers can take off, however, the Beast interrupts and suggests that perhaps Gyrich is right and the Avengers aren't needed. He hands Gyrich a table leg and suggests he take care of it. After silently watching the news footage of the stone behemoth plow through police forces, Gyrich gives in and the Avengers take off.

After the Avengers have gone, Matt Murdock slips out to change into his costumed persona Daredevil and joins up with the Avengers.

The Avengers and Daredevil confront the stone menace and appear to defeat it. A simultaneous blow from Iron Man and Vision shatters the creature. Iron Man leans in to investigate the rubble when Daredevil warns him there's a heartbeat under the rubble. Suddenly, Iron-Man and Daredevil are transformed into stone statues! Out from the rubble emerges the Grey Gargoyle!

Story continued in the next issue.

Appearing in "Back to the Stone Age!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #191.

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Synopsis for "Back to the Stone Age!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #191.

The story continues from last issue.

Iron-Man and Daredevil have been transformed into stone statues by the Grey Gargoyle. The Avengers battle the villain but he defeats them and leaves.

At Avengers Mansion, Jarvis is dismayed to see Redwing (the Falcon’s pet) at a window, anxiously pecking to get out. Jarvis opens the window and the bird bolts off like a rocket.

Back at the site of the battle, the Avengers rouse one by one. They discover that Iron-Man hasn’t actually been transformed into stone, just his armor, although he’s imprisoned within it now. Iron-Man (who’s battled the Gargoyle before) is aware that the transformation only lasts an hour. He informs the team that he saw Falcon take off in pursuit of the Gargoyle and suggests they search for him.

The Falcon pursues the Gargoyle across Manhattan rooftops back to his former penthouse apartment, which is now occupied by a woman named Margo Neil after he was believed to have abandoned it. Intending to augment his powers, he opens up a secret compartment - only to discover that Margo has thrown away his formulas and now uses it as a liquor cabinet. Enraged, he is about to attack her when the Falcon intervenes.

The Falcon isn’t a match for the Gargoyle’s strength. Redwing arrives and his master tells him to find the Avengers but the Gargoyle turns him to stone before he can fly away. The Falcon continues battling the Gargoyle, hoping to cause enough of a ruckus to attract the team’s notice. The Avengers then show up in time and the Scarlet Witch uses her hex power to turn the Gargoyle back into flesh and blood. Margo, who’s been crouching in the corner, is dismayed to see her home has been trashed.

Returning to the court (after Iron-Man and Daredevil have reverted to normal), the Senate committee rules in favor of the Avengers, citing that this recent encounter has reminded them that the Avengers can combat menaces ordinary law enforcement cannot. A visibly disgruntled Gyrich is forced to greatly loosen his restrictions on the Avengers. Gyrich snidely asks Iron-Man if the team will once again expand their roster, but Iron-Man admits that they likely would have trimmed their active membership down to what it is now anyway.

Unfortunately, the good news for the Avengers is bad news for the Vision. With Gyrich’s strictures loosened, the Scarlet Witch is now free to take her previously requested leave of absence.

Appearing in "Steel City Nightmare!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #192.

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Synopsis for "Steel City Nightmare!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #192.

Tony Stark has gone to Pittsburgh to investigate a steel plant he is considering buying. Since the plant was formerly owned by Simon Williams, he has invited Wonder Man to join him as his guest. Tony is curious as to why the mill owner, Vince Paretta, is so anxious to sell it, given that it is a prosperous business.

An accident almost occurs. One of the crucibles begins spilling, threatening several workers. Tony wants to sneak away and changed into his armor but Wonder Man has to hit a shut-down switch right away and grabs Tony’s briefcase to throw at it, unaware that it is where Tony keeps his armor. Fortunately, though, Wonder Man manages to shut down the plant before a catastrophe takes place.

In the aftermath, the plant workers talk about the excitement. One worker, Joe Conroy, reminisces that Thor once used the plant to patch up his damaged hammer, Mjolnir. The worker reveals that Thor left behind a small fragment of Uru metal, which the worker fashioned into a keychain.

But it becomes apparent that another worker, Tim Turpin, bears some sort of grudge against him. His co-worker utters a veiled threat to him.

Sometime later, Turpin knocks Conroy off a catwalk, into a crucible full of molten lead below. Turpin’s colleagues cover for him, claiming Joe lost his balance and fell in. He is assumed to be dead.

At Avengers Mansion, a visitor tries to gain access by using… a MasterCard?? The security coils truss him up. When he’s questioned, he says he was trying to get the Avengers to solve a noise complaint! Gyrich angrily dismisses the man, but admits he is satisfied with the mansion’s security protocols (finally) and departs.

Having been emancipated from Gyrich's total control, the Avengers (under Captain America’s leadership) try to bring back a few expulsed members back to active duty. Hoping to mend fences, Falcon offers to call Hawkeye, but the archer’s phone has been disconnected. Jan calls up Hank, who claims to be enjoying the opportunity to do pure research and doesn’t want to be a full-time Avenger just now. Beast then suggests they bring back Wonder Man, which everyone agrees to. Meanwhile, Wanda says goodbye to the Vision and takes her leave for the time being.

Back in Pittsburgh, the steel mill makes a metal slab as a memorial of the fallen employee. But the memorial slab suddenly bursts open to reveal… Inferno! Wonder Man and Iron Man (now that Tony has retrieved his armor) try to take down the fiery behemoth, but it proves to be a strong adversary.

Back at the mansion, Jarvis and Ms. Marvel are on monitor duty and receive an alert signal from Wonder Man. While Ms. Marvel is informing Cap of the alert, she mentions that Wonder Man’s alert (which can only be deactivated either from the mansion of if it’s destroyed) has gone dead.

Appearing in "Battleground: Pittsburgh!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #193.

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Synopsis for "Battleground: Pittsburgh!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #193.

In Pittsburgh, Iron-Man and Wonder Man are facing off with the new menace Inferno, who has just destroyed Wonder Man’s signal device to summon the Avengers. Both of them are repulsed by the angry molten menace.

Inferno stalks a terrified Tim Turpin, the co-worker who caused Joe Conroy's death. He causes the murderer's own demise when he is crushed by a drifting barge. Just before he dies, Turpin sees Joe Conroy’s prized Uru fragment embedded in Inferno’s hand, and Turpin realizes who he is dealing with as he dies.

The rest of the Avengers arrive and join Iron-Man and Wonder Man in combat against the creature who is menacing motorists on the Liberty Bridge.

Stalking across the city, Inferno overturns a cable car to distract the pursuing Avengers. The team stops their pursuit long enough to save the lives of the car’s passengers before once again going after the flaming creature.

Inferno's real target is revealed to be the steel mill owner, Vince Paretta. Inferno corners the fleeing Paretta at his home. When he holds out his hand to Paretta, showing him the Uru fragment, the mill owner realizes it is Joe Conroy and panics. He confesses that he was in debt to the Maggia, which necessitated the urgency to sell the mill. Paretta also admits that he knew Conroy was suspicious and ordered Turpin to kill him.

The Avengers arrive just in time to hear Paretta's fearful confession. Cap corals him and warns him that he will be going to jail for what he did.

Having achieved his vengeance, the fiery Inferno feels no need to continue on. He reflects on his now lost life as Joe Conroy, including a wife and son. Sadly, he turns and walks away into the nearby river, extinguishing his fire and apparently drowning himself.

Appearing in "Interlude"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #194.

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Synopsis for "Interlude"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #194.

Wonder Man undergoes a retinal eye scan to confirm his identity and is officially reinstated on the Avengers roster. When Wasp asks about his acting career, he confesses that his latest play was a flop. The Beast remarks that Simon likely has a hard time getting jobs with his “distinctive” non-focused eyes. But Wonder Man demonstrates that he can, through intense concentration, temporarily assume a normal-looking eye pattern. He also hints at a new ongoing acting gig, though claims it is a secret that he can’t discuss.

During the conversation, the Vision remains pensive and silent, merely staring out the window at the snowfall.

With Wonder Man’s return, the Falcon decides it is time for him to resign, much to Cap’s surprise. Falcon confesses he has never felt comfortable being an Avenger and would prefer to go back to aiding people with common crime problems. He says his farewells to the team and leaves.

Meanwhile, an anxious man hurries toward Avengers mansion. Beneath his trenchcoat, he is wearing a hospital gown labeled “Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane.”

Ms. Marvel finds Captain America outside in the winter storm, reflecting on Falcon’s departure and the reasons why he (and the rest of the team) chose to remain Avengers. As Cap waxes philosophically, two young kids sneak a peek at them over the wall around the outer grounds. One kid lobs a snowball at Cap, which he easily deflects without pausing in his soliloquy. The boy becomes frightened and runs away. Ms. Marvel is very amused.

Inside the mansion, Iron-Man has removed his armor in his private quarters and walks around as Tony Stark. He walks in on Jocasta and Ms. Marvel having a conversation and begins flirting with Ms. Marvel - who forgets all about Jocasta.

The robotic guest of the Avengers wanders away, baffled by the concept of “small talk”. She finds much about human behavior mystifying and feels incapable of forging close bonds with them.

Jocasta makes her way to the workout area in the lower floors, where she finds the Vision brooding. She attempts to reach out to him, but he is in a rage and demolishes training equipment.

Meanwhile, the mystery man has made his way to the mansion’s front door. The Wasp answers it and he collapses in her arms. She and Jarvis hurry him to the medical lab.

In the rec room, the Beast and Wonder Man are playing ping-pong when Hank takes a break to watch television. Simon becomes distressed when Hank begins watching a goofy kid’s show, the Uncle Elmer Show. Suddenly, it’s revealed that Simon’s “top secret acting gig” is on the show, as a strong man named Mr. Muscles. He gets a pie in the face.

The team convenes in the main meeting room to discuss the man. Terribly frightened, he relates his name is Selbe and begs for their help, convinced that people are trying to kill him. There is a tense argument, as Wasp believes the man but Ms. Marvel dismisses him as a mental case. However, when officials arrive claiming he has escaped from the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane, the heroes have no choice but to turn him over.

The Avengers convene their weekly meeting when they realize that the Wasp is missing. Realizing that she must have followed Selbe back to the institute, they prepare to follow her.

Appearing in "Assault on a Mind Cage!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #195.

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Synopsis for "Assault on a Mind Cage!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #195.

Continued from last issue...

The Avengers, accompanied by Yellowjacket and Jocasta, huddle in the snowy woods just outside the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane. They are in search of the Wasp who went MIA after a patient from the institute, a disturbed man named Selbe, showed up at the mansion hysterically claiming that he was in danger. (The Wasp was the only Avenger to believe his claim.)

Since the team cannot enter without a search warrant, Cap has brought in Yellowjacket to do covert reconnaissance. He apologizes for having to send Hank in alone, but Yellowjacket informs him he brought his own back-up: YJ introduces the team to the new Ant-Man.

The pair of miniature heroes infiltrate the compound and are baffled by what they find: military-style barracks in place of patient beds, combat training with high-tech weaponry in place of therapy sessions, and an administration department that discusses “recruits” (mentioning that one candidate is an ideal prospect given his low I.Q. scores and violent disposition.)

When one administers remarks about filling an order for Dr. Octopus, Yellowjacket realizes what’s truly going on: the institute is a front for a training academy for the type of low-level flunkies that supervillains tend to employ.

Searching further, the two heroes find the Wasp being held under sedation. They knock out her guards and revive her, and she relates how she trailed the car transporting Selbe back to the institute. She overheard guards talk about preparing Selbe for some sort of operation, but she was knocked out by a gas attack before she could rescue him. Wasp is still dazed and Yellowjacket is just relieved she’s OK, but Ant-Man realizes that if Selbe’s prison cell was being monitored, then the Wasp’s cell is probably as well. It turns out to be a correct assumption as the trio are confronted by Dr. Solomon (who looks distinctly like an older version of Selbe), head of the institute, and more armed guards.

The three are taken to Solomon’s office. He relates that he has a terminal heart condition but also a rare blood type that makes getting a transplant difficult. Solomon had his lab techs create and force grow a clone of him (Selbe) in order to harvest his heart!

Disgusted by Solomon’s callousness, Yellowjacket and Ant-Man attack the guards. Although Solomon attempts to seize the Wasp to use her as a hostage, she easily decks him. The three set out to locate and free Selbe.

Outside, Wonder Man wonders aloud why they can’t just charge in, stating that, after all, they are… To which Ms. Marvel jumps to the conclusion that he intended to say “men” and then launches into a tirade about his sexist standards to him. Wonder Man then finishes his sentence saying he meant to say, “We are… her friends.” Ms. Marvel is left chastened.

As the team is waiting, they observe a unique hover-plane approach and land at the Solomon Institute. The man in charge has arrived!

Inside, Yellowjacket, Wasp, and Ant-Man knock out the guards outside Selbe’s cell. Wasp enters and tells him that they’re there to rescue him. But the Wasp is then surprised by the entrance of the Taskmaster, who has already subdued Yellowjacket and Ant-Man.

Appearing in "The Terrible Toll of the Taskmaster"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #196.

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Synopsis for "The Terrible Toll of the Taskmaster"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #196.

Story continued from the last issue.

The Taskmaster holds Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Ant-Man captives, their shrinking powers neutralized. The heroes question who he is, and he obliges by relating his history: The Taskmaster was born with photographic reflexes, the ability to instantly mimic any type of physical skill, including hand-to-hand combat maneuvers, he observes. Just by watching news reports of superheroes, he became adept at the fighting styles of Daredevil, Spider-Man and Captain America among others. He admits that he once considered becoming a superhero but instead opted to pursue a criminal career in order to get rich. But he also shrewdly realized that supervillain types who make public spectacles of themselves, tended to more often get defeated by heroes and sent to jail. So instead of trying to be a criminal mastermind, he chose to train flunkies to serve those types of villains. He has been successfully running an underground operation of training academies for several years.

At that point, he begins to take out his anger at Dr. Solomon, whose indiscretions (having his lab men create a clone, Selbe) led to the three heroes discovering his secret school. Solomon begs for mercy and the Taskmaster throws him a bone by tossing him a firearm and giving him one chance to take him down before he kills him. The flustered Solomon, who has never actually fired a gun before, disappoints the Taskmaster, who doesn’t even have to try and deflect the shot. Yet before Taskmaster can take Solomon out himself, the hapless elder man drops dead of a stress-related heart attack. Taskmaster dismisses him as a wimp.

Outside, the main Avengers team (unaware of what’s going on inside) is still waiting for the three insect-themed heroes to report in. Iron-Man is reflecting on whether to cede leadership of the team to Captain America, a natural leader when he notices ants crawling all over his faceplate. Realizing it must be a signal of some sort, the Avengers burst into the academy.

The team confronts the Taskmaster. Yellowjacket explains to the villain that Ant-Man had just enough time to send out the ants to alert the team before he took away his control helmet. As the Avengers stride in, they are initially taken by surprise by the institute’s small army and weapon capabilities but quickly engage the trainee flunkies in combat.

Meanwhile, Selbe (who’s been kept on a leash nearby this whole time) konks an academy guard on the head, takes his blaster and blasts the shackles holding Yellowjacket, Wasp, and Ant-Man. Wasp thanks him with a friendly peck on the cheek and the three heroes join the fray.

The Taskmaster, a coward at heart, flees from the battle. Iron-Man and Captain America attempt to stop him but he counters Cap’s combat moves, surprising both of them, and making a getaway.

Fleeing down the corridor to his hover-plane, he finds Jocasta has slipped ahead of him and is blocking his way. He attempts to waylay her, but she easily deflects his attacks, adding a few humorous quips as she does so. The rest of the Avengers catch up to them and corner the Taskmaster. Realizing he can’t take on the whole team himself, he distracts them with a sudden flare. The blinded heroes fail to stop him before he makes a full getaway.

Jocasta’s actions are applauded by Captain America, who officially “welcomes” her to the team.

Appearing in "Prelude of the War-Devil!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #197.

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Synopsis for "Prelude of the War-Devil!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #197.

The Avengers, accompanied by Yellowjacket and Ant-Man, have returned to the mansion following their encounter with the Taskmaster and get stuck in the mansion’s elevator. Iron-Man and Ant-Man quickly remedy the situation and Jarvis is prepared down below with some refreshments after their mission.

The Beast offhandedly remarks how Ms. Marvel had left to tend to personal matters and then reminds Wonder Man that he agreed to go on a double date with him, Beast’s latest girlfriend Melissa and her friend Candy. Although McCoy assures him he will have a good time, Simon is apprehensive.

On a Long Island beach, the Scarlet Witch is taking a solitary walk when she’s surprised by Ms. Marvel. The latter heroine chides Wanda for thinking of giving up her Avengers' duties for motherhood. Wanda explains that while she still desires to be a mother someday, it is not a priority and she’s made up her mind to rejoin the Avengers. Ms. Marvel is thrilled to hear this, but then suddenly keels over in a faint.

Captain America and Iron-Man formally ask an overjoyed Jocasta to become an Avenger.

Meanwhile, at Stark Enterprises tech labs, Dr. Earl Cowan and his supervisor inspect the newly restored Red Ronin automation (a giant, pilotable robot built to combat fire-breathing dragons). Cowan was instrumental in restoring the robot to working order. His supervisor remarks that after all the time and effort he put into rebuilding Red Ronin, it will be hard for Cowan to turn the project over to SHIELD. But Cowan bluntly states he has no intention of turning Red Ronin over to anyone and knocks out his supervisor.

Just prior to a debriefing meeting (concerning the new information they’ve learned about the Taskmaster’s operations), Iron-Man asks Captain America to officially take over as team leader full-time, to which he agrees.

After the meeting, Ant-Man says goodbye to the Pyms, who then enjoy some intimacy during the downtime. Elsewhere, Wonder Man is initially smitten by his blind date, Candy, but decidedly less enthused about her bratty son whom she brought with her on the date.

After a blow to the back of his head, Cowan’s supervisor regains consciousness just in time to see Cowan abscond with Red Ronin.

In Long Island, Wanda pays a visit to Ms. Marvel who has been admitted to the hospital. Ms. Marvel is devastated to learn she is three months pregnant!

Appearing in "Better Red Than Ronin!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #198.

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Synopsis for "Better Red Than Ronin!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #198.

Story continued from the previous issue…

Dawn finds two somewhat inebriated off-duty Avengers - the Beast and Wonder Man specifically - wandering down Manhattan's West Side following a disastrous double date. They are stunned to see a giant red robot, Red Ronin, wading through the waters of the Hudson River. Before they can react, they are immediately snapped up by grappling cords and hoisted into an overhead quinjet in which the rest of the Avengers are assembled, even reserve member Yellowjacket. Captain America quickly explains to the two what Red Ronin is, a robot capable of fighting Godzilla.

The giant robot strides up into the Bronx and careens through a refuse facility by the Harlem River, much to the shock and terror of its manager. Inside Red Ronin’s command center (located within the head), is Dr. Earl Cowan, the mentally unbalanced scientist who repaired the damaged robot for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Stark Industries but then stole it from them. Cowan uses a cybernetic helmet to control Ronin’s movements. He remarks to himself that he must be careful operating it, for he doesn’t want to hurt anyone - yet.

Just then, the Avengers attack. Iron-Man, Vision, Yellowjacket, the Wasp and Captain America (using a sky-cycle) attack at the head while the Beast, Wonder Man and Jocasta land the quinjet and attack at ground level. The Vision attempts to intangibly penetrate the robot but is repelled by a proton field.

On the ground, the Beast discovers an entryway inside located in the robot’s heel. Wonder Man punches it open but is knocked out by its security system. Jocasta’s eye beams knock out the system, allowing her and the Beast to enter it. They are forced to leave the unconscious Wonder Man, unfortunately.

The battle is joined by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Behemoth - a special heli-carrier developed specifically to challenge Godzilla - which is being commanded by none other than Nick Fury himself. Fury tells the heroes that Ronin is being operated by Dr. Cowan from the head.

Yellowjacket and the Wasp fly into the head via Ronin’s “eyes” (which are apparently open windows??) The Pyms confront Dr. Cowan, who rants and raves to them of his belief in a “great fear” that is paralyzing the world and how by attacking Russia and instigating WWIII, he will unite the world in a great cause and thereby “kill” the fear. The Wasp is appalled by this plan, but Cowan manages to overpower them with an exhaust system capable of dispelling tear gas. The tiny heroes are expelled from the interior.

Meanwhile, in South New Jersey, Ms. Marvel is still a patient in the hospital and is being visited by the Scarlet Witch. Literally overnight, Ms. Marvel has gone from being inexplicably three months pregnant to SIX months pregnant! Ms. Marvel insists there isn’t even a father. Wanda assures her they will figure it out back at Avengers Mansion. In a moment of despair, Ms. Marvel confides to Wanda her secret identity of Carol Danvers and admits she is afraid and feels helpless. Wanda promises to help her.

In Yonkers, NY, a father and son are barbecuing in a suburban backyard when they see Ronin plod by. Dr. Cowan intends to march Ronin to a less densely populated area before firing up the rocket boosters and flying off to attack Russia. However, the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. attack him again. With their frontal assaults appearing to be useless, Iron-Man devises a risky new plan to put into motion.

Red Ronin marches into Long Island sound. Cap launches a decoy attack, unaware that Dr. Cowan is now so frustrated that he activates a “DESTROY” command within Ronin’s command circuitry. At that moment, just as Ronin has entered the water, Iron-Man links himself up with the Behemoth ship and focuses its entire output into a single burst of energy. Ronin is overpowered and brought down… for about five seconds. The robot then simply gets up and begins marching again. This time, however, Dr. Cowan is unconscious and the circuitry in Ronin’s command center is locked into the “DESTROY” command.

Epilogue: In Cross-Technological Enterprises’ Long Island facility, new security chief Hawkeye is playing poker with the on-duty guards when a perimeter alarm goes off. Going to investigate, Hawkeye can’t find anything suspicious moving about the two giant red columns that… giant red columns??? Hawkeye stares upward and sees Red Ronin towering over him.

Story continued into the next issue.

Appearing in "Last Stand on Long Island"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #199.

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Synopsis for "Last Stand on Long Island"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #199.

Story continued from the previous issue…

Hawkeye finds himself alone and up against the humongous robotic Red Ronin while it indiscriminately destroys everything in its path. He lobs explosive arrows at it, to little effect as Ronin plows through the CTE facility. Suddenly, a quinjet careens through the air at Ronin on a collision course with its head. Wonder Man bails out at the last second. Ronin manages to slice the quinjet apart with his energy blade though, thwarting the attack. The giant robot (whose controller Dr. Cowan is still unconscious within) simply strides away down the Long Island shore.

Wonder Man asks where the rest of the Avengers are and explains to Hawkeye that he woke up alone and miles away, after he was knocked unconscious (in the previous issue). SHIELD’s Behemoth heli-carrier arrives and Wonder Man is reunited with the team. Hawkeye joins them as well. The Avengers and Nick Fury bring Simon and Hawk up to date on the mission, explaining how Dr. Cowan stole Red Ronin in an insane mission to instigate WWIII and thereby “kill the great fear.”

Wonder Man asks where the Beast and Jocasta have gone. Cap relates that they were last seen entering the robot by a door in its heel. Wonder Man is concerned that if they attack Ronin, they might kill their friends inside. Iron-Man states that it is a risk they have to take.

Inside Red Ronin, the Beast and Jocasta are climbing up through the vessel and steadily making their way into the command center located in the head.

Dr. Cowan awakens to find Ronin facing off with Coast Guard ships. He attempts to shut the robot down but finds the circuitry has been fused by Iron-Man’s massive attack (also last issue). The “DESTROY” command is locked and cannot shut it down!

Ronin wends his way into the more densely populated northern end of Long Island, advancing into a shopping mall and causing thousands of pedestrians to flee in terror. After evacuating the area, Captain America and Iron-Man provoke Red Ronin into tossing his shield (similar to the way Cap tosses his own.) They bring it to ground, although doing so causes Cap to crash his sky-cycle. Iron-Man crawls into the shield, interfacing with it and activating the energy blade. The Vision and Wonder Man use their combined strength to maneuver the shield in the air and use the blade to attack Ronin. They successfully pulverize his right hand and slice off his left leg. Ronin is laid low on the ground.

Inside Ronin, the Beast and Jocasta have at last reached the command center and confront Dr. Cowan, who confesses he cannot control the giant anymore. Jocasta and Cowan stab at consoles furiously, hoping to randomly land on some sort of off switch. The Beast merely sits back and ponders…

The Avengers slice Ronin in half. But then the energy blade burns out and Ronin is still active! He crawls toward the Long Island expressway, threatening to kill hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocents. The Avengers’ desperate attacks can’t stop it. But just as everything seems hopeless, the Beast unplugs one link, in particular, causing Ronin to completely shut down.

The wrecked Red Ronin is carted away by Behemoth. Fury informs the Avengers that Cowan will likely be committed rather than stand trial. Hawkeye agrees to accompany the Avengers back to the mansion for a debriefing (and a friendly visit).

Back at the mansion, the Avengers are stunned to find their teammate Ms. Marvel, who has been much changed. Ms. Marvel, who reveals her true identity as Carol Danvers to the team, has undergone an entire nine-month gestation period in just two days! The Scarlet Witch has returned with Carol as well and has brought in Dr. Donald Blake (a.k.a. Thor). The Avengers react with excitement at the idea of Ms. Marvel’s “pregnancy”, despite her obvious trauma from it.

Later that night, Carol goes into “labor” and Dr. Blake is certain it is like no birth a human has ever seen!

The story continues into the next issue.

Appearing in "The Child is Father To...?"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #200.

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  • Spaceships
  • Biplanes

Synopsis for "The Child is Father To...?"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #200.

After experiencing an impossibly short two-day pregnancy, Ms. Marvel delivers a baby boy in the Avengers infirmary, attended by Dr. Donald Blake (a.k.a. Thor) and Jocasta. The Avengers treat the event like a happy normal occasion and coo over the infant. Ms. Marvel, however, is decidedly upset by the experience.

Overnight, Ms. Marvel’s child grows into a toddler and begins speaking. In just a few more hours, he is an adolescent boy but demonstrates an even more advanced intellect. He calls himself Marcus and gives evasive answers to questions about where he came from. He promises to explain everything just as soon as he can complete a secret project. Given technical gear to work with, he sets to work creating a sophisticated device.

Meanwhile, all around the NYC area, people are experiencing shifts in time, either being transported to different eras themselves or encountering historical or futuristic beings.

Initially, Ms. Marvel refuses to even see her child, but Wonder Man persuades her to confront her problem, difficult as it might be. Thus, she goes to the lab and meets a now fully grown Marcus, who instantly recognizes her but alternately calls her “mother” and “Carol.” Ms. Marvel seems to recognize his face but can’t recall how.

Just then, the mansion comes under attack… by a T-Rex! Spaceships and WWI era fighter planes buzz the mansion as well. While Iron-Man and the Vision tackle them, the rest of the team inside the mansion encounter various other time-displaced, aggressive intruders. Hawkeye, who has been especially suspicious of Marcus all along, ducks out of the melee, intent on confronting him in the lab.

Down in the lab, all the other Avengers (aside from Ms. Marvel) depart to join the fighting. Carol shoves Dr. Blake into a secure room for his protection and he uses the opportunity to transform into Thor and join the battle. Marcus assures Carol that everything will be alright just as soon as he activates his device, a time flux generator. Carol demands answers from him but he knocks her out. Seeing this, Hawkeye assumes Marcus is a straight-out villain and destroys the machine with an explosive arrow.

Thor and Iron-Man burst into the lab. Marcus is ready to take them all on, but Ms. Marvel (who has recovered) intervenes, stating that she will defend them from him. Marcus then admits he merely wanted to goad them into killing him!

He goes on to explain that he is actually the son of the Avengers' old foe Immortus. Ages ago, the master of limbo had rescued a doomed survivor of a shipwreck, an unnamed woman, and brought her to limbo to be his consort. Together, they produced Marcus. The woman eventually had to return to her point in time and Immortus himself was killed (actually, his predecessor Kang was killed, thus negating Immortus's existence). Marcus was left alone and as a child born in limbo, he could not exist on Earth without disrupting the timeline. He devised a plan to be re-born on Earth: he plucked Carol out of time, brought her to limbo and wooed her. (Marcus specifically mentions “...admittedly with a subtle boost from Immortus’ machines…”, baldly stating that she was mentally manipulated.) Once he implanted his seed in her, he restored her to her own point in time so that she could give birth to him. Marcus intended his machine to stabilize his presence on Earth, but since it has now been destroyed, his only options are either to return to a lonely existence in limbo or die.

Carol takes pity on him. She tells her male compatriots that she realizes she has feelings for him and wants to be with him. Thus, Thor transports the pair of them to limbo. The time disruptions immediately vanish and Ms. Marvel is gone.

Appearing in "The Evil Reborn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #201.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Ultron's robot

Other Characters:

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Synopsis for "The Evil Reborn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #201.

The Avengers and a crew from Stark International repair the mansion, which was heavily damaged in the battle last issue. Once the work is complete, the team members head their separate ways.

Hank and Jan return home prior to Hank leaving for a conference in Tokyo.

Captain America invites Hawkeye to stick around the team for a short while, an invitation that Hawkeye eagerly accepts.

Tony Stark (Iron-Man) returns to his offices and is at Stark International. He is informed of a theft of certain chemicals from their labs. His secretary, Ms. Arbogast, notes his suddenly alarmed behavior.

The Beast accompanies Wonder Man to the TV Studios for the Uncle Elmer Show. After an on-air mishap humiliates “Uncle Elmer”, Simon is fired from his role as Mr. Muscles.

After Hank has left, Jan is woken in the middle of the night by a noise from Hank's lab. Upon investigating, she finds that a robot has broken in and is stealing canisters marked Ad Resin X and Ad Resin Y. The robot attacks her and she vanishes.

At Stark International, Tony is convinced he knows who has stolen components from the chemical research division and constructs a device, the use of which he fears may cost him his life.

This story continues in the next issue.

Appearing in "The Evil Reborn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #201.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Ultron's robot

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "The Evil Reborn"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #201.

The Avengers and a crew from Stark International repair the mansion, which was heavily damaged in the battle last issue. Once the work is complete, the team members head their separate ways.

Hank and Jan return home prior to Hank leaving for a conference in Tokyo.

Captain America invites Hawkeye to stick around the team for a short while, an invitation that Hawkeye eagerly accepts.

Tony Stark (Iron-Man) returns to his offices and is at Stark International. He is informed of a theft of certain chemicals from their labs. His secretary, Ms. Arbogast, notes his suddenly alarmed behavior.

The Beast accompanies Wonder Man to the TV Studios for the Uncle Elmer Show. After an on-air mishap humiliates “Uncle Elmer”, Simon is fired from his role as Mr. Muscles.

After Hank has left, Jan is woken in the middle of the night by a noise from Hank's lab. Upon investigating, she finds that a robot has broken in and is stealing canisters marked Ad Resin X and Ad Resin Y. The robot attacks her and she vanishes.

At Stark International, Tony is convinced he knows who has stolen components from the chemical research division and constructs a device, the use of which he fears may cost him his life.

This story continues in the next issue.

Appearing in "Night of the Crawlers"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #203.

Featured Characters:

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  • Street punks
    • Lenny
    • Deuce
    • Turk

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| Notes =

  • As the Avengers from last issue return home, dialogue relates that they (incredibly!) just left Ultron in his frozen state. Given his already demonstrated ability to recover from total destruction in new forms, there is no reason at all why they should assume he is no longer a threat. Nor does it occur to them that Ultron might have another hypnotically-enthralled sleeper agent ready to reactivate him should he be defeated (which turns out to be exactly the case in his next appearance in "Marvel Two-in-One" #92.)
  • Like his solo adventure in #178, the Beast's adventure with Wonder Man has a "Twilight Zone" feel to it, especially given that it appears they've left normal reality behind for the evening and there is no evidence of their adventure having happened.
  • The story is also likely inspired by longtime urban legends of people (and even creatures) living in the sewers beneath New York City. A 1984 film, C*H*U*D*s, related a similar story of non-human creatures created by illegally dumped toxic chemicals living in the NYC sewers.
  • This issue contains an advert for Hostess Fruit Pies featuring Iron Man Vs. bank robbers.

| Trivia = | Recommended = | Links =

Synopsis for "Night of the Crawlers"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #203.

The Avengers return home from the encounter with Ultron last issue. Thor, however, has already gone his own way. The team finds Jocasta has been revived in their absence; she regained enough cognition that she was able to talk Jarvis through the process of restoring her to full function. All that’s left to do is locate their still-missing teammates, the Beast and Wonder Man.

In fact, the two heroes in question have found themselves lost in a strange and unfamiliar neighborhood. They encounter a young girl, Juanita Lopez, who is searching for her missing brother, Hugo. Juanita tells them that bizarre creatures known colloquially as “Crawlers” have been prowling the neighborhood at night and she fears they may have kidnapped her brother.

Since the Crawlers are known to pop out of manholes, the Beast and Wonder Man descend into the sewer system. They are quickly surrounded by Crawlers, but a full-on battle with them is halted by Hugo’s sudden appearance. Hugo, it seems, has not been kidnapped but instead lives with them voluntarily.

Hugo explains that an unnamed lab was performing unethical experiments attempting to create anaerobic life forms. When their experiments appeared to be failures, they simply poured their chemical compounds down the drain rather than dispose of the potentially toxic chemicals by legal methods. In the sewers, those chemicals gelled to create the Crawlers. Hugo further explains that he encountered the Crawlers by accident but found them to be friendly and realized they only ascended to the surface in order to gather essentials they needed to survive.

Just then, a gang of street thugs who’ve discovered the Crawlers’ nest ambush them. The Beast and Wonder Man drive them off easily enough, but the frightened Crawlers have scattered. The two heroes insist Hector return to the surface with him. When they take him home, they are surprised that his mother, Mrs. Lopez, knows perfectly well where he’s been but doesn’t seem to care. She treats both he and Juanita as burdens she is saddled with.

As Hank and Simon are again attempting to find their way home, Juanita catches up with them telling them that Hugo ran away again. She’s also overheard members of the street gang plotting to blow up the Crawlers’ nest with dynamite they stole from a construction site.

Once again, the two Avengers - now accompanied by Juanita - seek out Hugo and the Crawlers in the sewers. The street gang however are successful in blowing up the Crawlers’ lair and setting them on fire, wiping them all out. Hugo is so upset he allows himself to be swept away by a flood of tidewater created by the explosion.

Returning to the surface, they find Mrs. Lopez awaiting them. She dismisses Hugo’s death, saying he deserves it. She then slaps Juanita for defying her and orders her home. Simon is about to intervene, but Juanita instead tells them not to rejoice for Hugo, declaring that he is the lucky one for not having to live their life anymore. Juanita and her mother then simply vanish into the early morning mist.

The two heroes at last find a street cop. Upon calling in to his HQ, the cop informs them that there are no reports of an explosion in the nearby sewers, nor has any nearby site reported missing any blasting equipment. The Beast and Wonder Man are left unable to determine whether the night’s adventure really took place at all!

Appearing in "Claws Across the Water!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #204.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Yellow Claw (Main story and recap)
  • Dr. Liu (First appearance)
  • Giant Jellyfish
  • Metal birds

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Events:

Synopsis for "Claws Across the Water!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #204.

On a remote island in the South Seas, a young woman uses a clandestine signal device to wire a desperate message. She is interrupted in her task by the nefarious Yellow Claw, who bursts into her room and demands an answer from her to an unspoken question. The woman, Shu Han, manages to hide her signaling device before he sees it and then pleads for more time to make a decision. The Claw leaves, warning her not to test his patience.

In Avengers’ Mansion, the team says another goodbye to Hawkeye, who is leaves to resume his job as head of security at Cross Technological Enterprises. The team settles in for a weekly meeting when Jarvis brings the mail, including a telegram marked “life or death” on it. His interest aroused, Captain America rips it open and reads Shu Han’s plea to be rescued from captivity by the Yellow Claw. Iron-Man recognizes that Shu Han was an Olympic athlete and is a prestigious young scientist. The team set out immediately to investigate.

When the quinjet reaches the island, the Vision and the Wasp are sent ahead to infiltrate the compound. The Vision slips into the base intangibly, while the Wasp finds an air vent that is curiously sealed shut with a glass cover. Shattering it with a sting, she enters the complex.

Inside the complex, the Claw notices the Wasp flying around but mistakes her for an actual insect. Nevertheless, he is conspicuously alarmed, telling his subordinates that the compound is obviously not airtight.

The quinjet sets down on the outskirts of the island and set out on foot to confront the Claw. Any hope of taking him unaware is dashed when a gigantic hologram projection of the Claw appears before them. They must then contend with a host of strange security devices, such as cyborg jellyfish, flying blades and robot birds.

The Vision confronts the Yellow Claw but is captured. The Wasp, who has been clinging to the Claw’s robes, looks on in horror.

The Avengers penetrate the Claw’s compound but stop in their tracks when they see that the Vision has been apprehended and is being held prisoner. The Claw demands to know why the Avengers have attacked his island, unprovoked in his estimation. Cap informs him of Shu Han’s telegram. Thus, the Claw has Shu Han brought forth to explain herself. She confesses that she wasn’t so much as abducted and held prisoner as she was… bought. Her parents had secured an arranged marriage for her with the Claw when she was a child.

The Claw professes that he is old and simply desired a mate in order to start a family. He says he has no interest in forcing Shu Han to marry him against her will and besides, he has many more wives anyway. A harem of wives sweep into the room.

Reunited with the Vision and the Wasp, the Avengers have no choice but to depart with Shu Han. They can’t seem to find any real wrong-doing on the Claw’s part. But as soon as they are gone, the Claw gloats that his children will be the last children on the Earth.

Story continues in the next issue.

Appearing in "Shadow of the Claw!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #205.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "Shadow of the Claw!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #205.

Iron-Man is recharging the Vision’s solar power cells which were severely depleted during his captivity with the Claw. He remarks to the Scarlet Witch that the process is taking longer than usual, but apart from that her husband seems fine.

Elsewhere in the mansion, the Wasp recounts her surveillance activities to the rest of the team. She recounts how she thought it was peculiar that the air ducts were sealed tight and that she saw many vials filled with a sparkly mist substance.

The team is surprised when Dr. Liu, the Yellow Claw's assistant, arrives to warn them of his master's plans, but is killed by remote control before he can utter more than a set of coordinates in the Australian desert.

The Vision, feigning a need to recuperate from his earlier encounter with the Claw, remains behind as his teammates fly to Australia. After they’ve gone, he sets out alone to the Claw's island base to confront the Claw again. Vision had deduced that the Claw had altered his circuitry so that he could spy on the team. Unfortunately, the Claw is prepared for him and traps him in a paralysis ray.

With the Vision trapped, the Claw gloats about his plan. He intends to unleash a gaseous compound into the Earth’s atmosphere which will render everyone on the planet sterile -- all save himself and his harem of wives within his sealed compound. Thus, the human race from then on will only consist of his offspring.

The Avengers reach the coordinates in Australia, which is a cave. It turns out to be a trap. Three cyborg warriors -- Bludgeoner, Transformer and Compressor -- appear, trapping them. On a holographic projector, the Yellow Claw gloats to them how he’s outwitted them. A battle ensues while the Claw and a helpless Vision observe.

The battle rages on, until suddenly the three cyborgs join “hands” (or what approximates for them) and then explode with ferocious force. Despite the holographic projector being destroyed in the blast, the Claw is confident that no one could have survived.

With the Avengers seemingly killed, the Claw puts his plan into effect. It is revealed that the compound is also an elaborate airship in the shape of a giant claw. With this, the Claw intends to spread the sterilizing gas across the world. But although paralyzed, the Vision isn’t as helpless as he appears. He increases his density to his utmost maximum, and the abrupt additional weight it creates causes the ship to crash into the Pacific. Furious, the Yellow Claw attacks the Vision, knocking him out of the paralysis ray he’d previously trapped him in. They duke it out as the ship crashes into the ocean.

In Australia, the Avengers have survived the explosion thanks to the Scarlet Witch who surrounded them all with a hex bubble at the last second. The team set out into the ocean to search for signs of the Yellow Claw or the Vision. After hours of searching, Iron-Man is just about to tell Wanda that the Vision is likely dead when the synthezoid Avenger arrives. The Vision is in a particularly sombre mood and laments that there is no end to the war against the forces of evil.

Appearing in "Fire in the Streets!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #206.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Pyron (First appearance)

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "Fire in the Streets!"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Avengers #206.

An industrial saboteur plants a bomb at Liquigas, a Jersey City chemical plant. But at the very last moment, he realizes the bomb has been rigged to detonate immediately, giving him no chance to escape. Just before he’s seemingly killed in the explosion, he realizes he’s been betrayed.

Sometime later, the Avengers are alerted to a news report of a massive fire taking place at the Jersey City plant. The Human Torch of the Fantastic Four had been called in to help fight the blaze (since he can absorb flames into his torch form) but is unsuccessful and admits to a reporter that there is something unnatural about the blaze, as if it’s alive. The news footage also reveals something disturbing -- there is a laughing face in the fire. Realizing that something strange is going on, the team heads out to investigate.

The quinjet flies over the blaze which just seems to be getting bigger. Since Iron-Man and the Vision are relatively flame-resistant, they fly down for a closer inspection. But the flames engulf them, as if reaching out for them.

The quinjet lands near the firefighter command station. The team members are supplied with asbestos suits that will accomodate their individual abilities. The Wasp, however, notes that none of the suits will shrink or permit her to fire stings. Since there’s no time for arguments, Cap simply asks Jan to remain behind.

The team, minus Wasp, suit up and enter the firestorm. They find Iron-Man frozen in a block of ice. The heat is so intense that the only way for Iron-Man to survive was to extend his cooling system to its radical extreme and encase himself in ice, even though he will be unable to move. The Vision can move, but must remain intangible lest the flames incinerate him. He resolves to stay and guard Iron-Man while the rest of the team plunge further into the flames.

The remaining five heroes reach the nucleus of the firestorm and encounter Pyron. The saboteur from the issue’s beginning survived the explosion but was somehow transformed into a pyrokinetic being capable of commanding massive fires. Pyron is seeking revenge for his betrayal by the President of Liquigas -- he hired him to plant the explosive in order to collect the insurance money. But he thought he could eliminate the saboteur as well in the process. He now wants to destroy all of Liquigas. That, however, will also kill hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding area when toxic gases are released. Pyron does not care.

The Avengers engage him in battle. Cap tosses his shield at him and it appears to dissolve (!) Jocasta fires her eye beams at him, shattering her visor in the process and exposing herself to the intense heat. She literally begins melting, so Wonder Man is tasked with carrying her out of the flames before it’s too late. Cap, the Beast and the Scarlet Witch are left, but they are pinned down by the flames and will soon be engulfed by them, asbestos suits or no.

Wonder Man gets Jocasta to safety and relates to the authorities what Pyron revealed about the company president, who is then led away. Just then, Wonder Man realizes Jan is missing. He is told that when a company worker brought a capsule of a possible fire retardant that could be used against Pyron, she suited up and entered the flames herself.

Jan makes her way into the heart of the fire. Using her sting, she bursts open her asbestos suit and flies at Wasp size into Pyron’s face, unleashing the chemical and dousing Pyron. No sooner than his own flame is extinguished does the flames all around Liquigas peter out. The Wasp believed she was on a suicide mission, but she handily survives the fire. Afterwards, her teammates apologize for doubting her abilities.

Appearing in "Double Vision"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales to Astonish Vol 2 #12.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Detective McBain

Antagonists:


Other Characters:


Locations:


Items:


Vehicles:




Synopsis for "Double Vision"

This story is a reprint of the comic
Tales to Astonish Vol 2 #12.



Notes

See Also

Footnotes

  1. At which point Beast makes a classic Rocky and Bullwinkle reference: "Again? But that trick never works!"
  2. 2.0 2.1 First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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