Avengers Vol. 1 No. 10

AVENGERS Vol. 1 No. 10
November, 1964
"The Avengers Break Up!"
Story superbly written by: Stan Lee
Art adorably drawn by: Don Heck
Inked by darlin' Dick Ayers
Lettered by stalwart Sam Rosen

The story opens with the Avengers having a training session at their
mansion headquarters; the other heroes have to catch and subdue
Captain America. Iron Man snatches Cap's shield away by reversing his
magentic repulsors, and Thor grabs Cap from behind, pinning him with
his hammer. Giant-Man observes that Cap lasted for 47 seconds... a new
record. Cap is disappointed, though, since he felt he should have been
able to evade them for a full minute.

The team sits down for their regular meeting. Iron Man suggests that
they make Rick Jones a full-fledged member, but Captain America rather
testily insists that such a decision is for him to make. After the
meeting, he talks to Rick, telling him that he still feels guilty over
the death of his first partner Bucky, and he's not sure if he's ready
to put another teenaged boy in harm's way.

Meanwhile, in a hidden castle in the Amazon jungle, Zemo, the
Executioner, and the Enchantress are licking their wounds after their
previous defeat by the Avengers. Suddenly, the Enchantress feels a
strange sensation... a mental force contacting her. Seconds later, a
cloaked figure appears, announcing himself as Immortus, master of time
and ruler of Limbo. Immortus declares that he is joining the Masters
of Evil... one day he plans to take control of this century, and the
villains will make useful underlings when that happens.

The Executioner doesn't take kindly to this, and attacks. Immortus
vanishes, and sends a proxy to fight in his place -- the legendary
giant Paul Bunyan. The gargantuan lumberjack and the Asgardian warrior
fight briefly, but Zemo tells Immortus to call off the battle before
they destroy his entire castle. He concedes that Immortus has proven
his power, but now he wants to test his loyalty by having him destroy
one of the Avengers. Immortus boasts that he will defeat the entire
team, and then vanishes. The Executioner still doesn't trust the
newcomer, but Zemo points out that they have nothing to lose by
letting him attempt to kill the Avengers.

Back in New York, Rick Jones sees an ad in the back of a comic book
that promises to give people genuine super-powers. Thinking that this
will enable him to finally become a true Avenger, Rick goes to the
company's address -- only to find it was a trap laid by Immortus.
Immortus has his lackey, none other than Attila the Hun, subdue the
boy. Rick tries to fight back, and even Attila is impressed by his
courage, but in the end he is captured and imprisoned in the Tower of
London in the year 1760.

When Captain America realizes that Rick is missing, he contacts Rick's
friends in the Teen Brigade. They tell him about the ad that Rick saw,
and Cap in turn goes to the office where he finds Immortus waiting for
him. Immortus claims that it was the Avengers themselves who
instructed him to capture Rick, and says that he can prove it if Cap
will bring his teammates to him. With Rick's life in danger, Cap
reluctantly agrees.

Back at Avengers' Mansion, an angry Cap lashes out at his fellow
heroes, demanding to know why they betrayed Rick. The Avengers try to
subdue their out-of-control teammates, but Cap swats Iron Man aside
with his shield, then uses it to deflect Thor's hammer-throw. Cap uses
the spray from a fire extinguisher to blind Iron Man. Giant-Man steps
between Cap and Thor, trying to stop the battle, but Cap kicks him in
the legs, knocking him down. The Wasp tries to use her sting on Cap,
but he blocks it with his shield. Giant-Man gets back up, and this
time is able to separate the combatants. The Avengers agree to go with
Cap to see Immortus and get to the bottom of things.

The Avengers confront Immortus in his lair, and he tells them that he
will free Rick Jones if each of them can defeat an enemy that he
summons from the past. First up, Giant-Man is attacked by the evil
giant Goliath. They seem evenly matched, so Giant-Man tries to gain
advantage by shrinking down and tying his enemy's feet together with a
nylon cord. But Goliath easily snaps the bindings and threatnes to
squash the tiny hero with his foot. The Wasp intervenes, distracting
the enemy long enough for Ant-Man to form another plan. Taking his cue
from Goliath's foe David, Ant-Man improvises a slingshot to hurl
himself at the giant; he strikes in just the right spot to knock
Goliath out.

Next, Immortus summons Merlin the magician to fight Iron Man. The
wizard creates a steel cage around Iron Man, which he easily smashes
out of. Then he hurls a lightning bolt, which Iron Man dodges. Going
on the offensive, Iron Man uses the gadgets in his armor to create
blinding lights and loud screeching noises, which stun Merlin into

Thor's opponent turns out to be none other than Hercules. He proves to
be the strongest foe Thor's ever faced, but he manages to manuver the
brute towards the window. Knocking Hercules off-balance, Thor dangles
him out the window and threatens to drop him; Hercules has no choice
but to surrender.

As the other Avengers defeat his minions, Immortus grabs Captain
America, and the two of them are whisked back to 18th century London.
Immortus challenges Cap to fight his way through his army of medieval
knights and rescue Rick from the Tower.

Watching events from Zemo's castle, the Masters of Evil decide to
attack the Avengers while their strength is reduced. The heroes have
returned to their headquarters and are pondering the disappearance of
Captain America. But their musings are interrupted when the
Executioner smashes down the front door. As he squares off against
Iron Man, the other Masters of Evil target individual heroes. This
time, Zemo says, they will settle for nothing less than victory.

The Enchantress casts a spell at Giant-Man, forcing him to shrink to
the size of a small child. Meanwhile, the Executioner pounds away at
Iron Man with his special meteorite metal gloves, and is able to
actually put dents in his armor. Zemo uses a gun to spray "liquid ore"
at Thor, which solidfies and traps his hands. The Wasp flies around
the Enchantress' head, hoping to disrupt her concentration and allow
Giant-Man to regain his normal size. Iron Man tries to fight back with
his repulsor rays, but the Executioner's pounding has damaged his
circuits, and his weapons no longer function.

Zemo has almost completely covered Thor in solid rock, but before he
can finish the job, his weapon is shattered by Captain America's
shield. Zemo is stunned to see his old foe returned. Cap explains that
once he defeated his guards, Immortus kept his word and returned him
and Rick to the present. Cap attacks the Executioner, drawing him away
from the damaged Iron Man by bopping him on the head with his shield,
followed by a shield-throw to the midsection. A recovered Giant-Man
grabs the Executioner and hurls him into the wall. At that moment,
Thor manages to break free from the solid stone imprisoning him. The
Enchantress prepares to cast another spell, but the Wasp stops her by
yanking her hair.

With the Avengers recoverd and reunited, the Masters of Evil know they
haven't a chance. The Enchantress manages to get off a spell, which
will take them several days into the past, before they met Immortus.
Thus events are reset to the beginning of the story. The Avengers are
back at their meeting table, debating the membership of Rick Jones.
And the Masters of Evil are back in Zemo's castle. Unlike the
Avengers, the villains still remember the battle that occured, and
this time, when Immortus tries to mentally contact her, the
Enchantress breaks the connection.


This is a strange issue in a number of ways, not the least of which is
the fact that the whole story is declared null and void by the end! It
seems odd that Stan and co. would introduce Immortus, another
time-travelling villain, so soon after the debut of Kang (Later
writers would establish a connection between the two). His modus
operandi is slightly different, though, and his gimmick of summoning
famous warriors from the past is reminiscent of the golden age hero
Kid Eternity.

Speaking of Immortus' minions, I believe this is the first appearance
of Hercules in a modern Marvel comic. He looks somewhat different from
the way he would later appear in THOR -- he's clean-shaven, and wields
a wooden club instead of the more familiar mace. But his arrogant
personality is much the same, and since everyone has forgotten about
this meeting by the time it's over, I suppose there's no reason it
couldn't be the same guy. Didn't Thor also fight Merlin at some point?

Wasp Watch: Jan gets a new hood this issue -- it's now a Batman-esque
cowl that covers her upper face, and her hair is no longer visible. It
also has a "W" insignia on the forehead, which seems to double as
antennae. For the first time, she uses her "Wasp's sting" against a
foe, although it ends up not being effective. Here it's described an
an "air gun", though in later stories it will be electrical in nature,
and eventually becomes a natural power instead of a gadget. The Wasp
does her usual "fly around the enemy's head to distract them" bit a
couple of times this issue, and adds a new combat manuver to her
repertoire: pulling hair. I suppose that's progress...

The letter column includes a note from Gene Day of Lansdowne, Ontario
-- I'm guessing this is the same Gene Day who went on to draw MASTER
OF KUNG FU and other books for Marvel before his untimely death. He
praises various recent Marvel titles, and declares "Around my school,
Marvels are top choice!"

The Special Announcements Section reveals that Marvel is starting
their own club, The Merry Marvel Marching Society. The list of
upcoming titles is now boxed off in its own section and officially
labelled "The Mighty Marvel Checklist"; FANTASTIC FOUR #33, SPIDER-MAN
#62, and SGT. FURY #12 are listed.

The plug for next issue promises the return of Kang, and a
guest-appearance by none other than Spider-Man.