Avengers (Vol. 1) #5


Cover Date: May 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

“The Invasion of the Lava Men!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Paul Reinman

What’s Going On?

In an attempt to save themselves, the Lava Men threaten the safety of the surface world! Only the Avengers can save the day.


  • A loud, destructive noise is causing minor disasters in New York City, and it has gained the attention of the Avengers!

  • The noise is coming from a “living rock” that the subterranean Lava Men are pushing to the surface world.

  • It is worth noting that Molto, the Lava Man that fought Thor in Journey Into Mystery #97, is actually against sending the dangerous rock to the surface world.  He no longer sees humans as enemies of the Lava Men.
  • The rock is extremely volatile —- it will explode if hit —- and is growing unchecked. At its current size, the explosion could destroy the Earth.

  • However, Giant-Man and the Wasp are able to find a specific spot in the rock that, if struck, will destroy it and not explode.

  • The only Avenger strong enough to strike and destroy the rock is Thor. Unfortunately, the Lava Man “witch doctor” somehow managed to transform Thor back into Donald Blake!

  • Fortunately for the Avengers, the Hulk showed up and was looking to fight them. The heroes managed to corral him to the right part of the living rock, and tricked him into striking its weak spot, destroying the rock.

  • Thor —- oh yeah, Donald Blake could transform back into Thor after a few minutes —- lets the Lava Men off with a stern warning to not attack the surface world again.

Is It Good?

No, it’s not. Kirby’s art looks good, but that is about it. There’s just a lot of nonsense here. The way that Thor gets sidelined, the way that multiple Avengers realized that the rock was explosive, and the coincidences required for the Hulk to show up —- in their own, none is too egregious, but they are cumulatively too ridiculous.

Speaking about the Hulk, I’m getting tired of him showing up in this book. Either make him a member of the team, or make him a villain —- or, better yet, give him his own title, because these guest spots are not doing anything for the character.


  • This issue takes place after the events of Fantastic Four #26.
  • New cover corner box alert! We now have Captain America!  And the Hulk is still there, too, despite quitting the team three issues ago.

  • Even with his more energy-efficient armor, Tony Stark needs to frequently recharge his chest plate.

  • Captain America —- who apparently is homeless —- spends his free time training the Teen Brigade.

  • Iron Man’s armor protects him from radiation.

  • The Lava Men (specifically Molto) last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #97. This is the first time Molto’s name is used.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Come on, Iron Man, you should be able to figure this out.

  • I’d love to learn why these particular isotopes can only be studied in an anthill.

  • I like that Rick Jones, underage resident of New Mexico, has the money to travel/live in New York City and not get in trouble for skipping school.  Oh, well.  I guess he’s an honorary Avenger, now.

  • The last time we saw a Lava Man encounter human weapons, Molto turned guns into ash with a wave of his hands. Naturally, then, when Lava Men encounter Iron Man, they…make his armor hot?

  • What is this nonsense? Thor can’t be injured by anything? And what is a nuclear shock wave? And how does any of this impact Thor’s transformation?

  • I like that the solution to the rock that will destroy the Earth if it is hit is to hit the rock.  It takes a supremely confident writer to solve a problem — a problem that they invented! — in such an obviously dumb manner.

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