Cover Date: August 1964
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone
“Their Darkest Hour!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
Scripter: Stan Lee
Penciller: Stan Lee
Inker: Chic Stone
What’s Going On?
The Enchantress and Executioner join Zemo and plot to defeat Captain America and Thor.
- On Asgard, Odin exiles the Enchantress and Executioner to Earth. The Executioner sees it as an opportunity to earn the Enchantress’ heart; the Enchantress sees it as a chance win over Thor.
- Back on Earth, Rick Jones dresses up in a spare Bucky costume, and Captain America is not pleased about it. He tells Rick that he will never have another partner / sidekick again.
- In South America, Baron Zemo is approached by the Enchantress and Executioner with a deal: they will help him defeat Captain America, and he will help them defeat Thor.
- After the Avengers all split up and return to their normal lives, a man approaches Captain America with Baron Zemo’s location. Cap immediately takes off for the remote jungles of South America, not realizing that this helpful stranger is actually a disguised Executioner, luring Cap into a trap!
- Meanwhile, the Enchantress manages to cast a spell on Thor!
- The Enchantress makes Thor believe that the Avengers are evil and need to be stopped!
- Thor quickly heads after his fellow Avengers. He surprises Giant-Man and the Wasp.
- Iron Man rushes to Giant-Man’s aid and quickly diagnoses the problem: Thor is under someone’s control! Apparently, the cure to this is bright lights.
- In South America, Captain America encountered Baron Zemo’s army of indigenous servants. They don’t last long before retreating.
- Nor does Zemo! He hops in a jet, and tries to leave Cap behind. However (as shown last issue), Cap has some powerful magnets in his glove and shield, and he hitched a ride with the villain.
- Zemo flew to New York City in time to open fire on the Avengers, just as Iron Man was in-hypnotizing Thor. Captain America broke through the cockpit window to prevent Zemo from shooting his friends.
- Zemo landed the ship near the Enchantress and Executioner; the Executioner knocked Cap out, and then he and the Enchantress boarded the ship to escape.
- As they escaped, Thor opened a space warp and sent the villains…somewhere else. No one knows where.
Is It Good?
It’s not awful, but wow, this is a random mess. The bizarre deception, the transcontinental flights, Thor’s “space warp” powers —- it’s all so weird. Like, why not have the Executioner —- who is allegedly a great warrior —- fight Captain America, instead of giving him a Nazi mask to wear?
The art is still good, and there are a lot of fun moments, but the whole package fits together poorly.
- New corner box alert! The Hulk is now gone! Captain America went from an action pose to just a floating head!
- This story takes place after the events of Tales of Suspense #56.
- Apparently, Avengers put each other on trial when a member’s behavior doesn’t meet expectations. For example, you can get suspended from the team for not answering a distress call.
- Baron Zemo last appeared in Avengers #6. Or maybe Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #8 (they have the same cover date).
- Enchantress and the Executioner both last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #103. Ditto for Loki.
- This is the first time Zemo has met the Enchantress and the Executioner. While they don’t actually refer to themselves as the “Masters of Evil” in this issue, it’s implied that Enchantress and Executioner have joined the super-villain team, because they approached him to team up.
- The Avengers (aside from Thor) haven’t really met Enchantress or the Executioner yet. Cap got knocked out from behind by the Executioner, but it doesn’t look like he saw his attacker.
- I’m going to go ahead and say that the Enchantress and Executioner are projecting their image around the world with magic, not telepathy.
- Here’s Iron Man charging his armor, once again.
Comics Are Goofy:
- “We need someone to guide us, to lead us…how about the man with a sock over his head that has been forced to flee the country?”
- I need to know where Cap got the money to pay dudes to wrestle with him.
- This story doesn’t believe in travel time. Captain America travels to South America, fights Zemo, and they fly back to NYC just in time for Thor to attack the Avengers. Is it possible? Did the Enchantress wait 20+ hours before enchanting Thor?
- That sure is a convincing mask! It’s got a back and a front! Also…Captain America has never met the Executioner. Why is a mask necessary?
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- The Enchantress’ ultimate goal is to make Thor love her. There is something profoundly sad about that, but it also highlights Stan Lee’s inability to create any other motivation for his female characters.