Avengers (Vol. 1) #10

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone

“The Avengers Break Up!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

The villainous Immortus plucks various historical figures from the past, and has them battle the Avengers, with Rick Jones’ life in the balance!

Details:

  • At the weekly Avengers meeting, Iron Man suggests that they make Rick Jones an official member of the team, with a costume and a code name. Captain America is not ready for that, even with the rest of the team’s support and Rick’s eagerness.

  • Meanwhile, in Baron Zemo’s Amazon headquarters, the Masters of Evil are approached by Immortus, master of Limbo. He offers to join them, as it will help him with his long-term plan of conquering the 20th century. To prove his loyalty, he is tasked with defeating a single Avenger. He confidently boasts that he will conquer them all.

  • Immortus’ first move is to capture Rick Jones, and hold him hostage. He does so by luring Rick to an address, with the promise of gaining super-powers.

  • Rick is transported to the year 1760, and kept prisoner in the Tower of London.

  • Captain America noticed that Rick was missing and, after chatting with the Teen Brigade, reads the super-powers ad Rick saw, and concludes that it was an obvious trap. He goes to the address, looking for a fight —- and he finds Immortus!

  • Immortus tells Cap that the Avengers told him to kidnap Rick if he wanted to control Captain America. Cap says he doesn’t believe Immortus, but Immortus tells him to bring the Avengers back to that location, and he’ll prove it.

  • So, Captain America heads back to Avengers headquarters and…let’s say he “aggressively questions” his fellow Avengers.

  • After a scuffle, the Avengers agree to go with Captain America. When they meet Immortus, he admits that kidnapping Rick was just a ploy to draw the Avengers to him.

  • Immortus agrees to free Rick…if each Avenger can defeat a warrior of his choosing, plucked from the past to battle!

  • Immortus chooses Goliath to fight Giant-Man…

  • …Merlin to battle Iron Man…

  • …and Hercules for Thor…

  • …and the Avengers defeat their enemies, one by one. Immortus doesn’t like that, so he grabs Captain America and travels back to the Tower of London, where Rick is being held. If Cap can defeat the guards, he earns Rick’s freedom…assuming Immortus honors his deal.

  • With Captain America gone, the Masters of Evil decide to attack!

  • The Masters of Evil mix things up, and attack Avengers that they hadn’t previously fought. It helps them get an early advantage…

  • …until Cap returns from the past (yes, he saved Rick) and turns the tide in the heroes’ favor!

  • Faced with defeat, the Enchantress casts a spell to undo the events since the Masters of Evil first met Immortus.

  • Basically, the Masters of Evil travel back in time by a day or two, to just before Immortus contacted them for the first time. Only these three remember what happened, and they have no intention of going through it again. When Immortus tries to contact them to team up, they ignore him.

Is It Good?

Not especially. There are some choices that are very funny from the modern perspective, but as a story, this isn’t good. I don’t understand why the Masters of Evil keep recurring as villains, and yet do so very little. I don’t get why Stan Lee would want to write another time traveling villain, just two issues after debuting Kang. I especially don’t understand why Immortus is able to pull mythological figures out of the time stream, like they were ever real people. It’s not boring, but it is a mess.

Continuity:

  • This is the first time readers have been told that the Enchantress and Executioner are not at full power. In Avengers #7, Odin took away some of their enchanted weapons, but no adjustment to their power levels was shown.

  • This is the first appearance of Immortus. He is the lord of Limbo, an alternate dimension. He can travel through time and uses time-displaced historical figures to do his dirty work.

  • At this point, Immortus’ connection to Kang/Rama-Tut has not been established.
  • Immortus’ Limbo may not be the same Limbo used by the Executioner, Loki, or the Phantom Stranger in the past. There may be many Limbos, for all we know.
  • Paul Bunyan is apparently a historical figure in the Marvel universe.
  • Merlin last appeared in Journey Into Mystery #96, although he appeared much younger in that appearance. But with Merlin’s screwy aging, is that a surprise?
  • This isn’t the first appearance of Attila the Hun. He last appeared in 1944’s Mystic Comics (Vol. 2) #2. I’m going to go ahead and say that Marvel doesn’t care about continuity for Attila.
  • This is the first appearance of Hercules, but it appears that this Hercules isn’t the same guy that will later be an Avenger.
  • Captain America can apparently deflect a blow from Thor’s hammer with ease.

  • This is the first time anyone has said “Avengers assemble!”

  • Technically, since Enchantress reverses time, the events of this issue never happen. So, I guess the Avengers won’t remember meeting Immortus, and he won’t recall meeting the Masters of Evil.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Despite the title of this issue, the Avengers don’t ever appear to be close to breaking up.
  • Yeah, Thor, he has no super-powers. He is just a genetically-modified super-soldier. Nothing special about him.

  • “We can always attack” would be a great yearbook quote for villains.

  • Immortus can pick warriors from any time period and have them (or someone pretending to be them, I suppose) fight on his behalf. Now think about who you would pick to fight for you. Was it…Paul Bunyan? If yes, you might be Immortus!

  • This is a beautiful plan. Immortus pays for an ad in a comic book, assuming Rick will A) see the ad B) want to reply to the ad, and C) go to the address instead of mailing in his request, like the ad tells him to. It’s also worth noting that Immortus doesn’t bother to employ a secretary to shoo away undesirable applicants; he mans the front desk by himself!

  • I love that Immortus doesn’t even try to pretend here. If he’s so powerful and wants to see the Avengers together, why doesn’t he just go to their headquarters himself?

  • It’s kind of funny that Immortus chose Goliath to battle Giant-Man, right? I mean, since Immortus has studied the Avengers and can travel through time, he probably knows that Hank Pym eventually adopts the code-name Goliath, right?
  • The Masters of Evil are monitoring the Avengers, and decide that they should attack when Captain America is gone. They are able to get ready, fly from South America to NYC, and start a fight with the Avengers in the time it takes for Cap to beat up some 18th century guards? How many guards were there?!?

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