Avengers (Vol. 1) #11

Credits:

Cover Date: December 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers, Steve Ditko, Chic Stone

“The Mighty Avengers Meet Spider-Man”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Don Heck

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

Kang the Conqueror, realizing that the Avengers are vulnerable without Iron Man, decides to attack. He sends a robot back in time to defeat the heroes.

Details:

  • With Iron Man missing in action, Kang the Conqueror decides that now is the time to attack the Avengers.
  • Kang is no fool, though. He doesn’t want to attack the Avengers directly. Instead, he builds a robot to act in his stead; he designs it to look like Spider-Man, so the Avengers are inclined to trust it.
  • After Kang sends his Robo-Spidey back to the 20th century, it quickly helps and befriends Captain America.
  • Robo-Spidey asks to join the Avengers. When they are reluctant, he pretends to know Iron Man’s whereabouts.
  • Robo-Spidey directs the Avengers to a remote temple in Mexico, and they all leave separately to find Iron Man. From his vantage point in the 30th century, Kang shifts Robo-Spidey in time and space so he can arrive with the first Avengers. “Spidey” then attacks the heroes, one by one.
  • Robo-Spidey takes down the Avengers pretty easily. But before he can transport them all to the 30th century, he is stopped by the real Spider-Man!
  • The Spider-Men begin to fight:
  • The real Spidey manages to deactivate Robo-Spidey, and leaves without explaining himself to the Avengers. Luckily, Captain America watched their fight and pieces together what happened.
  • The Avengers frees themselves from where Robo-Spidey has trapped them. After Cap explains that they were fighting a robot, they realize that Kang must have been pulling their strings, all along!

Is It Good?

It’s not awful, but it’s full of a lot of dumbness. First of all, Kang’s plan doesn’t make sense. If he was willing to face the Avengers head-on two issues ago, why is he reluctant now? Why does he want the Avengers transported to the future? Why are the Avengers so suspicious of Spider-Man, but are willing to bend over backwards to try and get the Hulk back on their side? There are no solid answers here.

Continuity:

  • This story takes place after the events of Tales of Suspense #61, which has a cover date of January 1965. Tony Stark is presumed dead, and Iron Man is missing in action.

  • The Wasp has a new costume! She is now rocking a cowl with a protruding “W.”
  • Iron Man was granted a leave of absence from the team, in absentia, by the other Avengers.
  • Kang last appeared in Avengers #8.
  • It’s worth noting that the Avengers haven’t really interacted with Spider-Man before. Captain America and Thor have never met him, he was rude to Iron Man a few times, and Giant-Man and the Wasp attacked him once.
  • Apparently, the Executioner is supposed to be 6’6”? That’s weird, because he looked to be about 8’ tall in his first appearance.
  • Hmm…Ant-Man/Giant-Man has a “cybernetic sense” that can detect danger? Let’s see if this ever is mentioned again. Hint: it won’t be.
  • Spider-Man’s webs are strong enough to prevent Thor’s hammer from returning to him?!?
  • The “Captain America has no super-powers” narrative is still going strong.

  • We have a Kang pin-up! Those are some tall boots! I find it interesting that this pin-up makes a point of connecting Kang to Doctor Doom; he’s the future version of Rama-Tut, who has a possible connection to Doom, but Kang hasn’t really addressed that yet.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • “Master of many sizes”? Man, wish this nickname caught on.
  • So Kang can create fantastic robot duplicates of people, but he can’t program them not to fight each other?
  • In case you are wondering, the villains in the above image are (L-R) Radioactive Man, the Unicorn, Mysterio, Magneto, and Doctor Doom. The first three are curious inclusions; Doctor Octopus, Loki, and the Mandarin are all better bad guys than those losers.
  • It is absolutely ridiculous that this has become a recurring bit between Spider-Man and the Wasp.
  • Thor gets mad when “Spider-Man” explains that he witnessed Iron Man getting kidnapped, but did not immediately come to the Avengers or try to help. That is extremely fair, so I find it funny that Giant-Man is just like, “hey, you’ve got to pick and choose what you give a crap about.”
  • Too bad this didn’t become the Avengers battle cry:
  • This is a terrible standard operating procedure. If you’re all going to the same place, the ones that can’t fly should definitely carpool.
  • I am honestly shocked that fly swatters have not been used against the Wasp before.
  • If Thor has pledged to never harm mortals, he’s definitely broken that pledge in his title, because half of his villains are mortals.
  • It’s great that you filled the inside of the tomb with nerve gas, Kang. Too bad the Avengers were mostly fighting outside of the tomb.
  • Is this temple supposed to be a real ancient structure, or a time machine designed by Kang? It would have to be a time machine, right? But then, how would the Avengers all know how to find it, if it wasn’t a true (and noteworthy) ancient structure?
  • In case you were wondering how the real Spider-Man got to the pyramid, well…that’s not explained. Why he’s there, though, is explained: he doesn’t like copycats.
  • Apparently, Kang’s plan was to defeat the Avengers and have them sent to the future because…um, villainous reasons, I guess?

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • One of these days, the Wasp is going to develop a personality beyond “vain female.”

Behind the Scenes:

  • Jack Kirby never got a good handle on drawing Spider-Man — the costume and body poses in particular never look right when he’s drawing Spidey — so I wasn’t surprised to find that the internet (specifically, Nick Caputo) believes that Steve Ditko did the pencils for Spidey on this cover, and maybe Giant-Man and the Wasp. He also believes that Chic Stone (who hadn’t worked on Spidey before) inked Spider-Man, which might explain why the eyes are not blacked in.

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