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.
- 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.
- 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.