Cover Date: April 1965
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Chic Stone
“Now, By My Hand, Shall Die a Villain!”
Plotters: Stan Lee, Don Heck, Jack Kirby
Scripter: Stan Lee
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Pencils: Don Heck
Inker: Mike Esposito (credited as Mickey Demeo)
What’s Going On?
Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil team up again to destroy the Avengers!
- From his secret base in the Amazon, Baron Zemo launches a new attack on the Avengers.
- The first step is to kidnap Rick Jones with an invisible “attractor beam.”
- The next step is to free the Black Knight and Melter from jail.
- From there, the villains try their best to destroy and/or delay the Avengers. The Black Knight tries to wreck their jet, but Thor leaps from the plane to thwart him.
- The Melter tries to destroy the jet, but Iron Man leaves the plane to distract him.
- The Enchantress and Executioner try using magic to stop the Avengers’ plane, so Giant-Man and Wasp disembark to fight the villains.
- That leaves Captain America alone in the jet, and he heads off to South America to rescue Rick and fight Zemo. Cap reasons that this is fitting, because Zemo really just wants him dead and cares little for the rest of the Avengers.
- Meanwhile, the Avengers and Masters of Evil prepare for battle. They don’t fight yet, and we don’t see an off-panel solution, so maybe they’ll fight next issue?
- In South America, Cap lands and successfully frees Rick. He then separates Zemo from his men, and goads the villain into an ill-advised attack that causes a rockslide. When the dust settles, Baron Zemo is dead!
Is It Good?
It’s a mixed bag. This issue fits the epic, heroes-helping-heroes tone that this title should have —- and that is welcome, after several issues spent fighting minor foes. So, from a big picture perspective, this is good.
If you stop and look at the details, though, not a lot makes sense. Why doesn’t the Melter destroy Iron Man when he has a chance? What on Earth is the deal with Black Knight’s jet-stopping handle-based weapon? Why doesn’t Zemo just go to NYC and try to kill Captain America? What, exactly, did the Executioner do in this issue?
- Baron Zemo was last seen in Tales of Suspense #60, where he was sending thugs to try and kill Captain America. He dies in this issue!
- The Enchantress and Executioner last appeared in Avengers #10.
- The Black Knight last appeared in Tales of Suspense #59. In addition to his dissolvo, itchy, and paralysis ray guns, he has a lance that fires bullets/metal coils/fire/rockets. That lance can now do something stupid involving the hilt transforming into a death circle or something.
- The Melter last appeared in Avengers #6.
- The cover corner box has changed to reflect Giant-Man’s new costume.
- This is the first time we’ve seen Captain America hide his shield in an art portfolio folder. It’s a nice nod to Steve’s history as an artist.
- The Avengers still don’t know each other’s secret identities. I mean, they all know Rick Jones (he has no hero name) and Cap (he’s a historical figure), but Iron Man, Thor, and Giant-Man & Wasp have not shared their secrets with each other. The most remarkable thing about this is the very careless manner in which Giant-Man and the Wasp have been with their secret in Tales to Astonish.
- Iron Man is charging his armor again.
- Captain America wants to get a job as a spy for America. He wrote to Nick Fury, who (as we saw in Fantastic Four #21) is now a colonel in the CIA, asking for a job in his non-Avenging time.
- Thor’s hammer is immune to the Melter’s ray.
Comics Are Goofy:
- “Immortals never forget”? You’d think that, if anything, immortals would be extra scatterbrained due to all the lifetimes of memories they have accumulated.
- Who gave the OK for the super villains to wear their costumes in prison? If scientists want to study their gadgets, wouldn’t they want to do it in a lab, away from the convicted criminals?
- Let me get this straight… the weapon is the hilt of a sword… that expands to be larger than a plane… and becomes razor sharp because reasons… and can orbit a jet? This might be the worst pseudoscientific explanation Stan Lee has ever written.
- Reading these panels, you might think that the Melter was about to destroy Iron Man. However, when the characters are shown next, four pages later, no mention of this is made.
- It’s dialogue like this that made people question whether or not Marvel could make Cap into a successful movie franchise.
Well, That Aged Poorly:
- It is cringeworthy whenever Stan Lee writes a character commenting on fashion and/or “kids these days.”
- I am so glad that Zemo dies in this issue. I am so tired of him and his Amazonian slaves who are devoid of any positive characteristics.