Friday, August 17, 2018

The Betrayal Of The Avengers!

Dissension In The Ranks

When resentments and disagreements boil over,
even allies can turn against each other in fierce battle that can bring the house down.

(And often does!)


The Avengers

When the Masters of Evil were without the services of the Melter and the Black Knight, and its core group numbered only three--Zemo, the Executioner, and the Enchantress--the time was right for Immortus, in his first appearance, to insinuate himself into their group as its newest member, an offer Zemo took him up on after seeing a demonstration of the mysterious applicant's abilities. Still, Zemo was savvy enough to insist on a test: that Immortus destroy one of the Avengers. To Zemo's astonishment, Immortus offered to destroy all of them.

To that end, he lures Captain America to his lair by kidnapping Rick Jones, in a scheme to ensnare all of the other Avengers with Cap's unwitting assistance. As you'd imagine, Cap's mood is dark when he arrives to confront Immortus.

In these early days back in circulation, Cap suffered from PTSD in terms of his guilt over the death of his young former partner, Bucky Barnes, while also morose at feeling like a man out of time. So the thought of Rick's life being put in danger due to his association with him would have a profound effect on Cap's usually collected demeanor that would normally have him sizing up this foe and deciding on the best way to handle his threat.

Instead, Cap basically loses it--storming into Avengers H.Q. and, of all things, demanding to face the Avenger who delivered Rick to Immortus, an assumption springing in part from a bogus ad found in Rick's room that promised super-powers to those who responded, in tandem with an earlier motion by Iron Man to grant Rick formal Avengers membership as well as a uniform (both of which Cap rejected). In Cap's crazed state of mind, however, his reasoning is completely twisted around, as he appears to fall for the bill of goods Immortus has sold him regarding the other Avengers.

To see the Avengers respond to Cap's all-out attack against them almost gives the impression that, even pared down to three, the Masters might have no trouble in a well-planned assault against them. To be charitable, we could chalk up the Avengers' disarray to their concern not to harm this one man scattering them like amateurs. (Yes, that's it.) Though since Immortus is no doubt monitoring the brawl, it might seem to him that the other Avengers would probably be easy pickings if he'd only captured Cap instead of Rick.

As it is, it's certainly not a stretch to think that Cap is capable of taking the Avengers all by his lonesome--a skilled tactician who can exploit his teammates' weaknesses and keep them from ganging up on him by using a hit-and-run approach with each of them.

With everyone on the same page vis-à-vis Immortus, Cap returns to him with the Avengers in tow. But Immortus finds that the other Avengers are more formidable than he realized, and so settles for capturing Cap and traveling with him to the past where Rick is being held. Cap, of course, fights his way to Rick's side, despite the hordes of fighters that Immortus sends against him; meanwhile, the Masters have decided to launch an all-out attack against the other Avengers now that Immortus has left them vulnerable. Indeed, the Avengers, demoralized by Cap's uncertain fate, appear overwhelmed by their foes and on the verge of defeat.

But with Cap prevailing against his opposition in the past and freeing Rick, Immortus holds to his pledge to return Cap to the present--and it's a whole new ball game.

As we can see, the Enchantress, like Immortus, can also make use of time to serve her ends--in this case, to save herself and the others by effectively making sure that this entire debacle never begins in the first place. Thus, the Avengers now have no memory of events that occurred after their meeting adjourned, to the detriment of a certain teenage sidekick whose hopes must be dashed once more.

Too bad, Rick--you were THIS close.


George Chambers said...

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that this is the very worst of the early AVENGERS tales. It seems to me that its whole purpose was to boost Captain America, but in doing so it had to hand him the Idiot Ball early on. So it's easier for you to believe that the Avengers betrayed you than it is to consider that this guy you never met just might be lying to you? Gosh, Steve - I've got this nice bridge you may be interested in. Also, Immortus is a terrible villain. He has no agenda! Why would he even need Zemo and co.?

And if the Enchantress can just reboot the last couple of days (and incidentally render the whole issue a waste of time and money), then why didn't she just Groundhog Day the Avengers into defeat?

Finally, Stark's utterance: "Why don't we make his membership official, as the Wasp's is..."

Urgh. Okay, nobody hates the Wasp more than me. She was useless. But damnit Stan, I mean Tony, her name's on the charter! That's what charter member means! Your misogyny's showing, Stan, I mean Tony.

Britt Reid said...

1) Cap is, well, CAPTAIN AMERICA!
Just as The Batman can theoretically take out any other JLAer, Cap, who knows the other Avengers' quirks and weaknesses, can use them to advantage.
2) The Avengers (and other hero groupings) tend to hold back to avoid harming one of their own, not knowing if he/she's...mind-controlled, nuts, or attempting some strategic move because an enemy is watching.
Remember a schizo Ant-Man (Hank Pym), who had forgotten everything after Avengers #1, took out a group including Cap, Iron Man, the Vision, Wonder Man, the Scarlet Witch, and the Beast in Avengers V1#161!
And that was without using his Giant-Man/Goliath abilities!

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Yes, the words of the early Avengers tales for all the reasons George mentions. And that's without Immortus plucking out "Hercules", "Merlin" and "Paul Bunyan" for three embarrassingly fast one-on-one fights with Thor, Iron Man and Giant Man respectively.

And I have to say the art work in issues 9-11 is awful.

I would be surprised if there were any worse Avengers issues ever.

Comicsfan said...

George, so many good points--well said! And good grief, I'd never noticed that offhand comment by Iron Man about the Wasp, even after all this time. So Jan was made an "official" Avenger why, exactly? Because she and Giant-Man came as a set? Or was it because everyone remembered that she named the group?

Britt, yes, points to the Avengers for keeping the gloves on during Cap's attack. As for your example of Ant-Man, it's probably more fair to say that he took on the group rather than taking them out, though like Cap he did an excellent job of keeping them from getting their act together (and as Yellowjacket, he also did quite well against their show of force).

dangermash, a poll of "worst Avengers issues ever" must have been taken by some resourceful blogger at some point--but if not, it's certainly food for thought. I imagine just about everyone could come up with a top 10 list just off the top of their head.