The Avengers #22, Nov. 1965
Star-Studded story by Stan Lee!
Peerless pencilling by Don Heck!
Dazzling delineation by Wally Wood!
Lonesome lettering by Artie Simek!
Welp, the Avengers are split up thanks to the scheming of the Enchantress and Power Man… oh, let’s be honest, just the Enchantress. Power Man’s just some big dumb guy with big dumb powers, stupid big dumb stupid dummy dumdum stupid idiot. Dumb. Power.
After some in-fighting, the Avengers go their separate ways. Nobody will hire Hawkeye, Quicksilver, or the Scarlet Witch for any sort of entertainment because everybody’s afraid of them, so they finally end up trying to get a job from the Ringmaster and his “Masters of Menace”. Of all people… When he asks them to help him steal things from people, they beat up the circus of crime and the cops think that they’ve attacked an innocent circus. How embarrassing, to be outsmarted by the Ringmaster.
Meanwhile, Captain America disguises himself as a fat guy and offers Power Man and the Enchantress to start their own Avengers, claiming that he was the one who broke up the old Avengers. Power Man (THE IDIOT) brags about how it was really HIS idea, and Cap gets it all on tape. The Enchantress decides she’s done with this shit and her plan’s foiled, so she magically scampers off somewhere. Without the girl Power Man thought he had a chance with, the fight goes out of him, and the Avengers win! They’re back together for good! Except… Captain America wants to quit?!
Man, seeing the Ringmaster and his Masters of Menace show up was a hilariously unwelcome surprise. I saw that guy’s goofy moustache and hat and groaned aloud. This is their fourth appearance, and it somehow manages to be even weaker than the previous (really terrible) attempts. I hope the Punisher or somebody killed those guys in the 80’s when they went around killing off lame old villains.