Tag Archives: Zemo

The Avengers #15, Apr. 1965

The Avengers #15, Apr. 1965

Script: Stan Lee
Layouts: Jack Kirby
Pencilling: Don Heck
Inking: Mickey Demeo
Lettering: Artie Simek

Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil are easily the best villains in these early Avengers issues. We’ve got most of ol’ Baghead’s team in this one, too; the Executioner, the Enchantress, the Melter and the Black Knight. All we’re missing is Radioactive Man, but that’s no big loss.

Zemo’s got the gang back together and he’s come up with the perfect plan to destroy the Avengers once and for all: Step one, kidnap Rick Jones, the young friend of Captain America. Step two, do the exact same thing they always do and just straight-on attack everybody. Step three, lose just like always. Wait, shit, there had to have been a better last step to this plan… Really, it ends up even worse than normal, because Zemo manages to get himself killed in a rock slide when he tries to shoot Cap with a ray gun. And, since this is a comic book, he is certainly dead and will always be that way forever. Poor guy. First he glues a bag on his head and now this…

I love this panel. The pretty girl that everyone’s looking at looks like a robot, the fat guy with the moustache and cop are just evilly leering unabashedly, and the other woman in the background just looks annoyed or upset for some reason. Meanwhile, Dr. Don Blake realizes that if this is really all it takes to keep people from noticing him turning back from being Thor, maybe he doesn’t even really need to bother with finding a back alley to change in. I mean, Superman changed clothes in a phone booth, and those things are like 60% windows.

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Tales of Suspense #60, Dec. 1964

Tales of Suspense #60, Dec. 1964

Written by the King of Comi-drama: Stan Lee
Illustrated by the Master of Panoramic Spectacle: Don Heck
Inked by the Prince of Line Design: Dick Ayers
Lettered by the Sultan of Shaky Borders: Sam Rosen

In all the world, none but Stan Lee, writer, and Jack Kirby, artist, could have brought you such a tale!
Inked by Chic Stone
Lettered by Art Simek

I actually like the whole overarching plot of Tony Stark not being able to take off his Iron Man armor or else he’ll die, so he has to pretend that Tony is off missing somewhere. I’m pretty sure he would eventually be the first Marvel hero who’s secret identity is revealed (but don’t quote me on that. For accurate quoting on that, you’ll probably want to check Wikipedia, which somehow manages to be nerdier than this blog. DAMN THEM), and this is just a good reason why it would be okay for him to do that. Seriously, of any super hero, Tony would be the one least effected by having his identity revealed.

Happy and Pepper are suspicious about their super-rich boss’ bodyguard who claims that he’s out of town and has left him in charge with the keys to the safe and everything, for SOME reason. Meanwhile, the Black Widow tells Hawkeye to break into one of Stark’s factories to steal some secrets or something and, because he’s in love (d’aww), he does just that. Well, if there were any secrets to steal, that is. Apparently all the plans for everything are inside Tony’s head (what a horribly inefficient way to run a business). Also, Iron Man appears in the middle of his heist and after a brief scuffle, Hawkeye shoots a line onto a passing plane and heads off to communist Russia on the same plane the Black Widow’s being taken on by some evil commie… guys. Except I guess he rides on the outside of the plane the whole time. The things people do for love…

Meanwhile, Captain America is doing some weird charity work that apparently involves him fighting off a troupe of trained acrobats in front of a live audience. Little does he know that the villainous idiot who glued a bag on his head Baron Zemo has replaced them all with KILLERS! HORRIBLE KILLERS! TERRIBLE KILLERS whom Cap still has no problem kicking the shit out of, despite the fact that they have guns and sleeping gas and one guy has a weird metal fist contraption thing. Rick Jones calls the cops but… well, what do you need a squad of policemen for if you have Captain America there, really?

I don’t have anything else to say about the Cap story (besides that it’s hilariously awesome), so instead I want to talk about this Iron Man panel. He flies off to some rocky shoal to brood alone (I’m assuming) and calls the Avengers to tell them he needs some alone time. Thor apparently answers the video phone with arms akimbo, haughtily granting permissions left and right. Not only is this hilarious, but it’s completely believable and in character for the God of Thunder to be this silly. And that is why it’s great to have a Golden Age-style character mixed in with the rest of these guys with personal problems and brooding sadness. Because of the way he answers the phone.


The Avengers #10, Nov. 1964

The Avengers #10, Nov. 1964

Story superbly written by: Stan Lee
Art adorably drawn by: Don Heck
Inked by: Darlin’ Dick Ayers
Lettered by: Stalwart Sam Rosen

I must seem completely wishy-washy, as I’ve done pretty much nothing but praise Captain America since he re-entered comics in the Silver Age, but this issue just has way too much Cap in it. I know, I know. You just can’t please a guy like me. But seriously, Thor, Giant Man and Iron Man do basically jack shit in this issue, and Cap has to save them all single-handedly against enemies they’ve had to band together to fight off before. Thor is still a god, right?

Zemo and his Masters of Evil are visited by a fella named Immortus, who is apparently the master of Limbo, and he can control time or something. He offers to help them defeat the Avengers, because… wait, what do the Masters of Evil have to do with any of this? Anyway, Immortus’ plan involves putting an ad in the paper that promises super powers to anyone, in order to get Rick Jones to come by, since he wants to join the Avengers but Cap doesn’t want to put him in danger like he did with Bucky. Since Rick’s disappeared, Cap finds out and goes to Immortus, who tells him that it was all the plan of the Avengers, and that he needs to bring them all there so he can prove it.

For some reason, Captain America believes Immortus, and insanely fights the rest of the Avengers until they agree to visit Immortus with him. Immediately after getting there, Immortus reveals that it was a trick, and summons people from “history” to fight each of the Avengers one-on-one. Giant Man fights Goliath (the Biblical one), Iron Man fights Merlin, and Thor fights Hercules (though this isn’t the GOOD Hercules that would eventually be a normal part of Marvel continuity). He takes Cap back to the Tower of London in the 1700’s, where he’s imprisoned Rick Jones, and tells him if he can beat all these crusaders, he can go back. Meanwhile, in the future (AAARRGHH), Zemo, the Executioner, and the Enchantress decide to attack the Avengers, now that they’re missing Cap. Cap comes back in the middle of the battle which the other Avengers are terribly losing and saves them all, so the Enchantress casts a spell that makes the whole thing never have happened.

Okay, so another big problem I had with this issue was all the retarded time travel and the “it was all a dream” ending, because I absolutely hate that shit, but still, why was it that Cap was the only one able to do anything the whole time? Also, what the fuck, Immortus, why can you only get fictional characters from “history”? He also summons Paul Bunyan and Attila the Hun (okay, ONE real person) during his first demonstration to the Masters of Evil. What a retarded villain.

 


The Avengers #9, Oct. 1964

The Avengers #9, Oct. 1964

Sensationally written by: Stan Lee
Superbly illustrated by: Don Heck
Selectively inked by: Dick Ayers
Sufficiently lettered by: Art Simek

So… the Avengers are still awesome, huh? Guess so. This issue introduces and subsequently kills off the “villain” Wonder Man, who is just a really neat character. They later replicate his same powers with a much more evil personality in “Power Man”, but I’ll always remember the cool story that came with Wonder Man instead of the usual ‘creating a character that can be used over and over again’. What’s his story? Read on, gentle viewer!

Baron Zemo, the Enchantress and the Executioner are caught somewhere between the sixth and seventh dimensions (I hate when that happens) until Zemo whines about it enough that the Enchantress finally decides to use her magic to get them back to Earth. Zemo’s got a new plan to take out the Avengers, which revolves around turning some guy into a new superhero. They find an inventor who’s gone broke due to the fact that his¬†competitor, Tony Stark, is way better at what he does, and brings him back to their lab in South America. With a zap of a ray, he’s transformed into Wonder Man, who’s stronger than Giant Man, has impervious skin, and who can fly with little rockets in his belt. The downside is that, unless he keeps getting blasts of this ray once a week, he’ll die. This’ll make sure that he stays loyal to Zemo, the little scamp.

The plan is this: Wonder Man goes to the Avengers claiming to want to join them. His original alibi doesn’t sit well with Cap, so the Enchantress uses a spell to make them instead think that he came to them for help with his dying problem. While the Avengers are trying to figure out a way to help the guy, he kidnaps the Wasp and lures them to Zemo’s lab, where he unexpectedly turns against them, and actually manages to beat them to a point where they’re vulnerable to being killed by the evil Zemo (he stuck Thor down a hole without his hammer, if you were wondering). However, Wonder Man has a moral crisis about killing these guys who wanted to help him and accepted him readily, and eventually decides that his life isn’t so great that he’s going to let this injustice happen, and turns against Zemo and the Asgardians, making them run.

Damn, how’s that for a single issue villain? I’m sure either he or someone else with the same name and powers will eventually come back (this is comic books, after all), but I really like how he’s not just some dumb one-time gag villain, and yet they only use him once specifically for the sake of having an interesting, unique plot. That’s what the Silver Age of comics is all about, and that’s the kind of shit I’m really interested in when it comes to writing this book thing.


The Avengers #7, Aug. 1964

The Avengers #7, Aug. 1964

Magnificently written by: Stan Lee
Majestically illustrated by: Jack Kirby
Masterfully inked by: Chic Stone
Meticulously lettered by: Art Simek

There’s so much great stuff in this issue, where do I even begin? Really, apart from the unfortunately anti-climactic ending, this is solid gold the whole way through. It’s no wonder why I’m so eagerly looking forward to the Avengers movie (though I admit, I’m less enthusiastic since Jon Favreau dropped out of the project).

Captain America is brooding about the loss of his sidekick Bucky back in WWII. It really tears him up that he wasn’t able to save the kid, and he flies off the handle when Rick Jones walks in dressed in Bucky’s outfit, which he found somewhere. Meanwhile, in Asgard (now THAT’S a segue), Odin is kicking out the Enchantress and the Executioner, for being bad bad people. They’re banished to Earth, which they know basically nothing about, so they decide to contact someone who can help them get revenge on Thor: Dr. Zemo, who recently fought and escaped from the Avengers. With his help, the three come up with a plan to take out both Thor and Captain America. Yay, teamwork!

Their plan is this: The Enchantress works her magic (which is lessened by the exile, but still pretty impressive) to hypnotize Thor into thinking the rest of the Avengers are bad guys, and only he can defeat them. This is… bad. He nearly takes out Giant Man and the Wasp when Iron Man finally arrives on the scene to help them out (let’s face it, those two are useless). Ol’ shellhead realizes that something is obviously wrong with Thor, so he un-hypnotizes him with one of his devices. Strangely, this is a power that’s already been established that Iron Man can do. Thor realizes who done him wrong, and they go after the baddies.

Meanwhile, in the jungle kingdom of Dr. Zemo, Captain America has taken a plane by himself to take down the behooded monarch. After a short and ridiculously one-sided battle (Captain America versus an army with machine guns? Yeah, that army doesn’t stand a chance), Zemo tries to escape and regroup with his new partners, and Cap hitches a ride on the outside of his plane, apparently all the way back to New York. The bad guys rendezvous, and the Executioner easily knocks Cap out so they can get away before Thor gets there. The rest of the Avengers arrive, and Thor sends the plane through some lame “space vortex” which will take them… somewhere.

See? THREE paragraphs of description! I must’ve really cared about this ish. Still, by and far the best part is Cap’s struggle with the crushing guilt of the death of Bucky. This panel may seem kinda raunchy out of context, but in the actual comic, it’s kinda chilling. The most difficult thing with making superheroes relatable is giving them flaws. On one side, if the character is awesome and everything is great, he makes for a very heroic superhero, but also a very boring character. On the other hand, if the character’s just loaded with flaws, he’s not necessarily the kind of guy you can rely on to be a superhero, which is really Spider-Man’s biggest weakness. Captain America, with this anger at himself and the guilt over the loss of his young friend’s life, manages to hit that perfect balance in between the two. Not only is Captain America a fucking awesome hero, he’s an incredibly well-put-together character, and you really relate to him. So that’s part of my philosophy on why Captain America is the greatest comic book character. Of course, if you’d rather take this panel as Cap yelling at a stripper, then I will totally not stop you from imagining that hilarious scenario.