> Avengers Masterworks Volume 4

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From the Mouths of the Marvels:

"Give him one for me, High-Pockets! He mussed my new hair-do!

-- The Wasp, cheering her man on in battle against Pile-Driver, page 13

Hercules does a few Donovan songs for the ladies.

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Avengers #39
April 1967 20 pages

Editor: Stan Lee Script: Roy Thomas
Letters: Artie Simek
Pencils: Don Heck
Inks: George Roussos (credited as George Bell)

Lineup: Captain America Goliath Hawkeye Quicksilver Scarlet Witch Wasp

Title: "The Torment...and the Triumph!

First Appearance: Hammerhead, Pile-Driver, Thunderboot

Villain: Mad Thinker, Hammerhead, Pile-Driver, Thunderboot

Guest Appearance: Black Widow (in flashback), Hercules

Cameo: Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Sitwell

Innovations: Happy Islands nightclub, "Condition Blue", The Wasp gives Hercules the name of "Mr. Powers" for his public persona

Gadgets & Technology: Avengers' SOS System, Electro-Rod

Cool Hawkeye Arrow: "Explosi-Shaft", Suction Arrow

Letters Page: Page One Page Two

House Ad: Page One

Synopsis: Newspaper headlines ask the question "Black Widow A Traitor?" and the Avengers struggle to find meaning in all of it. Allegedly, Natasha knocked over a national defense installation in Arizona before going back behind "the Bamboo Curtain" of the Communist Far East. Little do they know that now the Black Widow is a bonafide agent of SHIELD, under the command of Nick Fury. Back at the Avengers Mansion, Hercules is spending idle time getting used to his exile. He gets a fine suit delivered to him and he gets ready to go out for the evening on the town.

Hawkeye goes out and hits the underworld streets, looking for someone with any information he might be able to use to get to the bottom of what his girlfriend is up to. He has no idea that he is about to fall into a trap set by the Mad Thinker, who has a goal to defeat the five Avengers while their leader- Captain America- is absent from their ranks. And this time, he's incorporating the "human element" into his planning, unlike his last forays into crime. Hawkeye hears a scream for help coming from an abandoned warehouse. He goes to check it out and is taken by surprise by a costumed criminal called Hammerhead, who has something like an anvil set into his head. Hawkeye seems to have him on the ropes, but an apparition of the Mad Thinker- cast by Hammerhead's image projector- distracts him and Hammerhead is able to knock him out with a final headbutt.

Hercules has made it out to the Happy Islands nightclub, where he is quite the hit with the ladies, who flock to his natural good looks. At that exact time, a Condition Blue alert comes into the Avengers HQ, which, as Goliath reminds everybody, means only two Avengers need respond. He and Jan leave Wanda and Pietro behind as they head off on their sky-cycles. They find themselves sourcing the SOS call to an abandoned construction site. They check the scene out and find a giant steam shovel dropping tons of dirt on top of them. Goliath grabs the shovel before it can drop the dirt, giving the Wasp a chance to escape. He is able to upend the steam shovel, flushing out the person who operated it, another costumed villain calling himself Pile-Driver. He uses his power gauntlets to land fierce punches onto Goliath, finally knocking both him and the Wasp out at exactly 9:53, just like the Mad Thinker predicted.

Back at the Happy Islands club, Hercules serenades the crowd by plucking a folk tune on his guitar, singing songs of his great deeds. The crowd eats it up, and Hercules feels at home. At the Avengers Mansion, Wanda and Pietro are taken by surprise by the Mad Thinker and his colleage Thunderboot, who is able to use a powerful boot he wears to create seismic waves in the ground. It keeps Quicksilver off balance so he can land a solid punch on the mutant speedster, and the Mad Thinker arranges the timing of Thunderboot's next foot-stomp so that it creates feedback when Scarlet Witch tries to cast a hex spell, knocking her out.

All five of the Avengers are captive and tied down to the Mad Thinker's Electro-Rod, where he declares he will dispose of them after an appropriate amount of time to savor his victory. But as a complete surprise to the Mad Thinker, a non-human enters the room: Hercules! He strips himself out of his suit and quickly races to aid his friends in his traditional fighting outfit. Hercules is a force incarnate against the Mad Thinker's lackeys, and as he takes care of Pile-Driver, Thunderboot and Hammerhead, the rest of the Avengers are freed after Goliath shrinks down and looses himself from his bonds. After a rallying cry of "Avengers Assemble", they make quick work of the villainous threesome. The Mad Thinker escapes, however, and as the villain wonders how to account for the power of a god in his next plan, the Avengers wonder if Hercules might not be a great addition to the roster of super-heroes.

--synopsis and panel images by Gormuu

Issues Reprinted
Avengers #31-40

Click on cover image to learn more about each issue.

AVG #31 AVG #32 AVG #33 AVG #34 AVG #35
AVG #36 AVG #37 AVG #38 AVG #39 AVG #40


All cover images are courtesy of the Silver Age Marvel Comics Cover Gallery.

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