"The Avengers Under Siege" (1986/05/01)
"Wild In the Streets!" The Avengers 270 (August 1986)
"Breakaway!" The Avengers 271 (September 1986)
"Rites of Conquest!" The Avengers 273 (November 1986)
"Divided...We Fall!" The Avengers 274 (December 1986)
"Even a God Can Die!" The Avengers 275 (January 1987)
"Revenge" The Avengers 276 (February 1987)
"The Price of Victory" The Avengers 277 (March 1987)
Reader Rating: Extraordinary; Thunderbolts Interest: Extreme
Summary: In his most audacious plot, Zemo assembles a new Masters of Evil comprised of a dozen super-powered villains – including Blackout, the Fixer, Goliath, the Grey Gargoyle, Mr. Hyde, Screaming Mimi, the female Yellowjacket, the Wrecker, and the Wrecking Crew. Their mission: To capture the Mansion and destroy the Avengers within. Featuring Ant-Man (Scott Lang), the Black Knight, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Photon), Hercules, Paladin, the Sub-Mariner (briefly), Thor, and the Wasp.
Continuity: When a federal agent explains that "…a number of super-criminals have been broken out of prisons in recent weeks," he is providing backstory for Zemo’s activities just prior to this story. Zemo forms his first Masters of Evil.
Ebersol: The Fixer meets Rita Demara, the lady Yellowjacket. Late in the story, behind the scenes, he is waylaid in an Avengers subbasement and replaced by the Super Adaptoid (as shown in flashback in "The World According to the Adaptoid", 1987/12/04). Off screen the Adaptoid, posing as the Fixer, is arrested.
Gold: Following her capture here, Mimi is turned over to the authorities, who will later incarcerate her in The Vault.
Josten: Erik is rescued from the West Coast Avengers holding pen, which had been turned over to local authorities. Later comments by Erik suggest that he falls into a coma as a result of this defeat. He, too, will be sent to The Vault shortly following his capture.
Sofen: Moonstone's battle with Captain Marvel puts her in the hospital.
Zemo: Helmut's escape from Mother Superior and the Red Skull's castle is shown in flashback. Following his fall from a rooftop he is "whisked away by army medics." It is possible that he spends some time in custody before escaping or being released.
Comments: One of the best Avengers stories ever, this roller-coaster adventure is Helmut Zemo’s finest pre-Bolts hour. Roger Stern’s script is suspenseful and taut. After years of drawing the Avengers, the team of John Buscema and Tom Palmer are masters: enjoy the careful pacing and explosive action sequences. The Wasp shines; notice her facial expressions in "Even a God Can Die" – that’s acting! The story has also been called a "secret origin" of the Thunderbolts, as it prominently features five of the original six ‘Bolts. Nothing is perfect: "Breakaway" is marred by catastrophic coloring errors (corrected in the paperback reprint) and there are some dialogue mistakes. But these are quibbles. No fan of The Avengers, the Thunderbolts, or super-heroics in general should miss this masterwork.
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This page was revised on March 4, 2002
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