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Days of Thunder June 1972 The Avengers #100

“Whatever Gods There Be”
Stan Lee presents, ponders, and presides over a centennial super-spectacular by: Roy Thomas, writer/ Barry Windsor-Smith, artist/ Inked by: Barry Windsor-Smith, Joe Sinnott, and Syd Shores/ Lettered by John Costa

Avengers 100

There has not been a break in the action of The Mighty Thor since issue #183. The Infinity story segued directly into Loki seizing control of Asgard which led directly to the unleasing of the Mangog, which led to Odin’s semi-death, which lead to the current attack by Pluto.

Published concurrent to these events, Thor has had an active role in the pages of The Avengers, where he and his teammates had been swept up into a major intergalactic conflict known as the Kree-Skrull War. All of his appearances within The Avengers for the past year and a half, including his appearance in this issue, presumably take place some time after the current issue of The Mighty Thor.

Other recent events of note within these pages:  Hawkeye has abandoned his Goliath persona, taking up archery again; The Vision and the Scarlet Witch have begun awkwardly courting each other; and it seems that Ares, the Greek god of war is up to something.

In this special centennial issue, every single living member of the Avengers past and present unite to face a dire threat. That lineup consists of Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, The Wasp, The Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, The Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, The Black Panther The Vision, The Black Knight, Hercules, and the Swordsman. Rick Jones and Black Widow are excluded, having never formally been offered membership.

It turns out that the Enchantress did not die in her previous encounter with the Scarlet Witch but merely found herself lost in another dimension. Now, the Enchantress and Ares have joined forces and gained control of the Ebony Blade, a powerful sword forged by mutant charlatan Merlin. They have conquered Olympus and plan to start a nuclear holocaust on Earth in order to rip open a passageway to Asgard. Ares desires to conquer Asgard, but the Enchantress has a darker goal: She wishes to unsheathe the Odinsword and end all things, owing to a drastic, suicidal desire to humble Odin.

The Avengers learn of the villains’ plans and confound them. Asgard and Earth are protected, while Olympus is freed. The Enchantress and presumably Ares are turned over to Zeus’ custody.

 

Days of Thunder – September 1963: Avengers #1

“The Coming of the Avengers!”

Written by Stan Lee/ Drawn by Jack Kirby/ Inking by Dick Ayers

avengers 1

The stories of Thor depicted in Journey Into Mystery have stood alone until this point. However, as of the publication of this comic magazine entitled  The Avengers, Thor becomes established as living in a overarching fictional universe shared by other heroic characters prominently featured in other comic periodicals published by what has come to be known as The Marvel Comics Group.

This story features several characters originating from other magazines. Ant-Man and The Wasp are two heroes capable of shrinking to the size of insects. Iron Man is a wealthy arms dealer wearing a transistor-powered suit of armor that secretly powers his crippled heart. The Hulk is mild mannered scientist that regularly transforms into a giant green tragic monster. Rick Jones and the Teen-Brigade are a bunch of teenage radio enthusiasts with affiliations with the Hulk. The Fantastic Four are the greatest superhero team of all time.

Despite the addition of all of these characters, this is essentially a Thor story. It begins when Loki tries to menace Thor by using Hulk as his catspaw. Follow the chain on Loki’s plan: In Asgard, Loki uses his magic to make the Hulk smash some things, which seems like the sort of thing that Hulk routinely does without divine intervention. In the Southwest, the newspaper reports that Hulk is at it again. Rick Jones reads about this in the paper and freaks out. He dispatches his Teen-Brigade to radio the Fantastic Four in New York, in case they haven’t read the paper. Loki diverts the message to Doctor Don Blake’s office radio but somehow it is also heard by Ant-Man, Wasp, and Iron Man, as well as the Fantastic Four. Mr Fantastic blows off the news, but all the other heroes show up.

Thor assumes that this must be the work of Loki because basically everything that happens to him is either the work of Loki or communists, so he heads to Asgard to confront his brother. He fights his way through a gauntlet before confronting Loki, who ambushes him with his troll allies. The trolls are apparently the natural enemies of the gods, and have an unbreakable grip. Thor beats the trolls and Loki runs away but Thor uses his hammer to soak up the strong flow of magnetic currents which apparently is what the Trolls eat, snaring Loki who is apparently magnetic. This probably has something to do with the mental link Loki shares with Thor’s hammer, established in Journey Into Mystery #85

Meanwhile, the Hulk has been hiding in the circus and we the readers are treated to maybe my favorite image that Jack Kirby ever drew:

mechano 2

The Hulk dressed as a sad clown, juggling a horse, elephant, and seal.
The heroes attack him in the middle of his act, surrounded by circusgoers. The Hulk, totally the wronged party, runs away.

As Hulk and his persecutors continue to fight, Thor returns to Earth with Loki to explain that this is the real bad guy of the story. Loki uses his magic to turn radioactive, but unfortunately for him, he happened to be standing on a trap door, which Ant-Man’s ants spring open, dropping him into a tank for storing radioactive waste.

Almost as an afterthought, the Wasp suggests that they form a team, which they do, Hulk inclusive. They call themselves the Avengers.

First Appearance: Trolls, The Avengers, Mechano