Avengers #11-12 and X-Men #9 (December 1964-January 1965)

A pair of tales featuring very stupid villains. (‘Nuff said!) PLUS the first “Avengers Vs. X-Men” story. (If only it had been the last, right? I kid, I kid…)

In Avengers #11, the Mighty Avengers meet the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man… almost. Actually, they meet a robot duplicate of Webhead built by Kang, master of… robotics? (Well, he is a descendant of Doctor Doom, so maybe it makes sense.)

The most notable thing in this issue is the formality of the Avengers’ meetings… and Hank’s growing bad attitude.

av 11 p2

Still want to be Cap’s partner, Rick?

Note also the mental backflips the Avengers go through in the middle row not to realize that Tony Stark is Iron Man. (Compared to this, Lois Lane’s being fooled by Clark Kent’s glasses is completely understandable.)

As with Wonder Man back in Avengers #9, most of the team is extremely open to welcoming a new member—even though he’s a robot…

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…except the Wasp, based on her wasp-instinct.

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One more time… wasp-instinct.

Later, after Robo-Spidey defeats the rest of the Avengers—seriously—he confronts Cap, and it’s nice to see that even an evil robot has to acknowledge the virtues of Captain America.

av 11 p16

Luckily for the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the real Spider-Man comes and defeats his digital doppelganger… by pressing its off button.

av 11 last page a

Then he leaves before meeting the Avengers, leaving one of them positively flummoxed.

av 11 last page b

In the end, it was all worth it to see Kang pout.

av 11 last page c

But… he’s in the 30th century, so the Avengers are dead… but I guess he wants them dead in the 20th century too? Maybe he should go back in time and get a clue. (Ha!)

In Avengers #12, the Mole Man has an ingenious plan to conquer the surface world—by making the Earth spin more quickly.

av 12 p4

And because the ants notice this first, and they tell Hank, but none of the other Avengers believe him.

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The part of the issue most relevant to Captain America and his ethics, though, comes when Iron Man sends him and Rick Jones to fetch some transistors, and they find thieves knocking over Stark’s place.

av 12 p12

Cap reiterates a familiar saying of his that skill and courage—and a near-indestructible shield and super-soldier serum—are all they need to deal with the crooks.

av 12 p13

It’s been a while since Cap delivered a lesson while fighting, so this is welcome return… and emphasizes that his protectiveness over Rick, based on his guilt over losing Bucky as well as general compassion, still raises his hackles, but thankfully not to the degree we saw in earlier issues.

This panel is not exactly the Pietà, but it will do.

av 12 p14

In the end, of course, the Mole Man’s plot is foiled, and he and his new friend the Red Ghost argue very demonstrably.

av 12 funny p20

ONE (MORE) FUNNY THING

The crooks discovered Cap’s true weakness… bop.

av 12 funny p12

xmen 9 coverFinally, in X-Men #9,  the mutant team meets the Avengers for the first time, and (of course) they fight, due to (of course) a misunderstanding. (I swear, Three’s Company should made been declared comics canon by now.)

Basically, the Avengers are pursuing the villain Lucifer, but Professor X has told his X-Men that Lucifer must be protected at all costs.(As superhero misunderstandings go, this is actually not that farfetched.)

And so, they fight. (Of course.)

xmen9 p11

It’s so cute when Scott Summers tries to be assertive (only to have Cap shut him down with a well-placed “son”).

Below, Cap gives his normal “we don’t want to hurt anybody but we will defend ourselves” speech, and then plays fetch with the Beast.

xmen9 p12

This oversized panel is just a great example of a large-scale fight scene from Kirby (as well as a futile “warning” from Scott that gets another “young fella” from Cap).

xmen9 p13xmen9 p15

If you’re interested in a more mature argument between Cap and Cyclops—that nonetheless ended in an eye-blast to the shield—see 2012’s Avengers Vs. X-Men #1.

av vs xmen 1

Anyway… back to 1965, where Cap acknowledges the universal sign for “end hostilities,” and suddenly develops some respect for superhero team autonomy and jurisdiction.

xmen9 p16

Amazingly, Scott comes away from this episode with more respect for humankind. (What a chump.)


ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #11, December 1964: Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Sam Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #12, January 1965: Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Sam Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Both collected in: Avengers Epic Collection: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume Two

X-Men (vol. 1) #9, January 1965: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (words, plot, pencils), Chic Stone (inks), ??? (colors), Sam Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: X-Men Epic Collection: Children of the Atom, Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Volume One


PREVIOUS ISSUE: Avengers #10 (November 1964)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Tales of Suspense #60, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #13, and Tales to Astonish #62 (December 1964) and Tales of Suspense #61 (January 1964)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #13-14 (February-March 1965)

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