These two issues see Captain America and the rest of the Avengers in space for the first time in quite a while, summoned by their former teammate Moondragon to help her and her father Drax (later to be a Guardian of the Galaxy) deal with some strife on the planet Ba-Bani. But all is not what it seems, believe it or not!
Before all this happens, though, the individual Avengers—a quartet for now—are going about their business, which for Cap means stopping a robbery in progress. (I find the one in the purple coat, Squid, to be admirably self-aware.)
But while Cap takes care of another one, he’s on the receiving end of a psychic blow (as are his fellow Avengers), after which he takes off, only to be defended by Squid himself to his fellow burglars.
Yeah Eliot, shaddup!
The Avengtastic Four follow their psychic summons to a ship that Thor identifies as Moondragon’s, which surprises no one. (By the way, Janet was caught out of costume when she got the call, and had nothing but a handkerchief to wear to the party.)
The team lets themselves be drawn into the ship, with their leader the Wasp the only one who suspects a trap…
…until they realize that the ship had already taken off. Drax appears on a display screen to explain why they were summoned: to help quell a rebellion on a war-torn planet that he and Moondragon recently helped find peace.
Once on Ba-Bani, the Avengers ask for directions—Cap as polite as ever with the inhabitants—and before long are reunited with their hosts.
Several of the team make note of their resentment at the manipulations that brought them to her, while Moondragon expresses both praise and sympathy for Janet, given her election to team leader after her recent ordeal with her ex-husband Hank Pym.
Moondragon explains the situation and the Wasp agrees to have the team help her, all the while aware that her mind is not what it normally is.
The Avengers engage with the rebels, and Janet is still torn, especially considering Moondragon’s role in “managing” the people of this world. Iron Man and Cap are similarly conflicted, not sure which side is which side or if they’re on the right one.
(As Cap’s final thought above suggests, Thor is not conflicted in the least, the ramifications of which will be significant very soon.)
Later in the battle, Cap gets blasted off his sky-sled—luckily, Tony is there to save him from falling to his death, but not from beating himself up over it, as Janet clearly notices.
As it turns out, the rebels Janet is addressing are the leaders, whose capture stops the rebellion in its tracks. Moondragon thanks the Avengers, who go their separate ways to relax. Only Cap and the Wasp stick together, and after Janet finds a proper costume at last, they share their suspicions about their host’s continued mindgames. (And she’s too modest: She had her doubts from the beginning too.)
After they talk to some of the Ba-Bani on both sides of the fight, their suspicions are confirmed.
Meanwhile, Iron Man and Drax, after comparing notes, both realize the same thing about Moondragon, who solidifies her control over Thor (after “confessing” to her earlier machinations).
In issue #220, the three non-Asgardian Avengers and Drax compare notes, with Cap and Janet adding historical context (each in their own way!).
Our heroes follow an enraged Drax to find his daughter, all of them aware now of the psychic threat she poses.
(I too know the danger of Moondragon’s wicked mind-control, which often prevents me from making progress on my writing, especially when there are puppy videos on Twitter… that she makes me look at, of course!)
Unfortunately, when our new quartet arrives at Moondragon’s temple, they’re greeted by her lover and defender, Thor… which, again, surprises no one.
Despite Cap’s sound strategy, Thor tosses the sled aside, and the teammates continue to fight until Thor catches the Wasp and she tries to reason with him…
…which the others take up as well, until even Thor admits he may be under her control. He tests this by reverting to Donald Blake—which does come as a surprise to the team leader.
They all confront Moondragon, who psychically defeats Drax and then unwittingly lets the Avengers know how to defeat her…
…which the Wasp happily does.
As the team takes Moondragon and Drax onboard the ship what brought ’em, they hear the Ba-Bani fighting again, and Janet wonders, yet again, if they’re doing the right thing by leaving.
Unfortunately, Drax succumbs to the effects of his daughter’s psychic attack…
..and after Thor takes Moondragon to Asgard to face divine justice, the Avengers return to Earth and send Drax into space on the ship for a warrior’s funeral, with Cap giving the solemn eulogy followed by a respectful salute.
Drax does return, of course: As revealed later, Moondragon actually forced her father’s life essence to leave his body, and he was reconstituted later by Chronos, god of the Eternals.
Collected in: Avengers: The Trial of Yellowjacket.
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #218 and The Death of Captain Marvel (April 1982)
NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #221-222 (July-August 1982)