These three issues present a story of Kang… or Kangs, as it were. The plot resembles the films Highlander or Jet Li’s The One in that one Kang tries to eliminate other Kangs created by divergences in the timeline due to all his time-travel shenanigans over the years (extending into the past and future). We also get interesting character moments with Captain America, Namor, and Captain Marvel, especially before they hook up with the Wasp, Hercules, and the Black Knight, who have the honor of confronting Kang first.
In issue #267, while the other three Avengers are getting Kanged (and dealing with protests regarding a certain new team member), two Captains and a deposed Atlantean prince are bringing their new submarine in their dock at Hydrobase. On the way, Captain America pays Captain Marvel a friendly (and work-appropriate) compliment…
…before they both take notice of an unusually chipper Namor, which gives Cap a chance to appreciate his old friend’s hidden nuances and history, especially given Monica’s reservations.
Cap-A lets Cap-M know she can use his real name, and she returns the favor—which seems to surprise him, showing that he respects others’ privacy enough not to expect them to reveal personal details to him. (Plus, it dispels any suspicions, with the earlier compliment followed by “you can call me Steve,” that he was hitting on her!)
Just then, Smiley Joe leaps out of the sea with dinner, but all Cap can think about is Monica’s discomfort with him.
It’s sweet for him to be so concerned about collegiality among the team, but I think this might be going a little too far. After all, it is Namor, and few besides Cap—and Sue Richards, wink wink—even like him.
As issue #268 opens, our three Avengers are back home, investigating the disappearance of their other teammates, with Monica playing Captain Lightbulb for Namor.
It’s not absurd, Jarvis… it’s just a Monday. Detective Cap seems to agree, before implying he can actually make use of the electronics lab.
Maybe Tony Stark give him engineering lessons in exchange for the hand-to-hand combat training?
Oops, Cap—you let it slip that you’re smart! (I see a 90s teen comedy in the works.) And even though Cap was careful not to critique Namor too harshly in the last issue, Monica obviously has no such reservations here.
Below, Jarvis observes the continuing demonstrations over Namor, and he reveals that he had qualms himself (not that anybody asked him, of course).
Well, at least he can make sure his charges are well fed… or caffeinated.
And look, Cap knows how to get a time machine working now. (Maybe it’s a new hobby he picked up to get his mind off his fiancée Bernie leaving?)
What’s that Captain Marvel said about Namor’s temper? Good thing the “Sub-Mariner whisperer” is here… gee, what can’t Cap do? Monica is certainly impressed, while Jarvis is thinking more about the protestors and how little they know about Namor.
By the time the three Avengers are ready to jump into the timestream after their colleagues, Jarvis has decided he had better speak up… not that it does any good against the man who embodies courage in the face of danger.
Eventually they meet up with the other half of the team, who manage to not crack up at seeing Namor giving Cap a piggyback ride. (I mean really, did Namor lose a bet?)
Think how impressed Monica must be with Cap now!
Before they have a chance to celebrate, Kang captures the entire team—as well as his last remaining “other” self, who is visibly ashamed that he isn’t cool enough to wear a cape—before revealing his evil plan, Bond-villain style.
In issue #269, Kang tells the story—the very very long story—of all his incarnations and battles with the Avengers and other heroes (like the Fantastic Four), and when he tries to get a “hell yeah” from Cap, our hero refuses to play along, especially if he wants the book to keep its Comics Code Seal of Approval.
Kang blathers on long enough for the Avengers to break free, and Cap leads them in battle against the Kangbots…
…before saving Captain Marvel and giving a slightly altered rallying cry. (I’m assuming he says it. Maybe they all do? Or is there a Greek chorus off panel?)
After the capeless Kang falls, the “upstart” begins to celebrate, but before he has a chance to say “there can only be one,” he finds out there is still one more left… Big Daddy Kang, if you will. (And Cap gets a great Nelson laugh moment.)
Turns out that Immortus is also the hipster Kang.
After Immortus tricks Kang into taking a sphere containing all the memories of the slain alternate-timeline Kangs, he goes mad…
…and the Avengers, admirably, condemn Immortus for it (as well as for using Kang to wipe out all the other Kangs first).
“And believe me, I’ve done some villainy in my day—have you seen the protests back home?”
Surprising no one, Immortus could not care less what the Avengers think of him..
…but actually, he wants them to regard him as a threat to keep them on their toes. (“It was all part of my plan,” mmhm.)
PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #266 and Vision and the Scarlet Witch #7 (April 1986)
ALSO THIS MONTH: Captain America #317 and Marvel Fanfare #26 (May 1986), Captain America #318 (June 1986), New Mutants #40 (June 1986), The Incredible Hulk #320-321 (June-July 1986), and Captain America #319 (July 1986)
NEXT ISSUE: Avengers #270 (August 1986)