Issue(s): Avengers #15, Avengers #16
Review/plot: Captain America writes a letter to Nick Fury asking to join his counter-espionage program. I thought that was pretty cool.
The rest of issue #15 is a little... simple. The Masters of Evil attack the Avengers.
Zemo dies in a fight against Cap.
Giant-Man is wearing a new costume. It is ugly.
The issue ends with a stalemate because the Avengers don't want to get into a fight with the rest of the Masters of Evil in the streets of New York.
At the beginning of issue #16, the Avengers break the stalemate by executing "Plan D", which means Thor teleports the bad guys to another dimension (what??!?) where they can fight without injuring bystanders.
The Executioner and the Enchantress, who are able to resist Thor's teleportation, bug out and the Melter and the Black Knight are easily defeated by the other Avengers while Thor stands around with his arms crossed.
After the fight, Pym and the Wasp decide to retire and Iron Man decides to leave the team too.
Just at that moment, Hawkeye shows up.
He's reformed, Black Widow is apparently dead (shot by her Red masters, and Hawkeye couldn't bear to wait to find out her final fate), and he wants to join the Avengers. He proves it by shooting arrows at Jarvis, who he's tied up.
The Avengers contact Namor to see if he'd like to reform also, but he declines. The Avengers still think he's a swell guy, even though he wants to conquer the world.
However, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver read that the Avengers are recruiting and decide to join them as well.
There's a neat panel of some of the Avengers' villains reacting to the recruitment drive.
When Cap gets back from South America (after a long romp through the jungle with Rick, returning home after their fight with Zemo) he finds out that he's gonna be leading a whole new team.
Above is the first of many 'announcing the new lineup to the public' scenes. Iron Man is already feeling nostalgic about the battle cry that Thor came up with two issues ago.
Iron Man also has some parting words for the new team, which is lacking a bit in raw power: "Find the Hulk".
Issue #16 is interesting because all of the super-villain fighting is front-loaded; the rest of the issue focuses on the team changes and new members.
While he hasn't been a regular artist on the book since issue #8, Jack Kirby has been doing layouts since issue #14, but his absolute last issue of the Avengers is issue #16 (not counting covers), which is interesting because it's a "changing of the guard" issue.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Giant-Man is wearing his new costume, first seen in Tales To Astonish #65, in these issues. Issue #16 potentially takes place over a long period of time. There's the initial battle with the Masters of Evil, but then a potential gap before Hawkeye shows up at the Mansion. During that period, Thor has already left for the Trial of the Gods.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Triple Action #9, Marvel Milestone Edition: Avengers #16
Inbound References (27): show
When Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch assemble with the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron in May 2015, it will be exactly fifty years to the month that they first assembled with the Avengers in the comic in May 1965.
Posted by: Steven Printz | August 21, 2013 1:13 PM
The title of #16 is from Tennyson's "The Passing of Arthur": "The old order changeth, yielding place to new"
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | May 11, 2015 9:43 PM
These are two Holy Grail books back when Marvel had about 3 guys in the building! Dangerous changes like killing off ZEMO and pullin the rug out on the old line-up make these Iconic! I may have to find the Tequila I get so excited talkin Silver Age Avengers!
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | April 5, 2016 12:48 AM
The storytelling in #15 is rather jumpy; Heck really doesn't handle the cutting between the two action sequences very smoothly.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | June 13, 2016 5:21 PM
Fnord, should the Black Widow be listed in the Characters Appearing line-up? She's shown in a couple of panels in #16, albeit as part of Hawkeye's recollections.
Posted by: Shar | July 5, 2016 3:16 PM
I only count flashbacks when they occur within the timeframe of the story. Hawkeye's flashback regarding the Black Widow takes place a "week ago", so i wouldn't count it.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 6, 2016 7:22 AM
Marvel Heroes and Legends 1997 is a fleshed-out retelling of this story. Is that book considered to be in continuity?
Posted by: Steven | September 16, 2016 1:29 AM
Yes. It's listed on the What's Missing page.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 16, 2016 7:25 AM
Okay, a lot of stuff here. I place Thor#114 and part of 115 before Avengers#15 then when he leaves in #16 he leaves to finish the battle with the Absorbing Man and then off to Asgard. Daredevil's battle with the Sub-Mariner from DD#7 takes place at the same time as these stories and Namor is on his way home from that fight when the Avengers try to recruit him. FF#38 also happens during this period and when Balder comes to Earth while Thor is in Asgard, the ball of fire he arrives in frightens the Frightful Four in hiding after they blew up the FF because they think it might be the Torch coming after them.
I personally think that Avengers#16 is the most influential comic Marvel ever produced. Up until this time every superhero team added new members but almost never lost members. After this issue, it soon became common for almost every superhero team in comics (And not just Marvel but all other comics publishers) to have a constantly fluctuating lineup.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 31, 2016 10:55 PM
@ Bobby Sisemore -
That's true for the Silver Age, but in the Golden Age, over at DC, you have the Justice Society of America who had members leaving throughout the years while replaced by other members. Within the first several issues in 1941, you have both the Flash and Green Lantern leave the team.
Posted by: Erik Beck | November 1, 2016 3:01 PM
True but the JLA had this stupid rule that if they had their own title they couldn't be a full time member but both the Flash and Green Lantern returned later. The other members who left did so when their own series was cancelled.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 1, 2016 6:29 PM
Here we have the "greatest heroes" leaving the team, replaced by Cap leading a trio of reformed villains. (It's notable to that they also try to reform Namor, and then suggest re-recruiting the Hulk, both heroes who are also villains sometimes.)
Not much seems to be made of it in the comics themselves, there's little concern over whether the villains might turn back to crime (obviously we know Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver have always been portrayed quite sympathetically, but the people in the comics shouldn't know that). People should be worried about whether Cap can keep these people, who associate with evil terrorists & spies, on the straight and narrow.
Were there any DC precursors to this sort of thing? It's completely undersold here, but in a way it predicts DC's Suicide Squad of villains forming a hero team.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | April 20, 2017 2:07 PM
Will Avengers #1.1-5.1 be added to this chronology? They take place between Avengers #16 and 17
Posted by: Steven | July 14, 2017 12:02 PM
Probably not as they were published after the 2015 Secret Wars.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | July 14, 2017 7:29 PM
I know Cap is a modest guy, but it's kind of funny seeing him write a letter to Fury saying "You won't remember me, but we met in combat during the war". If memory serves, the letter never makes it to Fury, but his response would have to be something like "Captain America, national hero, who is generally depicted as having won WWII by himself, so popular in the Marvel Universe that he could be President if he wanted? Nah, doesn't ring a bell."
I guess at this point Stan is thinking of Cap as a guy who was famous in the war but was forgotten after his disappearance, & it hadn't been established yet quite how famous Cap is/was. (Maybe it's not till after the Invaders series that Cap starts getting credited for doing so much in WWII?)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | October 22, 2017 9:26 AM
But that still doesn't work. Cap might not have been as popular as he's eventually depicted as but all of Stan's stories make it clear he's famous. (For example, the warden in that Tales of Suspense story chose "Captain America" as the password to open the door and the prisoners have heard about the magnets in his shield.) Besides, how many guys in a flag costume did Nick meet during the war?
Posted by: Michael | October 22, 2017 10:15 AM
Yeah, the issue Stan's referring to (Sgt. Fury & His Howling Commandos #13) even has Fury initially being jealous of Cap's massive fame, though Cap is presumably not aware of that.
Since it's Stan, I presume he had forgotten that plot point, rather than it being intentionally ironic. (I kind of like the idea of Cap innocently unaware that he might be winding Fury up by wondering if Fury remembers the guy who got much more credit & fame than he did.)
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | October 22, 2017 10:29 AM
I took this as Cap just being quite consciously modest, humble, and self-deprecating in his letter-writing, not wishing to be perceived as "blowing his own horn" too much. As for Fury, as a member of the same generation, who came of age during the '40s, I'd assume that he would not only take it that way, but appreciate that Cap was being so modest. Stan Lee, born in 1922, was of course quite close to being the same age as these two fictional characters, as were my own parents and most of the Marvel bullpen at that time. Jack Kirby, b. 1917, Dick Ayers, b. 1924, and Don Heck, b. 1929. Artie Simek (letterer) b. 1916. I think that generation put a lot of stock in "humility," as might be supported by Odin's constant, shrill, and screaming efforts to teach Thor all about it, even at the risk of killing his own son. It might seem like obviously false modesty to us nowadays, but those guys had a different view about such things. JMHO 8) *rolls eyes*
Posted by: Holt | October 22, 2017 5:51 PM
Maybe Cap's writing as "Steve Rogers"?
Posted by: S | October 22, 2017 9:25 PM
S, That's a... very good point. I honestly hadn't even considered that angle.
After reviewing a copy of Avengers #15, exactly how Cap signed the letter is still unclear to me. Seems that it could be interpreted either way.
Avengers #15 was published in April '65. Fury joined SHIELD in Strange Tales #135, published much later, in August '65. I hadn't considered that angle either.
In fnord12's chronological placement sequence (1965 index), the order is reversed, with this story occurring 20 entries after Strange Tales #135.
Still, chronological placement doesn't really seem to matter in terms of this question. I think? Maybe? Fury was already a colonel and working in espionage before he joined SHIELD.
Chronological placement sequence has never really been my forte anyway.
In the above remarks, you suggested that Fury might never have received the letter. Can you remember where you might have read that? Now I'm starting to get curious about both of these questions.
Posted by: Holt | October 22, 2017 11:10 PM
Holt, the letter was stolen by Hydra in Avengers 19-20, which is in the Inbound References, and was found by the Swordsman.
Posted by: Michael | October 22, 2017 11:25 PM
Okay, the panel following the first scan above is on page 4, panel 4. Cap says, "I can't find the right way to say it! He'll think I'm some sort of crackpot!"
This would strongly suggest that he signed the letter as Steve Rogers.
Cap continues, "But I've got to find some full-time work for myself! I can't keep letting the Avengers foot my bills! And I'd rather be in counter-espionage than anything I can think of! All my life has been a training ground for such work!"
It still isn't clear to me-- I can kind of see how he might be reluctant to accept a paycheck as Captain America, living symbol of the good ol' US of A. He might not want Captain America to appear to be a commercial "sell-out." Okay. Yet, if he goes to work in counter-espionage as Steve Rogers, how long can he resist hopping around acrobatically and betraying his identity as Captain America? Does he want to work in counter-espionage as a "paper-pusher?" It's so confusing!
Being a living symbol with a secret identity so damn complicated! Poor Steve!
Posted by: Holt | October 22, 2017 11:42 PM
Thanks Michael. I'll try to follow up on this some time tomorrow. For now I need to try to get some "shut-eye!" |)
Posted by: Holt | October 22, 2017 11:44 PM
The letter's envelope is shown, in Avengers #19 p. 9 pan. 7, to have "The Avengers" as its return address. On p. 10 pan. 5, a Hydra agent is shown reading the letter. He says that it's from "Captain America" (& not from Steve Rogers). Thus, I'll refer back again, to my comment above, about Cap's famous humility. Odin would be proud.
Here's yet another possible minor continuity slip: In Tales of Suspense #78, Cap meets Fury for the first time since WW II, and calls him "Sarge." Yet, as we've seen here, in the first scan, and then again, in Avengers #19 p. 9 pan. 7, on the pictured letter envelope's mailing address, Cap should already know that Fury's a colonel now.
Thanks again, Michael, for your very helpful comment. I'm starting to work out how the Inbound References and References work here. Thanks as always to fnord12 for providing us with these tools which allow us to use his chronological sequencing database.
Just another little nitpick on this story now: Citing the same dialog from Avengers #15 p. 4 pan. 4, which I quoted in one of my comments above, Cap says, "I can't keep letting the Avengers foot my bills!" So, what's the difference between taking a paycheck from SHIELD, and letting the Avengers foot his bills? I'd blame his hangup on Hawkeye, but Cap hasn't even met him yet. Maybe it's Stark?
Posted by: Holt | October 23, 2017 6:15 AM
We can always blame Cap's fuzzy post-revival memories, the same ones that kept him from recognizing the Sub-Mariner in issue #4. Maybe he's covering for an inability to recall just how well he knows Fury.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 23, 2017 6:50 AM
That scene in TOS #78 (cover date Jun-Jul 1966) is also a bit of a replay on a somewhat similar scene in FF #21 (cover date Dec 1963), where WW II veteran Reed Richards meets CIA agent Col. Nick Fury for Fury's first "modern age" appearance, and their fictional first meeting since WW II, and calls him "Sarge." Maybe Jack Kirby and/or Stan Lee were also having fuzzy post-revival memories. :)
Posted by: Holt | October 23, 2017 10:11 AM
This may be a classic case of thinking too hard, especially concerning plotlines from much simpler times and for something that is a comic and was created for entertainment and escapism, rather then dealing with "relevant" issues, but technically are Wanda and Pietro illegal immigrants ? They are initially seen living in Switzerland but then travel to America to live there and work as Avengers. Did Stark manage to obtain Green Cards for them ? If so, how did he manage to convince the appropriate authorities that two very powerful people with previous strong associations with a major criminal (and whose previous trips to America may well have been illegal) should be allowed into the country ? Gyrich may well have had something to say about that.
Posted by: Mike Teague | November 21, 2017 9:58 PM
@Mike Teague: I am not sure if it's considered one hundred percent in-continuity, but the miniseries Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes II by Joe Casey, Will Rosado & Tom Palmer, published in 2006, does explain exactly how Tony Stark was able to arrange for the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to enter the United States.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 21, 2017 10:44 PM
I wonder why the Radioactive Man was not returned to the Masters of Evil in this issue, as he was an original member.
Posted by: Chris | January 9, 2018 8:26 PM
@Chris: In-story, the Handbooks later claimed he'd been deported after being arrested in #6. I've always presumed that the real reason he wasn't included was because, with the Enchantress and the Executioner on the team, Stan didn't want to overload the team with villains from Thor's rogue gallery?
Posted by: James M | January 10, 2018 2:14 AM
Well, Thunderbolts #9 features a "untold tale" flashback by Roger Stern and Ron Frenz with Radioactive Man that contradicts that deportation idea (he's staying in Chinatown, Manhattan). Sadly no acknowledgement to him dropping out of the Masters of Evil, but I get the feeling him not being used in these stories is exactly why he was chosen for the story.
Posted by: AF | January 29, 2018 3:40 PM
I agree with James M regarding the Radioactive Man's omission. On the basis that the original line-up for the Masters of Evil was to have an old foe from each Avenger's solo career, by the time we reach #15, the Enchantress and Execution had now taken the slot for Thor's old enemy.
Posted by: Mike Teague | January 29, 2018 4:44 PM
"The Avengers!! I shall never rest until they have been destroyed forever!"
I suppose we could say being a time traveller confuses things, but Immortus won't show up again for almost a decade after saying that. That's a lot of time without resting.
Posted by: Erik Beck | April 13, 2018 4:42 PM
Well, it's a decade before he shows up again, but as we know from Avengers Forever, the Avengers can't even go to the toilet without it being part of Immortus' grand plan. No wonder the poor guy can't rest!
Posted by: James M | April 13, 2018 5:37 PM
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