Issue(s): Avengers #21, Avengers #22
The two then set off on a complex scheme to ruin the Avenger's reputation. It mostly involves the Enchantress creating illusions of monsters that only the Avengers can see, resulting in property damage.
Power Man also plays the role of a new superhero ready to take the Avengers' place.
Captain America is having a really hard time earning the respect of the new Avengers...
...(except for the Scarlet Witch who quivers with excitement every time he touches her)...
...and he seems to be making a lot of bad decisions and taking stupid risks to prove himself.
This internal strife along with the Enchantress and Power Man's plot cause the Avengers to break up. Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch join the Circus of Crime (they don't realize it's not a legitimate circus)...
...and wind up on the run from the law.
Cap eventually clears everyone's name by posing as a promoter and getting Power Man to confess that the Avengers were set -up (Captain America, master of disguise).
But after it's all over, he quits the Avengers. "I've played straight man to you jokers long enough! You can get yourself another clown! Now that our names are cleared, I'm kissin' you off--!"
So big so fast alert: Power Man: "Didn't expect anyone so big to move so fast, did you?"
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Tales of Suspense #72 takes place during this issue. The long run in Journey Into Mystery takes place around this period; Thor shows up at the Avengers Mansion in Journey Into Mystery #120 but then is seen fighting the Absorbing Man in JIM #122 during this story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Triple Action #15, Marvel Triple Action #16
Inbound References (8): show
On the cover of #21, rather than a star on his chest, Cap seems to have an additional "A".
Posted by: Mike Teague | December 14, 2013 5:24 AM
Posted by: fnord12 | December 14, 2013 11:22 AM
Eric Josten would go on to become Atlas in the Thunderbolts.
Posted by: Steven Printz | January 17, 2014 10:58 PM
This issue quickly became one of my favorites when I first read it. The conflict between Cap and Quicksilver and hawkeye seemed ready to explode in the other issues and this one brought to a head when Cap left. The fighting between Hulk and the original avengers was never so thrilling. Of course I was only 12 at the time.
Posted by: Silverbird | June 6, 2014 11:00 AM
I cant believe cap waited this Long... Hawkeye has been a Dick for ages UP to this point!
Posted by: Roy mattson | May 5, 2016 1:42 PM
after reading this book again, it becomes apparent some of these great Silver Age super villains need to be re-introduced in a Lethal Legion or Masters of Evil context to revive the power of characters like powerman/Atlas, living lazar, swordsman, Grim Reaper etc etc.
Posted by: Rocknrollguitarplayer | June 22, 2016 1:12 AM
I loved this storyline at the time and could not wait to see what would happen next. Interesting bit (since Steven Printz brought up Atlas) is that Josten here was presented as a neo-Nazi (probably German) mercenary loyal to Zemo but when he became Atlas, he suddenly became an American from Wisconsin with a whole family in America. Now it was never actually stated that he was a German but that impression was definitely given.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | November 4, 2016 6:41 PM
The end of this story always struck me as rather odd, in that the Avengers decide not to have Josten imprisoned, instead letting him wander off on his own. Leaving aside the questionable choice to release a super-powered thug who's already demonstrated a tendency to work for supervillains on his own recognizance, you'd think Cap might be more upset about letting one of Zemo's old mercenaries go free. (Or perhaps he doesn't know that bit about Josten's background?)
Of course, this story also revolves around the idea that nobody -- not the Avengers, not SHIELD, nobody -- cleaned hp Zemo's mercenary army or his base full of mad science gadgets.
It;'s interesting that the Enchantress to hate the Avengers so much that she's willing to go after them even when Thor and most of the other Avengers she battled before are gone from the roster. Stan seems to be drafting villains like Amora and the Mandarin to show that villains the "old" Avengers handled as solo heroes are a real threat to the lower-powered "Kooky Quartet," which makes Hank and Jan rejoining in a few issues feel like a significant power boost for the team.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 28, 2016 11:40 AM
@Omar- the Marvel Index claims that the Avengers had to let Power Man go because a few hours after they caught him the police said that there were no charges against him, and that the police only looked for charges against Power Man and not against Erik Josten. That requires incredibly incompetent police but it's probably as good an explanation as we'll get.
Posted by: Michael | December 28, 2016 8:12 PM
Even so, the whole "framing the Avengers alongside a former Master of Evil and tearing up subway tracks" thing should still get him in trouble as Power Man. But I suppose it's broadly consistent with the idea that the police can't unmask superpeople without a writ as established in some 1960s issues of Amazing Spider-Man.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | December 28, 2016 9:04 PM
This story is a good example of how Stan used Captain America in the Avengers: not as the last man standing in a fight, but as the heart of the team. Stan has Cap take on super-powered foes, but as int his issue, he also has Cap lose in the end. Power Man beats him one-on-one here, Kang will overwhelm him in the next arc, and the Beetle KOs him in issue #28. It works a bit better than the later idea that "Cap will always find a way to win," and plays up both his strengths and limits as an Avenger usefully.
The fight scene with Power Man in #22 is also the best thing by far in these two issues, which are otherwise full of contrived plotting and utter incompetence -- or bizarre Scooby-Doo solutions -- on the part of the Avengers, the civilian authorities, and the villains.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 1, 2017 7:08 AM
It's a wonder that due to his lack of success despite his super-strength (before Thunderbolts, that is) that Erik Josten didn't just get back in the good graces of, and go to work for, his family of well-known class ring designers.:-)
Posted by: Brian Coffey | January 9, 2018 9:55 PM
Wally Wood's inks really do a good job of cleaning up what I think of as Don Heck's scratchy penciling style. As usual for Wood's inks, all the woman characters really look like Wood just drew the faces himself, while ignoring Heck's pencil lines completely. And Heck is really pretty good at women's faces too, but there you go, that's just Wood's style to do that, and one of Wood's favorite predilections as well.
It's sobering for me to learn that, even though I had this comic as a kid, and remember tracing the Power Man figure on the cover of #21, I never noticed that Captain America had an "A" on his chest instead of a star on that very same cover.*facepalm*
The 3-panel scan, shown in the References section above, which shows Iron Man, Thor, and Giant-Man, looks very hastily drawn, and reminds me of why Don Heck's art always ultimately falls flat for me-- in spite of all of Heck's merits, there always seem to be at least a few panels that look carelessly rushed and hacked out. The Thor figure in particular is terribly misproportioned and off-model. Even as a kid I could at the very least remember the costume details better than that.
Posted by: Holt | January 9, 2018 10:33 PM
An interesting comment from the fanzine Yancy Street Journal #9(7/65):
"I think Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch were better off as villains. It's getting to be the same plot every issue. Those three idiots start out getting clobbered and good old Cap saves the day."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 17, 2018 7:47 PM
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