Avengers (1st series) #166

Issue Date: 
December 1977
Story Title: 
Day of the Godslayer!

Jim Shooter (writer), John Byrne (guest penciler), Pablo Marcos (inker), Denise Wohl (letterer), Phil Rachelson (colorist), Archie Goodwin (editor)

Brief Description: 

Thor and Nefaria battle, but neither can win. Nefaria thinks that by defeating the Avenger he will learn the secret of immortality. The Vision is taken out of his healing tank and joins the battle and other Avenger too rise again too fight the villain. One of Nefaria’s scientists shows up and reveals that Nefaria’s aging process has been increased as a side-effect of his power-up. Fearing to die soon Nefaria really lets loose, but finally he is defeated by the Vision who drops on him from one mile above in diamond hard state. Ironically the team later learns that the scientist was lying, actually the aging effect was only temporary, while actually Nefaria’s bodycells were transformed into ionic energy making him immortal. With the imminent threat gone the Avengers argue about Thor’s strange appearances and disappearances and Iron Man’s deteriorating leadership. In russia an old man embarks on a ship to America to meet his children – Wanda and Pietro ?

Full Summary: 

Thor has made another one of his "miraculous" appearances when the Avengers are in deep! He sees Nefaria triumphantly standing over five of the Assemblers and immediately hurls his hammer at Nefaria. Thor is quite content to play the role of a god this time around, so there's no holds barred! He smashes into Nefaria twice before Nefaria can even utter a sentence. Nefaria thinks that Thor's hammer is the secret to his immortality and he must possess it in order to gain that power. Thor's speech is one of his most memorable: "First thee and thine ilk dream of being kings, and then of being gods, claiming these honors by right of thy power! Bah! I will show thee power Nefaria! BEHOLD!" At which point he opens up an inter-dimensional portal and tries to suck Nefaria into it. Nefaria just picks up the nearest building and throws it into the breach thereby closing it. Thor is buried under the building also, and Nefaria smugly starts to walk away to find the hammer. Thor rises from the rubble and invokes the lightning to strike another blow. Nefaria turns and stops Thor's hammer in mid-blow!
In the mansion, the Beast is haranguing Yellowjacket for leaving the fight earlier. Hank replies that he is doing what he can and plays a gamble to revive the Vision (who has been recuperating since the injuries received by Ultron in #162). The Vision rises, but he sounds even more robotic than ever! Yellowjacket fills him in on the situation, and Vision goes to join the battle.
Thor and Nefaria are still brawling in the street, Nefaria staggers Thor and he drops his hammer. Nefaria stoops to retrieve it, but before he can, an unearthly voice cries "It is OVER Nefaria!". The Vision reaches out with his immaterial hand to disrupt Nefaria, but for the first time (ever) he cannot penetrate Nefaria. Nefaria takes advantage of this fact to strike the intangible Vision and send him flying across the street.
Sneaky Sneaky! Henry Peter Gyrich takes advantage of one of the holes in the mansion wall to sneak in and start taking pictures. Also inside the mansion, the Wasp finally recovers from her injuries suffered when Power Man threw the car through the window (#164). She looks out to see Nefaria holding a bus over his head threatening to throw it at Thor.
At the police barricade, Nefaria's Rolls Royce crashes through and Professor Sturdy staggers out of the wreckage. Nefaria sees him and flashes back to how he and Prof. Sturdy duped Whirlwind, Power Man and Living Laser by analyzing their cell structures in order to give Nefaria his new power. Sturdy stands defiant and tells Nefaria that there is a side effect to the treatment. Nefaria is aging at an incredible rate of speed. Only Sturdy could have saved him, but he drops over apparently dead of a heart attack. Nefaria goes wild at this, and sends Thor flying with a smooth back hand. Vision sees this and decides that Nefaria must be stopped for good. Slowly he rises...
The Wasp flits about reviving the rest of the Avengers. Cap is too weak to stand, and he gives his shield to Wonder Man. He, Wanda and the Wasp stride out to rejoin the battle. Nefaria is raging about the city. Since he thinks that he is dying, he wants as many people to go out with him as possible. Vision sees him and swats him out of the sky where Wonder Man lands a prodigious blow while the Wasp stings away. Iron Man rejoins the battle here also and blasts Nefaria with his repulsor rays. Thor also makes a dramatic reappearance, but Wanda is not impressed. "Very dramatic Thor... But I for one am sick of your last minute appearances and your overblown Godhood! If there's one among us Nefaria should beware, it is I !" With that she looses her hex power and causes a mind-numbing burst of pain which staggers Nefaria. Thor moves in for the crushing blow, but Nefaria still rises. The Vision is now hovering one mile above the fray. He wills himself to diamond density and falls to Earth like a meteor. This is the blow that finally knocks Nefaria into unconsciousness. The Avengers immediately start to squabble concerning Thor's mysterious disappearances/reappearances, and Iron Man's leadership being affected by his many personal problems. Yellowjacket injects a note of reason into the argument by stating that this is not the time or place for such discussion. He says that he found Prof. Sturdy barely clinging to life. Sturdy's last words provided the final irony of the moment. He was merely lying to Nefaria about his rapid aging. It was just a temporary side effect while the energy in his cells were actually extending his life. Nefaria was indeed immortal!
The final scene concerns the introduction of a „little old man from Vladivostok", who enters a ship leaving for America. He looks at a picture of his kids, the images ressemble Wanda and Pietro.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man, Yellowjacket (all Avengers)

Jarvis, the Avengers’ butler
Django Maximoff, adoptive father of the Scarlet Witch
Henry Peter Gyrich, national security
Count Nefaria
Prof. Kenneth Sturdy, scientist working for Nefaria
In a flashback :
Count Nefaria
Living Laser, Power Man I / Eric Josten, Whirlwind (recruited by Nefaria)
Hellen and Prof. Kenneth Sturdy, scientists working for Nefaria

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Django Maximoff (name revealed in #182)

Written By: