Avengers (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
January 1966
Story Title: 
From the Ashes of Defeat..!

Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Artie Simek (letters)

Brief Description: 

Kang’s troops begin to invade Ravonna’s kingdom. Though the Avengers have Kang hostage, he uses his advanced weapons and skills to escape. Cap convinces his teammates, Ravonna and her people to fight back together, and they go for it. During the battle, Pietro notices a woman and her baby trying to reach the shelter and helps her out. Unfortunately, he is hit by a beam and faints. Luckily, the woman realizes the beam could have hit her and decides to nurse him back to good health. Her father hands Pietro a special herb, which quickly heals the hero. Meanwhile, Kang’s troops manage to overthrow the Avengers and the rebels, and take them prisoners. Kang wants to start the wedding with Ravonna but his commander, Baltzag, betrays Kang, as their code says all conquered rulers must be slain. Not wanting to sacrifice Ravonna because he loves her too much, Kang fights his troops and escapes them. He even frees the Avengers, who promise to help him rescue if he sends them back home afterwards. With agreements made, they move over to action. Kang uses the equipment in his control room to emerge heat waves, which destroy all of Baltzag’s machines, and he and his troops are soon defeated. Pietro arrives back on the scene after having fully recovered, and chains Baltzag and his troops up. After having freed Ravonna, she is convinced of the love Kang has for her. Kang keeps his word and sends the Avengers back home. However, as they leave, Baltzag breaks free, and shoots Ravonna! All in all, the Avengers arrive back home, and wonder if they’ll ever known Ravonna’s fate. As they return to the mansion, the Avengers are unaware that they are being watched…

Full Summary: 

Kang has send out his troops to attack and conquer Ravonna’s kingdom. He mentions that she had a choice in loving him but didn’t take it, so he hasn’t got a choice. Wanda fears if they are going to win this time, since they are with so little people and Kang’s army is humongous. Cap is confident that they’ll find a way to cry victory. Hawkeye protects Ravonna and her father, telling them that the Avengers will do anything to protect them.

Ravonna’s aides manage to pull up a forcefield around the palace, making it unable for Kang’s troops to break through. Hawkeye finds it said that Kang finds a name for himself by taunting people. Kang defends that he didn’t have a choice, and that there’s no turning back. But, Cap smirks to Kang, he forgets that they’ve got him surrounded, and won’t let him escape. Cap orders Quicksilver to take the rear, and not to lose sight of Kang. Pietro does as told, and keeps running across the room. Kang reminds the Avengers that they are in the future, and that his costume contains enough weapons to bring down his enemies. Kang fires a billowing vapor from his glove, and Cap orders his teammates to move.

Seeing his immunity to all kinds of smoke or gas, Quicksilver uses his speed to clear it away. After the smoke is gone, the Avengers notice that Kang managed to escape. Hawkeye wants to follow, but Cap thinks otherwise. He wants to study Kang’s next attacks, so they can prepare themselves. Ravonna’s chief-of-staff thinks it’s best that they just surrender to Kang. Ravonna calls the chief a coward, and even fires him. The chief defends that the Avengers won’t be a match for Kang, noticing that Hawkeye is guarded with nothing but a mere bow.

Cap defends that, seeing how Ravonna is willing to do anything to protect her kingdom, the Avengers will never quit until Kang is defeated. The others notice how strong Cap looks now, thinking that it’s because they stand united, like Avengers should. The chief and all the others around him are confident with hope, and prepare themselves. Ravonna’s father thanks Cap for giving them new courage. Cap orders that the Avengers will fight alongside Ravonna’s defense forces. He orders Hawkeye and the others to move to action. Hawkeye thinks Cap is drunk with power, but has to admit he kind of likes him that way, and they all do as told.

Meanwhile outside, Kang’s troops continue to fire upon the force field, confident that it won’t take long to breach through and reach victory. Kang orders his troops to stop. Ravonna’s people have initiated a Delta-Ray launcher, which opens immediate intense power upon its enemies! The rays demolish everything in her path. While the kingdom’s citizens run towards the shelter, Quicksilver notices a woman and her baby trying to escape. He picks her up, trying to help her out. But, a beam hits Pietro, and he faints. The woman realizes the beam could have hit her, and decides to return the favor to the strange man and help him recover.

Cap moves over to the resistance, which only has one weapon left: a weapon that emits shattering beams of illuminated force blasts! They fire it, but Kang’s troops use their anti-gravity equipments on their bags so they can fly to safety, and towards the palace. Inside, Ravonna’s father suggests that they escape, but Ravonna won’t leave her people and will never run from Kang. Kang’s troops enter the room, shouting that Ravonna will never get that chance.

Hawkeye fires one of his arrows, Cap throws his shield and Wanda uses her Hex powers to holds the soldiers at bay. However, more and more keep coming, and Cap orders them to keep on fighting for as long as they can. Wanda notices Pietro missing, but Cap tells her not to worry, as they’ll search for him after the battle is won. Hawkeye shoots one of his arrows against a wall, making the electric intensifier release shock, which take out some of the guards. Unfortunately, not all are beaten. One of the remaining sneaks up on Hawkeye and knocks him out, and another fires powerful electrical at Cap, knocking him out as well! They quickly overpower Wanda as well, who thinks it’s best to wait to show the villains the true potential of her Hex powers.

The Avengers are chained, and brought to Kang’s throne. Cap wants Wanda to be released, but she won’t have it, as she’s an Avenger to. Cap tells her to be quiet. Kang is impressed by Cap’s devotion, but won’t allow it. He orders his men to bring Ravonna to him and to find the missing Avenger, Quicksilver.

Meanwhile, Pietro himself lies unconscious in the woman’s house, who wants to do anything to make him better after Pietro risked his life for her and her baby. The woman’s father fears that, if Kang knows they are harboring Pietro, he’ll kill them, but he understands his daughter’s motives. Pietro wakes up and wants immediately to go back to the others to help them out, but is too weak after that powerful blast hit him. The woman calms him down and tells Pietro he can stay here until he’s recovered. The father has some herbs, which may heal Pietro faster, and he goes fetch them.

Meanwhile, Ravonna has been brought to Kang. He wants to start the wedding immediately, but Kang’s commander, Baltzag, reminds him of their code: all conquered monarchs must be immediately slain. Kang tells him to shut up, as the rules are his and he can break them as he pleases. Baltzag doesn’t agree, and neither do the other commanders, who feel that Ravonna must die, or else, they threaten, they’ll no longer follow him. Kang allows one hour to think about it and leaves, telling the commanders to be grateful that he didn’t kill them where they stand. With Kang gone, the other commanders think that Baltzag was wrong, and Kang didn’t break when they said what they just said. They think that, now that Kang only thinks about Ravonna, they must strike.

In his room, Kang truly only thinks about Ravonna. He admits that he always knew about Baltzag’s ambition, but let him because he amused Kang. He’ll never condemn Ravonna to death, as he loves her too much. Suddenly, he is shot! The commanders have sent assassins after Kang. But he fights back, and with some quick thinking and powerful shocks, he defeats them all. Next, Kang frees Captain America, and promises that he’ll even free the other Avengers as well. Cap thinks Kang has gone insane. Kang explains that he needs the help of the Avengers to make certain Ravonna will be rescued and kept safe, and in return, Kang shall send them home again. Cap agrees, and they free the other Avengers together.

Hawkeye thinks Cap is crazy for trusting Kang, and thinks for all they know it, they’ll be following Dr. Doom the next day! Kang overhears the conversation, glad that the Avengers don’t realize his true relationship with the Latverian ruler, but he doesn’t see this as the right time to explain. They sneak up on a balcony and, upon reaching the cell of Ravonna, Cap takes out the guard and opens the cell. Kang is glad to have found Ravonna again. She is surprised to hear that tone in Kang’s voice, and Cap explains that’s because Kang never was in this kind of fight before. He explains the situation to Ravonna. She believes the legendary hero, and she convinces her citizens to help her, the Avengers and Kang defeat the others.

The rebels easily break back inside the throne room, but find it too easy. No trap has been set, and the Avengers move with swift agility to take out the guards. Inside the throne room, Baltzag panics and threats his men to find his enemies. Another commander realizes they were wrong to follow Baltzag, but realize the harm has been done and cannot turn back.

The rebels reach the room, and throw smoke grenades inside. Everyone starts fighting. Kang orders to keep them busy, while he’ll go to his master control room where he can end this battle. Everyone does as told, and Kang leaves. Upon entering his control room, Kang finds it fortunate that he set the foresight to lock the heart of his weaponry center with a device that can only be opened by the sound of his heartbeat. And now, with a single touch on switch, Kang hopes to end Baltzag’s game forever.

Wanda fears that Kang betrayed them, and warns the others. Hawkeye doesn’t care, as he’s having a blast, and Cap orders to keep on fighting now that they are winning. And so, with the heat waves that come from Kang’s control room, every machine that was controlled by Baltzag gets destroyed. The throne room breaks apart and Baltzag realizes his defeat, and decides to escape while he can.

The Avengers, Kang and Ravonna have reached the throne room but, upon entering it, they find both Baltzag and all of his troops… bounds! It was all Quicksilver’s doing, who has recovered thanks to the beam and moved fast to end their power. He and Wanda happily reunited. Kang promises to keep his word, and promises Ravonna that her kingdom is safe again.

She is impressed by the tone in Kang’s voice. Kang is confident that, with the snap of his fingers, his troops will return to him, and he has also enough weapons left outside this kingdom. Next, Kang prepares a teleporting device, which will send the Avengers back home again but promises that, when they meet again, it shall be as foes.

However, just as the Avengers have left, Baltzag has freed himself and picked up a gun, which he uses to shoot Ravonna! Speaking with her final breath, Kang holds her, and Ravonna tells him that, maybe, their love was never meant to be.

The Avengers land back on their planet and, having heard the shot before they left, they wonder if they’ll ever know Kang and Ravonna’s fate. As they stare at the stars in the sky, the Avengers do not realize they are being watched.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (all Avengers)

their troops (all unnamed)

Princess Ravonna and her father
their citizens (all unnamed)

unclear villain (face unseen and unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Next issue reveals that the caped man who looks at the Avengers on the final page is, in fact, Dr. Doom.

First naming of Kang’s elite squad commander, Baltzag. He probably was among the soldiers last issue, but hasn’t been named there, so this issue marks his first appearance.

Later appearances of Kang will reveal that Ravonna didn’t quite die: he kept her body in stasis to find a cure to heal her mortal wounds.

The relationship between Kang and Dr. Doom is more or less handled next issue.

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