Avengers (1st series) #25

Issue Date: 
February 1966
Story Title: 
Enter… Dr. Doom!

Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Sam Rosen (letters)

Brief Description: 

Doom notices that the Avengers are back on Earth after their battle with Kang, and prepares his plan. Doom plans to use the Avengers as bait to lure his greatest enemies, the Fantastic Four, back to his country so he can take his revenge. Doom fakes a letter, which he sends to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, revealing to them that they aren’t orphans anymore and have an aunt in Latveria. The youngsters naturally believe the letter on its word, and together with Cap and Hawkeye depart to Latveria. There, Doom makes his move and warns the police that the Avengers are wanted criminals, and they end up arrested. Cap realizes that Doom is the leader of this European country, and that they have been set up. Wanda uses her Hex powers to escape and, once outside, they return to Doom’s castle. There, Doom easily defeats them. Hawkeye has to fire one of his melting arrows to Doom’s armor to make him back off, and to give him and his teammates the chance to escape and recover. The Fantastic Four hear from the battle on the radio and want to go help the Avengers out, but are denied access to Latveria from Washington, since they see it as a friendly country. Some time later, the entire city of Latveria is covered up in a gigantic dome, which Doom brought up in order not to prevent the Avengers from escaping. Cap overhears some sad parents, whom Doom does not want to leave across boarder to cure their crippled son. Having heard enough, the Avengers return to Doom and, with some good teamwork, finally manage to defeat Doom. He realizes that the Fantastic Four aren’t going to show up, and lets the Avengers leave. They destroy the dome, and leave the country.

Full Summary: 

While watching the Avengers after they have returned from their adventure with Ravonna and battle against Kang, Dr. Doom is glad to see them back. Doom wants to bring fear into the Avengers’ hearts, before he takes on the Fantastic Four again. Doom mentions that, with the help of his worldwide scanner scope, there isn’t a man he can’t spy on, no place he cannot bring in view. But these scientific facts soon bore Doom, and he remembers his “only equal” on this planet, namely Reed Richards. Doom won’t allow this, so he cannot rest before Richards is destroyed.

And, Doom admits, there is one man superior to him: Kang, his own descendant! But Doom wonders if Kang truly is his descendant. He remembers Kang having often time-traveled to this Earth and beyond, so Kang is a riddle to Doom. He wonders what if they truly are the same man. Kang could be him, living in the future, and Doom might be Kang, living in the present. Doom remembers well when they first met, when Kang found Doom floating in space. Kang was fleeing from the past, where he called himself pharaoh Rama-tut! Upon arriving on Kang’s ship, Doom soon realized they might be the same man living in another timeline, so if one of them dies the other must too. Doom finishes his thinking, as he wants to start his plan to bring down the Avengers.

Back at Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye notices Wanda once again staring at Cap, and he doesn’t like it. Wanda wonders why she is so attracted to Cap: is it because he seems to harbor a dark secret, or is she merely confusing pity with love? Wanda doesn’t know. Hawkeye thinks that Wanda would be looking at him if he were team leader. He has had enough, and decides to go outside and search some action. Cap holds Hawkeye back, as he didn’t dismissed him yet. Hawkeye laughs, and tells Cap not to threat him like a child. They bicker, but Cap holds his calm and tells Hawkeye just to leave, while he still can. Hawkeye jokes about it, and then leaves. Wanda asks Steve why he keeps holding up with Hawkeye. Cap thinks he’s got no choice, as he has to keep the Avengers together until Iron Man, Thor or Giant-Man returns.

Later that night, Cap wonders how long it will take before one of the old members will return, and the burden will be lifted of his shoulders, and how long it will take before he can get a life of his own. Steve truly wants to know if he’s bound to live his life in the shadow of Captain America. Cap stops his self-pity, realizing it isn’t good for him, and decides to go train a bit.

At the same time, Wanda receives a letter from Europe with glorious news. She runs to Pietro, who doesn’t want to be disturbed, as he’s watching a show about the circus and wishes that he could be there. Wanda puts the TV of using her Hex powers, as what she has to tell is far more important. In the letter, it reads that they are no longer orphans: an aunt of them has been found, and she lives in Latveria! Pietro happily jumps across the room, wanting to go there immediately, hoping that their new aunt will be able to tell them about their parents.

They run to Hawkeye and make him miss his accuracy practice, destroying the test score machine of the Avengers. He shouts at them, making Pietro and Wanda to go to Cap instead. He mocks at them, and they just leave. As they are gone, Hawkeye wonders what’s wrong with him: everything he says comes out the wrong way, and he just blew his one shot at getting an ally to overthrown Cap as leader, and his one shot to get closer to Wanda.

Meanwhile, Dr. Doom has seen it all happening, and is glad that his fake letter has reached the Avengers! He destroys his viewing screen, not thinking it to be necessary to watch them, since they are coming to him anyway. Doom leaves his castle and decides to visit the village. There, the local residents stare in awe at him, and don’t keep their eyes off Doom until he is out of their sight. Doom knows that one day, he’ll rule all of mankind in the same way he does Latveria.

Doom notices a crippled boy and gives him a golden coin, knowing what it’s like to be crippled himself. The boy’s mother and all the other citizens are amazed by Doom’s kindness, and are glad to have him as their leader. However, one of the people knows the truth, and finds Doom to be evil incarnate. Doom notices that not all of his people trust him but soon, he thinks, that shall no longer matter.

Doom walks to the station and recognizes the Avengers in their civilian clothes. He thinks it’s best to disappear until he makes his next move. Quicksilver and Wanda worry why nobody came to greet them, as they cabled their aunt that they would come. Suddenly, a group of police surrounds the Avengers, arrests them, and tosses them in jail! A few minutes later, Cap realizes their mistake in all the excitement. Dr. Doom is the ruler of Latveria, and he has set them up! Wanda uses her Hex powers to break their locks, and the Avengers escape. Cap warns them to be cautious, as they are fugitives in Latveria now.

Dr. Doom sees it all, and has a plan. He pulls a switch, and a giant plastithene dome forms itself around the entire city! Doom knows the plastithene was formed to protect the city from attacks, but this will do as well. None of the Avengers’ powers work on it, so they realize in order to get out, they’ll have to defeat Doom himself. Wanda wonders why Doom did this, and that’s what Cap intends to find out. Cap tells Pietro to scout ahead, hoping he can find a breach in the dome. He does, but the Latverian citizens have heard about the Avengers on the radio, and think they are their enemies and surround them in the name of Doom.

Amazed by their loyalty to one of the worst villains on this planet, the Avengers group together and Pietro holds distance between them and the citizens by running around his teammates. Cap thinks it’s best they leave and find Doom’s castle. They do, and even manage to hold the citizens at bay. They enter the magnificent castle and hear a TV scanner device, which Cap thinks is taking pictures of them. They find Dr. Doom awaiting them in a big room.

Doom explains to Cap that he’s correct, and that he has been seeing every move they made ever since they arrived in Latveria. Wanda wants to know why Doom arrested them, as they haven’t done anything wrong. Doom agrees to explain, laughing that it might be the last thing the Avengers will ever hear. Doom admits he doesn’t care about the Avengers himself, but thinks the Fantastic Four, his greatest enemies, will be impressed when they discover he has defeated them. Doom hopes that when seeing that, the FF will come to their rescue and, at that moment, he shall strike!

Cap notices Doom pressing a button on a control panel, and warns Hawkeye about it. Hawkeye prepares to fire an arrow, but Doom has already thought of that possibility. A strong lightning beam comes out of the control panel, which absorbs some of Hawkeye’s strength. Cap throws his shield at Doom, hoping to tackle him, but with Doom now possessing Hawkeye’s power he easily dodges the shield. Doom even easily suspends Cap’s shield in a magnetic force field, and Cap can only get it back by passing through Doom.

Quicksilver runs towards Doom and grabs his cape, hoping by swirling it he can outbalance Doom. But with no such luck. Doom grabs Pietro’s arm and starts crushing it. Cap orders Doom to let Pietro go, but Doom has a better idea. Instead, he throws Pietro against Cap, making them both fall down. Wanda realizes that Doom is as strong as she heard he was, but plans to prove that her Hex powers are stronger. She starts fighting Doom, but… her powers don’t work! Doom laughs, explaining Wanda to look up: one of his machines absorbs her powers as well, hence unaffecting him.

Hawkeye stands up again, telling Doom that he might take down an Avenger temporarily, but they always come back. He fires off an arrow, which attaches to Doom’s armor. He first laughs, but then Doom notices that… his armor is… melting! Hawkeye triumphs, remembering that the arrow did the same thing to Iron Man a long time ago, so he figured it would do the same to Doom. Doom realizes he needs time to repair his armor, so he puts up a steel plating and traps the Avengers in between. While Doom escapes, the Avengers take some time to recover, but realize that Doom is strong and that they need a good plan if they want to defeat him.

Doom goes to his room, where he admits he underestimated the Avengers’ strength, but is confident that they’ll never be able to escape from Latveria. Some time later, the Avengers manage to escape from Doom’s castle, and hide in a cavern. Wanda apologizes, as she and Pietro were foolish enough to believe the letter, but Cap says it’s okay. The important thing now is to escape.

Inside Doom’s castle, townspeople enter begging for a word with their master, which Doom accepts. The parents from the crippled boy Doom gave a coin earlier, explain that there’s a surgeon across boarder in Zuroch who can cure him, but Doom refuses to open the dome again until the Avengers are captured. The disappointed parents leave, not understanding how heartless their leader can be. Others tell them to be silent, because Doom might hear them.

Some time later, the Fantastic Four hear about Dr. Doom and the Avengers on the radio. Ben thinks the Avengers are capable of handling their own thing, and ruins another fitness device and demolishes the wall it hangs on. Sue gets angry about it, but Reed is confident that, if the Avengers are fighting Doom, they’ll need help no matter what. They agree, and rush to their ship, but Reed has to ask for flight clearance from Washington first, which the minister denies them! Angry, the world’s premier super-team heads to the minister’s office, and breaks open the door, asking for an explanation. The minister apologizes for his actions, but since Doom is head of a friendly nation they can’t do anything. But, he is confident that the Avengers are capable of many great things, perhaps even more than the Fantastic Four are!

Cap overhears the parents of the crippled boy, and decides to go back to Doom. Soon, back inside the castle with the other Avengers, Cap throws his shield at Doom, which he grabs in mid-air and throws it back to Cap. Cap grabs it back before it can hit him. Doom realizes that the Avengers are as difficult to defeat as the Fantastic Four are. Seeing that they are not showing up, Doom thinks it’s best that he takes time to defeat them. Doom shouts at Cap to prepare himself, as he is going to kill him with his vibra-ray. Doom fires the weapon, but Cap hides behind his powerful shield, making the rays bounce off. Hawkeye fires another of his arrows, and breaks some bricks from a wall Doom stands by, making the bricks collapse.

Doom has to take some time to dodge the falling bricks, giving Cap and Hawkeye the time to work together, and fire their weapons against Doom like a team. Doom takes out a blaster and, after firing it, manages to capture both Cap and Hawkeye in it! He plans on using his weapon again to take down the others, but now… it doesn’t work any more! But he thought he left the button on the control panel on. Wanda agrees, but she managed to shut it off with her Hex powers while Doom was fighting her friends. Quicksilver is next and keeps running around Doom until he gets dizzy and collapses!

Doom gives up, and agrees to open the dome. But, to himself, thinks he’ll close it again when the Avengers are gone and he is feeling better. Hawkeye fires a smoke arrow to cover up their escape, and leave Doom behind. Once outside, the dome opens and the Avengers can leave. Doom gets up and tries to activate his control panel again, but… it breaks apart! He realizes that the Scarlet Witch’s Hex powers are responsible for it.

Outside, the Avengers triumph, but Cap realizes that a man like Dr. Doom never gives up and is certain, that one day, they’ll have to face him again. Pietro thinks they just had another useless quest, and is disappointed. Wanda and Hawkeye are just glad that they finally worked like a team, which proved to work, as they won!

Characters Involved: 

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

Human Torch II, Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Dr. Doom

Latverian citizens, police officers (all unnamed)

in Dr. Doom’s flash-back:
Dr. Doom
a younger Kang (as pharaoh Rama-Tut)

Story Notes: 

Once again, the Wasp isn’t mentioned as a former member by Captain America. Writer Stan Lee probably doesn’t seem to like her much. At least, she returns next issue!

Relatives of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will not be further revealed until Avengers (1st series) #185.

The shared bond between Dr. Doom and Kang was first hinted upon last issue.

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