Champions #16

Issue Date: 
November 1978
Story Title: 
A World Lost!

Bill Mantlo (Writer), John Byrne (Penciler), M. Esposito (Inker), Denise Wohl (Letterer), Phil Rache (Colorist), Archie Goodwin (Editor)

Brief Description: 

The Champions battle Magneto and the Beast, who have come seeking their aid in taking down Doom, only the Champions are well under Doom’s control thanks to his neuro-gas. Getting nowhere with the Champions, Magneto learns that Doom has arrived at the White House and with the Beast, makes his way there - though they are followed by the Champions, courtesy of Darkstar. At the White House, Doom is frustrated by the eager-to-please politicians and diplomats, when the Hulk appears, under Doom’s control. Just in time too, as Magneto and the Beast arrive. A battle follows, which is soon joined by the Champions. Hercules takes on the Hulk, while the Beast and Ghost Rider team up, as Ghost Rider - due to the fact he doesn’t have to breathe - and they battle the army, who are also at the White House. Darkstar and the Black Widow are taken out by Magneto, while Angel deals to the Beast. Iceman fights Ghost Rider when he thinks his teammate has switched sides. As the battle continues, Ghost Rider manages to blast Doom with Hellfire, causing Doom to remove his burning mask, which results in Doom breathing in his own neuro-gas. Hercules frees Darkstar and the Black Widow while the Hulk departs. Magneto releases his own hold over the Beast, who succumbs to Doom’s neuro-gas, before he departs, leaving the Champions and the Beast to marvel at a babbling Doom, a man who rules the world, yet cannot rule himself.

Full Summary: 

Los Angeles, where Magneto - the mutant Master of Magnetism - has just arrived with former X-Man turned Avenger Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, in search of aid from the Champions of Los Angeles, they find the Champions ready to battle! ‘Curse you, Beast! When Doom allowed me one ally from among the controlled Avengers - if I could free that one’s mind, why by all the powers, did I choose you?’ As Magneto’s air craft is torn apart at his will, everyone leaps for safety, while the Beast exclaims ‘Because you hoped I’d lead you to the X-Men and Professor X - which I did, but they weren’t home - so I did the next best thing!’, before welcoming Magneto to Los Angeles.

Bobby “Iceman” Drake, one of Hank’s fellow former X-Men, reveals that the Avengers alerted them, and said that Hank had joined Magneto and stolen a Quinjet. The Olympian Hercules declares that this attack proves the Beast’s treachery, while Johnny “Ghost Rider” Blaze asks if even the Champions can stop Magneto. Suddenly, a piece of metal slams into Hercules, and he exclaims that every piece of metal of their headquarters is at the villain’s bidding. Natasha Romanova a.k.a. the Black Widow exclaims that Magneto must be stopped, before he tears their building apart.

Ghost Rider boasts that Magneto will be stopped, with his hellfire, and casts it towards Magneto, only for Magneto to put up a force field around him. ‘Fat chance!’ Beast tells Ghost Rider, exclaiming that even Thor’s hammer could not penetrate Magneto’s magnetic shields. ‘Your loyalty is touching, my fur-covered ally!’ Magneto remarks, when suddenly, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. the Angel, and third former X-Man, flies towards Magneto, ‘Yeah - and sickening, too!’ Warren exclaims, adding that he will deal to the Beast after he has finished off Magneto. ‘Your ingratitude cuts me to the quick!’ Magneto tells Angel, asking him if he has so soon forgotten that he owes Magneto his life.

With that, Magneto casts a metal beam towards Angel, which hits him in the stomach, knocking him backwards, while Laynia “Darkstar” Petrovna, the sixth member of the Champions, calls out to him, concerned. Iceman and the Black Widow both blast the Best with their respective power - ice beam and widow’s sting - while the Beast jumps over the blasts, remarking that he should try to explain to them that he and Magneto are trying to save them from Doctor Doom. ‘The Avengers warned us you’d try that ridiculous story, Beast!’ the Black Widow declares.

Hercules breaks through the metal trapping him, boasting that his former teammates were not fooled, and neither are his present companions the Champions. Magneto approaches Hercules, Ghost Rider and Iceman, still in his magnetic force field, and tells Hercules that he is as witless as his East Coast brethren, for as they are subjugated by Doom, so are all of the Champions. ‘Thou art a liar…or a fool, mutant!’ Hercules retorts, boasting that no man rules Hercules. The Beast bounds away from the others, realizing that Magneto and the Champions are squaring for a showdown. But Iceman notices the Beast leaping away and warns him to stop. ‘Don’t warn him, Drake - ice him!’ Ghost Rider exclaims.

‘Down, Hercules - before the mightiest force known to man - the power of magnetism!’ boasts Magneto as he uses his powers to force Hercules to his knees. ‘By the Gods - the force doth grip my very blood - driving me back through the roof itself!’ Hercules exclaims as indeed the roof gives way under the pressure, and he falls through. The Beast calls out to Magneto, telling him to stop: ‘You wanted allies, remember? Not corpses!’ he exclaims. ‘He won’t get either here, McCoy! And as for you -’ Iceman declares as he starts firing ice cubes at the Beast, which strike him in the back. But Ghost Rider tells Iceman to stop playing, and to finish the Beast off.

‘Not likely, spook-stuff! Even if he really wanted to, he’d think twice about it!’ the Beast exclaims, before leaping into the air above the other Champions, exclaiming ‘You can take the hero out of the X-Men, but you can’t take the X-Man out of the hero!’ The Black Widow sees the Beast getting away and orders Iceman to stop him. ‘But he’s my friend, Widow! He - all right - you’re team leader’ Iceman replies, and once more bombards the Beast with ice cubes, which he transforms into an ice ramp, sending the Beast over the edge of the Champions’ rooftop. ‘But this is the last order like that I’m obeying, do you hear?’ Iceman snaps back at the Black Widow, while Angel alerts his friend to Magneto approaching from behind.

Hercules climbs out of the hole in the rooftop, unseen by Magneto, Hercules tells himself that Iceman hath committed a most grievous error - turning his back on a foe. ‘Verily, he is fortunate indeed that Hercules - nay, a fellow Champion - stands ready to lend him aid!’ Hercules thinks to himself as he approaches Magneto from behind and smacks him into the air, though, as Magneto thinks to himself, his magnetic sphere protects him from the blow, though he winds up falling to the street below, where the Beast clings to a pole on the side of the Champions HQ.

Ghost Rider sees the Beast clinging to the pole and declares that Iceman may not be able to do as he is told, but in this case, he doesn’t have such problem, and blasts the Beast with hellfire, but Hank leaps away in time, ‘No - you have others! You’re crackers for instance!’ Hank calls back, while landing safely on the street below. The Beast sees Magneto, on top of a car, and remarks that maybe if they all cool down a bit they can get down to business. ‘Like, how do we join together to stop Doom?’ Hank asks Magneto, who replies ‘Doom be hanged! I want Hercules’ head!’

‘Swell. You wanna wallop the Champs while Doom steals the world?’ the Beast asks, telling Magneto that he is a puppet. ‘Have a care, Beast!’ Magneto replies, when suddenly, a news report comes over the radio of the car that Magneto stands on, announcing that there is a festive mood in the nation’s capital, as Majesty Victor von Doom arrives, and that President Carter is welcoming him. ‘What? Doom is amusing himself with fawning, sub-servient politicians?’ Magneto gasps, annoyed that Doom would ignore him and belittle their conflict. Magneto mutters that he has wasted time seeking allies, and decided to do what he should have done all along - and let all the others seek their own salvation.

With that, Magneto surrounds himself and the Beast in a magnetic force field, and takes flight. ‘They’re getting away!’ Ghost Rider exclaims as he and the other Champions have regathered on top of their HQ. Black Widow orders her team to ready the Champscraft, and exclaims that they will follow, but Darkstar exclaims that there is a faster way - her way - and suddenly surrounds the Champions in the Darkforce, creating a sphere which follows Magneto eastward.

At that moment, 3000 miles away, at the White House, President Carter and several other politicians, diplomats and people of importance stand before the newly arrived Doctor Doom. ‘Oh, he’s so - so regal!’ one woman exclaims. ‘Yes - a born leader!’ a man declares. ‘Darned good tactician, too!’ someone in a military uniform exclaims. ‘Do this country good to have a man like him at the helm!’ another man exclaims, while President Carter smiles and tells Doctor Doom that he wanted to express his appreciation at the opportunity to turn his office over to him. ‘All of us here are praying you’ll succeed in uniting this strife-torn world - to endeavour in the words of -’ the President continues, before he is interrupted by Doom, who slams his hands down onto the desk: ‘SILENCE! Cease your incessant jabbering - all of you!’

Doom exclaims that never in Latveria did he put up with such insanity, adding that there, his subjects obeyed him out of fear. ‘Here I cannot tell whether you obey me because of my neuro-gas - or out of your own revolting self interest!’ And with that, Doom storms out of the room. ‘What’d I say?’ the President asks, turning to someone nearby. ‘Nothing, Mr President! It will just take Doom a while to get used to Washington - that’s all!’ comes the reply.

Outside, on the White House lawn, Doom is informed that more diplomats have arrived. ‘Of course!’ Doom replies as more men stand in front of him. ‘We are at your service, your highness!’ one of them exclaims. Suddenly, one of Doom’s aides sees something falling from the sky, and tells Doom to take cover, ‘It’s the Hulk!’ he exclaims as Dr Bruce Banner, in his green behemoth form, lands on the lawn of the White House. ‘We’ll protect you, your highness! We’re Secret Service!’ someone exclaims as a couple of men surround Doom, who calls them blithering idiots and tells them to get their hands off him. ‘Doom needs protection from no man!’ Doom exclaims, swiping the men away.

‘But - but…excellency! The Hulk!’ one of the Secret Service agents exclaims as the Hulk stands before Doom, while White House guards surround the grounds. Doom announces that the Hulk has arrived in response to a command he issued through a holographic projection. ‘Your master…Doctor Doom!’ Doom exclaims to the Hulk, who slowly replies that he will do as Doom says, though he does not know why. ‘Yours is not to reason why, monster - assuming you are capable of reason’ Doom replies, telling the Hulk that his is but to serve him, or die, when suddenly, someone alerts Doom to a UFO above.

Doom looks up and sees the magnasphere: ‘Bearing Magneto and the accursed Beast!’ Doom exclaims. ‘See? I told ya he’d be glad to see us!’ the Beast exclaims, while Magneto informs Doom that he has travelled the world over to confront him. ‘And destroy you for humiliating me!’ Magneto adds. Doom remarks that Magneto forgets he controls ever living, breathing creature - including the awesomely powerful Hulk, who strides towards Magneto. ‘Hulk…will…kill!’ the Hulk exclaims. ‘That’s not gonna hold ol’ Green-Skin for long!’ the Beast points out as Magneto takes command of one of the tanks, using the weaponry to wrap around the Hulk, who shouts out.

‘You underestimate the unbridled force of the powers at the command of the Master of Magnetism, Beast!’ Magneto replies. But at that moment, a certain black sphere hovers over the White House, and the Beast tells Magneto to keep patting himself on the back, as they have more trouble - ‘Not only do we have to beat the Secret Service, the army, and the Hulk to reach Doom, but the Champs have found us - and boy, are they mad!’

Indeed, the Champions emerge from the Darkforce sphere, and Angel exclaims that Darkstar got them from L.A. to Washington in a matter of minutes. The Black Widow points out that they have yet to learn the limits of Darkstar’s powers, to which Laynia replies ‘One day soon, Widow - I promise!’. Ghost Rider alerts his teammates to Magneto, while Iceman exclaims ‘And, holy joe - Doctor Doom!’, while Hercules points out that there is one of his old foes as well - ‘The grotesque, green-skinned behemoth men call…the Hulk!’

‘Hulk is…free!’ booms the Hulk as he manages to break through the tanks holding him, while Hercules runs towards him, wondering which side the monster is on. Magneto tells the Olympian to rest assured, that the only clear lines in this battle will be drawn by Doom and he - while the rest of them are but pawns to be taken and used as they pleased! With that, Magneto casts the Hulk into Hercules, knocking the Olympian over. Hulk declares that he will not be tossed around. ‘Hulk is mad! And Hulk remembers big man!’ the green-skinned giant exclaims as he sees Hercules, and smacks him in the face, exclaiming that he fought Hercules before. ‘Fight now, big man - if you can!’ the Hulk shouts, while Hercules thinks to himself ‘Great Zeus! What a glorious battle this shall be!’

Magneto remarks that Doom’s two strongest pawns engage in their own furious combat, lost in their berserker rage. ‘They are oblivious to everything…including your commands!’ Magneto adds that he will not allow Doom an opportunity to re-establish control. Doom points out that he has a world from which to choose, while Magneto is quite alone, and orders the Champions forth: ‘Slay the mutant Magneto!’ he exclaims. But Ghost Rider suddenly asks ‘What is this? The Champions - moving like robots in answer to Doom’s command?’. The Beast asks Blaze what he thinks he has been trying to tell him: ‘The whole blasted world is -’ the Beast begins, before the White House Guard attack him. ‘We must silence him! His highness commands!’ one of them declares.

‘Highness? Doom?’ Ghost Rider wonders to himself, before realizing that the Beast was right - and now the Champions, the army, everyone is obeying Doom. Ghost Rider supposes that his supernatural power cancels out Doom’s control, as he has no need to breathe, he will not have inhaled Doom’s neuro-gas. Ghost Rider blasts several soldiers with his hellfire, and joins the Beast, telling him that he has found the ally he sought. ‘Golly-gee! How’d Mrs McCoy’s little boy ever get so lucky?’ the Beast asks sarcastically.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, Magneto throws one of the spiked iron fences at Darkstar, the Black Widow and Iceman, all who move out of harms way in time, while Bobby notices that Ghost Riders has sided against them, with the Beast. ‘Do as Doom orders - then we’ll take care of him!’ the Black Widow exclaims. And so, the Champions obey, never questioning their actions for the neuro-gas has made it the natural order of things - that all men shall serve the doctor called “Doom”.

Others however are lacking explicit directions - like the Hulk, who continues to battle Hercules with mindless fury, though Hercules smashes the Hulk through a pillar. ‘Gosh, you’d be great at backyard barbecues!’ the Beast tells Ghost Rider, who creates a wall of hellfire between he and the Beast and the army. ‘Do not mock the power of Hell!’ Ghost Rider snaps back, before remarking that they cannot hold the army off forever, and points out that Doom is the real menace, when, suddenly, Iceman comes up from behind and covers Ghost Rider in ice. ‘You’ve betrayed the Champions and Doctor Doom!’ Iceman exclaims. ‘Now there’s a conflict of interest if I’ve ever heard one!’ the Beast exclaims, before suddenly, he is lifted into the air by Angel. Hank thinks to himself that if Warren drops him from this height, it will result in instant “beast burgers”.

Darkstar finds herself trapped by one of the iron gates, which Magneto wrapped around her, while the Black Widow is also trapped, a lamp-post wound around her. Natasha asks Laynia to use the Darkforce to free them, to which Laynia replies that she is trying, but that the gate is squeezing her so tight it is hard to concentrate, and she fears she is blacking out.

Magneto approaches Doom, telling him that his forces are split. ‘Or, checked! Now it is you and I!’ he exclaims. ‘And soon, mutant - it shall just be Doom!’ Doctor Doom replies, while Magneto unleashes a powerful blast, but it is evenly matched by Doom’s technological might. ‘But there are more ways than one to crush you!’ Magneto exclaims as he uses his powers to pick up a tank - and drop it down on Doom, but the tank bends as it strikes Doom’s force field. ‘My force field makes a mockery of your power!’ Doom exclaims, asking Magneto if this is the best he can do, and warning him that his moments are numbered.

But there is battle on many fronts and, with the “command center” occupied, the focus becomes even more fragmented. The Hulk throws Hercules into Iceman, knocking Bobby over, while Ghost Rider decides that he must get to Doom to stop this, while wondering where the Beast is. The Beast is still in the air above, held by Angel, the Beast wonders if no one understands that the enemy is Doom. ‘Have a care, brutish mortal - the power of Hercules is more than a match for any strength!’ the Olympian booms as he picks up a army jeep and turns towards the Hulk. ‘Big man talks too much!’ the Hulk mutters. ‘Hulk will smash big ma -’ the Hulk begins, before the jeep slams into him, knocking him over. ‘For Olympus - and Doom!’ Hercules boasts.

Magneto backs Doom up against the White House, telling him that his armor will soon become his coffin, as his magnetic forces crush him within it. ‘I have reversed my armor’s magnetic polarity, mutant - which allows me to absorb your force and turn it against you!’ Doom exclaims, doing just that, and knocking Magneto backwards.

Meanwhile, Ghost Rider finds himself surrounded by various diplomats and Secret Service officials, one of whom exclaims ‘Kill him! Kill the monster! The master commands it!’, causing Blaze to think that he has to stop them without hurting them, but he knows that the Ghost Rider side of him is trying to force the Blaze side to kill them, as he smacks one of them in the face.

Up in the air, Warren and Hank tussle, and Hank tries to get his friend to snap out of it, but realizes that it is no use, as Doom has his hooks in the Champions and he cannot break the control. ‘Unless I break Doom!’ Hank tells himself, before asking Warren to forgive him as he punches him in the face, causing Warren to drop the Beast - right onto Doom. ‘This may be one of the most suicidal things I’ve ever done!’ Hank thinks to himself. ‘You dolt!’ Doom shouts as the Beast slams into him. ‘Your monumental ignorance, Beast, has just cost you your life!’ Doom declares.

Ghost Rider looks over and sees that Doom is killing the Beast, and decides to help the only way he knows how - with hellfire - and blasts Doom, who shouts that his mask if on fire. ‘My face!’ he suddenly screams, before retaliating and blasting Ghost Rider. ‘Curse you, demon!’ Doom shouts. As he blasts Ghost Rider with energy, causing Ghost Rider to recoil in pain. Doom removes his faceplate, gasping for air, he suddenly realizes that without the air filters in his mask, he will inhale his own neuro-gas!

The Beast sees Doom suddenly lurch forwards, and asks Magneto if this means what he thinks it means. It does, and by the time Domo manages to replace his now cool mask, the damage is done. ‘What’s happened? Where are we? I feel like I just woke up!’ Bobby exclaims, while Hercules tells his young teammate that he is not alone in his confusion, while Hulk mutters that his head hurts. A soldier asks what in blazes is everyone doing on the White House lawn, and wonders where the President is, while Hulk remarks that the puny humans want to rush at him and bother him. ‘Hulk does not want to be bothered!’ he declares.

Darkstar and the Black Widow are still trapped, so the Black Widow calls out to Hercules, asking him to exert some Olympian muscle and get them down. ‘As ever, I heed the call of chivalry, milady, but which of thee shall I set free first?’ Hercules replies, while the Hulk exclaims ‘Talk, talk, talk! Hulk is sick of talk!’, and leaps into the air. Hercules tells the Hulk that he sympathizes with him, before bidding him farewell.

Magneto turns to the Beast and exclaims that he has won, and without Doom’s conscious control, everyone has returned to normal. ‘And since their normal reactions as ex-X-Men would be to pulverize you, Mags…may I suggest that you choose the better part of valor and split!’ the Beast replies as Iceman and Angel approach Magneto. Magneto angrily replies that he could smash the Beast’s former companions with ease, and yet the desire to do so is not with him now that he has won. ‘I have wrestled with Doom for a world, and taken the prize from his grasp! The world is free once more!’ Magneto exclaims, before taking to the air, telling the Champions to guard it well, for it is a prize still coveted by he.

‘Magneto? The Beast? What’s going on here?’ a confused Angel asks. ‘What are we all doing in Washington?’ The Beast suddenly replies that he doesn’t know, as Magneto withdraws his mental control over the Beast’s mind, and Hank once more succumbs to Doom’s neuro-gas. The gas is still in the atmosphere, still subjugating all who inhale it to the will of Doctor Doom - including a normal, breathing Johnny Blaze - and, it would seem, Victor von Doom himself!

The six Champions and the Beast move in on Doom, who is waving his fists in the air, and the Black Widow asks what he is raving about. But that is a question to which no one will ever know the answer, as Doom shouts ‘Doom…commands! But…I…am Doom! Command - and I must…obey! Yet…why does Doom not command? WHY?’ he babbles. And so, gaze upon a man who rules a world…and yet who is incapable of ruling himself….

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Black Widow, Darkstar, Ghost Rider, Hercules, Iceman (all Champions)



Dr Doom

President Carter


White House Guard

Secret Service agents

Story Notes: 

This issue follows on from Super-Villain Team-Up #14.

Magneto saved Angel in X-Men (1st series) #62.

According to a footnote, Hercules and the Hulk first met in Tales to Astonish #79.

Issue Information: 

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