Champions #3

Issue Date: 
February 1976
Story Title: 
Assault on Olympus

Tony Isabella (plot), Bill Mantlo (script), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Karen Mantlo (letters), George Roussos (colors), Marv Wolfman (editor)

Brief Description: 

Angel and Black Widow are relaxing, but Iceman is lost in thought, thinking himself a failure. Ghost Rider appears and explains that he has figured out how to get to Olympus, where their colleague, Hercules, has been taken by the huntsman. Iceman’s ice mountain is still intact, and therefore the portal to Olympus is still open. In Olympus, Zeus is furious at his mistreatment, but Pluto has Zeus believing Olympus is doomed if he doesn’t wed Hippolyta. Zeus tells his son he cannot help, and Hercules chastises him. The Huntsman finds the ice mountain at his side of the portal, and notices that it is strangely warm. Suddenly, the four Champions crash through it, and engage in battle with the Huntsman and several summoned mutates. The weddings get nearer, but Pluto is interrupted by the Huntsman, who informs him that they are undone. Hercules realizes his friends are coming to help him and the arriving Angel manages to knock the Huntsman out. Pluto orders Ares to join the battle, but he is defeated by Hercules, despite Zeus’ reluctant interference. Fearing her wedding will not take place, Hippolyta attacks Venus with a sword, stating that if she can’t have him, then neither can she. Venus transforms her sword into a plow, which drops on Hippolyta, knocking her out. The rest of the Champions arrive, having defeated the mutates, but they are attacked by Pluto, who swears they will not defy him a third time. Ghost Rider forces Zeus to realize he has been lied to, and he banishes Pluto from his sight. He apologizes to Hercules and offers him his choice of punishment. Venus interjects, and says they should forgive those who treated them so badly. The Champions are happy with this, though a little surprised, and Zeus says it will be done. Zeus then makes up with his son, and the Champions depart for Earth, with Angel wondering what will happen next.

Full Summary: 

Black Widow and Angel are both in their swimming costumes, relaxing, as Iceman skates around on a patch of ice he’s created. Natasha feels that Bobby looks to have taken their recent defeats in his stride. One would think that the loss of Hercules and Venus to the Huntsman could not be swallowed so easily. Warren asks her not to let Bobby’s games fool her. He’s just as sick about it as they are, maybe more. He just doesn’t show it like other people. Then again, he adds, aren’t mutants supposed to act like normal people? Natasha says she’s heard the same bitterness in his voice from others that are made outcasts by this society; like women for instance, and ex- Russians.

Iceman overhears her and agrees, but this doesn’t make it right. They are failures all the way down the line. They blew it with Hercules and Venus. He’s messed things up as far back as he can remember, and it shows. As he circles the ice, he thinks about how Scott and the new X-Men sound like they’re doing fine without him and Warren. Hank’s got it made with the Avengers, and the girl that he loved, Lorna Dane, has forgotten all about him. The only thing that matters to her these days is Alex Summers. The thing that really riles Bobby is the fact that the world may be right. Mutants may be dangerous, but only because some of them are failures.

He recalls recent events, about how their problems began with Pluto sending his mutant hordes to capture Hercules and Venus, and ended with the Huntsman taking them both from under their noses. Once again, he thinks…failures!

His thoughts are interrupted by the appearance of Johnny Blaze, who calls for him to snap out of it. They have work to do. He’s figured out how to get Hercules back. Angel and the Black Widow join them, and Johnny explains that it’s not every day that a mere mortal figures out how to get himself and his buddies - to Olympus! He tells them how he came about this idea.


After their little altercation, Ghost Rider returned to UCLA, and overheard a bunch of students talking about a mountain or something on campus. He figured out that this must be the ice mountain that Bobby had created as they fled Olympus. He headed over there, and saw the mountain was still intact.


It takes a while for the importance of the mountain still being there to sink in to Bobby’s thick skull, but he finally gets it. Pluto wasn’t able to close the portal to Olympus, due to the ice blocking it. Therefore, it should still be accessible.


A sentry sounds the horn over Olympus. Zeus is furious. It is the day of the black double-wedding of Hercules to Hippolyta and Ares to Venus. Zeus asks Dionysius to tell him it’s a lie, but Dionysius assures him it is indeed true. It must be, if Olympus is to survive. Zeus knows that Pluto conspired with the other lords of other hells to unite against Olympus. He also knows that this wedding is a mockery.

Nearby, Pluto sits and gloats over his cunning scheme. He asks Ares and Hippolyta to gaze on the king of the gods, and look on the end of Olympus. Zeus, he exclaims, believes that this marriage will end the threat against him. Does he not know that he is bound by his own sacred laws? That husband may not oppose wife, nor wife go against husband! By wedding Hercules and Venus, he has bound the only two Olympians who could have prevented the overthrow of Zeus. The taste is sweet, he tells Ares. Victory is Pluto’s, now and forevermore.

Meanwhile, Hercules is being taunted by the mutates, and he uses his formidable physical prowess against them. He tells them that there will be no wedding. His father will not allow it. One of the mutates replies with glee, that it is Zeus who will marry them. “Tis by Zeus’ decree!” Hercules can’t believe it. Looking from a window above, Zeus tells his son that there is nothing he can do about it - nothing.

Hercules calls him a coward and a cur, but Venus tries to calm him down. She explains that whatever passes here, whatever evil may befall them, the fault is not with his father, but with Pluto. Venus holds Hercules by the arm, as he replies that she is ever ready to spare another hurt, even if she must shoulder the pain herself. She replies that this is love, and she is what she must be, as is he and his father.


In the wooded slopes surrounding Olympus, the Huntsman is out preying on errant Olympians. He soon comes across Iceman’s ice mountain, and notices that it appears to warm itself form within. Suddenly, the ice breaks, and the four remaining Champions pour through the hole, right into the Huntsman’s path. He is a formidable foe, as the Black Widow points out, but he is also assisted by more mutates, who appear on his command.

Angel takes to the air, organizing things from his superior position. Natasha points out that they cannot be delayed with battles against foes such as these. Hercules is their main concern. She suggests he and the Ghost Rider go on ahead, and leave the fighting to herself and Iceman. Angel leaves his calling card as he departs, smashing through a group of mutates to remind them he was there. Ghost Rider likewise lays on the hellfire as he rides past. With the Black Widow at his back, Iceman feels confident that they can overcome their numerical disadvantage.


With Pluto standing smugly by his side, Zeus tells his son to cease complaining about the wedding. Dionysius bows his head, sad that it breaks Zeus’ heart to have to carry this through. Ares tells Hippolyta that he can think of worse fates than being wed to Venus. Her fate, for instance. She replies that he is not a goddess, and doesn’t’ see what a goddess sees. Suddenly, the Huntsman appears from nowhere, and informs his lord Pluto that they are undone. Pluto is anxious that the ceremony take place and orders him to leave, before… His pause assures Hercules that his comrades are coming to help him. He is pleased they have not forgotten him.

The Huntsman is about to conjure forth more warriors, but Angel grabs his staff and swings him around, crashing him hard into a stone wall. Pluto calls for Ares, the god of war, to stop them, but Ares is concerned about Zeus. Pluto assures him that he will not interfere. This union must pass if Olympus is to be saved. Ares stands, sword in hand, and approaches the muscular Hercules. He insists he is a match for Hercules, as long as the power of Zeus entraps his rage. Zeus conjures a spell to hold Hercules’ fist at bay, but his anger breaks the spell, and he punches Ares hard to the ground. Zeus emits a low chuckle, as he sees his son’s determination shine through.

Hippolyta is angry that she is now probably not going to marry Hercules and runs at Venus, brandishing a sword and exclaiming that if, she can’t have him, neither can Venus. Amazingly, she transforms Hippolyta’s sword into a plow; a weapon of war changed to an instrument of peace. The plow then falls on Hippolyta, knocking her out.

The Champions then make their appearance, with Iceman and the Black Widow having caught up their two companions. Hercules places his hand on Venus’s shoulder, and smiles as he sees them arrive. Iceman tells him that the feeling’s mutual.

Unfortunately, the party is disrupted by Pluto, who drops the four Champions with one charged assault. Iceman remarks that it feels like he’s being killed and allowed to watch it happen. The furious Pluto points at them, and declares that, twice, they have dared the wrath of death; twice they have defied him. There will be no third time.

Hercules calls for his teammates to get behind him. Their strength is no match for Pluto. Venus holds on tight, reminding him that neither is his. Natasha’s says that they cannot hope to win over Pluto. That is for another power; another strength. Ghost Rider picks up her cue, and heads straight towards Pluto. Instead of confronting him, though, he heads right past him. He walks right up to Zeus himself, and tells him that he is the only one in Pluto’s league.

Ghost Rider asks Zeus, “Was it easy to sell your son to death, pal?” The enraged Zeus replies that he dost toy with doom! Ghost Rider replies that he’s done that all his life. He thought he couldn’t make it on his own, and he asked the devil for help - and accepted it; the way he accepts Pluto’s lies. Zeus looks downwards, and loses himself in thought. “Lies.”

The Rider asks what he thinks Pluto had to promise those other Demi-Gods in order to get their unity. Didn’t it occur to Zeus that it might be his head on a platter? Zeus shouts over at Pluto, telling him that he allowed a mortal weakness to possess him, so he did not see the duplicity. He warns Pluto to leave. He will deal with him later. Pluto skulks away, fearing the wrath of Zeus.

Zeus turns to his son, Hercules. He admits that it was against him that he did err. He gives him the choice of punishment. He can name what should be done to the miscreants, and it will be so. Before Hercules can speak, Venus cuts in, and asks for their forgiveness. The Champions are surprised at this request, but Venus explains that they would be no better by taking vengeance upon those who seek to hurt them. Pluto, Ares and Hippolyta are doomed to a hell of their own making; a hell of petty plots and schemings into which no light of purity may ever reach. Is that not punishment enough? she asks. Zeus makes it so.

Angel is impressed with Venus’s performance, but thinks UCLA has just lost a department head. Hercules adds that she has indeed done with her mortal guise for the time being. She has learned that love is needed in heaven, as well as Earth. Zeus and Hercules shake hands, regaining their respect for one another. Hercules says he must return to Earth. He has left much undone, including a lecture about himself as a myth. Zeus would like to hear it, but he will detain him and his friends no longer. A portal opens, and the Champions disappear through it, with Angel wondering what will be next for them.

Characters Involved: 

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

UCLA students

Olympians including Dionysius and Zeus

Dr. Victoria Starr / Venus





(in flashback)

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




Story Notes: 

The letters page, the strangely named ‘Cables of Champions’ is notable for having all the letters printed criticize Marvel Comics, and the creative team in particular.

Issue Information: 

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