Giant-Size Avengers #1

Issue Date: 
August 1974
Story Title: 
(1st story) Nuklo – The Invader that Time forgot!

(1st story) Roy Thomas (writer / editor), Rich Buckler (artist), Dan Adkins (embellisher), Artie Simek (letterer), P. Goldberg (colorist) 

Brief Description: 

(1st story) 
In Avengers Mansion, the Avengers confront an intruder who is trying to retrieve a chrono module they recently found in a ruin. The intruder is the elderly hero the Whizzer. During their fight, he succumbs to his weak heart. The capsule opens and out steps the childlike but aggressive nuclear mutant Nuklo. After battling the Avengers, Nuklo flees. The Avengers find three locations in New York with radiation that could come from Nuklo and split into three groups to find him. Only the Scarlet Witch remains behind with Jarvis to take care of the Whizzer. The groups find a weaker version of Nuklo at all three places and manage to chase him towards Avengers Mansion. They are surprised to find there are three versions, who then recombine with the stolen power they took from the power plants. In the meantime, the Scarlet Witch has coaxed the story from the Whizzer. Nuklo is his son who was irradiated in utero during a case. Even more, later the Whizzer and his wife Miss America later travelled through Europe and she died giving birth to twins in Wundagore. The Scarlet Witch realizes that means the Whizzer is her and Quicksilver’s father. Where the other Avengers fail, the Witch’s hex power finally manages to stop Nuklo, her older brother.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)
The Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, the Vision and their ally Mantis) are shocked to find there is an intruder in the mansion, or more specifically in their top secret lab. Captain America figures he must be after the time capsule. He orders the others back. This is his show.

He steps into the room and orders the stranger dressed in a hat and trench coat to hold it right there. The stranger stops dismantling the chrono-module but seems relived that it was Captain America out of all the Avengers who found him.

Cap becomes angry when he sees the stranger has knocked out their butler Jarvis. The stranger promises he will have no worse than a headache but this time capsule is his and he must have it. Captain America of all people should know that.

Cap has no idea what he is talking about and the stranger realizes belatedly that Cap’s voice is different… somehow even stronger. Cap tries to grab him by the arm. The stranger claims he isn’t Captain America, so he can go to the devil! He tears himself loose and runs at super-speed. He takes off hat and coat to reveal he is an elderly gentleman in a yellow superhero costume.

Thor and the Scarlet Witch enter. Wanda fires a hex bolt at the stranger but he is too fast and she finds his speed reminds her of her brother Quicksilver.

Thor throws Mjolnir, which the stranger dodges as well. He boasts he is the Whizzer and the fastest one there is. Trying to hit him with a repulsor ray, Iron Man points out they’ve battled that clown and, unless he suddenly aged 20 years, he’s not it. The Whizzer offers to clear that up if Iron Man stops blasting. Iron Man suggests he first slow down and take his medicine for what he did to Jarvis. Frustrated, he tells Thor that that guy is even faster than Pietro was.

The Whizzer come at them again. Thor order Mantis to their side. He runs past them then speeds toward his final obstacle, the Vision. The Vision turns intangible and the Whizzer runs through him and strikes the steel case behind him at full speed. The Vision did not turn to his diamond form as he sensed the Whizzer meant them no harm. Mantis agrees, having come to the same conclusion.

Cap demands who the knocked out man is and why he was after the chrono module. Iron Man wonders why he doubted Cap’s identity. Cap can’t imagine unless it has to do with the auxiliary Captain America who took his place during the two decades he was in cold storage. He realizes the old man is about the age the original Whizzer, who battled crime in the 40ies would be. Thor recalls he was a member in the All-Winners Squad.

The Whizzer who listened to this speaks up, now understanding the Cap he fought alongside wasn’t the original. He insists he is the original Whizzer and asks them to listen. There isn’t much time.

The Whizzer’s narration:
He, the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch and his sidekick Toro, the replacement Cap and his Bucky, as well as Miss America, were the All-Winners Squad which fought only three battles in their short but proud history. First of these was their encounter with the master criminal Sibisa. Their third and final antagonist was the so-called Future Man, who came from a dying civilization one million years in the future, determined to exterminate all present life so his kind could inherit the Earth.

He describes how both the replacement Cap and later he himself had no success against him. The Whizzer was slowed down by his anti-motion ray. He managed to take out his henchmen but not the Future Man. Miss America battled the mummies he had brought to life but couldn’t stop the villain either. At last, the seven of them tracked the villain and his ally Madame Death to their flying lair and attacked.

There was a momentary setback when Madame Death threatened them with a raygun and mocked they couldn’t touch a lady. Miss America took her out, pointing out she wasn’t a lady.

The Future Man was trying to contact his superiors in the future when the Torch burned his time radio. The Future Man used his mental waves to stop them, intending to go to the future from where he could still stop the heroes.

Cap ordered them out of the ship, none too soon as the ship was falling. They heard the Future Man’s parting words that he would be back with a mighty army to wipe out the twentieth century.

Whizzer angrily asked Cap why he let him get away. Cap explained he ripped loose the wire that led to an outlet labelled future but left those labelled past. The Torch realized this means he will just go back to the past. And the future men will forget their plan when their emissary doesn’t return, Cap added. The world is safe again.

Thor tells the Whizzer to calm down. The Whizzer snaps at him and continues.

The Whizzer’s tale:|
Everyone knows how the Human Torch was captured by a crime syndicate in 1949 and buried in the desert. The Torch was reborn again in the blinding light of an atomic test, only to vanish again later, this time apparently for good. Captain America know what happened to his replacement and his young friend while the Sub-Mariner returned to his then polar home. And Bob Frank aka the Whizzer and Madeline Joyce aka Miss America got married.

Cap tells him to slow down, he is perspiring. They will see why soon, the Whizzer explains and continues.

The Whizzer’s story:
After the wedding Madeline and Bob revealed their secret identities to the US government and acted as non-costumed yet super-powered bodyguards on a certain nuclear project. Then, one night in 1949, there was an explosion. Dressed in protective suits, Madeline and Bob headed for the reactor to shut it down.

Exhausted, the Whizzer mutters time has grown short. He has to skip over that part. Got to tell about what he learned from TV last week.

About a building that collapsed not far from here. About how Captain America and Iron Man were nearby to rescue victims and stumbled upon the time capsule. The Whizzer groans it was classified and eventually forgotten. The Avengers brought it to their mansion for safekeeping.

The Whizzer repeats it is his. He begs them to return it. Thor is still doubtful. Vision announces he senses a slight tremor. It grows and it is like something indescribably powerful is trying to get out of the capsule.

Suddenly, a glowing, irradiated man – Nuklo – bursts out of the capsule. He screams and lashes out. The Avengers with the exception of the Scarlet Witch give chase. The Whizzer cries this is his son!

Captain America is the first to attack and is hit brutally by Nuklo.

Jarvis awakes, berating the Whizzer, who finally collapses due to a heart attack.

Unaware of this, Cap warns the others that Nuklo’s aura absorbs the force of a blow. Vision points out Nuklo stands uncertain whether to fight or flee. Mantis reminds them if they don’t act soon the radiation will first destroy them and then be loosened upon the city.

Wanda kneels down next to the Whizzer and orders Jarvis to get a doctor.

Reluctantly, the Avengers attack with Thor in the lead as he is most likely to stand radiation. Nuklo tosses him into the others and as the sprawl near unconscious Nuklo grows ever larger and there is an explosion – or implosion – and when the stunned Avengers recover sight and senses he is gone. They realizes he is like a dangerous child and must be stopped. Iron Man suggests they ask the Whizzer what makes the creature tick but Thor decides they have no time.

Soon they fly away, however their machines have given them three instances of high level radiation in the city. And so they split up, Cap and Iron Man, Mantis and Thor and the Vision on his own.

The first source of emissions is an electric plant on the west side. The Vision wonders why the three emissions were of equal strength, since only one can lead to their quarry. The plant is a ruin, the workers are fleeing and the Vision realizes he is the one to encounter their nuclear Nemesis.

Nuklo hits him back. Nuklo -- Nem-sis? He repeats. Vision phases his fist into Nuklo. Hurt Nuklo recoils in horror and pain and the Vision wonders why he seems so much weaker. He hopes to use his foe’s terror corral him back to Avengers Mansion.

Meanwhile, thanks to medical aid, the Whizzer’s condition is somewhat stabilized. Wanda asks him if there is anything he can tell them to help capture that monstrosity. He asks her not to call him that, he is his son!

Madeline Frank was pregnant when they leapt into that nuclear inferno. Months later, she gave birth to a misshapen glowing child who soon started emitting dangerous radiation. The government sought out an experimental time capsule that would keep the boy in suspended animation for precisely a quarter century, because there was at least a 50 % chance that after 25 years the boy’s radiation level would have dropped to acceptable levels. Meanwhile, a government building erected in this spot would make sure the capsule remained unmolested.

Bob falls asleep from exhaustion and the Scarlet Witch is frightened about what else she may hear…

Elsewhere, Thor and Mantis find their quarry atop some elevated train tracks. Mantis wonders how they can possibly beat him. Nuk-lo! the being hisses. N-msis! He tosses a girder at Thor which the thunder god smashes with his mallet. Mantis shouts a warning about an express train closing in. Thor shouts at Nuklo to jump free or meet his doom. However, the glowing man-monster does not move until the last moments, when he physically stops the train. Mantis jumps onto his back and uses a martial arts grip to drop him. Thor notes Nuklo is weaker, even cringing at the sight of his hammer.

Back at Avengers Mansion, the Scarlet Witch sits at the Whizzer’s bedside. When he’s awake again she asks him if the Franks’ European travel ever took them to Wundagore.

Flashback narration:
The Whizzer recalls that they became curious when they heard the name in a small European village. On Wundagore’s mountain top, they met the High Evolutionary who graciously invited them as guests. He noted Mrs. Frank’s advanced pregnancy and told them they had room there.

Legends still tell of the night when lights on the mountain were flashing. Soon a strange bovine midwife brought Bob Frank his newborn twin babies, a boy and a girl and informed him Mrs. Frank wished to call them—

Pietro and Wanda! the Scarlet Witch bursts out. He’s … her father!

Elsewhere, Captain America and Iron Man find yet another Nuklo in the third location, a power plant, ripping up some power lines. Nuklo- Nem-sis - skill! he shouts at them. Cap distracts him to allow the employees to escape and notes Nuklo absorbs the power. Iron Man shuts off the power and fires his repulsors at Nuklo. Nuklo, repulse… nem-sis, Nuklo howls as he withdraw.

Back at Avengers Mansion, the Scarlet Witch explains her outburst.

Wanda and her brother Quicksilver were orphans, roaming Europe and pursued by those who feared them, as they were mutants. When a mob was upon them, Magneto stepped in and saved the twins, but also forced them to become members of his Brotherhood, fighting the X-Men. Eventually, they threw off his yoke and joined the Avengers.

What most people don’t know are their real names, Pietro and Wanda.

Bob Frank berates himself for leaving them with the High Evolutionary when their mother died a few days later. He returned years later, but they were gone. She explains they ran away for they sensed the High Evolutionary’s world of New-Men wasn’t theirs. Addressing him as ‘father,’ she urges him to sleep.

In Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, the various Avengers groups give chase to a Nuklo each, driving him to Avenger mansion until, to their surprise, they arrive at the same time, with three Nuklos.

Repeating the words they learned, the three merge into one being, now glowing even brighter. Cap realizes the three stored up energy and now Nuklo is more powerful than before.

Nuklo slams his hands together and the power blast scatters the Avengers.

The blast is heard inside Avengers Mansion by Bob Frank, who realizes the Avengers can’t stop him. There is only one thing that can. He dresses at super-speed and carries Wanda outside.

Thor tells them to fall back but Bob Frank has whispered something into his daughter’s ears and, even as Nuklo grows and the Whizzer falls by the wayside, Wanda stands unafraid. She sends out a hex sphere to encompass Nuklo. He strains against it, growing larger, but the hex sphere holds. With his energy gone, he shrinks and passes out.

The battle is ended, Wanda announces. Nuklo has been bested by the only thing that could fell him: flesh of his flesh. Blood of his blood. And she’s not very proud of it.

The Avengers decide to rebuild the chrono-sphere. Perhaps in  25 years, the world will be  able to help Nuklo.

The Vision carries the limp form of Bob Frank back to Avengers Mansion and soon Dr. Don Blake arrives to operate on him. So, a few short hours later, Wanda can tell him he will be alright. She will contact Pietro to inform him about their father. He asks her to come closer and whispers something into her ear then falls asleep. The Vision asks Wanda what he said. “Take good care of your brother,” she replies.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision (all Avengers)
Mantis (Avengers ally)


In the Whizzer’s narration
Bucky II, Captain America II, Human Torch I, Miss, America, Sub-mariner, Toro, Whizzer (All Winners Squad)
Future Man
Madame Death

High Evolutionary

Story Notes: 

 Two other stories are reprinted in this issue:

The Magician and the Maiden (from Tales to Astonish #58)The Ray of Madness (from Human Torch comics #33)

This is the first attempt to give the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver an origin. It didn’t stick long. In Avengers (1st series) #185-187, the twins’ connection to Magneto and the Maximoffs would be introduced and AXIS and Uncanny Avengers (2nd series) would change their story again.

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