I Have Issues (2)
The Original Avengers VS. X-Men
I was planning on doing some Avengers issues in anticipation of the new movie coming out. While deciding which issue to do I came across this little gem. It's the first battle between the Avengers and the X-Men. I thought it might be neat for those like me who are reading the current AVX storyline to see how the first bout went down. I will also be doing newer stuff for those who have little to no interest in the old school comics but let's travel back to 1968 first.
Avengers # 53 (1968)
(Writer) Roy Thomas
(Artist) John Buscema
Avengers: Black Panther, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Goliath
X-Men: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants: Magneto, Toad, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver
On the first page it is noted that Cyclops has just taken down Quicksilver as he is attempting to rescue his fellow X-Men from Magneto's island fortress. This took place in X-Men #45 which I do not have so sorry on that one. The Avengers are standing over Cyclops ready to drop him if he even reaches his visor. Cyclops mentions that he is not sure if they are really the Avengers or just robots under the employ of Magneto (robots were a big problem in the 60's and 70's comic universes, so this isn't as ridiculous a comment as it may seem. So were apes come to think of it, I'm glad they got that crap under control in the 80's) Cyclops fires an optic blast to take Hawkeye's aim off of him. (I guess The Avengers didn't have access to the Marvel handbooks, because everyone knows Cyclops has pressure pads for his visor in his gloves.) Black Panther leaps at Cyclops and stops his Visor from firing again. (A quick note on Black Panther to those who don't know about him, he is the King of the African nation of Wakanda. Black Panther is trained in loads of martial arts and has a connection to a Panther deity that grants him strength, agility and augmented senses. He is also an inventor and has a slew of advanced weapons in his vibranium suit. So in layman’s terms, he's Marvel's Batman.) Cyclops breaks loose from Panther's grip and fires at him from point blank range. Turning to Goliath Cyclops fires the platform he's standing on, collapsing him to the ground. Cyclops dashes off to rescue the rest of his captured team all the while he wonders if these Avengers are the real McCoy's but if they are then why are they attacking him? To answer this question we travel back in time one hour where Angel is flying to the Avenger’s mansion to ask for help. Caught in some type of electric cage security system the Avengers come across the trapped bird and free him. Angel mentions Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver having joined up with their father Magneto to which Black Panther replies that they are looking for those two mutants as well. I smell a team up! (Scarlet witch and Quicksilver were former and future members of the Avengers if you are wondering why the Avengers are looking for them.) So the Avengers assemble and travel in their jet to Magnetos island fortress but when they reach it they discover that their equipment is going all wonky on them. Realizing that the interference is coming from the Angel, they reach into his soft (I’m assuming) feathery wings and finds an electronic device tucked away. They infer from this that Angel must be in league with Magneto. To further confuse the situation with the two super-teams, Hawkeye decides to fire an “I-Spy arrow” into the island fortress. The camera on the arrow shows Cyclops talking to Quicksilver instead of pounding him. This is of course further proof that the X-Men are up to something and working with Magneto. The Avengers know it's probably a trap but go anyway cause they are all kinds of badass. The Avengers tie up Angel and leave him in the jet in case he is working for the enemy. Next we see Magneto who is watching the whole thing unfold and it is all according to his plan. His flunky Toad is not so sure about this and gets a backhand for his sniveling behavior and for just being an annoying little prick. Scarlet Witch is also present and is thinking, “If only Pietro (Quicksilver) were here, he would know what part to play in this grim and gritty drama.” Could Wanda (Scarlet Witch) be regretting her decision to turn evil? Wanda stops her father from further bullying Toad, while Toad himself holds onto the hope that someday his Master will appreciate his loyalty. We return to the Avengers who have just set foot into the fortress and Goliath shows some concern for Hawkeye who takes offense to this for some reason. Hawkeye even says to Goliath “for my money you couldn't lead beans to Boston!” (God I love that line.) Black Panther tells them to chill but they are having none of it and start a fight. (I never realized how much rampant anger and intolerance was going on in these old comics, they should have been checking for steroids, because there were some serious roid rages going on back in the day.) Goliath grabs Hawkeye's fist and lifts him off the ground and Hawkeye yell's “turn loose my fist, you mile high meatball!” (This is awesome!) Panther tries to grapple them both to the ground, and Goliath tells him to butt out unless he wants some too! (Man this shit would not have gone down with Captain America still on the team. He just would have decked them both and completed the mission by his lonesome. He then would have told them that they should vote and also start behaving or they won't be allowed to save the world next time. That's why Captain America rules!) Black Panther has Goliath's entire head in a body grapple and Hawkeye tells him to clear because he's got a knuckle pie with Goliath's name on it! Goliath tosses Panther and Hawkeye stops the fight saying they don't want to kill each other. Wasp enters the scene and tells them they all need to wait until the mission is over before continuing personal fights. Goliath agrees but says that when they fight Magneto his heart won't be in it (is this what's known as creative differences?) Magneto loves what he sees and mentions that Scarlet Witch has gone to find her brother and that the devices that he had toad implant on the X-Men would give him control of them. Now having let Cyclops free his teammates, he can use the X-Men whom the Avengers already think are bad guys, to destroy them. All of this brought about from Magneto letting Angel escape and get the Avengers here in the first place. (Magneto is a fucking evil genius!) So the X-Men want to team up with the Avengers to fight Magneto until their heads go all fuzzy and they forget that they are allies with the Avengers and only want to destroy them. The Avengers show up and this shit is on! Beast leaps at the Black Panther who deftly dodges the charge. Panther puts Beast in a headlock, to which Beast grabs him, slamming him to the ground the whole time using every word in the dictionary to show he's not just a stupid musclebound lunkhead. Cyclops fires off a blast dropping the floor above onto Goliath, while Hawkeye fires some trick arrows at Iceman who destroys them with an ice barrier. Panther tosses Beast off of him. Goliath reaches out from the rubble and grabs Cyclops’s leg. Cyclops blasts Goliaths hand freeing himself and Goliath is left wondering how they can be beaten by a bunch of mutants. The next panel is pretty sweet. Goliath is gripping Cyclops whole head in his fist. Marvel girl is trying to telekinetically blast Wasp while Hawkeye is firing an arrow with his legs encased in ice and Panther is leaping to avoid Beast punching his lights out. Panther realizes that the reason the Avengers are losing the fight is because they are thinking of the X-Men as fellow heroes and not as enemies. Basically the gloves are coming off and Panther uses Beasts own momentum to throw him into a concrete wall. Goliath is gripping Cyclops’s head so hard he is about to pass out while Hawkeye's trick arrows have gummed up Iceman's ice constructs. Magneto is wondering what the hell?! He is then confronted by Angel who has escaped from the Avengers Jet. Angel pops Magneto and Toad in their mouths and Goliath and Black Panther crash through the wall. The Avengers admit they knew it was all a trick and only loosely tied Angel up and pretended to start having a fight to put Magneto off his game. (These guys are good.) Magneto bounds the heroes in the metallic floor and orders Toad to blow up the fortress with the self-destruct. Toad instead decides to blow the whole island and gives them all one minute to escape. Scarlet Witch has her brother and they follow toad to safety as Magneto jumps down an escape hatch. Outside the escape ship is taking off as Magneto emerges from the escape tunnel and leaps to the ship that is taking off. Magneto tries using his powers to reach the ship but Toad reminds him that they made this particular ship out of nonmetals. Magneto is gripping onto the side of the craft and Toad gets revenge by stomping on Magnetos hand to force him down onto the rocky coast below. The combined Avengers and X-Men get in the jet and take off wondering if they will ever see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver again. Then the island blows up and we see Magnetos helmet floating in the water amongst the wreckage.
This was a pretty fun issue with some cool moments mixed in. This not the slobberknocker you would expect or hope for with these two teams. Both teams are missing the more popular members from their respective groups, but this was still a pretty fun read.
Next Post: Loki's confrontations with the Avengers.
Who’s your favorite Avenger, and what moment made them your favorite?