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Avengers #54: Review

Jul 1968
Roy Thomas, John Buscema

Story Name:

... and deliver us from ... the Masters Of Evil

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #54 Review by (June 10, 2022)
The heroic Black Knight began his career in #47-48 and this is his next app.

Klaw's only previous apps were Fantastic Four #53 and #56. But since then the Marvel Chronology Project has him (along with many other villains) temporarily dragged through time by the monster Orrgo to Defenders vol 2 #10.

Radioactive Man's previous apps were the Journey Into Mystery (Thor) #93 and our #6 (as part of the 1st Masters Of Evil) mentioned in the synopsis. But Untold Tales Of Spider-Man #16 retconned an app after that.

Melter has had a busier career than those 2. After Tales Of Suspense (Iron Man) #47 and our #6 he returned with the MOE for our #15-16. He was 1 of the multitude of villains crashing Reed Richards and Sue Storm's wedding in FF Annual #3. Then came TOS(IM)#89-90 (from where he too was time-borrowed, in this case to FF#405).

Human Top was a persistent foe of Giant-Man and Wasp in Tales To Astonish #50-51,55,59.68-69. A retcon in a backup tale in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37 has him trying out the Whirlwind costume but unsuccessfully without a helmet. Then he too was in FF An#3. And then as Whirlwind/Charles the chauffeur in our #46-47.

#6 told us that the hooded Baron Zemo invented Adhesive X in WWII but Captain America caused the hood to get stuck to his head by his own adhesive. When Zemo and the 1st MOE used the adhesive against the Avengers they had to get the villain Paste-Pot Pete (later Trapster) to free them.

It's not really a spoiler to tell you that next issue will show that the robot is really the master villain, and that this is the 1st app of the Avengers' major foe Ultron. And of course Jarvis isn't really a baddie.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #54 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers have just finished installing new safety systems to catch intruders, including 1 trap that Black Panther demonstrates. A dark light detects him and his wrists are grabbed by robot arms. Now they fill in butler Edwin Jarvis on the details. But Wasp senses something off about him. And she may be right because he makes a furtive phone call promising to bring someone info. The pair meet again as Jarvis heads out for his afternoon off. Janet Van Dyne is waiting for her chauffeur to pick her up but he's late so she decides to walk instead. As they leave together Edwin says he's going uptown to visit his mother in the Bronx. But instead he takes the downtown subway.

He enters a derelict building and lifts a hatch in the floor which leads him down to a hi-tech basement which is certainly not derelict. He pauses before opening a metal door beyond which is a collection of Avengers' villains:- Black Knight, Klaw, Melter, Radioactive Man and Whirlwind (which explains why Jan's chauffeur didn't turn up). A commanding voice describes them as the new Masters Of Evil. The completely cloaked Crimson Cowl broke 3 of the villains (not BK and Whirlwind) out of jail recently and Jarvis is here because he needs a lot of money.

2 of the villains helpfully recap their beefs with the Avengers. Ulysses Klaw is a master of sound. He invented a sonic weapon which he used years ago to invade Wakanda seeking vibranium. Young T'Challa turned it on him and shattered his right hand. We learned this in Fantastic Four #53 when he returned for another attempt to gain vibranium. This time he had a sonic claw in place of his hand, and a sonic converter which created creatures of solid sound. Defeated he leapt into the converter and became the man of solid sound he is now, still with his sonic claw.

Chinese Radioactive Man was an enemy of Thor introduced in Journey Into Mystery #93. Baron Zemo recruited him to the original MOE in our #6 where he was defeated by Iron Man.

Melter doesn't mention that he was an Iron Man foe (from Tales Of Suspense #47) who was also in the original MOE.

We also know that Davey Cannon was 1 of Giant-Man's foes as Human Top (since Tales To Astonish #50) who became Whirlwind in our #46.

And Black Knight keeps quiet because he's the new heroic version, not the now-dead villain (who was also in the original MOE).

Jarvis now hands over the plans of the new security system and demands his money. But Crimson Cowl gases him unconscious. He sends the others away, reminding them where they should meet at midnight.

BK flies his horse Aragorn to Avengers Mansion to warn them. On the way he remembers how a letter was forwarded to him from the post-office box of his uncle (the previous bad Knight). It was an invitation to join the new Masters. He attended the meeting and Crimson Cowl greeted him, though commenting that he was expecting someone older. Now he lands on the Mansion roof several hours before midnight, but the other Masters are there waiting for him. Cowl suspected his impersonation and set this trap. The 4 villains beat him up but he tells Aragorn to fly away.

As Dane Whitman hoped his horse is spotted on a monitor by Hawkeye who's on watch. But before he can alert the team Melter melts his way through a wall (without triggering an alarm) and attacks him. The Avenging Archer hits the villain with a stun arrow but not before a melting shot brings heavy machinery down on him.

Whirlwind takes on Black Panther in the Mansion's garage. To protect his identity he's careful not to let slip stuff he overheard as Wasp's chauffeur, such as BP's name T'Challa. That job also means he knows the layout of the garage well, so he's not fazed when Panther turns the lights out hoping to gain an advantage with his cat-senses. Davey Cannon's spinning catches cars and Panther in a whirlwind. And when the villain suddenly stops BP is slammed into a wall.

Klaw goes after Jan. He underestimates her until she judo-throws him across the room and then shrinks to Wasp to escape. However a sonic blast slams the door shut so she flies into it and falls stunned.

Henry Pym (in his Goliath suit) and his assistant Bill Foster are in their lab doing sciencey-stuff when Radioactive Man appears. Bill attacks him to buy time but RM uses Zemo's Adhesive X gun to trap him in gunge. Goliath grows to his max 25ft and dons (obviously large) protective gloves to safely hit the foe's radioactive body. And then he shrinks to ant-size to avoid the Adhesive gun. He chases the baddie who leads him through that dark light trap, which ignores the crook and grabs the hero. RM gloats that he knew his radioactivity would fool the sensors.

The issue ends with the 3 male heroes in chains and Wasp trapped in a bottle (with airholes). The MOE activate an Avengers scanner on a particular channel and Crimson Cowl appears on screen to commend them on their victory. But then another Crimson Cowl shows up beside the 1st and rips its cowl off to expose a robot. And then no 2 removes his own cowl to reveal Edwin Jarvis!

John Buscema
George Tuska
John Buscema (Cover Penciler)
George Klein (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Art Simek.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Black Panther
Black Panther


(Clint Barton)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Bill Foster, Goliath (Hank Pym), Melter (Bruno Horgan), Radioactive Man, Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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