Avengers (1st series) #27

Issue Date: 
April 1966
Story Title: 
Four Against the Floodtide!

Stan Lee (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Frankie Ray (inks), Artie Simek (letters)

Brief Description: 

Hawkeye is attacked by a mysterious costumed villain. After defeating him, he remembers the activation code to the message machine, and learns where his teammates have gone. He runs to the Fantastic Four, and is allowed to borrow their aero-sub to dive into the waters to Attuma’s ship. There, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Captain America are prisoners. Pietro manages to escape the ship, but he is later attacked by Attuma’s warriors and left for dead. Luckily, Hawkeye finds him just in time. Quicksilver leads them back to Attuma. After taking out more of Attuma’s warriors, they make it back inside. There, Cap and Wanda get to see Attuma’s control panel to the flooding machine, which is in full action. Hawkeye and Quicksilver start attacking Attuma’s guards, but they are quickly surrounded. Cap and Wanda manage to break loose. While Wanda goes to help out her teammates, Cap messes with the control panels. He also messes with Attuma’s tank and, after defeating some of Attuma’s soldiers with it, Attuma himself loses command of his troops and they realize it’s best that they escape while they can. Unable to find the Wasp, the Avengers think it’s best that they also escape. Upon departure, Attuma tries one last time to destroy the Avengers’ ship, but upon activating a switch on his control panel, Attuma’s entire ship plus his flooding machine explodes! The Avengers make it safely back to the mansion. Hawkeye notices that his enemy, whom he had tied up, managed to somehow escape. A few seconds later, the Avengers alarm goes off, and it looks like they’re in for another crisis, as the warning concerns none other than… the Wasp!

Full Summary: 

The other Avengers are off on a mission. Hawkeye would like to join them but, since he can’t remember the activation code for their new, secret visi-projector, he can’t read the note they left him and find out where the team went exactly. Luckily, the Avengers still have the subliminal-recall-inducer from Tony Stark, which helps get a memory back together. Hawkeye goes to sit in it, and hopes that his plan will work.

He activates the machine, and, a glowing, bright light later, Clint remembers the code: it’s 1313! Thrilled that the machine works, Hawkeye goes back to the projector, but suddenly thinks he hears footsteps behind him. He may not have any superpowers like the other heroes, but Clint knows when danger is near. Clint thinks, whoever the villain is, he’ll think that Hawkeye’s spent his time working on the projector and not have noticed him. Suddenly, the villain strikes but, thanks to his fast thinking, Hawkeye dodges the move!

The villain is none other than the Beetle, but Hawkeye has never seen him before and thereby doesn’t know whom he’s fighting. The Beetle hits a control panel, and Hawkeye notices the suction ends on the Beetle’s gloves. Hawkeye goes insane from the silence, and demands that his adversary says something. The Beetle throws a table at Hawkeye and calls him a fool, as he had thought that his actions spoke for him. Hawkeye laughs at the Beetle, and easily destroys the table with one of his arrows. Hawkeye continues firing his arrows, but the Beetle gets protected by his impervious wings. Hawkeye mocks the idea, joking that they’ll send Beetle a “no-prize” in the morning.

Clint still doesn’t know who his enemy is, but does know that he doesn’t have time for a battle now, as his teammates need him. Swiftly pressing one of the countless emergency buttons which dot the walls around him, the master archer leaps through a noiselessly sliding, steel door, which creates a path between him and the Beetle. Thinking that this will buy him enough time, Hawkeye goes back to the projector. He activates the code, speaks out his name, and the projector shows the message that the Avengers are currently fighting Namor, and even gives away their location.

The Beetle manages to punch his way through the door, and tries to use his suction fingers to grab Hawkeye. He succeeds, but Clint has a backup plan. He releases himself with a flame arrow, as the flames scare Beetle. He jumps away to create some space between them, but the Beetle protects himself with his wings, swearing to have his revenge. Hawkeye next fires a bolo arrow, and the Beetle gets trapped in the bounding cords, which come out of the arrow. Clint releases a smoke arrow, and the smoke allows him to quickly escape, and he leaves the Beetle behind at the mansion.

Meanwhile, at their ship, Attuma’s followers are confident that their leader will now win now that the situation is at his side, thanks to the water flooding into the battle room. However, one of the followers notices that it’s the exact same situation like before, and that Attuma will win now that he’s stronger, as the water makes the Avengers lose their strength. His superior make the soldier shut up, fearing what Attuma might do if he hears them.

In the battle chamber, Cap tries to figure out a way to beat Attuma besides using raw strength, but gets caught by the villain who wants to finish him of. Quicksilver races towards Cap, wanting to help out, but they all wonder what’s keeping Hawkeye so long. Attuma holds Cap so tight that he faints. The villain notices it and releases Cap, confident that the battle will be over soon. Pietro notices, and picks up Cap’s shield, thinking it might protect him the same way it does for Cap. Attuma tries to punch Pietro, but he dodges the attack.

Attuma has a better idea. He points his attention towards Wanda and fakes wanting to suffocate her by twirling her cape around her face, hoping that the gallant Quicksilver will come to the rescue and he’ll thereby be able to find a fast way to beat him. The plan works. Pietro arrives, and uses Cap’s shield to push Attuma away from her sister. Attuma laughs, and swims towards Pietro and grabs the boy, and they continue the battle.

Attuma’s followers are amazed by Pietro’s strategies, but are confident he won’t be able to defeat their master. Wanda knows she could use her Hex powers, but with Pietro too close to Attuma, she won’t take the risk of hurting him. She wishes that Hawkeye would arrive soon, as he is their only hope.

At the same time on the surface world, Hawkeye managed to borrow an aero-sub from the Fantastic Four, and prepares for action. But, he suddenly stops, as the water tides are higher than ever before! Even on sea, the ship captains and their sailors are amazed by the tides, and warn everyone they can. Radio broadcasters even think this might be the end of the world!

On the ship, Wanda has thought of another plan. She uses her Hex powers to break a wall nearby her, and the water causes the safety glass, which Attuma’s warriors stand behind to break. Though they only get stronger thanks to the water, the Atlanteans worry about the water reaching their machines and breaking it. While they rush to save them, Pietro, failing to find either Wanda or Cap, notices an opening, something that looks like a tube, and swims through it. Unfortunately for Pietro, one of Attuma’s warriors has noticed this. He pulls a lever, and Pietro gets fired through… a vacuum ejector-tube! The sudden change in pressure is too much for Pietro to endure, and he faints.

A few minutes later, Pietro wakes up, and has been found by Hawkeye! He almost fights him, at first thinking Clint is an enemy, but Pietro calms down after recognizing his teammate. Hawkeye is glad to see Pietro alive, but he failed to find Cap and Wanda. Pietro suggests that they immediately go after them, and he promises to explain on the way back to the battlefield. However, upon arriving, they find the place completely empty, and Attuma’s ship gone! Quicksilver doesn’t know what to do, as, for as all they know, the Avengers are possibly dead and, if not, they don’t even know where to start their search.

At the same time, one of Attuma’s men is sneaking up on the Avengers from behind a rock. He notices their ship and starts attacking it. Pietro hopes that, if they follow the soldier, he’ll lead them back to Attuma’s ship, but Hawkeye fears that the soldier might have other ideas, and just wants to destroy them. Pietro asks Hawkeye to move over, as with his speed he can manipulate the controls way faster. Clint does as told,and notices Pietro moving real fast, like Clint has never saw him do before, and has never seen Pietro fight like a madman before.

Pietro does the job, and flies circles around Attuma’s warriors. They’ll never get the heroes now! But they mustn’t lose them, as the ship might still lead them back to Attuma. Another of Attuma’s battle ship arrives and they attack the Avengers as well. Pietro keeps steering the ship and notices that the controls respond as if they were alive. Tony Stark truly is a genius. Hawkeye corrects that he didn’t get this ship from Stark, but borrowed it from Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, who’s equal in intelligence.

Pietro suggests that they stay out of the battle ship’s range, until they lead them back to Attuma, and move at full speed, with the battle ships still firing upon them. Hawkeye stops Pietro and notices a big sea monster up ahead. It’s a giant octopus, and it looks like he came straight out of one of those Japanese monster movies! Hawkeye tells Pietro to use the ship’s breaks, but Pietro realizes they can’t do that, as they’ve still got the battleships to worry about. He thinks there’s only one chance left: they’ll have to depend on Quicksilver’s speed to rescue them.

Hawkeye knows Pietro sounds certain, but doesn’t think it’ll work. Pietro believes otherwise, as they’ve still got their pursuers, of whom Pietro is certain that they’ll help them. Hawkeye thinks that Pietro truly has gone insane now: how will their attackers possibly help them?! Pietro doesn’t have time to explain, and just does what he has planned. So, he maneuvers the tiny craft with the speed and skill of a master, and manages to evade the monster squid’s tentacles long enough for the two patrol ships of Attuma to get within range, and instead of grabbing the Avengers, the octopus grabs Attuma’s men!

Hawkeye congratulates Pietro on a fine job, but still thinks they are nowhere since they don’t know where to look for their teammates. Pietro notices a giant rock, and behind it lays Attuma’s ship. The two heroes waste no further time and go to it.

Meanwhile inside Attuma’s ship, he has repaired his vessel and increased the oxygen quotient so that it seems as the Avengers’ punishment will not be as simple as mere suffocation. Captain America fears that the situation looks hopeless, but he has discovered one weak spot in Attuma’s armor. Cap decides to play a little and make Attuma confused.

Cap tells Wanda that he regrets dying for nothing, as he thinks Attuma is nothing but a phony. Wanda asks Steve what he means. Cap thinks that Attuma is mere bluffing, and that he doesn’t have a tiding machine, and wouldn’t dare to attack the surface world. Attuma defends that he will, and shouts that he will show the Avengers his machine if they want to.

And so, a few seconds later, Attuma has brought Cap and Wanda to his control room. Attuma activates his viewing screens, and demonstrates the tiding machine already in full action! He is confident that within a few hours, every coastal city will be flooded, and within days, so will the entire world. Attuma mentions that, now the Avengers have seen what he is capable off and isn’t bluffing at all, it’s time for them to meet their fate. Cap isn’t so sure about that. Cap thinks that, now he has finally found the control room, he must find a way to wreck it. He whispers to Wanda to stay close to him and to not despair. Wanda promises she’ll never do that, not as long as an Avenger is still alive.

Outside the ship, Quicksilver and Hawkeye are ready to attack it. Unfortunately, before they are able to enter, another patrol ship arrives and attacks them. Pietro refuses to wait and find the ship’s opening hatch, so he just crashes the ship through the walls! They make it inside, but the water also starts flooding in, and Hawkeye wonders what’ll happen to Cap and Wanda now. Quicksilver admits he hadn’t thought of that, and starts running to find them, hoping he still has enough time. Hawkeye notices that they’re in luck, as Attuma has an automatic device, which dropped a new glass wall in the place of the crushed one!

Quicksilver doesn’t care and just wants to find the others. While they continue their search, they get once again attacked by Attuma’s soldiers. Pietro shouts that he’ll keep them busy, while Hawkeye attacks with his arrows. Hawkeye prepares himself and prepares an arrow to fire, but Quicksilver fights like a madman and defeats all of the soldiers in no time, using his great speed. Hawkeye notices that when Pietro’s sister is in danger, the man doesn’t joke around.

But suddenly, a mammoth automatic field piece lumbers into view. The soldiers inside it are confident that one single blast will take out their foes. However, before they can fire, Hawkeye fires an explosive arrow at the machine, and destroys it completely!

Attuma’s surviving soldiers rush to their master and inform him of the situation. He orders his troops to dispose of the prisoners, while he will personally go take care of the attackers. Cap whispers to Wanda that this diversion will make his plan easier. The soldiers push Cap and Wanda towards the dungeons. Cap whispers to Wanda that this is the moment to fake her fainting. Wanda agrees to it, but whispers Cap do be careful. He tells her not to worry, as he has been working on his robe and they’re almost as good as lose.

Wanda collapses, but the soldiers aren’t impressed and shout at her to get on her feet again or else they’ll shoot. Cap thinks that this is the time, and… snaps his ropes! He’s free! Though the actual handcuffs are still there. With no time to work on them, Cap just slams the soldiers down. With them down, Cap frees Wanda. She asks Cap if he ever knows fear. Cap responds that only a fool, or a liar, says he’s never afraid. With Wanda released, she uses her Hex powers to remove Cap’s handcuffs. He thanks her, and tells her its best they move into action again.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye and Quicksilver have been fighting all of Attuma’s soldiers at the same time! However, Pietro is almost out of breath, and Hawkeye is down to his last arrow, and they have to go hide behind a wall to catch their breath. Attuma orders his men not to give up, and keep shooting until they hit the Avengers. Attuma has a backup plan should the regular shooting not work and if he starts to get bored, he’ll order his troops to prepare his Y-Ray Tank. Cap shouts he won’t let that happen, and throws his shield against Attuma’s head!

Attuma soon gets up, and runs towards his tank. However Cap manages to get there as well, and throws Attuma down the ground. He orders Wanda to go help out her brother and Hawkeye, and he’ll take the ship to destroy Attuma’s flooding machine. Upon entering, Attuma’s soldiers try to stop Cap. But he presses a button, and a deadly ray defeats all of the soldiers. Attuma orders his men to stop the tank, but they just keep running to safety. Attuma realizes that he has lost command. He notices the Y-Ray coming closer, and since no man can survive that, he decides it’s best that he too escapes.

First making sure that all of Attuma’s warriors are gone, Hawkeye and Quicksilver leap onto the tank, to find that Captain America has already rejoined the Scarlet Witch. Pietro admits that, in his heart, he knew that his sister would be safe, especially with Cap by her side. Hawkeye tells Pietro not to waste any more time and just climb aboard. But, he remembers the Wasp, and wants to know where she is, since she sent them the warning message back at the mansion. Pietro reveals that he searched for her earlier at top speed, but that there was no trace of her at all. He thinks she must have found a way earlier to escape. Cap hopes that is true. Wanda remembers the flooding machine, and that they have to stop it, if not their victory here will be for nothing.

Minutes later, after reaching the Fantastic Four’s aero-sub, the Avengers rush to destroy the machine. Attuma notices their escape, but recalls that he can still make his plan work if he pressures his machine, hoping the waters nearby will crush their ship. He pulls a switch, and the water starts moving faster. But, something goes wrong. Attuma’s control switch does not respond correctly: instead, it reverses its own function!

The increased pressure of the water reaches Attuma’s own ship. He notices that someone sabotaged it, and tries to figure out something to stop it, but then, the entire ship with everyone inside explodes! And with that also Attuma’s flooding machine! That’s why Cap was missing for a while: he set up the control panel so it would self-destruct.

A few minutes later, they arrive back at Avengers Mansion. Hawkeye informs his teammates that he tied up an attacker, but he is already gone! Suddenly, the alarm goes off! Hawkeye goes to the computer screens to find out who it came from. When he finds out, this would be the last person he would ever expect.

Cap ask Pietro not to waste any time, and to just inform them who it is in danger. At the same time, Hawkeye still can’t figure out who his attacker was, or how he got away. Wanda reads the note, and suspects that the Avengers are in for yet another crisis, as the alarm signal is about none other than… the Wasp!

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (all the Avengers)

Atlantean warriors (all unnamed)

The Beetle

various coast guards and an undersea monster (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Though the costumed villain who attacks Hawkeye at the beginning of the story does not get named throughout the story, it truly is the Beetle, as gets confirmed next issue.

Wasp escaped from Attuma last issue.

More about the Beetle’s escape, and his boss, is revealed next issue.

Written By: