Avengers (1st series) #41

Issue Date: 
June 1967
Story Title: 
Let Sleeping Dragons Lie!

Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), George Bell (inks), Artie Simek (letters), Stan Lee (editor)

Brief Description: 

During a training session, Hawkeye and Hercules get into an argument when Hercules accidentally breaks their equipment. Luckily, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch manage to calm them down but think it’s just the calm before the storm. Meanwhile in Russia, the Black Widow tries to infiltrate at the building of her former bosses, which had her brainwashed into becoming evil a while ago. But, her bosses are smarter than they seem and capture Natasha. They put her into a cell and decide to test out their newest weapon, the Psychotron, on the Widow, causing her to faint and enter in a nightmare-like reality! Elsewhere, Hank has received a special delivery, courtesy of Reed Richards. It’s the lifeless body of Dragon Man. Hank intends to study on the creature how Diablo ever managed to create it. But, Diablo has survived his latest defeat at the hands of the Fantastic Four and wants his property back. He causes a diversion and turns a building into gold with his special gun. While Hank and Janet rush out of their home to check on it, Diablo manages to break inside. After dealing with Bill Foster, he activates Dragon Man once more. Goliath and Dragon Man fight, but the dragon is way too powerful and defeats both Hank and Janet. Diablo plans on using them both in his plan to enslave the entire world. The other Avengers read about the golden building and check it out. Once they notice the commotion at Hank’s house, they rush inside, but end up defeated. Diablo and Dragon Man escape, holding both Goliath and the Wasp as their hostages.

Full Summary: 

The Avengers are busy training their powers. Hawkeye makes a perfect bulls-eye, while Wanda practices her gymnastic skills. Quicksilver tests his speeding powers and Hercules is busy with the weights. He accidentally tosses them up and almost hits Hawkeye. He tells Hercules to be careful but Pietro notices that, once again, Hercules’ thoughts only go out to Olympus. Wanda is glad that she already recovered from her illness and is once again at full strength. Hawkeye is busy showing off and gracefully tries to make another bulls-eye, but hits Hercules’ weights causing the arrow to break.

Hercules thinks that Hawkeye is teasing him and takes his bow out of his hands, wanting to show the archer how a true master uses a bow. Hercules prepares to fire an arrow, but his great strength accidentally breaks the bow! Hawkeye gets angry but Pietro holds him back. Hercules apologizes and makes up by making a bow out of metal bars and a cord he finds, impressing the Avengers at his crafting skills. However, the arrow he uses is also makes of metal and, when Hercules fires it, the arrow hits a control panel and destroys it completely!

Hawkeye becomes angry again, remembering the control panels cost Tony Stark a lot of money, and now Hercules just goes wrecking the place. Hercules gets upset and thinks Hawkeye is mocking his unpleasant exile. Wanda asks her brother to do something, and he agrees. He drags Hawkeye away from Hercules and runs with the archer out of the room. Hawkeye realizes fighting won’t bring Natasha back and goes back to his room to rest, and Hercules does the same.

Wanda pities Hawkeye, as he hunkers for Natasha’s love, and for that she’ll even take over his monitor duty for the day. Pietro thinks that not even Cap or Goliath could have handled the situation better than they did should they be here, but Cap is still absent and Hank is absorbed in his experiments at the lab.

Elsewhere at an Eastern country, the Black Widow steers her plane towards a panicking army. She attacks them with her Widow bite and is looking for Colonel Ling. Ling recognizes the Widow and doesn’t want his men firing upon her, but wants to know how she managed to locate their hidden base and why she has returned. The Widow claims she returned to prove her loyalty by handing over some plans of an American submarine. Ling believes Natasha on her words and takes her back inside the base. After passing the security and protection security rays, Ling decides to reveal Natasha their newest deadly weapon: the Psychotron!

Natasha is amazed at the giant lab filled with weapons, with the deadliest standing in the middle being the Psychotron. She is amazed that after so many years of struggling, borrowing, begging and killing for information, they are finally on the verge of success. It took two decades but the Psychotron finally exists. Ling mentions not even Natasha was allowed to know the thing was being built until now for safety reasons. Ling has another important thing to show Natasha. He walks her to another lab, where Natasha recognizes Dr. Yen, the man who brainwashed her months ago.

Yen shows Natasha a door but she doesn’t know the meaning of it. Suddenly, she gets tossed in the cell and the door gets closed! They had been expecting Natasha’s return months ago and learned she was now secretly working for SHIELD. Ling shouts at Natasha because she earlier failed to destroy the Avengers, so she shall be the first victim of the Psychotron. Natasha claims that she really returned to prove her loyalty but Ling refuses to believe that. Yen activates the machine and Natasha soon begins to feel its effects.

Natasha gets knocked out. In her dream, she finds herself in a dark landscape with nothing but blackness and she finds herself trapped. She sees a green ghost form appearing and realizes the power of the Psychotron: to realize someone’s worst nightmare. And she can’t escape unless she wakes up, but doesn’t think her captors shall allow that to happen anytime soon!

Back in America, Goliath and the Wasp help unpack a delivery that came for Hank. After a year of paperwork, phone calls and red tape, Hank has finally gotten what he wanted. He opens a box, and explains to Janet that he has now finally become the legal guardian of… the inert mammoth android known as Dragon Man! Hank thinks Dragon Man is the most amazing android alive and wants to know what makes the creature tick. Janet notices Dragon Man is so still and motionless, wondering if he’s still alive.

Hank explains that Dragon Man was invented by a Professor at Empire State University and was later given artificial life by a villain named Diablo. Together, they even managed to destroy the Fantastic Four, but during the battle was restrained by Mr. Fantastic’ elastic powers just long enough so he could initiate his plan. His heat was even powerful enough to hold the Human Torch back for a while, but eventually Johnny ended up victorious. Johnny unleashed his ultra-violet fire rays, which were powerful enough to give Dragon Man a sunstroke, like he spend weeks under a desert sun.

Since then, he was motionless. He was later shipped to a desert island, where scientists have pored over him for months, without learning the secret of Diablo. Recently, on Reed Richards’ recommendation, the authorities gave Hank a chance to crack the secret. Wasp wants to know what happened to Diablo after the battle. Hank learned that Diablo was the victim of his own ambition and drowned into a whirlpool. Hank is confident the villain shall never again control Dragon Man.

But neither of the two Avengers realize that Diablo is actually standing nearby Hank’s lab! He can’t believe that his creation is finally back within his grasp. He believes he has allowed his enemies they could defeat him, the greatest master of alchemy. While in hiding, he developed a weapon to magnify the power of his miraculous potions. Diablo fires a gun which, on impact, turns a nearby house into pure gold! Lots of people gather around all wanting to have a piece of it.

Hank and Janet rush outside to check out what the fuss is all about, but the crowd gets even more exited when they get to see two world-famous super-heroes like the Wasp and Goliath. To avoid a commotion and in order to do their job, both Hank and Janet shrink down. Hank is almost trampled by a foot but he manages to roll into safety. He has a hunch that this mysterious event was an attempt to lure them away from Dragon Man and uses his belt communicator to contact the other Avengers.

The Avengers receive the call but Hercules refuses to join his friends, as he’s thinking about other things. That’s fine by Hawkeye and Quicksilver rushes to fuel up the Aerocar. As his friends leave, Hercules doesn’t know why he should bother dealing with a structure built out of gold, as he has seen plenty back home on Olympus. Though Hercules admits he likes it here on this world of mortals, he wonders if he shall ever truly belong in it.

Goliath’s lab…
Bill admits that he likes working for Goliath, as there’s never a dull moment, and also remembers there wasn’t one when he was still working for Tony Stark. But then, Diablo enters and attacks Bill with his Dyna-Disk, knocking him out! Diablo is desperate to get his property, Dragon Man, back in his grasp and wastes no time to get it. He releases another attack from his Dyna-Disk, which hits Dragon Man, and the former lifeless creature now lives again!

Goliath angrily enters, hating thought he was right about going on a wild goose chase. Diablo reveals that a mere whirlpool could never stop him and that he’s now back for more. Hank hits Diablo but he doesn’t get hurt. Instead, the villain takes out his Auric-Ray gun which turned the building into gold, and now wants to do the very same thing with Hank! Luckily, Janet quickly flies in and uses her wasp stings to blast the gun out of Diablo’s hands. But he still has his Disk and hits Janet with it, causing her to fall down.

Diablo orders Dragon Man to attack Goliath, and the giant dragon does as ordered. Hank tries to defend himself but Dragon Man is a lot stronger than he had thought. He manages to grab the creature by its tail and slams it down onto the ground! Thinking he’s won, Hank panics when Dragon Man gets up again and doesn’t seem to want to give up! Dragon Man slams Hank into a wall, causing him to have a little headache. Luckily, he’s still standing, though a bit outbalanced. Hank notices a shadow over him, and thinks he only has one chance to finish this battle. Hank hits Dragon Man in its face and the creature stays down for a while.

Fearing for his defeat, Diablo panics. Hank is ready to bring Diablo down, but Dragon Man still lives! The dragon hits the Avenger once again and, this time, Hank is too dazed to get up and thinks he’s doomed. But, Diablo has a more sadistic scheme in mind: he picks up the still unconscious Wasp and plans to use her as his newest ally. Thinking Goliath will do everything to save the woman he loves, Diablo thinks the hero will obey him at every turn and, together with Dragon Man, surely he shall succeed in enslaving the entire world!

Luckily, the other Avengers arrive to save the day. Hawkeye jumps through the window and hits Dragon Man with his arrows, but they bring no harm upon it. Quicksilver tries to run a couple of times past the dragon, hoping to daze it, but no such luck. Hawkeye has another idea: he fires a Tear-Gas arrow upon Goliath, and the gas causes Dragon Man’s eyes to hurt and he tries to get himself back to normal by rubbing in them. Hawkeye thinks they now have a better chance in defeating it, but Dragon Man instead captures Clint into his tail.

The Scarlet Witch uses her Hex Powers on Dragon Man, causing the dragon even more pain and causing him to release Hawkeye. Diablo has had enough and wants to escape before his plans are entire ruined. He fires his Auric Ray upon the building, causing it to entire change into gold. But the gold causes the walls to get too heavy and, as a result, Hank’s entire house collapses!

Diablo and Dragon Man crawl themselves out of the bricks. Diablo jumps on Dragon Man’s back, ordering him to head towards the sky and they escape together with Goliath and Wasp. Quicksilver, Wanda and Hawkeye also merge from the bricks, only to see their friends getting kidnapped. Hawkeye wonders how they could possibly win this battle.

Characters Involved: 

Goliath, Hawkeye, Hercules, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Wasp (all Avengers)

Black Widow I (Natasha Romanova)

Dragon Man

Bill Foster (Goliath’s lab partner)

Colonel Ling
Dr. Yen
various other Russian soldiers (all unnamed)

in flash-back:
Human Torch II, Mr. Fantastic (both Fantastic Four)
Dragon Man

Story Notes: 

Wanda became ill last issue but already feels better.

Captain America is still infiltrated in the Red Skull’s army, as revealed last issue.

The Avengers think the Black Widow has gone rogue as of Avengers (1st series) #39 but actually she is secretly operating for Nick Fury trying to redeem herself, though the Avengers weren’t allowed to know about this.

The flashback battles between Dragon Man and the Fantastic Four were taken from Fantastic Four (1st series) #35 and #47.

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