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Roy Thomas (writer), Don Heck (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Sam Rosen (letters), Stan Lee (editor)
After the Avengers successfully prevented the Mandarin from conquering the entire planet, an appreciative public decides to honor them with “Avengers Day!” So, all of the Avengers get ready for the ceremony. Hawkeye first goes to visit Natasha at the hospital again, and proposes to her. Natasha doesn’t want to get married yet, but maybe some day, and thinks she will probably also stop being the Black Widow. Hawkeye understands and attends the party. Realizing Cap hasn’t returned yet from his mission, Wanda, Pietro, Hank and Janet go to a local hotel to get themselves ready. Pietro feels bitter and believes that the public only likes them because they are Avengers, and not because of the fact both he and his sister are mutants. Wanda calms her brother down, wanting to forget her days as former evil mutants and part of Magneto’s team. As the team moves over to Central Park, where the ceremony takes place, Janet demonstrates her new uniform to the reporters. However, among the crowd is Captain America’s old enemy, the Super-Adaptoid, who adapts to all of the Avengers’ powers, including those of Thor and Iron Man. The android wants to fulfill the mission he received from his creators at AIM and kill the legendary hero. As Cap finally arrives, the Avengers announce that Hercules can finally become a full member of the team, which he proudly accepts. The Super-Adaptoid finally reveals himself, and a rough battle begins, which he almost wins. However, as he uses too much of his adapted powers at the same time, the Super-Adaptoid overloads his own circuits and is defeated. Afterward, the ceremony goes on, with the watching crowd proudly cheering for their heroes.
While Thor uses his Mjolnir hammer to soar himself and Hercules through the city skies, Iron Man amazes at the way Thor uses the hammer. Thor warns Hercules to hold on tight on him, because they’ll arrive at their destination in a few minutes. Hercules tells Thor he doesn’t need to worry about him, since he has a powerful grip.
Elsewhere, at their hotel room, Quicksilver impatiently waits for his sister, Wanda, to get herself ready. He mentions that the ceremony is going to start in half an hour and they can’t be late. Wanda asks Pietro how she looks, as she’s now wearing her tiara. Pietro admits she looks beautiful, but believes she’s going through too much trouble for the Homo sapiens. He thinks that they don’t deserve so much beauty, since they keep distrusting the mutant race, which they are a part of.
Wanda notices that Pietro doesn’t sound like himself, and wants to know what’s wrong. She reminds him that their former days of fighting against the humans are over and, besides, even most of their teammates in the Avengers are humans as well. Pietro claims he wasn’t talking about the Avengers, but about the crowd outside. Today, they honor them because they are Avengers, but who knows what tomorrow might bring. Wanda tries to calm her brother down, mentioning that her days with Magneto are over and should be forever forgotten about. She asks him to follow her as Goliath and the Wasp are already waiting for them.
As they have met up with Hank and depart in their plane, Hank still can’t believe that they are getting honored in public for stopping the Mandarin’s mad plan of conquering the world. And they are in a bit of a bad luck, as Captain America is still on another mission and hasn’t returned yet. Hank only hopes their leader makes it back on time. Janet wants to know why Janet isn’t flying with them. Hank doesn’t know, as she only told him that she had a surprise for them all and then up and left. He isn’t sure about it, but he thinks it has something to do with the inheritance she recently got, as Janet has been acting strangely since.
Later, at Central Park…Hawkeye meets up with Pietro and asks him how he feels about being part of “Avengers Day.” Hesitant, Pietro admits that he is honored, and asks how the Black Widow is doing, since he knows Clint just came back from the hospital. He explains that Natasha is doing fine, but won’t be fighting any time soon, though. While the crowd stares at their beloved heroes, Iron Man, Thor and Hercules drop in. As the mighty heroes meet up with their teammates, they talk about Janet’s absence, hoping she’ll make it in time.
In the crowd, an evil looking man watches the Avengers, and can’t help but wonder why Captain America isn’t with the group, suspecting he might be aware of his presence. The man realizes that can’t be true, and swears that he can’t fail this time and that Captain America must die today! After all, that is the reason why he was created, and that is the mission his photo-electric circuits were programmed for. That is the reason why he is called… the Super-Adaptoid!
The Super-Adaptoid certainly remembers the last time he and Cap faced each other. He had the legendary hero at a holding grip, and tossed him off a high building into the ocean, hoping that his creators at A.I.M. would be pleased. But, Captain America managed to survive that fall, which makes him far sturdier than the Super-Adaptoid had given him credit for. He had to seek him out one more time, because he can’t do anything else because of his programming. This time, he’s confident that he shall kill Cap though, because he plans on adapting all of the powers of the Avengers, including those of Hercules.
A reporter tries to interview Hawkeye, with his fellow reporters not understanding why he’s trying that, when they can interview someone like Hercules. Nevertheless, the reporter asks Hawkeye if it’s true he and Cap used to have a feud, but Hawkeye jokes that the reporter has a better memory than he has. The reporter then wants to know what’s wrong with the Black Widow, as he had hoped she would be here today.
Hearing this, Hawkeye remembers to himself how, back at the hospital, Natasha told him she wanted to give up being the Black Widow, hoping Clint wouldn’t mind. He didn’t, and only wanted Natasha to be his wife. Natasha promised that she might become his wife, but someday and not right now. Hawkeye doesn’t think the reporters need to know the Widow is in the hospital at the moment. He takes a look at Wanda, who notices that Thor is approaching them, but looks grim.
Thor mentions that he just received orders that he has to go back to Asgard on a mission, but Hawkeye tries to make him stay by telling him that Cap can be here any minute. Thor hopes to see his old friend before he leaves. Janet finally arrives, and made herself a shining new uniform and proudly demonstrates it to the reporters, who take some quick snapshots of it. Hank playfully scares Janet by lifting her up in the sky, and Hawkeye fires an arrow into the air, and pierces it with another much to the public’s liking.
Thor doesn’t like being a mere circus act, as that is what the Avengers are apparently becoming this day. He wonders where Captain America is staying. Iron Man tells Thor to take a closer look at Hercules, as he’s starting to like the crowd’s attention.
Hercules demonstrates his awesome muscles by lifting up a huge boulder, impressing the crowd thinking he is probably the strongest Avenger. Hercules doesn’t want to inform the crowd that the Avengers are just his allies, and that he isn’t a full member of the team like the others. And he doesn’t think he can ask for a full membership status, since he might be allowed back on Olympus soon. Janet is impressed by Hercules’ strength and likes him for that. Hercules notices the love in Janet’s eyes, but realizes Hank loves her and he can’t love a mere mortal, as it’s too dangerous. Thor and Iron Man mention they have to leave now, and ask Hawkeye to give Cap their best. Hawkeye promises, and the two founding members of the Avengers take off.
Meanwhile, Super-Adaptoid is still among the crowd, and doesn’t care that Iron Man and Thor have just left, as he has stood besides them long enough to adapt some of their powers. Captain America finally arrives, with the aid of a motorcycle police escort. He finds it ironic he’s finally being honored, just at the moment he had been deciding about giving up his life as the legendary hero. Cap meets up with his teammates, who are glad to see him. A city councilman notices that Cap has arrived, and thinks they can finally begin. Cap gathers the Avengers, and they proudly declare “Avengers, Assemble!” and are ready for an interview!
A while later, after Cap thanked the public for this great honor, Goliath makes the announcement that they gladly accept Hercules as a full member of the team. Hercules admits he didn’t expect it, but is glad to hear the offer and accepts it. The public is impressed, thinking that nobody can defeat the Avengers now, even with Iron Man and Thor off the active team. The Super-Adaptoid angrily disagrees, believing he makes a good shot at defeating the Avengers, and transforms into his true form.
The Super-Adaptoid quickly begins a battle, and fires a blast at Cap, who blocks it using his shield. Hawkeye recognizes the android from Cap’s stories, but Cap is confident he can win again since he did it in the past. He also notices that the Adaptoid has apparently adapted to Iron Man’s powers, recognizing the blast, which means he probably has part of Thor’s power now, too. The Adaptoid grows larger, almost as big as Goliath, and Hank decides to take a shot and attacks the Adaptoid, knocking him out of balance. Cap warns Hank to be careful, remembering there is more to the Super-Adaptoid than mere strength. He fires a repulsor-ray at Hank, knocking him out, and uses the strength of Thor he absorbed into his shield at the other Avengers.
Luckily, Goliath survives the attack, and quickly decides he might have a better shot at winning this battle as Ant-Man. As a result, he shrinks down in size, but realizes he forgot that the Adaptoid is now also able to do that. Immediately, the android becomes as small as Hank is now and the battle rampages on. Police officers arrive on the scene, unsure what’s going on, since they can’t see any trouble. Cap tries to convince the officers that there is a battle going on, but that the combatants have shrunken their sizes, and the officers have a hard time believing that. However, they decide to do it the Avengers’ way for now. Wanda quickly spots Hank fighting, but then already lost it.
Janet helps Hank out and attacks the Super-Adaptoid, using her Wasp-stings. This gives Hank the opportunity to use the training he received from Cap and uses his fists against the Super-Adaptoid, thinking he might have a clear shot now since the Adaptoid isn’t used fighting in a size this small. The Super-Adaptoid has a plan of his own, though, and uses the adapted speed of Quicksilver to confuse Hank, and knock him out with another repulsor-ray.
Meanwhile, Janet has a plan. She notices that the Adaptoid seems to have forgotten all about her, and attacks him from behind. The Adaptoid release Hank from his holding grip, and Janet quickly grows back to her normal size, and grabs the Super-Adaptoid into her fist! Cap is surprised at this great maneuver, and Janet thinks it’s time for the second part of her plan. She throws the Adaptoid against a tree like a baseball, but the Adaptoid has thought of that possibility, and makes himself big again as well, thus remains unharmed.
Janet quickly picks up Hank in order not to forget about him and panics as he’s still unconscious. Pietro wants to use his speed against their enemy, but Hawkeye warns him not to do that, as apparently he’s using his powers now! The Super-Adaptoid fires a blast arrow at both Hawkeye and Cap, but he protects everyone using his shield. Hawkeye fires a pair of his own blast arrows, in an attempt to startle the Adaptoid so Cap can continue hitting him with his shield. Cap attempts to find the Super-Adaptoid’s weak spot, but with no success and ends up defeated.
The Super-Adaptoid is about to kill Cap, just like AIM requested him to do, but Hercules is still left standing and uses his hammer against the Adaptoid. However, the villain remains unharmed, since Hercules apparently forgot the android has absorbed the power of two immortals! Janet notices that Wanda is attempting to use her Hex powers, but Janet warns her to be careful not to harm Cap. Still, Wanda wants to take the shot she has, and mentions that she has spent long hours perfecting her powers, so her plan might work if she can just concentrate, and the Adaptoid doesn’t notice her doing this. Unfortunately, the Super-Adaptoid uses Quicksilver’s powers to get himself into safety, and Wanda’s blast misses him.
Quicksilver mentions that Wanda gave him just the amount of time to come up with a plan. He mentions that, until this time he had held back, because he didn’t think that mere speed could be of use against someone like the Super-Adaptoid. But now, thanks to just observing him during this battle, Pietro believes he finally found the answer. Pietro runs really fast around the Super-Adaptoid, proudly demonstrating his skills as a mutant, but the Adaptoid takes him out nonetheless.
The Super-Adaptoid then grabs Cap again and wants to kill him, but the Avengers regroup and decide to try it out as a team now, in the hope saving Cap’s life. Cap warns his teammates to stay back, but they refuse. The Super-Adaptoid decides to finish of all of the Avengers at the same time, and is ready for the big finale.
Suddenly, smoke appears, and the Super-Adaptoid starts to feel all dizzy. Hawkeye decides to take the shot and fires lots of blast arrows at the android, giving him an electric shock, which brings him down! Cap wants to know what just happened. Hank thinks that he can explain it, since his field is bio-chemistry. Hank believes that Pietro must have guessed that the Super-Adaptoid was like a giant storage battery, which could only hold so much power. Cap believes he understands what Hank is saying. He believes that’s why the Super-Adaptoid used the abilities of only one or two Avengers at the same time. When it started calling up all of the adapted powers as well, the circuits overloaded themselves!
Pietro gets up, believing they still have to keep an eye out for a possible revival of the Super-Adaptoid, since he was build by humans to destroy them. Cap corrects that the Adaptoid was build by evil humans, to bring both humans and mutants to their doom. Wanda notices the tone in Cap’s voice, and suspects that he too senses the bitterness in Pietro’s voice.
Suddenly, the finally crowd finds the Avengers, and proudly cheer for them, ready to go on with “Avengers Day.” Hercules thinks he’s going to like it as a member of this team, and Cap is confident that, with Hercules at their side, they can handle anything.
Captain America, Goliath, Hawkeye, Hercules, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Wasp (all Avengers)
Thor, Iron Man (both former Avengers)
lots of people at Central Park including reporters (all unnamed)
in the Super-Adapotoid’s flashback: Captain America (all Avengers)Super-Adaptoid
in Hawkeye’s memories: Black Widow I, Hawkeye
This story continues after Avengers Annual #1, where the Avengers indeed fought and prevented the Mandarin from taking over the planet.
Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were once members of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, a group of “evil mutants” that indeed fought against the humans because they hated, feared and even abused other mutants because they are afraid of them. After Magneto disappeared, the group was disbanded. Later, after reading an article in the newspaper about the Avengers seeking new members, Pietro convinced his sister to try and join the group as an attempt to clear their name, as seen in Avengers (1st series) #16.
The Super-Adaptoid’s flashback originates from Tales of Suspense #84.
Before this story begins, Captain America still hasn’t returned from his mission in Tales of Suspense #95.
Thor’s mission in Asgard can be found in Thor (1st series) #145.