Contest of Champions (1st series) #3

Issue Date: 
August 1982
Story Title: 
Siege in the City of the Dead

Mark Grunwald, Steven Grant & Bill Mantlo (writer/script), John Romita, Jr & Pablo Marcos (pencils/inks), Joe Rosen (letters), Michele Wolfram & Christine Scheele (colors), Mark Grunwald & Tom DeFalco (editors), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Grandmaster’s two remaining teams also find the hidden prizes. The Grandmaster teleports them back to his arena, where he collects the prizes. The Grandmaster is the winner and tells his unknown opponent to fulfil her part of the deal. The Unknown is revealed as Death. Death doesn’t want to, fearing the fact of two powerful beings like the Grandmaster walking around in the universe. So she suggests the Grandmaster sacrifice his own life to revive that of his dead brother, the Collector. The Grandmaster agrees and dies, and the Collector is brought back to life. The Collector hates Death for killing his brother. Death suggests a game to the Collector in order to revive the Grandmaster, and he agrees. Death and the Collector teleport away, and return all the heroes back to Earth.

Full Summary: 

Chapter 4 - Third Contest: Siege in the City of the Dead!
The Grandmaster and the Unknown’s next groups arrive in a grassy area. Wolverine and the Thing try to figure out where they are, and le Peregine notices their adversaries materalizing across them. Wolverine asks le Peregine who he is. Le Peregine reveals that he is France’s champion. The Thing asks Wolverine if he isn’t one of the new X-Men. Wolverine confirms that he is, and that he is as mean as his namesake. That’s fine by the Thing, who suggests that they better move fast and find their prize. Wolverine agrees, but explains that he best works alone and therefore does that. The Thing isn’t much interested and lets him go.

Vanguard notices his foes departing and finds them undiciplined. Next to him, the Black Panther greets Angel, asking how things are with the X-Men. Angel explains that there is a whole new team now. He was with them for a while but it didn’t work out, so he left the group. Angel asks the Panther how he is doing with the Avengers. The Panther replies that he hasn’t been an active member of late. Vanguard claims that they are wasting valuable time they should spend finding the prizes. He suggests himself as field handler. Angel believes that the Black Panther would be a better leader, seeing that he is the leader of an entire African nation. The Panther explains that everyone can be a leader if they want to, but he doesn’t find it absolutly necessary that there is one. Vanguard proposes that they find their adversaries then, learn about their strengths and weaknesses and defeat them. Angel goes airborne and the Black Panther uses his stealth moves and leaves too. A surprised Vanguard takes off as well.

The Black Panther soon arrives at an ancient city, entirely empty. The Panther realizes that the city must be, by the looks of it, an archeological excavation revealing hundreds of ceramic warriors. The Panther explores the city, but gets attacked by Wolverine, but the Panther easily dodges the move. Wolverine snikts out his claws and is ready for some real action.
Angel, while scouting the area from the air, gets attacked by le Peregine. Le Peregine tells Angel that he has read a lot about him and wants to test their strengths. Angel doesn’t really want to fight, but le Peregine takes this to his advantage and quickly kicks Angel down.
Meanwhile, Vanguard climbs a high hill, where he is approached by the Thing, who asks who the costumed hero is. Vanguard introduces himself and they begin to fight.

At the same time, the Black Panther is able to keep Wolverine’s adamantium claws at bay, but has the biggest trouble doing that. Wolverine says he wants to kill the Panther, who wonder if he is telling the truth or if he is just trying to scare him.
Angel buys some time to recover from le Peregine’s hard kick. He finds the ancient city and picks up a staff from a warrior statue. Le Peregine finds him and they fight again. Angel uses his staff and defeats le Peregine wit hit.
Meanwhile, Vanguard has to take out his weapons to be able to fight the Thing. The Thing isn’t impressed and makes short work of Vanguard, knocking him out. The Thing hears a fight on the other side and sees Wolverine fighting the Black Panther.

Ben tells Wolverine to stop fighting the Panther, explaining to him that the Panther is a friend of is. Suddenly, the two stop their fight and smell something below them. The Thing smashes the ground real hard and finds the prize! Ben picks it up and then both teams get teleported away.

Chapter 5 - Fourth Contest: Struggle in the Jungle!
Meanwhile, the two remaining teams arrive in a jungle in South America. Surprised at the beautiful sight of the place, the heroes quickly regroup and introduce themselves to each other. Sasquatch introduces himself to Captain America, saying that he’s honored to fight along his side. Cap says the same, thinking in himself that Beast is nothing compared to this guy. Blitzkrieg introduces himself as a warrior of West Germany, and that he is the master of the lightning strike! Blitzkrieg uses his powers and flies away from his teammates. Sasquatch suggests to do the same and seperate to find their prize earlier. Cap had hoped to work as a team, but agrees and they leave.

Shamrock introduces herself, revealing that she is Ireland’s lucky lady. The Collective man introduces himself as Tao-Yu, the people’s hero of the Republic of China. Storm introduces herself to as Ororo, and suggests that they seek for the prize now. The Collective Man agrees, saying that the jungle is vast. So he duplicates himself 5 times and says that this will make it easier to find the prize. Storm and Shamrock are astonished at the sight of Tao-Yu’s powers. He explains that they are five beings merged into one, and that they can draw on the power and abilities of any and all citizens of their nation! Storm suggests to split up and search for the prize alone, and they all agree and take off.

A short time later Storm finds Blitzkrieg. He attacks her with electricity, but Storm is of course unharmed by it due to her control over all aspects fo the weather.
Cap meanwhile swings over some trees with vines and finds Shamrock. They fight and Cap grabs her. Shamrock doesn’t want him to win and frees herself from his holding grip. She falls down, but they are high up from the ground and Cap fears that she probably killed herself.
Meanwhile, a sweaty Sasquatch searches the jungle for the prize, but is confronted by the Collective Man. The Collective Man attacks, but is of course no match for the giant, who easily knocks him out.
Storm uses her heaviest rain clouds and defeats Blitzkrieg. Shamrock survives the fall. Cap jumps down to check if she’s allright. Shamrock runs away from the legendary hero. Cap follows her, but gets attacked by a cobra! Cap tries to free himself and wonders why the cobra didn’t attack Shamrock.

Meanwhile, the Collective Man is still not defeated. He combines all of China’s citizens into one and is able to knock Sasquatch out. But the Collective Man exhausts himself and passes out.
Blitzkrieg finds Captain America and frees him from the cobra. Cap still doesn’t understand how Shamrock could be so lucky. Cap searches the trees in the hope to find the prize, but Blitzkrieg has a better idea. He creates a vortex of electricity that reveals the prize, that was hidden inside a tree trunk! Cap sees the prize and runs to it, but Shamrock outruns him and gets the prize first. They get teleported away.

Chapter 6: Winner Takes None!
They all arrive back into the Grandmaster’s arena, who separates the winners from the losers. He thanks his players for giving their best shot, and promises to never use them or the Earth in one of his games ever again. The Grandmaster uses some sort of move and takes the prizes away from his champions. He splits the prizes into pieces and orders his opponent to resurrect his dead brother, the Collector. Iron Man doesn’t like the idea, because he was there when the Collector died. Nothing remained from the villain except for a pile of ash. The Thing, Wolverine and Talisman also have seconds thoughts about the plan.

Talisman uses his powers to bring the Dreamtime to them. He asks Sue who is already somewhat used to ist disorienting aspect for help and to take off the Unknown’s hood. The heroes can’t believe who they are seeing: Death! The Unknown is now known. Death says that she agrees with the heroes fears to resurrect the Collector. Death refuses to do it. The Grandmaster gets angry, telling Death that she cheated. Death suggests that the Grandmaster sacrifice his life for the Collector to be reborn. She can’t have two such powerful beings walk around in the universe. The Grandmaster agrees and sacrifices his own life and the Collector is revived! The Collector notices his now dead brother’s clothes and gets angry at Death for doing this.

The Collector wants to fight Death, who tells the Collector that he would lose. Death suggest a game to the Collector and if he wins, she shall revive his brother. The Collector agrees and asks Death for the game rules. Death teleports them both away and laughs, with an evil look on her face. As Death disappears, so do all the heroes who go back to where the Grandmaster kidnapped them. Beast and the Avengers arrive back at their Mansion. The Avengers continue their combined attack to defeat the Beast, who asks them to stop. Hank takes a look at the clock, and realizes that they haven’t been gone for almost an hour! Beast hates to bring this up after all they’ve been through, but jokingly says that he did mob the floor with his former teammates before they got teleported away. But, Beast continues while he and the other Avengers stare at the sky, it will be a long time before he thinks about having another game!

Characters Involved: 

Blitzkrieg, Captain America, le Peregine, Sasquatch, the Thing, Wolverine (the Grandmaster’s champions)

Angel, Black Panther, Collective Man, Shamrock, Storm, Vanguard (the Unknown’s/Death’s champions)

Arabian Knight, Captain Britain I, Daredevil, Invisible Girl, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Sabra, She-Hulk, Sunfire, Talisman I (the other champions)

Beast, the Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wonder Man (all Avengers)

The Grandmaster
The Unknown/Death
The Collector

Story Notes: 

There is a mistake, as Shamrock’s team actually was chosen by Death in #1, meeaning the result is 2:2.

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