Top 25 Comic Battles

#9. Avengers vs. the Masters of Evil

A variety of Masters of Evil battled the Avengers over the years, but it was not until the fourth installment of the group that they finally achieved a taste of victory little seen by earlier incarnations.

The seeds of the group were seen well before they sprung into action, as Baron Zemo, the son of the original Baron Zemo (and founder of the first Masters of Evil), put together a group that he truly felt could compete with the Avengers on a level that his father's Masters of Evil never could. His strategy was based the notion that to compete with the Avengers, you had to outnumber them, so he slowly collected a practical army of super villains.

In “Avengers” #273 (by writer Roger Stern and artists John Buscema and Tom Palmer), Zemo's plan was put into action once he added the villain Blackout to the team, who was finally someone who could neutralize Captain Marvel, as Blackout was able to access an extra dimensional black matter that traps energy, which is what Captain Marvel consists of.

The Masters lure Hercules out of the Avengers Mansion via a date with a woman, leaving it to Jarvis alone. They then attack the mansion and overpower the defenses and at the end of issue #273, they have control of the Avengers' very home! When Black Knight returns home that night, he is quickly overpowered.

Their next move is to fake an emergency call to Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel shows up quickly, but Blackout sends her into the darkforce dimension he taps into, trapping her (and seemingly killing her).

Captain America gets into contact with the Wasp after he is also lured by an emergency message that he felt seemed odd. They both realize that someone has taken over the mansion! They go to warn Hercules, who has arrived home from his date heavily intoxicated. He insists on barging into the mansion, where he is overpowered by the sheer numbers of the Masters of Evil and is beaten to the point of near death. Cap and Wasp are forced to follow him in and Cap is taken prisoner, as well.

While in the mansion, the Masters force the captured Cap and Black Knight to watch as they pummel the defenseless Jarvis in front of them.

Finally, the Avengers begin to fight back. First, Wasp gains aid from Thor (who had recently moved to New York) and the heroes Doctor Druid and Ant-Man II. They begin an attack on the mansion while Cap and Black Knight eventually escape custody and begin fighting back within the mansion, taking down the Masters one villain at a time. Eventually, even Captain Marvel escapes from the darkforce dimension.

The battle eventually comes down to Baron Zemo using Cap's famous shield versus Captain America himself. It is here that we learn the real reason for this whole Masters of Evil plot – Zemo just wanted to get at Captain America. Meanwhile, Cap is driven by his anger over seeing Jarvis beaten to a pulp in front of his eyes. Ultimately, Cap defeats Zemo, but in the fight, Zemo is accidentally knocked off the mansion's roof. Cap shouts for him to grab his hand to be saved, but Zemo refuses, and falls to the ground, seemingly dead.


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