A Brief History of Kang, Part 2: Introducing Immortus...Or Did They?

By Robert Clough

"Featuring: The Truly Different Villainy of the Evil Immortus!"

--from the cover of Avengers V1 #10

This was a truly strange issue of the Avengers. The Masters of Evil (Baron Zemo I, the Enchantress, and the Executioner) were sitting around, thinking of ways to wipe out the Avengers. As Zemo suggested that they needed another powerful ally, they are conveniently contacted by a mental probe coming from "a different time...another age!" A bearded man in a green outfit and a strange, crown-like helmet emerged from the mists and announced himself as Immortus. One of the MOE knows him as "The master of time! The one who rules the mystic realm of limbo, where things never change!" Immortus announced that he wants to have the MOE as his servants, since he'll be taking over the 20th century at some point. The Executioner naturally gets annoyed and tries to strike him, but Immy zips off to Limbo, and summons Paul Bunyan to fight him, since he has "all the warriors of the ages to choose from!" After a brief fight, Zemo accepted Immortus' power, but demanded that in order to prove his loyalty, he must kill one of the Avengers. Immortus accepts, "with glee!"

Immortus had mentioned that he had observed the MOE's battles with the Avengers "with amusement" and was joining "for my own purposes." This sort of mysterious talk, in addition to the weird fight that comes later, was explained rather nicely by Englehart in his run.

Immortus put an ad in a magazine advertising a method of obtaining super-powers. (No, really!) Rick Jones naturally sees this, and wanting to join the Avengers, follows up. Unfortunately for him, Immortus is waiting with Atilla the Hun; Rick is captured and sent to the Tower of London in 1760.

Cap sees the ad also and figures Rick will answer it, so he hops on over to Immortus' place, where Immy is confidently sitting on a throne. He claims that the Avengers put him up to capturing Rick in order to control Cap. Cap runs back to the Avengers full of anger, and after a pointless fight, they run back to Immortus.

Immortus then pulls out a series of historical challenges for the Avengers. Giant-Man fights the biblical Goliath (and beats him by shrinking himself down and sling-shotting him!), Iron Man defeats Merlin, and Thor fights Hercules. Cap is captured by Immortus and whisked off to the Tower of London. Immortus promises Cap that he can have Rick Jones if he fights his way through the guards.

Without Cap around, the MOE attack and do quite well. At the last second, Cap pops up and turns the tide. The MOE are about to be beaten when the Enchantress uses a spell to take them a few days in the past...right before they met Immortus. This time, when they feel the mental probe, they break it off.

So did the Avengers really fight Immortus? The story suggests that because of the time spell that the Enchantress used, they never encountered him. This of course goes against other interpretations of time we've seen in the MU. The other odd thing about this story is how quickly Immortus bowed out of the battle. What exactly was he after?

You sure can't tell from this story. This is perhaps why this issue was forgotten until Englehart cleverly recast Immortus as a manipulator whose ends are unclear, rather than an out-and-out villain.

--Clough the Conqueror