Okay, there are about 15 things I should probably be writing about instead of this (Mice, Madison, Dinosaur Tattoos, Star Trek, et cetera). And I know, I really should be saving this for my full Essential Avengers vol. 1 review when I finish the book. But talking about crazy comics with friends is at least half the fun of reading crazy comics, and OH MAN is this a crazy comic. Seriously, there's time travel, robots, Aztec tombs, hang gliding, and a general level of rampant stupidity. Also, it's like the first issue so far where Cap doesn't cry, which, seriously, about friggin' time for him to man up. This comic is awesome, is what I'm saying. Stan Lee on script! Don Heck on pencils! Chic Stone (seriously, that dude has the best name) on inks! And the always reliable Sam Rosen on letters!
Iron Man's missing, due to some stuff that happened over in his solo book, which I only mention because he's not in this story, and Thor wants to talk about it. Meanwhile, in the year 3,000, Kang the Conqueror thinks Iron Man's departure makes this the perfect time to strike at the Avengers. For a notorious time traveler, he really does not understand his profession very well. It's only Kang’s second appearance, but you may remember him from back when he went by the name Rama-Tut, when he conquered ancient Egypt and tied up theFantastic Four. Nowadays, he's traded in his pharaoh outfit for purple thigh-high boots, a green blouse, and purple scuba mask. I've been reading comics for nearly 2 decades, and even I've never gotten a proper explanation for this thing.
So anyway, time traveling master of bad decisions as he is, Kang is way into destroying the Avengers, and he knows how to do it, too: Robot duplicates! He can make a robot version of all the greatest villains in the Marvel Universe! He even says as much! But he won't, because that would make too much sense. No, instead, he decides to duplicate the Amazing Spider-Man! It's... a complicated plan? I guess?
Robot Spider-Man is sent back to the 20th Century, to infiltrate the Avengers. After finding Captain American and helping him take out a bunch of thugs (who are secretly also robots sent by Kang, because of course they are), Robo-Spidey convinces Cap to let him meet the team. Wasp is still distrusting of Spider-Man (for reasons that are silly), but Robo-Spidey says he's cool, but acts like a dick anyway. To prove he's on the up and up (even though he isn't) he lies and says he saw Iron Man get taken out by the Masters of Evil, and overheard that they were taking him to the Temple of Tirod, in Mexico. A 10 second Google search reveals that this is not a place that actually exists in real life.
Thor gets all pissed off, and wants to know why Spidey didn't try to help old Shellhead, But Giant-Man tells him to shut it. Thor is totally right, you guys, this is clearly bullshit. But whatever, the future wife-beating super scientist doesn't have time for petty things like logic! We've got to get to the Aztec temple part of the comic! The Avengers race off, as Robo-Spidey admires Thor's chiseled ass and plots the Avengers’ downfall.
Why an Aztec Temple, you ask? Because Kang booby-trapped it, of course. The traps
are never even seen aren't all that effective, and frankly, this explanation
doesn't really make sense, but just go with it.
It’s what Don Heck drew. The
first to arrive at the temple are Giant-Man and Wasp, which doesn't make a lot
of sense either, considering the literal God of Thunder is on the team, but
whatever. They're ambushed by
Robo-Spidey, who teleported in with Kang's future powers. A two and a half page fight ensues, and in a
surprise I never saw coming, GIANT-MAN IS ACTUALLY PRETTY GREAT IN IT. I know I've mocked him a lot, but if the
Ant-Man movie is like this, it'll be great.
He uses his powers in cleaver ways, getting larger or smaller seemingly
in an instant, getting in some pretty good hits on Robo-Spidey.
Still, it's only Ant/Giant-Man and the Wasp, and eventually they need to be rescued by Thor. Thor fights like an idiot, which usually works fine for him, because he has an awesome magic hammer to smash you with. But when he throws said hammer, Robo-Spidey does the most amazing thing ever: He catches Thor's hammer in his web and starts spinning it around! Holy crap! The friggin' Hulk can lift Thor's hammer*! But Spidey can catch it in his web?!?!?!?! Crazy!! And awesome. Anyway, without his hammer, Robo-Spidey manages to web Thor up so much that he's out of the game.
Captain America parachutes in late, because he is a dude who hates punctuality and loves parachuting. He's surprised to see Robo-Spidey, and even more surprised to see Robo-Spidey try to drop a giant boulder on his head. Cap dodges, and hurl his shield at Spidey-Bot, because that is his signature move. But Robo-Spidey webs up Cap's face and pushes him off the top of the temple, to his ultimate doom-
- Until he's caught in a web hammock. Because in a baffling move that shouldn't surprise anyone (except Kang, of course), THE REAL SPIDER-MAN IS HERE TO SAVE THE DAY! Apparently, off camera, real Spider-Man noticed Robo-Spidey when he was taking out the robot thugs and has been silently following him everywhere, watching his every move, only just now deciding to actually do something about all this.
Two quick things here. First, as silly as it sounds, I'm coming to Spidey's defense on playing it cool with the robot duplicate stiff. Between villains like Mysterio and the Chameleon posing as him, and a future that I assure you is just lousy with clones, playing it chill with the evil robot clone is a smart move until he knows more. Second, how the hell Spidey followed Robo-Spidey to bum-fuck Mexico when Kang future-ported him there is NEVER addressed. So, you know... deal with it. Shit's about to get real.
Robo-Spidey and Spidey are evenly matched in terms of powers. In order to make things interesting, they decide do something crazy: competitive hang-gliding! Seriously, they form glider wings on each arm with their web-shooters, and have an aerial flying fight. I'm about to say something I haven't said in at least a decade: I have never seen Spider-Man do something like this before. It's crazy! And then Spidey get's even more crazy, and abandons his wings, leaping on to Robo-Spidey, ready to crash them both into the ground!
It's the last page of the comic, so Spidey conveniently finds the future-bot's off switch, and leaps off, just in time for the robot to crash into the Mexican hillside. The Avengers suddenly remember that this is their comic book, not Spider-Man's, and escape Robo-Spidey's web traps just in time to see Spidey parachuting off into the sunset (I have no idea how he gets back to New York, either). They realize that the Spidey they fought was a robot, (whose remains are apparently laying around somewhere for the Mexican government to find) and somehow realize that Kang was behind this all along. Dude, I don't even know.
And meanwhile, in the future, Kang pouts about his broken Spider-Bot. The end!
...No, really. The end. This comic is completely crazy. And awesome. And now you know all about it. Cheers!
*= Remember that scene in the movie? Which was based on a scene in Avengers #3? Which I totally knew and started geeking out about in the theater? Because of course I did?