Saturday

OMU History: Avengers 1965

The Fourth Annual Avengers Christmas Charity Benefit, December 1965.

 
L to R: Vision, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther

Friday

OMU: Captain America -- Year Four

Captain America spends the next twelve months of his life juggling a complicated triple-identity as a superhero, a New York City police officer, and a part-time S.H.I.E.L.D. operative. The conflicting demands of these vocations nearly prove to be more than even Steve Rogers can handle, and his friendships definitely suffer as a result. Even so, for most of the year, Steve enjoys a pretty good relationship with his lover, super-spy Sharon Carter. Throughout this period, Captain America must face the moral ambiguities of the modern world as he learns that, despite his best intentions, systemic racism can spoil his partnership with the Falcon, sexual jealousy can drive a wedge between him and Nick Fury, rampant corruption can tarnish his image of the police force, and his own sexism can imperil his relationship with Sharon. Nevertheless, Cap keeps soldiering on through all adversity.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Continuing on with... The True History of Captain America!


January 1965 – Captain America and the Falcon suddenly find themselves on a dingy subway platform in Manhattan with no memory of how they came to be there. Thor, Iron Man, and Goliath are with them, but they are equally perplexed. Iron Man, who is acting a bit strangely, flies off while the others return to Avengers Mansion. A few hours later, the four heroes rescue Iron Man from a gang of uniformed men wearing jetpacks. Seemingly dazed, Iron Man flies off again without explaining himself. Cap decides that if Iron Man wanted his help, he’d ask for it.

Steve Rogers starts his undercover assignment for the Police Commissioner, posing as a rookie beat cop to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances of police officers and city officials. At the precinct, he is introduced to Sgt. Brian Muldoon, a real ball-buster who reminds Steve of his World War II drill instructor, Sgt. Duffy. While walking his beat through Upper Manhattan, Steve meets a local minister, Reverend Garcia. The Reverend’s sudden disappearance leads Steve to discover who is behind the kidnappings—the Grey Gargoyle. Joined by the Falcon, Captain America fights with the Grey Gargoyle, but the villain manages to escape. Changing back to his patrolman’s uniform, Steve calls the police to the Grey Gargoyle’s hideout, where his petrified victims start reverting to normal. Commissioner Murphy commends Steve for his quick results and defends him from Muldoon’s criticism of not following proper procedure.

Later, concerned about the Falcon, who flew off in pursuit of the Grey Gargoyle, Steve heads over to Sam Wilson’s office to look for him. There, Steve meets Sam’s girlfriend, Leila Taylor, who refuses to answer any questions from a white cop. Discouraged, Steve changes back into Captain America and goes looking for the Falcon on his motorcycle. He soon decides to seek help from S.H.I.E.L.D., and so, once aboard the Helicarrier, he is reunited with Sharon Carter. They kiss and make up, but are interrupted by Nick Fury, who is annoyed that Cap and the Falcon always seem to be searching for each other. Fury says his agency is busy constructing an orbital platform where they can safely experiment with dangerous substances, such as the unstable compound known as Element X. Learning that stone provides the only effective shielding for Element X, Cap suspects that the Grey Gargoyle will try to steal it before it is launched into orbit.

Sure enough, the Grey Gargoyle uses the Falcon as a Judas goat to get aboard the Helicarrier and hijack it. Most of the crew abandons ship, but the Grey Gargoyle manages to turn Sharon and Fury to stone before they can escape. Unwilling to abandon his friends, Cap fights with the villain until the Helicarrier arrives at the camouflaged mountain stronghold where Element X is housed. When the proper code-signal is not received, the S.H.I.E.L.D. base opens fire and shoots the Helicarrier out of the sky. During the barrage, the Grey Gargoyle slips inside the installation, but Cap is busy rescuing his friends before the massive airship crashes to the ground in a spectacular fiery demise. About an hour later, after the Grey Gargoyle’s stone-touch has worn off, Cap, Falcon, Sharon, and Fury break into the base and attack the villain again. This time they get the better of him, and the Grey Gargoyle, along with Element X, is launched into high earth orbit where he can do no harm.

After returning to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Cap and the Falcon head home to Harlem. Steve quickly freshens up, dons his patrolman’s uniform, and rushes to the precinct house, where Muldoon chews him out for being late for his second day on the force. Though his undercover assignment has been completed, Steve has decided to continue working for the NYPD in an attempt to build a life for himself outside of his Captain America identity. Commissioner Murphy soon arrives with Reverend Garcia, who persuades Steve to volunteer at his afterschool boys’ club in Harlem. However, Steve’s plans for the evening are derailed when Sam Wilson is brutally beaten by members of the People’s Militia, a violent “Black Power” organization. After changing into Captain America, he finds members of the People’s Militia roughing up Reverend Garcia at the boys’ club, and during the ensuing fight, Sam arrives as the Falcon to lend a hand. After the young toughs have been defeated, Cap and the Falcon find a tense standoff outside between an angry crowd of black residents and police dressed in riot gear. Falcon negotiates with the crowd, calming things down a bit and buying some time for him and Cap to continue their investigation. The two heroes head immediately to the headquarters of the People’s Militia, where they discover the group’s leader is none other than the Red Skull. With help from the Falcon’s trained bird, Redwing, Cap and his partner escape from the villain’s deathtrap, but they are unable to capture the Red Skull before he escapes. Returning to the boys’ club, Cap and Falcon find that Leila has helped negotiate a peaceful resolution with Commissioner Murphy. However, as the crowd disperses, Cap makes a comment that the Falcon takes to be racially insensitive and he leaves angry. Hoping to clear the air, Cap follows him back to Sam’s office, only to find Sam making out with Leila. Cap decides not to interrupt them, but worries that racial tensions may spoil his partnership with the Falcon.

At Avengers Mansion, Captain America, Goliath, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and the Vision watch television news coverage of a racially charged crisis in San Francisco. They are surprised when Thor appears and announces that he must deal with the situation alone. Though Thor declines to fully explain himself, the Avengers agree to let him handle it. Later, Cap finally gets a chance to apologize to Sam for his remarks after the fight with the Red Skull, but Sam remains angry, explaining that the people of Harlem see the Falcon as more of an “Uncle Tom” than a hero. Hoping to change the public’s perception of him, Sam officially dissolves their partnership and throws away his green-and-gold costume, replacing it with a new red-and-white design. Cap is saddened by this turn of events, but accepts Sam’s decision and remains behind when the Falcon is called into action against some local drug pushers. The next day, Steve moves out of Sam’s apartment and checks into the Corinth Hotel, a cheap flophouse near the Gramercy Park neighborhood.

One of the first acts of newly-inaugurated President Morris N. Richardson is to create the Alien Activities Commission and appoint conservative politician H. Warren Craddock to lead it. Following the commission’s first televised hearings, Cap receives a call from the Avengers summoning the founding members to an emergency meeting. He soon joins Thor, Iron Man, and Ant-Man at Avengers Mansion, but they are interrupted when the Vision staggers in and collapses. After effecting repairs to his synthezoid teammate, Ant-Man announces that he has resigned from the team and departs. Regaining consciousness, the Vision recounts how he, Goliath, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch were called to testify before Craddock’s commission about their connection to the alien superhero Captain Marvel, and when they returned to the mansion, the original members declared them to be a disgrace and disbanded the team. Cap, Thor, and Iron Man assure the Vision that he has been tricked by a trio of impostors. The Vision then relates how he and the others went to rendezvous with Captain Marvel at an upstate farm, where they were attacked by three cows who suddenly transformed into doppelgängers of Mister Fantastic, the Thing, and the Human Torch. Badly damaged in the melee, the Vision was forced to abandon the fight and return to Avengers Mansion to seek help.

Taking a Quinjet, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Vision race to the farm, where they find Goliath and Rick Jones still fighting the Fantastic Four impostors. Vision surmises that they must be Skrulls, mimicking the heroes’ powers through technological means. The Avengers defeat their foes, but then a massive flying saucer erupts from the farmhouse and speeds off into the sky, with Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel presumably aboard. As they take the unconscious Skrulls into custody, the Avengers realize the Vision has disappeared. When they arrive at their headquarters, the Avengers restrain and sedate the Skrulls, then Iron Man contacts the Fantastic Four. Mister Fantastic realizes the Skrulls must be three of the four who impersonated them three years ago, and he promises to send over his files on that encounter.

February 1965 – In the Avengers’ conference room, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Goliath, and Rick Jones discuss their plans to rescue their missing teammates. The Vision reappears, having discovered that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were indeed kidnapped by Skrulls, and that the Kree and the mysterious Inhumans are somehow involved as well. The meeting is interrupted, though, when H. Warren Craddock arrives outside the mansion with a military detachment to back him up. He intends to take the Avengers in for questioning, and has brought along three soldiers in bulky suits of armor to subdue the heroes, if necessary. After a brief scuffle, Iron Man is able to force the Mandroid suits to overload and shut down. The Avengers then realize that one of the Inhumans, Triton, has come to them for help. Triton explains that his king, Black Bolt, has been deposed by his brother, Maximus the Mad, who wants to start a war with the human race. Struck with amnesia, Black Bolt has been exiled to San Francisco and all efforts to find him have failed. Thor corroborates Triton’s story, so Cap suggests they head to California at once. The Vision objects, however, saying the rescue of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch should be their top priority. The team decides to split up, so only Cap, Goliath, and Rick leave with Triton for California. When they arrive in San Francisco, they quickly locate Black Bolt, who has since regained his memory. Cap agrees to fly the two Inhumans and Black Bolt’s young friend Joey to their Great Refuge in the Himalayas. There, they find the hidden city sealed within a black force-field dome, which, to their surprise, Thor, Iron Man, and the Vision are attempting to breach. After silently examining the barrier, Black Bolt shatters it into tiny shards with the awesome destructive power of his voice. He then asserts his authority over the city’s armed sentries and leads the Avengers to the royal palace, where they find Maximus conspiring with agents of the Kree Empire. Overwhelmed by the Avengers, the Kree agents beat a hasty retreat, kidnapping Rick in the process. Their spaceship warps into hyperspace before the Avengers can follow. Maximus is defeated, and Captain America vows that the Avengers will take the fight to the Kree and the Skrulls to rescue their friends.

The Avengers borrow a spacecraft from S.H.I.E.L.D., and with help from Thor’s enchanted hammer, they are able to warp through hyperspace to the Andromeda Galaxy. They emerge in the midst of the Skrull Imperial Armada and fight their way onto the flagship. Storming the command deck, the Avengers confront Commandant Kalxor, but he remains defiant, having learned of the Avengers from Skrull intelligence reports. Suddenly, the face of Skrull Emperor Dorrek appears on the viewscreen, revealing that Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel are his prisoners. However, Captain Marvel initiates an escape attempt just before the transmission is terminated. The Vision grabs Kalxor and beats him mercilessly, shocking his teammates with his brutality. Iron Man and Thor pull the Vision off him, and Kalxor explains that a lone ship has left the fleet to destroy the Earth. Goliath takes off in pursuit and manages to catch up to the craft before they are lost from sight. The Skrull crew then tries to overwhelm the Avengers with the sheer weight of numbers, only to be unexpectedly frozen in place by a wave of strange energy. Confused, the Avengers return to their ship, intent on reaching the Skrull Thoneworld. However, they find themselves suddenly teleported to the planet Hala in the Kree Galaxy, where they come face-to-face with the eerie visage of the Supreme Intelligence, ruler of the Kree Empire. Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel materialize as well, as the Supreme Intelligence reveals that Rick Jones has ended the Kree-Skrull War by awakening his latent psychic powers, though the experience has nearly killed him. Captain America watches as Captain Marvel phases into Rick’s body to provide the additional life-force the boy will need to survive. Rick then awakens, groggy and confused. The Supreme Intelligence assures the Avengers that the crisis is over, then teleports them all back to Earth.

Materializing outside Avengers Mansion, the heroes are met by Nick Fury, who reveals that the H. Warren Craddock who hounded them was in fact a Skrull, the fourth member of the squad that previously impersonated the Fantastic Four. The alien reverted to its true form in the middle of a speech, Fury reports, and was beaten to death by an angry mob. S.H.I.E.L.D. then located the real Craddock, who has cleared the Avengers of any wrongdoing. The Avengers then realize Goliath is not among them, and they fear he’s been lost in space.

A few days later, Captain America is on monitor duty at Avengers Mansion when a man in green armor carries Iron Man into the building. Seeing that Iron Man’s armor is heavily damaged, Cap assumes the worst and attacks the green-armored figure. However, the stranger insists, in his thick Irish brogue, that he rescued Iron Man from a villain called Mikas and brought him to the Avengers for help. Cap apologizes and takes them to the medical bay. Iron Man soon recovers enough to return to Stark Industries along with the armored Irishman.

Nick Fury asks Cap to participate in a mock battle, which is being staged for the benefit of President Richardson and his advisors. The exercise is meant to secure additional funding for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new all-female taskforce, dubbed Femme Force One. The squad, led by Sharon, makes a good showing, but the new President refuses to commit to financing the initiative, claiming to be hampered by the Washington bureaucracy. Feeling he’s being stonewalled, Fury tells Sharon to take some vacation time. She suggests that she and Steve take a trip somewhere together, but Steve is not able to get any time off from the police department. Sharon is disappointed, but Steve promises to make it up to her.

At the next Avengers meeting, the team discusses strategies for finding out what happened to Goliath. After the meeting, Cap turns on the evening news and sees a report of an angry mob threatening a Chinese delegation staying at a Manhattan hotel. A group of rabble-rousers called the Warhawks, led by a man with a mohawk called Mr. Tallon, incites the crowd to riot. Cap, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch decide to intervene, and are joined by Rick Jones. However, once they are on the scene, the music played by two pipers in hooded robes causes the heroes to black out. When they come to, the street is wrecked, the mob has dispersed, and Thor, Iron Man, and the Vision are with them. Cap is disturbed to learn that “Mr. Tallon” was really Ares, the Greek god of war, and his pipers’ music caused the Avengers to fight each other. Luckily, Thor and the Vision were immune to the effect and managed to drive Ares off. Suddenly, Hawkeye emerges from the crowd, having abandoned his Goliath identity, and reveals that he’s found Hercules suffering from total amnesia. Back at Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye explains how he blew up the Skrull death-ship before it could enter hyperspace and was then teleported back to Earth. However, he materialized in Yugoslavia, where he fell in with a traveling carnival. It was there that he discovered the amnesiac Hercules. Eventually, they made their way back to New York. Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man then try to question Hercules again, but they are interrupted when two Olympian warriors appear. The pair easily fights off the Avengers and kidnaps Hercules. Hawkeye blames the Vision for allowing them to get away, but Thor says they need to focus on what comes next—the Avengers must storm the very halls of Olympus itself.

A day later, Captain America heads to Garrett Castle in England to rendezvous with Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Black Knight, Black Panther, and the Vision. The Hulk arrives as well, though he is suspicious of the others and threatens to leave before Cap convinces him to stay. The Black Knight leads them into the depths of the castle, where he summons up the spirit of his ancestor, Sir Percy of Scandia, the original Black Knight of legend. Sir Percy’s ghost reveals how Ares came into possession of the Ebony Blade and teamed up with the Enchantress to conquer three worlds: Earth, Asgard, and Olympus. Their first move was to transform the gods of Olympus into crystalline statues and banish Hercules to Earth, bereft of his memory. Unexpectedly, the Swordsman swings down from the rafters and claims his Avengers membership, demanding to help stop Ares. Cap is not inclined to trust the Swordsman, but Thor accepts him into their ranks. The thunder god then chooses Iron Man, Hulk, Black Knight, and Vision to accompany him to Olympus while the rest remain behind to guard Earth. Captain America’s squad soon detects an interdimensional portal opening in the center of London and speeds to the scene, where they find an army of demonic creatures pouring through a hole in space. The demons are quickly driven back into their own realm, at which point Thor’s squad emerges through the portal, having rescued Hercules and defeated the villains. However, Hercules must remain in Olympus to help Thor close the portal. Having won the day, the Avengers go their separate ways, and Captain America returns to New York.

March–June 1965 – Steve continues to maintain his cover identity as a rookie patrolman for the NYPD and enjoys feeling more connected to the people on the street. He also develops a deep respect for Sgt. Muldoon, recognizing his devotion to the police force, and their relationship grows friendlier. In his spare time, Steve hangs out at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters as Captain America, helping to train Femme Force One to work as a team, after the government appropriation is finally approved. Cap notices a certain amount of friction between Sharon and her second-in-command, Contessa Valentina Allegra de La Fontaine, but chalks it up to a typical clash of two strong personalities.

July 1965 – Captain America is recruited by Nick Fury to lead Femme Force One on their first field mission, taking down a resurgent faction of HYDRA in the Las Vegas area. From S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters they are transported to the new Helicarrier, where a Boeing 707 is waiting to take them out west. Cap is happy to find the jet’s pilot is Agent Eric Koenig, who was a member of Fury’s Howling Commandos during World War II. While en route, Cap becomes suspicious of one of the members of Femme Force who is lingering near the aircraft’s hatch. Sure enough, she reveals herself to be a double agent when the plane is attacked by a HYDRA raiding party. During the melee, Sharon is shot and badly wounded, which sends Cap into a violent fit of rage. He nearly strangles the HYDRA agent who shot her until the Contessa intervenes, telling Cap he needs to get to the cockpit to prevent the plane from crashing. Cap fights his way through the forward section of the plane, enabling Koenig to make a safe landing at Nellis Air Force Base. The defeated HYDRA agents are taken into custody while Sharon is rushed to the hospital.

While Sharon is recovering from emergency surgery, the flirtatious Contessa convinces Cap to join her for dinner at a casino on the Las Vegas Strip. However, while they are there, they receive word that Sharon has been kidnapped by HYDRA. Furious, Cap returns to the hospital, where he is given a ransom note demanding he go alone to a HYDRA installation out in the desert. Ignoring the Contessa’s attempt to devise a strategy, Cap requisitions a S.H.I.E.L.D. motorcycle and roars off into the wilderness. He is picked up along the way by a HYDRA airship equipped with a vortex beam and taken to their headquarters, where the new Supreme Hydra reveals that the comatose Sharon is his prisoner. Before Cap can decide what to do, the Femme Force storms the complex with guns blazing. Cap savagely attacks the Supreme Hydra, but the villain manages to push a button that delivers a hefty jolt of electricity into Sharon’s body. Thinking she’s been electrocuted, Cap goes berserk and chokes him. Ripping off the Supreme Hydra’s mask—wanting to see his face as he dies—Cap is startled to find a young man who calls out to his father for help. Unmoved, Cap is about to smash his foe’s face in when the Contessa intervenes again, revealing that the electric shock has merely revived Sharon from her coma. Cap immediately embraces Sharon and kisses her, giving the Supreme Hydra a chance to escape in a rocket. Cursing himself, Cap grabs a Femme Force jetpack and sets off in pursuit.

The chase leads Cap back to the Las Vegas Strip, where he follows the Supreme Hydra into the Desert Inn’s penthouse suite, normally occupied by the reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes. However, Cap discovers that the penthouse has been taken over by the New York City mob boss known as the Kingpin, who reveals that the Supreme Hydra is his son. Cap and the Kingpin fight, with the crimelord proving to be a surprisingly formidable opponent. Caught in a bear hug, Cap feels himself losing consciousness when the Falcon suddenly swoops in to the rescue. Falcon notes that he has a personal vendetta against the Kingpin for the misery his syndicate has inflicted on the people of Harlem. However, the fight is interrupted by a holographic projection of the Red Skull, who claims that HYDRA has always been merely a pawn in his own schemes. The Red Skull gloats that he has activated the Fifth Sleeper—a gigantic robot armed with a deadly nerve gas that is marching towards Las Vegas at that very moment. Angry at his son for being duped by the forces of Nazism, the Kingpin offers to join forces with Cap to defeat their common enemy. Captain America accepts, telling the Falcon to coordinate with S.H.I.E.L.D., then heads off to intercept the Fifth Sleeper.

Using the S.H.I.E.L.D. jetpack, Cap quickly catches up to the Fifth Sleeper on the outskirts of the city. Just as Cap is about to get inside the giant robot’s leg, the Femme Force arrives on the scene, led once again by Sharon, and opens fire with their blasters. Unable to wave them off, Cap enters and fights his way through the robot’s interior until finally confronting the Red Skull in the command center inside its head. As the Falcon and Redwing fly in through the front viewports, Cap punches the Red Skull so hard the villain falls out a viewport on the opposite side. Intent on stopping the robot’s advance, Cap and the Falcon start smashing the control panels. They get out and take cover just as the Fifth Sleeper self-destructs in a massive explosion. No trace is found of the Red Skull in the wreckage, but the authorities nevertheless assume he was killed in the blast. Later, back at the Desert Inn, a representative of Howard Hughes thanks Cap, Falcon, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for saving Las Vegas and freeing his employer from the Kingpin’s clutches.

Back in New York, Cap and Sharon attend a dinner party at the Plaza Hotel in honor of the publication by Marvel Comics of the 100th issue of the comic book Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, a fictionalized account of Nick Fury’s World War II exploits. Nick Fury, Dum-Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Izzy Cohen, Percy Pinkerton, Dino Manelli, and Congressman Robert Ralston are the guests of honor. The proceedings are interrupted by an assassination attempt on Congressman Ralston, who is a known advocate for civil rights legislation. Fury and the former Howling Commandos immediately pursue the two assassins out of the building, while the Fantastic Four take charge of the crime scene until the police can arrive. Cap accompanies Ralston in the ambulance to protect him from any follow-up attacks. Later, Sharon tells Cap that both assassins were gunned down while trying to escape the massive S.H.I.E.L.D. manhunt. Ralston makes a full recovery.

September 1965 – When the Hulk is implicated in the disappearance of Senator Morton Clegstead, the government orders S.H.I.E.L.D. to work with the military’s Hulkbuster unit to capture the green behemoth. Captain America is happy to offer General T.E. “Thunderbolt” Ross the benefit of his experience in dealing with the Hulk. Over the course of the month, the Hulk gets into various skirmishes with the military’s forces, but Cap, busy with his work as a police officer, acts mainly as a consultant.

October 1965 – Captain America is on hand when the Hulkbusters finally capture their quarry at a ghost town in Nevada. As the soldiers secure the Hulk for transport to their specially-designed detention center, Cap is amazed to witness the jade giant’s transformation back into Bruce Banner. Nick Fury leaves abruptly, and Cap realizes his old friend has seemed unusually edgy lately. After exchanging pleasantries with General Ross, Cap joins Fury for an uncomfortable ride back to New York.

A couple days later, Iron Man unveils an advanced computer system called Nimrod by hosting a media event where the computer challenges a garrulous Soviet chess champion. Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision are also present. However, the chess-master, Comrade Sporadnik, collapses during the tournament and is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Donald Blake determines that he has been poisoned. The Avengers track down the assassin—a balding middle-aged man—but he escapes by phasing through the floor. Suddenly, the heroes receive a vision that reveals that the assassin is an ordinary accountant named Leonard Tippit, who was recently granted superhuman powers by the omnipotent alien known as the Watcher. Tippit was charged with preventing a future nuclear holocaust by murdering five innocent people whose yet-unborn children would be responsible for the catastrophe. As the images fade, Thor assures his teammates that the Watcher is, in fact, real. Even so, the Avengers are unwilling to stand by while people are murdered. They split up, and Captain America and Hawkeye speed to Kenya, hoping to protect the daughter of a Maasai tribal chief. They arrive too late, though, for Tippit has already put the young woman into a coma. He easily evades the two Avengers and teleports away. After getting the victim to the nearest hospital, Cap and Hawkeye rendezvous with their teammates at Stark Industries. Soon, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch bring in the unconscious Tippit and strap him into the machine Iron Man has built to siphon off Tippit’s superhuman energies. As the device is activated, Tippit regains consciousness. Suddenly, the Watcher materializes in the room and reveals that it was Tippit, not his victims, who was a threat to the earth, and the murder scheme was just a ruse to force Tippit to travel the world and exhaust himself. The Avengers are angry at having been manipulated, but Tippit agrees to sacrifice himself to save the world. Before disappearing again, the Watcher assures the Avengers that the five victims will awaken tomorrow with no memory of their ordeal.

The Avengers head immediately to the New York County Courthouse, where the Hulk is being put on trial. The Hulk’s lawyer, Matt Murdock, calls Iron Man to the stand, but most of his testimony is stricken after the prosecutor objects to the Avengers’ presence. The judge agrees that the Avengers’ testimony has no bearing on the case. As such, the team returns to their headquarters. Some hours later, they learn that Mister Fantastic inadvertently enabled the Hulk to escape while trying to change him back into Bruce Banner. Cap is surprised that Reed Richards could be so careless.

The following evening, Captain America returns to Avengers Mansion for a late-night meeting to discuss a report from the new space station Starcore One that a group of UFOs is heading toward Earth from the sun. When he arrives, Cap learns that the Scarlet Witch has been attacked in Central Park and Quicksilver and the Vision have already gone to her aid. The rest of the team rushes into the park, where they find the Scarlet Witch is being kidnapped by one of the mutant-hunting robots known as Sentinels. When the Avengers fail to stop the abduction, Quicksilver becomes hysterical and quits the team, vowing to rescue his sister singlehandedly. Returning to their headquarters, the Avengers spend the night trying to track down the Sentinels. They are soon contacted by Peter Corbeau, chief scientist for Starcore One, who reports they have detected an energy beam emanating from Australia that is destabilizing the sun and may cause solar flares powerful enough to wipe out all life on Earth. The Avengers race to the Australian outback, where they discover the energy beam is being fired from the Sentinels’ secret base. Fighting their way into the underground complex, the Avengers rescue the Scarlet Witch and defeat the Sentinels. Unfortunately, Larry Trask, the son of the man who created the Sentinels, is killed in the battle. The team then seals off the installation and makes its way back to New York.

Upon their return, the Avengers find that Quicksilver has vanished without a trace, prompting the Scarlet Witch to initiate a desperate search. Cap decides to head over to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to enlist the agency’s help. When he arrives, however, Cap finds that Nick Fury is still angry with him for some reason. When Cap refuses Fury’s demand that he become an official S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Fury throws Cap out of the complex and forbids any of his agents to associate with him. Frustrated, Cap heads over to the police precinct, thinking about how Fury’s injunction against him throws up yet another impediment to his relationship with Sharon. After he’s changed into his patrolman’s uniform, Steve is informed by Sgt. Muldoon that he’s been assigned to a patrol car with a new partner, Officer Bob Courtney. Later, out on the streets, Steve spots Batroc the Leaper in civilian clothes and so, when his shift ends, he changes into Captain America and returns to the scene to find out what his old foe is up to. On the way, he stops in at Sam Wilson’s office, hoping to recruit the Falcon’s aid, but Sam says he’s busy with a kidnapping case of his own.

Cap finds Batroc and his seven muscular henchmen in a dilapidated dance studio, but the ensuing fight goes badly and Cap is pinned down by his foes. Batroc, being his usual gregarious self, reveals that he’s been employed to kidnap a number of children and hold them in suspended-animation capsules until his employer needs them. Outraged, Cap struggles to free himself. Luckily, the Falcon and Redwing smash through a window, turning the tide of the battle. Sensing imminent defeat, Batroc hits a panic button that causes his employer to materialize in their midst—a massive alien man called Jakar. After freezing everyone in their tracks with his mental abilities, Jakar explains that he needs the souls of the children to reanimate his own alien race, all of whom were left catatonic by a mysterious plague. Taking the children, Jakar then teleports away, freeing the others from the paralytic effect. Furious that he’s been duped into such a heinous scheme, Batroc heads off to track down Jakar, intent on restoring his tarnished honor. His henchmen prevent Cap and Falcon from immediately following him, but they are soon overcome. Redwing then leads the heroes to a cave in the cliffs along the Hudson River, where Cap and the Falcon reluctantly team up with Batroc to stop Jakar and rescue the children. Cap convinces Jakar that his people would be horrified by the manner in which he revived them, and so the alien abandons his plan and returns to outer space. Since the children are all from Harlem, the Falcon takes charge of the situation, so Cap heads back to his hotel. He is annoyed at the way Batroc was patting himself on the back for helping rescue the children, since he’d kidnapped them in the first place. After getting home, Steve is visited by Sharon, who explains that Val de La Fontaine has been flirting with him so much in order to make Fury jealous, since Fury has been spending so much time with the reformed HYDRA operative Laura Brown. Steve says Fury and the Contessa will have to sort out their own problems, then he and Sharon go to bed together. Later, Sharon mentions that she thought a pair of men had followed her there—presumably S.H.I.E.L.D. agents—but there’s no sign of them now.

Later, after Sharon has left, Steve goes for a walk. He stumbles across the Scorpion and Mister Hyde, who are intent on kidnapping Sharon. Having heard that the two villains were killed while fighting Daredevil several months ago, Steve is surprised to find them alive. He quickly changes back into Captain America and heads up to Harlem to recruit the Falcon’s help. Together, they head to Sharon’s Park Avenue townhouse, arriving just moments before the Scorpion and Mister Hyde. Their fight draws Sharon out of the building, allowing Mister Hyde to grab her and knock her out with a choke hold. With Sharon their hostage, the villains escape into the sewers. Nick Fury arrives on the scene and castigates Cap for violating the injunction against him interfering with S.H.I.E.L.D. business. Fed up with Fury’s attitude, Cap socks him in the jaw.

After several hours of searching for Sharon, Cap is frustrated that he has to report to the police precinct for his next shift. When he arrives, Steve is informed by Bob Courtney that Sgt. Muldoon has been suspended as part of an ongoing corruption investigation. Believing Muldoon to be a good cop, the two men speculate that he may have been framed. During their patrol, Steve spots Redwing and follows the bird into an alley, where the Falcon is waiting. Learning that the Falcon has a lead on Sharon’s whereabouts, Steve immediately changes into Captain America. Chafing against the restrictiveness of his job as a policeman, Cap leaves his uniform on top of a garbage can and sets off with the Falcon without a word of explanation to Courtney. Twenty minutes later, Cap and the Falcon find Sharon tied to a chair inside an abandoned warehouse. After a furious battle with the Scorpion and Mister Hyde, the two heroes manage to knock out their super-powered foes and rescue Sharon. Thoroughly exhausted, Cap, Sharon, and the Falcon head back to Steve’s hotel, where Nick Fury is waiting for them. Cap and Fury finally hash out their differences, which stem mainly from Fury’s jealousy over Cap’s youthful good looks and superhero glamor having turned the Contessa’s head. Luckily, the Contessa turns up and she and Fury are reconciled. Fury apologizes to Cap for blowing up at him. To everyone’s surprise, Sharon announces she’s quitting S.H.I.E.L.D., tired of her conflict between love and duty. Fury grudgingly accepts her choice, saying he’ll consider it an extended leave of absence rather than a resignation. Cap is delighted, and he and Sharon agree that the time has come for their long-delayed vacation.

The following morning, Steve calls in sick to the precinct, telling them he has the flu. Sam Wilson then drives Steve and Sharon to the airport, where she buys a pair of tickets to the Bahamas. When they arrive, Steve and Sharon check into a luxury hotel before changing into swimwear and going for a walk on the beach. The next day, they decide the area is too crowded with obnoxious tourists, so they rent a remote private beach on Mosca Cay where they can be totally incommunicado. Steve is curious as to how Sharon can afford all this, but she prefers not to talk about it.

The couple’s frolicking in the sand and surf is interrupted the next afternoon when Steve spots a young man who looks like Bucky Barnes. Though he’s given up hope of ever finding Bucky alive, Steve nevertheless follows the young man into a stand of palm trees, where he is ambushed and knocked out. When he comes to, Steve finds himself tied up in a cargo plane alongside Sharon and the Falcon. Glaring down at him is his own evil doppelgänger—the mysterious man who briefly served as Captain America in the mid-1950s before descending into madness. Bucky’s double proves to be the man’s sidekick from that era. While the man gives them a detailed account of the origins of his controversial tenure as Captain America, Steve works on loosening the ropes binding his wrists. He soon realizes that the man, having spent a decade in cryogenic storage, is unaware that he has captured the original Captain America, thinking Steve is only the latest version. Steve and the Falcon taunt their captor, deriding him for his rabid anticommunist stance and the inaccuracies in his costume design. Angered, the impostor joins his junior partner in the cockpit. As soon as the plane touches down just off the coast of Miami, Florida, Cap, Sharon, and the Falcon storm the cockpit and fight with their kidnappers. However, the impostor Captain America produces a disintegrator pistol and fires it at an approaching Coast Guard ship. While Cap and the Falcon are busy rescuing the sailors from the sinking ship, the impostors swim for shore. Cap’s doppelgänger challenges him to a showdown at the Torch of Friendship monument in one hour. Using an inflatable raft Sharon found on the cargo plane, the trio makes its way ashore and, after conferring with the local police department, heads for the monument in Bayfront Park. While Sharon and the Falcon deal with the faux-Bucky, Cap engages in a brutal battle with his deranged counterpart, whose super-strength gives him an advantage in close combat. Nevertheless, Cap is able to drive his foe into a frenzy by revealing that he is, in fact, the original Captain America whom the impostor once idolized. Unable to cope, the impostor drops his guard, enabling Cap to finally knock him out. Feeling pity for his foes more than anything else, Cap hopes a cure for their psychosis may one day be found.

Steve and Sharon return to the Bahamas to enjoy the rest of their vacation. Still, Steve broods about the chilling revelations his doppelgänger made, such as how the Nazis had stolen a copy of Abraham Erskine’s super-soldier formula just hours before it was successfully used in Operation Rebirth, only for it to be lost when the intelligence officer who received the report was killed in an explosion before he could open the dispatch. Thus, the key to a Nazi victory lay undiscovered in a file all through the war. Furthermore, without the vita-ray treatment that Steve received, the super-soldier serum alone caused his replacements to rapidly descend into paranoid psychosis, perhaps dooming all efforts to recreate the serum to failure. But most disturbing, perhaps, someone currently in the government revived the doppelgängers, knowing they were psychotic, because he shared their extremist beliefs.

On Halloween, Captain America stops in at Avengers Mansion and finds the Vision on monitor duty. The synthezoid seems very depressed, but their conversation is cut short when an angry Rick Jones bursts in, ranting about being left behind when the Avengers went to Australia. To prove that he doesn’t need superheroes to protect him anymore, Rick slams his metal wristbands together and is instantly replaced by Captain Marvel. Suddenly, Cap experiences a vivid flashback to over a year ago when he and Rick were fighting HYDRA agents in Drearcliff Cemetery. Moments after Madame Hydra was blown up by a missile barrage, a second wave of HYDRA goons appeared and attacked them. Cap is confused by these new memories, and Rick, who has reappeared, denies there having been any second wave of enemy agents. Concerned, Cap returns to the cemetery to see if he can jog any further memories and eventually recalls tracking the HYDRA agents to their secret lair on the Lower East Side. Heading back into Manhattan, Cap soon finds the hidden installation, verifying that his recovered memories are real. Being there triggers more memories of him and Rick fighting their way through more HYDRA agents and unmasking their leader, a different Supreme Hydra from the one Cap fought in Las Vegas. Though Cap can’t remember the man’s face, he assumes he must have been responsible for the memory blocks and thus won’t be expecting Cap to track him down.

November 1965 – While searching the HYDRA installation, Cap finds the Vision apparently conspiring against the Avengers with the Grim Reaper and the Space Phantom. After the Space Phantom has departed, though, the Vision goads the Grim Reaper into losing his temper, enabling Cap to catch the villain off-guard and knock him out. Cap is startled to see that the Grim Reaper has exhumed Wonder Man’s corpse and has preserved it within a large vacuum chamber. With the Vision’s help, Cap soon locates Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, and the Black Panther and frees them from the anti-gravity field in which they are trapped. The Avengers then storm through the underground complex and fight with a horde of HYDRA agents under the Space Phantom’s command—as it turns out, he was the Supreme Hydra in Cap’s suppressed memories. Unfortunately, the Space Phantom’s alien technology is able to subdue the Avengers, and they soon find themselves back within the anti-gravity field. The villains leave to hunt down the Scarlet Witch, who has escaped. The Vision explains that the Grim Reaper had offered to use the Space Phantom’s machines to transfer the Vision’s mind into Captain America’s body, in exchange for help destroying the Avengers. The synthezoid decided to play along until he could devise a plan to defeat the villains. Soon, the Space Phantom and the Grim Reaper return, having captured the Scarlet Witch, Rick Jones, and Edwin Jarvis. The Space Phantom decides to assume Rick’s form while he kills the heroes, but is unexpectedly thrown back into Limbo due to Rick’s shared existence with Captain Marvel. Materializing in Rick’s place, the Kree-born superhero frees the Avengers, and they make short work of the HYDRA goons. The Grim Reaper surrenders, and he and his henchmen are all turned over to the authorities. When the team returns to Avengers Mansion, Cap is surprised to learn that the Vision and the Scarlet Witch have fallen in love.

Steve returns to work at the police precinct, but finds that Bob Courtney is now clearly suspicious of him. Frustrated that their working relationship has soured, Steve begins to question whether acting as a police officer is really the best use of his time. He also mulls over the implications of the Vision’s report that the Space Phantom was impersonating Madame Hydra last year when the Avengers were nearly buried alive in Drearcliff Cemetery. When Madame Hydra was seemingly killed in the explosion, the Space Phantom resumed his true form and just hid his alien features beneath the Supreme Hydra’s mask. This means, Cap realizes, that Madame Hydra may still be alive.

Sometime later, Steve is shocked by reports that Hank and Janet Pym have apparently died in a house fire, but Ant-Man soon turns up alive, fighting with a supervillain called Doctor Nemesis in the lower levels of Avengers Mansion. When his foe is defeated, Ant-Man leads Captain America, Iron Man, the Black Panther, and the Vision to rescue the Wasp from a secret A.I.M. installation on Long Island. The Avengers then invite the Pyms to return to active duty, but they decline, saying they prefer their private lives.

December 1965 – Captain America is summoned to a clandestine meeting with Police Commissioner Broderick at a precinct house in Hell’s Kitchen, where they discuss the ongoing police corruption investigation. The commissioner reports that they’ve learned the bribes are part of an organized effort led by a mystery man known as the “Cowled Commander” and asks Cap to discover the criminal mastermind’s true identity. The meeting is cut short when a bomb goes off, causing the building to collapse. Cap soon finds the bomber fighting the Falcon on a nearby rooftop. Calling himself the Viper, the costumed villain poisons the Falcon, then uses the antidote as a bargaining chip to ensure his escape. However, before slipping away, the Viper hits Cap with a poison dart as well. Luckily, Cap is able to reach the antidote in time and saves both their lives. While the Falcon and Redwing set off in pursuit of the Viper, Cap goes to visit Brian Muldoon at home, feeling the disgraced cop might be a key witness against the Cowled Commander.

There, Cap listens patiently as the disgruntled Muldoon outlines his theory that the Cowled Commander is really Patrolman Steve Rogers. Realizing he can hardly fault Muldoon for his suspicions, Cap tries to convince him to go into hiding until the Cowled Commander is captured. Muldoon refuses to be chased out of his home, so Cap leaves with a renewed determination to clear Muldoon’s name and get him reinstated. On the way back to his hotel, Cap stops to break up a bank robbery, discovering that the Viper’s anti-venom has somehow interacted with the super-soldier serum to radically increase his strength, though it’s also giving him headaches and nausea. Arriving at the hotel, Steve is informed by the unscrupulous manager that his room has been searched by the police. Frustrated and feeling ill, Steve goes for a walk, only to be kidnapped by Muldoon and Courtney, who plan to torture him into confessing to being the Cowled Commander.

As soon as he’s left alone in the room, Steve breaks free and escapes. He changes back into Captain America and follows the sound of police sirens uptown to the diamond district, where he finds the Eel, the Plantman, the Porcupine, and the Scarecrow pulling a heist at the behest of the Cowled Commander. During the fight, the Falcon and Redwing arrive, though the evil quartet nevertheless manages to escape. While Cap is conferring with Commissioner Broderick outside, they are joined by Muldoon and Courtney, as well as Sharon and Leila. Sharon insists on joining the search for the villains, but Cap forbids it, insisting that it’s too dangerous. Leaving her behind, Cap and the Falcon take to the rooftops as Redwing leads them to their foes’ hideout. On the way, Falcon reports having learned that the Viper is really an advertising executive named Jordan Dixon, who is apparently the Eel’s brother. Finding all five costumed criminals in a warehouse, Cap and the Falcon storm in and attack them, only to be choked into unconsciousness by one of Plantman’s giant animated plant-monsters. When they come to, the two heroes find themselves in the Cowled Commander’s gas chamber, with the masked mob boss gloating on a video monitor. The Cowled Commander informs Cap and the Falcon that their four friends—whom they assume to be Sharon, Leila, Muldoon, and Courtney—will be killed next. Enraged, Cap uses his newfound super-strength to tear the heavy steel door off its hinges, and they make short work of the Eel, the Plantman, the Porcupine, the Scarecrow, and the Viper. Falcon then tackles the Cowled Commander and rips off his mask, revealing him to be Brian Muldoon. Cap finds Sharon, Leila, and Courtney bound and gagged inside a closet and frees them. As the authorities arrive on the scene, Muldoon claims he was just trying to strengthen the police department by weeding out those prone to corruption and giving the remaining force a colorful enemy to rally against, but Cap and the Falcon are not convinced.

Sharon is furious at having been left behind when Cap and the Falcon went after the Cowled Commander and his costumed henchmen, so she declines to accompany Steve to the Avengers’ Fourth Annual Christmas Charity Benefit. When the Falcon isn’t interested in attending either, Cap goes to the party alone. Depressed and disillusioned by Muldoon’s betrayal of the police force, Steve decides to give up playing the rookie cop. He decides to focus on just being Captain America again, and devotes himself to a revised training regimen that takes his new super-strength into account.


Notes:

January 1965 – While searching for the Falcon’s missing friend, Captain America and his partner are drawn into a Lovecraftian mystery in Avengers #88. Recruiting help from his Avengers teammates, Cap leads them into a fight with the insectoid creature Psyklop, who has kidnapped the Hulk. Realizing he is outnumbered, Psyklop teleports the Avengers to the New York City subway platform, erasing their memories of the entire affair. Iron Man’s odd behavior is due to him being mind-controlled by Shara-Lee and the White Dragon, as shown in Iron Man #39, in which Cap and the Falcon briefly appear. Cap’s adventures then continue in Captain America #139 and following. The Avengers are seen watching coverage of Lionel Dibbs’ riot in San Francisco at the beginning of the Inhumans story in Amazing Adventures #8. Captain America joins with the Avengers to fight the Skrulls in Avengers #93–94. For more on President Morris Richardson, see OMU: POTUS – Part Three.

February 1965 – The Avengers are drawn into the Kree-Skrull War across Avengers #94–97. Captain America then makes a brief appearance in Iron Man #44, getting into a misunderstanding fight with the original Guardsman, Kevin O’Brien. The Avengers foil Ares’ scheme of interdimensional conquest in Avengers #98–100.

March 1965 – Towards the end of the month, Captain America finds himself dealing with the end of the world—along with everyone else on the disintegrating planet—during Thor #185–188, but luckily Odin erases those events from the timestream, so they never happened.

May 1965 – In the real world, embattled police commissioner Michael J. Murphy resigned at this point and was replaced by Judge Vincent L. Broderick. Thus, although they are drawn to look the same, the Police Commissioner who appears in Captain America #139–143 is actually a different guy than is seen in Captain America #157–159.

July 1965 – In Captain America #147–148, Howard Hughes is fictionalized as “Harold Howard,” though he makes no actual appearance. The Red Skull’s escape from the Fifth Sleeper is shown in flashback in Captain America #185. Cap makes a cameo appearance in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos #100, which is set in the present day rather than World War II.

October 1965 – Captain America is on hand for the Hulk’s capture in Hulk #152. The Avengers then face the threat of Leonard Tippit in Avengers #101. Later that same day, the team appears at the Hulk’s trial, as depicted in Hulk #153. This is followed immediately by the Sentinels story in Avengers #102–104. Android duplicates of the Scorpion and Mister Hyde were destroyed in Daredevil #83, leading to the belief that the two villains were dead. For more on the Captain America and Bucky of the 1950s, see OMU: Ancient History 4. Captain America has flashbacks to his battles with Madame Hydra’s terrorist cell in Avengers #106–107.

November 1965 – Captain America joins the Avengers’ battle against the Space Phantom and the Grim Reaper in Avengers #108. Cap then appears in Marvel Feature #10 for the conclusion of Ant-Man’s brief revival series.

December 1965 – This brings us up to Captain America #159.


Jump Back: Captain America – Year Three

Next Issue: The Mighty Thor – Year Four


Wednesday

OMU: Ant-Man -- Year Four

Over the next year of the character’s life, Henry Pym, known variously as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket, transitions into an early retirement. Long a reluctant superhero, he finally makes a concerted effort to distance himself from that life, though his status as a founding member of the Avengers complicates matters. So, too, does the fact that his crimefighting partner and wife, the Wasp, is not eager to give up her life of adventure, and this tension will only grow as time goes by. Beyond scattered guest appearances in various titles, Hank & Janet Pym were given a brief try-out series in Marvel Feature, but, like their original run in Tales to Astonish, it generated little excitement and offered only third-rate villains. Ant-Man and the Wasp would then return to comic book character limbo for nearly two years before making yet another comeback.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Continuing with… The True History of Ant-Man!


January 1965 – Hank Pym is living and working in Alaska as part of a government research project on the effects of oil drilling on the native flora and fauna, along with his research partner, Bill Foster. Hank’s wife, Janet Pym, occupies herself as best she can and tries to be supportive of her husband’s efforts, though she longs to return to New York City. While heading up to check in at a remote scientific outpost in the Arctic wilderness, Hank becomes concerned when they lose contact with the personnel there and decides that he and Jan should investigate as Yellowjacket and the Wasp. They are astonished to find a circle of primeval jungle surrounding a tall tower. An energy beam emanating from the tower causes Yellowjacket to devolve into an ape-like hominid, and he takes the Wasp prisoner. Several hours later, he fights off the outpost personnel, who have been similarly transformed. Shortly afterward, they are rescued by four Avengers—Goliath, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and the Vision—along with Captain Marvel and Rick Jones. They destroy the tower, causing the jungle to quickly succumb to the arctic cold. Feeling useless, Hank tenders his formal resignation from the Avengers, intent on giving up his superhero career once and for all. The Wasp reluctantly resigns as well. The Avengers then return the Pyms and the three technicians from the outpost to their main research base.

A week or so later, Hank receives a call from the Avengers summoning the founding members to an emergency meeting. Since Jan has come down with the flu, Hank leaves her in Alaska and returns to New York alone. With his Yellowjacket costume destroyed, he attends the meeting in his original identity as Ant-Man. Upon arrival at Avengers Mansion, Ant-Man finds Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America standing over the inert form of the Vision. As the world’s foremost authority on synthezoids, Hank agrees to enter the Vision’s body in order to affect repairs. While there, he is surprised to see components that he recognizes as World War II vintage, since by all accounts the Vision was constructed only last year. Hank has no time to ponder this discovery, though, as the Vision begins to revive as soon as the repairs are complete. Ant-Man then bids farewell to his teammates, agreeing to provide his scientific expertise as the need arises but not wanting to involve himself in their battles.

That night, though, while crossing the city, Ant-Man is attacked by the same mutated scarlet beetle that he fought two and a half years ago. When Hank’s anti-radiation treatment wore off, the beetle regained its human-level intellect and is now once again intent on conquering the world. Ant-Man is captured and his cybernetic helmet confiscated, but he is able to escape when the building they are in catches fire. Climbing up through the floorboards, Ant-Man discovers that a shop owner has torched the place in what looks like an insurance scam. The beetle tackles Ant-Man, but he manages to get free. Just then, one of his ant allies bites the arsonist’s ankle, causing him to drop his kerosene can onto the scarlet beetle. The villainous insect is crushed to death, enabling Ant-Man to escape from the flames. The fire department has arrived on the scene and the police take the arsonist into custody. Rather than make his presence known, Ant-Man slips off and heads for the airport to catch his flight back to Alaska.

February 1965 – Hank’s research is interrupted by a call from the Vision, who is seeking aid in curing Hercules of total amnesia. Unfortunately, Hank is unable to come up with anything likely to help. A day later, Ant-Man and the Wasp are summoned to meet all other members of the Avengers, past and present, at Garrett Castle in England. Reluctantly, Hank agrees to go, and he and the Wasp soon meet up with Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye (who has abandoned the Goliath identity), Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, the Vision, the Black Knight, and even the Hulk. The Black Knight leads them into the depths of the castle, where he summons up the spirit of his ancestor, Sir Percy of Scandia, the original Black Knight of legend. Sir Percy’s ghost reveals how Ares, the Greek god of war, came into possession of the Ebony Blade and teamed up with the Enchantress to conquer three worlds: Earth, Asgard, and Olympus. Their first move was to transform the gods of Olympus into crystalline statues and banish Hercules to Earth, bereft of his memory. Suddenly, the Swordsman swings down from the rafters and claims his Avengers membership, demanding to help stop Ares. Ant-Man is not inclined to trust the Swordsman, but Thor accepts him into their ranks. The thunder god then chooses Iron Man, Hulk, Black Knight, and Vision to accompany him to Olympus while the rest remain behind to guard Earth. Ant-Man’s squad soon detects an interdimensional portal opening in the center of London and speeds to the scene, where they find an army of demonic creatures pouring through a hole in space. The demons are quickly driven back into their own realm, at which point Thor’s squad emerges through the portal, having rescued Hercules and defeated the villains. However, Hercules must remain in Olympus to help Thor close the portal. Having won the day, the Avengers go their separate ways, and Ant-Man and the Wasp return to Alaska.

April 1965 – After six months, Hank completes his research project and they all return to New York. Jan buys a house in the Long Island resort town of Southampton, where Hank sets up his new laboratory. She also buys a lab facility elsewhere in the city for Bill Foster to use, charging him a modicum of rent so he doesn’t feel like a freeloader. Thrilled to be back in civilization after her sojourn in the Arctic wilderness, Jan rehires her old chauffeur, Charles Matthews. She also buys Hank a highly trained white dog named Orkie. Hank is glad to abandon his superhero identities and continue devoting himself full-time to biochemical research.

August 1965 – Hank collaborates with Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Peter Corbeau to figure out a way to counteract the dimensional instability accidentally caused by Banner’s green-skinned girlfriend Jarella when she traveled to Earth from the Microverse. The instability is threatening to cause the sun to go supernova. Hank remembers the super-concentrated shrinking formula he used a couple years ago to help the Fantastic Four pursue Doctor Doom into the Microverse, but realizes it would be too unstable to use after all this time. He informs Banner that the solution is so dangerous that he keeps it locked in the vault in his private lab. Even so, the scientists’ efforts are ultimately successful—Jarella is returned to the Microverse and the sun quickly stabilizes.

Hank agrees to make a personal appearance as Ant-Man at George Washington University in Washington, DC. However, he is forced to cancel at the last minute when the government recruits him to work on their Virus Nine Project. Virus Nine is a biological weapon captured from HYDRA that the government is eager to find a means to combat. Worried that the terrorist organization will attempt to take their weapon back, Hank installs a state-of-the-art security system in his lab.

October 1965 – While driving along the Long Island Expressway, Hank and Jan receive an alert signal that their laboratory has been broken into. Hank pulls over and changes into Ant-Man, then races back home astride a flying ant. He arrives to find his vault door smashed open and the Virus Nine papers missing, but is surprised to also discover the vial of super-concentrated shrinking formula shattered on the floor. A quick test confirms Hank’s suspicions that the serum has deteriorated into a highly unstable state. He activates a microscopic homing device planted in the Virus Nine papers, which leads him to an underground base being used by HYDRA. There, Ant-Man is shocked to find a miniaturized Hulk battling the terrorists. After starting a fire to drive the HYDRA agents outside, Ant-Man tries to convince the Hulk to come back to the lab with him so they can find an antidote to the unstable serum. Hulk refuses, determined to reach Jarella’s world in the Microverse. Suddenly, the jade giant changes back into Bruce Banner as his shrinking accelerates, only to have the Chameleon emerge from the shadows and step on him. Ant-Man is horrified, believing Banner has been killed, and quickly knocks the Chameleon unconscious. Outside, as the Chameleon and his HYDRA employers are taken into police custody, Ant-Man informs some reporters of Bruce Banner’s apparent demise. Hank speculates that, even if Banner wasn’t crushed to death, he may be lost forever in the Microverse. Two weeks later, though, the Hulk reappears.

Over the course of the month, Hank works on a new government-sponsored research project with Dr. Curt Connors, a herpetologist from Florida, studying certain psychoactive drugs. Jan takes the opportunity for an extended shopping trip to the west coast. While she’s gone, Hank agrees to mentor an Empire State University science major named Peter Parker. When Connors returns to Florida for a couple of days, leaving his wife and son at a local hotel, gangsters kidnap the boy and demand the drugs as ransom. With Parker’s help, Ant-Man tries to rescue Billy Connors, but the gang’s leader, a French drug lord known as M’sieu Tête, reveals that he’s injected his hostage with a deadly virus. Ant-Man surrenders, and he and Parker are taken to M’sieu Tête’s hideout, where Hank is impressed by their highly advanced technology. Unexpectedly, Billy slips away, steals a car, and drives off into the night. Realizing he won’t get what he wants if Billy dies, M’sieu Tête sends Ant-Man to bring him back, while holding Parker hostage. However, not willing to trust the hero to keep his word, M’sieu Tête injects both Ant-Man and Parker with the same virus. With Orkie’s help, Ant-Man tracks Billy to a construction site on the outskirts of the suburbs, only to find the boy has become delirious. Attempting to return to normal size, Ant-Man is horrified to discover that the virus has apparently knocked out his size-changing abilities. Even so, he manages to get Billy back to the villains’ lair, where Parker reports that Spider-Man had turned up and captured M’sieu Tête’s henchmen. With M’sieu Tête defeated, Parker administers the antidote, though Ant-Man, surprisingly, remains trapped at roughly the size of a field mouse. After Parker has taken Billy to the nearest hospital, Ant-Man is attacked by a hawk and wrecks his costume and cybernetic helmet while escaping. By an amazing coincidence, he then stumbles upon his old nemesis, Egghead, menacing a teenage girl in a junkyard. The girl turns out to be Egghead’s niece, Trixie Starr, and she and Hank flee into the woods before the villain can shoot them. After building a campfire, Trixie sews a new outfit for Hank to replace his ruined costume. During the night, though, Egghead sends a couple of robots to recapture Trixie. Hank follows and rescues her from a machine designed to drain her intellect into Egghead’s computer banks. Egghead appears to get caught in an explosion, but Hank suspects he may have escaped. As they hike back to town, Trixie tells Hank about her relationship with her mad uncle and why she’s run away from home.

At dawn, Hank and Trixie catch a bus out to Southampton, where she drops him off at his house before going on alone. Hank enters and finds Jan lying on the floor unconscious. He gets stuck inside a heating vent as the chauffeur, Charles Matthews, comes in and revives Jan. Hank is annoyed that Matthews tries to convince Jan that her missing husband must be dead, clearly hoping to get his hands on Jan’s fortune. Once Matthews has left, Hank fashions a crude slingshot out of a hairpin and a rubber band and fires his damaged cybernetic helmet out of the vent, alerting Jan to his presence. She is relieved to see him and helps him out of the vent. Hank explains his predicament to her, and she helps him run some tests to determine what’s keeping him trapped at his diminutive size.

November 1965 – After a great deal of experimentation, Hank finally discovers the mysterious x-factor to be a microbe still in his bloodstream, but before he can make another move, his old enemy Whirlwind tries to kidnap Jan. Hank manages to drive his foe off, then wonders whether Whirlwind and the chauffeur might be in cahoots. Jan refuses to believe it. Worried that other villains might try to attack them, Hank takes the time to repair his cybernetic helmet before getting back to work on his size-changing problem. Eventually, he synthesizes an antidote, but Jan loses her patience with his cautiousness and, hoping to spur him on, drinks some of it before it has been fully tested. She instantly shoots up to giant-size, hitting her head on the ceiling, then shrinks to insect-size and collapses. Hank is frustrated when Jan proves to be trapped at wasp-size now as well, and vows to find an antidote that works for both of them.

Over the following days, Hank rebuilds his lab equipment to scale so he and Jan can operate it at their tiny size. However, Whirlwind attacks again, determined to get his hands on the Van Dyne family fortune one way or another. When he again fails to nab the Wasp, Whirlwind sets the house on fire and departs. With great difficulty, Hank and Jan escape from their burning home and collapse in the front yard. Sadly, Orkie dies in the fire.

In the morning, the Pyms find a newspaper in the grass and are alarmed to read that both Ant-Man and the Wasp are now presumed dead. Seeing that Charles Matthews is claiming to have made a valiant effort to save them, Hank becomes even more convinced that the chauffeur is working with Whirlwind. Unfortunately, while hiking across the yard, Hank and Jan are captured by a man with a butterfly net and gassed into unconsciousness. When he revives, Hank finds that he and his wife have been imprisoned in mason jars by an addle-brained, middle-aged man called Boswell, who is dominated by a strange green-and-yellow robot that insists on being called Para-Man. At the first opportunity, Hank breaks out of the glass jar and frees Jan. Para-Man tries to recapture them, but Hank manages to turn a gasoline can into a makeshift bomb. Enraged, Para-Man carries Boswell outside, then rushes back into the fire to punish the tiny humans who have destroyed his home. Hank and Jan have both gotten out already, though, and the house suddenly explodes in a massive fireball, blowing Para-Man to pieces. However, due to the chemical cocktail she drank, the stress causes Jan to mutate into a monstrous half-human, half-insect form. She viciously attacks Hank before regaining a measure of self-control. He makes a run for it, and she chases him through the grass, until he chances upon his cybernetic helmet, lying where it fell when Boswell captured them. He summons a swarm of soldier ants to keep Jan busy while he adjusts his helmet’s controls, hoping to be able to use it to control her. Luckily, the powerful cybernetic signals cancel out the mutation, temporarily reverting Jan to normal. She worries, though, that the next time she transforms, she may kill Hank.

The beleaguered couple heads for a nearby mobile home, where they are attacked by a kitten. The stress causes Jan to change back into her monstrous form, but the kitten swats her and knocks her out. Hank quickly uses his cybernetic helmet to cause ants to swarm over the kitten, driving it away. A man in a colorful costume then emerges from the mobile home and, announcing himself as “Doctor Nemesis,” takes the Pyms into his laboratory. Twenty-four hours later, Doctor Nemesis succeeds in restoring Hank’s ability to grow and shrink at will. Though happy to be cured, Hank’s mood grows darker as Doctor Nemesis reveals that he was associated with M’sieu Tête’s gang and now wants Hank to steal secrets from Avengers Mansion in exchange for the Wasp’s life. For his wife’s sake, Hank agrees to the scheme. Doctor Nemesis leads him to the team’s headquarters through a pneumatic tube constructed by the subversive organization A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics). Hank is unnerved to learn that A.I.M. has been spying on him all this time. Having duplicated Hank’s size-changing formulas, Doctor Nemesis intends for them to enter the mansion unnoticed, but when they arrive, Hank turns the tables on the villain and captures him. Iron Man, Captain America, the Black Panther, and the Vision arrive on the scene, having been drawn by the commotion, and are shocked to see that Ant-Man is still alive. Hank leads them back to the mobile home, where they rescue the Wasp. Hank administers the final treatment himself to restore her body chemistry to normal. The Avengers once again invite the Pyms to rejoin the team, but Hank declines, saying they prefer to lead their private lives.

Hank and Jan check into a ritzy hotel, and the next day they meet with Bill Foster, who is relieved to find they are still alive. Bill explains that he’d suspected they had survived the fire and were merely trapped at insect-size, but was unable to convince Iron Man to pursue the matter. Worse, he reveals, one of Jan’s lawyers, Mr. Blackburn, had conspired with Charles Matthews to seize control of her fortune and threatened Bill to try to make him keep quiet. Furious, Jan immediately fires both Matthews and Blackburn. Learning that his suspicions about Matthews were correct, Hank feels vindicated. But after all their recent traumas, he is happy to leave the life of a superhero behind him.


Notes:

January 1965 – After a fifteen-month hiatus, Hank Pym returns in Avengers #90–91, in which his Yellowjacket costume is destroyed. He then turns up as Ant-Man in Avengers #93. Readers would have to wait until Avengers West Coast #50 (a full 18 years later!) to learn what it was that so startled Pym during his mission inside the Vision’s body. Ant-Man then appears in an odd little back-up story in Iron Man #44. During this period, Pym makes several references that reveal him to be an old fan of William M. Gaines’ EC Comics, which he must have read in high school.

February 1965 – Ant-Man appears briefly in Avengers #99–100.

March 1965 – Towards the end of the month, Ant-Man and the Wasp find themselves dealing with the end of the world—along with everyone else on the disintegrating planet—during Thor #185–188, but luckily Odin erases those events from the timestream, so they never happened.

August 1965 – Pym’s conference call with Bruce Banner is seen in a flashback in Hulk #154, which takes place during the events of Hulk #148, in which Pym remains behind the scenes. In Hulk #151, Banner sees a poster advertising Pym’s appearance at George Washington University, though the reason for the cancellation is not made clear in the story as written.

October–November 1965 – Ant-Man teams up with the Hulk to battle HYDRA in Hulk #154–155 before getting another shot at a solo series in Marvel Feature #4–10. In the first issue, which guest-stars Spider-Man, Curt Connors does not appear, though his wife Martha does. Their son is erroneously called both “Timmy” and “Bobby” in the story. M’sieu Tête’s technology is provided by A.I.M., which Pym learns at the conclusion of the series. We will discover in Giant-Size Defenders #4 that the treatment administered by Doctor Nemesis is only a partial cure, and the microbe remains dormant in Pym’s bloodsteam. Strangely, the Pyms remain unaware that “Charles Matthews” is really David Cannon, a.k.a. Whirlwind, even though they clearly saw his face several times back when he called himself the Human Top. I can only assume he had a nose-job or something that makes him unrecognizable. In Avengers #139, Hank reveals that “Matthews” was fired for betraying Jan’s trust.


Jump Back: Ant-Man – Year Three

Next Issue: Captain America – Year Four


Monday

OMU: Frankenstein Family

When the story of Frankenstein was imported to comics by Gary Friedrich & Mike Ploog as part of Marvel’s monster craze in the early 1970s, they decided to approach it more as a sequel to the novel rather than a straightforward adaptation. Thus, the series opens with the Frankenstein Monster being discovered in the Arctic in 1898 by Captain Robert Walton’s great-grandson (conveniently named Robert Walton IV). The story of Mary Shelley’s novel is then told in flashback over the next few issues before the Monster goes off to have new adventures. Eventually, in an effort to boost sales, Marvel brought the Monster into a modern-day setting so he could interact with more-popular characters. As such, we see the Monster active in three distinct time periods. An oft-repeated trope of the series, then, is the Monster encountering the “last living descendant” of his creator (ignoring the fact that Victor Frankenstein died childless), which introduces us to various members of the Frankenstein family over several generations. Due to Marvel’s infamous sliding timescale, unfortunately, the genealogy of this family has become muddled, so I decided to straighten it out using my timeline for the Original Marvel Universe.

Luckily, Mary Shelley neglected to kill off Victor Frankenstein’s brother Ernest before the end of the novel, so we can safely assume it is through him that the family line reaches to the present day. The lives of Ernest and his son were never detailed in any canonical story, though, and information about other generations is often very sketchy. Thus, I indulge in more speculation here than is customary. As a guiding principle, I decided that James Whale’s Frankenstein movies actually depicted a composite of characters and events from various generations of the horror-haunted family. This was mixed with elements from the established history of the Original Marvel Universe, as well as real-world history, to flesh out what we know from the published comics.

Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.


Lumbering on with… The True History of the Frankenstein Family!


1774 – Alphonse Frankenstein, the current Baron von Frankenstein, is a retired government official from Geneva, Switzerland, and he and his much younger wife, Caroline Beaufort Frankenstein, are touring the sunnier climes of southern Europe for health reasons. While in Naples, Italy, they have their first child, Victor Frankenstein.

1775 – Elizabeth Lavenza is born in Milan, Italy, to an Italian nobleman and his German-born wife. Elizabeth’s mother dies in childbirth, so her father places the baby in the care of a wetnurse. However, the father soon disappears while on a military campaign in Austria, leaving Elizabeth a penniless orphan.

1779 – The Frankensteins find Elizabeth Lavenza living in squalor and make her their ward, rescuing her from abject poverty.

1781 – When their second child, Ernest Frankenstein, is born, Alphonse and Caroline settle down at an estate in their native Geneva, Switzerland. Victor and Elizabeth are raised as cousins and become very close, but the parents hope they will one day marry. Though by nature a loner, Victor befriends a schoolmate named Henry Clerval, the adventurous son of a Geneva merchant.

1787 – Victor becomes obsessed with the works of medieval alchemists such as Albertus Magnus, Cornelius Agrippa, and Paracelsus, especially their search for the “elixir of life.”

1789 – After witnessing the power of lightning firsthand, Victor abandons the alchemists to take up the study of modern science.

1790 – William Frankenstein is born in Geneva, Switzerland, the third son of Alphonse and Caroline Frankenstein.

1791 – Weeks after his mother dies of scarlet fever, Victor leaves Geneva to attend the University of Ingolstadt in Bavaria, where he is soon recognized as a brilliant student of chemistry and biology. One of his professors, Monsieur Waldman, renews Victor’s interest in the alchemists, suggesting their esoteric wisdom could be combined with the scientific method to perform wondrous feats.

1793 – Victor discovers a means of reanimating dead tissue and begins constructing an eight-foot-tall human figure out of the parts of a dozen corpses. Believing he has discovered the key to immortality, he works obsessively on his secret project, driving himself to the point of nervous exhaustion.

1794 – In November, Victor finally succeeds in animating his cadaverous creature. Horrified by what he has done, the young scientist rejects his creation, leaving it to wander off into the surrounding forests. Victor suffers a nervous breakdown, but is nursed back to health by his childhood friend, Henry Clerval.

1795 – Traumatized by his experience, Victor abandons science altogether and spends the year studying Middle Eastern languages and literatures with Clerval.

1796 – When his youngest brother, William, is murdered in May, Victor leaves the University of Ingolstadt and returns to Geneva. He is horrified to discover that his Monster has committed the crime and framed the family’s servant-girl, Justine Moritz. Victor is consumed with guilt when Justine is executed, but he knows no one would believe his incredible tale. Two months later, he retreats into the Alps, where the Monster confronts him. Having learned to speak and read French, the Monster has managed to track his creator down by reading Victor’s journal, which he inadvertently carried off with him when he escaped from the laboratory. Tired of being all alone in the world, the Monster demands a mate. Giving in to the creature’s threats, Victor agrees to create a female monster. However, realizing he needs to consult with certain scientists in London, Victor plans a trip to England first. His father insists on Clerval accompanying him, and, after a slow trek across Europe, the two old friends reach London by mid-December.

1797 – After parting ways with Clerval, Victor sets up a laboratory in a remote house on the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland. There, with great reluctance, he assembles a female figure out of numerous dead women, some of whom are murdered by the Monster for their organs. However, fearing that he would be the creator of a monster race, Victor destroys the creature moments after animating it. He flees to Ireland, but his vengeful Monster finds Clerval and murders him, framing Victor for the crime. Languishing in prison, Victor suffers another nervous breakdown.

1798 – Victor is released from prison due to his father’s efforts to clear his name. They return to Geneva, where Victor and Elizabeth are finally married. That night, however, the Monster sneaks into the bedroom and strangles Elizabeth to death. A few days later, Alphonse dies from grief, making Victor the new Baron von Frankenstein. However, Victor suffers another psychotic break. After a few months, he pulls himself together and swears to hunt down and destroy his murderous creation. The chase leads Victor across much of the world, with the Monster always remaining just out of reach.

1799 – Pursuing the Monster to the Arctic, Victor comes upon the ice-bound ship of Captain Robert Walton, where the last of his strength finally gives out. Victor tells his story to Walton, who transcribes it into a series of letters to his sister, Margaret Saville, in England. After a few weeks, Victor Frankenstein dies at the age of 26. Soon after, the Monster boards the ship, and is grieved to find his creator dead. After a confrontation with Walton, the Monster wanders off into the frozen wastes. Abandoning their ill-fated expedition, Walton and his crew make their way back to civilization.

1800 – When Victor’s body is at last returned to Geneva, his brother Ernest becomes the new Baron von Frankenstein. Devastated by the death of his entire family, Ernest uses his inheritance to buy a remote 500-year-old castle in the Swiss Alps, where he takes up residence. The dilapidated structure then comes to be known as Castle Frankenstein.

1813 – Growing weary of his solitude, Ernest finally marries, taking a young Geneva woman named Elsa Manoir as his wife. She joins him at his secluded retreat and tries to brighten up their gloomy abode.

1814 – Ernest and Elsa have a son, Henry Frankenstein, who is born in the remote castle.

1818 – Following the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, Ernest suffers greatly from the infamy it brings his family, even though most of the world believes the story to be fictional. Many people in Geneva, however, recognize that there is much truth in it. The revelations about the deaths of Justine Moritz, Henry Clerval, and Elizabeth Lavenza cause many to conclude that Victor Frankenstein was a murderous madman. The resulting scandal leads Ernest to become a total recluse.

1830 – Her relationship with her husband having slowly disintegrated, Elsa Frankenstein decides she can no longer live with the shame and ostracism resulting from Shelley’s novel. She commits suicide by throwing herself off the castle’s highest tower. With no suicide note, Ernest is investigated by the authorities on the suspicion of murdering his wife. He is ultimately exonerated, but lives under a shadow for the rest of his lonely, miserable life. Henry, a frail and sickly boy, is traumatized by the death of his mother, but his stern, emotionally remote father can offer no comfort.

1831 – At the age of 17, Henry leaves home and settles in Munich, Germany, where he becomes obsessed with the idea of contacting his mother’s spirit. This leads him to a group of occultists in Dachau led by Margareta Vogel, a woman some years his senior. Margareta soon seduces Henry, and within a few months, they are married.

1832 – With the release of a revised edition, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein becomes more popular than ever. To cash in on the novel’s success, Robert Walton Jr. publishes a limited-edition volume of the unedited text of his father’s letters from the 1798–99 expedition.

1833 – Henry and Margareta have a son, Jason Frankenstein, who is named for the hero of Greek mythology.

1836 – Henry seems to succeed in communicating with his mother’s spirit, and she urges him to raise her from the grave. Henry is eager to do so, but lacks the necessary mystical power. Thus, the spirit agrees to instruct him and his circle of friends in the arts of black magic and necromancy. Over the next 25 years, the group devotes itself to the study of sorcery, often stealing bodies from Munich-area graveyards on which to practice their resurrection spells. Henry and Margareta shield young Jason from the more gruesome aspects of their endeavors to raise the dead, but he grows up aware of his parents’ practice of black magic.

1847 – Normal teenage rebellion leads Jason to a desire to be an Egyptologist, so he strives to reject the occult and embrace rationalism.

1850 – Jason leaves home to attend the University of Munich. There, he meets Dr. Septimus Pretorius, a professor of philosophy, who helps Jason reconcile science and magic in the pursuit of knowledge.

1852 – Jason marries Yvonne Teufel, the daughter of members of his parents’ coven.

1853 – Jason and Yvonne have a son, Vincent Frankenstein, who is born in the same house in Munich as his father was twenty years earlier.

1856 – Jason travels to Cairo, Egypt, to explore the Giza Plateau and other sites. There, he stumbles upon a hidden chamber dating back to Hyborian-era Stygia, where he discovers one of the lost parchments of the Darkhold. Intrigued, he takes it back to Munich to consult with Dr. Pretorius. Convinced he is on the cusp of a momentous discovery, Jason devotes the next five years to studying the scroll and deciphering its arcane inscriptions. He makes frequent trips to Egypt in a fruitless search for further traces of this lost civilization.

1861 – Ernest Frankenstein dies at age 80 after a lifetime of loneliness and ill-health. Henry thus becomes the new Baron von Frankenstein at the age of 47. He relocates his coven to Castle Frankenstein in the Swiss Alps, where he finally exhumes his mother’s corpse. The resurrection spell that the group casts takes effect and the body is returned to a semblance of life. However, they discover too late that the spirit Henry had been in contact with was not Elsa Frankenstein at all, but a demon seeking physical form so as to escape from Hell. The demon murders Margareta and several of the other occultists before going on a rampage through the nearby communities. A mob of torch-wielding villagers then chases the demon into an old mill and sets it on fire. As its host body is incinerated, the demon is sent screaming back to Hell. Henry remains in the castle, a broken man.

1862 – Jason takes his wife and son to live in Castle Frankenstein so they can care for his heartbroken father. Jason continues to work on his ancient parchment, enjoying a lively correspondence with Dr. Pretorius. He also travels extensively, consulting with experts in many disciplines, but his ideas about the parchment are ridiculed and rejected.

1866 – Vincent discovers the notebooks of his great-great uncle Victor inside a locked cabinet in the castle library and is intrigued by the bizarre mixture of 18th-century science and medieval alchemy within. Though he doubts the macabre tales about Victor Frankenstein are true, Vincent nevertheless becomes fascinated by the idea of creating a powerful artificial lifeform to serve him.

1870 – Vincent leaves home to go to college in London, England, as he is ashamed of his family’s tarnished reputation and wishes to leave Europe. There, he studies the chemical and biological sciences as his ancestor had done. Now left alone with her ailing father-in-law, Yvonne grows bitter and resentful toward Jason, but this only drives him to extend his excursions to foreign lands.

1875 – Henry Frankenstein drinks himself to death at age 61, never having recovered from the horror of his experience. Jason, who is in Munich visiting Dr. Pretorius, learns that he is now the Baron von Frankenstein. Soon after, Jason brings Pretorius to the castle, as they have made a breakthrough in translating the parchment’s inscriptions. Pretorius has recognized the text to be a magical incantation and convinces Jason they should weave the spell, believing it would call forth a genie to grant them power and riches. However, the spell actually conjures up a gigantic, demonic spider referred to as a “Child of Zath.” Stricken with horror, Jason panics and runs away as the spider attacks. Before he can make a move, Pretorius falls into the spider’s clutches, and it sucks out his soul, leaving him little more than a zombie. The spider then chases Jason through the castle, causing tremendous damage as it goes. Yvonne blunders onto the scene, and the spider turns her into a zombie as well. Finally, Jason manages to lead the spider to a deep stone pit, which it falls into. The spider is unable to scale the slimy stones and is trapped. Jason locks the two zombies in the dungeon and flees the castle in mortal terror. He travels to London to take refuge with his son, warning Vincent never to return to Castle Frankenstein.

1883 – After eight years of vainly studying the parchment in hopes of discovering a counter-spell, Jason Frankenstein becomes gravely ill and soon dies at the age of 50. Becoming the new Baron von Frankenstein, Vincent donates his father’s mysterious parchment to the British Library, where it is filed away with numerous other unidentified artifacts. Inheriting what remains of the family fortune, Vincent uses the money to finance his biochemical experiments, allowing the castle to fall to ruin.

1884 – Vincent meets a Russian hunchback named Ivan and hires him to be his manservant—and test subject. In the course of his experiments, Vincent injects Ivan with chemical solutions that greatly increase his size, strength, and resistance to injury.

1895 – At age 42, Vincent marries a much younger English woman named Lenore Carlyle. To suit his wife’s station as a baroness, Vincent hires a lady’s maid, Betty Baker, to serve her. However, Vincent often neglects his young wife while working obsessively in his basement laboratory, which angers Betty.

1898 – When Lenore becomes pregnant, Betty’s resentment of her master’s neglectful behavior grows. She is infuriated when Vincent suddenly leaves for a trip to the continent just as Lenore’s pregnancy is coming to term. Having heard rumors of a gruesome giant traveling around the Balkans with a troupe of gypsy performers, Vincent takes Ivan and tracks the brute to a cave in Transylvania. There, Vincent realizes he has found his ancestor’s creation, the infamous Frankenstein Monster, somehow still alive a century after he was last seen. After smuggling the Monster into his London laboratory, Vincent decides to transplant Ivan’s brain into the Monster’s body. However, Ivan refuses and tries to kill Vincent, relenting only when Betty informs them that Lenore has gone into labor. Vincent races to his wife’s bedroom and delivers his son, Basil Frankenstein, with Betty’s help. Taking a pistol, Vincent then returns to the laboratory, where he sees Ivan fighting with the Monster. To protect his ancestor’s creation, Vincent shoots Ivan in the back, killing him. The Monster attacks Vincent with a sword, forcing him to shoot the creature twice in the chest. While bemoaning the loss of such a fascinating specimen, Vincent ignores Betty’s urgent pleas to return to his wife’s bedside. By the time Vincent emerges from the laboratory, Lenore has died, and Betty, disgusted by her master’s behavior, shoots him dead. Fearing arrest, Betty takes baby Basil and flees the country, settling in Hamburg, Germany, where she raises the boy as her own son.

1914 – With the declaration of war between Germany and England, Betty is deported as an enemy alien. To enable 16-year-old Basil to remain in the only home he’s ever known, she reveals that he is actually the son of the former Baron von Frankenstein, a title which he inherited on the day he was born. She also tells Basil that she has one other terrible secret, which she vows to reveal to him on her deathbed. After Betty has been sent back to England, Basil moves to Berlin and enrolls in the university there to study medical science.

1915 – Early in the year, Basil gets a local girl, Hedwig Schultz, pregnant, so he decides to marry her. When his son Ludwig Frankenstein is born nine months later, Basil considers trying to claim his family’s land holdings in Switzerland in order to escape the war. Unfortunately, he has insufficient evidence to back his claim, so he instead signs up to serve the war effort in a Berlin military hospital.

1916 – Confronted by the horrors of war, Basil recognizes an opportunity for unprecedented medical research. In the course of treating thousands of wounded soldiers, he develops numerous advanced surgical techniques and masters the intricacies of human anatomy.

1919 – Following the end of the war, Basil becomes one of Berlin’s most successful surgeons, amassing a small fortune in the process. The long hours that he works leave him little time for his son, so Ludwig grows up extremely attached to his doting mother.

1926 – Enjoying a luxurious lifestyle, Basil sends for Betty to come live with them as his mother. When she arrives, Basil introduces her to Ludwig as “Oma” [Grandma]. Basil is also pleased to find that Betty has brought most of Vincent Frankenstein’s papers, which had been put in storage by the family solicitor back in 1898. Among the papers, Basil discovers the notebooks of his great-great-great-uncle, Victor Frankenstein, and soon becomes obsessed with his ancestor’s attempts to reanimate the dead.

1928 – Basil attends the International Conference on Genetics held in Geneva, Switzerland. There, he meets another young German scientist with similar research interests, Abraham Erskine, as well as Arnim Zola of Switzerland and Wladyslav Shinski of Poland. They all share ideas with each other over the course of the conference. Basil returns to Berlin eager to continue his revivification experiments.

1929 – When a flu epidemic sweeps through Berlin, both Betty and Hedwig succumb to the disease and die. Basil and Ludwig are devastated by their loss. Realizing that Betty hadn’t had the chance to make her deathbed confession, Basil takes her body to his laboratory and experiments on it, determined to revive her. A week later, his studies of his ancestors’ notebooks pays off when Basil succeeds in reanimating Betty’s corpse long enough for her to reveal her dread secret. However, unable to bear the revelation that Betty murdered his father in cold blood, Basil convinces himself that some demon has taken over Betty’s corpse to spout loathsome lies, and he hacks up the body until it is dead again. This terrifying experience crushes Basil’s hopes of bringing his wife back to life, and he goes into a profound depression.

1930 – Lacking any parental guidance, Ludwig gets his girlfriend Greta Henkel pregnant. Basil feels he cannot reproach his son, as he had done the same thing himself, but this merely fuels Ludwig’s sense of entitlement.

1931 – Ludwig agrees to marry Greta so his child will not be illegitimate, though he has already soured on their relationship. In the summer, his daughter, Victoria Frankenstein, is born. Soon afterwards, Ludwig leaves Berlin to go to college in Geneva, Switzerland, glad to finally be out of his father’s house. Greta and Victoria remain behind, as Basil agrees to support them in a modest lifestyle. He provides them with a small house on the west side of Berlin, though in his inconsolable grief he rarely makes time to see them. Meanwhile, Universal Studios releases James Whale’s film Frankenstein, launching a popular franchise based on accounts of Victor Frankenstein and his descendants.

1933 – Basil finally returns to his research, becoming ever more obsessed with perfecting his reanimation techniques.

1934 – At the University of Geneva, Ludwig is recognized as a brilliant student of biochemistry, though he is known as a notorious rake and a libertine. One of his lovers gets pregnant and bears him another daughter, Veronica Frankenstein. Though the baby is born out of wedlock, Ludwig accepts her as his own and provides financial support, due to his continuing fondness for her mother.

1936 – Basil meets a young Japanese woman, Dr. Kitagowa, who is studying advanced surgical techniques at the University of Berlin teaching hospital, and they become good friends. He takes to calling her “Kitty” when the proper pronunciation of her given name eludes him. After several months, Basil confides in her the nature and purpose of his reanimation experiments, and, to his great relief, she is fascinated by his research.

1937 – Upon receiving his Ph.D. in biochemistry, Ludwig is invited to join the faculty of the University of Geneva, though the nature of his research becomes increasingly controversial.

1938 – Basil suffers a terrible accident in his laboratory that leaves him completely paralyzed from the waist down and renders his hands capable of only the most rudimentary tasks. Kitty agrees to become his full-time lab assistant, making it possible for him to continue his research. Working so closely together, they eventually fall in love. Kitty soon hits upon a way to combine both their specialties so as to develop a means to transplant Basil’s brain into a younger, healthier, and more virile body.

1939 – With the outbreak of World War II, Basil and Kitty see an opportunity to have the Nazis fund their experiments. They set up a demonstration for Heinrich Himmler and his Ahnenerbe research organization, promising a way to bring dead soldiers back to a semblance of life so they can keep fighting. Himmler is enthusiastic about their work and promises full funding. However, Basil and Kitty keep their brain-transplant project a secret. Meanwhile, Ludwig is relieved that Switzerland remains officially neutral, so he can continue his research unimpeded by the war.

1940 – The Nazis help Basil finally gain possession of his family’s estate in Switzerland, expertly forging papers to definitively establish him as the current and legitimate Baron von Frankenstein. Basil and Kitty then move into the dilapidated Castle Frankenstein, which has been abandoned since 1875 and was heavily damaged in a mysterious flood in 1898. While they set up their laboratory, work crews are brought in to restore the castle to a reasonably habitable state, though the residents of the nearby village refuse to participate.

1941 – Basil becomes fascinated by the American superhero known as the Human Torch, an android recently created by Phineas T. Horton, and comes to believe that the Torch’s artificial body contains secrets vital to his reanimation experiments. Thus, he makes a plan with the Nazi high command to lure the Torch into a trap. In the summer, Basil and Kitty begin stealing freshly buried corpses from the local graveyards, hoping to replicate Victor Frankenstein’s achievement. Their activities stir up the locals, who remember all too well the strange and horrible incidents of the past. By the end of the year, the two scientists have succeeded in creating a living monster from stitched-together body parts from various corpses, with an implant in its brain to keep it under control.

1942 – In January, the Human Torch and his junior partner Toro are lured to Castle Frankenstein and imprisoned. Basil’s analysis of the Torch’s unique android physiognomy is interrupted when Captain America and Bucky arrive to rescue their friends. While the monster captures the heroes, Basil and Kitty decide that Captain America’s body would be perfect for Basil’s brain transplant. Their plans are foiled, though, when the Sub-Mariner arrives on the scene and, with a powerful punch in the head, destroys the implant in the creature’s brain. Immediately, the vengeful monster grabs Basil and Kitty and, knocking the heroes out of the way, carries them to the top of the castle. To Basil’s horror, the creature leaps to its death, taking its creators with it. Basil is killed instantly when they hit the ground.

Ludwig is informed of his father’s death and that he is to inherit the title Baron von Frankenstein and his family’s estate in the Swiss Alps. Unaware that his family even owned such a property, Ludwig goes to inspect it and is excited to discover the castle’s well-stocked laboratory. Finding the papers of his ancestors within, Ludwig resolves to expand upon—and eventually surpass—the achievements of his forebears. He resigns his position at the University of Geneva, intending to live off the income generated by the vast estate. However, the villagers object to yet another Frankenstein conducting strange experiments in the castle, and warn Ludwig that they will not tolerate being threatened by monsters. Ludwig dismisses their concerns and sets about his work. Within a few weeks, Ludwig discovers a hunchback named Borgo living in the bowels of the castle. His first impulse is to throw Borgo out, but the hunchback’s obsequious manner convinces Ludwig to take him on as an assistant.

1945 – With the war’s end, Ludwig stops sending money to his two daughters and never sees them again. Greta struggles to raise Victoria in Berlin, which had been heavily bombed during the fighting and faces strict rationing as part of the Allied occupation. Still, they consider themselves lucky not to have been living on the east side of the city, which is controlled by the Soviets. After school, Victoria volunteers at a local hospital, intent on becoming a nurse. She is unaware of her half-sister living in Switzerland. Veronica and her mother, also finding themselves without income, move from Geneva to Zurich. There, the mother passes herself off as a war-widow, claiming that Veronica’s father died defending Switzerland from the Nazis, and thus manages to marry a wealthy banker much older than herself. They then move into a remote castle in the Swiss Alps, though Veronica is soon sent off to boarding school. She remains unaware that her biological father is living in his own castle not far away.

1950s – Throughout the decade, Ludwig conducts genetic experimentation on war orphans, producing dozens and dozens of deformed, dwarfish cretins who are consigned to the dungeons and the woods surrounding the castle. They sustain themselves by stealing food from the nearby villages and come to be known far and wide as “The Children of the Damned.” Ludwig grows increasingly unhinged as his bizarre experiments inevitably end in failure.

In Berlin, Victoria becomes a nurse and takes a job at one of the city hospitals. Though the economy improves over the years, both Victoria and her mother remain fearful that the city could at any time be absorbed into the communist territory that surrounds it. This leads Victoria to adopt a fatalist attitude, and she decides to never marry or have children. Meanwhile, Veronica enrolls in the University of Geneva, intent on becoming a surgeon. While in college, Veronica discovers Mary Shelley’s novel about her great-great-great-great-great-uncle, and tracks down a rare edition of the letters of Captain Robert Walton, on which the novel is based. Through these books, she becomes fascinated by the strange history of her father’s family. On various breaks from school, Veronica travels to Bavaria, Germany, to search for the archives of the long-defunct University of Ingolstadt, but never finds any record of Victor’s experiments. Inspired by her ancestor’s example, Veronica majors in biophysics and then attends medical school.

1962 – Hoping to make himself the master of life and death, Ludwig returns to his ancestors’ efforts to reanimate dead bodies. Borgo helps him obtain freshly buried corpses from nearby churchyards, but these experiments are also unsuccessful, causing Ludwig’s rage to grow. However, he does manage to develop a process to transpose the minds of two individuals, which he tests on small animals. Also, using his father’s notes on Phineas T. Horton’s research, Ludwig invents a machine to create a synthetic duplicate of a living being, endowed with the subject’s talents and abilities. The duplicate is formed from a large lump of synthetic material that Ludwig refers to as “clay.” He sees this “Experiment X” as his final triumph over his ancestors, as it would allow him to create new life rather than merely reanimate a dead body. Unfortunately, all the animals he subjects to the process die before the duplicate can be formed, and Borgo balks at procuring live human test subjects. To placate his loathsome assistant, Ludwig falsely promises Borgo that he will never complete “Experiment X.”

In Geneva, Veronica has become a successful surgeon, but when her parents move to Italy for the warmer climate, she takes up residence in her stepfather’s castle. In one wing, she sets up a private laboratory and surgical suite, where she treats wealthy clients who would prefer not to go to a hospital. Finding great success, Veronica invites her rather weak-willed boyfriend, Werner Schmidt, to move in with her.

1964 – By pure chance, Ludwig finds the perfect test subject for “Experiment X”—the Silver Surfer. Claiming the device will be able to purify the mind of evil impulses once properly calibrated, Ludwig convinces the Surfer to cooperate. However, the device instead siphons off some of the alien’s cosmic power to create an evil doppelgänger of the Silver Surfer. Realizing he’s been betrayed, the real Surfer breaks out of the machine, smashing to it to pieces, but the doppelgänger knocks him out with an energy bolt. Ludwig sends his creation out to terrorize the villagers, then tries to kill the real Surfer when he regains consciousness. Ludwig’s bullets have no effect on the alien’s silvery skin, which emboldens Borgo to betray his master by telling the Silver Surfer what’s happened. After the Surfer has set off to destroy his evil double, Ludwig beats Borgo viciously. Soon after, a group of angry villagers storms the castle, but, rather than let Ludwig pick them off with his rifle, Borgo tackles his master. They both tumble out of a third-story window and fall to their deaths. Breaking his neck, Ludwig Frankenstein dies at the age of 49.

Shortly afterward, Victoria is informed of her father’s death, and that, as his sole legitimate heir, she is to inherit Castle Frankenstein in the Swiss Alps and become the Baroness von Frankenstein. Intrigued, she travels to the remote site, only to be horrified to discover the Children of the Damned living there in filth and squalor. Their leader, a hunchback named Igor, tells her of their origins. The guilt-stricken Victoria immediately resigns from her nursing job in Berlin and dedicates herself to the care of these freakish outcasts that her father created and abandoned. Settling into the castle, Victoria discovers the papers left behind by her ancestors and pieces together the ghastly history of the Frankenstein family. She blames much of the family’s tragedy on the original Monster, believing him to have murdered both his creator, Victor, as well as her great-grandfather, Vincent.

1965 – Not far away, Veronica begins to hear reports that suggest the original Frankenstein Monster has resurfaced after almost 70 years. Believing herself to be the last surviving member of the Frankenstein family, Veronica decides to find the Monster and help him in any way possible, to atone for the suffering that Victor’s reckless experiments caused.

1966 – In the spring, Veronica hires New York City private investigator Eric Prawn to track down the Monster and bring him to Switzerland. Assuming a man like Prawn would not like taking orders from a woman, Veronica has Werner make all the phone calls while passing himself off as a Frankenstein. After several weeks, Prawn reports numerous run-ins with agents of I.C.O.N.—the International Crime Organizations Nexus—who are seeking Frankenstein’s Monster for their own nefarious purposes. Finally, in September, Prawn rescues the Monster from I.C.O.N. and brings him to Veronica’s castle, along with the creature’s loyal friend, a disaffected New Yorker named Ralph Caccone. While Veronica performs throat surgery on the Monster to restore his power of speech, I.C.O.N. sends zombie-like commandos and a hulking robot called the Berserker to recapture the Monster. Prawn cuts down the undead commandos with his machine gun, giving Veronica time to complete the operation. The Monster then fights with the robot, disabling it with a jolt of electricity. Though grateful to be able to speak again, the Monster recoils from Veronica’s expressions of pity and storms off into the mountains, never to return. Werner reveals his treachery by repairing the robot, enabling the Berserker to set off after the Monster. Enraged, Caccone grabs Prawn’s machine gun and fires on the I.C.O.N. helicopter that has landed to extract Werner. The helicopter explodes when the fuel tank is breached, killing Werner and the two agents aboard. Veronica remains cool in the face of Werner’s violent death, not one to brook betrayal. Eventually, Prawn and Caccone go home to America, leaving Veronica to her boutique medical practice.

At Castle Frankenstein, the Children of the Damned report to Victoria that the Monster has been spotted wandering the countryside in the company of a large robot. She orders them to capture the creature at once. Through the sheer weight of numbers, the Children manage to destroy the Berserker and drag the Monster into the castle, where they chain him to a wall. Unfortunately, the Monster breaks free and, in the ensuing fight, kills several of the Children. Victoria arrives in time to stop him from killing Igor. She accuses the Monster of murdering two of her ancestors, but he insists he killed neither man—Victor pursued him into the Arctic and died of exposure, while Vincent was shot by an unknown assailant and was already dead when the Monster found him. Despite her suspicions, Victoria finds she believes the Monster’s account and allows him to stay at the castle unmolested. In the months that follow, the Baroness and the Monster get to know each other, and a deep bond of kinship develops between them.

1967 – The Children of the Damned capture a large black horse with Pegasus-like wings that has been wandering aimlessly around Europe. Using the castle’s laboratory facilities, Victoria tries to return the horse to normal, but succeeds only in mutating it further. The horse, which now has a terrifying demonic aspect, is kept inside the castle so it can’t escape and terrorize the villagers.

1968 – In the winter, the Children of the Damned find a Latverian scientist, Bram Velsing, suffering from exposure in the woods. They bring him to Castle Frankenstein, where Victoria is shocked to discover that the frightening metal mask Velsing wears has somehow been fused to his face and cannot be removed. Regardless, she nurses him back to health over the course of many months. Eventually, Velsing reveals that he had rebelled against his master, the cruel despot Doctor Doom, and the gruesome mask is his punishment. Both Victoria and the Monster are sympathetic, and give Velsing the run of the castle, not suspecting that he is plotting to use the mutated horse in an elaborate revenge scheme against Doctor Doom.

1969 – Bram Velsing finally makes his move, donning an armored costume and calling himself “The Dreadknight.” He takes Victoria prisoner, attempting to force her to reveal the process which created the Children of the Damned so that he might build an army of mutated soldiers. She refuses to cooperate and, luckily, the Children manage to recruit the American superhero Iron Man to come to their rescue. Iron Man overcomes the Dreadknight’s arsenal of homemade weapons and, with a little help from the Frankenstein Monster, the villain is defeated. Iron Man leaves the comatose Dreadknight in Victoria’s care and departs.

1975 – Victoria is puzzled when both the Dreadknight and the mutated horse suddenly disappear one stormy night. After six years in a coma, Velsing’s recovery is nothing short of miraculous.


Notes:

1774–1799 – Victor Frankenstein’s life is chronicled in the novel Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and briefly retold by Captain Robert Walton’s great-grandson in Marvel’s Monster of Frankenstein #1–3 (with the Monster himself providing additional details). Throughout the novel, Shelley gives the dates as “17—” to indicate it takes place in the 18th century without nailing it down to specific years. However, she boxes herself in somewhat by twice having the characters quote from Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth & Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which was published in October 1798. Thus, I can only surmise that Captain Robert Walton picked up a copy of this newly released book on his way out of London at the start of his arctic expedition, and had reached St. Petersburgh, Russia, by December 11th of that year, when he wrote the first letter to his sister that opens the novel. This puts Walton’s meeting with Victor Frankenstein at August 1, 1799, and working backward from there, the chronology comes together quite simply. Furthermore, we know the story must take place no earlier than the last decade of the 18th century when the Monster mentions having read the Count de Volney’s Ruins of Empires, which was published in 1791. The anachronistic appearance of lines from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1816 poem “Mutability” in chapter 10 is obviously an interpolation by Mary Shelley to promote her husband’s work.

1800 – The castle purchased by Victor’s brother Ernest, which is located in the Swiss Alps, is not to be confused with the original Castle Frankenstein that sits outside the German city of Darmstadt. The earlier fortress, visited by Solomon Kane in Savage Sword of Conan #22, had fallen into ruins by the late 18th century and was uninhabitable.

1818 – Mary Shelley’s novel is discussed in Uncanny X-Men #40, revealing that the book exists in the Marvel Universe even though the events described in it actually happened there. Later, a copy of the novel makes an appearance in Frankenstein Monster #13.

1832 – In Monsters Unleashed #2, Derek McDowell is shown to be in possession of a volume that is just Robert Walton’s letters from the expedition, with no mention of Mary Shelley. This should be considered a separate book from the novel.

1875 – Jason Frankenstein is mentioned in Frankenstein Monster #6, where it is revealed he abandoned the castle over twenty years before 1898. The story revolves around the spider in the pit, which has been turning human victims into zombie-like creatures for some time. Zath is a spider-god from the Conan mythos.

1898 – Having been revived from a century of suspended animation in the Arctic, the Frankenstein Monster makes his way to Castle Frankenstein in search of a living descendant of his creator. Instead, he finds a Colonel Blackstone using the giant demonic spider to create an army of zombies to further his plans of conquest. The Monster floods the castle, drowning both the spider and the colonel and causing extensive damage to the structure. The Monster’s wanderings then take him to Transylvania where he battles Dracula. In Frankenstein Monster #9, we meet Vincent Frankenstein, who takes the Monster home to London, England in the next issue. Vincent and Ivan’s plans for the Monster go awry while Betty tends to the suffering Lenore. At the end of #11, Betty shoots Vincent and takes the orphaned Basil to raise as her own (although the baby is not named in the story). The Monster wanders off, only to wind up in suspended animation again.

1928 – The International Conference on Genetics held in Geneva is depicted in X-Factor Annual #3. Also seen to be in attendance are Herbert Edgar Wyndham and Jonathan Drew. Wyndham notes that “everybody who’s anybody in the field of life sciences” is at the conference, so I’m sure that would include Basil Frankenstein and Abraham Erskine, even though they aren’t shown.

1931 – Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein films are referenced in Uncanny X-Men #40 and Invaders #31. Ludwig is seen watching one of the movies in Silver Surfer #7, and, in his madness, appears to believe it to be a reliable account of his ancestor’s experiments.

1942 – Basil Frankenstein and Dr. Kitagowa run afoul of the Invaders in a flashback story in Invaders #31.

1964 – Ludwig Frankenstein is introduced in Silver Surfer #7, though his first name wasn’t revealed until Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #37 (1992). Before that, he was referred to as “Boris Frankenstein” in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, but that’s a dumb name, especially given that Boris Karloff portrayed the Frankenstein Monster in the Marvel Universe as well as ours. The hunchback Borgo was brought back for the Doctor Strange story, but that occurred only in the Second Marvel Universe. In the original story, he dies alongside Ludwig at the end. Around this time, the X-Men battle an alien robot made in the Frankenstein Monster’s image, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #40.

1965 – The Frankenstein Monster transitions into the modern day in Frankenstein Monster #12, then has a series of misadventures in the black & white magazines Monsters Unleashed and Legion of Monsters, as well as guest-starring in Giant-Size Werewolf #2.

1966 – Veronica Frankenstein is introduced in Frankenstein Monster #16. The multi-issue storyline also features Werner Schmidt, Eric Prawn, and Ralph Caccone along with I.C.O.N. and their various agents. Then, Baroness Victoria Frankenstein and the Children of the Damned show up in Frankenstein Monster #18. Her relationship to Veronica is not made clear in the original story or in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, but making them half-sisters made the most sense to me.

1967–1969 – Victoria returns in Iron Man #101–102, where she, the Frankenstein Monster, and the Children of the Damned are menaced by the Dreadknight. The villain’s mutated steed, called the Hellhorse, originally belonged to the early supervillain called the Black Knight. During this period, the Monster meets Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #36–37, but Victoria is not involved.

1975 – Castle Frankenstein is seen on the first page of the second issue of the Black Knight limited series when the Dreadknight is finally revived from his coma by Morgan le Fey. However, none of the castle’s other inhabitants make an appearance.


Next Issue: Ant-Man – Year Four