Remembering "Under Siege", or "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Mansion..."

Late in Roger Stern's lengthy run in the Avengers main title, the reformed Masters of Evil under a new Baron Zemo led a successful planned assalt upon the Avengers.

 

As I recall, they not only ransacked the mansion, but sank the Aquabase, and generally beat Hercules and Jarvis to within an inch of their respective lives.


But the worst of all was when they crushed Captain America's original WWII Shield before his eyes and then they shreded the only existing photo of cap's mom!  Horrors!

 

Has this been collected in one place, what issue comprise the arc, and what other significant developments occured during this major event?

 

Inquiring minds would like a refresher!

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Does the wasp come shining through as an excellent field commander, and Cap tells her to stay in charge?  Doesn't she run the show from there on out?  Or, at least... until....they meet....the one...the only...the dreaded.... Editor Gruenwald?

In 1998, this storyline was collected in a TPB called "Under Siege".  It reprints Avengers 270, 271, and 273-277.  The first two issues, as I recall, are set-ups for the meat of the story, which started in # 273.  Issue 272 was skipped over as it was a crossover with Alpha Flight #39.

In 2010, a hardcover collection was released with the same name, but included issue 272.

This Baron Zemo was the son of the original, who died in Avengers #15.  Various versions of a super-villain team called the Masters of Evil had attacked the Avengers many times over the years.  Usually, the motive was revenge for past defeats and the plan wasn't any deeper than "let's crush them!".  This time was very different.  Zemo recruited a lot of members, to ensure the Avengers were outnumbered and outpowered.  Zemo was clearly in charge and planned his attack well.  All of which may sound pretty basic, but this was a new approach for the MoE.

As you said, Hercules was beaten within an inch of his life.  Zeus blamed the Avengers, which lead into the next major storyline, "Assault on Olympus", Stern's last complete story on the book.  The Wasp was the team leader at the time, and blamed herself for the initial defeat of the team and the MoE taking over Avengers mansion.  She stepped down as Chairperson, and Captain Marvel - Monica Rambeau - succeeded her.  Thor and She-Hulk returned to active duty and new member Dr. Druid was added to replace Hercules, Namor (who left in issue 272), and the Wasp.

Many consider the storyline to be Roger Stern's finest hour on the book; I share this view and was shocked when editor Mark Gruenwald (of all people) fired Stern from the book only months later.  A five part storyline started by Stern in issue 286 was finished by others.

 

I think Zemo sent one of the female members of the Serpent Squad to slip a mickey in Herc's beer, but you're right about Zeus blaming the Avengers for Herc nearly getting killed.
 
Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I remember that, the wasp was in charge and and later Zeus blamed all the avengers for Hercules nearly being killed, even though it was his fault (was he drunk?).  And later kidnapped all of them to a judgment on Olympus.

It was Black Mamba that drugged Hercules.

Part of Zemo's team were the Fixer, Moonstone, Screaming Mimi and Goliath III. He later recruited them into his original Thunderbolts line-up as Techno, Meteorite, Songbird and Atlas.

Oddly enough The Beetle AKA Mach 1 to 4 wasn't part of Zemo's Masters of Evil but was on Egghead's version!

Oh, that Herc....he always was a pushover for a pretty face!

 

Thanks for the recap.  I had a few of the details wrong, but I did get the drift.  This Avengers story didn't cross-over with anyone else, like the FF, did it?  Didn't the Avengers come to live with the FF while the Avengers Mansion was being restored?

She was, absolutely.  Zemo's plan didn't hinge on who was team chairperson - distract, divide, outnumber and outpower carried the day.

Plus this happened when Thor, Iron Man, Yellowjacket, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, the Beast and Wonder Man were not on the active roster. So Zemo timed it perfectly, took out Hercules early and loaded his team with super strong bruisers (Goliath III, the Wrecking Crew, Mister Hyde, Absorbing Man and Titania).

Also as mentioned above, the Sub-Mariner had just left. I'm sure many of the Masters of Evil were glad NOT to have to fight the Avenging Son! Imperius Rex!

I don't recall how Doctor Druid got involved but I find that life is easier when I don't think about him with the Avengers!

John Dunbar:

"shocked when editor Mark Gruenwald (of all people) fired Stern from the book only months later"


All those years of being Marvel's 2nd-most arrogant editor finally caught up to him.  Turnabout: within a year, Gruenwald was writing AVENGERS himself, and HE got fired by HIS editor. Good for him.  I lost all my respect for him when he fired Stern, who I felt was Marvel's best writer at the time.

Later, history virtually repeated itself over at DC when Kevin Dooley pulled the EXACT SAME CRAP on Gerard Jones.

Now, was this "under seige" before or after Atlas decided that he wasn't really a villian but needed to reform into the Thunderbolts?

Seems like inconsistent characterization to me, but then, I haven't tracked the character since he assalted the Avengers West Coast compound single handedly in some special or annual, remember?

Long before Thunderbolts, about a decade in fact.  The Under Siege storyline came out in the late 80s, the T-Bolts "debuted" in the late 90s.

Atlas, in his previous incarnations - the original Power Man, the Smuggler, and Goliath - was a pretty nasty character.  Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley gave him a personality transplant, as they did for the Beetle (Mach I) and Screaming Mim (Songbird).  Moonstone, Zemo, and the Fixer were pretty much the same, just with a few tweaks, but the other three were for all intents and purposes new characters.

Atlas - as Goliath - debuted and attacked the West Coast Avengers in Iron Man Annual 7 (1984).

You got most of it right.  The mansion was wrecked, but I think they relocated to the AquaBase instead of it also being destroyed

I think it was the FF that came to live in Avengers Mansion for a brief time in the mid 80s when the Baxter Building was destroyed, and that may be what you're recalling.
 
Kirk G said:

Oh, that Herc....he always was a pushover for a pretty face!

 

Thanks for the recap.  I had a few of the details wrong, but I did get the drift.  This Avengers story didn't cross-over with anyone else, like the FF, did it?  Didn't the Avengers come to live with the FF while the Avengers Mansion was being restored?

I think on account of Gruenwald dying so young, no one will say a bad word about him; in fact, he is still spoken of to this day with something bordering on reverance.

I find it hard to square that with him being the guy that fired Roger Stern off Avengers.  To me, that began a very long period of mediocrity - at best - for the main Avengers title which did not end until Kurt Busiek and George Perez began their run in 1999 or thereabouts
 
Henry R. Kujawa said:

John Dunbar:

"shocked when editor Mark Gruenwald (of all people) fired Stern from the book only months later"


All those years of being Marvel's 2nd-most arrogant editor finally caught up to him.  Turnabout: within a year, Gruenwald was writing AVENGERS himself, and HE got fired by HIS editor. Good for him.  I lost all my respect for him when he fired Stern, who I felt was Marvel's best writer at the time.

Later, history virtually repeated itself over at DC when Kevin Dooley pulled the EXACT SAME CRAP on Gerard Jones.

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