Episode 158: Covert Operations, Giant-Sized (Tales to Astonish #60) -- October 1964
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss Giant-Man’s covert operation in East Berlin. He rescued a suspected American spy and busted through the Berlin Wall. Now that it is clear he is working directly for the CIA, how does that affect how the Avengers will work with foreign governments? If they get in disputes, will they be treated as spies? Will this make defending the Earth more difficult? Also: Why did Giant-Man threaten violence to his fan club?
Behind the issue:
Since Stan Lee was writing every series at this point, he began having the Avengers guest-star in more and more of the non-Avengers titles. The perception is that the five Avengers basically spend all their time on Avenger’s business. In this case, the Avengers were asked to save the American spy, and Giant-Man was the individual who was sent on the mission. At the time, new issues came out as the artists completed the work, which sometimes made it difficult for Stan to keep the different storylines coherent (something similar is happening with the Marvel Cinematic Universe right now. Spider-Man: No Way Home was meant to come out AFTER Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The multiverse elements of Spider-Man were supposed to follow what was kicked off in the Dr. Strange movie. When the release dates were switched, the storylines needed to be changed to make sense. This may be why Stan changed the Avengers line-up in Avengers #16. Coming soon!)
In this issue:
Giant-Man breaks up his own fan club meeting. He’s in a bad mood because he is stressed about his friend Lee Kearns, who has been captured in East Berlin. He decides to fly to Europe and liberate his friend. He sneaks into East Berlin, breaks his friend out of his cell, and fights a bunch of hyper-intelligent gorillas that the Soviets have at the prison. He ends up busting down part of the Berlin Wall, ferrying his friend to freedom.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are worried that an Avenger may have started WWIII.
This episode takes place:
After Giant-Man has broken his friend out of East Berlin.