The Shadow Lord proves a worthy foe of the Avengers, perhaps because of his ancient powers and God Complex. The Avengers take the fight to Mount Vesuvius, where the entire team is in hot lava, along with the civilian population below.
Eve Of Destruction!
The Berserker rampages through Italy; easily destroying military units sent to stop him. Elsewhere, the Shadow Lord lies dying with the Avengers and PR agent Rachel Palmer watching. The Shadow Lord asks the Avenger to finish his mission to defeat the Berserker as his dying wish.
Rachel explains that the Shadow Lord was the last survivor of an ancient race that was assigned to protect the world from the Berserker. The Avengers bury the Shadow Lord using their powers. Rachel leads the Avengers to the Pool of Memories to answer their questions about the Berserker. The Pool reveals that the Berserker was a violent warrior empowered in a mysterious glowing cave. He fought in kingdoms across the world over millennia; Sumer, ancient Egypt, in Alexander the Great's armies, and on other planets when aliens recruited him. The Berserker returned to Earth with powerful weapons given to him by his alien employers.
The Avengers confront the Berserker; who easily traps them within a burning force field. Iron Man helps the team to survive with emergency oxygen cylinders hidden in his shoulder epaulets. Meanwhile, the Berserker has captured Rachel and taken her to Rome.
The Avengers follow the Berserker, and challenge him again. Iron Man and Vision press the attack, with Wasp and Wonder Man just behind. Wonder Man realizes that the Berserker has a key to the Shadow World, and takes it from the unsuspecting Berserker. Captain America, Beast, and Jocasta attempt to slow down the Berserker, as he tries to regain the key from Wonder Man. After a brief struggle, the Berserker stands victorious over the Avengers. Wonder Man, the last Avenger standing, attacks the Berserker. In a heroic effort, Wonder Man triggers the key, and banishes the Berserker to the Shadow World.
- Features the Hostess Fruit Pies ad, The Thing In "Earthly Delights"
- Bob Budiansky was the Assistant Editor on this issue and was also credited for the plot.