So many great characters were introduced in the first 100 issues of this book…And in this one, we got both The Grandmaster and Squadron Sinister!
Grandmaster, who would later do a very similar thing in Contest of Champions, and Kang pit Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against Marvel’s knock-off version of DC’s Justice League of America.
The Contest, in turn, was the logical progenitor of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, which is generally regarded as being the first “event” book in comic book history.
For the sake of completion, a panel from #71 is below–the fadeaway of GM as he heads for greener pastures.
It also exemplifies another characteristic of the Avengers–sympathy for the devils. Makes sense–half the team are ex-criminals anyway (Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver) and others manufacture criminals (Hank Pym). Yes, Stan had a little bit of a limited range since he used this same theme in most of his other books. It’s the essential conflict in The Hulk, and The X-Men constantly struggle against folks who assume that they’re bad, even though they were generally good.
But when was the last time Marvel or DC created a purely satirical team like Squadron Sinister/Supreme, and treated them seriously? I can’t think of a recent time. But back then, they did stuff like this.