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The Avengers in Diana comic: Story Eight

Part One - Issue 221, May 12th 1967.

In which The Avengers meet the Secret Six
THE "AVENGERS", John Steed and Emma Peel, have been invited to attend a masked, fancy-dress ball, and then spend the week-end at the ancestral home of Lord Tweezle, a life-long friend.

Steed and Mrs. Peel have been invited to a fancy dress ball at the ancestral home of a good friend, Lord Tweezle. Steed is dressed as Sir Lancelot, Mrs Peel as his companion, Lady Lancelot(?). Lord Tweezle greets them dressed as an Eastern Sultan. Steed asks when the masks come off, and is told at midnight. Steed tells Mrs. Peel that he thinks their host sounded a little edgy. He is worried that something bad is about to occur. Lord Tweezle dances past and makes a whispered request to Steed that they meet in the library in half an hour as a matter of life and death.

The appointment is kept, but when Steed turns on the light in the darkened room, Mrs Peel discovers the dead body of Lord Tweezle on the floor. The Avengers realise that they must get back to the ballroom to try to find out who was responsible, and why.

As they re-enter the ballroom, the clock is striking midnight, and all of the guests, except for a group of six, remove their masks. One of the six makes an announcement, saying that Lord Tweezle has been taken ill, and that the guests will not now be able to stay for the weekend.

However, as the Avengers go to leave they are stopped by one of the masked guests and directed towards the library. Once the other guests have left, the six masked guests join them. They unmask, and are revealed as ‘The Secret Six’, an organisation of villains on every police file in the world. They say that Steed and Mrs. Peel have been a threat to them too long, and will be eliminated during the weekend when they least expect it.

Steed draws his sword and rushes at the Six. He lays about them, as Mrs. Peel puts her judo to good use against the villains. They fight their way outside and jump into Steed’s Bentley. ‘That was a little too easy to be true, Steed’, observes Emma. She is scarily right, as the Bentley explodes as Steed starts the car, throwing the Avengers to the floor. One of the six emerges and suggests that Steed and Mrs. Peel sleep it off in their rooms.

Part Two - Issue 222, May 19th 1967.

The Avengers - Diana #222Part Two - May 19th 1967:
In which the sinister scheme of the Secret Six "misfires"!
THE "Avengers", John Steed and Emma Peel, have been tricked into spending the week-end at the ancestral home of an old friend, Lord Tweezle.  But now Lord Tweezle is dead, and the Avengers are prisoners of his assassins - The Secret Six - the world's six most notorious criminals, who have vowed to eliminate Steed and Mrs Peel - when they least expect it.

The next day, Steed and Mrs. Peel are forced to go on a quiet ride round the estate with their captors. They are taunted by various members of the organisation. As they move through a quiet copse, Mrs Peel spots a glint of sunshine on the barrel of a gun. Steed and she throw themselves to the ground, and one of the bullets meant for them kills one of the Secret Six instead.

The ride ends back at the castle. Steed taunts a member of the Secret Six about the death of his colleague. In the hallway, Steed pauses to pick up his trusty rolled umbrella as he feels he may need it before too long. He suggests to Mrs. Peel that the odds are now slightly more in their favour, and that they should therefore try to escape that night.

Later, they start to move carefully along from their cell. On the way they spot an open window, where Karlof, the murderer of Marseilles, is residing. Steed unsheathes his sword stick and drops in. He stops Karlof from grabbing his gun, and moves him forward, deciding to use him as a passport out of there. They set off along a dark corridor, but Mrs. Peel spots something in the air – a wrought iron chandelier comes crashing down towards the pair…

Part Three - Issue 223, May 26th 1967.

Part Three - May 26th 1967:
In which the Secret Six are rapidly reduced in numbers!
The Avengers - Diana #223THE "Avengers", John Steed and Emma Peel, are being held prisoner in a huge mansion by an unscrupulous gang of criminals known as The Secret Six.  The Avengers are condemned to death - but how, when and where, they do not know - the idea being that they will be caught off guard.  However, when one attempt on the lives of the Avengers fails, and one of the Secret Six is killed, Steed decides to escape, using Karlof, another of the "Six" as a hostage.  But in the darkened hallway of the large house, Mrs Peel sees a heavy chandelier whizzing towards them.

Part Four - Issue 224, June 2nd 1967.

In which Steed does the "hat-trick".
THE "Avengers", John Steed and Emma Peel, are escaping from a large country mansion where they have been held captive by The Secret Six - the world's six most-wanted criminals.  In their cruel efforts to eliminate the Avengers, the Secret Six have only succeeded in killing off four of their own number - the last two falling into an alligator-infested moat.  Now it's two against two -

Steed and Peel decide enough is enough...Now that the odds are even Steed decides that the time for running is over and the pair need to take the fight to their enemies.  A burst of flame narrowly misses them, and a flame-throwing tank driven by Chang Tu, the leader of The Secret Six trundles into view.  Steed realises that if they can gain control of the tank, then they will be able to triumph over The Secret Six.  He has a plan.

Chang Tu and Nick the Knifeman spot the top of Steed's bowler in the bushes and open fire on it.  Chang Tu insists that his ally burn everything to the ground.  What he doesn't know is that it is only Steed's bowler.  The agent is elsewhere.  He leaps down from the tank and goes to investigate what he thinks is the charred remains of Steed's body.  Instead he finds only the smoking remnants of a once-dapper bowler hat.  Realising he has been tricked he turns back to the tank.

Mrs Peel jumps him from behind and sends him crashing to the ground with a vicious karate chop.  Meanwhile, Steed is perched in a tree above the tank, patiently waiting.  Nick the Knife begins to emerge, wondering what has happened to Chang Tu, and Steed swings down, sending the villain flying.  He holds Nick prisoner at the point of his swordstick, Mrs Peel brings out the subdued Chang Tu.

They climb in the tank and aim it for the electrified gates of the mansion.  Crashing through in a shower of sparks, they make their escape.   With The Secret Six subdued they now have plenty of time for a relaxing meal...

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