Avengers (1st series) #311

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
The Weakest Point

John Byrne (writer), Paul Ryan (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Nelson Yomtov (colorist), Howard Mackie (editor), Tom DeFaclo (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Quasar returns to Avengers Island after dealing to personal matters that he feels might have a greater connection to the Avengers and other heroes. He meets with several of the Avengers Crew members and learns that they have had difficulty raising the Avengers over the communications system. Quasar's discussion with the Avengers Crew is monitored by a mysterious man in a suit, who himself boasts that while he acts as servant to several evil-doers, it is he in fact who is the mastermind behind the plight of the Avengers. He meets with two other evil-doers as they discuss their plans that are set in motion. The Avengers Crew continue to discuss their situation, when the island is suddenly rocked by the arrival of several large robots, who start to cause a lot of destruction. Quasar engages the robots, keeping them back with his powers, and is joined by several of the Avengers Crew, who fight with an assortment of weapons, although Quasar is worried as the Crew are not expert fighters, despite having some combat training. They put up a good fight, although Quasar is distracted when he has to remove himself from the battle to help Fabian  Stankiewicz when the untrained combatant finds himself apprehended by one of the robots. Quasar prevents several robots from attacking the fuel supply by herding them away from the large tanks, before instructing Peggy Carter to get back into the Masion and try to raise any Avengers she can on the communications system. Peggy rushes inside, and after disposing of one of the robots that make their way inside, heads for the communications room, and before long, Quasar is surprised when the robots begin to retreat without much fuss, but he has other matters that need his attention – the island is sinking quickly. He dives under the island and props it up with a large quantum pole. The Avengers Crew begin to evacuate following Quasar's instructions, save for Michael O'Brien, who rushes into the Mansion to find Peggy. The Mansion rapidly floods, and to get Peggy to leave he lies to her, telling her the Avengers have arrived. When they get outside, Peggy is confused as to where the Avengers are, so O'Brien admits he lied – the fuel tanks then explode, which knocks Quasar through the water, he loses concentration and his quantum pole vanishes, so the island begins to sink. Quasar emerges from the water and rescues Peggy and O'Brien, taking them to a Quinjet, where he and Jarvis lament the loss of Avengers Mansion, and Quasar fears that this is more of a beginning than an ending – and the beginning of the end. Meanwhile, in space, Starfox sneaks aboard a ship where he has finally tracked Nebula. Nebula has found a way to make herself more powerful, and on a monitor, that power source is an elderly man on Earth.

Full Summary: 

The day is deceptively calm as the heroic Wendell Vaughn a.k.a. Quasar flies towards Avengers Island, a flickering field surrounding him, the young hero feels the first hint of fall in the September air. Below him, the complex of buildings across Avengers Island lies calm and peaceful against the dark waters of the convergence of the East and Hudson Rivers. Still, his young heart pounds, his blood yet surges with the adrenaline pumped into it during his battle with the ubiquitous Quantum, a battle that ended only minutes ago. Wendell thinks to himself that it is odd to see the island looking so peaceful, after all that has been happening. As Wendell drops down towards Avengers Mansion, he supposes that “peaceful” is a relative term at best. He looks around at the tropical foliage surrounding the Mansion and tells himself that it is going to be a major concern for their new gardener. He looks over at the gardner, Robert Frank Jr, and decides that it seems odd, with his SHIELD training, that Captain America should have recruited Bob Frank to that job, especially since he once attacked the Avengers. But, Quasar reminds himself that it is not his place to question Cap's choices – of him, or any of the others.

Inside the monitor room, Fabian Stankiewicz pours himself a cup of coffee and asks Michael O'Brien, who sits a the monitor station how it is going. O'Brien tells him that it is pretty straight forward for now, that he is just running a manual scan of the external monitors, before reporting that one of the Avengers has arrived, that is is Quasar and he looks to be in a bit of a hurry. He watches as Quasar flies onto a rooftop, and uses one of the cameras on the rooftop to auto-scan for ID confirmation. Quasar looks into the camera, and O'Brien tells Fabian that the optic-scanner has cross-referenced Quasar's retina patterns, and the sensors in the door have scanned and confirmed his fingerprints. More cameras throughout the Avengers Mansion watch as Quasar comes down through the old hangar deck, and O'Brien decides that Quasar seems to know his way around pretty well, even for being the newest member. O'Brien announces that Quasar is almost at the communications room, and suggests to Fabian that he better get up there and see what's up. O'Brien adds that Peggy Carter and M'Daka are already there.

Moments later, Quasar and Fabian Stankiewicz converge on the communications room, where Peggy Carter announces that reports are coming in from all over – that super heroes all across the country are finding themselves caught up in battles with bad guys they have never faced before. M'Daka suggests that this might be the reason they have been having difficulty raising any of the Avengers. 'Well, there's one now' Fabian remarks, motioning to Quasar, asking if he can tell them something. Quasar reports that he just found himself in battle with a villain called Quantum, before asking if they think this is some sort of plot against all crime-fighters. Peggy tells him that it sure looks that way, although she would be hesitant about calling it a plot without further evidence.

'Oh, it is a plot, my dear Miss Carter' a man in a blue suit remarks as he sits on a throne, fire blazing either side of him as he watches Quasar's discussion with the Avengers Support Crew members through a portal. 'You may have no hesitance on that account' he adds. The man places his finger tips together and states that the precise extent and the extraordinary subtlety of the scheme would be beyond mortal comprehension, he is sure, adding that it is good after all these years to see an end begun to a particularly nagging thorn in his side. Suddenly, there is a bell ring, and he gets up off his throne, assuming one of the others has arrived at the central chamber, so it is time once again to begin his placating. He walks out of his throne room towards a relatively plain looking meeting room, thinking how amusing it is to have these petty creatures that he could snuff out with scarcely more than a flick of the finger and each believing him to be the servant. 'Report, hireling. The status of the plan?' a figure obscured by a green cloak demands as the man in the blue suit approaches him. The “hireling” reports that all proceeds exactly as his master desires, and that the others have not guessed the degree to which he is manipulating them.

Manipulated”? An armored figure asks as he enters the room. 'And who, exactly, is being “manipulated,” servant?' he asks. The man in the blue suit looks at the new arrival and tells him that it is the crimefighters, of course. 'As is your wish' he adds. The armored figure leans against the table in the room and declares that it is also his wish that these costumed cretins not be given so dignified a term of reference as “crimefighters”. 'Many have stood against me, and nothing I do is a crime' he remarks. 'Except, perhaps, in the greatest sense. A crime against humanity' the cloaked figure points out. 'Watch your tone, Doctor' the armored figure snaps. 'At present you lack the diplomatic immunity  which in the past has protected you from just such charges. It ill-behooves you to play the monarch, when the monarchy is lost' the armored figure declares, before demanding his report. 'What have you done to accomplish your part in the master plan?' he asks.

The cloaked figure advises the armored figure to moderate his tone. 'There is much about my present situation that is unknown to you' he adds, before stating that as to his “part” in all this, suffice to say the mechanisms are set in motion, that the wheels grind and when all is done, the most accursed of these so-called super heroes will be paste!

Back on Avengers Island, Quasar finishes telling the Avengers Crew what he knows, before asking where the Avengers are – some of them should be here. 'Not necessarily' Peggy replies, reminding Quasar that she is the Avengers' communications officer, and reports that she has been trying to raise as many as she can. 'But as you well know, things have been getting so frantic for most of the heroes – even before this latest business – Captain America began recruiting us civilian operatives just to make sure there was someone one duty here all the time' Peggy remarks, adding that it was getting to be a bit too much for poor Jarvis, this Avengers' butler. Fabian begins to suggest to Peggy that she try again, when suddenly, they are all knocked about by another rumbling. 'What in blue blazes -' Quasar begins, while M'Daka declares that it felt amost like something hit the island. 'No need for equivocation, M'Daka. That's exactly what it felt like!' Quasar declares, before telling the others to listen, asking them  if they hear a kind of keening whine.

'But it's louder...mand more uneven. As if there were several...' M'Daka calls out as there is another rumbling and they are tossed about the room again. Peggy makes it over to a monitor to find out what is going on outside, 'Ohmigosh!' she exclaims after switching the monitor on, which shows her dozens of men in battle armor diving down into the water around Avengers Island, looping around under it, then flying back out of the water and diving in again, over and under – and punching holes in the floatation cushions! Quasar tells Peggy that he doesn't think they are men, that their proportions look wrong to have a human inside. 'But whatever they are...we've got to stop 'em... pronto!' Quasar declares, to which Peggy reports that she has already hit the emergency alert. Quasar tells the crew to pull out the weapons, and they can show cap that he had the right idea when he hired them all as staff. Fabian, Peggy and M'Daka start grabbing some guns, while Quasar flies  ahead of them.

Quasar reaches the front door, where Miles O'Brien comes running towards him and remarks that he was crossing from the monitor station when the alarms sounded. 'What...' Miles begins as he sees the armored beings burst up through the ground in front of him. 'Questions later, O'Brien! Right now...just start blasting!' Quasar replies as he fires a quantum blast at one of the armored begins, and O'Brien complies, opening fire with a weapon. 'Looks like this may not be as tough as we feared! Our blasters seem enough to shatter these robots!' M'Daka announces as he and Peggy join the fight. Quasar blocks a blast from one of the robots that flies towards him, while attacking another with a quantum blast and tells M'Daka that the first rule of fighting is not to get over-confident, as it is always possible your opponent has a few surprises up his sleeve – which M'Daka finds out a severed hand from one of the robots jumps upwards and punches M'Daka in the face.

'Holy cow! Even the pieces of these things are dangerous! The arms and legs are attacking even  after the whole robot is blown up!' Fabian exclaims as he rushes out of the Mansion wearing a suit  of his own armor. He boasts that his battlesuit is tough, too, and fires blasts at the arms attacking M'Daka, who dodges the blast and thanks Fabian. Fabian adds that he hopes it is enough to come out of this battle with the contents still in one place as he joins the others in the fight, as Quasar fires quantum energy at the robots, Robert Frank Jr, Miles I'Brien and Donna Marie Puentes fire at the robots with their weapons, Peggy Carter ducks from a blast, and Dr Keith Kincaid tends to M'Daka as the battle begins to build to a fever pitch.

At that time, across the fathomless void of interstellar space, the sometime Avenger known as Starfox is drawing closer to the heart of an evil he has long pursued. The Eternal flies to a spaceship and enters it through an external panel. He makes his way through the spaceship and decides that the design of the vessel is unknown to him, so clearly his grandniece has wandered far in the time he searched for her trail between the stars. He wonders if this ship is somehow part of her, before an armored alien notices him, 'Hey! You're not one of the mistress's people!' he shouts. 'No, I'm not. But you don't really want to tell anyone...' Starfox responds as he takes out the alien by putting him asleep and dragging him out of the corridor, Starfox knows that the alien will dream whatever passes for most pleasant dreams for his kind, while Starfox places the alien's armor on his own body, putting it to good use to disguise himself, as he walks back out into the corridor. Starfox thinks to himself that even though the ship is big, there is only one logical place for the bridge to be – and shortly, it seems he has found it.

Starfox stands around a corner and looks into the bridge where Nebula speaks to the Rigellian called Gunthar, who fiddles with some tablets on a table and tells his mistress that all goes well, and that the tablets he discovered on Omicron Seti do indeed hold the secret to what she seeks. 'Amazing, is it not, Rigellian? Those stones were carved by a race that was old when the galaxy was aborning. Yet they hold in their time-work faces the future of the universe' Nebula remarks. Starfox looks shocked as he thinks to himself that Nebula's words make no more sense than they did when he spied on her in Omicron. He wonders what the nature of her scheme can be, recalling how she said she had found a way to make herself more powerful than her evil grandfather, his brother, Thanos. Starfox wonders how there can be such power, and where in all of space she expects to find it. Nebula declares that her heart pounds and that her blood sings, and tells Gunthar that it is ironic that the mastery over all that lives will be delivered to her – by a shriveled old earthling who does not even begin to guess his place in the scheme of things. She looks over to a monitor, where the image of Professor Paul Harker is seen.

Back on Avengers Island, Quasar and the Avengers Crew continue to defend themselves and the island from the robots. Clinging to M'Daka, Dr Keith Kincaid declares that it is getting worse and worse. He hates to say, but tells everyone that they are not equipped to deal with this kind of menace. M'Daka tells Dr Kincaid not to say that, as they must be worthy of Captain America's trust. 'And we will be, M'Daka! We'll show these -' Fabian begins, before one of the robots latches onto Fabian with a grappling hook and yanks him off of the island. 'Blast it!' Quasar exclaims as he takes to the air, blocking the robots' blasts with a quantum field as he declares that some of them have SHIELD training, but people like Stankeiwicz are just hot-shot amateurs. Quasar catches Stankiewicz with a quantum field, and remarks that he is exactly the kind of person who is killed in situations like this. Fabian thanks Quasar as he is flown back to the island, adding that he thought he was a goner for sure. 'And you may be yet!'

'And you may yet be, Stankeiziwcz!' Quasar replies, adding that even though Stankeiwicz is untrained, they need his battlesuit's power if they are to have any chance at driving back these robots. Quasar suddenly notices something else happening down below, and sees several robots breaking away from the main attack group, and head towards the Quinjet fuel tanks which are located behind a wire fence nearby. Quasar fires a quantum blast towards the robots, causing them to retreat – a retreat which he realizes comes almost too easily. He tells himself that there is no time to worry and drops down near Peggy, who continues to shoot at the robots with her weapons, as do the other Avengers Crew. Quasar counts his blessings and plans to get back among the thick of things, while Peggy continues to hold ground alongside Donna and the others, she looks up at Quasar and asks if they are losing. 'Never say die till you're dead, Peg!' Quasar replies, before instructing Peggy to get back to the communications room and try to raise the Avengers. 'But the emergency signal has been going out since -' Peggy starts to reply, but Quasar tells her not to debate, and points out that it is always possible these robots are blocking the signal.

Peggy leaves the island's shore and rushes back into the mansion, telling herself that it is always possible that this is the endgame of the robots' attack, and that these mechanical monsters may have already taken care of the rest of the Avengers. She knows that Quasar is right though, and she herself has not survived this long by playing the safe game. She thinks that if there are any Avengers left alive, she has to find a way to contact them – but suddenly, a robot bursts through the wall along the corridor Peggy is running down. 'The Mansion's breached!' she exclaims, before opening fire, 'Eat this, you soulless, son of a -' Peggy declares as the bullets strike the robot, and blast it backwards out through a window. Peggy assumes that is the only one to get through so far, and that her allies are doing a good job holding the island – but they are still sinking, and it won't be much longer until there is no island to hold.

Back at the shore, Stankiewicz alerts everyone to the fact that the robots are retreating. 'No... it can't be this easy... and yet... and yet they are retreating!' Quasar exclaims as he watches the robots fly away from the water-logged island. Quasar tells the others that this might be some kind of trick, but they have to capitalize on the time this allowing them. 'Go to evacuation alert!' Quasar orders, before turning to O'Brien and telling him to see what he can do about getting as many Quinjets as clear as possible, while he sees what he can do about saving Hydrobase. Quasar dives under the water and swims down beneath Hydrobase, where he discovers that the situation is worse than he feared – every one of the flotation cylinders is ruptured. He realizes that it is nothing short of a miracle that the island has stayed afloat this long. He tells himself that there has to be something he can do, but fears that there is no way he can patch all of the leaks before the island goes under completely. Quasar decides to take a more direct approach, and creates a large quantum-pole under the island, fixing it at the ocean-floor and keeping the island safely above the water.

On the surface of the water, several Quinjets have already taken to the sky, with the Avengers Crew evacuating. One of them calls out to O'Brien, who is trudging through the water back towards Avengers Mansion, announcing that he has to get Peggy, as she isn't out yet. Michael O'Brien arrives inside the Mansion, which he finds is beginning to flood. 'All the priceless woodwork...Tony Stark's irreplaceable collections of artwork and oriental rugs!' he thinks to himself. 'We can't let it all be lost! We can't!' O'Brien calls out to Peggy, telling her to show herself, and that they have to get out of here. Michael finds her in the communications room, 'Peg! For crying out loud!' he exclaims, but Peggy tells Michael to get out of here, and that she has to keep trying to reach the Avengers until the last possible moment. O'Brien lies to Peggy and tells her that the Avengers are all here, as he leads her out of the communications room, Peggy asks him when they arrived, and why they didn't contact her to let her know they were here. 'Because of the immediate danger, I guess. The danger we're both up to our ears in right now' O'Brien responds, adding that he doesn't know what Quasar's doing under the island, but he doesn't know that they can count on it lasting much longer.

Quasar maintain's his position at the podium he created to keep the island afloat, thinking to himself that everything seems so calm all of a sudden, that there has to be something going on. He wonders why the robots have retreated when they were so close to victory. Suddenly, Quasar realizes that the whole attack might have been a distraction – to cover what they were really doing. And, as if on cue, the large fuel tanks on Avengers Island explode, after a bomb is set off. 'The fuel dump!' O'Brien and Quasar exclaim at once as the explosion sends a shockwave across Avengers Island. Peggy and O'Brien trudge through the water, getting closer to a Quinjet, while Quasar is knocked through the water under the island – the floatation devices also begin to separate from the island.

'It's all over! The island's done for!' O'Brien calls out, while Peggy asks him where the Avengers are. 'Not here. Sorry, Peg. I never meant for you to...' O'Brien begins, before he and Peggy are suddenly levitated out of the water by Quasar. 'You saved us!' Peggy exclaims, as Quasar casts them over to a Quinjet which Jarvis is piloting. 'Indeed he did, Miss Peggy' Jarvis remarks. 'I only wish...' Jarvis begins, but Quasar tells him not to say it. 'You only wish I could have done as much for Hydrobase' Quasar remarks. 'No, Master Quasar. I point no finger' Jarvis responds. The Quinjets hover over Avengers Island as it sinks, and Jarvis states that he was going to say he only wished they never removed their headquarters from New York City, then perhaps nothing like this could ever have happened. When the island sinks completely beneath the water, Jarvis declares that the proud history of Avengers Mansion would not have ended like this.

Quasar remarks that he can't shake the feeling that this was more of a beginning than an ending – though it may well be the beginning of the end!

Characters Involved: 



Peggy Carter, Robert Frank Jr, Edwin Jarvis, Dr Keith Kincaid, M'Daka, Michael O'Brien, Donna Maria Puentes, Fabian Stankiewicz (all Avengers Support Crew)


Dr Doom, Loki, Mandarin







on computer image.

Professor Paul Harker

Story Notes: 

This issue ties into the “Acts of Vengeance” event.

This issue takes place after Quasar #4.

The Avengers fought Robert Frank Jr, as Nuklo, in Giant Sized Avengers #1 and Avengers Annual (1st series) #6.

An error occurs on page 2, when Quasar drops down to the Mansion, he sees Robert Frank Jr gardening. In the next panel, Fabian Stankiewicz is in the monitor room with Michael O'Brien, however Fabian's word balloon incorrectly addresses Michael as Frank.

Avengers Island / Hydrobase is later raised from the depths in Namor the Sub-Mariner #46.

Captain America, Thor, She-Hulk, Namor and Sersi appear on the cover to this issue but not in the issue itself.

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