Avengers (3rd series) #2

Issue Date: 
March 1998
Story Title: 
Once an Avenger... - part 2: The Call

Kurt Busiek (Plot), George Perez (Art), Al Vey (Inks), Tom Smith (Colors), Richard Starkings & COMICRAFT (Letters), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Morgan has reshaped the world into her own medieval version, where she rules and the Avengers are her own personal army known as the Queen’s Vengeance. The Scarlet Witch, who remains unchanged by the spell, uses her powers to call out to anyone who can help. Thor is confused on why the god of thunder would be a soldier in Morgan’s army and flies off to Asgard to get answers, unaware that Asgard does not exist in Morgan’s world. Captain America hears the call and, in no time, is able to free Hawkeye, Photon and Wasp. However, when they try to free Iron Man, they find that the spell is too great and Iron Man attacks them. The Avengers soon find themselves surrounded by their former allies and Cap tries to reason with them. Quasar snaps back and so does Justice, who never even served as an Avenger. The Vengeance attacks the traitors and a massive battle erupts outside. When the Avengers are about to fail, Thor returns to help cover their escape into the woods. Instead of warping reality again to regain control of the rebels, Morgan decides that she will hunt them down later. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Witch continues her call and, amazingly, is answered by Wonder Man, a deceased Avenger!

Full Summary: 

The massive stone castle lies on Tintagel Head, off the Coast of Cornwall. The year is 1998 and the town, as well as the noble castle, is the seat of government for the entirety of the civilized world. It is here that Queen Morgan the First oversees her lands, issues her decrees, metes out justice and more. All the citizens love Morgan. They lover her…or they die in her dungeons.

Down the road from the castle, two drunkards are kicked out of the local tavern, the E. Jarvis tavern. The bartender throws out Osbert and Willem. As the two men get up, the bartender tells them that he will not have their “loose tongues” getting his bar broken up when the guard comes to arrest them. The drunken Osbert shakes his fist at the man and begins to say that, by the time the guards find out that the two of them sold their horses to the Picts, they would have been long gone. A slightly sober Willem tells him companion to quiet down and pulls him away from the bar.

As Willem drags him away, Osbert continues to yell at the bartender and tells him that they will spend their money elsewhere and it will be him who will lose. Willem tells Osbert that it will be them who will be fleeing to join the Picts if he doesn’t learn to still his mouth. As the two men enter the outskirts of town they see two beautiful women near a well taking a drink of water.

Willem smiles and asks Osbert if he sees what he sees. Osbert says that he does and smiles at the sight of the two women. He tells Willem that they are in sore need “o’ manly companionship.” Osbert approaches the women, whose backs are turned, and tells them that he and Willem have a bit of money to spend. Willem turns horrified and calls Osbert back, because now he recognizes who the two women are.

She-Hulk and Binary turn around to face Osbert. However, both women are dressed in noble clothing of the medieval times. She-Hulk wipes the water away from her lips and asks Osbert if there is something he wanted. Willem stutters to the Jade Giantess and Lady Marvel and apologizes for they did not know it was they. Lady Marvel tells the two that they thought they were innocent defenseless women they could prey upon. Lady Marvel blasts the two into a horse carriage.

As the horses run off, the owner of the carriage runs after them. Lady Marvel and Jade Giantess turn to go back to the castle. Jade Giantess complains to Carol that the men in town do no know how to hold their liquor. Marvel agrees and asks the jade skinned woman if she wants to go find the tavern the two men came from and show how a woman drinks. Osbert gets up and glares at the two women. He tells Willem that no woman treats him like that. Willem, however, as well as the rest of the present townspeople, look up in the sky in awe. Willem holds his friend back and tells him to still his tongue or to at least look up in to the sky.

Even the lowest of men like Willem and Osbert know their names. They are Donar the Mighty, Knave of Hearts, Sealord, Circe the Sorceress, Iron Knight, Blackbird, Sir Fulminator, Lady Comet, Star-Knight and Daystar. These ten men and women are but a single division of the realm’s guard, fresh from battle against the Picts to the north. Everyone on the ground is silent, as they fly overhead towards the castle. The people are proud to know that no force can stand up against them, yet they are also fearful of what would happen if the Queen’s Vengeance ever struck them. It has been said that, when they strike, they strike without hesitation or mercy.

As the Queen’s Vengeance reaches the castle, Morgan Le Fay watches them through a portal she has opened. She lies on a bed in her turquoise gown with the Norn Stones sill on her neck. She picks up a goblet off the tray that her servant holds for her and asks her nephew, Mordred, if it is not a pretty sight. Mordred, who is clad in green medieval armor, tells his aunt that it is dangerous to have the Avenger’s roam freely. They should imprison the heroes or, better yet, killed.

Morgan smiles and calls Mordred an old woman. She asks him if they had not engineered all of the events to occur as they wanted them to. She asks him if they had not drawn the creatures and icons of the Asgardian world, including the Twilight Sword. She asks him if they had not caused the re-creation of the Avengers, which led them to bring to her the Scarlet Witch, which granted them access to her probability altering hex powers. Finally, she asks Mordred, if they did not capture the Scarlet Witch, bridge her own evil Celtic magic to the Muspelian magic of the sword and reordered reality.

Mordred concurs to all of the questions, but asks what they are going to do next. He tells Morgan that she allows the Picts to rebel so she can be entertained by crushing them. Mordred asks when he is going to obtain the land and people he was promised. Morgan puts her goblet back on the tray and tells Mordred that there will be time later to discuss that, but for now they have a visitor.

Donar the Mighty comes in and bows before Morgan. Donar tells Morgan that they have defeated the Picts to the north, but he has also come to tell her that he has been having troubling thoughts that he cannot forget about. Morgan asks him what troubles him. Both god and goddess get up and approach each other. Donar tells Morgan that he is the god of thunder and wonders what happened that led him to be one of her soldiers. He knows it is true, but for some reason he does not know why.

Morgan dismisses his worries and tells him that his long battles have made him weary, which made him forget how he became part of the greatest place in all of creation. Morgan gets closer to Donar and tells him that if it helps soothe his worried mind, she has chosen him to be the Honor Guard when she goes to accept the surrender of the Picts. With ambivalence, Donar thanks Morgan, but tells her that he still is troubled.

Morgan smiles and tells Donar to relax. She calls over her servant and offers Donar some fruit. Thor looks at the servant and is bewildered at the sight. He asks Morgan who the servant is. The stone Manikin introduces himself as an unloving statue enchanted by Morgan to do her bidding. Donar looks at the stoic statue and tells Morgan that he knows the man. Worried, Morgan reminds Donar that he has known Manikin for years. Donar interjects and says that he remembers Manikin with a red face, not one of brown stone.

Donar talks to himself and says that the world is not right and he begins to mumble about a voice. He turns and strides to a window. Morgan asks Donar where he is going. Donar tells her that he is returning to Asgard to ask Odin some questions, so he can find out what is real and what treachery is. Morgan sits at the window and watches Donar fly away. She bites into her apple as Mordred lectures her on how he told her the Avengers were dangerous to keep.

Morgan, bored by Mordred, tells him to be quiet. Morgan explains that since Thor was alive in times like these he must be too much like his real self, which weakens her control. However, he cannot get far because there is no Asgard in her reality. Before Mordred can say anything else, Morgan tells him not to give it a second thought. However, Morgan herself has something nagging at the edge of her senses.

Down in the dank dungeon, two guards, Ian and Coll, watch over their prisoner. Ian kneels down and looks into the prison at the captive, his eyes not moving from her. Coll sarcastically asks Ian if he expects her to walk through the walls. Ian says no and tells him that she is just writhing in her bonds, “most prettily,” he adds. However, he continues, against the power of the Dread Liege the Gypsy Witch is nothing at all.

Chained against a wall, the Gypsy Witch sends out her silent cry. Wanda Maximoff has been through much in her life, but none of the hardships before have broken her and neither will this new one. Wanda served as a conduit for Morgan’s spell that reshaped the world, but she herself remained unchanged except for her clothing. For the past few days, she has been using the magic in her and the reality to call out and reach out to anyone who can hear her, or better yet, answer her.

In the town, a man comes running down the road of the market and tells the people to make way for the Queen’s Vengeance is coming. Two old hags look at the approaching man and wish that they were twenty years younger. A young woman from a window calls down to the knight below and asks him if he needs some “feminine diversion,” but the man ignores her and walks on. Osbert and Willem see the man and flee in terror for the fear that the knight is after them.

Yeoman America strides through the town. The people gaze at him with awe, for he has never been known to mix with them. However, no one notices his troubled eyes. Yeoman continues to walk until he finds what he is looking for. Yeoman stops and calls out to Hawkeye. The bowman thanks Yeoman for the compliment, but reminds him that he is called Longbow. Behind Longbow are Osbert and Willem, who are stuck to a farmhouse and gallows, respectively, by arrows. Yeoman tells Longbow that they need to talk. Longbow agrees, but asks Yeoman if something is wrong, because his speech is off.

Yeoman covers Longbow’s mouth and tells the man that his name is Captain America, not Yeoman America. Longbow mumbles something under Captain America’s hand, but Cap simply looks into his eyes and tells him to remember. Suddenly, Longbow’s eyes glaze over and Hawkeye’s mind returns to normal. Immediately, he looks down at his purple outfit and complains that they are in an alternate reality again, but concedes that it is good that he is not dressed like a brown plant man this time.

Hawkeye asks Cap how he was able to snap out of it. Cap tells him that he is not sure, but he almost felt as if there was a voice calling to the Avengers for help. Hawkeye thinks and realizes that he heard the same voice also, but it didn’t seem important until Cap confronted him.

Shortly, as the sun sets, the two ride down town on their horses. Cap points out that everything in the town seems fine, but the people flinch away from them with fear when they make eye contact, even though the Vengeance is supposed to protect them. Hawkeye agrees, but is more concerned on how to fix things. He asks Cap if they are going to free the others first. Flatly, Cap tells Clint that it may not be easy. Confused, Hawkeye asks why not. Cap explains that he spoke to six others already and none of them heard the same voice as he had. That is why he went to Clint, because of the archer’s strong feelings for the Avengers.

Clint understands and realizes that the easiest Avengers to free are those who have the strongest sense of being Avengers. Hawkeye tells Cap that he has some ideas on who to confront next, and Cap tells him that he also has some people in mind also. The two start to head towards the barracks to execute their plan. Along the way Hawkeye thanks Cap for trying his tactics on him first. As the two head towards the castle, Cap tells his friend that there was never any other ideal choice but him.

Later on, in the upper quarters of the division leader Sir Anthony of Cumbria, Cap approaches the bed of Sir Anthony and wakes the man up. Anthony leaps up, because he is startled and asks Cap why he is in his chambers. Cap tells him to shush for he might wake up the others and then starts to explain that he is not Morgan’s servant and that he is an Avenger. Hawkeye walks into the room with Photon and Wasp, but is immediately shocked to see that Cap is trying to snap Iron Man out of the spell.

Photon begins to reason with Anthony while Wasp assures Hawkeye that since Tony was one of the first Avengers it should be easy to convince him. Anthony gets out of bed and grabs his helmet from his dresser. He is shocked that Daystar and Pixie are part of the revolt too, but they will all find that anyone who wishes to overthrow Morgan will have to face the power of the Iron Knight. Anthony puts on his helmet and a mystical gold and red armor appears on his body, similar to his Iron Man armor, yet different.

Before the Avengers can react, Iron Knight blasts them with a bolt of mystical energy, which causes the floor to collapse. The four Avengers find themselves in the male barracks, with the other male members of the Queen’s Vengeance, who surround them. Hawkeye tells Cap that he likes Iron Man, but he is too into the whole nobleman thing. The four get up and Cap tells Clint that he should listen to him more often. Clint takes out his bow and mutters that he wishes he were in a better position to hear it. Namor the Sealord, unaware that Cap’s group is the enemy, asks Cap if they are under attack.

Gigantus rushes in to the barracks with the women, who all heard the explosion. Grimalkin is in the lead and tells them that they thought there was some sort of sabotage. Before Cap can speak, Iron Knight descends down and tells the Queen’s Vengeance that Cap and the others are traitors who wish to overthrow Morgan. Cap interjects and explains that they are under a spell. He reminds them that they are Avengers and tells them that they have the spirit. If they listen to their hearts then they can feel the call also.

The words sink in and, for a moment, the Queen’s Vengeance consider that Cap may be speaking the truth. However, there may be too many of them or the spell is too strong for soon their expressions turn into murderous looks. Just as they are about to attack, though, Star-Knight rises to the air and says that he remembers. He flies to Cap and tells everyone that he is not Star-Knight, but Quasar. He tells Cap that he is on his side. Squire Justice steps up and also joins Cap. Lady Comet is shocked, but Justice explains that they two of them live in Saugerties, New York.

Hawkeye whispers to Cap that Justice has never been an Avenger and wonders how he heard the call. Cap smiles and tells him that being an Avenger has never been a requirement, then asks the crown if anyone else remembers. Gigantus, the Serf, Lady Marvel, Sir Fulminator and Iron Knight all begin to hear the call and Cap prods them all on, but before anything can occur, Sealord attacks Cap and accuses them of trying to turn them against Morgan.

The Queen’s Vengeance turns hostile, but Hawkeye gets between Sealord and Captain America. Sealord tells Hawkeye to get out of the way, but the man refuses. Sealord accepts the answer and tells the Vengeance to teach the traitors a lesson they will never forget.

Elsewhere, Manikin covers the naked Morgan with a robe just as Mordred rushes into the room to tell her that she has lost control of the Avengers. They are now rebelling and fighting against themselves. Morgan smiles at Manikin and asks him what she would do without him. Angrily, Mordred asks Morgan if she heard him. Annoyed, Morgan tells her nephew that she did. She tells him that he is needlessly panicking, but still the will look into it. As she heads towards the stairs she magically transforms her gown into turquoise battle armor. At that moment, she feels the strange feeling again.

In the dungeon Wanda feels as if she has reached something and pools all her power together to reach harder and call harder. Her face turns red and massive amounts of swear cover her face.

Outside, in town, the peasants that are still working are confused at all the noise coming from the Vengeance’s barracks. As the noise grows louder, they run out of the way. The side of the barracks is blasted open as Sealord, Gigantus, Jade Giantess, Sir MacHinery, Lady Magdalene, Falconer, the Serf and Heracles are violently thrown out.

Photon and Quasar cover the others as they escape the building while Firemaiden, Circe the Sorceress, Knave of Hearts and Sir Fulminator try to kill them. Wasp stings Grimalkin, as Hawkeye nails the Black Knight against a door. Liegeman blocks the arrows with his shield as Kreature leaps at Hawkeye, who tells the blue furred man that he would have expected him to be on their side to at least get his old vocabulary back. Kreature simply growls, because he does not know how to talk.

Justice blasts Arachne as Iron Knight, Lady Comet, Blackbird and Lady Marvel surround him. Lady Comet tells Justice that she is disgusted to thinks she once loved him, but they have their queen now and they will kill him in her name.

Cap throws his shield at Chevalier, punches Tsarina and kicks the Nubian Prince in the face, as he tells them they still have a chance to remember. Elementelle catches Hawkeye off guard and throws him into a whirlwind. Quasar and Photon continue to hold off Firemaiden and Circe, who are now joined by Sir Devilfish. Cap tries to reason with Heracles, Sir MacHinery and Liegeman, but they are in no mood to listen.

Morgan’s face appears in the sky and she laughs at Cap. She asks him if he seriously believes that he can have control over the situation. They still have to face her in the end. Justice is caught off guard and is blasted out of the sky by Lady Marvel. The Avengers and Justice are cornered and, as the Vengeance moves in, they are held back by a bolt of lightning.

Morgan looks shocked to see Thor. Thor points Mjolnir at her and tells her that his name is not Donar and that he is himself again like the others. Thor tells Cap and the others to leave and, if the Vengeance tries to stop them, then they will have to contend with Thor. Angrily, Morgan asks Thor if he thinks they can stop her at the height of her power.

Cap whispers to Photon that Morgan has a point. Thor has always been the strongest of them, but even he may not be able to beat Morgan one-on-one. He asks Monica for a distraction. The woman tells her that it is done. Photon rises to the air and unleashes a blinding flash of light.

When the light fades, the Avengers, along with Thor, are gone. Sir Fulminator realizes that Star-Knight must have levitated them over the castle walls and into the woods. Morgan and Mordred arrive on the scene, the former very angry. Priestess bows to Morgan and asks for permission to follow the traitors into the woods. Morgan tells her to let them go for they will be good sport later on.

Mordred is angry and questions Morgan’s decision to let the Avengers go. Angry, Morgan asks Mordred if he has forgotten that she controls reality. As long as they hold the Twilight Sword and the Scarlet Witch then can reshape reality whenever they choose to.

In the dungeons, the guard has fallen asleep. Wanda is unaware of what has occurred and still continues her call. Now, her whole body is ablaze with a scarlet radiance and her eyes turn red. Suddenly, energy shoots out of her tired eyes and her call is answered. A ghostly figure appears before Wanda and tells her that everything is all right, because he is there. In awe, Wanda stares at the dead Avenger, Wonder Man!

Characters Involved: 

Beast/Kreature, Binary/Ms. Marvel/Lady Marvel, Black Knight/The Black Knight, Black Panther/Nubian Prince, Black Widow/Tsarina, Captain America/Yeoman America, Crystal/Elementelle, Darkhawk/Falconer, Demolition Man/The Serf, Falcon/Blackbird, Firebird/Firemaiden, Giant-Man/Gigantus, Hawkeye/Longbow, Hercules/Heracles, Iron Man/Iron Knight, Living Lightning/Sir Fulminator, Machine Man/Sir MacHinery, Magdalene/ Lady Magdalene, Moondragon/Priestess, Photon/Daystar, Quasar/Star-Knight, Rage/Blacksmith, Sandman/Quarryman, Scarlet Witch/The Gypsy Witch, Sersi/Circe the Sorceress, She-Hulk/Jade Giantess, Spider-Woman/Arachne, Starfox/Knave of Hearts, Swordsman/Chevalier, Stingray/Sir Devilfish, Sub-Mariner/Sealord, Thor/Donar, Tigra/Grimalkin, U.S.Agent/Liegeman, Vision/Manikin, Wasp/Pixie (all Avengers and Queen’s Vengeance)

Firestar/Lady Comet, Justice/Squire Justice (both New Warriors and Queen’s Vengeance)

Mordred the Evil
Morgan Le Fay
Osbert, Willem
Various guards Various peasants

Story Notes: 

Morgan reshaped reality at the end of Avengers (3rd Series) #1.

The last alternate universe the Avengers were in was in Avengers (2nd Series) #1-13. In that reality, Hawkeye wore a brown costume, which is where the “brown plant man” comment comes in. On a side note, the cowl to that costume was similar to the one of Wolverine’s blue and yellow uniform of the time.