Avengers (3rd series) #8

Issue Date: 
September 1998
Story Title: 

Kurt Busiek (writer), George Perez (penciler), Al Vey (inker), Richard Starkings, Comicraft & Dave Lanphear (letterers), Tom Smith (colorist), Tom Breevort (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Edwin Jarvis is waiting at  Kennedy Airport for the arrival of Maria de Guadalupe Santiago, the sponsor child from Costa Verde he has been supporting, who is coming to the United States for an exchange to a school in New York. The aeroplane that arrives however has been hijacked by Magnum Force, who start firing into the terminal, while a mysterious woman called Silverclaw appears to be working with them. At Avengers Mansion, Firestar is dismayed at the new costume she had been given, and struggles with being an Avenger, while Justice continues to be excited about his membership with the Avengers. Captain America is engaged in a training session to better understand his new holo-shield, when Thor approaches him and announces that he needs to deal with some personal issues and must dedicate less time to the Avengers. Captain America accepts Thor's decision, although he wonders if there is more going on that he needs to be aware of. The Scarlet Witch contacts Carol Danvers' parents to check up on her after she left the Avengers, only to learn that Carol has moved out west. Wanda is soon visited by Hawkeye, who is raving on about the Thunderbolts. Wanda reminds him that they helped the Avengers thwart Zemo's plans to take over the world, but Hawkeye is not convinced they are legit, and vows to deal with them. Wanda is approached by the Vision, who compliments her on her new costume, however Wanda is not really interested in speaking with him, and sits somewhere privately so she can contemplate the changes in her life, and whether she should be an Avenger when she and the others receive an urgent priority call on their Communicards from Jarvis, who is alerting them to the danger at Kennedy Airport. Tony Stark leaves a senate hearing, to answer the call, while Thor does not answer his, as he working as Jake Olson. Silverclaw continues to lead the Magnum Force operatives in their random chaos at Kennedy Airport, however Cap, Hawkeye, Wanda, Justice and Firestar soon arrive. Cap gives the Avengers their instructions, but Hawkeye wants to debate them. Wanda sees this, but neither of them question Cap, and within moments, all five are captured by a weapon that Magnum Force are using. They are soon greeted by a holographic projection of Moses Magnum, who boasts that the Avengers are his prisoners to be disposed of as he sees fit. Fortunately for the Avengers, a new hero called Triathlon arrives on scene and disrupts Magnum Force's weapon, freeing the Avengers and ending the transmission with Moses Magnum. The Avengers battle Magnum Force, and Captain America fights Silverclaw, discovering that she can shift her form into creatures of the jungle. During the battle, Cap asks Wanda to conjure Wonder Man, but she refuses, not wanting to use him like that. Magnum Force soon complete their objective, by locating an experimental cannon that was being shipped through Kennedy Airport. Before they an depart with it, Thor and Iron Man arrive on scene, but the Magnum Force use the cannon against the Terminal, shaking it so badly that part of it begins to collapse. The Avengers are forced to turn their attention to preventing the terminal from collapsing on the civilians, and evacuate them. Magnum Force escape with the cannon, but Triathlon races after the aeroplane they left on, and climbs into it. While several Avengers tend to keeping the terminal from crumbling, Silverclaw apologizes to Captain America for fighting him, and reveals that she was forced to assist Magnum Force, otherwise the would kill people. Captain America asks Silverclaw why she was on the plane, and she is revealed to be Lupe – Jarvis's sponsor child. Back at Avengers Mansion, the Avengers discuss what they know about Magnum, while Justice feels back that the Avengers were defeated by Magnum Force. Thor offers Justice some words of advice, while Firestar informs the others that Wanda looked pretty miserable after the battle. Cap realizes that is due to him. In her quarters, Wanda decides that her time with the Avengers has always been based on her connections to others, and perhaps it is time for her to leave. Without conjuring him, Wonder Man appears before Wanda, and they kiss passionately, just as the Vision phases into Wanda's quarters – they don't see him, but he sees them, and phases back out through the wall as if he was never there.

Full Summary: 

It's not often that Edwin Jarvis, butler to the Avengers has a day off... but some days are special. Wearing a hat and holding a bunch of flowers and a photo of a little girl, Jarvis waits patiently in the arrivals terminal of an airport.

'Her name is Maria de Guadalupe Santiago – she's from a remote mountain village in Costa Verde' Jarvis explains to Captain America and the Vision, showing them a photo of his sponsor child, Jarvis explains to them that for some time he has been using part of his salary to sponsor her, like in those television advertisements. Captain America smiles as he looks at the photo and tells Jarvis that she is lovely. Jarvis adds that her village is sending her to New York, some sort of school thing, and he was hoping to meet her flight. 'Of course, Jarvis' Cap smiles.

Jarvis continues to wait his sponsor child's arrival, while announcements are read out over the intercom. Aeroverde flight twenty-six slowly approaches the jetway, and Jarvis' expression of calm never varies. He wonders if there was time to buy even fresher flowers as he checks the photo of Maria for the thirty-seventh time, and then, suddenly, Jarvis goes wide-eyed as the front of the jet is blown apart, close to the terminal! Soldiers wearing white armor with red visors and large “M”s across their helmets emerge from the aeroplane and start firing through the glass of the terminal, into the crowded area. 'Move, move! Break 'em out and lay 'em down! Before they can react – I want this area pacified! Pacified and secured! Now MOVE!' one of the soldiers orders.

Civilians in the terminal scream and run in fear as they try to hide behind seats and columns, which is where Jarvis has sheltered himself. A bullet strikes the column he is behind and he realizes that the soldiers are deliberately firing high, as if they are trying to create maximum confusion, without actually killing anyone. He decides that he better alert the Avengers, but as he reaches into his jacket pocket for his Avengers Communicard, an explosion knocks him over and he drops his card. 'No!' Jarvis calls out. He scrabbles in the rubble for the Communicard, which is when a silver-skinned woman with dark hair darts into the terminal: 'Everybody down!' she calls out. 'Heed the words of La Garra Argentado – the Silverclaw!' She tells everyone to cower where they lie and not to move, or these corridors will run red with their life's blood! Jarvis sees the woman and looks on in fear. He wants to lunge for his card, or failing that, to flee, to scream for help – but though he tenses his muscles and opens his mouth, he finds himself rigid with fear, unable to move – and no sound comes out.

At that moment, at Avengers Mansion, Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar screams. 'What is it, Angel? What's wrong?' Vance Astro a.k.a. Justice asks his fiancee. In her new yellow costume, which shows revealing cleavage, Angelica exclaims 'Just – just LOOK at me, Vance!' Vance smiles, and, eyes-wide, assures her that he is looking. Standing in front of a full-length mirror, Angelica declares that she can't wear this, as she is practically falling out of it. 'What, we join the Avengers, and that means they can run our lives – even tell us how to dress?' Angelica asks. Vance tells Angelica that it isn't like that, that the Wasp was being friendly, as the new Justice and Firestar costumes are a gift. Justice is wearing his new costume, too, and Firestar tells him to wear her costume, and she will wear his – at least his covers him.

Vance realizes that it is not the costume that upsets Angelica this much, it is being put in a position where she had to use her powers at health-endangering levels – which he did to her. 'Look, honey, nobody's going to push you to -' Vance begins, but Angelica interrupts him, and without looking at him, tells him that he shouldn't say a word, as he will just talk about what an honor it is being an Avenger, and she will want to sock him. 'I'll be okay. Let me just – let me just see what I can do with it' Angelica tells him, slamming the door and forcing Vance out into the corridor. The Vision sees this, and Justice remarks that he won't bring up moving into the Mansion, then.

Two floors below, in the combat simulation room, 'Assault program – activate!' Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America declares as he taps a button on his glove, his energy-shield ignites, just in time to deflect weapons fire that is blasted towards him by machine gun-type weapons mounted on the walls. Cap tells himself that he has to get in as much practice with this new energy-shield as possible. He knows nothing will ever replace his longtime shield, but he needs something sine that Kree soldier wrecked the replica shield he had been using, and the spare he had kept at the Mansion isn't anywhere near as light, mobile or impact-proof as this one. Cap deflects more energy fire and realizes that lightness can be a trap if you aren't used to it. To his surprise, the simulation comes to an end.

Cap looks around and sees Thor approach him. The Norse god announces that it was he who ended the false combat, as there is a matter he would discuss with him. 'Certainly, Thor. What's up?' Cap asks. Thor reports that some personal demands on his time have arisen of late, and he fears they will require a good deal of his attention. 'I shall do my best to remain available for Avengers missions, but -' Thor begins, but Cap interrupts him, 'You've got other business to attend to as well. I understand' he assures him as they shake hands. Cap tells Thor not to worry about it, as even with Warbird gone and the Vision injured, they have got plenty of power, so Thor should do what he needs to. Thor turns and leaves the combat simulation room, thanking Cap, and stating that he shall no longer abide in the Mansion, at least for nonce. Thor assures Cap that the matter shall prove temporary, and he shall answer the clarion call to duty whenever he can.

Cap wonders what that was all about, and decides that it is none of his business. He knows that the Avengers have never banned their members from having personal lives or solo concerns, but if it is something that will affect the team, they should know about it – and Thor has done that. 'Assault program – resume!' Cap calls out, returning to his training.

As Captain America ponders the future, another Avenger tries to make sense of the recent past. 'Hello? Mrs Danvers?' Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch asks as she holds the telephone while sitting on her bed. Wanda introduces herself as a friend of Carol's. 'Yes, from the Avengers. I'd like to speak to her if I could. Is she in?' Wanda asks. 'Oh, she did? I... I see. Well, if she gives you a new address or number... thank you' Wanda remarks.

Wanda leaves her room and walks down a corridor, adjusting her cape that flows behind her, she recalls that Carol Danvers – Warbird - left under a cloud, just as she did years before, and now her mother says she has moved out west, said she wanted to start a new life. Wanda wishes she had been able to talk to Carol, to tell her that, whatever else, she is still her friend, and that she would help if there was any way she could.

Suddenly: 'Hey, Witchie!' calls out Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye. 'Have you seen this piece of garbage?' he asks his longtime friend and teammate, holding up a magazine with the Thunderbolts on the front cover. Wanda opens the magazine and looks through it as Clint tells her that those Thunderbolts are playing hero again, fighting Graviton. Wanda reminds Clint that Iron Man said the Thunderbolts helped stop Zemo's plan to rule the world, and seemed sincere. 'So they snowed him. But they don't snow me. You and me, Wanda, we started out as crooks – but our hearts weren't in it. And we switched sides fast. These crumbs, though – they're the Masters of Evil – they've been crooks for years!' Clint exclaims. He starts to head down the corridor, declaring that the Thunderbolts scammed the world once, and caused all kinda trouble, and that they will do it again. 'What happens to the next Hawkeye or Scarlet Witch? They won't have a chance!' Hawkeye points out. He informs Wanda that he is going to find Cap, as somebody has to clean these guys' clocks, and as far as he is concerned,  the Avengers are the gang to do it.

'Maybe so, Clint...' Wanda starts to reply, when suddenly, the Vision, who has been standing near a photo of he and Wanda's wedding alongside Mantis and the Swordsman, calls out to Wanda, asking her if she is wearing a new costume. 'Vision!' Wanda exclaims, surprised. She informs him that it is new, and that she has been feeling more in tune with her gypsy roots, and thought this costume appropriate. Wanda then asks the Vision how he is doing. Her ex-husband tells her that he is as well as can be expected, and reports that his android body is still under reconstruction in the sub-basement, and he has asked Tony Stark for the material he needs to facilitate the process, while, in the meantime, this hologram form suits him. 'That's...nice, Vision. I hope it all goes well' Wanda tells the Vision, before excusing herself and walking straight through his holo-form, past a photo of Hawkeye and Mockingbird on the wall. 'Of course, Wanda' the Vision replies.

Wanda sits down on a chair nearby and hangs her head. She came out here to find someone to talk to – and there was a  day she could have confided anything to the Vision. But now... now, everything has changed. Hawkeye is frustrated, the Vision is so different, and Wanda's powers have been changing – she is able to raise Wonder Man from the dead – at will. She doesn't like any of it. Wanda begins to wonder if her old role doesn't work anymore. If everything has changed, maybe she shouldn't even be an Avenger?

Wanda's thoughts are suddenly interrupted by her Communicard, which starts beeping. The Vision receives the communication through his own internal systems, while Hawkeye, Justice, Firestar and Captain America all pick their Communicards up as well. 'Cap here, what is it?' Captain America asks. Jarvis' frantic image appears on the small screen and he informs Captain America that the Avengers are needed at Kennedy Airport – urgently.

It is not only Avengers Mansion that the call is heard, for in Washington DC, Tony Stark is in the middle of a meeting. '- and thus we'll need a joint datastream between Starcore and – Stark? Are you even listening?' a man calls out to Stark, who is busy looking at his Communicard. Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man gets up from his seat and apologizes to the senator. He explains that something has come up, and asks the senator to have the project parameters faxed to Stark Solutions, as he is needed elsewhere. And, on the Van Wyck Expressway, an ambulance speeds past traffic as Thor's Communicard sounds inside the back pocket of his human guise, Jake Olson. 'That better not be anything important, Jake. That was a priority-one call – a disaster at the airport – we can't stop for anything' the driver of the ambulance exclaims. 'No, Demetrius, it's... it's nothing' Jake Olson replies, while thinking to himself that this is the first call since his talk with Cap, but he knows he cannot ignore Jake Olson's responsibilities – meaning the Avengers will just have to get along with Thor until he can get away.

'And they're still there, Jarvis?' Cap asks over the Communicard. Jarvis confirms that they are. He explains that he was able to re-secure his Communicard, and that the terrorists are spreading into the terminal. He adds that it is strange, but they are wreaking havoc and destruction, but aimlessly. 'Look at that old biddy run I'll just -' one of the terrorists calls out, but Silverclaw tells him that he will follow orders and harm no one, otherwise she will gut him like a fish. Jarvis tells Cap that it is almost as if they are trying to draw attention and divert notice from the real purpose of their raid. Outside the terminal, another aeroplane has arrived, and the terrorists fire their guns into the air, while frightened passengers slide down the emergency slide from the plane to the tarmac. 'All right – everybody off! Quickly! Quickly! Nobody balks, nobody dies!'

'And what's on that plane that you want so much, soldier?' a voice from above calls out. 'Huh? Who -?' one of the terrorists asks, looking up, he sees Captain America, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Firestar surrounded by a telekinetic field thanks to Justice. Cap tells Justice that he can drop the telekinetic field now, and informs the soldiers that he is giving them two seconds to drop their weapons and surrender. 'Or believe me, you'll wish you had!' Cap declares as he starts to countdown: 'ONE!' while Hawkeye sees Silverclaw at the edge of the terminal which has been blown open and thinks that she will be the soldiers' boss, so if they grab her, the rest of them will fall. 'TWO!' Captain America calls out. Silverclaw sees the Avengers and looks concerned, while some of the soldiers near her turn to her, and one of  them asks her what they are to do. Captain America instructs the Avengers to scatter, to engage and take down the raiers while their attention is on them, before they can grab any hostages. 'Scatter!' Cap announces.

Justice and Firestar fly into action, while Cap springs forward with his holo-shield. Wanda looks back at Hawkeye, who opens his mouth to object, but closes it again. Cap's plan is a good one, he knows that – and that is all that should matter. But the expressions that play on his face are not lost on his good friend. Wanda thinks that Hawkeye is trying to fit into an old role, too, and it is not sitting any better with him than it is with her.

As the Avengers break formation, one of the soldiers calls out 'Code bravo! Omega containment strategy – go!' and several green beams of energy are blasted towards the Avengers. 'Spome sort of energy-columns?' Justice asks as several armored terrorists appear above, blasting the energies at the Avengers, one of them explains that this is a power-prison, catalog number MM1313170, portable, powerful, fast-deploying and self-sealing. The energy columns all conect – trapping the Avengers in a glowing green prison. 'A blast arrow'll take care of -' Hawkeye begins, but Cap tells him not to, as they are in an enclosed space. He asks Firestar to try, but as the young mutant fires a microwave blast at the energy columns, but the energy blocks then blasts, and when she fires through the columns, the energy prevents Firestar's power from passing through. 'And us without any big bruisers like Thor around. Say, Wanda -' Hawkeye remarks, but Wanda tells him 'Not now' and alerts everyone to something nearby.

'What the heck is that?' Hawkeye asks as they look at a floating platform with two large “M”s on it is nearby, with green energy rising from it. 'Beats me, Hawkeye, but I have a feeling we're about to find out who's behind this raid!' Cap exclaims. A soldier nearby tells the Avengers that they don't miss a trick, and explains that the power-podium 310 is not just keeping their cell coherent, but will also let them have a direct conference with their captor! A dozen soldiers surround the platform A man wearing a white and gold costume is projected onto the platform. He greets the Avengers and introduces himself as Moses Magnum, owner and president of Magnum Munitions, and currently unwelcome on American soil. He apologizes for the hologram appearance, and informs the Avengers that they have interrupted one of his operations – something he would ordinarily be most displeased by – except that they have given him an opportunity to prove that his technology, his Magnum Force and his armored Magnum shells are more than a match for anyone – even the Mighty Avengers. Moses Magnum tells the Avengers that they will make a wonderful video entry in their online catalog – Earth's Mightiest Heroes, neutralized and captured in seconds!

'What is it you want here, Magnum?' Captain America enquiers. Magnum frowns and tells Captain America that he is in no position to interrogate him, or anyone. 'My aims are my own, and you are helpless prisoners – to be disposed of as I see fit!' Magnum booms, shaking a fist. Suddenly, though, something speeds past several of the Magnum Force soldiers, punching and knocking them over – then slams through the podium, destroying the hologram of Magnum. 'The Power-Podium – shattered!' one of the Magnum Force soldiers declares. 'Good!' Silverclaw thinks to herself, while Jarvis, watching from behind some debris, thinks that without the device, the energy cell will vanish. Jarvis' prediction is correct, as Cap, Wanda, Hawkeye, Justice and Firestar find themselves free. 'But how – who?' Firestar wonders. 'Over there, Firestar – HE did it!' Scarlet Witch calls out as a man in a green, black and red costume with a white triangle across his chest and shoulders dodges some weapons fire that the aerial Magnum Force soldiers blast at him.

'Nice to meet you too, Avengers! Wish we had time for tea and crumpets and all – but, hey, as long as I helped you out. How 'bout a hand here?' he shouts. 'You've got it, mister! Avengers – attack!' Cap calls out. 'Awright! Time for a meeting of the mind, guys – if you have any, that is' Justice exclaims as he slams two Magnum Force together with his telekinesis. 'Watch it, kid – I make the lame jokes around here!' Hawkeye calls out, before asking the Avengers' mysterious rescuer what his story is, as he fires arrows at Magnum Force. 'I'll give you the long version some other time, Arrows! But for now, the name's Triathlon – and i'm three times as strong, fast and agile as an ordinary human!' Triathlon announces as he kicks several soldiers over. Triathlon then reveals that he may not get the press that the Avengers do, but that he has been after these creeps for a while now.

'Well, never let it be said that the Avengers aren't grateful, Triathlon!' the Scarlet Witch remarks, before casting a spell which releases some hex-spheres that induce malfunctions in the armor of the Magnum Force soldiers following Triathlon, who calls out 'So this is teamwork, huh? I could get used to this!' Cap deflects some weapons fire with his holo-shield and tells Triathlon that he is welcome to it. He instructs the Avengers to hit Magnum Force with the same plan as before – they need to spread out and keep the soldiers engaged so that can't grab any hostages. 'Will do, Cap!' Firestar responds as she blasts microwave energy at one of the Magnum Force soldiers. She knows that she can handle them with some medium-powered bursts, but that eventually she will be asked to cut loose again – to choose between her responsibilities and her health. 'What then?' Angelica wonders.

The battle rages on with momentum on the Avengers' side this time – and soon: 'THERE!' Captain America shouts as he slams his holo-shield into a soldier. 'That's another nest of you jumped-up Stormtroopers cleaned out' he remarks, before looking into the terminal, where he tells the civilians inside that the exits are open, and that they should get out of here – calmly and quickly. 'The longer you stay, the more danger you're -' Cap begins, when suddenly, 'Captain! Behind you!' Jarvis calls out urgently. 'Huh?' Cap remarks, turning around as he doesn't hear anything – only to find Silverclaw, her form shifted into that of a jaguar, lunging at him. She tells Captain America that she regrets this is necessary, but that she has her orders, and cannot disobey them. 'My masters say you must fall – and so it shall be!' Silverclaw exclaims. 'You'd be Silverclaw, I take it. Our observer mentioned you – but he didn't say you were a shapeshifter. But no matter, I've spent hours training against Tigra – and what works against one werecat should suffice against you!' Cap calls out as he uses his holo-shield to force Silverclaw over him as she attempts to land on him.

'I am no mere werecat, Captain! I am La Garra Argento – and all the jungle's aspects live in me!' Silverclaw reveals as she shifts her form into a large cockatoo which she uses to lift herself above Cap as he lunges at her with his holo-shield. Cap slams into a wall, then Silverclaw shifts into an anaconda, and wraps herself around Cap, boasting that she will crush the breath from him. 'Or can your Tigra do this, as well?' Silverclaw asks. Cap struggles in the anaconda-grip of Silverclaw, and is annoyed at himself for being over-confident, as he assumed that the cat-form was Silverclaw's only trick. What's worse, the Magnum Force has had a chance to rally – and they are prepared to go up against the Avengers, as one of them uses ultrasonics to rattle Justice's concentration and keep him from bringing the telekinesis to bear. Radiation-proof wrappings ensnare Firestar, while shock-blasts keep Wanda unsteady on her feet, she stumbles about, unable to aim her hexes, while high-powered fans blast Hawkeye's gas arrows back at him.

'We need physical power, Wanda – and we need it now!' Cap shouts. 'Okay, Cap! I'll -' Wanda calls back, as she concentrates, intending to summon forth Wonder Man – but it doesn't work. Wanda grits her teeth and clenches her fists as she then tells Cap that she can't – she won't. 'He's not just some – some gun we can draw whenever we need him! He's a person! And I won't just use him -!' Wanda explains. Triathlon ruses over to Cap and tells him that he doesn't know what that was all about, but that if it is physical power he wants, then he can have some of his. Triathlon declares as he punches Silverclaw, causing her to reel backwards and release Cap, who thanks Triathlon. 'Wanda – Warbird – Firestar – Hawkeye – I don't remember a time this team was ever so troubled, so fractious!' Cap thinks to himself. He knows he will have to address that, but later, as now, he has to concentrate on this.

Silverclaw falls out of the terminal, while Triathlon helps Cap up, explaining, with all due respect, that they are wasting time, as this whole operation is just a lot of noise to cover the theft of an experimental seismic cannon that is being transshipped through here. 'Seismic? Magnum's been involved in earthquake threats before – is this connected?' Cap asks. Triathlon tells him that he doesn't know, but he thinks they are about to find out. One of the Magnum Force soldiers appears with a large seismic cannon, and reports that the objective has been achieved, and warns the Avengers that they are about to feel what raw seismic power can do – to human flesh. Suddenly, 'I say thee nay, miscreant!' Thor's voice calls out. '“I say thee” -? Awwww, nuts! Magnum Force – we've got trouble!' the soldier calls out as Thor arrives with Iron Man.

'Boy, are you two a sight for sore eyes!' Justice smiles as the two powerful Avengers join the battle. Thor reports that they travelled hence as soon as they  were able, and stand ready to aid their efforts. Iron Man blasts one of the aerial members of Magnum Force and remarks that he is unsure why this battle is still going on, as these guys don't look so tough. 'Easy for you to say!' Firestar snaps at him. 'Maybe we don't have super powers, Iron Man – but our armaments and training are second to none! We even have a fallback strategy for your arrival! See?' the soldier with the seismic cannon declares as he launches the powerful weapon, the energies slam into the airport terminal. 'Oh, no – the buildings! They're firing on the buildings!' Justice exclaims. Three quick shots is all that it takes against the terminal, and the Avengers turn as one, ignoring the Magnum Force, they devote their considerable efforts to safeguarding innocents.

'I've got this load of rubble, Cap – but I can't hold it for much longer!' Justice calls out from within the terminal as he uses his telekinesis to holdup the collapsing rooftop, while Cap grabs one of the civilians and tells Justice to shunt it as far as he can, as they are almost clear. Civilians run for their lives, while Iron Man holds up part of the collapsing rooftop and wonders if he was too hasty in what he said before, as individually, those raiders aren't much, but it is not power that matters so much as how they use it. 'Cap's taught me that often enough' Iron Man reminds himself, while down below, Cap encourages everyone to keep moving. 'Get thee gone, men and women of Midgard! The son of Odin shall vouchsafe thy safety – aye, though he must hold this structure for a fortnight!' Thor declares as he holds the collapsed roof up with his strength.

And, as the Avengers deal with the crisis, Triathlon looks out over the tarmac and sees that Magnum's men are running. He realizes that Magnum Force are not just stealing the seismic cannon, but the whole plane that it was being shipped in. He decides that it is a good thing the Avengers have things under control – because he has a plane to catch. Triathlon races after the aeroplane and just as it takes off, he leaps into the air and grabs one of the plane's wheels.

And shortly, as Aeroverde Flight 26 finally disembarks, the Scarlet Witch stands in the terminal with some civilians, and looks over at Captain America, telling herself that he hasn't said anything about her refusing to hex up Simon – yet. Wanda wonders what she should do when he does. She recalls that Carol couldn't access her full power, while on this occasion, Wanda simply refused to – and she knows she should have. Cap calls out to Thor and Hawkeye and instructs them to sweep for stragglers, and for Triathlon, as he might be injured. 'Justice, Firestar, Iron Man – nice work' Cap declares as Justice uses his telekinesis to hold the collapsing tower in place, while Firestar and Iron Man use their energies to fuse the tower back together. Iron Man reports that it will have to be backed up with support scaffolding, and more extensive repairs later, but for now, it will help to get the airport up and running again, without stranding thousands.

'Hey, Cap – take a gander! No Triathlon – but I did find someeone!' Hawkeye calls out as he and Silverclaw approach Captain America. Her skin returned to a more natural color, Silverclaw tells Captain America that she is sorry she attacked him, and the things she said. She explains that those men took over the plane in Costa Verde, where the security is less strict, so she tried to stop them, but they threatened to kill the passengers unless she helped them. 'They had hostages the whole time? Why didn't they use them?' Cap enquires. Silverclaw reports that they had no need to, as they were not interested in stopping the Avengers, they said, only in causing a large enough commotion, to distract from their theft. 'I told them I could only cooperate – if no one was to be killed' Silverclaw adds. Cap tells Silverclaw that if what she says is true, then they owe her a debt of thanks. He adds that there is a great deal of damage here, but it could have been far worse. Cap informs Silverclaw that he will check out her story, before asking her why she was on the plane in the first place. 'Well, you see...' Silverclaw begins.

And, several civilians are in a line, speaking to airport staff, hoping to get information on loved ones who may have been injured in the commotion. Jarvis is among them: 'de Guadalupe Santiago! Surely you have something!' Jarvis exclaims. 'Here she is – on our passenger manifest – but because of the circumstances, we logged every passenger getting off the plane – and I'm afraid she wasn't one of them' the staffer reports. Jarvis holds up the photo of Maria, and frantically declares 'That's impossible!' and asks the woman to look again. 'I have her picture here -' Jarvis adds.

Suddenly, Cap puts a hand on Jarvis' shoulder. Jarvis turns around and Captain America asks him how old the photograph is. 'Why, she sent it with her first letter' Jarvis replies. Jarvis puts a hand to his head as he realizes that must be over a decade ago, before the Avengers were even formed, so she must be older than this. 'That's what I thought' Cap agrees, before calling out to Hawkeye.

Hawkeye walks forward with Silverclaw at his side. 'Edwin Jarvis, I'd like you to meet Maria de Guadalupe Santiago a.k.a. Silverclaw' Cap announces. 'I – she – you -' Jarvis utters, shocked. 'Hola, Tio Edwin. Are you – are you mad at me?' Silverclaw asks. 'Mad at you? Why, child, I couldn't possibly be – oh! Now, now, child – there's no need to cry' Jarvis tells Maria when she throws her arms around him. Hawkeye looks at Cap and tells him that Jarvis should take more days off, for if nothing else, the day sure wasn't dull. 'No, Hawkeye, it wasn't. And it's not over yet' Cap replies.

Later, night has fallen over Avengers Mansion. Inside the kitchen, Maria tells Tio Edwin that she is very sorry. 'If I'd known that was you...' she begins as she puts a bandage on his head. 'It's of no importance, Lupe – really. And I'm quite all right, I promise you!' Jarvis assures her.

In the meeting room, Cap, Hawkeye, the Vision, Firestar, Justice, Thor and Iron Man gather around the Avengers' conference table, while Cap reads the Avengers' file on Moses Magnum and reports that he is an eco-terrorist as well as a munitions dealer, and may have seismic powers himself. 'He's fought the X-Men, Power Man, Deathlok...' Cap reveals, while Iron Man is addressing a man who appears on a monitor suspended over the table, and asks him if the FAA has had any luck in tracking the plane's direction. The man, Mr Cawley, reports that they will have that data shortly.

'I don't believe it...' Justice complains, head in his hands. 'Men with guns, Angel. We got beaten – by men with guns! I've got to do better than I've done so far! I've GOT to!' Justice exclaims. 'What. It's all on your shoulders, Vance? How does that -' Angelica starts to reply, before Thor tells him to be at ease, and that even Captain America himself did require aid this day. 'Thou didst thy best – and there be no shame in that' Thor points out. 'I – I guess' Justice replies, while nearby, Hawkeye asks the Vision is he can do a web search for any data on Triathlon, to which the Vision replies that he is tracking some information for Captain America, but that if he can wait a moment, he will multi-task. Firestar then approaches Hawkeye and the Vision and asks them if they have talked to Wanda, as she looked miserable after the fight, and headed upstairs the minute they returned to the Mansion. Cap announces that he will talk to her, and that it is due to his mistake, not Wanda's. He adds that they have been unable to discover why she can channel Wonder Man, but he should have realized the effect it could have on her.

And, upstairs, Wanda is in her quarters. She starts to remove her cape, and thinks that her teammates are downstairs, doing their job, being Avengers, planning strategy and gathering information, whatever they can, and she is just not a part of it. Wanda thinks that for all that she would like to belong, she has always been connected to the Avengers by others – her brother Quicksilver and ex-husband the Vision, and by her friendships with Hawkeye, the Wasp and Ms Marvel. But, now it is a new era, and everything is different – even Hawkeye feels it, and Wanda realizes there is nothing for her here. 'No one I can...' her thoughts  trail off, as suddenly, 'Wanda?' Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man calls out as he appears before her in his ionic form. 'Simon?' Wanda gasps, smiling. 'Simon, did I hex you here? Did I make you materialize? I wasn't – I wasn't trying to -' Wanda explains as they embrace.

Simon tells Wanda to hush. 'What does it matter now I'm here?' he asks her. 'What matters is that you needed me – and that's all that matters' Simon tells Wanda. 'Oh, Simon. Simon... hold me.' Wanda exclaims, tears falling from her eyes, as they kiss, and fall onto Wanda's bed. Suddenly, the Vision phases through the wall into Wanda's quarters. He had meant to simply check on her. To see if she was all right, if there was anything Wanda needed. But instead, he stops short before he fully materializes – he sees his ex-wife and his brother together. And then the Vision is gone again, as if he was never there.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Firestar, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Justice, Scarlet Witch, Thor, Vision (all Avengers)
Wonder Man
Edwin Jarvis

Moses Magnum
Magnum Force soldiers

Mister Cawley
Demitrius Collins
Jake Olson

Airport staff

In photograph:
Mantis, Scarlet Witch, Swordsman, Vision (all Avengers)

In photograph:
Hawkeye & Mockingbird

On magazine cover:
Atlas, Jolt, Mach-1, Moonstone (all Thunderbolts)

Story Notes: 

First appearances of both Silverclaw and Triathlon.

Firestar used her powers to dangerous levels last issue.

Cap's replica shield was destroyed by the Kree in Captain America (3rd series) #8, and his spare shield was seen last issue.

Thor's problems can be seen in Thor (2nd series) #1-3.

Warbird quit the Avengers last issue, and previously left the team in Avengers (1st series) #200.

The Thunderbolts stopped Zemo in Thunderbolts (1st series) #12.

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