Avengers Finale

Issue Date: 
January 2005
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Finch (Penciler, page 1), Danny Miki (Ink Art, page 1), Frank D’Armata (Color Art, pages 1-9, 24-25), Alex Maleev (Line Art, pages 2-4), Steve Epting (Line Art, pages 6-9), Lee Weeks (Line Art, pages 10-12), Brian Reber (Color Art, pages 10-15, 32-37), Michael Gaydos (Line Art, pages 13-15), Eric Powell (Artist, pages 16-17), Darick Robertson (Line Art, pages 18-19), Morry Hollowell (Color Art, pages 18-19, 30-31), Mike Mayhew (Pencil Art, pages 20-21), Avalon’s Andy Troy (Color Art, pages 20-21), David Mack (Artist, pages 22-23), Gary Frank (Line Art, pages 24-25), Mike Avon Oeming (Line Art, pages 26-27), Pete Pantazis (Color Art, pages 26-27), Jim Cheung (Pencil Art, pages 28-29), Mark Morales (Ink Art, pages 28-31), Justin Ponsor (Color Art, pages 28-29), Steve McNiven (Pencil Art, pages 30-31), George Pérez (Pencil Art, pages 32-37), Mike Perkins (Ink Art, pages 32-37), RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (Letters), Neal Adams with Laura Martin (Cover), Nicole Wiley and Molly Lazer (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Hank and Janet return to Avengers Mansion three months after the tragedy there to have a reunion with several other members. The mansion is still in ruins and even the crashed Quinjet lies in the courtyard. Inside, the couple finds Captain America, Falcon, Iron Man, Warbird, Beast, Wonder Man, Captain Britain and She-Hulk all waiting. After catching up, including apologies from Janet as to why she was a recluse for so long, the team notices that Jennifer is saddened and discover it is because she feels guilty for Vision’s death. Iron Man announces to the team that, after his public humiliation, he lost millions of dollars and thousands of employees. He simply cannot afford to fund the Avengers anymore. It is over. Warbird does not hide her hatred for Wanda, and refuses to believe that Wanda would be so forgiving to them if they snapped. Quicksilver surprisingly arrives to apologize to the team and reveals that Magneto has taken Wanda to Charles Xavier to heal her mind. Ashamed for what has happened, a heartbroken Quicksilver runs away. The team is saddened by this and the end of the team, but several among them admit that they have planned to retire anyway. Jennifer tells the team that she has failed herself and them and tells them that she is done with the Avengers. Kelsey speaks up and announces that she is returning to England, but will always be there for them. The two women depart the reunion early. Falcon hints that he may be quitting the super hero career, while Hank and Janet reveal that Hank has accepted a fellowship at Oxford and will be moving there in a month together. As Jarvis serves the team their last meal together, they all go through their favorite moments, but their reveries are cut short as Captain America tells them that they have been a part of his life since he awoke in this world and he never thought that it would end. The heroes then have a toast to all their fallen comrades, and then go to the second floor balcony to make a final appearance to the numerous supporters outside holding a candlelight vigil.

Full Summary: 

Three months ago, the Scarlet Witch suffered from a total nervous breakdown. After years of unhappiness, despite the fact that she was born with the ability to change reality at her whim, the longtime Avenger sunk into madness, as she lost all touch with what was real and what was not. In her madness, she lashed out her anger and frustrations on her friends, destroying Avengers Mansion and killing several Avengers: her ex-husband, the Vision, her best friend, Hawkeye, and recent newcomer to the team, Ant-Man. Combined with these deaths and other psychological attacks that the Scarlet Witch launched, the Avengers were left emotionally and physically battered as the mansion burned. This was all three months ago.

Today, the fires are long gone on the property of Avengers Mansion, but the pain remains. Grey skies cover the mansion, as former Avengers Yellowjacket and the Wasp, a.k.a. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, stand in what used to be the courtyard. The couple stands next to the debris of various statues that once stood on the mansion’s lawns. They look towards the ominous mansion, not a single light on, mostly because the building has been left abandoned since that day. Next to the mansion lies the wreckage of the Quinjet that the Vision was forced to crash in the second of two suicide attacks on the team.

Jan tells Hank that the mansion is beautiful in a weird way. Looking at the mess, Hank asks if Tony is really going to just leave it all like this. Jan reminds him that it is Tony’s mansion after all. He can do whatever he wants with it. Hank and Jan share a look, prompting Jan to ask Hank what he is thinking about. Hank smiles and tells the woman that he doesn’t want to say. Jan smiles back at him as they walk passed a broken statue of Captain America en route to the doors of the mansion.

Inside the mansion, things are not as totally quiet as they seem from the outside. In what used to be the dining room of Avengers Mansion, a small group of Earth’s mightiest heroes gather in memory of the dearly departed and more. Gathered today are the Beast, Wonder Man, Warbird, Captain America and Iron Man, all in uniform. Also present, but not in uniform, are Captain Britain, She-Hulk, Falcon, and the Avengers’ butler Jarvis. As Jarvis uses an old rag to wipe the dining table clean of ash, Beast remembers the thing he liked most about Hawkeye. Not matter what Captain America said, Clint would always disagree with it. If Captain America stated that he liked turkey, then Hawkeye would yell that turkey sucks and Captain America sucks, all before proceeding to ask who made him leader anyway.

As Wonder Man lets out a small laugh, Captain America comes over to Jarvis and tells the elder servant that cleaning the table isn’t necessary. Jarvis apologizes. He supposes he did it out of… habit. Hank and Jan arrive and are greeted by Jarvis. Jan greets everyone, though Warbird is particularly excited to see her. Warbird hugs Jan and asks her if she cannot return a phone call. Jan replies that she has not been in the country, but Warbird reminds her that God invented the telephone for a reason. Jan tells Carol that she was in recovery, which meant a lot of sleeping a bad television. Carol understands, but lets Jan know that she was worried.

Jan begins to apologize when suddenly she notices a woman in the corner of the room, with her gaze to the floor. Jan recognizes the woman as Jennifer Walters, though not in her She-Hulk form. Concerned, Jan walks over to the nervous Jennifer and asks her why she isn’t in her Hulk form for the reunion. Why did she come as Jennifer Walters?

Embarrassed, Jennifer tells the team that she thought coming as She-Hulk would be in bad taste, considering what she did that day. Saddened, Jan tells Jen that no one is mad at her for what happened. She didn’t do anything wrong. Captain America agrees and tells Jen that no one is angry. Jen does not feel any better, however, as she utters the name of the Vision while she recalls how she violently ripped her teammate apart. Hank assures Jen that the Vision’s body was already destroyed before she even picked him up. In any case, it wasn’t her doing it; it was Wanda controlling her. No one here thinks otherwise.

Jennifer is about to tell the team something important, but Tony cuts her off as he gets off the phone. He thanks everyone for coming. He begins by stating that, if there was any upside to this tragedy, it was that he was able to convince the world that Tony Stark is no longer Iron Man. Most people believe that he and the golden Avenger are now two totally different people. He doesn’t want the Avengers to lie for him, but if they are ever questioned, he would be grateful if they didn’t say anything to contradict him. However, there is something else he needs to tell the team. The gathered Avengers look on in silence.

Tony continues and explains that this is the hardest thing he has ever had to say out loud. Due to the extensive damage caused by Wanda’s breakdown, or whatever it is that they are calling it nowadays, the Avengers and Stark Enterprises have been hurt immensely. He regretfully informs the team that he is no longer able to financially support the Avengers. The other Avengers look at Tony, not a single one uttering a sound.

Tony elaborates on the situation and explains that the foundation he created that funded the Avengers simply does not have enough cash to repair all of this. They must understand when someone of his stature and power has a bad day like that, including all the public humiliation, billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are lost. That is not exaggeration. He must think first of the employees whose lives depend on him as a boss. Due to this burgeoning responsibility, he hasn’t the resources or time to rebuild the foundation to the place it needs to be to fund the Avengers. It wouldn’t surprise any of them to know the staggering number of dollars it took for the upkeep of the mansion. In addition, with the United Nations disavowing any relations to the team, they won’t get any help from the United States government.

Tony apologizes for whining when Clint, Scott, Wanda and the Vision are no longer with us, but this revelation affects them all and that is why he brought it up. He has already taken the liberty of starting the proper paperwork with the city of New York. Avengers Mansion will be declared a landmark. He has already sealed all the tunnels and cleaned out all sensitive information from the computers. All technology has been removed. The crashed Quinjet outside has been gutted for all parts, but he is going to leave the empty shell there and he will also leave the property as is.

He understands that though they are silent, some of them don’t agree with him. However, this is his property and it is what he needs to do with it. Personally, he thinks it is a fitting memorial that speaks volumes. Tony apologizes again and admits that he feels like he let the Avengers down. However, he was in one of those positions where there was no way to do anything without letting someone down.

Warbird breaks the silence on behalf of the other members and angrily announces that she is mad at her. She doesn’t know about the rest of them, but she will never forgive Wanda. She understands that this isn’t a generous thought, but it has been three months since that day and there is only one feeling inside of her now. She hates Wanda Maximoff for what she has done. She hates her more than she has ever hated anyone. She does not forgive her.

In her anger, Warbird continues. She reminds the others present that they have all gone through as much crap in their lives as Wanda had. She looks around the room and sees all the loves lost, children lost and members gone. However, she held it together. She did not go on a rampage. She could have. They all know exactly what she is talking about. Damn Wanda for what she has done to them. With her eyes gazing low to the ground, Janet quietly tells Warbird that Wanda would have forgiven her if she did this. Angry, Warbird refuses to believe this. Wanda would not have forgiven her. Yes, she would have, comments a familiar voice.

Everyone turns to see their teammate, and brother of the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver enter the room slowly. With a saddened look on his face, Quicksilver tells the team that Wanda loved them. Tony is shocked to see Pietro and Hank asks the man where he has been. Quicksilver explains that he was on an island on vacation. He was sitting in a cabin in Greenland reading a book when all of this chaos occurred. Confused, Wonder Man informs Quicksilver that they all saw him there with them that day. Pietro explains that it must have been Wanda’s doing then, for he was not there. Jan speaks up and asks Pietro if he knows where Wanda is right now.

Quicksilver explains that Wanda is with their father, Magneto, now. He has left the country and has taken her to Charles Xavier, who is attempting to heal Wanda’s mind with a number of psychic techniques. Xavier will try to make Wanda into the woman she once was. However, even he does succeed; Wanda will never be the same again when she realizes what she did to them all. She will never be healed. She will never be the woman she once was.

Quicksilver looks around at the wreckage and admits that no one could recover from this. He picks up a broken shard of glass, as the other Avengers look at one another concerned. Quicksilver speaks up again and tells the team that he came to apologize. Suddenly, a feeling of shame and embarrassment overcomes Pietro and he runs at top speed out of the room.

Wonder Man calls after Quicksilver, but Iron Man tells him that Pietro cannot hear him. According to his armor, the man isn’t even in the city anymore. Falcon expresses pity for the man, but Warbird angrily claims that Pietro should have told them where Wanda is. What difference would it make, questions Janet.

Not wanting to ignite further wrath from Warbird, Falcon changes the subject and asks the group if any of them have heard from Thor. Jarvis wonders if Wanda’s reach could have affected even Asgard. Falcon comments that her power did reach the Kree army, but Hank reminds the man that it might not even have been the Kree. Wanda could have created that entire situation out of this air. Beast adds that they were not the only victims. Her magic powers were all over the place that day.

Janet rubs her head and admits that she keeps hoping that she will wake up in the mansion and that everything will be fine. Beast interrupts and asks the team what they think Wanda’s overall plan was. He is curious as to why she killed some of them, but only hurt or embarrassed others. She destroyed some things, but not others. How was she going to go if she went all the way? How powerful is she? She did dip slowly into madness or did she snap? In fact, how much control did she truly have over all of this? Did she only affect that day or was this something that was building up? What else is there that she affected that they haven’t realized yet? None of the Avengers respond.

“So this is it, right?” asks Warbird, “We’re done.” Jennifer speaks up and announces that she is done. That is what she came here to tell them today. She understands that it wasn’t her that attacked them that day, but it was at the same time. She failed the team and she failed herself. If they knew what her personal goals were; if they knew why she ever joined the Avengers, then they would agree that she failed. Jennifer apologizes and tells the group that she loves them all, but she is done with the Avengers. Jennifer Walters then excuses herself form the mansion, without taking a look back. Janet calls out to her friend and tells her that she doesn’t have to do this, but Jennifer does not answer and leaves.

Janet turns to Hank, who then turns to the others and tells the group that this is a good time as any. He and Janet have come to them all today to tell them that he has accepted a fellowship at Oxford. They are leaving in a month. Curious, Warbird asks the two if they are back together. Janet smiles and admits that it is complicated, which she sarcastically comments is shocking, considering their history, but they will have to all wait and see what develops. This whole experience has been an eye opener for her. However, who was there when she woke up from her coma? Who has sat there at her side for so long that he grew a beard? This has all shown her something. She has decided that a change of scenery should go with the change of perspective.

Falcon jumps in and adds that he is done with the Avengers too. He doesn’t want them to think that he is leaving the ship, while it is sinking, but it seems that he would be sitting her all by himself anyway. He has some personal issues going on at the moment, which has nothing to do with them and him leaving the Avengers has nothing to do with any of them. In fact, he is considering retiring the Falcon wings all together.

At that moment, Kelsey hesitantly speaks up. She tells the team that, in a very short time, so much in her life has changed. She has changed so much that the woman she is now does not recognize the woman that she used to be, before she became Captain Britain. She just wants to thank them all. Kelsey announces that she is returning to England with a renewed sense of purpose and it is all because of the Avengers. She is leaving them all immediately, but she wanted them to know that she will never forget them and will always be there for them no matter what. Once again, Janet speaks up and tells Kelsey that she doesn’t have to leave this second. Kelsey, however, has made up her mind. Smiling, and with tears beginning to form in her eyes, Kelsey bids farewell to the team and leaves.

After a moment, Warbird speaks up and asks the others if they think that they did good things. She just needs to know if it was worth it. Hank turns to Tony and asks him what their best moment was, in his opinion. Tony thinks about it for a second and then answers that the best thing that they ever did was forming the team in the first place. He was new to the superhero world when they all got together, Hulk included, and he told himself all those years ago that this was worth it and important. He tells the group not to tell anyone that he said this for he doesn’t want to come off as arrogant, but he always considered the Avengers the “Beatles” of the super heroes. He will never be proud of anything more in his life. That is why he funded the team in the first place and it was the best money he ever spent.

Tony then turns to Janet and asks her what her opinion is. Honestly, admits Janet, their best moment was when they found Captain America. They all needed him. The country needed him. Even now they need him. From the moment he joined the Avengers, the team was energized. She still gets chills thinking about that day. When she saw that shield, she couldn’t believe that Captain America was there. Janet then tells Hank to tell the others his choice, though she already knows what it is.

Hank tells the team that they will be surprised about his choice as he didn’t have much of a role in it, but the one thing he wished he could have had a bigger part in was the Kree-Skrull War. This was the Avengers at its best. Two alien races were using Earth, specifically New York City, as a battlefield. The only ones standing in their way were the Avengers. From the outside, at least, it seemed like a pure victory. At times, the battles they fight can seem a bit compromised, shallow and conflicted. This one did not. Hank once again admits that he wishes he had more of a part in it before turning to Wonder Man to see what his choice is.

Wonder Man is a bit hesitant and tells the group that his choice may seem in bad taste considering all that has happened, but he always felt that the Vision marrying Wanda was… special. It wasn’t their most victorious moment and it wasn’t their most heroic, but it was the best. He is going to stick to his guns on this one. That moment in time is how he chooses to remember the two of them. Wonder Man then asks Beast what his choice is.

Beast asks the others if they remember that guy named Michael. He believes his full name was Michael Korvac. That was the time, to him at least, the one time that they could not; not would not, but could not save the day. However, they did. Korvac had the powers of the universe at his disposal, or at least he claimed. Who’s to know for sure? In any case, it looked like they couldn’t win, but they did. They did it as a team. They actually saved the entire universe. To him it sounds like a pretty damn fine day.

Warbird speaks next and tells the group that her choice for best moment occurred when she wasn’t even an Avenger. In fact, she wasn’t even a super hero at that point. She was just normal Carol Danvers. Her choice is when the Avengers and Captain Mar-Vell kicked the crap out of Thanos. The team always told her those stories and they are her favorite. That moment must have been something. It is something that they could never describe to their civilian friends, who have no idea what is going on as they have no frame of reference. Also, the Avengers all know how influential Mar-Vell was to Warbird in her development as a super hero, or whatever she is. Warbird then turns to Jarvis, interested to hear what the Avengers’ butler has to say.

Jarvis ponders the question for the moment, and then recalls the time that the mansion was violated by a group of barbarians. They referred to themselves as the Masters of Evil, who were all repulsive human beings. In all his time serving honorably the Avengers, he never felt as helpless and as violated as he felt then. The Avengers were victorious, though, and his humble life was spared. That was a lovely day indeed.

Falcon speaks up and tells the group that his choice is funny, because just like Carol and Hank, his choice for best moment was a time he was never a part of either. What does it mean when half of them choose moments that they weren’t part of? It must mean that they liked the idea of the Avengers more than being in the team. However, his choice was the time the Avengers finally put an end to Ultron after he killed everyone in Slovenia. That must have felt great. Falcon admits that he is surprised that Hank didn’t pick this moment considering the situation. They should all hope Ultron stays down. Falcon then adds that for a moment in Wanda’s chaos, he thought Ultron did come back. The crap was scared out of him. Part of him still wishes it was Ultron.

Falcon asks Captain America about his choice, but the man does not respond. As the team settles for a quick snack served by Jarvis, Janet turns to Cap to see what is wrong. Captain America responds that like Janet said before, the Avengers have been a part of his life since the moment he woke up in this new world. Even with all the drama and tragedy that has surrounded them, it never occurred to him that it would end. He never thought it would happen. The other Avengers fall silent.

Jarvis serves all the Avengers drinks, though he gives bottled water to Tony and Warbird, as Captain America leads the team in a final toast to the dearly departed: Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Vision, Captain Mar-Vell, Jack of Hearts, Swordsman, Mockingbird, the female Yellowjacket, Doctor Druid, Whizzer, Two-Gun Kid, Gilgamesh, Marrina, and Thunderstrike. “How about… to all of us,” says Warbird, at the end, “Wanda, too.”

Tony puts his helmet back on and reminds the others that they shouldn’t keep everyone waiting. The team collects their bearings and head upstairs to the second floor balcony. Once there, Wonder Man asks if anyone really showed up. Surprised, Iron Man asks the man if he is kidding. Jarvis pulls back the curtains to the balcony and the Avengers look out to see a massive crowd of Avengers supporters carrying on a candlelight vigil for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

The crowd outside raises their candles into the air and take one last look at the heroes who have defended them for over a decade. Many hold framed pictures of their departed heroes. One holds a large picture of the Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, while another one holds up a picture with those two, plus Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Several hold up banners and words of support. They have all come there for one cause and that is to remind the Avengers that they will never be forgotten and will always be their heroes.

Captain America, Iron Man, Beast, Warbird, Wonder Man, Falcon, Wasp and Yellowjacket look on in silence and take in the sight.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Captain America, Captain Britain III, Falcon, Iron Man I, She-Hulk, Warbird, Wasp, Wonder Man, Yellowjacket I (former Avengers)

Various Avengers supporters

Story Notes: 

Avengers Finale is the epilogue to Avengers #500-503, which was part of Avengers Disassembled, which is an event more so than a traditional crossover. Other titles were affected as well, though the storylines in those books are not needed to read each title. These titles include Captain America and the Falcon #5-7, which takes place right before Avengers #500, Iron Man (3rd Series) #86-89, Thor (2nd Series) #82-85, Captain America (4th Series) #29-32, Spectacular Spider-Man (2nd Series) #17-20, and Fantastic Four (3rd Series) #517-519. Avengers Finale deals solely with the events in Avengers #500-503.

Tony was able to use this tragedy to hide his identity in Iron Man (3rd Series) #89. After Rumiko’s death in Iron Man (3rd Series) #88, Tony announced that his life as Iron Man has affected all those who he cares about and has retired from the superhero career, but is allowing someone else to be Iron Man. This of course, is not true.

Beast appears here in his costume from Astonishing X-Men (3rd Series) #1, though whether this takes place before or after the X-Men Reloaded event is unknown.

Quicksilver did indeed appear in a few panels in Avengers (1st Series) #502, though he surprisingly did not have a role at all, especially when Wanda was revealed to have been the ill-bringer. This issue explains why.

The story of the Avengers does not end here. It continues three months after the events of this issue in New Avengers.