Avengers Spotlight #22

Issue Date: 
September 1989
Story Title: 
1st story: Grimm and Bear It - 2nd story: Once There was a Swordsman

1st Story: Howard Mackie (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Don Heck (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), George Roussos (colorist)
2nd Story: Lou Mougin (writer), Don Heck (penciler), Don Heck & Jose Marzan Jr (inkers), Joe Rosen (letterer), Paul Becton (colorist)
Sara Tuchinsky (assistant editor), Gregory Wright (managing editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
Hawkeye arrives at Dr Myron Steinmetz's office where he and Mockingbird are about to undergo marriage counseling. After Hawkeye and Mockingbird exchange harsh words, they settle in for the counseling – when they are attacked by the Brothers Grimm. Hawkeye leads them out of the office and onto the building rooftop, where the Brothers Grimm use a nerve gas on Mockingbird, freezing her in place, leaving Hawkeye alone to fight them. Hawkeye wonders if the rest of the Night Shift is with them, and puts up a good fight, dodging their various magical attacks, until he eventually ties them up and leaves them suspended from the rooftop. Before Hawkeye is able to catch a break, he is attacked by Mad-Dog, and they topple off the rooftop down to a car parked below. Hawkeye breaks free from Mad-Dog, only to find himself confronted by Bobcat!

(2nd story)
Hawkeye and the West Coast Avengers watch a video that Hawkeye obtained from the feds – an interview the Swordsman had with federal agents in which he revealed his origin to them. The Swordsman recounts how he grew up as Jacques Duquesne in privilege in the war-stricken country of Sin-Cong, living under the rule of an aggressive, hateful father. He learns of the exploits of a distant relative called the Crimson Cavalier, before attending a rally where free men of Sin-Cong are encouraged to fight back against the oppressive French rulers. Jacques creates the costumed identity of the Swordsman for himself, and with the Crimson Cavalier's sword, fights alongside the free men of Sin-Cong against the French oppressors. One of the leaders of the free men is quite hostile to him though, and after many months of fight, and many successful take downs of the French, the Swordsman learns his father has been taken by the free men. Swordsman wants to leave Sin-Cong after everything he has done to help the men. He is taken to see his father – only his father has been killed. The free men are ordered to kill the Swordsman, but he defends himself and slays those who attack him, leaving their leader alive. He then departs Con-Sing. The footage ends with the Swordsman explaining that he became a member of the Avengers – and that he never wants this video released to anyone!

Full Summary: 

1st story:
'I'm one dead archer! She's gonna kill me!' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye thinks to himself as he soars through the night air on his sky-cycle, the moon glowing down on him. Hawkeye lands his sky-cycle on a rooftop, and is grateful for it – without it, he wouldn't have made it here at all. Even this late at night, he would rather face the Hulk with a toothache than fight the LA traffic! He sets the sky-cycle to remote, and it rises into the air, where it will wait for his return. Hawkeye then opens the door on the rooftop, and heads towards what he thinks will be one of the ugliest confrontations of his life. 'Here goes nothing' Hawkeye thinks to himself as he stands in front of the door to a marital counselor's office. 'Hi, Mock! I'm sorry I'm -' Clint begins as he enters the waiting area, where Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird is sitting on a sofa, reading a magazine.

'You're late!' Bobbi snaps. 'Give me a break' Hawkeye asks. 'So what if I'm a couple of minutes late? If you hadn't chosen a shrink as far away from the West Coast Compound as possible -' Clint begins, to which Bobbi reminds him that she doesn't live at the Compound anymore, and that it was he who wanted to do this in costume, not her. Bobbi declares that this was the most convenient for her, and points out that she doesn't have a sky-cycle to get herself around. Bobbi then asks why they couldn't for a change try and solve their problems as Clint Barton and Bobbi Morse, two normal people with normal problems. 'It's not Clint and Bobbi that are having problems. It's Hawkeye and Mockingbird who are incompatible!' Clint snaps. 'Ever since you decided it was all right for an Avenger to go off on a blood-thirsty rampage whenever the mood struck them -' Clint begins. 'You narrow-minded son of a -' Bobbi begins, when suddenly, Dr Myron Steinmetz enters the waiting area and suggests they continue this discussion in a more structured fashion in his office. He tells them to take their sears and make themselves comfortable, before asking Hawkeye to let him help him with his quiver, suggesting he put it in a closet.

But, as Hawkeye takes a seat in front of Dr Steinmetz's desk, Hawkeye places his quiver under the seat, remarking that he feels a lot more comfortable with it right here next to him. 'Just like a male' Bobbi mutters. Dr Steinmetz's assures Clint that there is no reason for him to feel insecure here, that he is perfectly safe. Suddenly, something is thrown through the window and crashes at Hawkeye's feet. 'An egg?' Clint asks. 'Oh, my!' Dr Steinmetz's utters. Hawkeye wonders why anyone would throw and egg through window. He glances outside and sees two figures in a blue and red costumes standing nearby – 'Get down! Behind the chairs!' Hawkeye shouts, pushing Mockingbird and Dr Steinmetz to the ground. 'Hawk! What do you think you're doing?' Bobbi asks, while Dr Steinmetz tells Hawkeye that he is overreacting, as it is just an egg – but an instant later the egg explodes, releasing a blinding light, and Percy and Barton Grimes a.k.a. the Brothers Grimm suddenly leap into the office.

Hawkeye pushes Dr Steinmetz into a closet and tells him that he and Mockingbird can handle this better without him in the way. Hawkeye turns to Mockingbird and suggests they put aside their differences and cream these guys, reminding her that they were able to do it when they checked out the Great Lakes Avengers. 'You don't have to ask me twice. Let's do it!' Mockingbird replies as she moves towards one of the Brothers Grimm, battle stave in hand. 'It'll be a piece of cake!' Mockingbird calls out. 'Did someone say cake? I don't have a cake but maybe a pie will do!' one of the Brothers Grimm remarks as he shoves a pie into Mockingbird's face. From the pie several blackbirds appear, who swarm around Mockingbird, she tries to swat the away, waving her battle staves about.

One of the Brothers Grimm moves towards Hawkeye on a cloud, while the other appears on some sort of trapeze swing. 'While the lovely Mockingbird is knocking out birds, we'll see to her lesser half!' one of the Brothers exclaims. Hawkeye grabs his quiver filled with arrows and tells the villain that I've got my bow and quiver – you'll be “grimming” out the other side of your mouth -' Hawkeye shouts, preparing to fire an arrow, his arm pulls back – and knocks against a window. Clint decides that it is a big cramped in here for his fighting style, and decides that the Brothers Grimm only seem to have pies for him, so he thinks they should see about a little fresh air. Hawkeye fires an arrow up  to a flagpole that protrudes from the side of the building, and swings out the window, hoisting himself up to the rooftop where he has some breathing room. He somersaults across the rooftop, telling himself to be ready for the Brothers Grimm, but as he turns around, he doesn't see them anywhere. 'What's taking them so long?' Hawkeye wonders, arrow poised to fire.

Hawkeye hears someone climbing up the side of the building, an decides to use a net-arrow to wrap this up. 'Okay, guys, let's call it a night!' Hawkeye calls out, but it's not the Brothers Grimm who appear on the rooftop – it's Mockingbird. 'Whoa! Hold it right there, lover!' Bobbi calls out and tells Clint to put the arrow down, joking that they don't want to take this divorce thing too far. 'Divorce? I thought we'd finished with the idea of divorce?' Hawkeye replies, telling Bobbi that he thought they were going to try to work out their problems with this marriage counselor. Bobbi tells Clint that she was just kidding, and asks him where the Brothers Dim are now. Clint tells her that he doesn't know, that he thought they were with her. 'No. We is us!' the brother on the cloud exclaims as he rises up the side of the building, while the other levitates up on the trapeze swing. 'Let's just finish up with these clowns, Hawky – these shrinks charge by the fifty minute hour!' Bobbi jokes.

'Here's something free of charge, Mockingbird – fairy dust!' one of the Brothers Grimm exclaims as he releases the strange dust at Bobbi, which freezes her where she stands. 'While the lady is frozen like a statue, we can continue without the benefit of her non-stop chatter' the brother on the cloud points out. 'That's no lady, bozos – that's my ex-wife!' Hawkeye exclaims, while Bobbi discovers that she can't move a muscle, and supposes she has been taken out by nerve gas. Hawkeye quickly fires two arrows, knocking both of the Brothers Grimm backwards, he tells him that he doesn't appreciate anyone shutting up Mockingbird, but asks if they can tell him where he can get some of that dust.

The Brothers Grimm land on the rooftop, and turn to Hawkeye as he asks them where the rest of their Night Shift buddies are. 'Don't you usually travel together do you don't get lost in the dark?' he jokes. One of the brothers declares that they have no need for the rest of the Night Shift. 'That's correct, brother. We will kill him ourselves and collect the -' the second brother begins, before the first interrupts him, telling him that they have said too much already. 'Collect? Collect what?' Hawkeye wonders, curious also as to what their boss in the Night Shift, the Shroud, knows about this. Hawkeye announces that it is time to tie up these two loose ends with a bola-arrow. 'Allow me, Percy – an acid-filled egg should take care of his little trick arrow!' Barton tells his brother, tossing the egg at Hawkeye's bola arrow, the egg cracks open and destroys the arrow with the acid. Percy thanks his brother and conjures up a magical whoopee cushion, which he then sits on, blasting some forceful air towards Hawkeye, and boasting that it will take the wind out of his sails.

Hawkeye is knocked back by the wind – and smell – which carry him to the edge of the rooftop and gags him, too. Thankfully, Hawkeye is able to  grab onto the edge of the rooftop, and saves himself from falling over. 'Quickly, now! Finish him off!' one of the Brothers Grimm declares, readying a pie, while the other holds an egg and fires something at Hawkeye. 'Yes, let's!' he exclaims, while Hawkeye mutters that there is no end to the dangerous junk that these guys can conjure up – but points out that he still has a few tricks up his sleeves. 'Er, make that sleeve' Hawkeye adds as he fires a smoke arrow, that engulfs the Brothers Grimm in a dark smoke. 'He thinks he can stop the Brothers Grimm with smoke?' one of them asks, unimpressed. 'He is a fool – isn't he?' the other remarks, but as the smoke clears, they find that Hawkeye has vanished. 'How could he have disappeared so quickly? Where could he have gone?' the other asks. They look over the edge of the rooftop, pie and egg ready, but one of them points out that he doesn't see Hawkeye. 'Did you say something?' the other asks, before an arrow swoops towards them.

Seconds later, 'Caught you by surprise, didn't I, boys?' Hawkeye asks as he dangles the Brothers Grimm from the rooftop, both brothers wrapped in a coil, they look up at Hawkeye, who suggests to them that while they wait for the police, they might like to tell him what this is all about. Suddenly though, Hawkeye hears a growl, and wonders who is behind him – he turns, too late, as Mad-Dog lunges at him. 'You can call me your killer!' Mad-Dog snarls, forcing Hawkeye to the edge of the rooftop. 'Uh, no thanks' Hawkeye replies, while Mad-Dog boasts that he will be the one to finish Hawkeye off, not those two buffoons. Hawkeye wonders what Mad-Dog's beef is, as he has never met him before. Hawkeye remembers Mad-Dog from the Avengers' files, and recalls that Mad-Dog has poison fangs – which Mad-Dog suddenly bites down into Hawkeye's arm. Hawkeye screams, and thrashes about, which forces himself and Mad-Dog to fall off the rooftop, down past the captive Brothers Grimm, and straight onto the roof of a yellow convertible car parked below.

The cover of the convertible cushions their fall, but Hawkeye can feel Mad-Dog's venom weakening him already. They fall to the sidewalk, where Mad-Dog tells Hawkeye to give up, and suggests that if Hawkeye lets him sink his fangs into his throat without a struggle, he will die quickly, not painfully. Suddenly, something, or someone, knocks Mad-Dog off of Hawkeye, who looks over to see Bobcat, poised nearby. 'His head belongs to Bobcat, Dog-Breath!' Bobcat calls out to Mad-Dog, warning him to get out of his way, or else he will kill him, too. Mad-Dog growls, and Hawkeye jokes 'Where's the ASPCA when you need it?'

2nd story:
The West Coast Avengers' Palos Verdes Compound, where Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision and Wonder Man are gathered in the communications room. Hawkeye holds up a video tape and tells his team that they have a special treat today – that they are going to learn some Avengers history that none of them ever knew about before. The Scarlet Witch assumes that the video tape has something to do with it, and the Vision agrees. Hawkeye tells them that it has everything to do with it – that this tape holds the secret of the most mysterious Avenger of all – the Swordsman! Wonder Man remarks that the Swordsman was the first Avenger to die in action. 'That's him' Hawkeye replies, before reminding his teammates that before he was an Avenger, the Swordsman had been a super villain, and that Uncle Sam doesn't let them hand out Avengers ID cards to former bad guys without asking some questions first.

Hawkeye continues, revealing that running into the Swordsman's spirit a few weeks ago reminded him how little they knew of the guy, so he called the Feds, cited the Freedom of Information Act, and requested this video tape from them. Hawkeye explains that it is the Swordsman's debriefing tape to the FBI – the only record anywhere of his true origin. The Scarlet Witch reminds her friend that he knew the Swordsman when he was young, but asks if he still knew nothing of the Swordsman's past. 'Nope!' Hawkeye replies, as the video begins to play, and the Swordsman appears on the monitor.

In video recording
A voice from off-camera asks the Swordsman to tell in his own words who he is, and how he became the Swordsman. The masked Swordsman replies that his own words come most reluctantly, for he has never told this story before – but that there is never a day when he does not remember it. He reveals that it was many times ago, in a small nation of Southeast Asia, a French protectorate that could barely be found on a map, but in his early years, it was his home – the land of Sin-Cong. He remarks that the guns of one war had stopped some years ago, but the guns of another war were being readied, and they lived in comparative luxury, his father was a government official, Armand Duquesne. 'And my name was...'

In flashback
'... Jacques – you are 18 years old today. You are a man. Today I shall tell you of another man, whose blood is said to run proudly in our veins' Armand Duquesne remarks. The well-dressed older man holds a sword up to a painting of a man in a red costume. Jacques, hands in pockets, asks his father if he is going to cough up the truth about that musketeer. Armand informs his son that that ”musketeer” actually lived, and that he was one of France's proudest heroes during the First World War – the Crimson Cavalier! Armand looks up at the painting and declares that he had many brave deeds against the Huns – deeds which ended with the war itself. He adds that no one is sure who he was, or if he still exists, but there are rumors, which he believes are true, that make him a Duquesne. Armand tells Jacques that as proof, he bears one of the Crimson Cavalier's swords, one given to him by his father, which he now gifts to Jacques today.

Armand holds up the sword and offers a demonstration – with one stroke, he slices several candlesticks – and with the next stroke, their metal holders. He announces that the sword can cut all but the hardest metals with ease. 'Perhaps I'll wear it to my next party' Jacques mutters as he watches. Suddenly, a man enters the room, 'I beg pardon, Master! The birthday meal is prepared...' he announces. Armand spins around: 'What? You insufferable dog! I warned you never to disturb me in my study!' he snaps. 'Father -!' Jacques calls out, but Armand shouts 'Silence' and that if one cannot rule his own household, then he is certainly not fit to rule a nation of filthy dogs. 'And I am fit to rule them! Am I not, dog?' Armand asks, slapping the other man across his face. 'Yes, Master – yes! Yes! We are most fortunate!' the frightened man utters. Armand tells him to go and to tell his wife and children that his behavior has lost him a week's wages. 'That should help you remember how we are to be treated!' Armand declares. Covering his face, the other man leaves the room, 'Yes, Master! Ngyuen will remember!' he stammers.

Jacques frowns and announces that his father will have to celebrate his birthday without him. 'I'm sure you understand – all this excitement has simply spoiled my appetite' he declares. But Armand tells his son that they can't be weak with these people, and that they don't want them to be. 'Their necks are made for a very heavy yoke' Armand adds, telling Jacques that if they were left to themselves, they would never know how to run a country. He suggests his son be proud of what they have done for these people. Jacques leaves his father's study, and calls out to Ngyuen. 'For what little it's worth, let me apologize for my father – and I'll make up double of your wages from my own pocket. Will that help?' Jacques asks. 'Not enough, young Sir!' Ngyuen responds. Jacques asks if Ngyeun wishes a release, and offers to arrange it. 'You've been so patient' Jacques points out. Ngyuen replies that he would wish a release, and asks if Jacques would follow him and let him show how.

So, Jacques follows Ngyuen through circuitous paths, several check points, too, until they come to a small shack, where a man standing in the door asks Ngyeun 'Why have you brought him here? He is one of them'. Ngyuen tells the other man that their struggle knows no color, and Jacques is allowed into the stack, where, for the first time, he sits with a captive people and they take no notice of him. For an hour, they listened to an orator, the likes of whom Jacques has never heard. The orator stands before the people and states that for over a century, the land that is rightfully theirs has been dominated by a foreign devil, one who has proclaimed his superiority without basis, one who claims to fight against another tyranny that he may entrench his own. 'My brothers of Sin-Cong, such things are not the natural order!' the orator calls out. He tells them that the banner of self-rule has already been raised in China, and in other of their neighboring lands, and that they will help in this struggle. 'But without your help, nothing will change. Without your help, you will remain slaves... and, from this moment on, you will know your own hand has forged your chains'. The orator asks the gathered group if they will give their aid, wield the sword that will strike off their chains. Jacques smiles and declares that he, of all me – he can wield that sword!

Not long after that, Jacques enters his ancestral home for the last time. His father is off attending some function, which Jacques thinks is just as well, as they would have had little to say to each other as ever – perhaps even less that night. Jacques stitches together a purple costume for himself, and declares that now is the hour, that he can understand why men sch as the Cavalier or Captain America took such a role – to become a living symbol of hope, freedom – and justice long-deferred! Changing into his new costume, Jacques holds up the sword given to him and looks at the painting of the Crimson Cavalier, he salutes the Crimson Cavalier, and remarks that though they are generations apart, surely he knows they serve the same cause. Jacques remarks that if Hitler had no right to occupy their native land in the Great War, then surely they, in turn, have no right to enslave the natives of this country – and if he must fight their people in such a cause, then so be it. He declares that from this moment on, the name of Jacques Duquesne is a memory, and that in his place stands the weapon of the liberators of Sin-Cong – a weapon men shall call the Swordsman!

Several days later, that “weapon” first draws blood, fighting alongside the free men of Sin-Cong, they make their way through a jungle, and one of the free men tells the Swordsman 'you know your role, Frenchman! If you turn on us -' to which the Swordsman tells the man that his blade may have two edges, but both are turned against the enemy, as he will see in a moment. They move towards a power station which the Swordsman knows supplies current to most of the city. He has toured it several times, and discovered that security is nonexistent here. 'Then strike – and let darkness fall!' his comrade exclaims. A moment later, the Swordsman enters the power station, 'Good evening, gentlemen! Show your intelligence – get out of the way, or share the fate of your generators!' the Swordsman tells the French officials inside. 'What in the -' one of them utters. 'Mon dieu! A gang of reds, and a masked white man with a sword!' another man exclaims. 'He means shut up and move to the side!' the Swordsman's comrade exclaims, aiming his weapon at the officials. The Swordsman and the other free men show mercy, and the officials show sense, as Swordsman and his allies get down to business – and darkness soon falls over the city as the power station is destroyed.

'Victory! Victory!' one of the free men shouts. 'Well, it will do for tonight' the gruff comrade exclaims. 'For tonight? No – not for more than a second! Not until the oppressors of your people are gone, and Sin-Cong is once again a free land!' Hawkeye exclaims. He holds his sword high and declares that the Swordsman's blade will be the cutting edge of this revolution, and swears to them that they will see victory before he ceases swinging it. 'I must wage a war with failed poets. Ah, well, so long as he can fight' the gruff comrade mutters.

The Swordsman had waged war, had been triumphant, and knew that is cause was right – at least, for a time. The months fly by, they suffer defeats, but never give in, and after a time, they begin dealing out defeats with more men flocking to their cause every day – and fewer French faces in front of them. But, more than a year after their conflict began, the Swordsman reminds his gruff comrade, Wong-Chu, of their bargain – that if the news they await is favorable, his father and he are to be allowed free passage out of Sin-Cong. Wong-Chu tells the Swordsman that he and his father will be reunited soon enough, good news or bad, but now, he should relax for once. Suddenly, an announcement can be heard over a loud speaker, stating that the general accord has been signed, and that the French forces shall withdraw – the People's Government has been established. 'We have triumphed! Oh, day of glory, out land is ours!' Wong-Chu shouts, raising his gun above his head.

'Well, Wong-Chu?' the Swordsman asks. Wong-Chu looks at the Swordsman and tells him that one revolutionary's value he lacks is patience, before asking him to come with him. The Swordsman stares at Wong-Chu, who asks him why he displays such a grim stare towards his long-time ally. The Swordsman tells Wong-Chu that the time for talk is past. 'If you don't come through on our deal -'  he begins, to which Wong-Chu reminds the Swordsman that he promised him his father, and his father he shall have. Wong-Chu instructs the Swordsman to enter the hut up ahead and tells him that all his doubts will be set aside, to which the Swordsman reminds Wong-Chu that his blade has two edges – one for enemies and one for traitors.

Once inside the hut, the Swordsman comments on the number of guards. 'I had no idea my father was such a dangerous man' the Swordsman remarks. 'We regard him highly! We would not want him to damage himself!' Wong-Chu replies. 'Enough! Where is he?' the Swordsman demands. Wong-Chu suddenly tells the guards to take their places and declares that this farce is over. He assures the Swordsman that he is no traitor, but a man of his word. He walks over to a blanket on the floor and pulls it back – revealing the lifeless body of Armand Duquesne beneath it. 'You are reunited, no? I merely neglected to say that he was killed in the first year of the revolution by your butler' Wong-Chu grins. 'Good God!' the Swordsman gasps, while Wong-Chu grins wickedly and points out that the Swordsman never asked. 'Did you really think we owed anything to a French dog...even one who was stupid enough to fight on our side?' Wong-Chu exclaims.

The Swordsman falls silent and closes his eyes. 'This conversation lags, comrades! I'm sure he would rather compare notes with his father! Let us reunite them fully – fire!' Wong-Chu calls out, but the Swordsman reaches across and grabs Wong-Chu, 'Yes, Wong-Chu! Let them fire all they want to – and see where they end up!' he exclaims, using Wong-Chu as a human shield. 'Hold your fire, you imbeciles!' Wong-Chu calls out. One of the guards announces that he must try, and hopes to get a lucky shot, but another guard tells him that if he does, he will put five shots in his lucky cranium. The Swordsman knows that the revolutionaries have made the gravest mistake of all – thinking that one man with a sword was no match for six men with guns. One of the guards grabs Swordsman from behind, and puts him in a choke hold. 'I'll hold him – you hit him! Hurry! He's like a greased lion!' the guard calls out to his comrades. 'Protect me, you swine!' Wong-Chu utters, while another guard prepares to bring the handle of his gun down on the Swordsman, 'One more second, you fools... and watch his sword man!' he calls out.

But, as he tries to bring his gun down on the Swordsman's hand, the Swordsman twists his body, and the gun slams into the guard holding him. For the Swordsman, it now became a mathematics lesson. He performed subtraction and it was a lesson that none would ever forget, long after the instructor was gone. 'We've got to shoot! It's the only way!' one of the guards exclaims. 'And hit Wong-Chu? Are you insane?' another calls out. 'Better insane than dead! Let him have it!' a third declares as they open fire, striking the wall of the hut behind the Swordsman. The Swordsman throws Wong-Chu towards the other guards, leaving himself open for attack. 'Death to the people's enemy!' one of the guards shouts, as he opens fire – but is struck down when the Swordsman throws a dagger into his stomach. The Swordsman has to show that he agreed with that sentiment. He takes another out, thinking that six armed men less six armed men equaled none – but a sudden pain in his arm showed him that his subtraction was wrong – Wong-Chu was still alive and had shot the Swordsman in the arm.

The Swordsman kicks Wong-Chu in the face, knocking him back, he then holds his sword to Wong-Chu's neck. 'So this is it, then? The stupid Frenchman and the wise communist alone? You know what I gave up to help you, Wpong-Chu? You know I gave up everything!' the Swordsman exclaims. He tells Wong-Chu that he thought he was liberating his people, he thought he was a crusader – but really, he was just the tool of another tyranny. 'I had a cause... blast you... blast your soul, I had a cause!' the Swordsman shouts as he slams his fist into Wong-Chu's face. Jacques cannot bring himself to kill Wong-Chu, so he makes his way out of the hut, and none of the soldiers dare to stop him – they parted ranks like an honor guard – after all, who is more dangerous than a fallen idealist?

In video recording
The Swordsman tells the feds that the rest they know – he became a mercenary, a thief and even an Avenger. He recalls nearly destroying the Avengers for the Mandarin – but couldn't, as they were too much what he wanted to be. An image appears of the Swordsman, Captain America and Mantis, as the Swordsman states that his contact with Mantis finally steadied his path – that and his encounters with Captain America, who forced him to realize what he spurned might still exist. The recording ends with the Swordsman stating that that is his story, and he requests that it not leave this office, as he has living relatives to whom it would cause great pain – almost as much as it has caused him.

Hawkeye ejects the video tape from the console and stares at the blank screen, while the Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man and Vision turn and leave the room. 'Uh, guys... maybe we can use the tape to record a Laker's game?' Hawkeye calls out after them.

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)

Brothers Grimm

Dr. Myron Steinmetz

(2nd story)
Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wonder Man (all West Coast Avengers)

In video recording

In Swordsman's story
Jacques Duquesne
Armand Duquesne

Sin-Cong nationalists
French officials

In painting
Crimson Cavalier

Story Notes: 

(1st story)
Hawkeye's comment about Mockingbird going on a blood-thirsty rampage refers to Mockingbird letting the Phantom Rider fall to his death during a fight in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #23. The Phantom Rider had previously raped her.

The Brothers Grimm last appeared, along with the rest of the Night Shift, in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #40.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird were able to work cooperatively as recently as West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #46 when they encountered the Great Lakes Avengers.

Hawkeye previously encountered Bobcat in Solo Avengers #11.

Mad-Dog last appeared, kidnapping his ex-wife, Hellcat, in Solo Avengers #9.

(2nd story)
This story probably takes place around West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #44-45 before Hawkeye quit the team.

The Swordsman was killed in Giant-Sized Avengers #2.

Hawkeye encountered the Swordsman's ghost in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #39.

Hawkeye's history with the Swordsman, including how they met at the circus and Hawkeye was trained by the Swordsman, was chronicled in Solo Avengers #2.

The Crimson Cavalier had previously appeared in a flashback scene in Invaders (1st series) #7, and later appears in another flashback story in All-New Invaders #12.

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