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1st Story: Howard Mackie (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Don Hecks (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), George Roussos (colorist)
2nd Story: Dwayne McDuffie (writer), Dwayne Turner (penciler), Chris Ivy (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Mike Rockwitz (colorist)
Evan Skolnick (assistant editor), Gregory Wright (managing editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFaclo (editor-in-chief)
The villain Boomerang breaks into a Stark Enterprises office, demanding video footage that their monitors might have picked up of the villain called Ghost, for his employer, Justin Hammer. He fights several security guards, before a mysterious man in a jacket and hat appears, and suggests to Boomerang an Avenger that he could fight and defeat. Meanwhile, Mockingbird demands Hawkeye see a doctor after he was bitten by Mad-Dog. Initially resistant, Hawkeye eventually agrees to some tests, and discovers that he only has a bladder infection. Hawkeye and Mockingbird part ways, with Hawkeye concerned about the recent sinking of Avengers Island. His thoughts are interrupted when he is attacked by Boomerang. Hawkeye finds it strange how villains are being reported as fighting heroes who they usually don't encounter, this being just another example. The battle rages for some time in a heavily-populated area, but when the Boomerang sets fire to a building, Hawkeye begins a rescue operation to save a woman trapped in the high-rise. He manages to rescue her, and after capturing the Boomerang, discovers that the woman is not overly grateful, as she slaps him and tells him to look at the mess he made, deciding that the people in Washington are right – super heroes are menaces. Hawkeye offers no response as he walks away.
Stingray dives deep into the remains of the sunken Avengers Island, the facility called Hydrobase that he was in charge of. He is on a salvage mission, and comes to the room where several deactivated robots were stored, only to discover that they are missing. He activates an alarm to alert others he is working with, before something knocks him out. Up above, a barge of salvaged equipment floats near a dock, where Firebird is using her powers to lift the salvaged items to the dock, where Moondragon and Hellcat are standing. Firebird picks up Stingray's distress signal, and dives into the water to investigate – but moments later is tossed from the water, followed by the Awesome Android, who flies up out of the water with the motionless Stingray. The Black Widow arrives on scene and fires a blast at the Awesome Android – who copies that power and sends a blast back at the Black Widow, who ducks for cover. She sends a distress call to the Avengers, while Hellcat attacks the Android. Unfortunately, the Widow's distress call goes mostly unheard, as Avengers everywhere are under attack by villains. Captain Marvel is on a date when she receives the distress call, so abandons her date to go assist. The Awesome Android knocks Hellcat back, before Moondragon attempts to control it – only the Android doesn't have a mind to control, and Hellcat is forced to save Moondragon before the Android knocks her out, causing the two women to argue. Firebird blasts the Android backwards to protect the others, but when the Android copies her power and directs it back at her, Firebird uses her powers to counter the attack. Captain Marvel arrives on scene, diving down into the ruins of Hydrobase, she collects a stasis field projector and brings it to the surface, where Firebird powers the proector so that it can release a stasis field over the Android, shutting it down. The heroines regroup and wonder what is going on with the Avengers at the moment.
A man in a purple and blue costume called Boomerang has used one of his shatterangs to blast a wall open in the security office of a small division of Stark Enterprises. He could have used the door – but he isn't like that. 'Sorry about the dramatic entrance, buckaroos! Couldn't find the doorbell!' he calls out while several men in suits and security guards turn to him. 'What do you want, Boomerang? There's nothing of value in this factory!' one of them calls out. 'How'd you know what was of value to me, Bub? I'm in here for some simple information' he explains, telling the Stark Enterprises staff that he understands they had a break-in earlier by the Ghost. 'My boss, Justin -' Boomerang begins, before realizing that his boss, Mr Hammer, would kill him if he let his name slip. He corrects himself and starts again, telling the Stark Enterprises staff that he works for a man who wants the Ghost dead, and all he wants from them is any videotapes that their security might have picked up of the Ghost in action.
'Anything that might let me know what is next move will be!' Boomerang asks. He tells the staff to give him the tapes, and then he will be gone. 'You'll be gone sooner than you think!' a security guard thinks to himself as he reaches for an emergency button – but before he can push the button, a shatterang slams into the cables connected to the button, severing them. Boomerang turns to one of the men in a suit and instructs him to tell his men not to make any more stupid moves, and then no one will get hurt. 'Now give me the tapes!' he snaps. The man in the suit informs Boomerang that the tapes of the Ghost's raid have already been forwarded to the main security office. 'And you're the one who should watch the stupid moves – when you severed the alarm, it kicked off a signal at Stark Enterprises HQ . Iron Man should be here any time now' the man in the suit announces, adding that Shellhead may have been too late to stop the Ghost, but that they should be able to handle the Boomerang until Iron Man gets here.
'Good! Let him come!' Boomerang shouts as he hurls one of his shatterangs towards some equipment in the room, which explodes and knocks several of the guards and staff over. Boomerang boasts that he can wait for that tin-plated do-gooder to show up, and that he will take care of him once and for all. 'He's been a pain in my butt for too long now!' The security guards get to their feet and aim several weapons at Boomerang, who tells them that he will show them some more of what he will do to Iron Man when he shows up. 'Well, come on! Don't just stand there!' he calls out, realizing that the staff and security guards have turned their attention to a glowing wall, where a man in a white jacket and hat has stepped through into the room. 'Huh? Who are you?' Boomerang calls out.
The man in white tells the Boomerang that he is just a friend with a suggestion, and asks Boomerang why he would want to fight Iron Man on his own, when even with the help of his allies, Blizzard and Blacklash, he has been defeated. Boomerang tells the man in white that he makes sense, but that he has got to fight someone, and that he is tired of being beaten by those do-gooders. 'Who else can I take on?' Boomerang asks. 'I've got just the Avenger for you!' the man in white smiles.
Elsewhere, 'Not me!' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye calls out. 'No way...no how...just keep away from me!' he exclaims. A man in a suit sitting behind a desk assures Hawkeye that the test he is recommending is a relatively simple one, and he can perform it right here in the office today. He tells Hawkeye that the test is completely necessary. 'You'll have to forgive me, doc – recently I've learned to distrust doctors!' Hawkeye announces, to which his estranged wife Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird points a finger at him and tells him to stop being a baby and do what the doctor says. Hawkeye glances at Mockingbird and tells her that he doesn't need this right now. He reminds her that Avengers Island is at the bottom of New York Harbor, every super villain anyone has ever heard of is going bonkers, and the heroes are being held responsible for the damage. 'Like I said – I can't afford to be sick!' Hawkeye exclaims. 'Face facts, lover – you are sick!' Bobbi snaps.
Bobbi reminds Hawkeye that he has been having symptoms since Mad-Dog bit him a couple of weeks ago and tells him to stop making excuses – he needs to get the test done with, then he can get better and then single-handedly make the world safe for all Avengers. Hawkeye frowns and turns to the doctor, telling him to get it over. 'You promise it won't be too painful?' he asks.
One hour later, 'See, Mr Hawkeye. That wasn't too bad, was it?' the doctor asks as Hawkeye starts to leave the office. 'Not for you' Hawkeye mutters, while the doctor tells him that at least he can rest easy knowing that it is a simple bladder infection caused by the venom injected into his system. The doctor smiles as he tells Hawkeye that it could have been more serious, and to take the antibiotic that he has prescribed, then the infection should clear up in a week or so.
Once outside, Hawkeye complains to Mockingbird that he can't walk straight, and mutters that the doctor said it wouldn't hurt. 'Should do it to him sometime!' Hawkeye exclaims. Mockingbird tells him to stop his grumbling, that it is over and done with so he should relax. Bobbi informs Hawkeye that she has to catch a cab and meet Big Bertha uptown for lunch. Bobbi then kisses Hawkeye on the cheek as she tells him that she is glad it wasn't anything serious, before she gets in a cab.
Hawkeye carries on down the street, deciding that he will walk up to Avengers Park and see if Captain America has gotten a lead on who is responsible for sinking Avengers Island. Suddenly, Hawkeye is tossed into the air when the sidewalk explodes under him. Hawkeye rolls with the blast, and flips himself backwards, landing on his feet, he pulls his bow and an arrow out and positions himself, ready for the next blast. But looking around, Hawkeye is surprised that there is no super-foe ready to pounce on him before he catches his breath. As three shatterangs suddenly fly towards him, he realizes that he spoke to soon. Hawkeye quickly leaps for cover behind a nearby hedge, and as he looks up, 'Time for you to get yours, Archer!' Boomerang calls out as he drops onto the scene. 'Boomerang!' Hawkeye exclaims.
Hawkeye has never fought Boomerang before, and he knows the contract that Crossfire had put on his head has been canceled, so he assumes that Boomerang is part of all this craziness – first the breakout at the Vault, then Avengers Island is sunk, and every super villain ever to exist seems to have a mad-on for someone he's never even met. As Boomerang leaps towards Hawkeye, Hawkeye begins to run down the sidewalk, telling himself that they have to get to the bottom of this. 'Don't run away, Hawkie! I want you to be the first to try our my latest – flamerangs!' Boomerang exclaims as he fires several of his shatterangs towards Hawkeye, only these ones are on fire. Hawkeye dodges the attack, but nearby civilians begin to run in fear. 'Someone call the police, the fire department, the National Guard!' a man cries out as a car explodes when one of the shatterangs strikes it. 'Those super heroes are going crazy!' someone else calls out.
Hawkeye dodges another attack, and fires and arrow towards Boomerang while realizing that he is doing more damage than he imagined he could have. Hawkeye knows he has to see if he can help anyone before they get hurt, while taking Boomerang out of commission, too. The arrows that Hawkeye fired at Boomerang suddenly release a sticky foam against Boomerang's shoes. 'Bootjets clogged! I'm -' Boomerang exclaims, before he slams into the sidewalk, his boots no longer keeping him aloft. 'Hate to shoot and run, Boomster, but there are civilians to be saved!' Hawkeye calls out as he rushes towards the crowd nearby.
As emergency services personnel begin to arrive on scene, Hawkeye isn't sure where to start – large fires have broken out, and masses of civilians are running in a panic. 'HELP!' a voice calls out, and Hakweye looks up to a building where a woman stands on the ledge of the top floor, pleading for help as flames dart behind her, she announces that the stairs are blocked and she can't get down. 'I guess this is where I start helping' Hawkeye tells himself, before firing an arrow which connects to the ledge, Hawkeye begins to climb along the rope that extends from the arrow. When he reaches the ledge, he tells the woman to hang tight, as she wraps her arms around him, and he uses his bow to slide back down the rope. 'We're going for a ride!' Hawkeye exclaims, when suddenly, Boomerang arrives back on the scene, and hurls a razorang towards the rope, boasting that it will make this the shortest ride of their lives.
The rope snaps and Hawkeye and the woman begin to plummet to the ground below – where, thankfully they land on a large inflated dome. Hawkeye quickly jumps up off the dome and shoots an arrow at Boomerang, the arrow releases a net which traps the villain. Minutes later, police officers escort Boomerang away, while Hawkeye turns to the woman he rescued and tells her 'That wasn't so bad, was it?' The woman begins to say something, but Hawkeye interrupts her and tells her that no thanks is necessary, that he was just doing his job. Suddenly, the woman slaps Hawkeye's face, 'THANKS?' she shouts, motioning to the building on fire, which fire fighters are attempting to put out with powerful hoses. 'Look, Mr Hero – look at what you've caused!' she exclaims. While the mysterious man in the white jacket appears and watches from several feet away, the woman tells Hawkeye that the people in Washington are right – all super heroes are a menace!
A man in a white costume with red trunks and a red cape that sprawls out behind him as he glides through murky waters, dives deeper towards some ruins on the river floor. 'Once more into the breach' he thinks to himself. His name is Dr Walter Newall, an oceanographer who is better known as Stingray. Once he was the caretaker of Hydrobase, the man-made island that severed not only as his laboratory, but as the home and headquarters of the Avengers – until a senseless act of vengeance sent most of his life to the bottom of the Hudson River. Stingray tells himself that they have worked all night on this salvage, and recalls that it was going a lot faster before Quasar left, although he is grateful that several of the Avengers have since shown up to help. “Salvage” he thinks to himself – as if he the junk they were dredging up from down here is going to help him put his life back together.
Closing in on one of the sunken buildings, Stingray laments the fact that they can't let Damage Control handle this – he thinks that just because Captain America is mad at them, it's no reason the rest of them should suffer. 'Besides, once the Avengers decide where they're going to move the Mansion, they'll have to use them, unless Cap expects Thor to carry the place' Stingray thinks to himself, deciding that he better keep that idea to himself, as Cap is pretty steamed and might give it a shot. 'How do you like that? My island sinks and I'm worried about them!' Stingray mutters, before he comes to a room that he recognizes. He swims into the room, realizing that it is where the Avengers are keeping those “heavy metal” robots in stasis. Stingray recalls that there was Tess-One, the Awesome Android, a Kree Sentry, the Super Adaptoid and someone else. Stingray swims over to the stasis platform, but his underwater imaging system doesn't show any robots down here – he does see a big hole though. 'If those things have somehow reactivated themselves, we could all be in terrible danger!' Stingray declares. He presses a communications signal to alert the others – but as he does, something knocks him over the head.
On the surface, the equipment dredged up earlier by Stingray and Quasar are moved gently to the pier – courtesy of Bonita Juarez, the Avenger known as Firebird! In a spectacular display of her newly expanded control of her power, Bonita herself is amazed that she can lift and transport tons of material on convection currents that she generates with her heat powers. Bonita then lowers the debris onto the shore where her fellow Avengers can deal with it. Heather Douglas a.k.a. Moondragon and Patsy Walker-Hellstrom a.k.a. Hellcat are waiting on the pier, awaiting the debris. Suddenly, Firebird picks up the priority distress call from Stingray. She announces that she will go down and take a look, and dives towards the water, despite Moondragon telling her to wait, but Firebird points out that none of them are especially equipped for underwater work. 'She should talk' Hellcat remarks as she and Moondragon watch Firebird disappear under the surface of the water.
Suddenly, there is a splash, and Firebird is hurled out of the water and onto the pier. 'Moondragon, what?' Natasha Romanoff the Black Widow asks as she joins the other Avengers on the pier. 'I don't know' Moondragon replies, while Hellcat rushes over to Bonita and asks her what happened, and if she is all right. Bonita assures Hellcat that she is all right, but that he is loose, and he has Stingray. 'Who's loose?' Patsy asks. 'The Android. The Mad Thinker's Awesome Android!' Firebird exclaims just as the gray-colored robot with a brick-like head bursts from the water, holding the motionless Stingray and sporting a cape in the style of Stingray's. 'Perhaps the Black Widow's bite will stop this creature!' the Black Widow calls out as she fires an energy blast from her wrist gauntlet towards the robot. The Awesome Android drops Stingray and turns his attention towards the Black Widow. 'But his wrists – what's happening to them?' Moondragon asks as she notices that the robot's wrists transform – and a moment later, the Awesome Android fires an energy blast back at the Black Widow.
The Black Widow dodges the blast, and tells herself that was a stupid move, reminding herself that she has read in the files that this android can mimic some of the abilities of those it comes in contact with. She notes that it is already aped Stingray's armor, and thanks to her carelessness, has a more powerful version of her Widow's Bite. She realizes that this is getting out of hand and hopes that she can get to her communicator. The Awesome Android lumbers across the pier towards the Black Widow who has ducked behind some debris. She announces herself over the Avengers communicator, declaring that this is an Avengers' priority emergency – Avengers are down. She urges anyone listening to follow the open channel to the source, before shouting 'Avengers Assemble!' At that moment, before the Awesome Android can get to the Black Widow, Hellcat leaps towards it, 'BACK OFF!' she snarls.
But, the Black Widow's call goes mostly unheeded, or perhaps simply unheard, as the rest of the Avengers are occupied in battles of their own. As Thor battles the Juggernaut, Iron Man faces off with the Wrecker, and Captain America fights his teammate and World War II ally, the Sub-Mariner. Quasar tests his mettle against the Absorbing Man, and the Avengers West Coast members USAgent, Wonder Man and the Human Torch are battling the U-Foes.
However, the Avengers' ranks run deep, and in a restaurant in New Orleans, Monica Rambeau receives the call while she is on a date. 'Is that your beeper?' Monica's date asks. Monica stands up and apologizes to Ben, and tells him that a woman in her position is always on call. 'A ship's captain is on call?' Ben asks, slightly confused. Monica leaves the restaurant and goes into a nearby alley where she stands in the shadows and changes into her super hero costume – that wasn't a beeper, that was a priority distress call – and it wasn't a ship's captain that was being called – it was Captain Marvel! Monica switches to an energy form as she takes off over the city, telling herself that she has never flown as fast as she can over land, but at top speed she supposes she is about forty minutes from Hydrobase.
Back at the pier, Hellcat falls victim to the hurricane winds of the Awesome Android, who blasts her back across the pier. Moondragon steps forward and boasts that the creature should prove no match for her mental powers, and announces that she will telepathically order him to sleep. But as she attempts to do so, the Awesome Android prepares to slam a brick-like fist into her. 'Moondragon – move!' Hellcat exclaims as she leaps at her former associate, knocking her out of harm's way. 'Why? Another moment I would have defeated him!' Moondragon snaps. 'He's an android! You can't telepathically order him to do anything! He has no mind!' Hellcat retorts. 'Oh' Moondragon utters. 'I'd heard that since you returned you'd come down off your high horse. Guess I heard -' Hellcat begins, before Moondragon tells her to look out – as the Awesome Android looms over both of them, two brick-fists raised and ready to strike – before he is blasted backwards by a surge of flaming energy courtesy of Firebird!
'Nice save, Firebird' the Black Widow calls out, before suggesting that they regroup and come up with a plan. 'Already got one! I'm going to whip up a heaping serving of android flambe!' Firebird replies as she unleashes another surge of flaming energy at the Awesome Android, knocking the robot backwards, despite Black Widow telling her not to. 'He's down!' Firebird announces once the Awesome Android collapses. Black Widow tells her that she hopes so, before reminding Firebird how the Awesome Android duplicated her Widow's Bite. 'If he did the same with your powers...' she begins, when suddenly, 'You mean like that?' Moondragon asks as the Awesome Android suddenly stands up, a fiery glow around his body. Firebird tells the others to stand behind her, as the Awesome Android raises his fists and unleashes a fiery blast towards them. Firebird is able to counter the blast by throwing up a head shield, blocking the heat before it reaches the Avengers, although she tells the others that she can't keep this up for long, that is is harder than just projecting heat.
Nearby, something splashes into the river, and catches the attention of Moondragon and the Black Widow. 'Was that Captain Marvel?' Moondragon asks. The Black Widow tells her that she believes so, and wonders what Captain Marvel is doing. Moondragon's brow furrows in concentration at this.
Under the water, still in an energy form, Captain Marvel makes her way through the sunken Mansion, deciding that it looks as if the other Avengers have the situation under control, at least for now. Suddenly, she finds what she is looking for – the stasis field projector. Monica reverts to human form and rips the projector loose, before realizing she is running out of air and switching back to her energy form, carrying the projector, she soon bursts up through the water's surface, deciding that Tony Stark really builds things to last. She laments not having her old energy powers, as this projector still needs a source. Monica has a plan, but she still needs to communicate with the rest of the team. 'What did you have in mind, Captain Marvel?' Moondragon calls out as she appears near Captain Marvel, hovering in the air.
One telepathic conference call later, Captain Marvel shouts' NOW!' and at Captain Marvel's instruction, Firebird drops the heat shield, and the Avengers scatter, diving for cover, while Firebird then uses the last of her waning energy to project one heat beam at the stasis field projector. The beam contains enough energy to power the projector up, and Captain Marvel aims the projector at the Awesome Android – the beam strikes him, and shuts him down, as the creature drops to the pier with a loud WHAM.
Shortly, the Black Widow finishes connecting power lines to the projector, and tells the other Avengers that that should hold the Awesome Android until they are set up again. 'Great job, Captain. Firebird. Heck, all of us!' Hellcat exclaims as she shakes Captain Marvel's hand. But Captain Marvel tells everyone that they weren't that great – as Tess-One, the Sleeper, the Super-Adaptoid and the Kree Sentry are all missing – which is very serious. The Black Widow declares that more serious than that is that only one Avenger was available to answer a priority distress call. Everyone looks at her as she asks 'What's happening to the Avengers?'
Loki/Man in White
Stark Enterprises staff
Black Widow, Captain Marvel II, Firebird, Hellcat, Moondragon (all Avengers Reservists)
(in illustrative images)
Captain America, Iron Man, Quasar, Thor (all Avengers)
Human Torch, USAgent, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)
Absorbing Man, Juggernaut, Sub-Mariner, Wrecker
Ironclad, Vapor, VectorX-Ray (all U-Foes)
This issue ties into the “Acts of Vengeance” event.
Hawkeye was bitten by Mad-Dog in Avengers Spotlight #22.
Avengers Island was sunk by Doombots in Avengers (1st series) #311.