Avengers Spotlight #31

Issue Date: 
April 1990
Story Title: 
1st story: Hit and Run - 2nd story: The Xenophobic Man part 1: Rocks & Hard Places

1st story: Steve Gerber (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Don Heck (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Paul Becton (colorist)

2nd story: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Dan Lawlis (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Janice Chiang (letterer), Brad Vancata (colorist)

Len Kaminski (managing editor), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFaclo (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)

Hawkeye is discovered in disguise at the Avengers West Compound, so he is forced to reveal to Mockingbird that he has been investigating gang crimes. The gang – the Stone Perfs – continue their activities by blasting bullets through the home of Monica Guiterrez, one bullet strikes her – a warning, for her son phoning the police to alert them that Hawkeye had been beaten up by the gang. Hawkeye is alerted to the shooting by Detective Zamora. He is even more determined to sort out the issues  with the gang, despite Mockingbird warning him that the issue is bigger than he can sort. Stone Peft member Prince Charming is released from prison, his bail posted by Lotus Newmark. He learns from Newmark's associate, Auggie Slater, that Newmark has plans for him, and that he must not return to his gang associates. Hawkeye visits Monica Guiterrez in hospital, but she isn't happy to see him, blaming him for bringing this trouble to her family, and when Hawkeye asks Luis to stay out of trouble, Luis tells Hawkeye that he can take care of himself. Prince Charming is given his first assignment by Lotus Newmark, to act as driver for one of her assassins. In Downtown LA, a boy can be seen buying a gun from a Stone Perfs in the dark of the early evening. Hawkeye starts his evening search over LA for any Stone Perfs activities. He locates a van belonging to the gang and follows it, until a car appears out of nowhere and smashes into him, knocking him off his sky-cycle. The assassin steps out of the car and fires a powerful weapon at Hawkeye, who evades the attack. Hawkeye fires an arrow which clogs up the assassin's weapon, causing the weapon to explode, although the assassin is not killed. Hawkeye confronts the assassin, before someone stationed on a nearby rooftop shoots the assassin through the head – and Hawkeye wonders if he has an ally or if this is just another trigger-happy maniac to deal with.

(2nd story)

As Mexican refugees attempt to cross the border into the United States, many of them are gunned down by a hateful man known as the Xenophobic Man, however three children are rescued by the USAgent who was sent to the border to investigate the recent spike in deaths at the border. He nearly catches up to the Xenophobic Man, but he escapes, and returns to his simple apartment, where he gets angry about all the foreign-made pieces of furniture and other objects in his apartment, while declaring that his heart, soul and dreams were made in the USA, as he changes into his Border Patrol officer uniform. Later, the USAgent meets with Captain Hitchuck of the Border Patrol, at the hospital, where a guard has been set up to watch over the children. USAgent and Hitchuck don't get on and Hitchuck defends his position to stop illegals from crossing the border. A kindly nurse gives USAgent some information about a church involved in helping people cross the border and tells him that if he wants to stop the killings he should look there. When he arrives at the church where the Sanctuary Movement operates from, but when he arrives, he finds himself confronted by armed refugees.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)

Avengers West Compound, ten PM, where the security-minded John Walker a.k.a. USAgent makes one last inspection of the grounds before calling it a night. Ordinarily, these moonlight walkabouts yield little more than a bit of exercise and a breath of fresh air. Tonight is different, as he steps into the garage, and finds a man with brown hair and a white hat crouched beside one of Hawkeye's sky-cycles, examining it. 'Who the blazes!' USAgent thinks to himself, deciding that whoever this guy is, he is awfully interested in Hawkeye's sky-cycle, and a little too satisfied with his work. 'But I've got just the cure for that smirk on his ugly kisser!' As the mystery man stands up, USAgent slams a fist into him, knocking the man across the garage, where he slams into a shelf holding various tools and other instruments, which crashes to the floor. 'Let me know when you can only see one of me, punk – then we'll have a little talk' USAgent declares.

USAgent grabs the intruder by his collar, 'First I want a name – then I want to know how you got past our securi-' USAgent begins, but as he shakes the intruder, he is shocked: 'What the devil -? A wig!' USAgent gasps as the brown wig falls from the blond intruder – 'HAWKEYE!' USAgent shouts. 'Yes' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hakweye responds, while rubbing his neck, he mutters 'Geez, if you'd given me a chance to explain before you launched World War III!' USAgent tells Hawkeye that he better have a good explanation for this, as they head off out of the garage across to the main part of the Palos Verdes Compound, Hawkeye explains that this is a disguise he has been working on so he can go undercover in the gang neighborhoods. 'Pretty convincing, I'll hand you that' USAgent replies. 'Maybe, but not very durable' Hawkeye admits, adding that he will have to shop around for a stronger adhesive.

USAgent remarks that Hawkeye is taking the gang-busting business seriously, and Hawkeye agrees that he is, revealing that he even rented an apartment in East LA.

'Not with Avengers fund, I hope!' USAgent is quick to ask. 'No' Hawkeye assures him. 'Good. Budget's tight' USAgent points out. As the walk down a corridor, USAgent asks Hawkeye if Mockingbird knows how far he is planning to take this operation. 'I've, uh, been meaning to discuss it with her...' Hawkeye's voice trails off, to which USAgent just laughs and carries on down the corridor, 'And you think you got grief from me!' USAgent calls back to Hawkeye, while Hawkeye's estranged wife Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird approaches from another direction, and tells Clint that she loves his pic 'n' save look, but that his hair and moustache clash a bit. Bobbi sees that Hawkeye doesn't even crack a smile, and as Clint removes the face moustache, Bobbi tells him that he is laughing less and less these days, before asking if they are going to have some profound philosophical exchange about his awful clothes. Clint just tells Bobbi that they should sit down for a minute.

Meanwhile, in East LA, Anita Guiterrez watches intently as the credits flash by at the conclusion of “Alien Nation”, and she wonders what it would be like to see her own name on the screen, she barely hears the unexpected knock at the front door. Her mother, Monica, is knitting at the same time and her brother, Luis is sitting on the sofa. 'I'll get it, Mama' Luis, calls out. Monica tells her son to finish his homework, while she gets up to answer the door. 'Who is it?' Monica asks. There is a long moment of silence, so she asks 'Hello? Who is there?' Another moment goes by with no answer. With caution, Monica Guiterrez turns the door knob – and outside, discovers that no one is there – only a slip of paper – one that chills her to the bone – the note reads “Tell your kid mind his own biznes” signed by S. Perfs. Monica closes the door and picks up a a telephone, ordering her children to the bedroom, and to stay there until she says to come out. Luis gets off the couch and asks his mama what is wrong. 'GO! Time to talk later, after -' Monica begins, but the end of her sentence is lost amid the shattering of glass, explosion of gunpowder and screaming as the living room is blasted apart.

Luis dives to the ground, while Anita rushes to the bedroom as instructed. Luis turns back and looks through the broken window, seeing a van speed away. Although the attackers never show their faces, he does see the van, and can hear  the raucous laughter of the attackers. 'Luis...'Monica calls out from where she lies wounded on the floor after being shot. 'Mama! Oh, Mama! Luis exclaims. Monica tells Luis to call an ambulance and to hurry. ''I will... Mama... lie  still' Luis replies, while a crying Anita peers out from the bedroom and asks her brother if their mama is alive. 'Shhh! It's ringing!' Luis responds as he holds the phone up.

A short time later at Avengers Compound, Hawkeye is on the phone and Mockingbird sees that he looks upset. 'Who is it?' she  asks. 'Hold on!' Hawkeye replies, before announcing that it is Officer Zamora, and that the Perfs just pulled a drive by at Luis Guiterrez's house. Hawkeye tells Zamora that he was just explaining the situation to Mockingbird, and assures him that he is glad he called. Hawkeye hangs up and turns to Mockingbird, informing her that Luis and his sister are all right, but their mother is in the hospital. 'This is the kid who called 911 for you?' Mockingbird asks. 'Yeah. I can't let this go on' Hawkeye responds, adding that he can't let Luis come to harm for the “crime” of saving his life. He starts to leave the room while Mockingbird tells him that he can't stop it, either – not the whole problem, not alone. 'It's just too big – it's too chaotic, too -' Mockingbird exclaims.

'Then what are we doing calling ourselves the “Avengers”?' Clint snaps, turning back to Bobbi and asking her what the point of dressing up in tights to save the world is if they just back away from the jobs that make the world worth saving. 'You don't change the world with kung-fu and trick arrows!' Mockingbird exclaims, adding that this is the kind of problem they are no good at. 'Really? Which kinda is that?' Hawkeye asks as he continues out of the room. 'The kind that gets ten-year olds and their mothers shot?' Clint snaps. 'You're being completely unrealistic!' Mockingbird calls back to Hawkeye, who tells her that he will take that as a compliment. Bobbi thinks to herself that even after all that has happened, Clint doesn't get it – he still has no clue what he is getting involved in!

The next day, in Hollywood, a short man in a suit called Auggie Slater walks down the front steps of the local police station, alongside the Stone Perfs gang member known as Prince Charming. Slater tells Prince Charming that the weapons were destroyed with the car, and that there is no evidence he ever fired a shot, meaning the best the police can do is place him at the scene. 'You saying you can't get me off, man?' Prince Charming asks. Slater tells the gang member that if he follows his instructions, and those of Ms Newmark's, to the letter, then it is possible. He informs Prince Charming that he won't be going back to the barrio, as they have arranged other quarters for him, and adds that he will have no contact whatsoever with other members of his gang. 'Give up my friends? My barrio? No way, Slater!' Prince Charming responds, frowning.

As they start to get into a dark car, Slater tells Prince Charming that his options are to accept a public defender and stand trial for murder, or to accept his representation under the terms Ms Newmark has specified. 'You don't gimmie much choice, man!' Prince Charming mutters. Slater starts to drive the car as Prince Charming asks him why Lotus Newmark is going to all this trouble for him anyway. 'Posting bail, hiring me a lawyer – what's she care?' he queries. Slater explains that Lotus heard about his jailhouse “interview” with Hawkeye, and he understands that Lotus thinks she may have possibilities for him – if he can provide the services she needs. 'This could be very profitable for you' Slater adds. 'Yeah? What I gotta do?' Prince Charming asks. 'Nothing that won't come naturally' Slater smiles.

Across town at La Reina hospital, 'Geet out – stay away from us!' Monica Guiterrez shouts as she sits up in her hospital bed and points at Hawkeye, who is wearing his new costume. Her children are at the end of her bed also, along with Detective Zamora. Monica tells Hawkeye that this is his fault, sticking his nose in things that are none of his business. 'My children could have been killed because of you!' she exclaims. 'Mrs Guiterrez, I didn't -' Hawkeye begins, but she interrupts him, informing him that they do not want his help, and that they have enough trouble in their lives. 'GET OUT' she screams. Hawkeye leaves Mrs Guiterrez's room with Detective Zamora and Luis. 'Don't say I didn't warn you, Hawkeye' Detective Zamora remarks. 'You did' Hawkeye replies, adding that he would have felt even worse if he hadn't stopped by. Luis assures Hawkeye that his mama doesn't mean those things she said, that she is just frightened. Hawkeye shakes the boy's hand and tells him that he knows, but that his mother is right about one thing, for now, at least – it probably is best if he keeps his distance. 'I am the reason you're in trouble with the Stone Perfs' Hawkeye points out and asks Luis to be careful, and to promise him that he will stay out of their way. 'Don't worry, Hawkeye. I can take care of myself' Luis replies, looking up at the hero.

Downstairs, Hawkeye and Detective Zamora step out on to the street as Hawkeye asks the Detective if there has been any luck running down the van Luis described. Detective Zamora confesses that there isn't, and that he know this sounds awful, but they couldn't assign it top priority because nobody died. Hawkeye tells Zamora that he doesn't have to explain, as he knows the police have hundreds of cases like this. 'Mind if I hunt around a little?' Hawkeye asks as he climbs onto his sky-cycle. 'I'm not proud. I'll take all the help I can get' Zamora replies as he walks towards his police car.

Meanwhile, in the Hollywood Hills, Lotus Newmark sits in a chair opposite the sofa where Auggie Slater and Prince Charming are sitting, while another man wearing white trousers and an orange jacket sits on another chair nearby. Lotus Newmark introduces the man as Reynaldo Cortizar and explains that he comes from Medellin, where he was a bodyguard to Enrique Moreno, a major supplier until the Colombian government drove him into exile, which left poor Enrique unemployed. 'Yeah? So what's it got to do with me?' Prince Charming asks. Lotus explains that Reynaldo is unfamiliar with Los Angeles, and instructs Prince Charming to drive Reynaldo wherever he needs to go to complete the business that she requires him to do. 'From your expression, I take it you find this offensive, Fernando?' Lotus asks, judging the unimpressed look on Prince Charming's face. 'Call me Prince!' the gang member retorts, before asking why he should have to chauffeur this guy around. 'Because, amigo, our mutual interests will be served...by the elimination of Hawkeye!' Reynaldo claims.

Later that day, in the early hours of the evening, in Downtown LA, under what appears to be some freeway bridges, a figure stands in the shadows counting some money, and asks the kid standing in front of him where he got this kind of money – four hundred dollars. 'What's the difference? I got it. You gonna sell me that thing or not?' the kid asks. The figure in the shadows asks the kid if he knows how to put it together, and the boy turns, holding a package and declares that he will figure it out.

Some hours later, Hawkeye flies across the city on his sky-cycle, but has come up with nothing. He has crisscrossed the area three or four dozen times, but has not seen any sign of that van. Clint thinks to himself that this is no major surprise, and decides that he would probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than spotting that one van – when suddenly, 'Right make. Right model. Right color' Clint tells himself as he sees a van speed down the road underneath him. 'The odds are ludicrous, but I may as well check the license!' Clint decides, dropping down to a lower level, he hovers over the road and gives chase to the van. 'Sonuvagun...I guess somebody has to win the lottery!' Clint jokes. As he gets closer to the van, Clint is confident that the driver hasn't seen him, so he readies himself to take one good shot at the tire and therefore wrap this up with a minimum of violence.

But, suddenly, a blinding light appears ahead of Hawkeye, startling him as he readies to fire an arrow, Hawkeye sees a car driving straight towards him as he flies alongside the van. 'Is this guy crazy? Doesn't he see -' Clint thinks to himself, before he starts to pull his sky-cycle up, 'When am I going to learn?' Clint wonders, as the base of his sky-cylce is struck by the approaching car, sending Clint careening over the sky-cycle and straight down onto the road. 'GOT 'IM!' the driver of the car shouts. On the ground, Hawkeye feels like he has broken at least one of everything, and notices the car swing around and drive back towards him. Hawkeye reaches for his bow, but a voice calls out 'Forget the bow, amigo!' and caught in the beam of the car headlights, Hawkeye looks up to see Reynaldo Cortizar aiming a bazooka-type weapon at him. 'You will have no time to use it!' Cortizar calls out, and as he opens fire, warns Hawkeye that his life is over. 'Not quite yet!' Hawkeye responds as he ducks for safety, avoiding the brunt of the blast. 'As you wish. Draw a last breath while I reload' Reynaldo tells Hawkeye.

Suddenly, Hawkeye gets back to his feet and fires an arrow, 'Mr Cool, huh? All business? Okay! Fine! Let's see how you do business with an explosive arrow up your MBA!' Hawkeye suggests as he fires the arrow, which lodges itself in the front of the bazooka-type weapon, to Reynaldo's shock. Reynaldo then throws the weapon in front of him and asks Hawkeye why he warns his victim of the danger. 'Personal quirk. I don't kill' Hawkeye replies. 'I just want to rattle you a little'. At that moment, the weapon then explodes, Reynaldo covers his eyes as the blast darts around him, knocking him backwards. Hawkeye leaps to safety as the car speeds away, 'Now that's loyalty! I'll tell your chum you had to leave!' Hawkeye calls out to the driver, before he walks over to Reynaldo who is lying motionless nearby. 'Assuming he's in any condition to receive a message!' Hawkeye adds.

Hawkeye rolls Reynaldo over and tells him to speak, as he wants to hear why a total stranger is so determined to kill him. 'That...you will never know!' Reynaldo exclaims as he opens his eyes and raises a pistol which was concealed in his jacket. 'You should not have spared me, amigo!' Reynaldo warns Hawkeye, aiming the pistol at Hawkeye's face. Reynaldo starts tell Hawkeye that he will not return the favor – but before he even finishes the sentence, he is shot in the back of his head. 'What – who – ??' Hawkeye begins, before looking up to a nearby rooftop, where he sees a figure running away. 'YOU – WAIT!' Hawkeye shouts, but gets no response. 'Yeah, fat chance' Hawkeye realizes, before wondering if he has found an ally down here, or a trigger happy maniac?


(2nd story)

Standing on a ridge overlooking the Rio Grande, a man wearing military-style pants, a blue bomber jacket and a mask over his face holds a rifle while thinking to himself 'I can smell their fear. As they try to cross the Rio Grande, I can smell the uncertainty in their every breath'. He wonders what  right they have – what right they have to take away the sweat from a true American's toil. As refugees wade through the river, desperate and cold, the man wonders what right they have to take bread away from a true American's table, and decides that they will be asking themselves the same questions. He knows that they are waiting for the answer – and boasts that he has that answer for them: 'They have no right whatsoever!' he tells himself as he suddenly opens fire on the refugees, bullets striking several of them down.

The mystery man tells himself that the refugees don't scream so much as whimper, meaning they are afraid. 'Afraid of their past, afraid of their future. Look at them. Trying so hard' he tells himself as he continues another assault of bullets. A man and a woman try to hurry across the river with some children as another woman is shot down. The echoes of the bullets crack through the canyon like fireworks on the Fourth of July. 'And they don't even run back here they belong!' the mystery man thinks to himself, as the man and woman are shot while helping the children onto the shore of the river. 'They still try to make it to our side. What gives them the right? The right to dream? To yearn for a better life?' he asks, while the children are suddenly grabbed by a muscular man wearing a black, white and red costume – John Walker the USAgent!

USAgent towers over the three children, and raises his shield, protecting them from another array of bullets that are fired towards them, while the mystery man thinks 'What gives them the right to hope?' Bullets clang off USAgent's shield, while USAgent tries to tell the children to stay under a small ledge where they back up against. 'Stay' he tells them, unsure if they understand what he has told them as they speak to them Spanish, one of them asks if he is Captain America. Knowing the assailant has the angle on him, USAgent leaps away from the children, thinking they should be okay. USAgent begins to climb up the side of the canyon with ease, while wondering how many rounds the magazine holds. He raises his shield and blocks some more bullets, while telling himself to keep the shield in front of his face as he reaches the top of the canyon, and sees a car, some sort of ute, speed away. Johnny knows that he could catch the car if he gave chase – but he remembers the kids down below. 'The kids. The car. The kids. The car' Johnny ponders his options, before swearing as he starts to climb back down the canyon.

The red ute pulls up at a complex of apartments, and the driver wonders who the man at the canyon was, as he looked like Captain America, but he's sure it wasn't him. 'Captain America would agree with what I'm doing, wouldn't he?' the man asks himself. He enters the apartment block and climbs some internal stairs, wondering who the man at the canyon was still, and why he tried to stop him. 'I'm only trying to keep what's ours ours' the man tells himself. He pulls a key to his apartment out of his pocket and thinks to himself 'Stinkin' keys made in Canada for a lock made in Korea for an apartment built by scab wetback labor'. He enters his apartment and remobes his football helmet, tossing it yowards a small dog which yaps in excitement and darts around the living room. 'Catch, you weasley little refried bean' the man thinks to himself, deciding that the dog is making the same sweet sound that the refugees made when the bullets kicked into them. He looks around his apartment and sees the stereo made in Japan, next to the couch made in Yugoslavia sitting on a rug made in Brazil.

The man removes his jacket and throws it on to the couch, then walks into the bedroom and tosses his red shirt onto the end of his bed, where a photo of a boy standing next to a man in a uniform can be seen on the bedside table. 'Only my heart was made in the USA' the man thinks to himself as he goes over to the closet. 'Only my soul. Only my dreams'. He then pulls a shirt from the closet which has a Border Patrol badge pinned to it.

'All they have left are their dreams. All I do is crush those dreams' a middle-aged man in a US Border Patrol uniform remarks inside a hospital, while USAgent stands in front of him. The officer tells USAgent that it doesn't make him a happy man, but that he doesn't think they should die trying to get into this country, either. USAgent addresses the Border Patrol officer as Captain Hitchuck and explains that he was ordered here by his superiors because the situation has gotten out of hand, and states that this psychotic has slaughtered fourteen illegal aliens over the past three months. 'And you're no closer to finding him than when he first pulled the trigger' USAgent declares. As reporters and camera operators arrive outside the hospital, USAgent asks Captain Hitchuck if, given all the attention this case has started to draw, whether he is surprised someone like he was called in. 'No, but it don't mean I have to like it, though' Captain Hitchuck mutters, before asking USAgent who he is. 'I'm an Avenger' USAgent responds.

'Then how'd you like it if I was called in to help you fight the Tangerine or one of those guys?' Captain Hitchuck asks. 'Mandarin' USAgent corrects the Captain, adding that he sympathizes, but points out he accomplished more in one night than the Border Patrol has in months. 'Six dead. One barely alive in this hospital. Three children with no hope. Looks like you accomplished plenty' Hitchuck frowns. Two Border Patrol officers approach their captain. 'Who's this?' a blond man asks. Hitchuck turns to his officers and addresses the blond man as LaRoue and a man with darker hair as Bouting and tells them that they are both late again. LaRoue points at Agent Bouting and and calls him Fred as he explains that Fred overslept again. 'I'm not in the mood fer it, LaRoue!' Captain Hitchuck snaps, before instructing his officers to guard the door, as there is an old woman who survived last night's assault, along with three kids. 'No one but doctors and nurses get in. got it?' Hitchuck declares as he walks away from the hospital room.

USAgent follows Hitchuck, telling him that they are not done yet. 'Maybe you ain't, but I am!' Hitchuck snaps as he gets into an elevator with a nurse. 'Listen – hiding from the situation isn't going to solve it' USAgent tells Hitchuck as he follows him into the elevator. 'Tell me, Mr Super Hero, what do you know about “the situation”?' Hitchuck asks, declaring that his job is to stop illegals from crossing the border, that he is 75% understaffed and that he can't do the job worth spit. The elevator opens and Captain Hitchuck steps out, explaining that the killer has slowed down the illegal influx by over 60% in four months. He asks USAgent how his basic arithmetic is, and remarks that he isn't getting any help finding and stopping this killer because no one wants him stopped. 'And that probably includes the very people who sent you down' Captain Hitchuck adds. USAgent starts to follow Captain Hitchuch, when the nurse suddenly grabs his arm and tells him that if he really wants to stop the killings, then she knows someone who can help him.

After being given an address for a sanctuary movement operating along the Texan border, USAgent arrives at a church. He parks his jeep in front of the church and walks towards the church doors. He has been told that the church serves as an underground railroad which houses illegals untl they can be filtered through to safehouses in the north. He has heard of these movements, but didn't expect one to be run from a church. He steps through the front doors, and after dipping his gloved hand in the holy water and putting his hand to his chest, he thinks that it is dark as sin in here – before realizing that he should watch his choice of words. Suddenly, 'A prayer, my son?' a voice calls out, and USAgent finds himself surrounded by men pointing guns at him, while a priest with red hair and red beard asks 'For what you have done, or for what you are about to do?' before welcoming USAgent to the Santuary Movement.


Characters Involved: 

(1st story)

Hawkeye, Mockingbird, USAgent (all Avengers West Coast)


Anita, Luis & Monica Gutierrez

Detective Zamora

Lotus Newmark

Prince Charming

Reynaldo Cortizar

Auggie Slater


(2nd story)



Xenophobic Man


Father Kevin Grass

Captain Hitchuck, Agent LaRoue (both US Border Patrol)

Unnamed nurse



Story Notes: 

This issue contains a bonus pin-up featuring Hawkeye that was meant to be the cover for a previous issue in this series but went unused.

(1st story)

Luis is the boy who phoned the ambulance after he found the wounded Hawkeye in an alleyway after Hawkeye was attacked by the gang in Avengers Spotlight #30.

(2nd story)

This story takes place between Avengers West Coast #62 and #63 and after Captain America (1st series) #380-383.

First appearance of the Xenophobic Man.

Written By: