Avengers West Coast #68

Issue Date: 
March 1991
Story Title: 
The Reaper and the Robot, part 4: California Screaming!

Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Paul Ryan (penciler), Danny Bullandi (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Mike Marts (assistant editor), Howard Mackie (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man, USAgent, Wonder Man, Tigra and Quicksilver return to Ultron’s lab off the Metro rail tunnel, where they encounter several Andrones, including a child. During the melee, one of the Andrones hit’s the self destruct button on the facility, but the heroes manage to escape, with the Andrones in tow, before the tunnel explodes. After dealing with a Police Officer who wants to give them a ticket for the illegal parking of their Quinjet, the Avengers West realize Wonder Man isn’t with them, and Quicksilver reveals that he stayed behind, certain he could survive the blast. Indeed, Wonder Man did survive the explosion, and searches for his brother, the Grim Reaper. After discussing why the Grim Reaper allied himself with Ultron, when Ultron plans to transform every living thing into a robotic extension of himself, the Grim Reaper reveals that Ultron has been unknowingly absorbing human life force every time he robotizes someone. Wonder Man and the Grim Reaper strike a deal - the Grim Reaper will stop Ultron from transforming the world into Andrones, provided he gets to continue consuming the life force energies of one human every day. Wonder Man reluctantly agrees, and they make their way to the New Years Day Parade where Ultron has another secret hide-out in a blimp over the parade, from where he intends to release the gallium arsenide spray onto the humans below. Meanwhile, Hawkeye, still under Ultron’s thrall, escapes from the cell at the Palos Verdes Compound, and attacks the Scarlet Witch, Hank Pym and the Wasp in an attempt to get free. But when the others return in the Quinjet, he is rendered unconscious, and Hank realizes that the frequency of the Quinjet did it, before they all depart to find Ultron. Wonder Man and the Grim Reaper invade Ultron’s blimp and cause it to plummet towards the ground, and as Ultron and the Grim Reaper clash, the mixing of synergies causes the robots in the parade below to come to life! The Avengers West arrive on scene and take down the robots, while the Grim Reaper knocks out Ultron, before Wonder Man attacks him. Hawkeye makes a sudden arrival and gets caught between Ultron and the Grim Reaper’s power - until Wonder Man frees him from the energy field, causing Ultron and the Grim Reaper to clash together, knocking each other out. Iron Man takes off with Hawkeye, vowing to help restore him to his human form, while the Scarlet Witch tends to the injured Wonder Man.

Full Summary: 

‘Hey, Ultron -’ exclaims Simon “Wonder Man” Williams, ‘- we’re back!’ concludes Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra, both members of the Avengers West Coast, as they burst into Ultron-13’s hidden lair. ‘Just couldn’t resist that old tag line, could you?’ the handsome John Walker a.k.a. USAgent asks Tigra, to which Tony “Iron Man” Stark reminds Walker that all that mattered was finding Ultron-13 at home, in his secret lab off the Metro Rail tunnel. ‘And on that score, it looks like we blew it!’ Tony realizes, as the four Avengers West Coast, along with their ally Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, look around the sprawling lab.

‘Nothing but a few robotized humans - his “Andrones” he calls them!’ Tigra exclaims, motioning to Ultron’s creations scattered throughout the complex. As three of the Andrones surround Tigra, the feline heroine points out that since they are totally under Ultron’s mental remote control, their metal fists could bash her brain in as fast as Ultron’s would. ‘And speaking of “fast”, they’re all your’s Pietro!’ Greer adds as she leaps up above the three Andrones who attempt to grab her, enabling the super fast mutant to race around them with a rope, tying them up, he remarks that there is little pleasure in hobbling such pitifully will-less creatures. ‘Such as you and I were only a short time ago’ he reminds Tigra.

‘I’ll do more than just “hobble” them, fella!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he takes the rope and tightens it, causing the Andrones to clang together and knock each other out. Quicksilver thinks to himself that Wonder Man slammed them together very savagely, and realizes that Wonder Man’s concern for his living-dead brother has made him reckless, and even cruel.

Iron Man blasts his repulsor ray at one of the Andrones and tells USAgent that it still feels eerie fighting men who don’t speak. Walker throws a lasso around an Androne and replies ‘Like Tigra and Quicksilver told us, under hypnosis, Ultron’s turned them into nothing more than walking extensions of himself - so they don’t need to talk to each other!’ Walker throws the other end of the rope over a beam above him, and runs to a piece of equipment stuck to the ground, which he ties the rope to, pulling the Androne off the ground and leaving it hovering mid-air.

Suddenly, ‘Hey, mister!’ exclaims a little boy standing in the corner of the lab. ‘WHA -?’ USAgent gasps, surprised. ‘Can you help me find my mom and dad?’ the boy asks. ‘Uh, sure, son - but what in blazes are you doing down here?’ Walker asks as he approaches the child. ‘This is no place for a -’ Johnny begins, until the boy lunges at him, and wraps his small hands around Walker’s muscular neck, knocking him to the floor and attempting to strangle him! ‘Fell for it - hook, line and sinker!’ Johnny thinks to himself as he tries to pull the kid off him. ‘The kid’s one of them - choking me. Fingers like a steel vice on my windpipe - I can’t -’ he thinks to himself, before suddenly, Wonder Man stands over him and pulls the kid off of him. ‘Need some help, Agent?’ Simon asks.

Quicksilver ties the child Androne up as Walker replies that the kid caught him off guard because he spoke, to which Wonder Man remarks that they know Ultron’s victims don’t need to talk, but that is not the same thing as saying they can’t talk. ‘Now he tells!’ Walker mutters, rubbing his sore throat before saying ‘Anyway, thanks. I’m not too proud to -’ he kind sentiments are interrupted by Tigra, who alerts her companions to one of the Andrones that they missed. ‘I sure don’t like where he’s got to!’ she adds as the Androne stands at a computer console - which Iron Man suddenly rips up with a repulsor ray, before telling Tigra that her hunch was right.

Iron Man flies over and collects the Androne, pointing out that since Ultron probably already knows they are here, the only thing that Androne could have been doing is initiating a destruct sequence. Iron Man tells his teammates that he doubts his repulsor rays trashed the mainframe before the Androne did his job. ‘Grab the robot-men and let’s get out of here!’ Iron Man orders. ‘You know what I like about the way you give orders, Iron Man?’ Walker asks as he and the others grab the Andrones and make a quick getaway. ‘Not a blasted thing!’ Johnny tells him.

Outside the tunnel, the speedster Quicksilver arrives and sees a Police Officer standing near the Quinjet. Quicksilver calls out to him, but the Officer asks him if this is his vehicle, and tells hi that if it is, then so is the ticket which he is writing out. ‘Don’t you know this is a restricted area - especially since last Summer’s tunnel explosion?’. Suddenly, there is another explosion, but Iron Man, USAgent and Tigra make it out of the tunnel, with the Andrones, just in time. ‘As a matter of fact, Officer - I believe I did read something about that!’ Quicksilver remarks, before the Police Officer exclaims that he didn’t realize they were the Avengers West. ‘I should’ve recognized -’ he mutters.

‘Chalk up another delay for the Metro Rail System, huh, people?’ Tigra remarks as the heroes load the Andrones into the Quinjet, while Walker remarks that perhaps L.A. is not destined to have a subway system after all. ‘At least we got all the Andrones out safely - and the steel cable is keeping them subdued’ Quicksilver points out. ‘Hey, what’s with those guys, anyway?’ the Police Officer asks. ‘They wearing metal masks, or what?’ he asks. ‘Afraid it’s the “or what”’ Iron Man replies, before the Officer walks over to the Quinjet and remarks that even though it is New Year’s Morning, they have to answer some questions.

‘Just a moment’ Iron Man replies, before asking his teammates if they have seen Wonder Man since the explosion. ‘Good Lord!’ Tigra gasps before exclaiming that they have to go back in. ‘No!’ Quicksilver exclaims, announcing that Wonder Man told him he was remaining behind, and that he was positive he could survive the coming explosion. ‘In light of all he has gone through these past few days, I suggest we honor his decision’ Pietro suggests. Iron Man declares that they will, for now, and as the Quinjet takes to the sky, ignoring the Police Officer, Iron Man remarks that they have better hope Wonder Man was right about how much force his ionically-charged body can take.

Back inside the now half-demolished laboratory, Wonder Man calls out to his brother: ERIC!’ he shouts. ‘You’re here somewhere - I know you are!’ Simon shouts, calling for his brother to come out of his hiding place as he searches through the rubble. ‘Hello, baby brother!’ Eric Williams - better known as the Grim Reaper - exclaims, as he emerges from an alcove. ‘Then I was right! I felt your presence, somehow!’ Simon exclaims, before remarking that Eric did go looking for Ultron, as he thought he might. The Grim Reaper then reveals to his brother that he actually agreed to serve Ultron, and that he convinced Ultron he should stay to defend his lab.

‘Well, you sure did a bang-up job of that, didn’t you?’ Simon remarks, to which Eric explains that he was lying, of course. ‘Now that makes sense!’ Simon exclaims, realizing that if Ultron manages to turn everyone into mini-Ultrons, then there won’t be much human life left over for a dead man who has to absorb some every 24 hours. ‘Ultron knows that. He plans to use me as his right hand for a while - then get rid of me’ The Grim Reaper replies, to which Simon notices the scythe attached to Eric’s arm and asks him if he has a hand still attached underneath it. ‘Actually - no. Ultron fused hand and scythe’ Eric reveals. ‘His way of proving that I really am dead and wouldn’t feel any pain, I guess. Funny thing is - I like things better this way!’

Simon tells Eric to keep the sickle out of his face, reminding him that he is one person it will not such the life-force out of. Simon asks his brother why he even pretended to serve Ultron and longer than it took to get within striking distance, to which Eric replies ‘Because of something Ultron doesn’t know…’. Eric reveals to Simon that while Ultron has been “robotizing” people, there has been a subtle feedback into Ultron’s own system. ‘In a nutshell, he’s been absorbing human energy - humanity itself - in the process!’ Eric explains, adding that, in turn, leaves Ultron increasingly vulnerable to his scythe. ‘Otherwise, I could never have damaged his adamantium body, like I did last night’.

Wonder Man asks his brother what his angle is: ‘Man or boy - living or dead - you’ve always had an angle!’ he reminds his brother, who replies ‘Why, a most humanitarian one, sibling’. The Grim Reaper reminds Wonder Man that Ultron plans to turn a multitude of people into Andrones today - taking more lives in a few minutes than the Grim Reaper would need in years. ‘No, Eric - don’t say it!’ Simon exclaims. ‘I’ll lead you to him in time to stop his planned slaughter - if you’ll swear never again to oppose me - as long as I don’t kill more than one lousy person a day!’ The Grim Reaper offers, asking what could be fairer than that. ‘How can you ask me to stand aside while you -? It’s monstrous!’ Simon replies. ‘That’s what I like about it’ Eric replies, before asking Simon for his answer.

‘How do I know you’d stick to one person a day?’ Simon asks, to which the Grim Reaper replies ‘If I didn’t, you’d find out - you know you would’ before asking his brother once more what his answer is. ‘Time’s a wasting, and so, any minute now, will be a lot of human lives!’ Eric exclaims, asking his brother if they have a deal. ‘All right. You win’ Simon frowns. ‘My pleasure’ Eric replies, before extending his scythe ‘My hand on it - my scythe, rather - to seal our bargain!’ he exclaims. But Simon turns away from Eric, telling him not to push it. ‘Just take me to Ultron - and shut up!’. The Grim Reaper begins to lead Wonder Man out of the lab, telling his brother not to be bitter, ‘After all, when you save all those people, you’ll be an even greater hero than you are now. And no one but you and I will ever know that all it cost the world…is a paltry 365 human lives a year. One more in leap years, of course…’.

Meanwhile at the Palos Verdes Compound, home to the Avengers West Coast, where three of the other members - Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, Dr. Hank Pym and Janet “the Wasp” van Dyne - are currently dealing to their irate teammate Clint “Hawkeye” Barton. ‘You heard me, Pym! I said - I want out!’ Clint shouts as he fires an arrow towards Dr. Pym. ‘Heads up!’ Wanda calls out, before asking how Hawkeye got free. ‘Just stop him!’ Dr. Pym replies, explaining that Clint is trying to wreck the portable infrared bombarder that he is putting together. The Wasp blasts Clint with her wasps’ sting, and exclaims that she is trying to stop him, but because he is still part-metal, her power isn’t doing a lot of good. ‘Try zero good, Wasp!’ Clint exclaims.

Clint leaps out of Hank’s grasp, and as Hank falls to the floor, Clint tells him that his stupid Pym Particles are not going to shrink him down either. ‘But they should have!’ Hank thinks to himself, recalling that his Pym Particles are what screwed up the internal machinery of the “farmer robots” that he and Jan ran into. Wanda raises her hands and exclaims that she will stop him, ‘Now that my hex power-s working again, I should be able to - OH NO!’ Wanda gasps as she realizes that her hex power had no effect on Hawkeye, but caused a huge apparatus to topple towards Hank. Hank tells Wanda not to worry, and uses his Pym Particles on the apparatus, shrinking it down before it crushes him, he remarks that his power still works on some things.

‘Hah! While you losers trip each other up - I’m splitting before the second team lands and gets into the act!’ Clint exclaims. ‘I’ll give Ultron-13 your regards- Clint exclaims as the Quinjet containing Iron Man, USAgent, Quicksilver and Tigra lands - before he suddenly collapses. ‘He collapsed within a few yards of escape!’ Wanda points out, while Tigra, emerged from the Quinjet asks ‘Hank, is he -’ Hank assures her that he will be all right, and remarks that the infrared treatments reversed most of the “robotizing” but not Clint’s subservience to Ultron. ‘At least he was talking again - not like before!’ the Wasp points out.

Jan tells Hank that the rest of the team probably couldn’t head Clint over the Quinjet’s engine, when suddenly Hank interrupts, exclaiming ‘That’s it!’. ‘What’s it?’ Jan asks. Hank declares that it wasn’t the Pym Particles enlarging the Rover that caused the farm bots to explode, it was the Rover’s engine, just as the Quinjet has felled Hawkeye. Quicksilver and Iron Man bring the Andrones over, tied up next to Hawkeye, and Hank explains that the engines of the two craft are similar, so it must be something about their vibrations. Suddenly, Wonder Man’s signal is heard over the computer system. ‘Now what?’ Hank asks as he ties up Hawkeye. ‘He wants us on the double!’ Iron Man declares, and moments later, the Quinjet departs the Compound.

Inside a security apartment building, Wonder Man and the Grim Reaper are watching a news report of the parade happening right now. ‘Beautiful New Year’s morning here in Pasadena, where the theme of this year’s world-famous Rose Parade is…”The World of Tomorrow!”’. the news reader announces as a float in the parade cones into view - a world with the Starship Enterprise hovering over it. ‘Look, Jeremy - that float representing the Starship Enterprise looks big enough to hold the entire crew!’. ‘Sure does, Debra - but there’s a real ship, floating overhead - the Goodyear Blimp!’ Jeremy replies, before pointing out the Fuji Blimp. ‘But I don’t recognize that one’ he remarks as the camera pans onto the Seankai Blimp. ‘Must be a new entry’ Debra remarks.

‘That’s where you’ll find your metallic quarry’ the Grim Reaper informs Simon as they stand in front of a monitor. ‘In that dirigible? Pretty old-fashioned hide-out for Ultron-13, isn’t it?’ Simon remarks, to which the Grim Reaper asks what better what for Ultron to approach hundreds of thousands of potential victims undetected, even by the Avengers. Simon frowns while thinking to himself that the whole gang will know where Ultron is now, provided they picked up the secret signal he is sending them. Suddenly, a voice shouts ‘Hey, you with the sickle - what’re you doing in here? This is a security apartment building!’

The Grim Reaper turns to the approaching security guard, who reaches for his gun, and exclaims ‘Ah! The one thing I was hoping to encounter before our clash with Ultron…breakfast!’ The Grim Reaper shouts as he lunges at the guard, knocking his gun from his hand. ‘Eric - are you crazy?’ Simon asks, before thinking to himself ‘What am I saying? Of course he’s crazy - dead - and crazy!’. The Grim Reaper raises his scythe over the security guard, only for Simon to hold him back. ‘What are you doing? We have a deal!’ Eric shouts, to which Simon tells him that the clock starts running after they stop Ultron, not before. ‘In other words - no payments in advance!’

Wonder Man steps in front of the security guard, who asks what it is they are talking about. ‘Trust me, fella - you don’t want to know!’ Simon replies. ‘Very well, sibling. But only because, in all the years we were growing up together, you never once went back on your word to me - and I know you never will’ The Grim Reaper replies as they exit the building. Eric adds that the feast he will soon reap from Ultron will make such “snacks” unnecessary, at least for a while. ‘Eric…just shut up!’ Simon exclaims as he picks his brother up and takes flight. At that moment, the security guard exit’s the building, and radios to central: ‘I think that Wonder Man guy just flew out of here - hauling some bad guy with a sickle for a hand. What? No, I don’t think I was ever in any real danger. From what I could tell, all they were looking for was a bite to eat!’

As Wonder Man flies himself and his brother towards the Seankai blimp, which gets caught by the television cameras, and Jeremy tells Debra that one of the Avengers West is flying towards the oh-so-mysterious blimp. Debra replies that it sure looks that way, before pointing out that it could be a dummy being towed by the balloon, especially since there are so many sci-fi entries in this year’s space-orientated parade. ‘Yes, Debra, and here comes one now, carrying enough robots from old TV shows to start a whole new nostalgia craze!’ Jeremy tells his co-host, who replies ‘Isn’t it funny? Back in the 50’s and 60’s robots were almost always portrayed as menacing monsters. Nowadays, we’re more enlightened and we know that robots are nothing like that’ Debra remarks, before pointing out that the dummy up there is flying toward the blimp very fast.

The crowd of civilians cheers as the robot floats pass by, while Wonder Man punches his way into the blimp overhead, ‘So this is why you wanted me to crash into the blimp! It’s really a metal ship - kept aloft by some kind of anti-gravity!’ Ultron spins around from where he is standing at a console and shouts that he should never have trusted the Grim Reaper, before remarking that, in point of fact, he never really did. ‘I simply do not deign you worth fearing’ Ultron remarks. ‘Let’s show him his mistake!’ Simon tells Eric, who warns his brother to stand down, reminding him that he knows the deal. ‘One Williams sibling - or twenty - you will not prevent my gallium arsenide spray from dousing the crowd below, seconds from now.

Ultron unleashes a beam of energy from his eyes, aimed at the Grim Reaper, whom he asks ‘Are you really so desperate for prey, Reaper, that you will try to rescue them?’. The Grim Reaper ducks Ultron’s blast, declaring that it is not the people below he is taking life from today. ‘It’s you!’ he reveals as he slams his scythe against Ultron. ‘See? My scythe - which you made an integral part of me - merely touches you - and the human life force inside you instantly starts flowing into me!’ The Grim Reaper shouts, as a shocked Ultron is unable to prevent this from happening, and the Grim Reaper basks in the human life force energy.

Wonder Man stands and watches, wondering if he picked the right side - or even if there is such an animal in this fracas. Ultron exclaims that he realizes his error: ‘While altering humans, I somehow absorbed enough of their life energy - to make me vulnerable to your infernal scythe!’. The Grim Reaper tells Ultron that he should have checked his computers, as they may have noticed the feedback. ‘We’ll never know, since I’m trashing them along with you!’ the Grim Reaper exclaims as he shoves Ultron into his computers, smashing them up. The Grim Reaper adds that the computers may control the anti-gravity device and the robotizing spray, but they cannot do any harm now, as the blimp plummets towards the ground.

Down below, someone marching in the parade looks at one of the robots on the float: ‘Hey! The parade committee told me nothing on this freaking robot could move except his arms!’ he exclaims as he sees the robot’s head move, and then it begins to walk. ‘They all are!’ he gasps as he looks around. Suddenly, other people marching in the parade begin to run for their lives, while announcer Jeremy tells Debra that he cannot find anything about this particular business in the schedule he has. ‘Actually, Jeremy, I don’t think it’s in the schedule!’ Debra replies, adding ‘Just guessing now - but if it was, that marching band probably wouldn’t be panicking - and there wouldn’t be an Avengers Quinjet landing on Colorado Boulevard!’.

The Avengers West and Quicksilver emerge quickly from the Quinjet, and Tigra quickly announces that she doesn’t see Wonder Man, or Ultron or the Grim Reaper. Hank Pym suggests that Ultron might be the one making the three robot floats run wild. Iron Man soars towards a woman that has fallen over and declares that he will move her out of harms way, ‘Because I think it’ll take more than saying “klaatu barada niktu” to stop this particular Gort!’. Instead of moving the woman though, Tony picks up the robot, and wondering how it ties into all this, he traps the robot by wrapping a lamppost around it. ‘Thanks Avenger! If you are the real thing - and not another robot from the parade!’ a Police Officer calls out.

‘The Earth may not be standing still today, Debra, but thanks to Iron Man, that movie-robot finally is’ Jeremy remarks, before asking ‘Isn’t that the mutant Avenger Mercury racing around the facsimile of a TV-robot?’. ‘Danger-Will-Robinson-Danger!’ the television robot calls out, while Debra explains that the mutant is called Quicksilver, which is the same thing as mercury, and points out he seems to be having a bit of trouble. ‘Bill Mumy, where are you when we really need you?’ Jeremy jokes, as the Scarlet Witch steps into play, raising her hands, she casts a hex, which topples the Robot. ‘Look! The Crimson Witch just gestured - and the Robot toppled over!’ Debra remarks, asking Jeremy if he thinks the Crimson Witch had anything to do with it. ‘More likely it was just plain luck!’ Jeremy replies.

‘Something those other two Avengers could use just now, right, Jeremy?’ Debra asks, referring to USAgent and Hank Pym who are taking on Robby the Robot. ‘Three Avengers, Debra. Did you forget to wear your contacts again?’ Jeremy asks, noticing the Wasp flying alongside Robby, who is trying to remove USAgent from his head. ‘What contacts, Jeremy? I have 20-20 vision and you know it!’ Debra replies, to which Jeremy asks her to tell their viewers at home what precisely Dr. Pym is doing to “Robby”. As Hank uses his Pym Particles on the robot, it suddenly shrinks, causing Walker to fall to the ground. ‘What robot, Jeremy? As far as I can see, it just plain disappeared!’ Debra replies, adding that all the runaway robots are now under control, and the threat to the parade is clearly over.

Back inside the falling blimp, The Grim Reaper shouts ‘Ultron is down, Simon! I Win!’, boasting that he is more powerful than he has ever felt. ‘And you - bound by your precious promise - can’t do a thing but stand around and watch me walk off, scot free!’ he shouts. ‘Are you out of your blasted mind?!’ Wonder Man shouts, before smacking the Grim Reaper in the face, asking him if he thinks they are playing kids’ games here. ‘Stuff my promise! I’m taking you in, dear or -well, dead!’ Simon shouts. The Grim Reaper lunges at Simon, remarking ‘You know something, baby brother? I had to die to see it - but I think you may finally be growing up!’ Eric pushes Simon over, telling him that it will not do him any good. ‘Maybe the fact that we’re related is what keeps my scythe from hurting you - or maybe it’s just that “ionized condition” you’re always harping about!’

‘Either way - it’s not going to keep me from beating the life out of you!’ Eric exclaims, smacking Simon to the floor of the blimp. ‘You’re - not my brother. You can’t me!’ Simon exclaims, remarking that even after he Eric died, he wanted, in his warped way, to continue being his protector. ‘But you hate me - want to kill me!’ Simon exclaims. ‘You got that right, at least!’ Eric exclaims, kicking Simon in the face, before punching him and asking why he should go on living while he is the way he is. ‘Answer: You shouldn’t. Answer…you won’t!’ the Grim Reaper exclaims as he smacks Wonder Man over once more.

Suddenly, Ultron gets to his feet: ‘Reaper!’ he calls out. The Grim Reaper turns to Ultron, ‘You’re alive? But I drained every drop of human energy from you!’ he exclaims. ‘Did you imagine I had no reserve power to fall back on?’ Ultron asks, explaining that it merely required a few seconds to “kick in”. The Grim Reaper replies that he is almost glad that it did, because it will just give him that much more pleasure to take him apart like a cheap alarm clock, when, suddenly, Hawkeye, on a sky-cycle, bursts into the blimp, shouting ‘Geronimo!’ as he slams the sky-cycle into the Grim Reaper.

‘Hawkeye…how?’ a weak Wonder Man asks. Clint replies that he has good news, and bad news. ‘Bad news is, I’m still partly robot, thanks to that adamantium cephaloid. Good news is, my will’s my own again!’ he exclaims, reading his bow and arrow, Clint explains that his robotized condition helped him home in on Ultron-13. ‘And I’m gonna see to it that “13” is definitely his unlucky number!’ Hawkeye exclaims. ‘No…Ultron is mine! No one else’s…mine!’ the Grim Reaper exclaims, ready to attack Hawkeye, who fires an arrow, which bounces off Eric’s scythe. ‘My bow!’ Clint calls out as the Grim Reaper slashes it in half.

Ultron tells Hawkeye not to worry, informing him that he is still more attuned to his wave-length than he may imagine. ‘Before I close with the Reaper myself, perhaps it is best I utilize you one last time - as a quasi-human, quasi-robot weapon!’ Ultron exclaims, blasting Hawkeye with a beam of energy, as the Grim Reaper declares that Hawkeye must die so he can get to Ultron, and slices his scythe into Hawkeye, who screams in agony at the twofold attack. All three become caught in an energy field, and Simon watches on, thinking to himself that the two of them hate each other so much, that neither of them realized their assaults would cancel each other out, for Eric cannot absorb what is still robotic about Hawkeye, while Ultron cannot absorb Hawkeye’s life force, now with Eric on the other end, anyway.

‘But - God help us all - what happens to the poor devil caught in the middle?’ Simon wonders, before lunging into the energy field, knowing that it may kill both he and Clint, but he has to try it. Simon grabs Clint, thinking that with Hawkeye out of the way, it might make Ultron and the Grim Reaper come together - hard - and indeed, it does, as with Hawkeye cleared from the energy field, Ultron and the Grim Reaper are pulled together like magnets. The Avengers West make it into the blimp, and Quicksilver calls out to Wonder Man and Hawkeye. ‘You two all right?’ Tigra asks them. ‘A good ion bath - and I’ll be good as new’ Wonder Man replies, more concerned for Hawkeye.

The Scarlet Witch helps Wonder Man up, and Iron Man assures Simon that they will take care of Clint, before motioning to the downed Ultron and Grim Reaper, and pointing out that they won’t be bother anyone for a while. Hank declares that is a good thing, as they will need all the time they can get to figure out what kind of cells can hold them. Iron Man calls out to Hawkeye, who, weary, replies ‘Hiya, Shellhead. Just my luck, ain’t it? I get practically turned into a freaking metal robot, and I still get knocked around’. Iron Man assures his friend that they are going to do everything that is humanly possible to cure him, once and for all. ‘Emphasis on the “humanly”!’ Iron Man exclaims as he takes flight out of the downed blimp, with Hawkeye in his arms.

‘Easy! You mustn’t…’ the Scarlet Witch tells Wonder Man as he makes his way towards his motionless brother. A very weak Wonder Man replies that he has got to help Eric. ‘Don’t you see? He may be walking dead, even a murderer…but he’s still…my brother!’ Simon exclaims, before collapsing several feet from his brother and Ultron. Wanda drops down besides Wonder Man, and her brother Quicksilver assures her that he is just sleeping. ‘Let him. He’s earned it today…in spades’ USAgent declares. ‘So - happy New Year, everybody!’ Tigra exclaims. ‘Yeah. Right’ mumbles the Wasp as the Avengers West stand around admit’s the destruction, and their wounded teammate.

Characters Involved: 

Dr. Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, USAgent, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)


Grim Reaper

Police Officer
Security Guard
Parade Marchers
Debra & Jeremy (voices only)

Story Notes: 

Hawkeye, Tigra and Quicksilver were transformed into Andrones in Avengers West Coast #67.

Ultron and the Grim Reaper formed a new partnership in Avengers West Coast #67.

Hank and the Wasp encountered the farmer robots in Avengers West Coast #65 (no #64 like the footnote in this issue suggests).

The Gort is a robot from the film the 1951 film The Day The Earth Stood Still.

The Robot who calls out ‘Danger-Will-Robinson-Danger!’ is from the Lost in Space television series which ran from 1965-68. The Bill Mumy comment refers to the actor who played Will Robinson.

Robby the Robot is a robot who has appeared in numerous science fiction films and television episodes, beginning with The Forbidden Planet in 1956.

The Grim Reaper returns in Avengers (1st series) #352.

Ultron returns in the Spider-Man Annual cross-over known as “The Vibranium Vendetta“ [Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1st series) #25, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11, Web of Spider-Man Annual #7], before menacing Deathlok in the early issues of his second series, and returning to battle the Avengers West Coast, as Ultimate Ultron, in Avengers West Coast #89-91.

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