Avengers West Coast #70

Issue Date: 
June 1991
Story Title: 
The Big One (The Pacific Overlords, part 1)

Roy & Dann Thomas (Writers), Steve Butler (Penciler), Danny Bulandi (Inker), Bill Oakley (Letterer), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Howard Mackie (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Julia "Spider-Woman" Carpenter is in California, though she is not too sure why, when a suspicious boat docks at Newport Beach, she decides to investigate. Two rather suspect individuals, Kuroko and Jawbreaker, have a prisoner with them, and soon engage Spider-Woman in battle when she unwillingly reveals her presence to them, and although she puts up a good fight, Jawbreaker is physically stronger and smashes her out into the ocean. Kuroko and Jawbreaker take their prisoner, Typhoon, to the headquarters of their leader, Doctor Demonicus, who reveals that he also has the Living Lightning as a prisoner, preparing him to be a member of the Pacific Overlords. Demonicus then opens the chest which Jawbreaker obtained for him, and contains the Lifestone. At the Avengers West Coast Compound, the latest roster has just finished a meeting. Tigra flirts with the new Iron Man, while the Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye farewell Quicksilver, while the Wasp and Hank Pym start over as friends. An angry Wonder Man makes a date with someone he met at a party once, and flies off to meet her, despite the Scarlet Witch wanting to talk to him. After returning to the Compound from a game of ten-pin bowling, Iron Man and Tigra see someone sneaking around the Compound, unaware that it is actually Spider-Woman, Tigra engages her in a fight, until Iron Man breaks them up. The other Avengers, sans Wonder Man soon join up and Spider-Woman, who knows Iron Man and Hawkeye, tells the Avengers her story, explaining why she has come for their help. Soon, the Avengers break into Demonicus' lab, they know it is his because one of Hank Pym's gadgets picked up an unauthorized power source. The heroes begin to look around when suddenly they are attacked by what they soon discover to be an oversized baby, and when they finally subdue him, they learn for sure that Demonicus is up to something - but where do they start looking for him?

Full Summary: 

‘Face facts, Julia Carpenter…occasionally known as Spider-Woman…Denver this place ain’t!’ the strawberry-blonde wannabe super-heroine thinks to herself as she clings to the high-point of a building looking over Newport Beach. Julia thinks that Newport Beach may have a great marina and some of the best surfing in southern California, but she sure misses the mile-high city! As she begins to crawl down the side of the building, Julia supposes that is why as soon as she got into her costume she made straight for the top of the balboa pavilion.

Julia thinks that the real question though, is why she played dress-up tonight, after all, it’s not like she wants the world to know that Orange County just chalked up its first super-heroine. Julia’s thoughts are interrupted when she notices a boat coming into the dock which is not showing any lights, let alone the required “red right returning”. ‘Even I know that much!’ she jokes, before reminding herself that she swore the last thing she would do out here is get involved in other people’s problems, but when somebody sneaks into a place like a thief in the night…’Sometimes it’s because it is a thief!’

The second woman known as Spider-Woman weaves one of her psionic webs, and as she does is reminded of how much she loves that tingling sensation in her hands. ‘Bet I could give one heckuva massage…if I had anybody to give it to’ Julia thinks to herself as her mental powers latch the web onto a crate on the other side of the dock, then her lithe body begins to slide down it, remarking to herself that if it wasn’t for her special abilities she would probably lose her balance. ‘Use them or lose them, that’s my motto!’ Julia jokes, before dropping down on the other side of the dock.

Spider-Woman knows that her psychic webs will fade away like dew in a few seconds while she goes to check out the mystery boat. Julia decides that she will feel like two cents if it is just some poor captain who has blown a fuse as she crouches behind some crates and watches. ‘Looks like the cost of being Spider-Woman might be going up!’ Julia thinks to herself as she notices the bulky man on the boat is wearing some kind of headgear – and the line is tying itself to the dock anchor all by itself!

Suddenly though, ‘Hurry, Jawbreaker-san!’ shouts a voice. Julia wonders where the voice came from, when she notices a woman becoming visible by the dock anchor. The bulky man walks off the boat carrying another man over his shoulder and addressing the woman as Kuroko, tells her to get off his back, as he works for the Doc, not her. Kuroko reminds her companion that the Doc sent her to escort him from where he docked at Long Beach and suggests that he does not want the Doc to think they had dallied along the way. ‘Matter of fact…no’. the larger man replies as he follows Kuroko along the dock, the other man still slumped over his shoulder, and a trunk being carried under the other arm.

Julia peers around the crate and watches the strangers leave, wondering who they are, not to mention who the man the big guy has slung over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes is, she decides that on the one percent chance that this whole thing is legit, she should keep back – that plan fails however when she steps on a creaky board. The bulky man swings around, ‘Who’s that? Come on out before I come in!’ he bellows.

Spider-Woman decides to fake it and steps out in front of her “prey”, introducing herself, she exclaims that she has nothing to hide, and asks them if they do. Kuroko turns invisible as she warns her companion that Spider-Woman must not be allowed to get the trunk. The bulky man replies that Spider-Woman is not getting anything but a fist in the face and lunges towards her. ‘So much for giving you two the benefit of the doubt’ Julia mumbles before using her enhanced strength to pick the bulky man up and toss him across the dock.

‘Now that made me mad!’ the bulky man shouts as he gets up and lunges at Julia, smacking her hard in the face. Julia is rather unfazed though and the man remarks that she is tougher than she looks, not to mention faster, as she dodges his second attempt. ‘I can type too!’ Julia jokes, before adding ‘And I can do this!’ the bulky man looks up and sees spider webs dropping down on him, though he is puzzled as they appear to be made of light.

Julia realizes that her psionic webs aren’t holding though as the bulky man rushes towards her, shouting that he hates spiders. Julia knows that she is strong, but her opponent is just that much stronger than her. Before she can plan her next move though, the invisible Kuroko steps beside Julia and trips her up. ‘Clumsy broad’ mutters the large man, but Julia gets back up straight away, informing him that she didn’t stumble, but his invisible friend tripped her. Thanks to that though, Julia knows where Kuroko is and kicks her while the bulky man remarks that Julia cannot dodge them both, and smacks her so hard that he sends her careening out over the water.

‘Baka!’ Kuroko mutters in her native Japanese, to which the bulky man warns her not to call him an idiot again, adding that he does know what “baka” means. Kuroko becomes visible once more and points out that if he hadn’t hit her so hard, they could be certain that she was dead. ‘Forget her. She wasn’t worth bothering with’ the bulky man replies, when suddenly the strange-looking man he was carrying over his shoulder gets to his feet and exclaims ‘You have no respect for anyone – not even yourself!’ the bulky man smacks his strange captive over, ‘Another country heard from!’ he mutters before tossing him over his shoulder and picking up the trunk. Kuroko declares that they need to get away from the dock quickly, while there are still a few things here her companion has not battered.

Meanwhile…’The first meeting of the new membership of the Avengers West Coast is hereby adjourned!’ comes a cry from inside the meeting room at the Avengers West Coast’s home and headquarters, the Palos Verdes Compound, in California. The new line-up of this second branch of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes begin to leave the room, beginning with Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra, who is accompanied by Iron Man, and tells him that she thinks he is even more on the ball than the original Iron Man. Iron Man pauses, before replying that he will take that as a compliment. Tigra places her hand on one of Iron Man’s shoulders as the next pair of Avengers West exits the room, ‘”On probation”! Me – the founder of this bunch of sun-belt Samaritans!’ Clint “Hawkeye” Barton” complains to his dear friend Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch.

Wanda assures her friend that it will pass, and points out that at least he wasn’t kicked off the team following his free-for-all with USAgent – like USAgent was. Wanda gives Clint a compassionate look, when suddenly Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man storms out of the chamber, followed by Dr. Hank Pym who yawns and remarks that it is late, before telling Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp that she did a nice job of chairing the meeting. The Wasp thanks Hank before remarking that she will be glad when things have settled down in a few days. ‘You and me both!’ Hank exclaims, adding that then they can switch to reserve status and get on with the rest of their separate-but-equal lives. The Wasp jokes that is something she could really sink her teeth into, ‘No offense, ex-hubbie’. She adds. ‘None taken, ex-better-half’ Hank replies.
Outside, Tigra remarks to Iron Man that she would love to tell his employer how great he is, and asks him if he thinks he could talk Tony Stark into taking her out for a date sometime. ‘So that’s what’s behind this – you want me to fix you up with Tony Star!’ Iron Man exclaims. Tigra puts her hands on her hips and shifts into her human form, remarking that with or without the stripes and tail, Tony could do a lot worse. Iron Man tells Greer that she has talked him into it and that he will see what he can do, before informing her that Tony is out of town for a few days and that he has been standing in for him wherever he can. The bikini-clad Greer replies that is fine by her and turning to go to her quarters tells Iron Man that she will back as soon as she changes into something a little less comfortable. ‘What? I didn’t mean -!’ Iron Man exclaims, to which Greer tells him not to worry, that his virtue is safe with her – provided she cannot find a can-opener that is!

Back inside, Hawkeye puts a hand on Wanda’s shoulder and tells her that he is sorry. ‘Sorry? For what?’ Wanda asks. ‘For going on like a cry-baby back there!’ Clint replies, ‘When you’ve been through so much more than I have, I mean – the Vision…your kids… everything’. Wanda smiles and tells Hawkeye that was “another life”, one that there is no going back to. She adds that what concerns her is putting together the pieces of a new one. ‘Spoken like a true Maximoff, dear sister!’ Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver exclaims as he approaches his twin sister, remarking that if he did not have faith that she meant those words, he would not feel free to take his leave.

Wanda asks her brother, who has several luggage bags with him, if he is really going. Quicksilver replies that as he is only a reservist, there is little to hold him here. Hawkeye shakes Quicksilver’s hand and exclaims ‘About the voting – I’m sure nobody meant to –‘ Pietro interrupts, declaring that he did not want to be re-elected a regular member anyway. This surprises Clint, but Wanda confirms it, revealing that Quicksilver asked her not to vote for him. ‘I felt it time I saw a bit more of this world before your fellow humans ruin it’ Quicksilver reveals, before he kisses his sister on her cheek. Wanda tells her brother to take care of himself, before Clint remarks that right here are three of the four who were left “minding the store” when the original Avengers left. ‘True. Only Captain America is missing’ Quicksilver points out. Wanda remarks that they could certainly use a leader like Captain America to spear-head this time. ‘Uh…right…’ Hawkeye mumbles.

Outside, Hank and Jan walk side-by-side and Hank asks Jan what her plans are when she adds “Ex-Avenger” to their “Ex-spouse” status, and asks her if she really means what she told Wanda, that she is moving back out East. Jan replies that she said “Maybe eventually”, as right now she has an iron in the fire, but hates to talk about them, even with him. ‘Bad luck and al that junk’ Jan adds, before asking Hank if he thinks the others will ever accept that the two of them have gone the “best friends” route. Hank tells Jan that they better, because that is what they are going to be, come what may. ‘So put it there…pal’ Hank jokes, extending his hand. Jan smiles and they shake hands, before parting.

Wanda walks through the lobby and sees Wonder Man, exclaiming that she didn’t see him come through here, though she goes silent when she realizes that he is talking on the phone. ‘Hello, Sandra? This is Simon. Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man…yeah, we met at that wrap party for “Beverly Hills Rich Persons II”. Listen, I know it’s late, but you said call anytime and this is definitely…yeah, great, I’ll be there in five minutes. Get dressed? For what? This is “come as you are”, sweet-cheeks!’ The Scarlet Witch apologizes, informing Simon that she didn’t mean to interrupt, but Simon strides past her, ‘Some other time, Wanda, Okay? I’ve got a date!’ he exclaims as he flies off the Compound.

Wanda watches Simon fly away and tells herself that she really hurt Simon when she said that she won’t go out with him anymore, but for her sake, it was too painful knowing that it was Simon’s brain patterns that were used as the basis for the Vision…the husband who is now more lost to her than if he were in another galaxy. The Scarlet Witch leaves the main complex and makes her way to her bungalow, thinking to herself that she has not found it true what people always say – about memories keeping you warm….

Elsewhere…’So, are we still in Newport Beach, or what?’ Jawbreaker asks the still-invisible Kuroko as he trudges along a glitzy street, the unconscious man still lugged over his shoulder and trunk under his arm. Kuroko replies that they have crossed into Costa Mesa. Jawbreaker grunts as he remarks that he never could keep all these towns around Los Angeles straight, before pointing out that at least the people in Mesa go to bed early enough so that nobody has spotted them. Kuroko does not answer, so Jawbreaker warns her not to get cute with him. ‘After all, I’m the one whose gotta lug around these – ‘ Jawbreaker is interrupted by a blinding flash of light, standing in front of Filmland in Wax.

‘Well now…I guess this must be the place!’ Jawbreaker remarks, before asking Kuroko if it was she who turned on the lights. Kuroko replies that it was, and asks Jawbreaker to forgive her flare for the dramatic, before suggesting he get inside quickly so that she can turn the lights off again, adding that the Doctor awaits. Jawbreaker mutters that Kuroko sure likes to jerk him around, but that he notices Kuroko doesn’t forget who is really pulling the strings. Entering the wax museum, the duo pass several wax statues. Kuroko remarks that she was intrigued to learn that the Doctor had recently taken over the wax museum, adding that she has always been fascinated by American film stars.

Kuroko motions to the wax statues and remarks that she recognizes most of them but for the two in the Western garb. ‘Don’t ask me’ Jawbreaker mutters. ‘I got better things to do with my life than go to the blasted movies’. ‘I am sure’ Kuroko replies, before motioning to the statue of a vampiric woman and ordering Jawbreaker to pull the rope end of the noose around the statue’s hand. Jawbreaker does so, and a secret passage way opens for them to descend.

‘You have dawdled long enough!’ Kuroko snaps at Jawbreaker, who follows her down some stairs while muttering ‘”One of these days, Alice – POW! Right in the kisser”!’ Jawbreaker declares that he saw that on TV. ‘What was?’ Kuroko asks. ‘Forget it’ mutters Jawbreaker, before asking Kuroko if she is sure they are in the right place. ‘You were saying, Jawbreaker-san?’ Kuroko replies as they reach the bottom of the stairs, revealing an expansive laboratory. ‘Nothing’ Jawbreaker mumbles.

Jawbreaker rushes over to the man he addresses as Dr. Demonicus, and bumps into one of the Doctor’s lab technicians, causing him to drop something. ‘Whoops! Didn’t mean to scare your flunk to dropping his watchacallit!’ Jawbreaker exclaims. The purple-white-and-blue clad Dr. Demonicus turns and exclaims ‘That will cost you your life!’ Jawbreaker asks the Doc if thinks having him offed just for hollering is a little extreme, to which Demonicus calls Jawbreaker a dolt and that he didn’t mean him. ‘I meant the fool who dropped my monitoring device!’

The technician begins to beg for his life, but Demonicus orders Jawbreaker to kill him. ‘Oh, well, if that’s all you mean – you got it, Doc!’ Jawbreaker exclaims as he nonchalantly reaches out and grabs the assistant’s neck, breaking it and dropping him to the floor. Demonicus declares that Jawbreaker cost him a good assistant, but that from time to time an example must be set. Other workers in the complex all begin looking anxious, while Jawbreaker mumbles ‘Yeah, I guess so’, before asking Demonicus where he wants Taifu and his precious box to be put.

Demonicus motions to a place nearby while Kuroko remarks that the museum makes an interesting facade, before asking him if he is truly safe within an American city. Demonicus replies that his earlier labs in the Aleutians, the South Pacific and even a space station were all discovered, so he felt the need to adopt a more direct strategy, although he admits that this headquarters was nearly discovered also, and recalls how he recently saw two creatures of light clashing in the night skies over Fullerton. At first he thought that one of his old enemies had found him, and scarcely realized that the electrical entity was being pursued by the so-called Human Torch.

Demonicus explains that he became intrigued by the tremendous amount of electromagnetic power emanating from the newcomer, and although Dr. Pym grounded him, and as Demonicus thought, destroyed him, in fact, his own machines had drained off the Living Lightning’s disintegrating corpus of energy at the last instant and siphoned it here.

Kuroko asks Demonicus if he reconstructed the Living Lightning in his original human form as they look up at the young man strapped to a contraption. ‘Big deal! You wound up with what looks like one naked wetback in a coma!’ Jawbreaker mutters, to which Kuroko replies ‘You do not like anyone very much, do you?’ Demonicus tells them that he has had enough of their squabbling and declares that what matters is when this young man wakes; he will either serve him, or die. Dr. Demonicus explains that in the meantime, his devices keep the Living Lightning’s body from spontaneously decomposing into random electrical impulses.

Demonicus turns to the man that Kuroko and Jawbreaker brought to him as he is being clasped to some contraption and remarks that the Living Lightning is at least something of an intriguing unknown, whereas Taifu – or Typhoon in English – is a disappointment he more or less expected. Demonicus remarks that, in essence, he created Typhoon, but that he suspected from the first day he would betray him. ‘You were right, Doctor-san’ Kuroko replies, before Demonicus begins to ask about someone else.

Kuroko assures him that “she” will be found, to which Demonicus hopes that Kuroko is right. ‘Otherwise, I would not want to be in your shoes, or Jawbreaker’s when it is time – for the Big One!’ Demonicus exclaims. Shocked, Kuroko gasps ‘Surely, you don’t mean you would –‘, Jawbreaker cuts her off, ‘Nah, he’s just kidding – ain’t you, Doc?’ Demonicus replies that, never in all his days as a geneticist has he been accused of having a sense of humor, before declaring that it is time to turn his attention to what he sent Jawbreaker to find for him off the frozen Aleutians, and what Typhoon foolishly thought to keep from him.

‘Huh? Oh yeah, the box, right?’ Jawbreaker asks, offering it to Demonicus and exclaiming that it is solid steel, just like he said it should be. Demonicus orders Jawbreaker to open it, and Jawbreaker begins to, using his strength to rip it open, he struggles a bit, joking that it had a few more bolts in it than he thought. ‘Stand aside!’ Demonicus declares as he pushes Jawbreaker away from the box, where a pink glow is emanating.

Demonicus declares that this is what he has waited long months to obtain, the corner-stone of his plan, the very touchstone of his boundless ambition, ‘The Lifestone!’ he shouts as he pulls a pink rock from the chest and holds it in the air. Standing nearby, Jawbreaker whispers to Kuroko, asking her if the Doc does know that it is just a little chunk of that fallen meteor he sent him after. ‘He knows, baka’ Kuroko replies, once again calling Jawbreaker an idiot, before suggesting that the remainder of the meteor was obviously blasted into nothingness by agents of SHIELD long ago, before warning Jawbreaker that he probably does not want to be the one to remind Demonicus of that earlier ignominous defeat. ‘Igno-what?’ Jawbreaker asks. ‘I thought not’ Kuroko mutters.

‘Well that was a fun date…I never realized anybody could actually bowl in a full suit of armor!’ Tigra remarks as Iron Man holds her in his arms and flies back towards the Avengers Compound. Iron Man apologizes to Tigra, before suggesting to her that perhaps she doesn’t want to go out with his boss after all. ‘How’s that figure?’ Tigra replies, to which Iron Man asks Tigra where she thinks Tony Star takes most of the women he goes out with. ‘You think he springs for miniature golf on the first date?’ Iron Man asks, when suddenly Tigra interrupts him, motioning to the ground she exclaims that there is somebody down there, and noticing that the intruder is wearing a costume, Tigra exclaims ‘And I don’t think she just dropped in from Bowl-O-Rama!’

Iron Man declares that Tigra is right, as his infra-red confirms the sightings and suggests that he swoop in so they can get a better look, when suddenly Tigra leaps out of his arms, ‘Nope! I’m due for some enjoyment tonight – and sister, it looks like you’re it!’ she roars as she leaps at the intruder – who just happens to be Spider-Woman! Julia calls out to Tigra, asking her to stop, as she tries to explain herself, but the brash Tigra isn’t interested, ‘Sneaking into Avengers Compound in the dark!’ Tigra snarls, when suddenly Iron Man declares that it is time to shed some light on the subject, and unleashes a powerful blinding beam upon the women before they can begin a brawl.

‘Nice work, hard pockets. You want to hog all the glory yourself?’ Tigra asks Iron Man, who lands and steps between the women, holding Tigra back from Spider-Woman, Iron Man assures Tigra that all he wants to do is stop her from making a fool of herself, ‘Though I may be too late on that score’ he adds. Spider-Woman thanks Iron Man, asking him if that is his voice she recognizes, as she is still a bit groggy. ‘She recognized your voice? You know this would-be burglar?’ Tigra asks Iron Man.

At that moment, the alarm system goes off and the other members of the team rush outside to find out what all the commotion is about. ‘Hey! It’s Spider-Woman!’ Hawkeye exclaims. ‘Wonderful’ Tigra snaps. ‘I must be the only person here who isn’t on a first-name basis without our pre-dawn prowler. Spider-Woman announces that she and Hawkeye met during the Secret Wars, to which Iron Man adds that he has run into Spider-Woman since then. ‘You did? You never mentioned –‘ Hawkeye begins, until the Wasp interrupts, asking Spider-Woman what brings her to Los Angeles.

As the alarm is cut off, Hawkeye remarks that Spider-Woman was living in Denver, and tells her that from the looks of things she must have swam here. Julia replies that she almost feels like she did, and remarks that she knows she should have phoned first, but that she was desperate, and Hawkeye and Iron Man are the only super heroes she knows out this way. Iron Man asks Julia why she wanted to see them in the wee small hours of the night, to which Julia replies that the best way to explain it is this way: ‘Does the name Pacific Overlords mean anything to you? Cause if it doesn’t – it’s about to!’

Soon, a red and gold figure hovers above a certain wax museum, then suddenly smashes a new entrance to the building. Iron Man turns to where his teammates and Spider-Woman have landed in the Avengers Quinjet and tells them that they can come in. Hawkeye has his bow and arrow ready and asks Iron Man if perhaps he wasn’t being a wee bit hasty. Wanda agrees, pointing out that the place looks deserted. Julia turns to Dr. Pym and remarks that she knows she said that the pair she fought gave her the impression that their “headquarters” wasn’t too far from Newport Beach, but perhaps she misinterpreted.

Hank tells Julia that he doesn’t think she misunderstood and adds that he didn’t ask anybody to crash through that wall just for the thrill of watching concrete splatter, adding that once they were over Costa Mesa, this patent-pending gadget of his detected an unauthorized power source. The Wasp notes that the gadget still registers the power source and Hank announces that the reading is coming from past the wax statues and asks Iron Man to do the honors again. Iron Man obliges, blasting another entrance way, while Tigra mutters that it beats his bowling score.

The Avengers and Spider-Woman enter a lab complex and Iron Man exclaims that this is the place all right. Hank agrees, but explains that whatever weird type of energy these machines are emitting, it is as if the owner pulled up the stakes and just left the pilot light burning. Hawkeye jokes that they better hope that these machines are not for just making wax movie stars, otherwise the Avengers West will be spending the next few days fixing up somebody’s wall! Hank tells Clint to keep his trowel in his quiver, and the Wasp backs her ex-husband up, remarking that if Hank’s tracer detected a kind of energy that wasn’t piped down here by “reddy kilowatt” then they can pretty well assume that it is not legit.

Suddenly, a large hand, attached to an even larger fist, reaches out from the darkness and grabs Hank’s hand, crushing the gadget, and poor Hank’s hand. A very large figure then lumbers out into the light, growling, while Spider-Woman grabs the weary Dr. Pym. The Wasp warns everyone to look out, as someone – or rather something – must have stayed behind to guard the place. ‘Somebody who looks like he could six rounds with the Hulk – or the Blob!’ Spider-Woman exclaims, referencing her former teammate. Hawkeye readies his bow and arrow and asks what the big number one on the big guy’s chest means. ‘I’ll bet it doesn’t mean he’s the brains of the outfit we’re looking for’ Tigra mutters.

Hawkeye declares that whatever this person is, he is going to be sorry he tangled with the Avengers West! Spider-Woman remarks about Hank’s hand, but Hank replies that he thinks it will be all right, as t just got squeezed when that character crunched his tracer. Iron Man informs everyone that the large person is lumbering their way, so he unleashes repulsor beams against him while Hawkeye fires an arrow at him, suggesting they will soften him up first, then the others can have a go.

But before the others get a chance to act, the large person gestures and causes a localized earthquake under the Avengers’ feet. ‘Maybe that’s what the big “one” is all about’ Iron Man suggests as they are all knocked to the ground. ‘Why can’t anything ever be easy?’ Spider-Woman sighs. Wanda tends to Hank who remarks that things might have been easier if Wonder Man hadn’t found somewhere else to spend the night, before asking Wanda if she thinks her restored hex powers might be able to stop their foe.

Wanda replies that she isn’t sure, before asking Hank if he noticed that their foe was gesturing when he shambled in, but that nothing happened until Iron Man and Hawkeye hurled their own force at him. Hank watches as Spider-Woman attacks their foe and tells Wanda that if she means what he thinks she means, then Spider-Woman might have just added to their enemies strength when she tried to grab him, before asking how they are going to find this out. Julia is knocked aside by the large foe and remarks that she is no weakling, ‘But that guy’s a real…’ she begins, adding that she is beginning to think that he is not going to be beaten unless he trips himself up.

‘Then maybe he should!’ Wanda exclaims. Hank begins to protest, but Wanda reminds him that her hex power works differently from most super powers, for rather than acting directly on a foe, it often affects the area around him. The large enemy has Tigra firmly in his clutches, while Wanda suggests that she can make the floor slippery so that their foe does just what Spider-Woman said – namely, trip himself up! The large enemy falls to the ground with a mighty crash and Tigra leaps from him, thanking Wanda while remarking that the harder she strained the closer she could feel her ribs come to cracking.

The Scarlet Witch points out that their foe is now like a turtle flipped over onto its back, and cannot get up, before remarking that there is something about him she cannot put her finger on, ‘Maybe it’s those short legs?’ she wonders. Julia exclaims that something has been bothering her also, and that she is terrified she might just have an inkling of what it is. Julia then proceeds to wrap their large foe in a psionic web so that he cannot hurt himself. ‘Hurt himself? He’s not the one with the bruises, lady!’ Hawkeye exclaims, and Tigra asks Spider-Woman what she is afraid of – that he will start…crying?

As if on cue, the large chubby foe begins wailing, ‘Like a baby!’ Hawkeye exclaims. Julia remarks that is because she thinks he is exactly that – a baby. ‘What?’ asks a surprised Dr. Pym, while Iron Man points out that it makes sense. Everyone crowds around the bubbling oversized-baby and Hank decides that it would explain their foes proportions and babbling, and Iron Man remarks that it is as if someone had mutated a toddler just learning to walk.

The Wasp begins to ask what kind of fiend would do that, when Hank asks her is she is serious, declaring that after the Nazi’s medical experiments of “inferior races”, and all the horrors that the world has seen since that war ended, she still has doubt about the depths which human beings would sink? Clint grits his teeth together and declares that if somebody did do that to a little kid, he hopes whoever it was left a forwarding address. Hank assures Hawkeye that they will turn this place upside down looking for one.

Wanda declares that whether this child’s condition is permanent or temporary, somebody is going to learn why they call themselves “the Avengers”. Tigra asks if the two that Spider-Woman fought on the pier could have done this, to which the Wasp exclaims that it was more likely your generic mad doctor. Suddenly, the baby stops crying and manages to gurgle a couple of words out: ‘Dokk…mon…i…kuss!’ Hawkeye points out that the baby responded to Janet saying “Doctor” and Hank wonders what “mon…i…kuss” means.

Iron Man replies that he cannot be sure, ‘But maybe…Dr. Demonicus?’ Hawkeye agrees, remarking that this kind of generic tinkering has his fingerprints all over it. Tigra snarls that if this is Demonicus, then he better run for cover. The Avengers and Spider-Woman all regroup as Hank points out that Demonicus already has run for cover, before declaring that the real question now is…where in the world do they start looking for him?

Characters Involved: 

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

Spider-Woman II / Julia Carpenter
Living Lightning

Doctor Demonicus
Big One, Jawbreaker, Kuroko, Typhoon (all Pacific Overlords)
Lab technicians

In Flashback Image:
Living Lightning
Human Torch I

Story Notes: 

Spider-Woman II's appearance prior to this one was in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #125-126.

In Avengers West Coast #69 the new, reduced line-up was formed by a voting system, where the current members (and those hanging around at the time) had to vote for who would comprise the new line-up. The results were as follows:
- Hank Pym, Iron Man, Wasp, Scarlet Witch & Wonder Man: 5 votes each
- Hawkeye & Tigra: 4 votes each
- Human Torch I: 3 votes
- Quicksilver: 2 votes
- Machine Man, Mockingbird & USAgent: 1 vote each

Unbeknownst to Tigra, this is the original Iron Man, Tony Stark.

According to a footnote, Dr. Demonicus’ previous labs were discovered in various issues of Godzilla, Iron Man and Shogun Warrior.

The Living Lightning and original android Human Torch battled in Avengers West Coast #63.

Spider-Woman met Hawkeye during the first Secret Wars [Secret Wars #7-12], in fact Secret Wars #7 is Julia Carpenter’s very first appearance.

Iron Man met Spider-Woman in Iron Man (1st series) #214, where he learned that it was she who freed the Avengers from the Vault in Avengers Annual #15, and tried to help her re-establish her life after betraying Freedom Force.

Written By: