Avengers West Coast #71

Issue Date: 
June 1991
Story Title: 
…and DIE in Infamy! (The Pacific Overlords, part 2)

Roy & Dann Thomas (Writers), David Ross & Tom Morgan (Pencilers), Bulandi, Ivy & Hudson (Inkers), Nel Yomtov (Letterer), Bob Sharen (Colorist), Howard Mackie (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers West have returned to their Compound, and Wonder Man is back from his date, as they all discuss what to do with their big problem - the big baby. The Scarlet Witch offers up a stuffed toy that belonged to her “children” and Hank increases its size for the child to play with. The Avengers and Spider-Woman discuss what their next plan of attack is, when Hawkeye offers up the photographs he took whilst at Demonicus’ abandoned lab. Two locations are shown in various photos, so Iron Man split’s the team into three, sending Hank, the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man to Australia, while he, the Wasp and Tigra go to Japan, and Hawkeye and Spider-Woman remain here as liaison. Clint and Julia watch over the baby, and get to know each other, Hawkeye expressing that he would like to get to know Julia better, but is interrupted twice by the phone, firstly a call from Jennifer Falk wanting to speak with Hank, and secondly from Trish Titan, who wants to speak to the Wasp. Suddenly, the big baby takes one of the photos, and is very interested in it, so Hawkeye wants to know why. He and Julia devise a plan to get the photo back, and discover a third location, so they leave to go investigate. At another lab, Demonicus and his Overlord, Kain, discuss plans while ordering more power to be drained from Living Lightning. In Hawaii, Namor the Sub-Mariner is at a memorial for World War II, when he is attacked by Sunfire and a woman claiming to be Pele, goddess of fire. Hawkeye and Spider-Woman soon show up, so the battle continues with them. Eventually, Pele flies away after a serious trouncing from Spider-Woman, while Sunfire is revealed to have been brainwashed, and that tomorrows date is very important. Namor returns to Los Angeles, and Spider-Woman cryptically tells Hawkeye that she must also go back to the L.A. area - especially if tomorrow is the end of the world. Meanwhile, the USAgent is about to beat up someone trying to rob a car, when he gets a call from the Commission, who learned that he was fired from the Avengers West Coast, and has a job for him, to bring in a fugitive of the Commission - Spider-Woman. USAgent is not interested, until Mike Clemson tells him that Spider-Woman was last seen hanging out with his old friends in the Avengers West, so Agent gladly accepts the job.

Full Summary: 

Avengers West Coast Compound, Palos Verdes, California. A rather large - well, massive - child screams from its “play pen” - which is in fact a cell. The members of the Avengers West Coast gather around to discuss the child, and Iron Man jokes that the kid has a nice set of lungs. ‘”Nice”? You’ve gotta be kidding me!’ Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra exclaims as she hangs onto Iron Man so as not to be blown over by the kids screams, like Doctor Hank Pym was. Hank lands on his arm, which Simon “Wonder Man” Williams sees, and asks his friend if he is all right, before motioning to the child, which they have dubbed “The Big One” and remarks that the kids vocal chords are knocking everyone except Iron Man down like pinballs.

Hank tells Wonder Man not to worry about him, and motions to his ex-wife, Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp who is being blown away in her tiny form. Wonder Man remarks that he may not have magnetized boots like Tony Stark’s “rent-a-hero” their new Iron Man and reaches out and grabs the Wasp before she splatters against the wall, to which Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch tells Simon that she is glad his late date did not last all night. Tigra turns to Iron Man and asks him if he can’t use his repulsor rays to stop the Big One from giving off these vibrations.

Iron Man replies that he can’t without the risk of hurting the kid, and pointing out that he doesn’t want to do that and more than Doctor Pym wants to shrink the poor mutated toddler. Suddenly, Julia Carpenter a.k.a. Spider-Woman, a friend of Hawkeye and Tony Stark’s and ally of the Avengers suggests that Tigra might be able to keep the Big One quiet if she climbs into his reinforced cage - and purrs! Tigra is offended by that and asks Spider-Woman if she is crazy, until the Scarlet Witch calms Greer down, remarking that Julia might be right. ‘Well, if you say so, Wanda’ Greer replies, and Iron Man thanks her for volunteering, then propels Tigra into the cage, despite her shouting that she only said “maybe”!

The Big One grabs Tigra, ‘And boy can he grab!’ Greer exclaims, before asking what she should do now. ‘Like Spider-Woman said - start purring!’ someone suggests. The Big One looks at Tigra, who begins to purr quietly. ‘Louder!’ someone shouts. Greer complies, and her teammates and Spider-Woman watch intently, as the Big One begins to go quiet, sucking his thumb as he holds onto Tigra tightly. Someone tells Greer to keep going, and Greer exclaims that the kid is actually calming down, before asking how she gets out of here without riling the kid again.

Wonder Man remarks that is a good question, and asks if anyone has an answer. Spider-Woman notices Wanda holding a teddy and declares that she thinks the Scarlet Witch does. Simon looks at the teddy and Wanda informs everyone that she remembered it was in the storage draw. ‘My children used to…I mean…’ her voice trails off, unsure of what to say, luckily Hank comes to her rescue, taking the bear from Wanda and telling his friend that it is a great idea. Wanda remarks that she has no use for such things any longer, and watches as Hank uses his Pym Particles on it to increase its size.

Hank informs everyone that he will sneak it into Big One’s arms, when Spider-Woman asks if she can do it, remarking that she has more experiences with teddy bears than he has, and approaching the Big One, Julia tells Tigra to slowly slide out of the Big One’s arm as she slides the teddy bear in. ‘If you absolutely insist’ Greer mutters. Wanda exclaims that the plan worked and tells everyone to leave the room quickly and quietly as the Big One is now sleeping. Tigra asks Spider-Woman how she knew that would work, to which Julia replies she will tell her outside. The Wasp remarks to Hank that they have some lullaby music they can pipe into the room, to which Hank thinks is a good idea.

Outside, Tigra asks Spider-Woman to tell her how she and Wanda knew the Big One wouldn’t turn her into striped jelly while she was playing “little miss purr-fect”. Julia replies that they didn’t, but it was a chance they had to take. ‘What?!’ exclaims Tigra angrily. The Scarlet Witch tells Tigra to use her brain, reminding her that they had already deduced their captive is actually just a young child whom some one mutated and left to guard that hidden lab. Hank exclaims that naturally the Big One would react to a toy left over from when - his voice trails off as he realizes what he was about to say. ‘Nice going’ Jan whispers to Hank, but Wanda declares that it is all right, that she has come to terms with the fact that her twins never truly existed.

Iron Man brings up Dr. Demonicus, whom they suspect it was that transformed the helpless child, when Clint “Hawkeye” Barton enters the room, announcing that it was Demonicus, and holding up some papers declares that he has the transfer of ownership to prove it. ‘So that’s what you stayed behind in Costa Mesa!’ the Wasp remarks. ‘Affirmative!’ the handsome Hawkeye replies, before joking that he doesn’t get his name just because he is a wiz with a bow and arrow, and holds up some photos which he found also, before informing everyone that the papers prove that the wax museum was purchased recently by one Dr. Douglas Birely. ‘A.k.a. Dr. Demonicus!’ Iron Man exclaims.

The Wasp examines the photos and exclaims that ties everything up, as Birely is a geneticist who used something called the Lifestone to evolve small animals into monsters. Hank remarks that, as far as they know, he has never experimented on human beings though. ‘But there’s always a first time for a crumb like that!’ Hawkeye exclaims. The Wasp points out that Demonicus’ modus operandi fits what they gleaned from the apparatus they captured also. Iron Man adds that he ascertained Demonicus’ machines were manufactured in Japan and Australia, to which Hank points out that they know Demonicus has usually operated along the Pacific rim.

Wonder Man asks Iron Man if he is sure about that, pointing out that the country of origin had been sanded off them. Iron Man tells Simon to trust him, as Tony Stark has taught him a few things during the time he has worked for him. Hank brings up the photos that Hawkeye mentioned and asks if he learned anything from them. ‘I thought you’d never ask!’ Clint jokes, before holding the photos out and informing everyone that they are of Tokyo and another Japanese city, and also one of the Sydney Opera House in Australia, which ties in with what Iron Man pointed out.

The Wasp remarks that it is pretty convenient isn’t it, all these photos left lying around. Hawkeye replies that he knows, and agrees, before pointing out that it is all they have to go on right now. The Scarlet Witch suggests that if they are going to investigate, then somebody has to make some assignments, before pointing out that they never did get around to electing a chairman. Hank asks Iron Man, as the newest Avenger, if he wants to do it. Iron Man replies ‘If that’s what everyone wants’ and as no one objects, proceeds to give out the missions.

Iron Man tells Wanda that she, Wonder Man and Dr. Pym will head for Australia, while he, Tigra and the Wasp go check out the Japanese manufacturer, and Hawkeye stays here as liaison. Arms folded across his chest, Wonder Man tells Iron Man that, if it is all the same, he would prefer going with his team. Iron Man replies that it not all right with him, and goes over to Simon, whispering that they both know he wants to switch teams because he and Wanda have had a dispute, before reminding Simon that he is a pro - as an actor and an Avenger - so he should start acting like one.

Spider-Woman stands by Hawkeye and remarks that Iron Man sure comes on strong, for being new in the group. ‘New? Oh yeah, right’ Hawkeye replies, before telling Julia that he was just about to object to being left to hold the fort, but considering the circumstances, thinks he will do as he is told. Shortly, two Quinjets depart Avengers Compound, and Clint and Julia go back into the room where the Big One is being kept. Julia begins to say that with her not being an Avenger she might as well head home, but doesn’t complete her sentence as she sees Hawkeye holding up the photos in front of the Big One and asks him what he is doing that for.

Hawkeye motions to the Big One who is looking at the photos through his large pen, but gets no response. Julia asks Clint what he expected, as the Big One is practically an infant. ‘Yeah, guess it was a dumb idea’ Clint replies, before reminding Julia that she never said why she left Denver. ‘No, I didn’t’ Julia replies, glancing away. Clint suggests that she can fill him in over a pizza sometime, to which Julia replies that she read somewhere he was married. ‘Legally separated!’ Clint replies, before pointing out that he was talking about pizza, not a pre-nuptial contract! ‘Well, in that case - your phone’s ringing’ Julia replies, interrupted by the telephone.

‘Story of my life. Put me alone with a gorgeous redhead and a two-ton toddler - and that’s when Century-21 calls to ask if we want to sell this place!’ Hawkeye jokes as he runs for the telephone. ‘Hank Pym? Sorry, he had to leave town’ Clint informs the person who is ringing. ‘Who? Dr. Jennifer Falk? Oh, yeah, from U.C.L.A. No, he didn’t mention having a dinner date, sorry’ Clint tells Dr. Falk, before promising that he will have Hank phone her as soon as he gets back.

Hanging the phone up, Clint remarks that it looks like Hank and Janet really are going their separate-but-equal ways. ‘Never thought I’d see the day!’ he jokes, when suddenly the phone rings again. ‘Hey! What is this?’ he mutters, asking if someone got their phone number mixed up with Larry King’s. Hawkeye answers the phone, and the woman on the other end informs him that she is from the Titan Talent Agency. Clint assumes she wants to speak with Wonder Man, so tells her that Simon isn’t here, when he is surprised to find out that she wants to speak with Janet.

Trish Titan from the Titan Talent Agency learns that Janet is not there and asks Clint to get Janet to call her when she gets back, and to tell her that Trish definitely wants to represent her and that screenplay that she sent her. Hawkeye hangs up the phone and wonders what that was all about, as he didn’t know the Wasp was into writing letters, let alone movie scripts! Hawkeye then wonders if there is anybody in Tinseltown who isn’t writing a screenplay, before deciding that it is none of his business anyway.

Spider-Woman calls out urgently to Hawkeye, who comes rushing in and asking what the big deal is, before noticing the Big One holding a photo and asking Spider-Woman what the kid is doing with it. Julia replies that the Big One just reached through the bars and grabbed it off the floor, but that she does now know which photo it is, and the Big One is not keen in giving it up! Hawkeye reaches for an arrow from his pack and suggests that he can stab the photo and pull it back, to which Julia stops him, asking if he wants the kid to start crying again and bring the house down around their ears.

‘Point taken!’ Clint exclaims, before asking Julia what they should do, as he wants to see that photo. ‘Here, let me!’ Spider-Woman exclaims, raising her hands towards the play pen, she explains to Hawkeye that it usually takes a few seconds for her psionic webs to fully materialize, adding that since what she is going is affecting the inter-atomic attraction between molecular boundary layers, but when it does, perhaps she can pull the picture away from the Big One without hurting him.

Julia’s plan works, and Spider-Man tells her that sometime she has got to remember to tell him where she learned all that physics, before pointing out that the Big One is still going to want the photo back. ‘Not necessarily’ Julia replies, as Clint grabs the photo and examines it, while Spider-Woman gives the Big One something else to play with, like her glowing web-weave. ‘Nice touch!’ Clint replies, before alerting Spider-Woman to the photo. Julia points out that the photo is not of Japan or Australia, and Clint realizes that this photo must have been stuck between the others and no one noticed. ‘Feel like taking a ride?’ he asks. ‘Well, I was really supposed to…sure! I wanna see this thing through!’ Julia exclaims. ‘That’s the spirit!‘ Clint tells Julia, before checking that the Big One is asleep, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman leave in a third Quinjet, with Hawkeye informing Julia that the music and the ground crew will take care of the Big One.

Somewhere else, Dr. Demonicus strides about his laboratory, where lab technicians are busy going about their tasks, and two prisoners are kept in stasis - the Living Lightning and the man called Taifu, or Typhoon. Dr. Demonicus’ aid Kain points out that the big day is nearly here, to which Demonicus replies that it is indeed, and tells Kain that during his Californian sojourn, Kain has supervised the ongoing work here superbly, and that he will receive an honoured place in the bold new world he is in the process of creating.

Demonicus remarks that, by now, their foes have doubtless divided their forces between Australia and Japan, just as he intended when he left a few obsolescent machines behind. Demonicus points to a technician and orders him to increase the power-drain on Typhoon and Living Lightning by seven percent. Kain asks Demonicus if it was truly wise to leave their enemies what amounted to nothing more than clues. Demonicus replies that after Kuroko and Jawbreaker encountered Spider-Woman, he realized that other West Coast super heroes were bound to find his labs. ‘Far better to direct their actions than to wonder where they are every moment!’ Demonicus exclaims. Kain supposes that Demonicus is right, but he never looked at it that way.

Demonicus motions to the Lifestone and tells Kain to think of everything else as mere stepping stones - his Pacific Overlords who do his bidding in several nations washed by that ocean, even the precious Lifestone which mutated the Overlords so that each one gained a different power. Demonicus exclaims that all of them are mere way-stations on the path to the Pax Demonicus which he shall soon impose on the region known as the Pacific Rim. Demonicus declares that it will be only a little longer, then it will be too late for the super heroes of Earth to stop him.

Demonicus apologizes for lapsing into the clichés used by earlier would-be conquerors, ‘But it is true!’ he boasts. Kain points out that if anything went wrong, and the heroes somehow tracked them here - Dr. Demonicus interrupts Kain, explaining that is why he has kept his most powerful Overlord here, to destroy any costumed fool who blunders into the domain of Dr. Demonicus!

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, or “the Big Island”, which is the youngest, largest and southernmost of the Hawaii chain. Its major active Volcano, Kilauea, has been erupting constantly since the mid 1980’s, making a popular tourist attraction. A man tells his girlfriend to look through the binoculars, and exclaims if that fire goddess, Pele, really lives in the volcano like the legends say, then she has got to be on the market for one of his air-conditioners. The girlfriend tells her boyfriend to save some of that for the luau tonight, ‘Quarter to eight in the morning and you’ve already used up the whole day’s quota of enthusiasm!’

The man begins to reply, when suddenly the volcano begins spouting lava furiously, high up into the air, it splatters everywhere. Civilians and tourists on the viewing platform begin running for their lives, while the boyfriend exclaims that he has got to get a picture of that. The girlfriend asks her partner if he thinks it might hit them over here, to which he replies that the tourist bureau wouldn’t let them get this close if there was any chance of danger, when suddenly there is a mighty sound as two figures burst from the opening of the volcano. ‘Hey! What was that?!’ someone asks pointing upwards. As the two figures streak away, someone else remarks that whatever it was, it’s gone now.

Meanwhile, at Honolulu, 7.55am. Admiral Hinkley begins a speech, exclaiming that nearly fifty years ago, on another Sunday morning, the U.S. battleship Arizona lay anchored where this memorial stands now. In the dark months following imperial Japan’s sneak attack, there were but a few indominatable heroes who could carry the war to the enemies. ‘And one of the foremost was the Sub-Mariner. Thus it is my honor to present you with this plaque, honoring your exploits, Prince Namor!’ the Admiral exclaims. Dressed in a suit the Sub-Mariner accepts the plaque, while remarking that he is a prince no longer.

Namor declares that he is not a speech maker, yet accepts this on behalf of his fellow invaders, Captain America and the original Human Torch. Namor goes on to say that the true heroes are the more than two thousand men who died on this island on December 7th 1971 - half of whom lie forever entombed below the Arizona, from whose rusted tanks oil still seeps even to this day. Namor declares that he did fight in that war against Nazi Germany and militarist Japan, now because he is half-American, or even half-human, but because he saw the essential justice of the Allied cause.

Namor goes on to say that, thankfully the old enmities between those nations are long since buried, when suddenly, ’It is you who shall be buried, Sub-Mariner!’ cries a voice from above as Namor is bombarded by a blast of powerful flame. ‘Namor’s down!’ the Admiral shouts, while asking who could have done that, only to look up and see two figures flying in bursts of flames towards the memorial - ‘I am Sunfire - or to use the words of my native tongue, Taiyo Kaji!’ cries the one-time X-Man, while his female companion introduces herself as Pele, goddess of fire, and spirit of these isles usurped long ago by despoiling foreigners.

Sunfire a.k.a. Shiro Yashida declares that they have come to drive all Americans out and back to the mainland where they belong. ‘Like fish you will!’ an officer exclaims as he begins firing bullets at his assailants, only to discover that the bullets cannot get past Sunfire’s fiery aura. Admiral Hinkley exclaims that he knows Sunfire, ‘He’s one of those mutants’ he exclaims, wondering if mutants are turning against humans again. Sunfire replies that he makes no common cause with mutants, but only with those he chooses. Pele speaks up, declaring that Sunfire chooses to help her as she reclaims these isles for its native people, her worshipers.

‘That’s bull lady, and you know it!’ someone cries out, to which Sunfire warns the man to hold his tongue. ‘I said bull and I meant bull!’ the man replies. Admiral Hinkley exclaims that he knows Sunfire is Japanese, and declares that he suspects that fake “goddess” is part Japanese too, before remarking that they used to be out to avenge Japan’s defeat in 1945, and points out that they are attacking at the exact time Japan did in 1941, ‘Proves you’re still looking to get even!’

Sunfire admits that is a peripheral part of his mission today, though it is one he shall enjoy most thoroughly. Pele exclaims that they shall destroy them together, and their concrete memorial to conquest with them. Sunfire agrees, ‘With our different flames we shall -’ he begins to say when he is caught off guard by something streaking in front of he and Pele, an arrow, with thick black smoke trailing behind it. As the smoke spreads, Pele exclaims that there is so much of it she cannot even see the hated memorial, when suddenly Hawkeye, balancing himself on the outside of the Quinjet which lands on the water exclaims ‘That’s the idea!’

Sunfire is surprised to see the Avenger, ‘You - here?’ he exclaims, to which Hawkeye remarks ‘I might toss the same question back in your face, Sunfire!’ and points out that the last he heard, Sunfire was one of the good guys, even if the rest of the world wasn’t sure about mutants. Julia clings to the edge of the Quinjet, whispering to Hawkeye that they witnessed Sunfire and Pele’s firepower before they landed, and asks if he thinks they can take Sunfire and Pele down with nothing but arrows and whatever she can throw at them. ‘Maybe - maybe not!’ Clint whispers back, before joking ‘That’s why the Avengers keep my in pocket change…so I’ll be there when somebody as to try!’ Julia wonders what she is doing here then, as she is not an Avenger, and is even on the lam from the last Government group she worked for.

Hawkeye tells Sunfire that he and his lady friend have got until the count of three to clear out of here. ‘Then I’m gonna get mad!’ Clint exclaims. In the memorial meanwhile, an officer exclaims that they are the ones who better clear out of here before they get caught in the crossfire. The Admiral announces that he is going to call in some air support, while back outside, Sunfire tells Hawkeye that he should not have given him an ultimatum, for that merely gives him the opportunity to rain down his solar flare upon their foolish heads.

Hawkeye leaps out of the way of the falling flames, remarking that he forget “you guys” attacked this place once before without fair warning, and firing an arrow up at Sunfire exclaims ‘Here’s a little American firepower right back at ya!’ Clint thinks to himself that Sunfire’s power missed him, while he got the chance to fire an explosive tip-arrow at Sunfire. Clint knows that he should not bait Sunfire like he holds him personally responsible for Pearl Harbor, especially since Sunfire got his powers as a freak after-effect of the atomic blast at Hiroshima, ‘But he got under my skin!’.

Noticing what happens when his arrow reaches Sunfire though, Clint realizes that his arrow just annoyed Sunfire, while thinking to himself that he isn’t even sure what they are fighting about. Suddenly, Spider-Woman tells Hawkeye to keep Sunfire busy while she takes care of the self-appointed volcano-mama. Julia unleashes her psionic webs against Pele, who just hovers in the air, who discovers that she cannot burn them, but flying away boasts that she can easily evade them, ‘And hurl my own spark of divine fire!’ with that, Pele sends several blasts of lava down at Spider-Woman, who makes a joke, while dodging them.

The Quinjet receives the full brunt of the fire power and is tossed up above the water, and in the process the hatch opens and Spider-Woman falls into the craft. Hawkeye boasts that it will take more than that to sink the Quinjet, when suddenly his arrows slip from their case, he grabs them just before they hit the water though, ‘Couldn’t play hard-ball with soggy arrows!’ he exclaims. Clint thinks that this is weird, for this is the second run-in the Avengers have had with the so-called Pacific Overlords, supposing these two are part of that group, but the Avengers still have no idea as to what the Overlords are up to besides sheer destruction, for so far nothing they have done makes much sense, and therefore the Avengers are still not seeing the big picture.

Hawkeye calls out to Spider-Woman and exclaims that the Quinjet may be getting damp, but that it will take a lot of water before it goes under, and asks her to watch the left wing while he watches the right. When he gets no answer, Clint calls out to Julia, asking if she is still there. Pele informs Hawkeye that Spider-Woman is dead, and boasts that he will soon join her. Suddenly though, Julia climbs out of the hatch she fell into, telling Pele not to get her shirt in an uproar, as she is alive and ready to kick grass! Julia tells Pele that if she has the guts to come down here for a little one-on-one, then she will find out just how alive she is. ‘Pele accepts your challenge!’ the self-styled goddess snaps back furiously.

Pele flies down towards the Quinjet, boasting that now they will find out she is indeed the true goddess of fire - when suddenly she gets trapped in a large psionic web that Spider-Woman created. Julia jokes that Pele is actually the goddess of clumsiness, and Hawkeye tells Julia that he is glad she is okay, before asking her how she did that. Julia explains that as Pele dove down towards them, she formed a web right above where the sun glistened on the water. Clint realizes that Pele would not have been able to see the web and tells Julia that, for a rookie, she is not too bad.

Spider-Woman smiles at Hawkeye’s comment and thanks him, ‘Coming from a bona fide Avenger like you -’ she exclaims, when she is interrupted by Pele, breaking free from the webbing. ‘I think the word you’re groping for is “premature”!’ Hawkeye exclaims before telling Spider-Woman that all her psi-web did was slow Pele down, ‘Not that I’m complaining mind you’ he assures Julia. Pele flies towards the Quinjet once more, warning Hawkeye and Spider-Woman that they are now going to face her wrath, to which Spider-Woman exclaims ’As far as I’m concerned, you fired-up mass of clichés - you’re all wet!’ With that, Julia rips a piece of the Quinjet from its fixture using her super strength and smashes it against Pele, causing her to fall into the water.

Julia sees Pele begin to flounder around and dives in to help her. But swimming over to Pele and grabbing her arm to stop her from drowning, Julia gets slightly burned, as Pele’s skin is still so hot. ‘You dare lay a hand on Pele?’ the deranged woman exclaims, before unleashing her heat rays on Spider-Woman and warning her that she will find the heat waves render her far more helpless than she was, adding ‘Nor will I bother saving you from drowning!’

Sunfire congratulates Pele, when suddenly Hawkeye remarks that he was wondering where Sunfire had got to, and gives him a welcome back present in the form of a flare arrow. ‘A flare arrow against Sunfire? Why not shine a flashlight into a furnace instead?’ Shiro laughs, but Hawkeye just fires another arrow. Shiro watches and sees that it is another flare arrow judging by the head, he remarks that Hawkeye must be down to his last arrows, when suddenly, tear gas surrounds the cocky mutant. Hawkeye smiles and remarks that arrowheads can be switched, when suddenly he is thrust into the water as a beam of flame erupts from underneath the Quinjet.

‘Ad have I, archer!’ Pele bellows as she flies up from the water. Clint sees that Spider-Woman is unconscious and swims over to her, hoping to get to her before she drowns. ‘How touching. The two of you will die together!’ Pele exclaims, when suddenly she hears a mighty roaring. ‘Have you forgotten me already, woman?’ the Sub-Mariner asks as he rides a massive wave that sweeps towards Pele - who instantly flies away as fast as she can. Namor remarks that it seems Pele does not wish to fight him after he recovered from her cowardly attack.

The Sub-Mariner regrets that he has lost his ankle wings recently, otherwise he would follow her, though a mere leap brings him fist-to-face with Sunfire, who he smashes hard in the face. Namor reminds Sunfire that they were foes before Sunfire had fought with almost anyone, before remarking that he thought Sunfire had renounced his mad desire for revenge upon America. Realizing he has knocked Sunfire unconscious, Namor drops down to the Quinjet and supposes that he will have to wait until Shiro revives to find the answer, before turning to Hawkeye and asking him what he and Spider-Woman are doing here.

Hawkeye explains that they learned something was going to happen here, but they just didn’t know what. Namor asks who Spider-Woman is and Hawkeye explains who she is. Julia regains consciousness, spluttering some water, while Namor turns his attention to the awakening Sunfire, asking him why he attacked him and the Pearl Harbor memorial. Dazed, Sunfire replies that he doesn’t remember, and surprisingly, Namor remarks that he believes Sunfire, pointing out that the glazed look in his eyes earlier was the look of a mesmerized man.

Hawkeye suggests that perhaps Pele was hypnotized too, otherwise why would anyone think she was a real volcano goddess. ‘You can ask that after years of chumming around with Thor?’ Sunfire asks. Hawkeye welcomes Spider-Woman back to the land of the conscious, while Namor asks Shiro what he remembers. Sunfire replies that he has no memory of this “Pele” that they are talking about, but that he does recall being captured back in Japan. Namor asks him who by, but Sunfire replies that he doesn’t know, as he was struck from behind, before exclaiming that he does remember one thing - a date - July 18th!

Hawkeye points out that tomorrow is July 18th and asks what is so special about it. Sunfire replies that he has not the slightest idea, except for that it is for some reason very important. Namor tells Hawkeye that if Sunfire remembers anything else then to contact him, but right now he must return to Los Angeles. ‘Sure’ Hawkeye replies, before telling Namor that he doesn’t imagine it will be anything the Avengers West cannot handle, especially with Spider-Woman helping them. However, Spider-Woman tells Hawkeye that she actually has to get back to L.A. herself, even if tomorrow is the end of the world. ‘Especially if tomorrow is the end of the world!’ she exclaims.

Meanwhile, at 5.08am in San Francisco. ‘Another day, another datsun” a thief thinks to himself as he tries to break into a car. He admits that there is not much money in stealing one of these, but that beggars can’t be choosers. Suddenly though, a large figure comes up behind the thief and taps him on the shoulder. ‘Please don’t hit me!’ the thief exclaims as he raises his hands in the air, before realizing that the person standing before him is USAgent. ‘What’s an Avenger doing down here chasing small fry like me?’ the thief asks, when suddenly USAgent’s pager goes off. The handsome John Walker tells the thief to stay here while he answers his beeper, and warns him not to make anymore lippy remarks.

‘Yo! USAgent here! If this is one of the Avengers West you can kiss my -’ Walker begins, when a voice interrupts, ‘Negative! This is Mike Clemson, of the Commission!’ ‘What Commission?’ Agent asks. ‘The Commission!’ Clemson snaps back. ‘Oh, that Commission!’ Walker exclaims, before asking Clemson why he is using the Avenger’s private line. Clemson tells Agent that they might ask him the same thing, ‘You think we don’t know you were botted out of the Avengers?’

‘Okay, so we both won’t get technical!’ Agent mutters, before asking Clemson what is going on. Clemson replies that it is simple: ‘You need a new employer, and the Commission needs a job done’. Walker asks if the job isn’t something Clemson can black mail those Freedom Force bozos into doing for him. Clemson replies that the Commission also uses other operatives, such as - until recently - Spider-Woman! ‘Never heard of her!’ Agent replies, to which Clemson replies that the Commission wishes they hadn’t either, as she has turned into a rogue agent. Agent replies that is no skin off his nose, to which Clemson informs Agent that if he takes care of Spider-Woman, then he starts off on a salary of $1000 per week - retroactive.

Agent asks Clemson if he has any idea where he might be able to find Spider-Woman, to which Clemson replies that she was last seen at the Avengers West Compound. ‘You got yourself a deal!’ Walker exclaims, to which Clemson exclaims ‘Excellent!’ before telling Walker that there is one more thing - ‘Spider-Woman is so dangerous - she is to be permanently retired upon sight!’ Agent frowns and tells Clemson that they used to call it “wasted” and that he is no longer into that. Clemson claims that it is a matter of national security.

USAgent kicks the thief along past the car, telling him to get on his way, as he doesn’t have time for him now, and in an instant, Walker has run along the street and leaps onto the rooftop of a cab. The driver gets a shock, and looks out his window only to see USAgent frowning and tells the driver to head for L.A., and to step on it. ‘I’ve got me a spider to squash!’

Characters Involved: 

Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)
USAgent (former member of the Avengers West Coast)

Spider-Woman II
Namor the Sub-Mariner
Living Lightning


Doctor Demonicus
Big One, Kain, Pele, Typhoon (all Pacific Overlords)
Lab Technicians

Mike Clemson (voice only)

Dr. Jennifer Falk (Behind the scenes only)
Trish Titan
Tourists and civilians
Admiral Hinkley and other crewmen

Story Notes: 

Wonder Man was seen leaving Avengers Compound to go on a date in Avengers West Coast #70.

Wanda’s rather disorientated speech about her children is of course due to the painful revelation that they were actually figments of her imagination, mixed with two of the five souls of Mephisto and her mutant hex power. [Avengers West Coast #51-52]

Spider-Woman has a daughter of her own, Rachel, which is why she was so quick-thinking when it came to the Big One.

The Avengers West Coast stumbled upon the Big One in Avengers West Coast #70.

Dr. Demonicus used the Lifestone to evolve small animals into monsters in Iron Man (1st series) #193, 196.

The Avengers West Coast met Dr. Jennifer Falk in Avengers West Coast #67.

Namor and Sunfire first fought in Sub-Mariner (1st series) #52-54.

USAgent was voted out of the Avengers West Coast in Avengers West Coast #69.

Spider-Woman was forced to work for the Commission as of Iron Man (1st series) #214, and was seen performing a task for them in Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #125-126, which is her latest appearance before appearing in Avengers West Coast #70.

The Tom Morgan cover pays homage to the classic Dave Cockrum cover of X-Men (1st series) / Uncanny X-Men #101, which of course was the first appearance of Jean Grey as Phoenix. The difference this time is that in the place of Phoenix is Pele, while Hawkeye and Spider-Woman II take the exact same poses as Cyclops and Storm. Sunfire fills in for Nightcrawler, though he is hovering above the water instead of in the water, and the Avengers Quinjet can be seen in the background.

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