Avengers West Coast #79

Issue Date: 
February 1992
Story Title: 
Infamous Monsters of Hollywood, part 4: Fade Out

Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Dave Ross (penciler), Tim Dzon (inker), Bob Sharen (colorist), Joe Rosen (letterer), Nelson Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Night Shift take over the Griffith Observatory so that they can finish filming their movie, bringing with them the hostage film crew, and their prisoners USAgent and Wonder Man. Spider-Woman arrives at Stella Houston’s beach house, where Stella reveals that she thinks the Hangman is her old lover, Jason Roland, the actor from the original “Demon” film who mysteriously vanished. They see the Hangman on television, and Stella accompanies Spider-Woman to the observatory. The rest of the Avengers West Coast report in, and the team agrees to meet up before going to the observatory. Back at the observatory though, Mona, one of the actresses, leads a rebellion against the Night Shift, as she and her colleagues start attacking their oppressors. Thankfully, it isn’t long before the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Spider-Woman, the Living Lightning and Mockingbird arrive on scene. Mona and Living Lightning share a moment, while the Avengers West Coast prepare to take on the Night Shift, who free USAgent and Wonder Man, while the director of the “Demon” film is curious as to why the Hangman is letting the local news stations record this monumental battle. But the Hangman tells him that he has his reasons. The Avengers West Coast and the powered-up Night Shift engage each other in combat, which is broadcast all around the world. Mockingbird has a reunion with the Digger, while USAgent and Wonder Man go for Hangman, but are attacked by Tick-Tock. Spider-Woman finds herself up against Needle, while Iron Man is taken down by Tatterdemalion. The Scarlet Witch comes to his aid, before she is literally thrown out of the battle by the Brothers Grimm. Suddenly, a portal opens, and the demon Sattanish appears. When the Scarlet Witch comes to, outside the observatory, she sees him, and wishes that she was a major witch like her mentor, and decides that now is the time to see if her training his paid off. The battle between the Avengers West Coast and Night Shift rages, with Night Shift suddenly appearing even more powerful. The Scarlet Witch manages to conjure Dr Strange, bringing him forth from an alternate dimension where he was chasing some mysterious spirits. Hangman corrals the Avengers West Coast together before Stella Houston rushes over to him and unmasks him, revealing him indeed as Jason Roland. Dr Strange and the Scarlet Witch confront Satannish, and in the process, the mysterious souls that Dr Strange had been pursuing appear - and he returns them to their rightful owners, the Night Shift, as they had literally given their souls in exchange for more power. Dr Strange reveals Satannish’s plan - that he would absorb millions of souls from around the world from the viewers watching the battle on the television. The Night Shift agree to team up with the Avengers West Coast, and the two teams attack Satannish. Hangman and Satannish argue, while Iron Man and the Living Lightning destroy the cameras so the battle can’t be transmitted any longer, meaning Satannish can’t absorb the souls of millions. Satannish makes his escape, but in the process leaves Jason Roland a mindless shell. With the world safe, Mona and Living Lightning embrace, and Spider-Woman announces that she is looking forward to throwing down some punches with regular bank robbers.

Full Summary: 

Griffith Park Observatory, Lose Angeles. This world-famous landmark is no stranger to catastrophe. While it was being built in the mid-1930’s, four thousand WPA workers at the site were called to help fight a brush fire on the east side of Mt Hollywood. The wind changed tragically, and though the fire was contained, it left behind the charred corpses of twenty-seven men. Today, people come to the observatory for many reasons - for its panoramic view of Hollywood spread out below, for the stellar light shows in its planetarium, or just ot try and fire out where James Dean’s famous knife fight was filmed in “Rebel Without a Cause”. Civilians listen as a recording in the planetarium states ‘Through the infinite reaches of space, the problems of man seem trivial and naïve indeed…and man, existing alone, seems himself an episode of little consequence’.

Outside, two people lean over a rooftop and someone exclaims ‘Never mind that… but how the heck did Warner Brothers ever get a car down there?’, while a woman asks ‘How did anybody get that over there?’ Her companion turns to where she is looking and asks her what she is talking about, before gasping ‘Holy moley!’ as a large narrow mountain has mysteriously appeared. A staircase winds up the mountain, and atop it sit’s a certain mansion - the Tower of Shadows. On the top of the observatory, the Night Shift have appeared, and Dansen Macabre declares that she materialized their Tower of Shadows and its hill along with themselves. ‘Why do you think I had Satannish give you such teleportation powers, my dear Dansen Macabre?’

Down on the balcony, civilians look up to the top of the observatory, ‘Look out! It - it’s those crooks who were on TV’ one of them calls out. ‘The Night Shift!’ someone else gasps. ‘We’re commandeering this location for a key scene in “The Night Shift Takes Hollywood”!’ Hangman announces, adding that if it was good enough for Nicholas Ray, it is good enough for them. Misfit, Tatterdemalion and Tick-Tock are keeping guard over the captive John Walker a.k.a. USAgent and Simon “Wonder Man” Williams. Misfit tells the civilians below that if they could whip USAgent and Wonder Man, then they better run for it. The civilians do as suggested, and USAgent tells Misfit to let them loose, then they will see who turns tail. Simon looks at his teammate, and asks him what is wrong. ‘This is the first place I came when I moved to town - because of “Rebel” - and now, to be a helpless captive here -’ Simon replies.

‘That’s what you get for trying to out-fox these guys on your own’ USAgent tells Wonder Man, who replies that he had no choice - because of the cast and crew. They look out to where Gypsy Moth is levitating cast and crew of the film on a carpet, and the Brothers Grimm hover on clouds, ‘Movie crew and equipment - coming right up!’ one of them calls out. ‘Even a director, that craven pup!’ the other Brother remarks. ‘Okay, Boy Wonder - I guess you’re right. If we even started to bust out of this gunk, they’d execute the hostages - starting with Waite, the director’ USAgent agrees.

Down below, a security guard is on the phone to the police, reporting that the Night Shift gang has taken over. ‘Yeah, well, somebody must be willing to believe it because I see a TV news truck pulling up right this second’. He tells the officer, adding that he has no idea who called the media, when suddenly, the phone is ripped out of the wall. ‘Can’t you guess, man?’ a voice calls out. ‘Uh-oh’ the security guard mutters, and turning around, finds that Misfit is standing behind him. ‘Please, mister - I got a wife and kids!’ the guard exclaims. ‘Do I look like a census taker?’ Misfit asks as he flicks the guard in the face, knocking him over with ease. A cameraman leaps out of the van and mutters that these guys are late, for they said yesterday they were going to take over someplace at dawn. ‘You gonna sue ‘em over it?’ his colleague asks.

Twenty miles away in Malibu, Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter is with Stella Houston, who tells her that she is really sorry to drag her up here on such short notice. ‘You think you’re sorry, Ms Houston - Stella - you should see my ex!’ Spider-Woman replies. As they climb the steps to Stella’s home, she tells Spider-Woman that she doesn’t understand what she means. Spider-Woman tells her to forget it, as she is just so flustered she is thinking out loud, before asking Stella why she said it was urgent she came. Spider-Woman adds that she doesn’t mean to be rude, but she should be helping look for the Night Shift right now. Entering the house, Stella explains that is why she called Spider-Woman, and asks her if she remembers telling her that she was having a fling with the horror-movie star, Jason Roland, seven years ago, just before he disappeared.

‘Right in the middle of that movie Mammoth Studios is trying to finish’ Spider-Woman replies. Stella holds up a photo, telling Spider-Woman that when she and the Avengers left last time, she pulled the photo out, depicting Jason in his old monster costume. She tells Spider-Woman that the moment Hangman appeared on television making his demands, she was certain he as really Jason Roland. ‘What? How can you be certain?’ Spider-Woman asks. ‘Let’s just say that I really got to know Jase well during the filming of “The Demon that Devoured Hollywood” - and the Hangman’s him all right!’ Stella replies. ‘You mean - him?’ Spider-Woman asks as Hangman appears on the television.

‘Wow! He’s getting more publicity now than he ever got when he was “the next Karloff” But aren’t those two of your Avengers buddies he’s got trussed up?’ Spider-Woman sees Wonder Man and USAgent held prisoner, while Stella turns the sound on the television up, so they can hear the Hangman demanding that he wants the remaining Avengers West Coast up at the Griffith Observatory right now, so that the whole world can witness the filming of their defeat at the hands of the Night Shift, otherwise he will start hanging the tech crew, one man at a time, starting with those he can most easily spare. Spider-Woman tells Stella that this is bad, as USAgent and Wonder Man are two of the most powerful Avengers West, so if Night Shift could beat them… her voice trails off, as she informs Stella that she has to get moving. ‘I’m going with you!’ Stella exclaims, so Spider-Woman tells her to come on.

Inside the Quinjet piloted by Spider-Woman, Stella tells her that she is impressed at the way she handles this jet, and asks her how long she has been flying crates like this. Spider-Woman asks what the time is, and Stella tells her that it is 9:30 AM. ‘Then I’ve been flying them for an hour and 23 minutes’ Spider-Woman reveals. Stella nervously asks Spider-Woman if she has a pilot’s license at least. ‘Actually, I think even my driver’s license has expired’ Spider-Woman replies. ‘WHAT?’ Stella gasps. Spider-Woman tells her that Hawkeye and USAgent did give her a sort of flying lesson the way up here the first time, when suddenly, Iron Man appears on a communication’s monitor.

‘Calling all AWC units! On my way back to LA from seeing Dr Strange in New York’ Iron Man a.k.a. Tony Stark reports, adding that he didn’t get much help there, as Strange was chasing some weird creatures from some dimension that e says shouldn’t even exist. Iron Man adds that even the fact that the demon Satannish is involved here could not dissuade Strange from going after the creatures. The Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff reports in via communicator and tell Iron Man that they will meet him in Griffith Park. ‘Check - roger - over and out - whatever’ Spider-Woman declares.

Back in Griffith Park, police have cordoned off the area. ‘Everybody stay back! This is police business!’ one of them orders. ‘So why’re we down here and the TV crews up there?’ one officer wonders. ‘In this day and age, you gotta ask?’ another remarks while on the radio communicator, ‘Yeah, you heard me right. A whole blasted hill appeared next door - with a mansion on it, no less!’ he exclaims.

Up at the observatory, two members of the film crew are carrying a large trunk, while Misfit stands nearby, ‘How much longer before we -’ he begins, before one of the men carrying the trunk bumps into him., ‘Watch it there, buddy’ Misfit warns him. ‘Sorry, sir. I thought you were a statue’ the young man replies. ‘You trying to be funny? Why, I oughtta - in act - think I will - ‘Misfit fumes as he looms down over the young man. ‘Look, I was only -’ the man begins, when his colleague Mona goes over to them with a fire extinguisher and uses it against Misfit, blasting the foam in his face. ‘Don’t grovel, Charlie’ she tells her colleague, before rallying the rest of the film crew, ‘C’mon, people! Let’s take these turkeys!’ she exclaims. Charlie thanks Mona, while another member of the crew decides that Mona is right. ‘Are we men, or Mickey Mouse?’ he asks.

One of the film crew suddenly starts throwing rocks at Gypsy Moth who is hovering overhead. ‘Got her! That Gypsy Moth can’t levitate rocks like she can fabrics!’ he points out as Gypsy Moth is bombarded. Another man starts strangling Tatterdemalion with his own scarf, while someone rushes towards one of the Brothers Grimm. ‘You think you’re such a hot shot, Misfit - maybe this’ll cool you off!’ Mona exclaims as she continues to fire the foam at him. ‘Cut it out, sister!’ Misfit cries out, while a reporter stands in front of the camera crew, announcing ‘And, as you can see behind me, the kidnapped movie crew has launched a desperate but probably futile rebellion against their Night Shift captors’. ‘Hey, you YV people - how about a hand here?’ a man calls out as he sprays some hair spray at close range into the face of one of the Brothers Grimm.

Mona rushes over to the reporter and asks her what is wrong with them, as this is their fight, too. ‘We can’t carry it alone!’ she exclaims. The reporter replies that she is sorry, but part of the deal for being allowed in was that they maintain total neutrality. ‘Besides, it looks as if your little revolt is almost over’ she points out, as Misfit has collected four of the rebelling crew members and wrapped his arms around them, while Needle holds his weapon to the back of another member of the crew ‘Uh, easy with that thing huh, pal?’ the crew member calls out. Misfit sees Mona and tells Needle that she is the one who started it. ‘None of yer fancy sewing up mouths this time -’ he tells him as Needle grabs Mona by her hair and pulls her towards him. ‘Just give it to her right between the eyes!’ Misfit declares.

‘He can year you, Misfit, he’s mute, not deaf!’ Digger points out as he stands nearby, Mona falls to the ground, and Needle raises his large needle overhead, ‘You lousy -’ Mona begins, when suddenly, a charge of electricity surges through the needle. ‘Back off, bato loco!’ calls out Miguel Santos the Living Lightning, as he drops down beside Mona in his electrified lighting form, he exclaims ‘Relampago Vivo is here! That’s “Living Lightning” to you!’, and he sends lightning bolts charging through Misfit, Gypsy Moth, Digger and one of the Brothers Grimm. ‘Well, well - looks like our first guest star’s here - showing off for the little lady!’ Misfit calls out. Miguel reverts to his human form and asks Mona if she is okay. He then tells her that he has been crazy ever since he found out she was one of the ones kidnapped. ‘Miguel…’ Mona utters, before she stands up and they embrace and kiss.

‘Break it up, Lightning’ Iron Man calls out from above as he arrives with the rest of the Avengers West Coast. ‘The Night Shift isn’t likely to call a time out while you’re in a clinch’ Iron Man points out. On a sky-cycle, the Scarlet Wtch tells Iron Man that he has no romantic soul. On another sky-cycle, estranged husband and wife Clint “Hawkeye” Barton and Bobbi Morse Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird, the team’s reserve member are sharing the sky-cycle, and Clint tells her to hold it steady, calling her Bobby, she reminds him to call her “Mockingbird” while wearing this uniform. The Quinjet with Spider-Woman is overhead, and Living Lightning tells his teammates not to worry as he is on the case.

‘So, what do you think, Mr Waite?’ Hangman asks the director, who tells him ‘Frankly, Hangman, I think you’re a nut case!’ to which Hangman replies ‘Now listen, you two-bit Hollywood hack -’, but Mr Waite quickly adds ‘I mean it! You’re filming one of the all-time great movie fights here - and you’re letting a TV news crew send it out live - gratis, free, for nothing - around the world by satellite?’, to which Hangman replies that he has his reasons, before calling out to the Brothers Grimm, who stand behind the imprisoned Wonder Man and USAgent. ‘Guess it’s time to off us, so they stand a better chance against the others’ USAgent mutters. ‘Can’t say it’s been a pleasure, Williams’ he adds, but the Brothers Grimm tell him that they have them all wrong, and dissolve the compound that was holding them in place. ‘Man, it feels good to stretch again!’ Simon exclaims as he reaches up.

Wonder Man and USAgent go over to their teammates, and Wanda tells Simon ‘Thank Heaven your turn-coat ploy didn’t get you killed’, to which Simon asks ‘Do I didn’t fool you guys either, huh? Maybe I should reconsider this “actor” bit. Iron Man tells him that there is time enough to worry about that, provided they survive the screen test, as the entire Night Shift - Brothers Grimm, Tatterdamelion, Misfit, Tick-Tock, Digger, Needle, Gypsy Moth and Dansen Macabre stand ready for battle, while the Hangman stands above them, Mr Waite at his side. ‘Well, you know what they say - the best defense is a good offense!’ Hawkeye calls out as he fires some arrows towards the Night Shift. ‘And you’re above as offensive as they come, Hawkeye’ Mockingbird mutters.

The arrows explode, covering the Night Shift in billows of black smoke. ‘On second thought - the way they’ve been grabbing hostages like so many terrorists - Night Shift’s got you beat all hollow!’ Mockingbird calls out as she leaps towards Gypsy Moth, and knocks her back. ‘We prefer to look on them as insurance policy’ Dansen Macabre explains, as their battle is recorded live by the camera crews, and goes out to television screens around the country. In one living room, a woman asks her husband if this is just a publicity stunt for those people’s movie, to which her husband tells her that he doesn’t think so, and adds that this could get violent, so he thinks their son should go to his room. ‘Yay! Then I can tape it on my VCR!’ the boy calls out, while an announcer reports that the criminal known as Gypsy Moth seems to be down and out.

‘But there’s got to be more of them ou there, behind Clint’s smoke screen…’ Mockingbird remarks, while indeed, someone sneaks up behind her, ready to strike - but Mockingbird spins around and smacks her opponent in the face: ‘Digger! You should’ve known better than to try and sneak up on me!’ she calls out, reminding him that she put the collar on him once, and will do it again. However, Digger uses his spade, and whacks Mockingbird with it, sending her flying towards Hawkeye. ‘You are sadly behind the curve, dear lady’ Digger tells her. ‘OWWW!’ Mockingbird calls out. ‘I tried to tell you - these guys are a lot tougher than they were when you tangled with them’ Hawkeye reminds Mockingbird.

‘Maybe Mockingbird’s battle stave didn’t take out Grave-Digger- but I like to think Iron Man’s repulsors rays are a cut above’ Iron Man declares as he fires repulsor rays at Digger and Misfit. This is recorded by the camera crew, and several people in a pub are watching the battle. ‘Wow! You guys see that?’ the bar tender asks. ‘Yeah! So how come we need B-2’s and SDI?’ a man asks, while the report states that now Wonder Man and USAgent are attacking Night Shift’s leader, the Hangman. ‘Want to try a few more of your rope tricks on me, Roland?’ Wonder Man asks he rushes towards Hangman. ‘“Roland”?’ the cameraman asks, confused. ‘Tick-Tock! Do you have a minute?’ Hangman calls out, so the strange man steps forward between Hangman and the approaching heroes, ‘I have, Hangman - and so do these two - though in their case, that minute will last nearly an hour!’ he boasts as he slows down time around Simon and USAgent.

At that moment: ‘You’re a vicious little creep, aren’t you, Needle?’ Spider-Woman asks as she dodges Needle’s attack. ‘I’m sure you had an unhappy childhood, like 99% of the other people I know - but I think I’ll let you and the prison psychologist sort that out’ Spider-Woman tells him, as she uses her enhanced agility to drop onto her arms, and kick upwards, striking Needle in the back. But, Needle spins around and scratches Spider-Woman’s side with his sharp weapon. ‘This time, it’s an Avenger who’s down, with a flesh wound!’ the reporter announces, while in an office, a man watches the attack and tells himself that this battle is getting a little out of hand. ‘It looks like the Avengers West could use a little help’ he decides, wondering if he could talk Schwartzkopf into cutting his book tour short.

‘And what’s that man in the tattered clothes doing over there?’ the reporter asks, as Tatterdemalion throws his scarf towards Iron Man, ‘You won’t do any more harm, armoured man - since you can’t hit what you can’t see!’ ‘You’re trying to stop me - with a smelly cloth? It won’t take a second to -’ Iron Man replies, as he tries to remove the scarf, but finds that it is sticking to his finds that even they can’t break the scarf. Gypsy Moth is standing near Tatterdemalion, and remarks ‘Your Satannish-bewitched scarf, enchanted by my strengthened psychokinesis!’, to which Tatterdemalion tells her that they make a great team. ‘Just your bad luck that the Scarlet Witch’s hex bolts can altert the odds - and make your tow powers cancel each other out, instead!’ Wanda declares as she casts a hex bolt at the scarf wrapped around Iron Man’s head, snapping it. ‘I owe you one, Wanda!’ Iron Man calls out to his long-time teammate.

‘The Tin Man’ll have to put it on the cuff -’ one of the Brothers Grimm exclaims as he grabs Wanda. ‘The Brothers Grimm say enough is enough!’ the other declares as they take Wanda high up onto their floating clouds. ‘I - didn’t realize I was standing on nothing!’ Wanda remarks. The first brother tells her that she should have kept her pretty face out of this free-for-all, and as they let her go, Wanda starts to fall towards the ground below, from a dangerous height, the other brother adds ‘This time, sweetheart, you’re taking the fall!’, and Wanda screams as she plummets into a forest some short distance from the observatory.

Atop the observatory, Mr Waite tells Hangman that he doesn’t get it, for between the Night Shift and the Avengers, he is expending so much violent energy the movie and TV crews together can’t get it all on film. ‘What’s the point?’ he asks. As Tick-Tock and Dansen Macabre dodge Living Lightning, as Hangman announces’ There’s the point, Mr Waite, appearing right in front of us’ as a blinding light appears, and a portal opens. ‘What is it, Hangman? I didn’t cause it’ Dansen points out, while Mr Waite shields his eyes, ‘It’s so tiny, yet so bright - and hey! It’s growing! What in blazes?’ he asks. A voice can be heard from inside the glowing portal, ‘“Blazes” is indeed the appropriate term, mortal, when speaking of the dimensional gateway of Sattanish the Supreme!’ booms the demon as he materializes atop the observatory.

‘Yo, everybody - let’s make it clear -’ one of the Brothers Grimm exclaims, ‘Nobody told us he’d be here!’ the other declares. Iron Man points out that Satannish is still partly transparent, but getting more solid every second. ‘Does this mean we’re going to be fighting out of our weight-class again?’ Spider-Woman asks. ‘At least you can fight, Avengers, albeit ineffectually’ Satannish replies, announcing that the rest of humankind is to be denied even that dubious satisfaction.

And indeed, around the world, at this very moment, untold millions of eyes which are flued to a certain globe-spanning cable network suddenly find they cannot turn away from their television sets - or even switch channels. ‘How big is that thing, Dan?’ a man asks. ‘Big enough to take people’s minds off the economy, sir’ Dan replies. ‘My gosh! That is big!’ the first man remarks. In another country, someone asks ‘Do you think the West would swap that for the remaining hostages?’, while in another country still, a man declares that this cannot be, for no good communist believes in gods or demons.

Meanwhile, ‘All right - they’ve finally got me mad’ the Scarlet Witch mutters as she pulls herself up from amongst trees and shrubs. But, looking up to the observatory, she is surprised to see Satannish. She tells herself that if Night Shift has conjured him up again, this is more a job for Dr Strange than for the Avengers West. Wanda recalls that Iron Man said Strange was off in another dimension, and reminds herself that Agatha Harkness told her she should hone her dormant magical powers, and one day could become a major witch, like her. ‘I hope you’re watching, Agatha, because I’ve been practicing - and today’s the day I find out if it’s paid off!’ Wanda declares.

Back on top of the observatory, ‘Night Shift! Avengers! I suppose in a way I should thank you both…and the ever-willing Dr Strange, of course’ Satannish calls out. As Iron Man flies towards the Brother’s Grimm, he wonders what the demon-lord is talking about. Misfit slams his fist into the ground, creating a seismic shock that knows Hawkeye over, while Digger whacks USAgent with his shovel, ‘The additional powers you gave us are the only thanks we need for bringing you into this world, demon!’ Digger calls out, while USAgent asks his teammates if it is just his imagination, or if the Night Shift are getting even stronger as they go along. ‘You noticed that, too, did you?’ Hawkeye asks before he hit’s the ground. Needle trips Mockingbird up, while Dansen Macabre confronts Living Lightning and announces that she thinks Digger is right - Satannish really is feeding them more power. ‘Ain’t it grand?’ she smiles.

Iron Man tells the Grimm Brothers that they should all end this fight, now. ‘Spoken like a loser - or else it’s a trick!’ one of the brothers calls out. ‘Let’s see him go under this limbo stick!’ the other brother suggests as he slams his limbo stick into Iron Man, causing a feedback of energy. ‘Wow! All of a sudden this jolt’s sending him south!’ the brother exclaims.

Down below, Wanda calls out ‘Dr Strange - where are you? If I can’t contact you soon - it won’t make any -’, but suddenly, ‘I did it!’ she exclaims, as a portal opens thanks to her power, and Dr Strange appears. ‘Wanda? Why did you disturb me in the Dimension of Unknown Souls I was trying to comprehend?’ Dr Strange asks. ‘Because Satannish is materializing in this dimension!’ Wanda informs him. ‘What?’ Dr Strange gasps. Wanda tells her ally that Satannish bellowed something that made it sound as if he had lured you away, and asks him if that makes any sense. ‘Hoggoth help me - if I don’t suddenly think it does!’ Dr Strange replies.

At the observatory, USAgent, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Spider-Woman and Mockingbird are corralled together, as USAgent declares that it looks like their only chance is to get the wagons in a circle. ‘You sure this isn’t more like Custer’s last stand?’ Spider-Woman asks. Mockingbird declares that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves, and Hawkeye agrees, ‘At least they don’t outnumber us too badly’ he points out, while Wonder Man asks if anyone has seen where Hangman went. ‘It’s so refreshing to be missed, Wonder Man!’ Hangman calls out as he throws a rope around the five Avengers, pulling them together. ‘Me and my big mouth’ Hawkeye mutters, while USAgent can’t even break free, ‘His blasted rope’s as magical as everything else!’ he points out.

‘The only thing that’s gonna break around here is gonna be a few Avenger heads!’ Misfit snarls, while Digger tells them to prepare to be read their lat bedtime story. Suddenly, Stella Houston rushes towards Hangman! ‘No! For pity’s sake, Jason - don’t murder them in cold blood!’ she calls out. ‘Stella!’ Hangman exclaims. ‘You know?’ he asks her. She pulls back his hood and tells him that she thinks she has always known, ever since the moment he attacked the Avengers at her beach house. ‘Good Lord! You haven’t aged a day!’ she gasps, asking him what he gave in exchange for this. ‘Your soul?’ she enquires. ‘What else did I have Stella? And without it - what use have U got for you?’ he asks as she smacks her, knocking her back several feet, where she falls over. ‘You’ve killed her!’ the Scarlet Witch shouts as Dr Strange levitates himself and Wanda to the battle scene.

‘So! The ever-extended mystic guardian of this astral plane makes his appearance at last - albeit too late!’ Satannish declares. ‘Not necessarily! A supreme effort could still stop you -’ Dr Strange begins, but Satannish interrupts, stating ‘Even if that be true - where will you acquire power this is rightfully mine?’ Strange continues what he was saying, ‘One which uses against you the unrivaled power of Sattanish the Supreme - yourself’. From his lower mouth, Satannish announces that he will certainly not relinquish it. So, Dr Strange states that he will borrow it from Night Shift. ‘Impossible!’ Gypsy Moth exclaims. ‘We should help you defeat Satannish - after all he’s given us?’ Dansen enquires. Dr Strange tells them that they don’t realize what he has taken from them in return, and asks Wanda to help him with the probabilities. They cast a spell together, as Strange states that the odds are stacked against his being able to do this even though Satannish hasn’t fully materialized yet.

A portal forms and glows, as Wanda declares ‘They’re through, Stephen!’ as several spirits float around them - the ones Dr Strange was chasing. ‘Who in the -?’ someone calls out, before Dr Strange asks ‘Don’t you recognize them, Night Shift? You should. They’re your souls - or more technically, your half souls’. ‘Huh? He’s trying to spook us with that religious stuff!’ Misfit mutters, while Tick-Tock announces that he isn’t sure, recalling that Hangman did joke about them losing their souls, after all. ‘He counted on you thinking it a joke’ Wanda explains, and Dr Strange tells them that if they need proof, to try these on for size, as he casts the spirits down towards the members of Night Shift. The spirits - the souls - then enter each respective member. ‘Their nearness makes me feel - different, some how’ Dansen calls out. Digger agrees, remarking that he feels more like he did before Hangman pulled his disappearing rope trick on them.

‘We sold ourselves down the river - for some plum movie roles’ one of the Brothers Grimm remarks. ‘What good are they - or our powers - if some devil’s got our souls?’ the other asks. ‘Not Roland’s! I’ll bet that was his deal with Satannish someone else calls out. ‘Well, actually…yes. Why not?’ Hangman replies. The Scarlet Witch tells Night Shift that it wasn’t just their souls Satannish wanted, while Dr Strange reveals that Satannish planed to absorb millions of them, from everyone who watched television. He tells them if they relax, that will release to him their demon-given energies. ‘Let’s do it, guys!’ Gypsy Moth encourages her teammates, while Misfit announces that he is so relaxed he is comatose.

‘Behind us -!’ the Scarlet Witch alerts Dr Strange, but he is already aware that Satannish looms behind them, and tells Wanda that his seraphimic shield has held Satannish back as long as it could, ‘By Agamotto’s gleaming eye - and Hoggoth’s hoary host - let Night Shift’s extra powers reside in Avengers West Coast!’ Dr Strange casts his spell, and the heroes find that they can break free of the Hangman’s rope. Spider-Woman remarks that she does feel a lot stronger, before USAgent declares that it is time to kick some astral bodies. ‘And we feel - weaker - like we were before’ Dansen states as the Night Shift gather alongside the Avengers West Coast. Misfit remarks that he still feels like having a go at that demon, and then at the Hangman. Hawkeye tells the Night Shift to be their guests, and someone shouts ‘AVENGERS ATTACK!’ while Misfit adds ‘Uh… Night Shift, nuke ‘em!’

The Brothers Grimm and Spider-Woman start attacking Satannish’s face, while Gypsy Moth, Living Lightning, Iron Man, Needle, Misfit and Wonder Man launch an attack at the lower face, on Satannish’s stomach, and Hawkeye fires some arrows towards Satannish. ‘Roland - this is your fault!’ Satannish booms. ‘Like blazes it is! You said nobody’s find Night Shift’s half souls in the new limbo-dimension you’d created to hold them! Since they’re moral washouts anyway, you claimed they’d never even miss them - till it was too late, and you had the souls of every couch potato on Earth!’ Hangman declares. Iron Man announces that he was getting an inkling that is what was going on, and tells Living Lightning to come with him, explaining that they have to foul up all the TV transmitting around here. He does so, but dowsing one camera in repulsor rays, while Living Lighting electrocutes one of the media vans, claiming that he has been waiting years to get a chance to do something like this.

‘A moment more - and I would have had a firm grip on the watchers’ souls - I would have been invincible!’ Satannish declares as his form begins to fade. ‘Instead, you can slink back home - with your tail between your legs’ Dr Strange tells him. Satannish declares that he will take a keepsake with him, and reaches down for Hangman, who backs away, ‘No! Stop! I lived up to my part of our bargain -’ he points out, but Satannish tells him that it is his fault that the Avengers cut off precious video coverage at the last possible instant. ‘You will never betray anyone again…’ Satannish calls out, before he vanishes and Hangman falls to the ground.

Stella rushes over to Hangman, and holds him in her lab, while USAgent points out that Satannish took their extra powers, but that they don’t need any extra power to wrap up Night Shift, as he, Wonder Man, Mockingbird and Iron Man start corralling Night Shift together. ‘Oh Jase…Jase… ‘Stella utters, but Dr Strange tells her that Jason cannot hear her, as Satannish took his soul, and left nothing behind but the shell of Jason Roland. Wanda looks at Dr Strange and tells him that he saved the world again. ‘We all did - and we’d have done it sooner, if I’d listened to Iron Man back east’ Dr Strange admits. ‘Wanda, if I ever need a disciple…’ his voice trails off, but Wanda tells him that she would be honored to be considered.

Hawkeye stands between Mockingbird and Spider-Woman and calls out to Living Lightning, asking him what he thought of his first Earth mission with the Avengers West. But Miguel is busy holding Mona, and Spider-Woman points this out to Hawkeye, while remarking that she is looking forward to seeing her daughter, and then settling down to trade punches with some nice, normal bank robbers!

Characters Involved: 

Iron Man, Living Lightning, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)
Mockingbird (reserve member of the Avengers West Coast)

Dr Strange

Brothers Grimm, Dansen Macabre, Digger, Gypsy Moth, Hangman II, Misfit, Needle, Tick-Tock, Tatterdemalion (all Night Shift)


Mr Waite, Felicity Fawn, Mona, Charlie, Cindy and other film crew

Stella Houston

Security guard
Camera crew

Story Notes: 

Nicholas Ray is the director of “Rebel Without a Cause”.

Spider-Woman was supposed to collect her daughter, Rachel, last issue, but received a call from Stella Houston, so couldn’t go to Rachel, angering her ex-husband.

Iron Man’s meeting with Dr Strange took place last issue.

Despite a brief relationship with Mona in coming issues, Living Lightning later inadvertently outs himself as gay in GLA #2.

Mockingbird and Digger’s rivalry stems back to West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #40 when she captured him and sent him to prison.

Hangman did joke about Night Shift losing their souls in Avengers West Coast #76.

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