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Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), David Ross (penciler), Tim Dzon (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Nel Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)
The Bogatyri fight the three Avengers and Wolverine, but both Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch are taken down, as Wolverine and USAgent are forced to retreat as Russian soldiers open fire upon them. Fortunately for them, several U.S. and Canadian troops arrive to even up the numbers. In California, Hawkeye receives a call from Captain America, who offers assistance, but Hawkeye doesn’t believe they need it and resents the fact that their team always seems to be playing second fiddle to their east coast partners. The Living Lightning quits the team to go to college, but offers his services should he be needed. As he leaves, Mockingbird informs Hawkeye that their divorce becomes final in just two weeks time. In Canada, Svyatogor and Bogatyr fight amongst themselves, but Dr. Volkh ignores them, and tells their two captives that a new ice age is about to begin. He sets the process in motion, and the core crystal starts spreading outwards, covering everything in ice. Wolverine and USAgent return for a rematch, freeing their teammates, and they distract the Bogatyri whilst Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch make their way slowly to the core crystal. When Wanda’s hex power reverses the crystal’s ice-making process, Dr. Volkh’s plans are in ruins, and he flees along with his comrades with two NATO fighters on their tail; years of work gone up in smoke.
Wolverine and three Avengers face the might of the Bogatyri; four Russian super-types who plan on starting a cold war, by turning North America into a frozen wasteland. As Morning Star takes to the air, Wolverine quickly gets the Avengers up to speed on the plans for their continent. Svyatogor begins shooting, but USAgent intercepts the bullets with his shield, as Wolverine prepares to rush their assailants. Unfortunately, Svyatogor is not only big; he’s fast, and he knocks Wolverine backwards as an all-out battle erupts.
Dr. Volkh stretches himself in order to position himself behind the Scarlet Witch, as Bogatyr prepares to use his psychic powers once again on USAgent. Volkh orders his team to prevent their foes from reaching his scientist, Miasnikov. Bogatyr’s confidence quickly subsides as Jack gets face to face with him. He can’t understand how his powers no longer work on him; it’s not possible. Jack explains that the Scarlet Witch’s hex bolts can alter a lot of possibilities, including this one. He smashes Bogatyr in the face, knocking him out with one blow.
Dr. Volkh takes out Wanda from behind, as Wonder Man yanks a heavy piece of piping from the wall to use as a weapon. Wolverine buys him some time by occupying Svyatogor, and Wonder Man thanks him by crunching the big Russian in the stomach with it. Svyatogor shows he’s not invulnerable, as the wind is knocked from his lungs. Simon then follows up by smashing his weapon with the piping.
Unfortunately for Wonder Man, the distraction allows Morning Star to fly behind him and flash-fry him with a fireball. However, she can’t believe that the Avenger manages to survive. He comes flying from the smoke and delivers a powerful left hook, disposing of Morning Star with ease. USAgent tries using his shield to take out Dr. Volkh, but his elasticized body allows him to evade it. The shield whizzes past him, but hits the wall and rebounds smack bang into Svyatogor’s neck, which allows Wolverine the opportunity to slash at the big guy with his adamantium claws. They don’t appear to do too much damage.
Jack asks Volkh to spill the beans about the Bogatyri’s plans. He’d heard the cold war was over. Volkh replies that, as far as he’s concerned - it has not yet begun! Wonder Man, meanwhile, looks at Morning Star, who lays sprawled out on the floor. Standing over her, he regrets lashing out with such ferocity. She was out to waste him, but killing women isn’t his style. Suddenly, the blonde villainess opens her eyes, and fires a couple of high-intensity blasts straight at Wonder Man’s head, and he drops to the floor. “The motto of the Bogatyri…” says Morning Star, “The only good American is a dead American!”
With two Avengers down, Wolverine and USAgent up the ante, and Wolverine continues slashing away at Svyatogor, as USAgent uses Volkh’s malleable body as a whip, smacking Morning Star as she takes to the air once again. The odds are now looking a little better, but at that moment, numerous Russian troops rush through the doorway and confront the heroes. USAgent is experienced enough to know when to run, and so is Wolverine. They head outside and sprint across the yard, but the Bogatyri do not pursue them. They figure they can be kept at bay with automatic weapons and, besides, Miasnikov has sent word that he is nearly ready with Operation Polaris.
Sure enough, the troops’ presence is enough to keep Wolverine and USAgent at arms length, but they know they can’t leave Wanda and Simon behind. Fortunately, several more troops arrive, and this time they’re U.S and Canadian. Their leader explains they got there as fast as they could, and they’re rarin’ to kick bootie!
(California)Captain America calls Hawkeye from New York and asks for an update on Simon and Wanda’s mission. Clint checks the sensors, and realizes that they’ve lost automatic tracking on both Quinjets. “This is bad,” replies Cap. “You want the Avengers to hotfoot it up to Canada?” Clint resents the implication that his team isn’t up to the task and hangs up on Cap, telling him they’ll handle it. Mockingbird is surprised at Clint’s manner, but Clint’s passionate about not playing second fiddle to them.
He asks why she didn’t show for the funeral. Bobbi tells him he knows she can’t handle funerals. Her voice trails away as she adds, “Ever since mom and dad…” Clint apologizes for snapping. Bobbi seems to have something important to tell Clint but before she can do so, Julia’s daughter, Rachel, bounds into the room. Julia chastises her for going out of bounds, but Clint assures her she’s not bothering them. Clint tells Julia it’s too bad that she couldn’t make Tony Stark’s funeral. They could have used her.
As they disappear, Spider-Woman tells her daughter that she’ll have to learn to behave herself if she’s going to live there at the compound. This news surprises both Clint and Bobbi. He follows Julia and thinks he’d better have a little talk with Julia in private. Bobbi tries calling him back, but what she has to tell him will have to wait. He’s got to think about how long to wait before scooting up to Canada.
He notices Miguel standing in front of the window, and asks if something’s wrong. He replies that there’s nothing wrong exactly, but they’re going to have to do without him for a while. He’s going to give college a try. Bobbi thinks that’s wonderful, but Clint doesn’t seem so keen. Miguel explains that he never really got to know Iron Man, but he always seemed kind of… indestructible. His dying started him thinking about what he wants to do with his own life. Waiting around to see if his electric powers ever wear off isn’t too high on the list. His mom thinks he needs an education; not just a job, and she’s been working on him lately. So has Consuela, but it was his decision. Besides, he adds, he’ll be on call if they ever need him.
He walks off to collect his gear, leaving Clint asking what Bobbi has been wanting to tell him. It’s not good news. She tells him their divorce will be final in two weeks.
(back in Canada)Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch are trussed up in the same spread eagle shackles that Wolverine was in earlier. Svyatogor doesn’t think Wonder Man looks that wonderful now. Morning Star explains that he’s not yet a real star, but if he’d seen him as a swamp-monster in ‘Marsh Thing Go Home…’ Bogatyr tells her that Svyatogor isn’t allowed to see such films. They tend to give him nightmares. Last time, he nearly demolished the McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow.
Svyatogor insists that wasn’t his fault, but Bogatyr is itching to wind him up. He removes a fire extinguisher from the wall using his telekinesis and sprays Svyatogor in the face with it. The big guy is furious, and smashes the floor as Bogatyr levitates himself to avoid being hit. Wonder Man looks down at them, and says this must be how the Soviet Union tore itself apart.
Morning Star then realizes that both the Avengers are awake. Dr. Volkh is told by Miasnikov that all is in readiness. Volkh asks him to speak in English. He wants their ‘guests’ to appreciate the full genius of their Soviet vengeance. He explains to Simon and Wanda that the crystal is what they call the ‘quick-freeze crystal.’ It’s already making Wanda shiver. Volkh continues to explain that he learned that development of the crystal was proceeding at this station, in secret. It would have taken their scientists years to perfect, even if their funding hadn’t been stopped. However, he had been working along similar lines, and this synthezation is the result.
He picks up the glass ball containing the crystal, and says that it’s only the globe’s artificial vacuum that prevents North America from being blanketed with ice. The clumsy Svyatogor tries to take a look, but accidentally knocks it from Volkh’s hand. Luckily, Mikula uses his powers to catch the ball and replace it. Dr. Volkh tinkers with a control panel. “It’s time to unleash its awesome power!” he tells his comrades, “And let a new and even deadlier ice age begin!”
Crystals form immediately, and the ice makes its way across the room to where Wanda and Simon are shackled. Wanda looks petrified as the crystals approach. Wonder Man notes that they’re multiplying in all directions. Volkh explains that the core crystal absorbs heat from the air, and imparts that power, by proximity, through its ever growing secondary crystals. The glaciers formed will not cross large bodies of salt water, thus keeping the motherland safe. Otherwise, they’ll keep moving south.
Before he finishes his speech, he hears the sound of gunfire coming from outside, and several shots narrowly miss him. Russian soldiers pour out of the building to confront their attackers; the U.S and Canadian troops. Svyatogor and Bogatyr head outside to confront them and Mikula uses his telekinesis to lift a digger and smash it into the enemy tank. Morning Star joins the fight, and fries soldiers where they stand, as Svyatogor takes them on with his physical might.
Standing nearby, USAgent doesn’t like this. Wolverine assures him that having the soldiers’ bear the brunt while they find a way inside is the only way forward. They slip inside and notice the crystals, which have enveloped both Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch. Volkh notices their return and avoids Wolverine’s initial charge as Jack smashes the ice crystals and frees Wonder Man. He in turn rescues Wanda.
As Volkh’s three comrades come back inside, Wanda notices that the ice is somehow already beginning to melt. They don’t understand why, and USAgent says he’ll let Wanda figure it out while he does what he does best. He launches himself at Bogatyr and Svyatogor and another major brawl breaks out. Wanda thinks quickly, and asks Simon is he can smash a path to the core crystal. He is angry enough to give it a try and, as he wades through the ice, he realizes that Wanda must presume that, if he destroys the core crystal, the rest the ice might just curl up and die. If it doesn’t, then North America is finished. Wanda’s hex power partially protects her from the cold.
Wolverine is smashed against a wall by Mikula, whilst USAgent is hammered into the ground by Svyatogor. Once again, the Russians are gaining the upper hand, and Wanda is suffering at the hands of the cold. Wolverine manages to lasso Morning Star with some wire cabling and uses momentum to crash into Bogatyr’s back, sending him sprawling. He is punched in the face by Svyatogor, but his one-man war is allowing his friends to carry out their task unhindered.
Outside, the soldiers notice how cold it’s getting, and they look inside to see the building almost entirely covered in ice. Dr. Volkh suddenly notices that Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch are missing, and correctly surmises that they must be going after the core crystal. He orders Svyatogor to stop Wolverine, while he investigates. As he tries to leave, Wolverine grabs his stretched body to hold him back. Volkh smashes Wolverine in the face, which Logan feels right down to his toes. USAgent is now using Svyatogor as a shield against Morning Star’s blasts.
Meanwhile, Wonder Man and the Scarlet Witch have reached the core crystal, but Wanda can’t even raise her arms, she is so cold. Simon, who doesn’t feel the cold, grabs them and aims her hands for her, allowing her to use her hex powers. She pours the power on, and eventually the crystal ceases to radiate cold. Volkh screams that he will find a way to reverse the process. He must! He’s spent years developing his part of the quick-freeze crystal equation. Surely he can find a way.
He grabs the crystal with both hands, but shrieks in pain when he makes contact. Wanda’s power has had the opposite effect, and the crystal is now emitting heat. The ice that had built up begins to turn into slush as the Bogatyri make a run for it. Volkh is a broken man, as the building suddenly explodes, destroying all the equipment inside. Everyone manages to get outside just in time. However, the Russians make good their escape, and their craft rockets away pursued by two NATO jet fighters.
The Russian soldiers surrender to the U.S./Canadian troops, but they don’t really know what to do with them. Logan suggests they leave it to the U.N. to sort out. The three Avengers and Wolverine can finally relax. Wanda points out that all this happened because they were doing secret research at an early-warning base. Looking at the burning building, Simon remarks that it’s a good thing that there isn’t a Soviet Union any more to launch a first strike.
Hawkeye, Living Lightning, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent, Wonder Man (all Avengers)
Sasha Pokryshkin/Svyatogor, Mikula Golubev/Bogatyr, Dr. Vladimir Volkh (Vladimir Orekhov), Marya Dennista/Morning Star (all Bogatyri)Several Russian soldiers
U.S. and Canadian Assault Troops
Rachel CarpenterComrade Miasnikov
(on television/monitor)Captain America
Morning Star later returned to face the Avengers West Coast in issue #93, working for Dr. Dominicus. She later helped the team, and even kissed USAgent.
It isn’t made entirely clear if Mikula Golubev is actually named Bogatyr, but in the previous issue it states, ‘His parents named for the Bogatyr whose small plough even his fellow champions could not lift,’ – so I’m sticking with it.
Iron Man’s funeral took place in Iron Man (1st series) #285.
Consuela was a member of the team.