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Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Dave Ross (penciler), Tim Dzon with Aaron McClellan (inkers), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), John Lewandowski (assistant editor), Nel Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Kuroko tells the Avengers West Coast her story of what has been happening on Demonica since they were forced to leave, including the arrival of civilians to be citizens, the arrival of Klaw as Demonicus' vice-president, and the turning of the Pacific Overlords into mindless servants of Dr. Demonicus - which is why Kuroko fled. The Avengers West discuss whether this could be a trap or not, but decide to give her the benefit of the doubt, when Darkhawk arrives. Spider-Woman reveals that she asked her friend here as she thought they could use his help what with Iron Man gone. Darkhaw alerts everyone to the strange happenings outside Stark International where Iron Man has been seen battling some droids. However, they are interrupted by the arrival of Klaw and Morning Star who have come to retrieve Kuroko. USAgent once again tussles with Morning Star, while Spider-Woman and Darkhawk take on Klaw, however, Morning Star eventually captures Kuroko anyway, and they make a quick exit back to Demonica. Without a Quinjet, the Avengers cannot follow, so USAgent decides that they need to get one from Stark International. After the Scarlet Witch unsuccessfully tries to contact the United Nations, she sends USAgent, Hawkeye and Mockingbird to Stark International, where they quickly make waste of a group of battle droids. Meanwhile, Kain and Cybertooth take possession of a passenger aircraft which supposedly flew into Demonican airpsace, and prepare to bring it to Demonica, pleasing Dr. Demonicus who declares that it has begun.
‘At first, everything went very smoothly…’ begins Kuroko:
(Flashback):‘DEMONICA CALLING!’ cries Dr. Douglas Birely – better known as the diabolical Dr. Demonicus, introducing himself, then proclaiming that he is the president-for-life of the Island Republic so recently raised from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The members of the United Nations watch Demonicus’ speech via a video-link, and Demonicus tells them that he is deeply honored to address the general assembly by satellite to renew his pledge that Demonica’s prodigious mineral wealth will be shared by all the United Nations. Demonicus declares that their acceptance of a member state led by one so disfigured gives hope to all mankind. One of the general assembly replies that it is Demonicus who gives hope to a world sorely in need of the natural resources that he has promised to bestow upon them.
However, not all of the Pacific Overlords are particularly happy with Demonicus’s announcement, as Cybertooth asks his teammates Irezumi and Jawbreaker if they think their President really means his words. Jawbreaker replies that, if he does, there still best be plenty of perks left to go around. Kuroko listens intently, while Kain keeps a watchful eye on them.
It is not given for underlings to understand the mind of a genius like Dr. Birely, who, one day, wanders alone to explore a newly discovered cave in search of a place for quiet contemplation, telling his faithful Kuroko to wait here. However, when Demonicus emerges, hours later, Kuroko notices that he has somehow subtly changed.
Following that day, Demonicus begins to push the hired construction workers unmercifully, and, with the help of the Overlords, Demonica International Airport soon opens for business. However, the backgrounds of some of the first émigrés to the isle are something of a surprise – what follows is even more shocking, as Demonicus angrily accuses the United Nations of criticizing his recruitment of civilians. The honeymoon period is officially over.
Immediately after renouncing his pledge of the startled U.N. officials, who have not yet made that fact public, Demonicus moved to back his new words with actions – over the distant Atlantic Ocean! ‘Now this is more like it!’ Jawbreaker exclaims as he, Kuroko, Cybertooth and Kain embark on their mission. Cybertooth tells Kain to make haste, pointing out that their President will not like a delay. ‘You’re not the pilot here’ Kain replies, addressing Cybertooth by his real name, Yen Hsieh. ‘No, but I believe we both agree that my cybernetic bite gives me a certain…authority, does it not?’ Cybertooth replies, his metal teeth gleaming.
However, there is no time for further discussion or dissension though, as a jet airliner comes into view below – so Kain acts, using the silver studs imbedded deep within his skull enabling him to take control of the other aircraft, within minutes, immobilizing it midair. The Pacific Overlords use this as their cue to board the other plane, and Cybertooth and Jawbreaker begin taking down the men aboard the plane, all dressed in red, while Jawbreaker asks who these “clowns” are.
Kuroko comes into view as she takes down the last of the opposition, telling Cybertooth, who is at a control panel, to wait till she is done. Cybertooth tells Jawbreaker that he thought this was a plane charted by the United Nations as he enters something on the control panel, which opens a stasis machine, where, inside, a man dressed in red and purple replies that the plane is charted by the United Nations, but crewed by Wakandans – the so called “Panther Posse”, the elite commandos of the Black Panther. The newcomer thanks the Overlords for releasing him from the stasis machine, and boasts that the whole world will soon know that the man called Klaw is free once more.
Hours later, the Overlords and Klaw have returned to Demonica, and Demonicus greets Klaw, addressing him by his first name Ulysses – ‘’Or should I say, “Mr. Vice-President”!’. Demonicus then asks Klaw if he has abandoned his plans to conquer his old foe’s African kingdom, to which Klaw replies that he has for the moment, and shaking Demonicus’ hand adds that he accepts the offer made in their recent communications. ‘”Vice-President”?’ Kuroko whispers to herself, annoyed.
Shortly, Kuroko meets with Kain, who was not present when Demonicus announced Klaw would be Vice-President, and informs Kain that Jawbreaker and Cybertooth just stood by and did nothing while this took place. Kuroko remarks that she thinks it has something to do with those devices on their foreheads. Kain replies that Kuroko might be right, as the other Overlords are too ambitious and resentful to let something like that slide, when suddenly, Demonicus calls out to Kain, asking him to join he and Klaw. Kuroko asks if she should come as well, but Demonicus replies that he only wants Kain.
Thankfully for Kuroko, invisibility has its uses, and she follows the trio to a strange cavern beneath the palace, where Dr. Demonicus, Kain and Klaw stand near an altlar where a ritual is taking place. Dr. Demonicus places something against Kain’s glowing forehead, causing the willing servant to cry out in pain as Dr. Demonicus continues to chant in an unknown language. When all is said and done, Demonicus exclaims ‘From now on, you’ll be totally subservient to me!’ ‘Yes…Doctor…’ Kain replies. Demonicus tells Kain that he must behave just as before and informs him that he will soon be joined by the last Pacific Overlord not yet initiated – Kuroko!
This causes Kuroko to gasp, and lose concentration over her power, thus revealing her presence. ‘Doctor – she spies on us!’ Klaw exclaims, to which Demonicus declares that not even the powers he gave Kuroko genetically can save her from this, and releases some sort of flying reptile from a small cage. The creature has massive claws and attacks Kuroko’s face. Kuroko knows that her invisibility power is of no defence against this creature, but that it can be momentarily stunned – and that is all she needs as she smacks the creature hard with her staff, enabling her time to escape the cavern before Demonicus and the others can catch her.
Kuroko escapes into one of the jets and takes flight, though the creature is following her – luckily for Kuroko it slams itself into the metal door as the supersonic jet becomes airborne. Kuroko is safe – until suddenly, she hears the creature eating it’s way into the plane. Kuroko hopes that the creature needs oxygen, so pilots the aircraft straight upwards, and as the jet gains altitude, the gnawing into the jet grows steadily fainter, until, suddenly, the creature releases its hold on the jet and it tumbles back toward Earth. Weakened by loss of blood, Kuroko sets the ships automatic controls for America’s West Coast, to ask the help of the Avengers West Coast.
(Present)‘…the only ones I know with sufficient power to bring Dr. Birely to his senses!’ Kuroko tells her former enemies. ‘Got to confess – I wouldn’t mind knocking some into him!’ USAgent exclaims, as he and his teammates sit around in the kitchen – one part of the Avengers West Compound that isn’t damaged – listening to Kuroko’s story. Scarlet Witch tells Kuroko that she will have to check out her story with the United Nations first, as Clint Barton standing with his wife Bobbi) points out that it could be a trap.
Suddenly, USAgent motions to the shadows where he sees something moving. ‘If you’ve brought other Overlords…’ Clint warns Kuroko, who replies ‘No! I swear!’, as Wanda stands up, the intruder tells her to save her power, ‘It’s just me!’ declares Darkhawk. Spider-Woman grins at the appearance of her new friend, who asks her if he has come at a bad time. ‘This place looks –‘ he begins, about to comment on the state of the Compound, when Clint interrupts, asking him why he is here at all. ‘You’re an East Coast type!’.
Spider-Woman tells Hawkeye – err, Goliath – that it is her doing, explaining that she and Darkhawk have kept in touch since the Armor City business. Julia explains that she booked Chris a flight here and will pay it back out of her salary. Julia remarks that with Wonder Man gone and Iron Man “inactive” she thought they could use Darkhawk’s power. Someone agrees with Julia, remarking that she is right, to which Darkhawk asks ‘Iron Man – inactive? Not hardly!’ and informs everyone that Iron Man is up to his armpits in something called “Battledroids” right now. ‘WHAT?’ someone asks. Chris reveals that he saw it on one of those airport TV’s on his way through.
Moments later, at the Compounds communications center, The Avengers West, Darkhawk and Kuroko watch a live recording taken from the Los Angeles headquarters of Stark International, which is currently under attack by mysterious “droids”. The reporter announces that Stark International is being strongly defended by the armored ex-Avenger, Iron Man. ‘That’s him?’ Hawkeye asks, as they all watch Iron Man, in yet another set of armor battling the droids. ‘How many suits of armor does that guy have?’ USAgent mumbles, while Bobbi comments on the way Iron Man moves.
The reporter announces that it is not known if these events are related to the announcement a short time ago that Tony Stark is still alive. ‘WHAT!?’ gasps Wanda. ‘Or if this new armor is superior to the black-and-white variety Iron Man’s worn lately’ the reporter adds. ‘Stark did it to us again!’ snaps Agent as he begins to storm off, despite Julia calling out to him. Kuroko asks why there is so much concern about this. ‘Dr. Demonicus –‘ she begins until she is struck by a blast of energy, while a voice shouts ‘Wants you!’. Clint calls out to Kuroko, while Wanda assumes that the Pacific Overlords have arrived.
She is proven wrong though when the pink-clad Russian super-being Morning Star tells the Scarlet Witch not to confuse she and Klaw with those fools. Morning Star explains that she and Klaw are here on a lawful mission to take a Demonican citizen back to her homeland. Klaw readies his powerful weapon once more while telling the Avengers West to stand aside, or else there will be a nasty international incident which their heirs will learn about via television.
‘Heck with that!’ Spider-Woman exclaims, ‘Let’s kick ‘em back to where they came from!’ she tells her teammates, while Darkhawk asks if Klaw and Morning Star are “friends” of theirs. USAgent explains that Klaw is an old sparring partner of the Fantastic Four, and that they have encountered Morning Star – or Izvestia Sandinista in her native Russian – before. Darkhawk replies that if the Avengers want them out of here, then he will give them a hand, but is struck by one of Morning Star’s blasts as she tells USAgent to get her name right – ‘It’s Zvezda Dennista!’ she corrects him. ‘And like I said, that’s “Russkie” for MUD!’ shouts Walker as he leaps up at his enemy, smashing her hard with his trusty shield.
‘What is this?’ asks Klaw, tangled in one of Spider-Woman’s psionic webs. ‘Didn’t’ Demonicus brief you?’ Julia asks as she stands nearby, explaining that they are her psi-webs. ‘They are more like cob-webs!’ Klaw replies as he brushes them aside with bursts of his solidified sounds, emitted through the weapon on his hand. Julia is knocked off her feet and decides that she is in trouble now, for although the first blast was mostly absorbed just shredding her psychic webbing – nothing is going to intercept the next one except for her! Suddenly though, Chris comes to his friend’s rescue, ‘Mind if I horn in?’ he asks as he blasts Klaw with his own energies. ‘Not really, no’ Julia replies quietly.
Nearby, Morning Star has quickly recovered from the bashing that USAgent gave her, as she blasts him with her energies, which Walker blocks with his shield, she tells him that he is the one she most wanted to battle – to prove that a Soviet super-being is capable of defeating one symbol of America. Johnny tells Morning Star that if they had gone one-on-one the first time they met, then she would have learned how their own personal Olympics would have turned out in the wilds of Northern Canada. With that, he hurls some rubble up at the feisty Russian, who blasts it with her power, ‘No doubt’ she mumbles in reply.
Klaw’s abilities send Darkhawk careening backwards as he boasts that should show him why he has been called the “Murderous Master of Sound”. ‘The source of the “Master” sobriquet you have just witnessed!’ Klaw explains, before moving on to the “Murderous” part, as he holds his weapon out close to Darkhawk. ‘Get away from him!’ shouts Spider-Woman as this time she comes to her friends’ rescue. ‘Your previous brush with death did not make you wiser’ Klaw points out as Julia stands in front of the fallen Chris. Klaw tells Spider-Woman that she should not seek a being composed of solidified sound with her ineffectual mental wars.
‘You’ve got yourself a deal, Klaw – no webs!’ exclaims Julia as she kicks Klaw hard in the jaw. Klaw gathers himself and admits that Spider-Woman is stronger than he imagined, but before he can do anything else, the nimble Julia wraps herself around Klaw, who shouts ‘What are you doing?’. Julia has her feet wrapped around her foes neck and replies that she has not only got strength, but leverage, and flips Klaw over, sending him crashing to the ground.
‘Stop toying with the Americans, Klaw!’ Morning Star shouts as, in the confusion, she grabs the unconscious Kuroko and takes to the air, leaving the bewildered Avengers West on the ground. ‘”Toying”?’ Klaw asks as he continues to tussle with Spider-Woman. Morning Star informs Klaw that she has what they came for, and flies into their small aircraft. Klaw follows suit, exiting through the large hole in the wall of the Compound that they created and remarks that he knows their mission, but that he would have preferred a chance to smash Spider-Woman.
Morning Star assures Klaw that they have done enough damage to teach the Avengers West a well-needed lesson, and that, if what Demonicus told them is true, then the Avengers West will not dare follow them back to Demonica – even if they had the means! With that, Morning Star and Klaw fly off with the unconscious Kuroko, now their prisoner, back to Demonica.
The Avengers West gather outside just in time to see their foes leave, and Clint asks Chris if eh can fly after them – but Darkhawk replies that he is more of a glider than a flier, so would never catch that jet. ‘And us with two wrecked Quinjets!’ Clint mutters. ‘That tears it! I’m getting another one from Stark International – and hang the red tape!’ Walker snaps, before Wanda reminds him that they still couldn’t invade a United Nations member nation. ‘Remember our charter!’ she adds. ‘FRAG our charter!’ Walker shouts, adding ‘That Soviet she-cat hasn’t seen the last of me!’.
Wanda tells Johnny that before he goes off half-cocked, at least let her contact the United Nations in New York. Moments later in the communications room once more, Wanda mutters that this must be one of the few parts of the Compound still in tact, as she dials their hotline to the United Nations. Greeted in a multitude of languages by a recorded message at the other end, Wanda is then asked if she can hold. ‘No! I’m afraid I cant! This is –‘ Wanda begins, but the recording ignores her and she is placed on hold. Stunned, Wanda is shocked that the answering machine put her on hold. ‘Welcome to the New World Order’ USAgent tells Wanda, who turns to him and asks ‘Are you still here?’ Johnny smirks and tells Wanda that she gets her meaning.
Shortly, Johnny, Clint and Bobbi depart the Compound inside Dr. Hank Pym’s “Rover” aircraft. Johnny mutters that it isn’t much good if you want to fly faster than a piper cub, to which Clint, arm around his wife, points out that it will at least get them to Stark’s in a few minutes. Bobbi remarks that she wished they knew more about those so-called “Battle-Droids”, or why they are attacking Stark International, while Johnny notices that Clint brought his archery set along. ‘Didn’t know it was deer season’ Johnny smirks. Clint is about to retaliate, but Bobbi tells him not to let Walker rile him.
Back at the Compound, ‘Come on, pick up, blast you!’ Wanda exclaims, frustrated that she is still waiting to get through to the United Nations, while Darkhawk mutters that he didn’t come West just to stand around. Spider-Woman tells him that she understands, but points out that, as he is a non-Avenger, he could get in even more trouble with Stark than the rest of them are liable to.
Arriving near Stark International, Johnny, Clint and Barbara see black smoke billowing into the air, and one of them exclaims that those droids are doing a “job” of Stark International. ‘They’re not doing us any good either!’ exclaims Clint as the “Rover” jet gets hit. ‘Don’t be a cry baby, Barton!’ USAgent replies as he lands the aircraft nose-first, and points out that they will have to walk the last few blocks. Mockingbird dodges some blasts while USAgent blocks them with his shield, and Hawkeye readies his bow-and-arrow.
Clint points out that they were probably shot down by some droids guarding the perimeter, and motions to some droids up ahead, suspecting that it was them. ‘Wave your bow-and-arrow – that’ll scare them!’ Johnny exclaims. ‘Agent – for pity’s sake!’ Mockingbird scolds Walker, who ignores her like usual and asks Clint what he is waiting for – ‘To see the whites of their eyes?’ Walker points out that if they really are droids, they wont have any.
Clint explains that he wants the droids close enough so he can use his electro-arrow, to which Walker asks him if he thinks he can electrocute a robot. As the droids get closer, Clint releases the arrow and replies ‘No’ but explains that a good burst of static might mess up their equilibrium for a second, long enough for the three of them to take initiative. 'Now there's an idea i can relate to!' Walker exclaims as he takes on two of the droids at once. Bobbi warns Clint not to grow more than fifteen feet, reminding him that he knows what happened last time.
As Goliath's massive hand flattens three of the droids, he replies that he knows, but points out that if he doesn’t go full size this time - there may not be a next time! 'Just be careful, okay?' Barbara remarks before flipping a droid over her shoulder and telling her husband that she has his back. Suddenly, Mockingbird notices a droid approaching her, and it releases a a energy beam, which she quickly flips over, 'That was close!'she is exclaims, 'But this - is a whole lot closer!' she jokes as she grabs the droids hand and forces it backwards, whereupon it releases its energy beam into itself. Bobbi is thankful for her battle staves which give her leverage, and remarks 'Talk about your suicide machines!'.
USAgent grimaces as he battles the droids, and remarks that the Avengers West took care of Ultron and his seven-foot War Toy, 'And you clowns aren't even made out of adamantium!' he shouts as he decapitates one of the droids with his shield, 'Now let's see what happens when you lose your head!' Walker remarks, only for a blast of energy to be fired at him from the droids neck, propelling him back across the area. Luckily for Walker, Goliath reaches out and grabs him, breaking his fall. 'You had to ask, huh, glory boy?' Clint remarks. 'Go on - say it!' he exclaims. 'Okay. Thanks'. Walker replies, before putting Johnny on the ground. Looking around at the massive pile of broken droids, Bobbi tells the men that they should go get the Quinjet now. 'It's a long haul to Demonica!'.
Meanwhile, some miles North of Hawaii and 35,000 feet above the ocean, inside a large passenger plane, the co-pilot tells his captain that the radio warning from Demonica ordered them to turn back. 'That glorified atoll's hundreds of miles off our route' the captain points out, asking what Dr. Demonicus can do to them - 'lasso us?' he jokes, when suddenly, the captain sees a strange shadow hovering around the plane, and all of the instruments go dead. 'Don't look now captain - but i think maybe he he just did!' the co-pilot exclaims, referring to being lassoed by Demonicus.
Indeed, a small craft has landed on top of the plane and latched itself to it. Inside the small vessel are Cybertooth and Kain, the former radios Dr. Demonicus and Kain announces that they have made contact with the jetliner that has violated their air space. Kain informs his master that he has negated all the plane's mechanical systems and their retrieval craft is now guiding it back to Demonica. 'Kain over and out' the lackey exclaims, while, in Demonica, a grusome Dr. Demonicus declares 'It is begun!'.
Hawkeye / Goliath II, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent (all Avengers West Coast)
Dr. DemonicusCybertooth, Kain, Kuroko (all Pacific Overlords)KlawMorningstar
In Flashback:Dr. DemonicusCybertooth, Irezumi, Jawbreaker, Kain, Kuroko (all Pacific Overlords)KlawCreature
Construction CrewUnited Nations members“Panther Posse” members
In News recording:Iron ManReporter
The flashback depicts matters occurring before issue #92.The saga involving Demonica being raised from the Pacific Ocean can be seen in Avengers West Coast #70-74.
Klaw planned to conquer Wakanda, but was defeated, in Fantastic Four Unlimited #1.
An art error occurs on page 9; Irezumi is drawn in Klaw’s place.
The Armor City business that Spider-Woman refers to several 1992 annuals: Darkhawk Annual #1, Avengers West Coast Annual #7 and Iron Man Annual #13.
Iron Man battling the droids takes place in Iron Man (1st series) #290.
The Avengers West Coast encountered Morning Star in Avengers West Coast #87-88.
The Avengers West Coast’s Quinjets were recently destroyed by Ultron.
Spider-Woman’s comment to Darkhawk about him getting in trouble with Stark is due to the sanctions placed on the team and how they are allowed to act within the borders of other nations – so as a non-Avenger, the risks of missions becoming international incidents are higher. Similarly, Stingray was put in the same position during another international incident, though he was immediately made an Avenger (Reserve status) to lessen then possible harm. [Avengers (1st series) #319-324]