Avengers West Coast #94

Issue Date: 
May 1993
Story Title: 
Pax Demonica, part 2: Personal Demons

Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Dave Ross (penciler & co-plotter), Tim Dzon (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), John Lewandowski (assistant editor) Nel Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

USAgent, Goliath and Mockingbird are still battling the droids near Stark Enterprises on their quest for a Quinjet, when they are suddenly aided by Jim Rhodes, the Iron Man fill-in, now going by the code name War Machine. Goliath offers Rhodey membership in the Avengers West, which Rhodey accepts, before he steals a Quinjet from Stark Enterprises and returns to Palos Verdes with the others. At that moment, in Demonica, a passenger airline is forced to land and all its crew and passengers become hostages. The United Nations quickly informs the Scarlet Witch of the situation, so Wanda gathers the team and they head for Demonica, granting Darkhawk Reserve membership status so as not to cause an international incident. En route, the Avengers West encounter flying piranha creatures, whom War Machine and Darkhawk battle, before the team lands on Demonica, where Dr. Demonicus quickly orders them to leave, after explaining that he is no longer with the United Nations and now worships the demon Raksasa. The Scarlet Witch demands to see the hostages, but Demonicus declines, so a battle begins between the Avengers West Coast and the Pacific Overlords and their allies Kain and Morning Star. During the battle USAgent and Morning Star continue their feud. Eventually, Demonicus gets the upper hand and the Scarlet Witch agrees to pull the team out - but Demonicus demands that USAgent and Mockingbird remain behind, much to Goliath’s annoyance, however he has not choice as War Machine renders him unconscious, and the team departs. Shortly, Demonicus and his allies take Mockingbird and USAgent into a temple, where Demonicus proceeds to summon Raksasa into this world. Morning Star and Klaw express their surprise at how things are turning out, and Mockingbird eventually frees herself and USAgent, causing a battle in which they are greatly outnumbered. Meanwhile, the other Avengers West land in Hawaii, only to see a massive swarm of Raksasa’s demon-swarm swiftly approaching them….

Full Summary: 

The outskirts of Stark Enterprises Los Angeles Headquarters, three members of the Avengers West Coast are currently doing battle with a troop of battle droids as they make their way ever closer to Star Enterprises proper. ‘Come on, Goliath, Mockingbird - you two want to live forever?’ asks Johnny Walker a.k.a. the mighty USAgent as he rushes forward, dodging a powerful lazer beam as he calls to Clint “Goliath” Barton - who usually goes by the name “Hawkeye” and Clint’s wife Bobbi Morse-Barton, better known as Mockingbird. ‘Frankly, Agent - I wouldn’t mind!’ Bobbi calls back, before pointing out that these battle droids seem to have other ideas.

Bobbi dodges a laser beam, while USAgent blocks another one with his trust shield, ‘Tell me about it’ the handsome Johnny mutters as he points out that he is the one fighting a tank. Suddenly, a powerful blast of energy from above destroys the tank, and a voice shouts ‘For your information, Avenger - that model was called a cyber tank!’ and the silver-and-black clad armor worn by Iron Man comes into view. ‘Huh? It’s Iron Man - or is it?!’ one of the Avengers exclaims, surprised, while Mockingbird disarms the droid she is fighting, she sends it towards her larger-than-life husband, asking him to “scrap” it.

‘It’s scrapped!’ Clint replies as he brings a huge fist down upon the droid, crushing it. Barbara notices her husband’s size - taller than usual, and angrily snaps at him, ‘For pity’s sake - how many times do I have to tell you?’ she exclaims. Clint replies ‘I know! Fifteen feet - “tops”!’ he mutters, ‘See, I’m being a good boy again’ he jokes as he shrinks down. Iron Man drops to the ground and tells everyone that they can stand down, as he and Iron Man have finished off the other battle droids. ‘Then you’re not Stark?’ Mockingbird asks.

‘Stark conned me into thinking he was dead, like he did everybody else’ the armor-clad ally exclaims, before revealing that he has quit working for Stark, and wants to take the Avengers West up on their offer to join their team. ‘Not so fast, fella!’ Hawkeye exclaims, while USAgent reminds this Iron Man that there is still the little matter of his real I.D. ‘Oh well - if that’s all that’s sticking in your craw - I’m Jim Rhodes. Who did you think?’ the former substitute Iron Man exclaims, removing his helmet.

Hawkeye shakes his old friends hand, telling him that, what matters, if that he has told them who he is. Clint remarks that he cannot make it official yet, ‘But welcome aboard!’ he exclaims. Rhodey thanks Clint before asking if it was just the droids that brought them to Stark Enterprises. Never one for small-talk, USAgent announces that they need a Quinjet to get them to Demonica. ‘Is that all? Wait here!’ Rhodey exclaims as he blasts into the air, while calling out ‘By the way, I’ve got a new name now - call me WAR MACHINE!’.

Moments later, on the grounds of Stark International, a security guard is carrying some equipment and looking around at the mess, remarks that the droids really tore up the place. ’We’ll be weeks digging out!’ he complains, before noticing the new-model Quinjet and remarks that it is fortunate the droids didn’t damage that. Suddenly though, the security officer sees the Quinjet take off - except there is nobody inside! Looking up though, the security officer sees War Machine, lifting the Quinjet and exclaiming ‘Tell your born-again boss-man I’m requisitioning this hot rod for the Avengers West Coast!’.

The security officer contacts Tony Stark and informs him that the black-and-white Iron Man just picked the Quinjet with electro-magnets or something, and asks Stark if he should alert the police - or the army - or what? ‘None of the above’ Stark replies, before telling the officer that he wants a second Quinjet sent over to the Avengers West Compound as soon as one can be located. ‘And stick a note on it when you deliver it, okay? Tell them it’s from Tony Stark - and Iron Man. Oh, and tell them - I’m sorry’. A regretful Stark frowns and closes his eyes.

Meanwhile, on the recently risen nation of Demonica, in the Northern Pacific Ocean. A large red passenger aircraft has been forcibly grounded on the infant island and is surrounded by the Demonican military, while inside, two of the Pacific Overlords - Irezumi and Jawbreaker - are taking the pilots prisoner, informing them that their sky-vice vehicle has released the airliner on their runway, so now it is time they disembarked. ‘Let me down, you tattooed jerk!’ one of the crew exclaims as Irezumi picks them up, while another of the crew is warned by Jawbreaker that they may find out first hand how he gets his name.

Suddenly, Dr. Demonicus enters the aircraft and tells his Overlords to be gentle with their guests. One of the passengers recognizes Demonicus and informs the other passengers whom he is, exclaiming that he saw him on the headline news. ‘Your ship disabled out engines! You kidnapped us!’ the man shouts. Demonicus replies that he would prefer to think of them all as Demonica’s first tourists. ‘As such, I really insist you stay long enough to see all out island’s sights - and that could take years!’ the diabolical mad-man exclaims.

Two thousand miles away, at the rather badly damaged Avengers West Coast Compound, in Palos Verdes, California. The new Quinjet lands, and Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter and her friend and visiting hero Darkhawk a.k.a. Chris Powell come out to great the returning Avengers. War Machine shakes Darkhawk’s hand and after telling him that he is glad to meet him, he asks if he is a new recruit also. Darkhawk replies that he is just visiting, but has volunteered to help out. War Machine replies that the battledroids are all done with, to which Julia asks Rhodey if he hasn’t heard the latest, and announces that Demonica has hijacked a jetliner, not to mention one of the Overlords who tried to defect. While Clint motions to the armored heroes, he whispers to his wife that it looks like a walking scrap-metal drive, to which Bobbi tells him to shush, while Darkhawk announces that the Scarlet Witch is inside monitoring the ultimatum from Demonicus.

Shortly, inside, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, who has been joined by USAgent, is watching Demonicus’s recording, as the deformed villain announces that there is a no-fly, no-ships zone for 500 miles in all directions around Demonica. ‘Well that’s enough of that!’ Wanda exclaims as she switches the channel, where a member of the United Nations informs Wanda that the U.N. President would like the Avengers West to comprise an official U.N. delegation to Demonica at once. ‘I’ll just bet he would!’ Walker complains, reminding everyone how, an hour ago, the U.N. had the Scarlet Witch on hold, but now they’re kissing up!

Clint informs Wanda that they have already called the U.N. about War Machine becoming an Avenger, to which Wanda thanks him, before pointing out that since they managed to get hold of a Quinjet, they should all get a move on, before turning to Darkhawk and telling him that since he is not an Avenger and therefore not under the United Nations charter, that perhaps he should stay here. ‘With all due respect Scarlet Witch…’ Darkhawk begins to reply, until Julia stands up for him, reminding Wanda that Chris came here to help. ‘Surely we could make him an honorary member or something’ Spider-Woman suggests.

Soon, ‘A Reservist in the Avengers West Coast, huh? Weird gig for a guy from New York!’ Darkhawk exclaims to War Machine as the two of them trail behind the Quinjet as it soars over the Pacific Ocean towards Demonica. ‘Haven’t you heard? Being bi-costal’s all the rage!’ Rhodey replies, before remarking to that he has to hand it to Darkhawk - not many super heroes would relish the idea of being towed cross-country at 30,000 feet by a wire extended from their armor like he is.

Rhodey then tells Darkhawk that his armor interests him, and asks if there is anything he can tell him about how it works. ‘Somehow, it doesn’t look mechanical’ he points out. ‘Uh…sorry. Trade secret’ Darkhawk replies. ‘Fair enough. Forget I asked’ Rhodey remarks, before pointing out that they should be over what Demonica claims for it’s airspace by now.

Inside the Quinjet, the other Avengers decide the same thing, and Walker declares that the human gargoyle Dr. Demonicus must have enough sense not to mess with the Avengers. Julia notices something wrong with Wanda and asks her about it, to which the Scarlet Witch replies that something is showing up on their radar - solid mass and half a mile across. ‘Heads up out there!’ she radios to Rhodey and Chris. Darkhawk replies that they see it, and that it is coming straight for them, straight out of the sun.

War Machine suddenly announces that it’s not an “it”, but a “them” as countless horrid creatures fly towards the Avengers. Rhodey adds that they look like a swarm of those “flying piranha” that Kuroko warned them about. Wanda orders Darkhawk and War Machine to stay close to the Quinjet, suggesting that they might just be Demonicus’ idea of an armed escort. ‘Like maybe “Alien” was somebody’s idea of “E.T”?’ Rhodey asks, referencing two very different science fiction aliens, before asking “’Hawk”’ if he is with him. ‘All the way “Mash”!’ Chris replies.

War Machine blasts one of the creatures, then another, as does Darkhawk, who exclaims that there are only a few thousand to go around now, before pointing out that the creatures don’t seem to be able to penetrate their armor. ‘I just hope we can say the same thing about the Quinjet’s!’ Darkhawk remarks as the creatures begin to attack the Quinjet. Spider-Woman, who is piloting the Quinjet, points out that this aircraft has a stronger hull than the ship Kuroko stole from Demonicus, but she still doesn’t want to take any chances, and pulls the Quinjet up almost at a ninety-degree angle, bursting through the flying piranha.

Wanda points out that the creatures aren’t following, and suspects that they need at least as much oxygen as they get at 40,000 feet or below. ‘You’re a real hot-rodder, aren’t you, Red?’ USAgent remarks to Spider-Woman, who points out that if they wreck another Quinjet so soon after the other two, then not even the United Nations could pry another one out of Stark.

Back in open air, Darkhawk points out that the creatures are all backing off at the same time. Rhodey replies that he wishes he could say it was because of their firepower, but that he suspects they creatures got some kind of mental command. ‘If it was Dr. Demonicus, I guess he figures he made his point’. Rhodey adds, before motioning down to Demonica which is not far away. ‘Good!’ shouts Darkhawk, exclaiming that he was getting a little tired of being towed like a car with a busted axle.

Shortly, the Quinjet lands, and all the Avengers West Coast step onto Demonica. ‘Terra firma! No just let somebody try to kick us around!’ Hawkeye exclaims, while the Scarlet Witch turns to Dr. Demonicus, flanked by his minions and the Demonican army, and asks him what the big idea was of sending those creatures upon them. ‘Really, Ms. Maximoff!’ Retorts Demonicus. ‘If you will insist on invading the air space of sovereign nations uninvited!’.

Darkhawk reminds Demonicus that he issued any U.N. delegation a standing invitation when Demonica joined the United Nations. Goliath takes control of the situation, and asks Demonicus what he has done with Kuroko since she was kidnapped by Klaw and Morning Star. ‘Why she’s right here!’ Demonicus replies, motioning to empty space, which is suddenly taken up when Kuroko’s form materializes, from invisible, to tangible, Kuroko greets the Avengers In her native tongue, while Demonicus remarks that he senses a certain degree of skepticism from his self-invited guests, and asks Kuroko to tell the Avengers that she returned with Klaw and Zvezda Dennista of her own free will.

Clearly mind-controlled, Kuroko monotonously replies ‘I returned with Klaw and Zvezda Dennista of my own free will’. Obviously, the Avengers West are not convinced. ‘Boy, you don’t even bother trying to fool us, do you, Doc?’ Clint remarks, before explaining to Demonicus that they are here to remind him that Demonica was admitted to the United Nations so fast because of the “spadework” he had done behind the scenes before Demonica surfaced, promising to share its mineral resources with the world. ‘Try reneging and you’ll find out not everybody in the U.S. is a wuss!’ Walker warns Demonicus.

But Demonicus replies that former promises are no longer operative, since his island is now a theocracy, dedicated to the worship of the demon Raksasa. ‘The which?’ mutters USAgent, before Demonicus announces that he is no longer merely Demonica’s president-for-life, but its High Priest!. Demonicus points out that if Taiwan and Singapore can become world powers, then imagine what thus resource-rich nation can do. He adds that his aerial demon-swarm will enforce the will of Raksasa, before telling the Avengers West to leave his island now, otherwise he will have them incarcerated like the other trespassers.

‘Just try it, fright-face!’ Darkhawk exclaims, before War Machine shushes him, suggesting they let the regulars handle the wordplay. The ever-reasonable Mockingbird steps forward and, due to her scientist background, tells Demonicus that his “demon-swarm” have the earmarks of a genetic mutation. ‘So you can can the “holy war” talk!’ Bobbi exclaims. ‘Get out - NOW!’ shouts Demonicus angrily. ‘What do you think, guys?’ Spider-Woman asks. ‘I vote we bust some chops!’ Johnny replies, to which Clint seconds.

But Wanda tells her teammates to back down, reminding them that their instructions under these circumstances are to let the security council handle matters. Wanda tells Demonicus that they will leave, provided he proves to them that the hostages are still safe. ‘What she said!’ War Machine exclaims, backing up the Scarlet Witch. But Demonicus doesn’t agree to that and tells the Avengers West that they must go, because if they don’t, then his Pacific Overlords will throw them out. ‘Right!’ exclaims Jawbreaker as he marches forward towards the super heroes.

‘Wrong!’ bellow Clint as he smashes Jawbreaker aside, informing him that he isn’t dealing with Hawkeye the Archer this time round, but Goliath!. One of the Demonican soldiers tells his colleagues that this is where they go paid to do what they used to on their own - before Demonicus sprung them from prisons back in their home countries. ‘Commence firing!’ another shouts as they open fire on the Avengers West Coast. Clint makes a comment about the weapons the soldiers are using and as the blasts hit him, boasts that it will take a battery of them to bring him down.

‘Don’t give them any ideas, big man!’ War Machine exclaims as he begins the offense against the soldiers, while asking Darkhawk if he wants to team up and launch their own version of the “Armor Wars”. ‘Sure thing War - or should I call you “Machine”?’ Darkhawk replies, before pointing out that Spider-Woman and the Scarlet Witch look like they could use some help - ‘Cause the guy with the pincushion head just went “Godzilla”!’.

Indeed, Demonicus’ loyal Overlord, Kain, has just increased his mass. Julia warns Wanda about Kain, while Wanda replies that she already has her hands full dealing with Cybertooth. War Machine gets himself in trouble as he flies near Kain, who begins doing something to Rhodey’s armor. ‘Hang tough, hero!’ Darkhawk calls out as he soars past, thinking that as his armor is basically non-technological, Kain will not be expecting an attack from him, and Chris unleashes a blast of energy at Kain’s face, causing the villain to shout and fumble backwards, releasing War Machine in the process.

Clint asks his friend if he is okay, to which Rhodey replies that he is after Darkhawk distracted Kain, and is about to launch another attack, when Goliath tells him not to, ‘At this size - he’s my meat!’ Clint exclaims as he smacks Kain hard in the face. Darkhawk soars past, thinking to himself ‘So this is what it’s like to be part of a team effort! Wonder if the Avengers East have a vacancy…’.

Nearby, Johnny calls out to Morning Star, ‘Yo, Zvezda! If you’re so hot on mother Russia - why’d you rent yourself out to Demonic?’. Morning Star soars past USAgent and calls him a “Yankee pig” before explaining that she did not give her loyalty to Russia - but to the Soviet Union, which, is no more. Zvezda Dennista adds that even her former group, the Bogatyri made too many accommodations to Boris Yeltsin, so she left them. ‘But becoming a Demonican does not mean I hate America less - and anyone or anything symbolic of it!’ she snaps as she flies past Walker and his shield.

Irezumi comes up behind the Scarlet Witch and tells her that she may have been able to hex Cybertooth, but would she like to try her luck against the power of his tattoos, which he can use to neutralize any power hurled against him. Wanda glares at Irezumi and replies that it doesn’t seem she has got much of a choice really. Tossing a hex at Irezumi, nothing seems to happen, so Wanda replies that it looks as if they cancel each other out. ‘Only in that sense!’ Irezumi replies, before pointing out that, as Wanda apparently hasn’t noticed, he is now at least twice her size, ‘And that you cannot counter-balance!’.

As Irezumi rushes towards Wanda, Demonicus tells his lackey to hurt the Scarlet Witch. ‘Even main her - but do not kill her!’ he exclaims. ‘Don’t worry Demonicus - he won’t!’ Wanda replies as she, surprisingly, flips Irezumi over her shoulder, thinking to herself that the martial arts tips Bobbi has been giving her have really paid off. Wanda turns and is about to do something else, when Irezumi grabs hold of her cape and pulls her backwards. ‘Again with that blasted cape!’ Wanda exclaims, when suddenly Julia comes to her friends rescue, ‘I told you those things were passé, Wanda!’ Julia exclaims as she leaps at Irezumi.

‘Sayonara, friend!’ Spider-Woman exclaims as she smacks Irezumi over with her enhanced strength, before asking if there are any more Overlord jerks left unaccounted for. ‘Only one, Spider-Woman…Kuroko!’ exclaims the brainwashed Kuroko as she becomes visible and knocks Spider-Woman in the face with her staff.

USAgent dodges Morning Star’s power and asks her if the Reds ever gave her a medal for marksmanship. ‘I could dodge your little rays of sunshine all day down here!’ Walker boasts. ‘Then we shall see how you fare at closer range!’ Morning Star replies as she flies down closer to USAgent, who suddenly leaps into the air, and with his shield held high, smacks Zvezda Dennista hard in the face, ‘Ha! That was the easiest bit of red-baiting I ever did!’ Walker boasts. ‘And they say I’m too hot-headed for me own good’ he jokes, while Morning Star falls to the ground, Johnny realizes that he really hurt her.

Johnny lands safely on the ground, thinking to himself that with power like Zvezda Dennista has got, he figured even his shield, with all his muscle behind it, would barely hold - ‘Hey - what am I thinking!?’ he tells exclaims, reminding himself that Morning Star is an unreconstructed communist. ‘And I’m the man Captain America is in his dreams!’ However, Johnny admits that he is not that keen on beating up women, and decides to check on Zvezda Dennista to see if she is all right - unaware that Jawbreaker has snuck up behind him. ‘Getting careless in your old age, Avenger?’ Jawbreaker exclaims as he smacks Walker over the head with a metal instrument. ‘Fool! I could have handled him!’ Morning Star shouts as she approaches Jawbreaker. ‘Yeah, I saw how great you were doing!’ Cybertooth replies.

‘Don’t try it, Scarlet Witch!’ Dr. Demonicus warns the Scarlet Witch as she conjures up a hex and aims it at the villain. ‘Your mutant hex might harm me, true - but at what cost to the passengers and crew of Zeta Airlines Flight #223?’ Demonicus asks, motioning to the crew and passengers behind him, all guarded by the Demonican army. Wanda tells Demonicus that they will leave, to which Demonicus replies that he wants USAgent and Mockingbird to remain behind. ‘WHAT!?’ shouts Hawkeye. ‘You’re not keeping my wife here!’ he exclaims.

Demonicus warns the Avengers that the rest of them must depart now, or else his men will commence firing. ‘Even you Avengers could not prevent all their bullets from striking human targets!’ Demonicus exclaims. Barbara tells Clint to go, that she will be fine. But Clint doesn’t agree, ‘No!’ he exclaims. He is about to make a threat, when War Machine comes up behind him and stuns him. Rhodey apologizes, but points out that, like Wanda said, they have no choice. ‘You’re coming with us even if we have to cart you out!’ War Machine remarks. And soon, as the Quinjet leaves Demonica, with War Machine flying alongside it, Rhodey thinks to himself ‘And I’ll just hope and pray that by the time you wake up - we can all be certain it was for the best!’.

As soon as “Demonican” radar operators, who until recently were inmates in the world’s most bribable prisons, have tracked the Quinjet a sufficient distance from Demonica. At that time, Dr. Demonicus, the Overlords, Klaw, Morning Star, and prisoners Mockingbird and USAgent - who is bound - make their way across the island. Cybertooth asks Klaw if he is sure his sonic bonds will hold USAgent, to which Klaw replies that he needs know menta-spore on his head like the Overlords to know how to hobble his enemy, to which Demonicus orders everyone to be silent. ‘The cave entrance to the temple of Raksasa is at hand!’ Demonicus reveals.

Mockingbird, walking alongside Kuroko, begins whispering to her: ‘Even with that thing stuck on your head to sap your will power - you must know we’re trying to do the same thing you flew to California to do - to save Demonicus - Dr. Birely - from this “demon” he now claims to serve’. But even if Kuroko hears what Barbara has to say, she makes no reaction. Bobbi realizes that she is not getting through, and notes that, in many ways, the Overlords act normal. Bobbi realizes that Klaw and Morning Star must be immune, perhaps since they didn’t get their powers from Demonicus, he hasn’t got their wavelength. Bobbi decides that if anything gets them out of this mess, it evidently will not be Kuroko.

As they all descend into a massive cave, Bobbi supposes that this might be her and Walker’s last stop. Demonicus tells his Overlords to keep a close watch on the prisoners while he begins the ritual. A massive monument with four serpent-like carvings stands in the middle of the cave, with a skeleton stuck to one side, and some sort of large cauldron at its foot. Demonicus stands beside some sort of script carved into a panel and Bobbi decides that Demonicus is definitely in charge here, but nevertheless, she gets the notion that he is being controlled as fully as the Pacific Overlords. Bobbi wonders why she senses that but Klaw and Zvezda do not.

Demonicus begins his chant, ‘Come, O Raksasa - Master of the Universe Beyond the Door! Open the gateway, we pray - that thy human servants may learn more perfectly thy will, and thine ultimate desire…allow us to behold thee at last in the flesh, O Raksasa…and make of us the clay of thy divine purpose!’. Mockingbird asks Klaw and Zvezda how they like being part of some nutty State religion, to which USAgent, who has regained consciousness, exclaims ’A gal who’s nostalgic for the USSR? It’s obvious these two’ll do anything for power!’. ‘You know nothing about me, Agent!’ Zvezda snaps back, while Klaw remarks that whatever Demonicus wants to believe makes no difference to him, when suddenly, he alerts everyone’s attention to the whirling matrix in the air.

‘Something is materializing within it - could it be…’ begins Klaw, to which Dr. Demonicus shouts ‘RAKSAS!’ as the horrid serpent-like creature comes into focus. ‘Thy faithful ones await thy command, o demon from the deep dimensions!’ Demonicus announces to Raksasa. Horrid sounds emit from Raksasa as the demon creature declares ‘It is time, mortal - the Day of Raksasa is about to begin!’. Raksasa declares that he has need of worshippers - ‘And the worship I need is birthed in fear!’ Raksasa exclaims, while Demonicus informs him that the outside world teems with life. ‘That is why I spoke to you the day you found this cavern!’ Raksasa replies.

Raksasa announces that he has already sent his demon-swarm here before him to test how they, and thus he, would fare. Raksasa declares that his demon-swarm have thrived, and that now, they strike with full-frenzied force. Indeed, at that moment, Raksasa’s demon-swarm fly about the island. Raksasa declares that the islands called Hawaiian shall feel his demon-swarm’s fury first, and announces that the rest of this sphere will soon follow.

Morning Star asks Klaw if he knew about this, to which Klaw replies that he didn’t, and explains that he thought Demonicus had created his menta-spores and “air piranha” with technology. Mockingbird turns to the villains and asks them how long they suppose that “thing” is going to need them and Demonicus. Mockingbird looks at the shackles around her hands, and as USAgent has a large bond around his whole body, created by Klaw, Bobbi notes that she is not bound as well as Walker. Bobbi looks at her battle staves which Kuroko is holding in her hands, and realizes that in her trance, the staves are being held very stiffly.

Bobbi reaches forward, her hands bound, she hopes she can activate her stave and budge it just enough. She isn’t sure it will work, but with the whole world at stake, she knows she has to try. It works, and her stave extends out to its full length fast enough and hard enough to hit Klaw in the back of his head, stunning him, as he doesn’t hear Kain’s ‘Look out!’ warning. Kuroko is shocked as the stave is out of her control, while Bobbi hopes that Klaw being stunned results in the next part of her plan. It does work, and Walker tells Bobbi that she made a good shot, as with Klaw down, the sonic bonds have disappeared.

To make sure Kuroko does not become invisible, Walker knocks her on the head, while using his incredible strength to break Mockingbird’s shackles. Cybertooth suddenly shouts ’I’ll get him, Doctor’ and runs up behind Walker with Walker’s shield, but Johnny knocks Cybertooth over, ‘You couldn’t get arrested!’ USAgent declares while Bobbi picks up her battle staves and smacks Dr. Demonicus over, but with Jawbreaker and Morning Star behind them, she tells Walker that they cannot fight them all. Walker smashes up some of the altar and tells Mockingbird that they will make a break for it together. Raksasa tells Demonicus that the two of them should have been killed long ago, to which Demonicus assures his master that USAgent and Mockingbird will not leave this cavern alive - he swears it!

Meanwhile, on the Northern tip of Hawaii, the Quinjet lands at an airstrip, where several Hawaiian soldiers are waiting. One of them asks his colleagues if they think it is the Avengers in there, to which the reply comes ‘If it isn’t - we start blasting!’. The Quinjet hatch opens and the Avengers step out. ‘Looks like some of them all right - but I don’t see Captain America!’ one of the soldiers exclaims. ‘Wrong ocean, soldier!’ Spider-Woman tells the soldier, while Clint tells his friends that he thinks they should re-fuel and head back to Demonica.

War Machine lands as the Scarlet Witch asks her dear friend Hawkeye what good that would do, ‘This isn’t just about Mockingbird’ she remarks, reminding everyone that Agent and two hundred civilians are also being held hostage. ‘I don’t care! I want her back - and I’m going to get her!’ Clint exclaims. ‘And he’s supposed to be our chairman? Barton’s obsessed by his wife’s peril!’ War Machine thinks to himself.

Darkhawk tells the others that he will go along with whatever they decide, but that he would prefer not to cool their heels here. Suddenly, Julia motions to the sky and declares that she doesn’t think there will be much danger of that. Everyone else looks skyward as a cloud of horror speeds towards them. ‘The demon-swarm…’ whispers Wanda.

Characters Involved: 

Hawkeye / Goliath II, Mockingbird, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent, War Machine (all Avengers West Coast)
Darkhawk (Reserve member of the Avengers West Coast)

Tony Stark

Dr. Demonicus
Cybertooth, Irezumi, Jawbreaker, Kain, Kuroko (all Pacific Overlords)
Morning Star

Stark Enterprises Security Guard
Civilians and pilots on Jet
Demonican Army
United Nations Representative
Hawaiian Soldiers
“Flying piranha"

Story Notes: 

James Rhodes - War Machine / Iron Man II - previously served as one of the founding West Coast Avengers in the classic West Coast Avengers (1st series) limited series, before Tony Stark took over in the regular series. This issue marks his return to the team (although it is short-lived) and taking of his own code-name, War Machine.

More action with the battle droids can be seen in Iron Man (1st series) #290-291.

Demonica was raised from the floor of the Pacific Ocean over the course of Avengers West Coast #70-74.

The passenger liner was apprehended by the Overlords in Avengers West Coast #93.

The Pacific Overlord Kuroko sought amnesty from the Avengers West Coast, but was abducted by Dr. Demonicus’ new allies Klaw and Morning Star in Avengers West Coast #93.

Darkhawk showed up in Avengers West Coast #93 to help out the diminished roster at Spider-Woman II’s request.

The “Armor Wars” which War Machine refers to is of course a reference to the events of the recent “Armor Wars” storyline in Darkhawk Annual #1, Avengers West Coast Annual #7 and Iron Man Annual #13.

Darkhawk will later become affiliated with the New Warriors and Loners.

The Scarlet Witch mentions that she has been getting martial arts training from Mockingbird. She also receives physical combat and other training techniques from USAgent.

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