Avengers West Coast #95

Issue Date: 
June 1993
Story Title: 
Pax Demonica, part 3: Demonica, Mon Amour

Roy Thomas (writer), 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 and Mockingbird do their best to take down Dr. Demonicus and the Pacific Overlords, but Mockingbird is shortly knocked out, and USAgent is driven out of the temple by Morning Star. USAgent uses this opportunity to make a getaway, not that he likes running from a fight, but he is soon driven into a warehouse, where Morning Star corners him and reveals that she wants to join forces with him. Soon, Morning Star returns to the temple with USAgent’s shield and tells Dr. Demonicus that she has slain him, pleasing Demonicus, before he begins the process once more to bring Raksasa to Earth, during which, Morning Star tries to get Klaw to join forces with her against Demonicus - which is when USAgent makes his return, moments too soon though. USAgent frees Mockingbird, while Morning Star tries to take down the Overlords, though she is soon aided by Klaw, albeit reluctantly. Demonicus continues to bring Raksasa to Earth, while Kain causes Klaw’s sonic vibrations to go out of control, forcing USAgent to shove Klaw’s hand into the ground, which absorbs the vibrations. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, Goliath, War Machine and Darkhawk do what they can against Raksasa’s demon-swarm, who eventually make their way to Honolulu, so War Machine and Darkhawk follow them. Back on Demonica, the entire island begins to shake due to Klaw’s sonic vibrations. USAgent eventually takes out Dr. Demonicus, thus preventing Raksasa from returning to Earth. This causes the demon--swarm to begin devouring each other before they reach the populated Honolulu. Before the island it torn apart, all the hostages and “civilians” manage to escape on aircraft, then Klaw attempts to make his getaway - only to be swept away by a rockslide, while Dr. Demonicus apologizes to Kuroko and the other Overlords, before all six of them are trapped inside the temple as it crumbles down upon them. The other Avengers West return to the island to rescue USAgent and Mockingbird, and USAgent offers Morning Star to come along with them - but Zvezda declines, and surprisingly, kisses USAgent, telling him that they made a good team and that she hopes they meet again some day, before flying away, bound for Russia. The Avengers West depart as the island finally sinks, with Spider-Woman pointing out that the ocean always reclaims its own, and that mankind would do well to remember that.

Full Summary: 

‘Think we can take ‘em, Mockingbird?’ asks Johnny Walker a.k.a. the USAgent as he and his fellow Avenger West Coaster Barbara “Bobbi” Morse-Barton stand before a horde of deadly enemies. ‘Peace of cake’ Bobbi replies. ‘After all, they’re two of us - and only eight of them, right!?’ Trapped in a sacred cave in the island nation of Demonica, Johnny and Bobbi are hostages of the diabolical Dr. Demonicus who orders his Pacific Overlords to kill the Avengers. ‘I should never have kept them alive as hostages!’ he shouts.

USAgent is about to say something, only to be blasted by the energies of Demonicus’ ally Morning Star a.k.a. Zvezda Dennista. Johnny warns Bobbi that he is stiff and can barely move. Bobbi replies that she can see his problem and uses her battle staves as a pole vault to leap over Klaw - another of Demonicus’ associates - as he tries to blast her with his sonic mix-master. ‘It’s your buddy Irezumi who’ll have to be your sounding board!’ Mockingbird exclaims as indeed, Klaw’s energies slam into the Pacific Overlord known as Irezumi, who is knocked backwards.

Mockingbird slams down upon Cybertooth, knocking the Overlord to the ground while she notes that Irezumi’s mystic tattoo of USAgent - which is responsible for Agent not being able to move - is fading, and Johnny can move again. ‘From the looks of things, not a moment too soon, either’ Bobbi decides as Zvezda continues her assault on Walker. Demonicus calls out to his other Overlords, informing them that Morning Star has USAgent on the run. ‘Surely the rest of you can handle on ordinary woman!’ he snaps, exclaiming that Mockingbird must not be allowed to disrupt his demon-swarm’s assault on Hawaii.

‘I’ll pound her into the temple floor, Dr. Demonicus!’ boasts Jawbreaker as he slams the ground Mockingbird stands on. Bobbi balances herself and replies ‘Maybe you would have, Jawbreaker - if he hadn’t planted that menta-spore on your brow!’ However, as Bobbi points out, the Overlords’ mind-controlled reflexes are a bit off - which makes Jawbreaker just another slow-witted oaf. With that said, Barbara slams one of her staves into her opponents face - hard, only to suddenly, be tripped up by an invisible assailant and knocked unconscious - ‘Speed is not everything!’ exclaims Kuroko as she comes into view. Demonicus applauds Kuroko, before wondering where Morning Star and USAgent got to.

Not far away, but outside the temple and in a complex, Walker holds up a fire extinguisher and lets it loose on Zvezda, ‘Come and get it, Russkie!’ he shouts, but Morning Star easily dodges the foam, telling her opponent that will hardly stop her. Walker runs down the corridor, annoyed that he has to run away from the fight, as he would certainly take his best shot with Morning Star - but not when the Pacific Overlords get into the act too.

Suddenly, Walker runs straight into the Demonican Army, which he had forgotten about. ‘Halt!’ one of the “soldiers” exclaims, but Johnny knows that they are not crack troops, just trigger-happy jailbirds dredged up from third-world prisons. The handsome Avenger dives at the criminals and smacks them out with his trusty shield, while admitting that for an island that was sitting o the ocean floor a few months ago, Demonica has come a long way, not to mention Demonicus is making his move to turn it into a world power.

Walker continues his retreat, knowing that he needs some breathing space to figure out his next move, he sees a group of people up ahead and shouts at them, telling them to get away. ‘I don’t want to hurt anybody I don’t have to!’ USAgent exclaims, when suddenly, a man trips him up. Johnny gets off the ground and slams his powerful fist into the locals face, telling himself that he should have realized Demonicus recruited the rest of the population from the same prisons he got his soldiers. ‘That mean’s I’m the only person on the whole island that’s on my side!’ Johnny thinks to himself, before deciding what else is new, in reference to the way none of his teammates support him.

Johnny runs down some steps, the civilians slowed him down just enough for Morning Star to catch up, and the feisty Soviet continues to throw her energies at Walker, but as Walker points out, Zvezda’s aim must be getting bad, as she hasn’t actually hit him since they fled Demonicus’ temple. Johnny thinks it is almost as if Morning Star is herding him. ‘Closer, Zvezda, but not cigar!’ he shouts at the pink-clad women. ‘Missed again’ he exclaims as another blast of energy hit’s a wall, which Johnny then smacks with his shield, enabling him to burst through the wall and get into the next chamber, which is some sort of warehouse.

Turning around, Walker sees that Morning Star has flown in right after him. ‘She’s got guts - I’ll give her that!’ he tells himself, ‘It’s almost a shame to have to knock them out of her!’ he adds as he tosses his shield towards her. ‘Repeat - almost!’ he remarks, only for Zvezda to dodge his shield, and blast it with her energies, holding it in the air so it will not return to Walker. Zvezda drops to the ground and Walker exclaims ‘All right, comrade, it’s just mano-a-mano now - more or less’ and suggests they get this over with - one way or the other.

‘Nothing would delight me more, Agent!’ Zvezda replies, before informing him that she drove him here so that they could have their own private summit conference. ‘Huh? Then you were missing me on purpose?’ asks a surprised Walker. ‘What’s the catch?’ he exclaims. ‘There is no “catch-22” as you Yankees say’ Zvezda assures USAgent. Surprisingly, Morning Star reveals that she wants the two of them to join forces - against Dr. Demonicus!

Meanwhile, at a sprawling military base on the northern tip of Oahu, the demon-swarm of Raksasa strike. The flying piranha swarm about several aircraft, which have been ordered to fire. One of the pilots urgently announces that the weird creatures are eating their way into his plane - into all of the planes. He then ejects himself from his plane - but with his parachute up and floating through the air, he is immediately attacked by the creatures, and screams as they tear away at his flesh, leaving little remains to fall into the ocean nearby.

Nearby stand ready the other members of the Avengers West Coast - Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff, Clint “Goliath” Barton, Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter, James “War Machine” Rhodes and reserve member Chris “Darkhawk” Powell. War Machine exclaims that they warned the commanding officer not to send the planes up, as they are just fodder for those air-piranha. Darkhawk asks his new ally if he thinks the two of them can stand off against the whole swarm, and as the heroes take to the air, Rhodey replies that if they don’t, then Demonicus - or that thing he worships - will gain a strangle-hold on the entire mid-Pacific.

Darkhawk soars alongside War Machine and replies that it looks like it is time to play “White Knights” - even if they are not color-coded for it, and together, the two heroes begin blasting away at the horrid creatures. Goliath - also known as Hawkeye - turns to his dear friend the Scarlet Witch, pointing out that Rhodey and Darkhawk are doing great so far, but that even they cannot hold out forever. Clint then notices the second wave of creatures headed for another pilot. He begins rushing over there, despite Wanda telling him not to, pointing out that they still do not know what those things can do to flesh.

Hawkeye motions to the pilot and asks Julia to get him out of here, while he gives the creatures a bigger target. Clint increases his mass, explaining that the more of him that there is, the less harm each of the creatures bites will do to him. Julia tells Clint to watch his eyes. The creatures indeed begin to swarm Clint, who thinks that his plan worked, but there is so many of the creatures. Clint then increases his height to sixty feet, reminding himself that Hank Pym said he cannot last long at this size without doing some long-term damage to himself. ‘But the way they keep coming at me - that’s gonna be the least of my worries!’ Clint decides as the flying piranha continue to peck away at him.

Wanda sees her friends’ plight, and fearing that any second now the creatures will be through to Clint’s vital organs, she summons a hex, although fearing that her power may not work on other-dimensional beings, she knows she has to try before it is too late. However, in an instant, Clint vanishes, though the demon-swarm remains. Down on the ground, Hawkeye wonders what has happened, before realizing that he has been shrunk down to his Ant-Man size. He recalls seeing the Scarlet Witch gesturing and assumes it to be her doing, before deciding that he must get behind Spider-Woman’s newly erected psionic webs before the piranhas see him. And as he dives for safety behind Julia’s force-field of webs, he hopes that Rhodey and Darkhawk are holding out topside.

Speaking of whom, Darkhawk tells War Machine that it is a good thing these mini-demons can die, to which Rhodey replies ‘Don’t know if it’s occurred to you or not, friend - but so can we!’. Rhodey replies.

Back on the ground, the trio of heroes are behind Spider-Woman’s psionic webs, and after returning to his regular size, Clint ushers some soldiers into the web through a part that Julia evaporated so they can get into the cement bunker where it is safe. Clint then thanks Wanda for shrinking him back there, to which Wanda replies that she only wishes that was what she was actually trying to do. ‘Huh?’ replies Clint, confused. Julia suddenly announces that the creatures are giving up on her psi-web and veering off. Wanda points out that the piranhas are heading South though. ‘Oh my God…Honolulu!’ Spider-Woman exclaims.

At that moment, back on Demonica, its ruler angrily demands to know where Zvezda Dennista and the USAgent are. ‘If the Avenger has escaped…’ Demonicus begins, when suddenly Morning Star re-enters the cave, ‘He has not, comrade Doctor!’ she exclaims, holding up Walker’s shield. Morning Star then reveals that her fireball-derived powers have reduced USAgent to ashes, except his shield, which she offers to Demonicus so he can have as a keepsake. ‘Or rather - as a subject for experimentation!’ the insane Dr. Demonicus replies as he takes Walker’s shield.

Demonicus then orders Zvezda to take her appointed place, as he must summon Raksasa once more, explaining that without his physical presence, the demon-swarm will rapidly lose their foothold upon this plane and fade back into their own dimension. ‘And wouldn’t that be a shame’ Mockingbird remarks sarcastically from where she is bound and captive on a large rock slab. ‘Let the ritual begin!’ Demonicus orders as his Overlords, Klaw and Morning Star flank him.

Demonicus begins his chant again to summon Raksasa into this world, while standing at the back of the criminals, Morning Star quietly calls out to Klaw, telling him that, as he is the master of sound, she knows he can hear her, while the others cannot, before asking the villain if he has thought about what he - they - are doing helping Demonicus. ‘Can you hope for a place of prominence on an Earth dominated by a demon?’ Zvezda asks, before telling Klaw that they must stop Demonicus from summoning Raksasa before he completes the incantation.

Klaw looks at Zvezda oddly, but before as he opens his mouth to speak, it is not his voice which is heard next, but that of USAgent, who leaps into action as he returns, kicking Demonicus hard in the head. ‘Sorry, lady! Couldn’t wait any longer!’ Walker tells Zvezda, who instantly blasts all five Pacific Overlords with her energies, while calling Agent a fool and asking him if he couldn’t have waited another moment - until she had possibly gained them another ally, but now, it’s too late.

‘Are you going to get on my case about jumping the gun too?’ USAgent asks Mockingbird as he takes back his shield and uses it to slice the ropes that are binding her. ‘Couldn’t bee too soon for me!’ Mockingbird replies. ‘Now that’s more like it!’ Walker exclaims, only to be struck by an invisible force, hard on his neck. Mockingbird points out that it must have been Kuroko, to which Walker swings around and uses his shield to smack Kuroko, forcing her to become visible again as she falls over. ‘Did you really think that Russian’s “love tap” could take me out?’ asks Jawbreaker as he lunges at USAgent, who replies ‘Frankly, I’d rather waste you myself!’.

As Morning Star’s power darts around, Irezumi stands defiantly, boasting that Zvezda’s solar flares will not strike him again, and that already the tattoos he is forming of her and the USAgent are beginning to form. ‘Let me be the one to sink my metal teeth into her throat!’ exclaims Cybertooth. Irezumi grins as the images of Walker and Dennista become complete, only to be knocked over by a blast of solid energy - from Klaw. Zvezda drops down beside her ally, ’You did decide to join us!’ she exclaims, relieved. ’Most reluctantly’ Klaw replies, before admitting that Raksasa is a menace to them all. ’You wanted to go a few more rounds, big man. Does this make you change your mind?’ USAgent asks Jawbreaker as he smashes the lackey up.

However, Dr. Demonicus has risen and once more begins his chant to bring Raksasa into this world - this time, he succeeds, as the horrid demon begins to materialize. ‘We’ve got to stop it!’ Bobbi cries urgently. Klaw exclaims that he will stop it alone, ‘Betrayer!’ Demonicus calls his vice-president as Klaw raises his weapon to blast Raksasa with sonic blasts, while telling Demonicus that it is he who has betrayed them all. However, Kain shouts ‘No!’ and takes control of Klaw’s vibranium claw, and redirects the sonic blasts so that they scatter around the underground temple. ‘Let them tear the temple apart - even tear us apart - but they mustn’t touch Dr. Demonicus or Raksasa!’ Kain shouts.

USAgent takes control of the situation, ‘If it’s all the same with you, Kain, I’d just as soon stick Klaw’s hand-gear somewhere it’s not liable to rip us to shreds!’ Walker exclaims as he pushes Klaw’s hand into the floor, despite Klaw telling USAgent to stop it, as he doesn’t know what he is doing. ‘There’s just no pleasing some people!’ Walker mutters, while Demonicus once again begins his chant. ‘Doesn’t he ever give up?’ asks Mockingbird as she battles Cybertooth.

However, as Raksasa hovers on the fringes of this dimensions, his demi-presence is already making itself felt elsewhere on Earth - in the Pacific, where War Machine and Darkhawk have been following the flying piranha as they make their way to Honolulu. Rhodey exclaims that there is no way they can stop them all. ‘It’ll be a bloodbath!’ shouts Darkhawk.

Back in the temple, Raksasa urges Demonicus to complete the chant to bring him completely back to Earth, while USAgent rushes towards Kain, calling him “Citizen Kain” Walker remarks that Kain likes playing puppeteer with mechanical gadgets. ‘Well here’s a bulletin for you!’ Walker shouts as he tosses his shield towards Kain, remarking that it has no movable parts - it just moves. And with that, Johnny’s trusty shield smacks Kain hard in the face, enabling Klaw to switch his claw off and pull it from the ground, wondering what his uncontrolled sonic vibrations will have done yo what lies beneath this temple.

‘I think you just had your answer!’ Cybertooth mutters as the whole temple begins to rumble. ‘No! Not that!’ cries Demonicus as the temple begins to shake and crumble. ‘Not now…when I was so close to extending my dimensional domain!’ shrieks Raksasa. Outside the temple, buildings begin to tumble to the ground, and the Demonican “army” runs for safety. Back inside, Klaw exclaims that his sonic blasts have undermined Demonica, and calls USAgent a fool for dooming them all. ‘I should -’ Klaw begins until Mockingbird interrupts him, telling him that he will have to get in line, motioning to where Jawbreaker is attacking him.

Klaw begins tussling with Jawbreaker, enabling USAgent to call out to Zvezda, asking her to begin blasting at Jawbreaker and Klaw. ‘What? But Klaw is -’ Zvezda begins to reply until Johnny interrupts her again, ‘No questions! Just do it!’ Morning Star complies and blasts both Klaw and Jawbreaker, before demanding to know why she had to. ‘Because this gives me a straight shot at Demonicus!’ USAgent replies as he hurls his trusty shield at the madman, smacking him right in the chest. Johnny also points out that since Demonicus hasn’t finished brining Raksasa to Earth, the demon should return to his own dimension - which is exactly what happens.

At that moment, ‘Will you look at that!’ Darkhawk exclaims, while War Machine remarks that something must have happened to Demonicus or to the demon who has taken control of him - for the demon-swarm have ruined on each other and are now ripping each other to shreds. Indeed, much to the heroes’ relief, the horrid demons have begun devouring each other.

Back on Demonica, some of the Demonican “army” are guarding the hostages from the passenger airline, one of whom exclaims that the tremors have stopped - but for how long? ‘No talking, hostages!’ barks one of the “soldiers”, while another passenger demands to know if they are just going to be kept here. ‘We’ll all be killed!’ he exclaims. ‘That tears it, baldy!’ the “soldier” exclaims, aiming his machine gun at the hostage, he tells him that he wont have to worry about anything falling on him as he is going to cut him in half right now!

But the “soldiers” commanding officer tells him to chill out and act like a soldier, not a trigger-happy ex-con, and orders him to let the hostages go. ‘Huh? But Captain - Demonicus said -’ comes the reply, but the commanding officer interrupts, declaring that Demonicus is dead and the whole island is coming apart at the seams. Suddenly, Mockingbird calls out ‘You can be real glad you stopped your man, Captain it saved you two of a couple of battle staves in the back of your skulls!’ USAgent, Zvezda Dennista and Klaw stand with Mockingbird as Walker orders everyone to get on the plane that was hijacked. ‘Hurry! Before the quaking begins anew!’ Morning Star urges.

So, minutes later, the passengers and crew of Zeta Airlines flight 223 resume their interrupted journey on an aircraft filled to almost overflowing, followed by the aging fleet of Demonica airlines, with virtually the entire sparse population of the neo-nation crowded aboard. Barely in time, as the runway is torn apart by another tremor.

Klaw points out that although Raksasa is indeed gone, the tremors have started again. Morning Star and USAgent look at each other as Zvezda points out that the island is on the top of a very thin submerged mountain. Mockingbird points out that Klaw’s vibes must have cracked the stem, and now the island is liable to slide into the ocean. ‘Thanks to me burying his claw! Well what did I know!’ USAgent replies, before reminding Zvezda that she said she could possible carry them all out of here, when, suddenly, Klaw turns on his recent-allies, declaring that he will not go with them to become a captive again, as he has business elsewhere with the Human Torch. But as he makes a hasty getaway, a rockslide appears and washes Klaw away.

Back inside what remains of the temple, Kuroko kneels beside Demonicus, while Jawbreaker asks her what they should do, as he cannot think clearly. Kuroko replies that, although her menta-probe has fallen from her, she will never abandon Dr. Birely - as she loves him and have always loved him. Demonicus looks at Kuroko, and admits that he betrayed her love. Kuroko points out that Demonica is being destroyed, to which Demonicus replies that it was he who destroyed it, when he let Raksasa seduce him with visions of total power. Demonicus declares that he doomed his dreams of an empire, just as he has doomed all of his Overlords. ‘Please - forgive me!’ he exclaims, before the entire temple caves in over Demonicus, Kuroko, Jawbreaker, Cybertooth, Kain and Irezumi.

Back outside on the sinking island, Mockingbird motions upwards where the Quinjet and War Machine are hovering overhead. Walker sees and remarks that it looks like Zvezda will not have to strain her arms after all, before turning to Morning Star and pointing out that there is a lot of ocean between here and Russia, and suggesting she come with them. ‘Nyet! The West is still my enemy, no matter what they say in Moscow!’ Zvezda replies, before, surprisingly, exclaiming that she and USAgent worked well together, and planting a kiss on a very surprised USAgent’s lips.

Before Johnny can do anything, Zvezda takes to the air, telling USAgent that, perhaps, they will meet again, under happier circumstances, or even as foes. ‘Until then - fare you well!’ she shouts as she flies away. The Avengers, all inside the Quinjet, take their leave too, as Demonica rapidly sinks beneath them, Clint tells Julia to put the “pedal to the metal” before they all get wet. ‘The ocean always reclaims it’s own, Clint - mankind would do well to remember that’ Julia replies, while down below, the highest point of Demonica - Demonicus’ citadel, finally sinks….

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)

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

Civilians and pilots on Jet
Demonican Army
Demonican “citizens”
Hawaiian Soldiers
“Flying piranha”

Story Notes: 

The title refers to the famous French movie “Hiroshima, Mon Amour”.
Demonica was raised from the Pacific Ocean over the course of Avengers West Coast #70-74.

Despite the possibility of a relationship between USAgent and Morning Star, this marks Zvezda’s final appearance to date. They would have made for an interesting story considering their different cultures and beliefs, and USAgent would have finally had a girlfriend like he vowed to get a few issues prior.

Klaw survives and is somehow incarcerated in the Vault, where he is next seen in New Warriors (1st series) #36.

Dr. Demonicus is not seen for years after this issue, until he appears on the Raft in New Avengers (1st series) #1-4 after surviving the destruction of Demonica.

The Pacific Overlords have not been seen since this issue, their fate remains unknown.

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