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Roy Thomas (writer), Andrew Currie (guest penciler), Don Hudson (guest inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), John Lewandowski (assistant editor) Nel Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Goliath (Hawkeye) and Mockingbird do their best to handle Quantum’s Power Platoon, but find themselves rather overwhelmed. Fortunately, Mockingbird is able to contact War Machine, who soon arrives on the scene to add some much needed power. Eventually, Mockingbird recalls how she and Hawkeye took down the real Quantum long ago, and they do the same with the Power Platoon, by covering them in smoke from a smoke arrow, thus cutting off their power supply - the sun. The Platoon are shipped back to the Avengers West Compound, where the heroes watch a computer file from Quasar on the history of Quantum, his Power Platoon and Wundarr, when they are attacked by Quantum himself (or rather three-self), and Wundarr. The Power Platoon are freed, and Quantum orders everyone to kill the Avengers West, but due to the mysterious goings-ons in the galaxy, the Power Platoon and Wundarr cannot comply. The Platoon quickly leave for parts unknown, and Quantum also makes a quick getaway, while Spider-Woman contacts her teammates from Four Freedom’s Plaza, commenting on how all crime on Earth has been negated, though the heroes are still unaware of what has happened to their missing teammates.
‘You’re right, Mockingbird! These eight bozos must by the Power Platoon that Quasar told us he ran into!’ exclaims Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye, currently using the alias Goliath, to his wife and teammate Barbara “Bobbi” Morse-Barton as they are surrounded by eight purple and orange clad men inside a coffee shop where they were trying to have some time to themselves. Clint points out that they are duped up almost exactly like the alien who calls himself Quantum, and wonders where he is. ‘Don’t ask me, lover - and from the sound of it, I doubt if it’ll do much good to ask them, either!’ Bobbi exclaims, commenting on how they are speaking some alien language.
Mockingbird sarcastically exclaims that this is a great time to be attacked when Spider-Woman is out East, War Machine is cleaning out his locker at Star Enterprises and three other Avengers West have all vanished in a daze, to which Clint tells his wife that she doesn’t need the others when she is married to Goliath! With that, Clint increases his mass and begins attacking the Power Platoon, but his first punch doesn’t do anything to one lone member.
Clutching her trusty battle stave, Bobbi remarks that perhaps they should have scanned the compu-vid Quasar sent them about this octet, explaining that she recalls something about each of them having a different power. Suddenly, Goliath is smashed across the coffee shop and out the front window. ‘I think I just found out what this one’s is!’ Clint exclaims. Mockingbird assures Clint that she will hold them off until he gets back on his feet, joking that ever since she saw the new “Robin Hood” film she has been wanting to make like Little John, and smacks one of the Power Platoon with her stave - only for that specific Platoon member to twist his elastin body backwards, annoying Bobbi that he is a “Reed Richards clone”.
Her stave smacks into the same Platoon member that smashes Goliath, and he shatters her stave. Bobbi remarks that it is a good thing she has two battle staves, before declaring that all she has to do is stay alive long enough to use it and ducks a punch from one of the Power Platoon. ‘Close! I’m sure glad you don’t double in super-speed!’ Bobbi exclaims, before leaping through the broken window, exclaiming that she is through hogging the limelight, she tells Clint that all he has to do is cream them. ‘I love you too’ Clint mutters, before asking Bobbi what her back-up plan is. ‘I’m executing it now!’ Bobbi exclaims, holing up her comm. card, as she calls out to War Machine or any other Avenger who might be listening in. Bobbi announces that she and Goliath could use a little help, and gives the location of the coffee shop, before explaining that they have got themselves into a scrimmage with some alien creeps called the Power Platoon.
War Machine, soaring through the air is startled by Bobbi’s voice and he doesn’t realize that he has drifted so far North. He responds, letting Bobbi know he is listening, while telling himself that it would seem he hasn’t cleared all the cobwebs out of his brain after packing up the last of his things at Stark Enterprises. James “Rhodey” Rhodes supposes that it is only normal, after all, he gave years of his life to Tony Stark, ‘And he treated me like -’ James thinks, before telling himself to snap out of it, remarking that with so many super heroes vanishing, he can save his righteous indignation for later. Rhodey replies to Mockingbird that he is on the other side of downtown, so she and Goliath need to hang on for a few minutes longer, as he is on his way, and he soars back in the direction he came from.
Back at the Coffee Shop, the Power Platoon have made their way out onto the street, surrounding Goliath and Mockingbird, while a police officer and some civilians watch from nearby. One of the Power Platoon says something, to which Mockingbird wishes they could understand them so they could find out what it is they want. Bobbi suggests that perhaps some of the Power Platoon have gone missing, same as the heroes on Earth, and perhaps these members think they have the others. Clint is about to offer another suggestion, when the police officer approaches the Avengers West, asking them what is going on. ‘Are those the clowns who trashed the coffee shop?’ he asks.
‘We’re handling it’ Goliath replies, while Bobbi informs the police officer that their foes have super powers, so it is better if they deal with them. ‘I got a glimpse of how you’re handling it as I ran up!’ the officer retorts, before remarking that he has a job to do, so is going to protect and serve them whether they want him to or not. Mockingbird alerts the officer to one of the Power Platoon that has crept up behind him, so the policeman swings around, aiming his gun at the Platoon member he warns him to stop, otherwise he will shoot, despite Mockingbird telling him not to.
The Power Platoon member remarks something in his own language, which the officer takes as a threat. ‘Okay, I warned you, creep’ and with that, he fires at the Platoon member - except the bullet bounces off him and back to the officer, striking him in the shoulder. Mockingbird checks the officer and informs Clint that he is only wounded, but they have to keep the rest of these galactic goons off him. ‘At least they’re not all men of steel’ Goliath exclaims as he manages to punch one of the Platoon, joking that his power must be to turn himself into a punching bag.
Another of the Platoon shows off his agility as he attempts to kick Bobbi in the face, to which Clint jokes that this loser thinks he is outer-space’s answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme. ‘Let’s see how he handles a bear hug’ Clint exclaims as he grabs the Platoon member from behind and begins to squash him, only for the Platoon member to increase his mass to match that of Clint’s. ‘I’ve got all the luck!’ Clint mumbles, exclaiming that her probably grabbed the only one of them who could match him inch for inch, and although he wouldn’t normally mind, they are rather outnumbered already.
Bobbi smacks one of their enemies in the face while telling her husband not to worry on her account, as she is doing fin, though she wonders what her next foe will bring. Bobbi soon finds out as her foe blasts her with some force rays from his eyes. ‘Of course…somebody had to have that one, right?’ Mockingbird thinks to herself, and although she is relieved that there isn’t much strength in the rays, she is knocked straight into Clint, who is subsequently knocked away from his giant opponent.
Goliath remarks that are still six of the Power Platoon still standing. ‘Guess it’s not our day’ he tells Bobbi, who replies quietly that she will jump the one to their left, enabling Clint to plow into the other ones standing nearby. ‘Right. One of them is stronger than me - and I’ll be hanged if I can remember which one’ Clint remarks, but before they get to set their plan into motion, and as the Platoon close in on them, War Machine arrives overhead. ‘You deserve a break today, Avengers’ he remarks, announcing that he is just one the guy to give it to them as he blasts the Power Platoon away with repulsor rays. ‘Looks like the cavalry’s arrived’ Goliath remarks. ‘And they say there’s nothing left to believe in anymore!’ Bobbi jokes.
One of the Barton’s calls out to War Machine, alerting him to the approaching Platoon member, but it’s too late, as the Platoon member leaps at War Machine, attacking him mid-air. ‘Quite a jumper, aren’t you, fella?’ Rhodey remarks, joking that from the distance he covered, he must have rubber legs. ‘Too bad it’s paired up with a glass jaw!’ he exclaims as he smashes the Power Platoon member in the face, sending him crashing to the ground. But Rhodey finds his foe more tenacious than he anticipated, as he too is pulled to the ground - it’s just too bad for the Platoon member that he landed underneath War Machine.
‘Who are these losers, anyway?’ Rhodey asks as another one of them approaches him. ‘If this one thinks a rubber fist is going to do any damage to my armor’ he begins, until Goliath announces that they all have different powers - which Rhodey soon discovers as the approaching Platoon member smashes him in the face.
‘No matter how often we knock ‘em down, they keep getting back up!’ Clint exclaims, before adding that they should consider themselves lucky that Quantum is not here also. Mockingbird kicks one of the Platoon in the stomach while telling her husband that she has just remembered how he used smoke arrows to beat Quantum by cutting off the sunlight. Bobbi reminds Clint that Quantum needed the sunlight to sustain his duplicating power. Clint understands where Bobbi is going with this, and exclaims that as it worked on Quantum, it might work on his “lodge brothers”.
‘If only you had your arrows!’ Mockingbird exclaims, to which Clint replies ‘Are you kidding? And returning to his regular size, rushes towards his car which is parked nearby. ‘You think I even go out for coffee without them being under the seat?’ he exclaims, before remarking that perhaps it is time he ditched this Goliath act and went back to being ‘Plain old garden variety HAWKEYE - the marksman!’ with that, Clint fires a smoke arrow over the Power Platoon, who all begin cowering. Clint tells his wife that she is a genius, as it is working and they are going down.
‘Glad to hear it, lover!’ Mockingbird exclaims as she kicks a couple of the Power Platoon into the smoke, before asking Hawkeye if he minds blowing some more smoke over this way, as there seems to be a little sunlight getting through the smoke screen. Clint replies that he only has two more arrows, but fires one of them in his wife’s direction. War Machine announces that he can make the smoke go further, and flies through it, causing the smoke to swirl around as he goes, spreading it out between the Power Platoon and any sunlight.
Clint readies his last arrow, telling War Machine to do what he can with this one, but Rhodey replies ‘Save it, Goliath - or should I start calling you Hawkeye again?’ he asks before motioning to the Power Platoon, who are all lying unconscious on the ground. To be on the safe side though, Rhodey rips something off a nearby building and covers the Power Platoon with it, some kind of steel, forcing it into the concrete so it sticks. Clint clutches his bow and points out that even if the Platoon have normal human-type strength, they will never get out on their own.
War Machine replies that the metallic awning should do for the Platoon what sun-block does for some people. Hawkeye points out that they might suffocate, so War Machine creates some airholes, remarking that he doubts they will get enough sunlight through these to do them any good, before asking his teammates if they want to tell him about these Quantum look-alikes. ‘You noticed, huh?’ Bobbi remarks, while Clint replies that he thinks they have some data on them in the Compound computers.
War Machines suggests they take their playmates to the Compound and do some research. Hawkeye agrees but points out that if they Platoon somehow recovers then they will be pretty shorthanded in dealing with them after what has happened to USAgent, Scarlet Witch and Living Lightning. Mockingbird agrees and points out that there is no need in taking any chances if they don’t have to so she suggests that they could call Iron Man and ask him to come over and give them a hand. ‘We don’t need him, Mockingbird - in case you forgot, you’ve got War Machine on your side now!’ Rhodey exclaims.
‘I…didn’t forget’ Bobbi assures her teammate, while thinking to himself that Rhodey is clearly still mad at his old boss-slash-friend. Bobbi knows that no one is perfect, ‘Look at everything that’s gone down between Clint and me these past few years’ Bobbi tells herself, while some medics tend to the wounded police officer, telling him that apparently there hasn’t been another real crime anywhere for the past several hours, so he has come close to being the day’s entire crime statistic. ‘Lucky me’ mumbles the cop, while Clint asks Bobbi if she thinks it is time he went back to playing Robin Hood instead of Goliath. ‘I love you at any size, you know that’ Mockingbird replies. ‘Yeah, yeah I do’ Clint smiles, before they kiss. ‘Can we get going now?’ War Machine asks impatiently.
Along Palos Verdes Drive, War Machine flies above Hakweye’s car, forcing the makeshift container of Power Platoon along with power thrusts, while in the car, Clint comments on what the paramedic said about crime taking a holiday, he tells Bobbi that they heard that too, and remarks there must be some connection between that and all the vanished super heroes, while wondering what makes the Power Platoon the exception. Bobbi suggests that it might be the fact that they are aliens and not criminals, adding that she hopes their computer banks can clear things up.
Soon, at the Avengers West Compound, in one of the few areas still functioning, War Machine “baby-sits” their “guests” while Bobbi sits at a computer, checking the files, she comes up with one listed under “Power Platoon” and announces that it was recorded by Quasar when he was an Avenger. ‘An Avenger East’ Clint, now out of his revealing Goliath costume and back in his Hawkeye costume, points out.
(Some scenes and flashback scenes shown on monitor)Quasar comes up on the computer screen, announcing that this same tape is being filed under “Quasar”, “Power Platoon” and “Dakkamite”. ‘The who?’ Mockingbird asks, getting her answer as the recording of Quasar explains that Dakkam is a distant planet whose first Earth visitor was a youth called Wundarr. Wundarr learned that Earth’s sun gave his race super-powers, with which he proceeded to use to fight the Man-Thing to a standstill.
Noting this, as Quasar explains, the Dakkamites sent nine soldiers into solar orbit in what they call incubator capsules, where the sun’s rays affected the warriors at different rates of speed. Quantum was the last to emerge, endowed with great strength, near invulnerability, a sometime flame aura, and the seeming ability to duplicate himself. However, Quasar explains that as of late, he learned that a limited teleportation power makes it seem as if Quantum can do that.
‘Whew! He was quite a powerhouse all right!’ Mockingbird remarks, while Hawkeye exclaims that it is a good thing that Quantum’s “buddies” broke out half-baked, or they would never have held them off long enough to think of ‘Smoke arrows defeated him when he first fought the Avengers West Coast’ the recording of Quasar remarks in his recording. Quasar goes on to reveal that, when he fought Quantum, his cosmic energy altered Quantum’s probability field, trapping him in an intangible form of triplicate, for want of a better phrase.
Quasar explains that Wundarr, by this time known as Aquarian, would have kept Quantum solid if he joined his pacifist group, but Quantum was a born soldier and was not interested, so all three of them took off and has not been heard from since. As for the other warriors, rechristened the Power Platoon, they each acquired just one power, and somehow ended up on the world of the powerful entity known as the Stranger, which is where Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme got into trouble with them. Eventually, the Platoon were freed, but Quasar announces that he doesn’t know whether they remained on the Stranger’s world, or emigrated into space. ‘If they ever show up on Earth, looking for their missing comrade - we’d all better watch out!’ Quasar concludes his entry.
(Present / Reality)‘Well! Now we know!’ War Machine exclaims. ‘A whole alien Power Platoon and us without enough Avengers left to field a basketball team!’ Mockingbird complains, while Hawkeye remarks that the question is now, what are they going to do with them. Suddenly, one of the Power Platoon smashes a hole though the casing. War Machine tells Hawkeye to ponder that thought while he gets some more sheeting to strengthen the cage.
Mockingbird points out that, at least without direct sunlight in this room, they do not have enough muscle to break free, to which Hawkeye replies that they have to do something sob they can get back to searching for the Scarlet Witch and the others. Suddenly, a voice exclaims ‘If you are truly at a loss for what to do, Earthers…’ the Avengers all turn to the sound of the voice. ‘What?’ exclaims War Machine, ‘Uh-oh’ remarks Mockingbird, while Hawkeye declares that he was afraid this might happen, for hovering above them are the three Quantum’s. ‘We will’ ‘Take them’ ‘Off your hands!’ they exclaim.
Hawkeye tells Quantum that they are impressed he has learned English since last time, but that’s about it. Mockingbird points out that as long as Quantum is resolved in between two discrete quantum levels, he is intangible, which means they cannot hurt him, but in turn he cannot touch them or anything else. ‘You are quite correct, female’ Quantum replies, boasting that is precisely why he brought along…Wundarr!
With that, Wundarr breaks into the chamber, to which Hawkeye exclaims that isn’t possible, as there is no Wundarr now, he is Aquarian, and a total pacifist. ’Don’t bet on it, archer’ War Machine replies, ’He didn’t just tear us a new skylight by accident!’. Mockingbird motions to the container of Power Platoon and points out the sunlight is angling in on the hole War Machine was beginning to fix. ’If very much of it hits those guys inside…’ Clint warns his teammates, while Quantum exclaims ’My very plan!’ as War Machine races towards the container, boasting that he will see that it doesn’t - only for Wundarr to smack him across the chamber.
‘So much for the direct assault!’ Clint points out as he raises his bow and aims an arrow at Wundarr, but after firing it, discovers that his electro-arrow doesn’t work. ’Might as well have thrown a joy buzzer at him’ Clint grumbles, before being kicked over by Wundarr, who is ignoring the kicks Mockingbird is giving him in the back. ’This guy is strong!’ Bobbi remarks, while War Machine asks her to stand aside as he wants to take another shot at him.
Quantum grins as he reveals that he spent months seeking ways to mentally control Aquarian and transform him back into Wundarr again. ‘As you can see, I finally succeeded!’ he exclaims as Wundarr pummels the three Avengers West at once. Quantum exclaims that, as Aquarian, Wundarr was his enemy and a friend to Earth, but in this form, he is the exact opposite. ‘He doesn’t say much, does he?!’ War Machine remarks, commenting on Wundarr. ‘Why should he speak - when his thoughts now are only mine?’ Quantum asks, boasting that soldiers speak with deeds.
‘Terrific! He’s torn open the cage!’ exclaims one of the Avengers West as sun shines on the Power Platoon. ‘Exit age of Aquarian - re-enter age of Wundarr!’ one of the heroes jokes, referencing the song. The Power Platoon begin to bathe in the rays of sun. ‘If they reach full power before we can corral them again…’ War Machine warns his teammates, to which Hawkeye tells him not to sweat it, as he still has one smoke-arrow up his sleeve. But as he attempts to fire it, the arrow breaks. ‘Now maybe you can start sweating’ Clint mutters, before being blasted across the room by one of the Platoon who fires beams out of his eyes.
Another battle gets into full swing as the Power Platoon take on the three Avengers West. ‘It’s like fighting X-Factor, X-Force and the X-Men all at the same time!’ Hawkeye remarks, referencing the myriad of X-teams. Mockingbird tells her husband not to exaggerate, as things are bad enough, and smacks one of the Platoon in the face with a hard kick. ‘I don’t believe this! A couple of Avengers - going defeatist on me?’ War Machine asks as he manages to smack Wundarr in the face.
‘Who’s defeatist? We’ll fight till we drop, same as you!’ Mockingbird replies as she kicks one of the Platoon. ‘Our bickering helps keep Bobbi and me going, y’know’ Clint jokes as he fires an arrow, while War Machine exclaims that he thinks they are about to make a last stand here. ‘Do your wor4st, Beagle Boys!’ Hawkeye exclaims, while Quantum orders his Power Platoon to kill the Avengers in their native Dakkamite so the heroes cannot understand.
The Power Platoon corner the three Avengers against a wall. Armed with an exploding arrow, Clint remarks that it may take the three of them too, to which War Machine readies his repulser beams and exclaims that they will both “Let ‘er rip”. But Mockingbird tells the men to hold it, as she thinks something is happening to the Platoon. Inches away from the Avengers West, the Platoon simply stop. ‘Did something turn them into statues?’ Hawkeye asks, but War Machine replies that they are actually moving slightly, just not towards them. ‘Not to look a gift horde in the mouth - but what gives?’ Mockingbird asks.
Suddenly, the three Quantum’s lunge at Wundarr, shouting ‘What is wrong with you idiots?’. Wundarr replies that he doesn’t know, but that he felt good while he was rescuing this fellow Dakkamites, but that when he was ordered to execute the Avengers, he froze - they all did. Wundarr tells the Avengers that he, even the Power Platoon, just don’t like hurting anyone if they don’t have to, and remarks that the Platoon are free and have found whom they have been seeking. ‘And now we may depart!’ exclaims one of the Platoon as they take to the air, leaving behind an annoyed Quantum who shouts ‘Come back here!’.
War Machine asks Hawkeye if he understood any of that. ‘Not so’s you’d notice’ Clint replies, when suddenly, Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter calls out to her teammates over the communications monitor. Julia exclaims that she thought she should check in, and asks how things are going. ‘We just had the weirdest free-for-all’ Mockingbird replies, explaining that some alien soldiers they were fighting suddenly stopped and took off. Julia asks if they were switching from a more defensive mode to an aggressive one at the same time, to which Bobbi replies ‘Something like that’ and asks her teammate how she knew.
Spider-Woman announces that the same thing has been happening in one or two other places, and remarks that the “soldiers” must have been acting according to their code until they took the offensive, then the side-effects of the strange things which has negated all crime on Earth kicked in. ‘Sure, they weren’t really crooks, just troops!’ Mockingbird remarks, to which War Machine points out that Wundarr is still the pacifist Aquarian at heart, even if Quantum took him over for a while. ‘Guess you weren’t affected because you’re in between spaces!’ one of the Avengers tells Quantum, who replies ‘I’ll get free yet! And then - you die!’.
‘Everybody dies sooner or later, Quantum. We’ll take our chances’ Mockingbird remarks, to which Hawkeye tells his wife to save her breath, as Quantum disappears. War Machine remarks that they are still as much in the dark about their missing teammates as ever, to which Clint smiles and points out that no news is good news. Clint adds that whoever scooped their friends up seemed to have a purpose in mind from what the Scarlet Witch told them. ‘They’re probably off on some kind of crusade - saving the world, or whatever’. As the trio go outside, War Machine remarks that it might be something a lot more sinister, to which Mockingbird declares that she just wishes they knew.
Hawkeye / Goliath II, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman II, War Machine (all Avengers West Coast)
QuantumQuantum’s Power PlatoonWundarr
On Computer Monitors / Flashback:QuasarHyperionMan-Thing
The StrangerQuantum’s Power PlatoonWundarr
This issue is part of the company-wide “Infinity Crusade” storyline, not exactly a cross-over, but as well as having a six-issue limited series, the “Infinity Crusade” story continued in most series at that time, usually 3 issues.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird were attacked by Quantum’s Power Platoon at the end of Avengers West Coast #96.
The Scarlet Witch, USAgent and Living Lightning all fell under the Goddess’ spell and vanished in Avengers West Coast #96.
Hakweye’s joke about the Power Platoon member who does a high kick being outer-space’s answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme is a reference to the well known actor, famous for his high kicks and agility.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird fought Quantum way back in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #12).
The current lack of crime is due to goings-ons in the Infinity Crusade saga.
Quantum last appeared in Quasar #4, and following this issue it is some years before he appears again, in Annihilation: Ronan #3, where he may have been killed.
The Infinity Crusade continues in its self-titled mini series and various other Marvel comics, before things are back to normal next issue.
This issue also comes with a bonus pin-up / preview of the Hangman and his new Lethal Legion, who are the antagonists for the remainder of the Avengers West Coast series.