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Jim Shooter (writer), Michael Zeck (penciler), John Beatty (inker), Christie Scheele (colorist), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Magneto carries his prisoner, Wasp, back to his lair, where he communicates with Doctor Doom via a monitor and turns down Doom’s proposal to join him. Magneto then begins his attempts to seduce Wasp, while a terrible storm rages outside. Meanwhile, at the heroes’ fortress, the X-Men consider to secretly flee and join Magneto, peeved by the Avengers’ distrust of them. Spider-Man overhears them, however, and the X-Men’s efforts to persuade him to keep his mouth shut quickly escalate into a fight. Spider-Man surprisingly proves a match for the team until Xavier telepathically coerces his mind, causing him to forget what happened. The mutants then depart with a special vehicle fueled by the power of thought. Elsewhere in the base, Thor awakens the recuperating Enchantress and suggests they engage in a conversation of gods. The Enchantress opens a portal in space and invites him to follow her. In Doom’s base, the Latverian monarch exposes two human women to incredible amounts of energy from the tempest… and the villainesses known as Volcana and Titania are born. At dawn, after the storm has broken, the villains swiftly attack the heroes’ base, catching them off-guard and freeing the captured villains, with Doom deciding to level the entire fortress!
Dominating a bizarre, alien plain, the massive fortress inhabited by Magneto shudders as though made of straw before the power of the storm that rages outside. Magneto gazes outside at the tempest and marvels: “Wondrous… inspiring… But let the storm rage even stronger… I have a guest to attend!” he utters and takes off his helmet before he comfortably rests on one of the many deck chairs of his ‘parlor.’
A burst of magnetic force streams forth from the mutant master of magnetism, snaking through labyrinthine corridors to a vast hangar deep in the bowels of the fortress, where a makeshift metallic prison – a giant ball of metallic debris – hovers, suspended magnetically, in midair. The force bolt strikes, freeing a tiny captive who flutters helplessly to the floor.
Shaken and short of breath, the Avengers known as Wasp lies still for aching moments. She realizes this isn’t their headquarters complex and deduces it must be Magneto’s lair. Maybe it will look less foreboding at normal size, she decides and reverts to her human size at once. Nope! she contemplates as she realizes the base still looks ominous. She wonders why Magneto turned her loose before she suffocated. She’ll have to remember to ask him that when she finds him – and she is very definitely going to find him!
She soon enters Magneto’s ‘parlor.’ Magnus is there, drinking and eating from a floating tray. Good evening, Miss Van Dyne, Magneto greets her – or does she prefer to be called Wasp? He advises her not to bother herself trying to attack him. “My person is magnetically shielded!” he clarifies. “Well, la-de-da!” Janet scoffs. Does he think she has to strike at him directly to hurt him? With that, she releases her bio-sting on Magneto’s tray and glass, toppling them over. Janet swears that she can bring this room down on top of him with her wasp’s sting. Would that inconvenience him?
Magneto retorts that would make them both quite uncomfortable. The weather outside is deadly. Since neither of them can leave here for quite some time, he suggests a truce. He wants to talk; that is the reason he brought her here. Janet notes he has a very obnoxious way of arranging a conversation. “But all right, it’s your nickel! Talk!” she complies.
Magneto apologizes for the suffering he caused her. She is obviously a woman of intelligence and understanding as well as great beauty and he is not the monster she believes he is… which is precisely what he wants to discuss! “My intelligence, understanding and beauty or your non-monsterhood?” Janet mockingly asks. “Why… both!” Magneto smiles wickedly.
Meanwhile, many hundreds of miles distant, another, still more enormous citadel, the one laid claim by the superheroes, also quakes before the wrath of the storm. Inside this awesome edifice, Ben Grim jokingly remarks it’s a nice day. Human Torch remarks it’s like all the hurricanes on Earth for a thousand years rolled into one. Johnny doubts that Ben, even as the Thing, would last a minute outside in that. Ben suggests he gives him some galoshes and a rain hat and…
“Ben, look! That peak!” a terrified Johnny interrupts him, just as the force of a thunder tears asunder one of the mountain peaks towering above the fortress… and the enormous piece of rock falls towards the base! Ben exclaims that it’s big enough to get its own zip code and it’s coming right at them! Johnny realizes it’s going to flatten this whole place; they don’t have a chance!
At that moment, standing outside, on top of the installation, Thor sees rock coming towards them. “By the all-father’s grace, let the strength of Thor be enow…!” he exclaims and begins swirling his hammer, the Mjolnir, “… and let mine aim be true!” he adds and fiercely hurls the Mjolnir right into the heart of the huge rock formation, causing it to break into myriads of considerably smaller rocks. The fortress is able to withstand their impact. As the mighty hammer returns, as always, to the hand of the thunder god, Thor smiles. His exultation in the unbridled fury of the elements is only redoubled by the flush of victory.
Inside the base, Hawkeye is still cautious, even after the fragmentation of the rock into many smaller pieces, which now rain upon the hull of the fortress. Lifting a giant piece of equipment, She-Hulk suggests he put that damn explosive arrow away. As if it would have done any good against that Gibraltar-sized rock anyway! Hawkeye retorts that she’d be amazed at what this arrow can do. Jennifer huffs: they’re on another planet, with more weird stuff per square inch than the Sunset Strip… and he thinks some trick arrow is going to amaze her?
“What I think, greenie, is that you’re… you’re…” Hawkeye is about to deliver an aggressive response before he finally resigns: “…Aw, forget it”. All he can think about is his new bride. He misses her. He doesn’t want to be here. He wants to be home…
Elsewhere, as Iron Man and Captain Marvel check for damage sustained by the rock, Iron Man remarks that in that wind the raindrops must hit like .44 Magnum slugs. The thunder alone would kill a normal, unprotected man. He wonders how Thor can survive that. He’s tough, Captain Marvel simply states. To this, Iron Man wonders: he’s a card-carrying thunder god, right? Isn’t he in charge of weather? Why doesn’t he stop the storm? Monica thinks he likes it. He’s probably encouraging it. “Encouraging… it?” Iron Man repeats, trying to process this theory. Monica urges him to follow her: “Come on, slowpoke!” Iron Man responds in kind: “No way, babe!” His armor’s built-in jet skates can’t keep up with her light form even at her lowest speed. He decides he’ll check out the next level.
In the complex’s vast central communications’ chamber, Hulk, Captain America and Mister Fantastic confer. Hulk informs them that She-Hulk moved that 30-ton particle accelerator to the power plant. Once he installs this modulator, all the damage done by Magneto will have been repaired. “Great, Hulk,” Cap commends him. He asks Reed how his work is going. Reed wishes he had longer to study this fortress’ alien technology. He’s barely begun to figure out how to operate these monitors. He’s still not certain how they work. Despite the weather, he’s managed to keep tabs on Galactus, who’s still keeping his mysterious vigil atop that distant peak – completely oblivious to the storm. Also, he’s kept the villains’ headquarters in focus. There seems to be an aura around it – perhaps a manifestation of a power-absorption process. They may be somehow tapping the energy of the storm.
Cap would love to know what the villains are up to. At least, they’ll have some warning if they attack. They can see everything outside of their citadel. “Everything except what I really want to see…” Reed laments. His son… his wife… Cap is aware that Reed’s wife – the Invisible Woman – is pregnant. He’d give anything for Reed to be with her right now. Reed assures him that part of his is… Hulk also wishes Richards were home… to spare them his maudlin comments! Doesn’t he think Hulk also misses his woman? It just makes him want to crush the enemy that much more… and get it over with!
Cap believes Hulk will get his chance – soon. They have five of their foes captured and imprisoned. They hold an edge – a big edge. He figures they’ll gamble on one desperate, all-out attack, probably as soon as the storm breaks. But if they’re ready, if each of them does his duty and holds his weight, their advantage in strength will guarantee their victory. Reed remarks that he sets a high standard for all of them. He prays that no one falls short. “If you don’t mind…” he then tells him, asking for permission to leave. Cap tells him to go and relax; he and the Hulk will take turns standing watch.
Soon, crawling along some tubes on the ceiling, Spider-Man watches Mister Fantastic crossing a corridor. There goes a man who looks really depressed, Spidey contemplates. He doesn’t blame him. This isn’t exactly a day at the beach for any of them. It sends little chills up his spine whenever he thinks how far away from Earth they are. Still, he might as well try to make himself at home. This place was made for web-swinging – all these pipes and tubes and doo-hickeys… He wonders what they’re really for. They couldn’t be here just for that friendly, ol’ neighborhood Spider-Man, could they?
Shortly afterwards, while still moving throughout the base by soaring above the ground, Spider-Man enters another room. He thinks that if he sees another room bigger than the World Trade Center or another gizmo that looks like a cosmic cuisinart… “Well, well, what have we here…” he contemplates as he sees the X-Men conferring below him, on the ground. Deciding to remain hidden on the tubes and pipes on the ceiling, Peter realizes the X-Men must have staked out their own private little headquarters. Rather antisocial of them, he reproves. He ponders it’s still weird seeing Professor Xavier not in a wheelchair. Whatever they’re yakking about is none of his business, so before they notice him, he’ll just be on his way out…
Below, Rogue reminds the group that she once tussled with the Avengers. They don’t like her a bit… and they’re powerfully suspicious of what she’s doing here with the X-Men. Wolverine stresses that Rogue is an X-Man now; anybody gives her a hard time, he’ll slice them to ribbons! Xavier urges him to control himself. The last thing they need before they leave is an incident. Colossus wonders: must it be so that normal men – even those not-so-normal – fear and hate them because they’re mutants? “Let them!” Storm briskly exclaims. The X-Men will bear no oppression! Professor Xavier decides it’s enough: the discussion is ended. He asks them to prepare themselves to join Magneto!
Suddenly, he alerts them: he senses an eavesdropper… Spider-Man! Peter hops down and admits he heard what they were saying… and he didn’t like it! He’s going to rat on them! Wolverine advises him to settle down and listen or he’ll hurt him… and then he’ll listen! He proceeds to attack him but Spidey easily leaps upwards and Wolverine misses him. “Colossus!” he alerts his teammate. “I have him, Wolverine…” Piotr assures him. “Chubby chance, slowpoke!” Spidey scoffs and shoots his webs right in Colossus’ face, obstructing his vision. “You webbed idiot! We can explain…” Logan snarls. Spider-Man suggests they tell it to the marines: he heard enough!
Storm realizes Spider-Man is too fast for them. In the open air, she could bring the full fury of the skies to bear against him, but here, in these close quarters… She urges Rogue to break free; surely Spider-Man’s web can’t hold her. Rogue insists she’s trying… but his web is stronger than steel cable. Nightcrawler proclaims he will get Spider-Man. He’s as fast and agile as he is! “Not on the best day of your life, Nightcrawler!” Peter boasts and easily snares him in a web-net. He suddenly wonders why his spider-sense is tingling. He asks Wolverine if that’s him again.
Indeed, Wolverine tries to sneak up on him but Spider-Man turns around and swats him away like a fly, arguing that nobody can sneak up on him. Those pigstickers – Wolverine’s claws – may scare the bar room bullies, but to Spidey, Wolverine’s a joke! Astonished, Kurt finds Peter’s speed and strength to be unbelievable; he’s awesome! He manages to break free and tells the others that Spider-Man’s getting away. Wolverine earnestly admits they’re lucky that’s all he was trying to do; he really clobbered them!
Cyclops pleads Spider-Man to wait; that’s not what he thinks! “I said stop, mister!” Scott more rigidly demands and releases an optic blast against him, even though he misses the agile hero. “And let you zap me with you concussion beams, Cyclops? S-U-U-RE!” Peter quips and proclaims “seeya!” as he takes flight.
Seconds later, Spider-Man tracks down Mister Fantastic in one of the many corridors of the fortress. “Richards!” Spider-Man shouts and approaches him. Seeing him terribly upset, Reed asks him what’s wrong and advises him to calm down. It can’t be… Spidey cuts him off and insists he listens to him! They’ve got to... to…
Suddenly, a shocked Spider-Man realizes he forgets! What was it? Shrugging, Spidey shoots his webs upwards and soars away, concluding that it couldn’t have been too important. Cyclops, who watched Spidey’s confrontation with Reed, hidden at the bend of the corridor, approaches Reed and nervously asks him what was that all about. Reed admits he’s not sure.
Back at the X-Men’s quarters, Professor X realizes that he recovered just in time. They’re fortunate that Spider-Man did not wish to seriously injure him when he put me out of the action. As much as he despises using his psionic abilities to forcibly re-order another’s mind, there is too much at stake here to falter now. “And there is no escape from my power!” Xavier formidably and complacently states.
Elsewhere, Reed converses with Cyclops on Spider-Man’s behavior. Reed is confident that the pressure is getting on Spider-Man a little. It’s not like him to crack. Considering what they’re facing here, though… Cyclops reveals that the worst thing about him is thinking about his wife back home, not knowing what happened to him, whether he’s dead or alive. He argues they know so little about Spider-Man. Maybe he has a similar situation… Possibly, Mister Fantastic agrees, although he suspects they’ll never know.
Cyclops suddenly hears Professor X’s voice inside his head, urging him to return at once. Scott retorts that it wasn’t necessary for Xavier to fry his brain with his telepathic summons and assures him he’s coming. He asks Reed to excuse him and then quickly rushes off towards the X-Men’s quarters. On his way there, he realizes Professor X hasn’t asserted himself like this for years. He’s acting like he did back when he first formed the X-Men – firm, authoritative, decisive. Now that Xavier is no longer confined to a wheelchair, Cyclops wonders if he plans to lead them into battle. And if he does, will his lack of experience in front-line combat bring them to disaster?
As Cyclops joins his teammates, Xavier finally presents them with a vessel and informs them he’s learned how to operate it. He explains that this vessel responds to thought commands of sufficient power – apparently, it was constructed by a race of telepaths. More surprisingly, he announces that, despite the storm, they’re leaving at once. Destination: Magneto’s fortress!
At that moment, in the lair of Magneto, the master of magnetism informs Doom, as they communicate via monitors, that he is not interested in an alliance. “Very well then, Magneto,” Doom gives up on his efforts. Still, he warns him: if he does not serve Doom, then Doom must consider him an enemy! Magneto sternly insists that he chooses to make his own way. “So be it!” Doom utters in disdain and warns him that his choice is irrevocable… and he will live to regret it!
Seconds later, Magneto re-joins his prisoner, the Wasp. Janet wonders: where did he go? Is there something wrong? Magneto assures her it was nothing… nothing at all. Wasp admits she’s glad he’s back. It’s… eerie here alone, the way the storm is shaking this place. Magneto is surprised: she missed him? Now that is encouraging! Janet nervously stammers he shouldn’t be too encouraged. “Why not?” Magnus confronts her face-to-face. Have they not reached the beginnings of an understanding? “The beginnings maybe…” Janet emphasizes.
Magneto stresses that they agree that when his eyes meet hers there is something… electric! Wasp, however, doesn’t remember agreeing to that! Magneto insists it is true, is it not… and then passionately kisses Wasp! He argues that the storm has granted them a brief interlude of peace here in this world of sudden death – they should not deny their desires! He tells Janet there is so little time… Only faintly resisting to his advances, Janet succumbs to his kiss. “I-I guess… I suppose it’s… Oh, why not?” she tells him. Magnus has the iciest blue eyes she’s ever seen and apparently the “eyes” have it. With this, the two kiss again.
Meanwhile, in the massive fortress known as Doombase, Doctor Doom strides purposefully across a vast equipment-lined chamber off-limits to all save himself and the subjects of his machinations: two women contained in clear cylinders. Doom ponders that Magneto’s foolish refusal to pledge himself to his service is disappointing – but not surprising. With power such as Magneto’s at Doom’s command, victory would come swiftly. Doom realizes that, with Magneto’s power denied, it is even more imperative that he takes other steps to strengthen his forces.
Turning some switches, Doom remarks that all is ready. This alien technology is so rich and subtle… so easily harnessed to serve his purpose. Energy, tapped from the raging tempest… and two mortal subjects who dare to gamble for power, knowing that to lose is death, for truly, here Doom shall test the limits of power a human body can contain! With Doom’s throwing of the switch, the die is cast. Both women in the chambers are bombarded with enormous amounts of energy. Doom calls them out and warns them that power must be seized. He asks them to crave the power; welcome it; drink on it, despite the pain… or it will destroy them!
Moments later, the two women emerge from the chambers, one of them burning in thermal energy, akin to a living torch. She realizes that Doom was right; he did it! All that power is inside her now… but she can’t begin to tell him how strange it feels. Suddenly worried, she tells Doom that she can change back to her human form, can’t she? He said she’d be able to! In sharp contrast, the other woman announces that she doesn’t want to change… ever. She’s at least a foot and a half taller… and strong. She realizes that this is what it is to be strong. All her life she’s dreamed of this. She asks Doom where the new clothes she designed are; she can’t wait to put them on. “Right here, Miss McPheran,” Doom replies and hands her over her new costume. The woman retorts she is not “Skeeter” McPheran anymore. She wants a name… something flashy, like the others who serve Doom.
Doom replies that will wait. Addressing the other woman, Miss Rosenberg, he informs her that she can revert to human form at will. It was no easy task to provide for her mutation to be reversible. However, otherwise, she could not eat or sleep – and her useful life to him would have been short! In this form, her body is composed mostly of ionized plasma, like the core of a star. She can radiate thermal energy from her skin at will. Doom orders her to do so – now!
Miss Rosenberg uses her powers to incinerate at once the same machine that made her and realizes that, yes, she can! She can feel heat, just millions of degrees, swirling around inside of her… and she can control it. She doesn’t understand how she can still be alive, all molten, seething and liquid inside, like a volcano. She tells Doom she wants a trade name, too, just like Skeeter does. She wants to be called… Volcana!
“Titania! Like a titan! That’s what I want to be called,” Skeeter announces and tells Doom that she will clear away the slag for him. Doom urges her to be careful; it’s still red hot. Titania assures him that, the way she feels, nothing can hurt her! Lifting the huge, red hot machinery, she invites Doom to look how strong how she is. Hurling it outside Doom’s base through the window, she boasts that this thing is too small, too light; it’s no challenge! She pushes Doom to give her something to crush, to lift, to test her strength. Doom allays her fears: she will soon prove her might in combat. He advises her to be patient and then asks the two women to come with him.
Soon, all villains serving Doom gather in the same room. Doom reveals that he summoned them here to introduce their two new recruits: Volcana and Titania. He introduces the two ladies to robot Ultron, his indestructible, all-powerful bodyguard. He then introduces them to the others present: the Wrecker, Doctor Octopus, the Absorbing Man and the Molecule Man. Wrecker is at loss. “Where did they come from?” he exclaims. He thought they were the only ones on this planet except for Captain America’s jerk squad! Absorbing Man shrugs; he wouldn’t put it past Doomsie to build broads from scratch!
Doom commands Octopus and Ultron to go at once to the 417th level hangar deck and prepare assault vehicles. The storm will break at dawn… then they strike! As they leave, Titania demonstrates her strength by crushing a giant urn with her bare fist and addresses the Absorbing Man, telling him he looks like the toughest man here. She orders him to get up! Bored, the Absorbing Man asks her what she’s got in mind. Titania boasts she’s going to do anything she wants to him! Everything she always wanted to do to everybody who used to be bigger and stronger than her! Maybe she’ll just play with him… or maybe she’ll make him eat dirt… or maybe…
Still uninterested, the Absorbing Man retorts that if she’s got something to prove, she can prove it tomorrow against the guys they’re fighting. Titania asks him whether he’s backing down. “Nope,” the Absorbing Man clarifies. He just isn’t getting up. He’s got nothing to prove… to a dame. The Wrecker further taunts her: if she wants to lip-rassle, he’s game! The Absorbing Man begins laughing at the expense of the furious Titania, who shatters another sculpture with her bare hands before promising she will show them tomorrow.
Watching Titania leaving, the Molecule Man confides in Volcana that he hates all that crashing around; he just can’t stand violence! “Really? You? The infamous Molecule Man?” Volcana is surprised. She’s always wanted to meet him. He’s… different than she’s expected. “Yeah, I know… shorter, right?” Reece shyly suggests. “No! More… sensitive, I guess!” Volcana clarifies.
She suddenly reverts to her human form, much to the Molecule Man’s surprise. She explains she just figured out how to do that. Reece tells her that his therapist thinks he’s sensitive, too. He’s been seeing a therapist ever since the Avengers talked him out of destroying the Earth…
Volcana points him outside the window, to the storm. Isn’t that impressive, she asks him. Molecule Man disagrees: it’s only molecules interacting and he controls molecules! He could disperse the storm… but his therapist says that he should let things take their natural course, so he won’t. Unless Doom asks him! He finds Doom impressive; he always knows what to do. Volcana knows what he means; such charisma… Molecule Man, however, doesn’t think his therapist would approve of Doom or this war. He can’t help believing in Doom, though – and if he wants to win this war, he’s going to help him. Even if this means ripping this whole planet apart!
Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the headquarters of the superheroes, Thor strides through the cavernous prison hall, past the block of cells where Piledriver, Bulldozer, Thunderball and Kang the Conqueror are held in psycho-stasis and enters a certain adjoining chamber. Here, in a special cell-generative healing capsule lays the beautiful Asgardian goddess known as the Enchantress. Thor awakes her, eager to speak with her. The Enchantress wakes up and wonders if he came to gloat at her humiliation. A goddess battered down to lie writhing in the dust at the feet of a green-skinned mortal wench? “By Fafnir’s scales!” she exclaims as she wonders whether She-Hulk scarred her. Did her fists bruise her face? Is her beauty…?
“Unmarred, vain one!” Thor assures her. He informs her that Reed Richards saw to that; the machine healed her injuries. The Enchantress wonders why he came then. Did his mortal friends forsake him? Nay, Thor replies – but they are mortals! There are things of which only gods may speak and which only gods can understand. He and the Enchantress are the only two immortals of Asgard on this world… they must talk! The Enchantress complies: they must talk… but elsewhere! Rising from her capsule, she proclaims she will endure this dungeon no longer and opens a portal in space. Thor agrees to follow her. However, he reminds her, that here or elsewhere, she is still his prisoner! “Perhaps!” the Enchantress replies and urges him to come.
Sometime later, the Hulk ponders what’s happening to him, close to a sleeping Captain America. Hulk doesn’t understand: he wracks his brains and all he gets is a headache! The ideas, the answers, used to come so easily! What’s wrong with him? Has he just hit a dry spell? He’s so… disoriented. Of course, being put here in this mess by a being beyond anyone’s comprehension – the Beyondet – couldn’t be helping his concentration! That must be it, he concludes, still rather uncertain.
Suddenly, Captain America wakes up. Terrified, he realizes it’s dawn! And the storm has broken! He wonders why Hulk didn’t wake him! Now is when they’re most likely to attack! He immediately asks him to sound the alarm and get everyone to battle stations. “Hurry, man!” he urges him. Hulk complies, mumbling as he leaves that he just didn’t notice. Still, his savage side surfaces in his thoughts: Don’t raise your voice to me, you star-spangled tin tyrant! I’ll rip you in half!
At that moment, outside, Doom’s ship moves straight against the heroes’ base. One of the villains remarks it’s huge. Doom sees no signs of a sortie coming out to blunt their attack. Can it be they’ve caught them unawares? “Bah!” he huffs in contempt. He’d thought better of Captain America and Reed Richards than that! They’re fools, indeed! “Prepare to ram!” he tells his followers.
Doom’s ship crashes through the heroes’ fortress and lands on it. “Quickly! To the attack!” Doom encourages them. He reminds the Wrecker that his is the primary objective: free the prisoners. The rest of them are to strike at will, wreak havoc and slay whom they can! “What about me?” Molecule Man asks him. What should he do? Doom assures him that his is the most important role. He must remain at his side. “Got it!” Molecule Man enthusiastically replies and does a military salute.
Seconds later, in the quarters occupied by Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch and Ben Grimm, the three members of the Fantastic Four are suddenly alerted to a danger. Johnny informs them they’re under attack and instantly flames on. Permanently returned in his human form, Ben laments his powerloss: what good is he like this? Reed advises Ben to stay here. He and Johnny will go find Cap and…
Suddenly, a huge steel door is hurled against them, through the window, incapacitating both Reed and Ben. Johnny realizes his arm is broken – his ribs, too! Approached by Titania, he begins blasting her with his fire bolts, demanding she stay back, whoever she is. Titania assures him he’s making it worse for himself when she gets to him – and she will! Suddenly, though, Titania realizes that Johnny is gone – he cut through the floor and dropped himself and his partners to a lower level!
Elsewhere in the base, She-Hulk lifts some equipment, while wondering what that noise was. Suddenly, Volcana blasts her behind, knocking her out. Volcana then uses her powers to melt huge quantities of equipment which she then crashes over the senseless She-Hulk. “So much for the She-Hulk!” Volcana sneers.
Somewhere else, Captain Marvel comes out of the pool. She thought the storm was over but she kept hearing thunder – unless the Hulk is belching! She decides it’s better to go and see and puts her costume on… and then is knocked out by Octopus and his metallic tentacles. Octopus notices that somehow she rolled with his strike at the last instant. Another sledgehammer blow will crush her skull!
Suddenly, Hawkeye appears and orders Octopus to get away from her. Shielding himself from Hawkeye’s many arrows by using floor tiles as a shield, Octopus is aware that Hawkeye is deadly accurate with that bow – and armed with a high-tech arsenal of arrows. Octopus knows he’s not the best against foes with long-range firepower. He’d better play it safe and leave him for one of the others!
At that moment, Spider-Man finally tracks down Iron Man and announces they’ve got trouble. Just finishing putting on his boot, Iron Man assures him he’s coming as soon as he gets his armor on. Suddenly, a huge explosion violently shakes the room and reduces it to debris. Iron Man hides amongst the debris, close to the senseless Spider-Man and sees the culprit behind the explosion monitoring the area: Ultron. He had both Iron Man and Spider-Man dead to right but he doesn’t see them, as Iron Man quickly understands. He decides he’ll wait till he goes and then pull web-head out.
At the entrance of the fortress, Hulk springs out and confronts Doom and Molecule Man. Hulk argues that he caused all of this – and he alone has the strength to set it right! And he’s going to start at the source! “Oh goody! He’s mine!” Reece revels and begins manipulating rocks and throwing them against the Hulk. Standing behind Hulk, Cap urges him to fall back. They’ve got to gather up the others… consolidate… retreat to a defensible position. Hulk finally complies and flees together with Cap.
Moments later, Doom realizes that Wrecker was successful, as he sees him approaching, with the villain prisoners in tow. Wrecker insists it was a piece of cake – although he couldn’t find the Enchantress. Molecule Man boasts to Wrecker that he should have seen; he drove the Hulk away! He then sees the other villains coming back and enthuses, as he sees they have no casualties. Doom admits that they also had fewer kills than he’d hoped – but no matter! They have accomplished much here today! And to finish it, they shall level this place so that no stone remains on stone!
Captain America, Captain Marvel II, Hawkeye, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Thor, Wasp (all Avengers)Human Torch, Mister Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)The HulkSpider-ManMagneto
Dr. DoomDr. OctopusEnchantressGalactusKang the ConquerorLizardMolecule ManTitania II
UltronVolcanaAbsorbing Man, Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball, Wrecker (all Wrecking Crew)
First appearances of Volcana and Titania II.
Sunset Strip is a section of the famous Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, a center for nightlife in Los Angeles and a regular hanging spot for celebrities.
Hawkeye’s “new bride” is, of course, the heroine Mockingbird. The two married shortly before this series, in Hawkeye #4.
Rogue, then a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, fought the Avengers in Avengers Annual #10. She later reformed and joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #171.
The Avengers talked the Molecule Man out of destroying the Earth in Avengers (1st series) #215.