Mighty Avengers (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
March 2009
Story Title: 
Earth’s Mightiest, part 1: The Smartest Man in the Room

Dan Slott (writer), Khoi Pham (penciler), Crime Lab Studios’ Allen Martinex & Danny Miki (inkers), Jason Keith & Guru eFX (colorists), Dave Lanphear (letterer), Jeannie Scaeffer (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Stature and the new Vision arrive at the remains of Avengers Mansion, where they are to meet with their teammates in the Young Avengers, only they discover their teammates have been turned to stone by some unknown affliction - which threatens to engulf Stature and the new Vision too, until they take flight - only to encounter the Scarlet Witch! Emotion runs high as the woman who murdered Stature’s father and the previous Vision gazes upon them, then teleports them away. In New York, rivers of blood sweep through the city, while Norman Osborne’s “Avengers” go about rescuing people, as Trish Tilby reports on the current horrors, Norman boasts that he is going to make the world all right. On the border of Kansas Jarvis comes to a screeching halt as he discovers he has passed into Texas - and the state of Oklahoma has simply vanished, along with Thor and all of Asgard. Before the former servant to the Avengers can investigate any further, he is greeted by Hercules! Hercules introduces Jarvis to his side-kick, Amadeus Cho, who explains that they are seeking the Avengers, and realized that Jarvis is the one constant to the Avengers. After discussing what Amadeus has dubbed “The Chaos Cascade”, the trio set out to find the man they need to lead a team of new Avengers. In Philadelphia, the new Captain America’s team of Avengers (including Wolverine, Ms Marvel and Ronin) battle out-of-control plant life, when the Scarlet Witch shows up. Ronin (Hawkeye) is shocked to see his long-time friend, who ignores him, before she remarks that Captain America is dead, and teleports away - to Canada, where Omega Flight including two of her long-time teammates USAgent and Julia Carpenter, are battling flesh-eating insects. The Scarlet Witch tells USAgent that he will have to do, and teleports away with him. At Stark Aerospace Labs, Iron Man tries to prevent lava from overwhelming his facility, before he blasts it into space, unaware that the Scarlet Witch was hovering nearby. The Incredible Hulk makes his way through a snowstorm in the Arizona Desert, and soon finds himself buried alive in the snow. The Scarlet Witch arrives, too late collect him, only the Hulk bursts his way through his prison, before the Scarlet Witch teleports him away. Hercules, Jarvis and Amadeus arrive in Chicago, at Hank Pym’s current lab. They are greeted by Jocasta, and after a brief argument between her and Hercules, they enter what is called the “Pym Pocket”. Jarvis explains to Hank what is going on in the world, and Hank reveals a new costume - and a new identity - “The Wasp”. Hank and Amadeus argue for a while, before they tell Hank that they need him to lead a new team of Avengers against the Chaos Cascade, which Amadeus has detected originates from Mount Wundagore. In orbit around Earth, Iron Man has no luck contacting any other Avengers, so decides to investigate the Chaos Cascade on his own. At the centre of it all - Mount Wundagore, Modred reads the Darkhold, while his prisoner, Bova, pleads with him to stop the destruction he is causing. Modred reveals that he has a child of Magda imprisoned, and transfers some power into his prisoner. Hank continues to debate with Hercules and the others as to whether he should get involved, and reveals he has a dark secret - that back in the early days of the Avengers, he thought he was the most important member of the team as he was the smartest - until he unintentionally discovered that Iron Man was actually Tony Stark, and he was just a nobody. The others talk to Hank about various things that have happened on Earth while he was replaced by a Skrull. Hank eventually agrees to lead the new team, and uses the Pym Pocket to transport everyone to Transia - where the Scarlet Witch is waiting for them! The Scarlet Witch tells Hank that she has also assembled some more Avengers for him, but he needs to release them - and Hank does so, by shouting ‘Avengers Assemble’. USAgent, the Hulk, Stature and the new Vision suddenly appear. Back in the cavern, Modred’s spell is complete, and his prisoner - Quicksilver - is possessed by Chthon!

Full Summary: 

The remains of Avengers Mansion, New York. Once the home to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it lives on as a meeting place for a new generation of champions - the Young Avengers. The new Vision and Cassie “Stature” Lang descend near the statue of the founding Avengers, as the Vision tells Cassie that it is important. The Vision adds that Wiccan has summoned all of them because he has detected a major mystical threat - on a global level. Cassie replies that she doesn’t know about this, as Billy is new to all that magic-stuff. ‘True’ the new Vision agrees, before pointing out that Wiccan is still one of the Earth’s most powerful mages, so they should not take this lightly. ‘Besides, I have a bad feeling about this. As far as android feelings go’.

The new Vision turns to Cassie and informs her that his communication systems are acting up and that his WiFi is down. Cassie smiles and jokes that she never thought she would be dating somebody with built in WiFi. ‘Do you have an MP3 player in there too?’ she asks. ‘Yes’ the Vision replies. ‘Really? What’ve you downloaded?’ Stature asks, surprised. The Vision tells her that he has downloaded Taylor Swift, Daughtry and Kenny Chesney. ‘They’re my favorites!’ Stature exclaims. ‘Of course. That’s why they’re in there’ the Vision tells her.

The duo walk past statues of numerous deceased Avengers as the new Vision tells Stature that they should not keep the others waiting. Stature motions to a new statue in the garden, to which the Vision explains that, according to his files, the Maria Stark Foundation commissioned the statue from Alicia Masters upon the event of Janet Van Dyne’s death. ‘The Wasp’ Stature whispers as she takes a closer look at the statue, and tells the new Vision that, after her father, the Wasp was the Avenger whom she most looked up to. ‘Since she’s a girl, and a size-changer, I guess I’m sorta following in her footsteps, too…’. Cassie realizes that the Vision has gone quiet and calls out to him by his other name, Jonas, asking him why he is so silent.

‘It’s our friends, Cassie. The Young Avengers’ Jonas replies as he looks at statues of their remaining teammates - Wiccan, Hulkling, Speed, Hawkeye and Patriot. ‘Why would someone put up -?’ Cassie asks, to which Jonas informs her that they are not statues, but their friends have been turned to stone. ‘What? How’s that possible?’ Cassie asks, to which the Vision replies that he doesn’t know, but motions to Speed’s feet, and points out that whatever did this, the effect is spreading. Cassie watches as the strange gray matter sweeps towards them, and she tells Jonas not to just stand there. Jonas replies that with his ability to alter his molecular density, he should be quite safe. ‘Great. Good for you!’ Cassie mutters as she walks away from the gray matter.

The Vision apologizes and tells Cassie that was hardly gallant of him, as he flies towards her. ‘We’ll work on your boyfriend subroutines later!’ Stature replies. ‘Understood’ Jonas replies as he picks Cassie up and they take flight. ‘Did it touch me? I think it got my foot! Is it going all stony?’ Cassie asks. The new Vision tells Cassie to calm down, and states that, according to his sensors, she is not petrified. ‘Not petrified?! I’m totally petrified! Oh, you know what I mean!’ Cassie exclaims, asking Jonas how he can stay so calm. The Vision begins to reply ‘I’m an android. It takes a lot to make me -’ when, suddenly, he goes wide-eyed and gasps ‘No! It’ can’t be. Not her…the SCARLET WITCH has returned!’…

Indeed, the mutant of traumatic power - Wanda Maximoff - hovers above the Young Avengers. There is silence - none of them can or will speak. All the Vision can hear is the echo of old programming, faint screams, made up of zeroes and ones, telling him to run. For Stature, all she hears is the pounding of her heart. Stature is flush with fear - and anger - after all, this is the woman who killed her father. The pounding fills her ears, overwhelms her - and Cassie realizes others can hear it too - a dull roar, growing louder until it’s right on top of them. Powerful beams of energy surround the Scarlet Witch, who gazes into the distance. The Vision and Stature follow her gaze and Jonas gasps ’That’s not possible!’. ’It - it’s over the whole city! Why is she doing this?’ Cassie asks, before, suddenly, all three vanish, leaving behind a horrific image - the city of New York drowning in blood….

Meanwhile, renowned reporter Trish Tilby, long-time ally of the X-Men, braves the horrific events as she reports on the current goings-ons. ‘Blood! We can now confirm that it’s blood!’ Trish announces that rivers of blood are flooding New York in one of the worst natural - or unnatural disasters to hit this city, or any city since the days of the Old Testament. As Trish gazes upon people stranded on rooftops, holding up signs like Bring Water and Help Us!, Trish declares that for those who can hear her, who are still listening, there is something they need to know: ‘The Mighty Avengers are here!’

Hovering above on the red-tinged sky, Iron Patriot, the phoney Spider-Man, the replacement Ms Marvel and Sentry appear. ‘All of you, fan out! Whatever needs to be done - you do it!’ Iron Patriot a.k.a. Norman Osborn orders. Iron Patriot drops down beside Trish and remarks ‘You’re Trish Tilby, from Action Three News, correct?’. ‘Yes, but, you’re the Iron Patriot, shouldn’t you be…’ Trish begins, to which Iron Patriot replies that there is always time to inform the public, to keep them in the loop and to let them know that he has everything under control.

‘But how?’ Trish asks as she informs Iron Patriot that horrifying reports are coming in from all over the world. ‘All of San Francisco is encased in solid amber…the seas over Atlantis are boiling…in Wakanda, pillars of fire are falling from the skies!’. Trish asks Commander Osborne if these are not the signs of the end times, then what are they. Iron Patriot’s faceplate slides backwards as he declares: ‘Listen to me. Trust me. This is Norman Osborn…and I’m telling you, all the people of the world: We’re going to be all right!’. Trish announces that new reports are coming in of a rain of frogs in Alexandria and an outbreak of plague in Milan. ‘And still, Norman Osborn, Director of HAMMER and leader of the Avengers assures us -’.

At the southern border of Kansas, Edwin Jarvis, longtime housekeeper to the classic Avengers, switches off the radio version of Trish’s report as he drives along. ‘Enough. Norman Osborne leading the Avengers? If that’s not a sign that the world’s gone mad…then I don’t know - what? Texas?’ Jarvis exclaims as he crosses over from Kansas into Texas. He brings his old-fashioned car to a screeching half and remarks ‘That can’t be right’ as he checks his GPS. Jarvis sees that it is correct, Oklahoma - where he is supposed to be - is gone. ‘It’s literally been wiped off the map!’. Jarvis realizes that Thor and the land of Asgard have disappeared too. ‘So much for divine intervention’ he mumbles, when suddenly, a godly voice exclaims ‘Edwin Jarvis! What ho?!’

Jarvis looks up and sees a small shuttle-craft: ‘Oh my! Who’s there?’ he calls out, to which a voice responds ‘A friend. In fact, one of the truest friends you’ll ever have!’ Jarvis realizes that it is Hercules. ‘Thank the Gods!’ he exclaims. ‘I’ll be sure to pass that along’ Hercules jokes, before introducing his side-kick, Amadeus Cho to Jarvis: ‘Devoted steward and procurer of fine ales’ Hercules calls Jarvis, and introduces Amadeus Cho as his trusted ally and the seventh smartest mind on Earth. ‘’’sup’ Amadeus replies casually.

Hercules lands his craft near Jarvis’s car as Jarvis tells Amadeus that it is nice to meet him, even given the circumstances. ‘Ah! You mean the chaos cascade’ the handsome Hercules replies. ‘What?’ Jarvis asks. Amadeus explains that it is what he is calling the growing pattern of freak events. Hercules explains to Jarvis that is what they are doing here, as Amadeus has done the math, and if they are going to beat this, they need the Avengers. ‘Not Osborn’s flunkies, the real Avengers!’

Jarvis tells Hercules that he has come too late, and explains that he came looking for Thor as well. ‘Dude, we’re not here for Thor. We’re here because I hacked into your GPS!’ Amadeus announces. ‘My GPS -? You’re here for me?’ Jarvis asks, surprised. Hercules helps Jarvis into the shuttlecraft as Amadeus remarks that he did the math, studied the Avengers, and realized that Jarvis is the constant. ‘But I’m just a humble servant -’ Jarvis begins to reply, to which Hercules laughs, and as the shuttlecraft takes off with the three men inside, Hercules tells Jarvis that without him, there are no Avengers. ‘Far be it from me to argue with a demigod and math. Let’s go!’ Jarvis replies. Amadeus asks where they are going next, to which Jarvis replies ‘North’, remarking that there is only one man he can think of to lead a team of new Avengers!

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the new Captain America - Bucky Barnes - along with Wolverine, the real Ms Marvel, Spider-Man and Ronin - formerly Hawkeye - are battling through a city rapidly overgrowing with weeds. Ms Marvel reports that she and Spider-Man have gotten as many civilians as they can to higher ground, to which Captain America congratulates her on some good work, before telling Wolverine and Ronin to clear as much of this as they can before it blankets the whole town. ‘Whaddya think we’re doing, Barnes?’ Wolverine snaps, as he claws his way through the vines. ‘Years of studying swordplay. And today? I’m a glorified weed-whacker!’ Ronin complains.

Suddenly, the weeds overwhelm Wolverine and Ms Marvel, who cry out as the vines wrap around them. ‘Carol! It’s got Ms Marvel! Logan too!’ Ronin shouts, asking Captain America and Spider-Man what the plan is. ‘Plan? Clint, if I had any kind of plan, I’d be at home instead of fighting this chia-pet from -’ Spider-Man replies, before two vines shove their way through his stomach. Ensnared by the vines himself, Clint asks Cap to tell him he has a plan, when, suddenly, in a blinding flash of light, the Scarlet Witch appears! ‘Captain America is dead!’ the Scarlet Witch booms.

For Clint Barton, there are few sights on Earth that could fill him with more anger, confusion, or heartbreak. Bucky is overwhelmed by the vines, while the Scarlet Witch looks at the situation and remarks that she is too late. ‘Wanda?’ Clint - one of the Scarlet Witch’s oldest and dearest friends - calls out. But the Scarlet Witch vanishes as quickly as she arrived. ‘WANDA!’ Clint screams.

Elsewhere - Toronto, Canada, where swarms of flesh-eating insects are tearing into the populace. Omega Flight - Canada’s official super hero team - are doing what they can to protect the civilians. Sasquatch and the new Guardian bat the insects away, while the handsome Johnny Walker a.k.a. USAgent and Julia “Arachne” Carpenter - both longtime teammates of the Scarlet Witch - gaze upwards as Wanda appears. ‘John Walker. USAgent…you’ll have to do!’ the Scarlet Witch exclaims. ‘Maximoff? What’s going on? Wait! Don’t do this!’ Johnny exclaims as Wanda surrounds him in her magicks. ‘I can’t leave men behind, I can’t…’ Johnny exclaims, before he vanishes.

At that moment, at Stark Aerospace Labs, located just south of Cape Canaveral, and surrounded by a newly-formed ring of active volcanoes. A scientist calls out to Tony “Iron Man” Stark, in the sky above, firing repulsor rays at the volcanoes. ‘Those trenches aren’t seep enough! The lava’s coming over!’ the scientist exclaims. Iron Man begins to reply that he knows what he is doing, before telling the scientist that she is right. ‘Everyone to the test bunker! It’s built to tolerate wash from the rockets. It’ll hold!’ Tony assures them. ‘Wonderful. I lost my extremis tech thanks to the Skrulls. I lost SHIELD to Osborn…I can barely get my own Iron Man suit to function…and now I might lose one of the few plants Zeke Stane didn’t blow up…to volcanoes!’.

Monitoring the other catastrophic events through his communications system, Tony remarks that he would think he was paranoid if stuff like this wasn’t happening everywhere else on Earth too. Stark radios to the bunker and asks if everyone is inside. ‘Yes, we’re all accounted for’ someone replies. ‘Good. Begin ignition on the Star macro boosters’ Iron Man announces. ‘But, sir…there’s no shuttle or vehicle hooked up at the moment!’ someone replies. Iron Man orders them to check again. ‘Mr Stark! You can’t be -’ someone responds, to which Tony tells them to forgo the countdown, as he needs a cold start full burn. ‘NOW’ Iron Man booms as he connects himself to the bunker, seconds before it takes off into the air, leaving behind the erupting volcanoes.

‘That crazy son of a - he’s clear! We have a successful launch!’ one of the scientists exclaims in shock. One of the scientists asks who did a head count, to which another replies ‘I did. Why do you ask?’. ‘Because someone’s still out there!’ the other scientist gasps, motioning to the monitor - which depicts an image of the Scarlet Witch. ‘Impossible! She should be -’ someone begins, only for the Scarlet Witch to mysteriously vanish. ‘She’s gone!’ someone gasps.

Meanwhile, in Canyon de Chelly. One moment it was an arid patch of Arizona desert - the next, the site of the worst snowstorm in the history of man. ‘Stupid snow! Leave Hulk alone!’ grumbles Dr. Robert Banner in his guise of the green-skinned Hulk as he slowly makes his way through the pounding snowstorm. For the savage Hulk, the situation is maddening, for there is no for to lash out, nothing to vent his unending range on. There is simply nothing to do, except be buried under a thousand tons of ice - which is quickly what happens. Moments after the Hulk is buried, the Scarlet Witch appears in the air above. ‘A pity. He would have been useful’ she mumbles.

Suddenly, there is a hollow rumbling, before the mighty Hulk bursts from his ice-prison. ‘HA! You think you can hold Hulk? NOTHING CAN! HULK IS -’ he begins to shout, when he notices the Scarlet Witch, hovering beside him. ‘The strongest one there is’ Wanda finishes his sentence. ‘Hmm. Red lady thinks she’s funny. Go away, red lady!’ the Hulk exclaims. ‘Hulk wants to be left…’ he doesn’t get to finish his sentence, as the Scarlet Witch vanishes, with the Hulk in tow.

Meanwhile, Hercules, Jarvis and Amadeus have arrived in Chicago. Making their way through a mall, Amadeus asks Jarvis if he is sure about this. ‘I hacked into a number of Hank Pym’s files…but none of them said anything about a mall’. Jarvis assures his companions that Doctor Pym’s secret lab is this way, and remarks that this is not a mall, but a Van Dyne Fashion Outlet. ‘Here we are. Right between the big and tall, and the children’s clothing’ Jarvis announces. ‘But of course. Where else would a man who was both Goliath and Ant-Man shop?’ Hercules jokes, referencing two of Hank’s former identities.

‘A utility closet?’ Amadeus asks as Jarvis leads them down a small corridor. ‘You’d be surprised what the Doctor can do with the smallest of spaces’ Jarvis replies. ‘Allow me’ Hercules declares as he knocks on the door and exclaims ‘Pym? Greetings, friend. The Lion of Olympus would have words with you!’. A robotic voice replies that Dr Pym does not wish to be disturbed, and bids Hercules a good day. ‘Of all the impertinent…’ Hercules mutters, before telling Amadeus and Jarvis to stand back, as he prepares to barge the door down. Before he can do so, Jarvis asks if he might try. Hercules steps aside as Jarvis calls out ‘Doctor Pym? This is Edwin Jarvis…we really must talk with you, about some pressing matters!’

The door opens, and the robot - Jocasta - appears, telling Jarvis that it is wonderful to see him again. ‘Come in. I’m sure Dr Pym can spare some time for you’ she tells Jarvis. ‘Jocasta, you ill-mannered robotic wench! You would turn the son of Zeus from your door, but not - not -’ Hercules begins, until he stops himself as he looks around the lab. Seeing a small enclosure containing miniature animals, Hercules exclaims ‘Look at the size of this place’ and asks ‘What transpires here? Did Pym shrink us upon entering?’. Jocasta replies ‘No’ and explains that Dr Pym has been experimenting with shrinking portions of time and space. ‘This entire lab exists in what he calls a Pym Pocket’ Jocasta reveals. ‘Cool. Like the Tardis. Very “Doctor Who”!’ Amadeus exclaims.

‘Jocasta, what did I say about visitors while I’m working?’ Hank Pym asks from his workstation. ‘But it’s Jarvis. How could I turn him away?’ Jocasta asks, smiling as she puts her hands on Jarvis’ shoulders. ‘That’s it. Tomorrow I’m wiping your sentimentality’ Hank remarks, before asking Jarvis what he wants. Jarvis tells his long-time ally that there has come a day, unlike any other, where Earth’s mightiest heroes must unite against a common threat - ‘Stop!’ Hank exclaims, telling Jarvis that the Avengers’ Oath will not work on him. ‘Who do you think wrote it into the Charter?’ Hank asks.

Dressed in a new costume, Hank makes his way down from his mezzanine work station to the laboratory floor, where Hercules, Jocasta, Jarvis and Amadeus are waiting. ‘Now if you don’t mind, I’m in the middle of some extremely important work!’ Hank exclaims, remarking that it could change the very nature of a universe. ‘Not our universe, mind you, but that’s still very impressive’. ‘Doctor Pym, please, I -’ Jarvis begins, before realizing Hank is wearing a new uniform and asks, for the sake of addressing him, which codename he is using to accompany it. ‘A new one. I’m calling myself The Wasp!’ Hank announces.

‘You - you don’t think he’s cross-dressing, do you?’ Hercules asks quietly. ‘Why? There’s nothing inherently female about wasps. There are male wasps’ Jocasta replies. ‘And do they name themselves after dead ex-wives?’ Amadeus asks. Hank motions to Amadeus and asks Hercules who his “Rick Jones” is, referring to the former side-kick of the Hulk. ‘The name’s Amadeus Cho! Seventh smartest person on the planet!’ Amadeus boasts. ‘Really? Well, I’ve been off-planet for a while. You should probably knock yourself down to eighth’ Hank replies. ‘Put it back in your pants. We don’t have time for this!’ Amadeus exclaims, remarking that there is a chaos cascade engulfing Earth.

Hank explains that they are safe here inside his Pym Pocket, to which Amadeus asks ‘How?’, pointing out that the cascade is probably magic, and this is science. ‘Magic trumps science. That’s what magic does!’. ‘No. Magic is just science I haven’t explained yet’ Hank replies. ‘All right. Prove it. Come with us and shut it down’ Amadeus tells Hank, explaining that he has plotted out the cascade’s point of origin, and declares that he is willing to bet that whoever has set it in motion is working inside a safe zone at ground zero. Amadeus declares that getting to ground zero is going to be a real “survival of the fittest” deal, but that some guys are gonna pull it off, which will make them Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - and they are going to need someone to lead them.

‘Impressive’ Hank replies, to which Amadeus asks him if he will do it. ‘No, it’s impressive that you plotted out all that bizarre data’ Hank replies. ‘Consider me piqued’ he adds, before asking Amadeus where his ground zero is. ‘This place in Eastern Europe -’ Amadeus begins, only for Hank to interrupt: ‘Eastern Europe? Let me guess…Transia. Or, more precisely…’

‘…Mount Wundagore!’ Iron Man remarks as he hovers in low Earth orbit, his laboratory stationed nearby, while Tony links up to a soon-to-be-decommissioned Starktech Satellite. Tony gazes down through his monitors and realizes that from this high up away from the interference, it is hard not to see it. ‘Map all of these improbable disasters like one big, apocalyptic weather system…and there she is. Right in the eye of the storm’. Tony decides that since no Avengers are answering his calls, it can mean one of two things - that either he is the only one left standing, or that he really has become the pariah people say he is. Tony decides that, either way, he is going to have to fix this on his own. ‘Wundagore. That’s going to mean magic. Man, I hate magic!’ he exclaims as he makes his way back to Earth.

At that moment, on Mount Wundagore, overlooking Transia, deep inside a cavern, the evolved cow, Bova, chained, she holds a book while crying, as the magician known as Modred hovers in front of her, chanting to the Elder God in the language of the Darkhold. ‘Modred, darling boy, you have to stop. For old Bova. For the sake of us all. End this!’ Bova pleads. ‘Quit your crying, cow-thing. I must have silence!’ Modred snaps back. ‘It is not enough to read your words, my lord. I take them in as part of my flesh - as part of my soul!’ Modred tells the Elder God as he continues to chant the Darkhold.

Bova tells Modred to think of the matron who coddled him, who nursed him back to health. ‘I love you. Think of me and go no further. Please!’ Bova pleads. Modred’s voice changes and he exclaims ‘I am no longer the sage! I am the scripture! No longer the mage, I am the spell! I am Modred no more! Now and forever, I am the Darkhold! The Darkhold is the scripture of the returning lord!’. Standing amongst fallen Knights of Wundagore, Modred hears someone moan. ‘I said silence! In time, you will serve your purpose. Until then, you will mind me!’ Modred casts some energy upon his prisoner, while Bova tells him not to do it again, as the poor dear cannot take anymore. Modred ignores her, ‘Yes, the poor child of Magda. How I envy you…and what’s to come!’ Modred exclaims as he continues to pour the energy upon his victim - who screams!

Back in the Pym Pocket, Hank admits that it all sounds very intriguing, and remarks that he is flattered to be asked, but that he is in the middle of something right now. ‘And really? Me? There has to be someone else out there. Some other super hero!’ he exclaims. Jarvis addresses Hank as “Master Wasp” and informs him that Thor has disappeared, along with Asgard and the state of Oklahoma. Hercules points out that his good friend the Angel and his fellow X-Men are trapped in San Francisco, while Reed Richards and his Fantastic Four are nowhere to be found.

‘Actually, they’re on TV’ Jocasta announces as she switches the television on. ‘Hey, Stretcho! I think I see sumthin’!’ exclaims the Thing. Hercules asks where the Fantastic Four are broadcasting, to which Jocasta explains that they are not broadcasting, they have been reduced to television signals and are on channel four. ‘They’re on every channel four!’ Mister Fantastic taps on the screen: ‘Hello? Can anyone hear me?’ he calls out. ‘That’s enough, Hank! Enough cowering here in your precious Pym Pocket!’ Hercules tells his former teammate, before shoving him against a wall and tells him that it is time to man up. ‘This day calls for leadership!’

Hercules reminds Pym that he is a founding Avenger, and tells him to start acting like one. ‘You feel that way? I’ve read the myths, the stories about you. You’ve led men into battle, Herc! Why don’t you do it?’ Hank asks. ‘Aha! That’s it, isn’t it?’ Hercules exclaims. ‘You’re not afraid of the chaos at all! You’re afraid to lead the Avengers! Say it!’ Hercules declares. ’Yes. It…it was a secret!’ Hank reveals. ’A secret going back to my first days as an Avenger…’.

(shown with flashback images, narrated by Hank Pym)
‘From the moment we all banded together to fight Loki…I wondered, “what am I doing here?” I mean, Iron Man? The Hulk? Thor? How could I literally measure up to them?’ Hank tells his allies, before remarking that at the end of the day, he was the one who stopped the God of Mischief. ‘I came up with the plan. I executed it. And I was the guy who saved the day!’. Hank remarks that is the moment when he realized what he brought to the table. For all of the strength and raw power of the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man, he was Henry Pym, the smartest man in the room - and whether the other men realized it or not, he was their leader.

Hank tells Hercules, Jocasta, Jarvis and Amadeus that, it was in the original Avengers’ first outing as a team that his genius - his Giant-Man serum, that gave them the edge to defeat Doctor Doom, and even Iron Man - Tony Stark’s bodyguard - thought it was clever. ‘I was on a roll’. Hank remarks that it didn’t take long for things to go downhill, as he was not used to his new powers, and therefore he was clumsy and awkward - he would screw up, and Iron Man and Thor would have to pick up his slack.

‘I just wasn’t one of the big guns. I had to accept that, move on…and remind myself of the real reason I was there’ Hank remarks, informing his allies that the very moment he came to terms with that, is when something else happened. ‘I was in the study at Avengers Mansion, collecting my thoughts, and someone entered the room. I don’t know why I shrunk down…I guess I wasn’t in the mood for company. Whatever my reason, Iron Man had no idea I was there’ Hank reveals. ‘No way of knowing how much his next act would crush me. He unmasked. That’s when I learned - years before anyone else - that under that armor, he was Tony Stark…the billionaire genius. The modern renaissance man. Next to him…I was less than nothing. And far from the smartest man in the room…’

‘Oh boo-fricken-hoo. What a load!’ Amadeus exclaims. ‘Hey!’ Hank snaps back, to which Amadeus tells him that it isn’t like he is going to cry himself to sleep because there are six smarter guys ahead of him. ‘Seven’ Hank corrects him. ‘Whatever. And Stark? You really wanna put that jackass on a pedestal?’ Amadeus asks, before asking Hank if, while he was off planet, he knows what Stark did to his friend the Hulk. ‘Shot him into space’ Hank replies. ‘Know what happened next?’ Amadeus asks. ‘He came back madder, stronger’ Hank replies, to which Amadeus mutters that Hank took all of two seconds to figure that out.

Hercules asks Hank if he heard about the Civil War that took place during his absence, to which Hank replies that Stark led one side, and because of his actions, his friends Bill Foster and Steve Rogers died. Jarvis reminds Hank that they were together on the Skrull ship and how they heard stories of how Tony and his friends launched a secret, pre-emptive strikes against the Skrull Empire and lost. ‘It was their captive that gave the Skrulls the tools to invade us’ Jarvis adds, telling Hank that he was locked away, and in that time, the world fell into chaos. ‘Smartest or not, sir, we need you in that room!’ Jarvis exclaims. Hank pauses as he looks at his long-time ally, before exclaiming ‘You win. Let’s go!’

‘Toolbot’ Hank exclaims, and a small device appears on his hand. ‘That just grew out of your hand. What is it?’ Amadeus asks. Hank explains that it is the top nine hundred tools that he uses, shrunk down into the same handle. ‘And thanks to a smart-chip, it always gives me the tool I need’ Hank explains as a key emerges from the handle. Hank puts the key into a door marked “exit” as Hercules exclaims that they have to hurry. ‘The longer we’ve been here, the further the cascade has spread!’. Amadeus announces that he has studied the cascade’s patterns, and that he can chart them a safe course to Transia, but that it is going to be tight. ‘You needn’t worry’ Jocasta assures the young Amadeus, to which Amadeus asks her if she has seen what it outside. ‘One wrong step and we could spontaneously combust, run into evil twins, or who knows what!’

As they step through the exit, Hank explains that what Jocasta means is that the Pym Pockets can link to different points in Space-Time. ‘Transia! We’re in Transia!’ Hercules exclaims. ‘Pym, you built a magic door!’. Amadeus is also impressed as he gazes around and declares ‘All right…eighth. I can live with eighth. Eighth is good!’. Jarvis alerts everyone to their left and remarks that would appear they have been expected. Indeed, the Scarlet Witch, hovering overhead, exclaims ‘Greetings, Avengers!’. The Scarlet Witch remarks that it is good to see them again, to which Hank asks Wanda if this is her doing, if she is the cause of this madness.

‘No’ Wanda replies, telling her former companions that she knows they have questions, but they will have to wait, just as she has waited to see which one of them would come. ‘I’m glad it’s you, Hank. Dark times are coming. And if you let me, I’ll help you be the light that fights through the darkness’ Wanda exclaims, before revealing that she has gathered an army for him - an army of heroes. ‘But I cannot release them. That’s not how it works. You have to summon them!’ Wanda exclaims. ‘What? A spell? Some kind of incantation?’ Hank asks, to which Jarvis suggests that he is thinking too hard. ‘You know the worlds. Go on, say them. Say them at the top of your lungs!’ Jarvis exclaims.

Hank pauses, before shouting ‘AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’…Hank, Hercules, Jocasta, Amadeus, Jarvis and the Scarlet Witch are then joined by USAgent, the Hulk, Stature and the new Vision.

Back in the cavern, Modred declares that powerful magics marshal against them - an army, and a powerful astral form, something he has overlooked. ‘I can feel them. The stone and shale of Wundagore speaks to me. They warn me. The time is now!’. Strange symbols appear on the cavern walls and on Modred’s body as Modred announces that he is the complete tome - every chapter, every verse. ‘The ritual is complete. It has to be!’. ‘Of course, child. If you say so’ Bova replies, holding up the book. ‘I do. And as the living chronicle of my God, I say these words’ and with that, Modred exclaims ‘I summon thee!’

Suddenly, his prisoner moves. ‘Fill this vessel! Claim it as your own! Arise, Maximoff, and walk the Earth once more!’. Modred’s former prisoner races past him: ‘Walk? Ha ha ha! Why walk? When I can RUN!’. The figure resembles that of Quicksilver, only his skin is a pale white and he wears a red costume. ‘And for the record, my dear record…Pietro Maximoff, the one called Quicksilver, is gone! I am CHTHON! And this world, this reality, shall fall before me in the blink of an eye!’

Characters Involved: 

Dr. Hank Pym / The Wasp II, Hercules, Hulk, Iron Man, Jocasta, Quicksilver (all former Avengers)
Edwin Jarvis
Amadeus Cho

Arachne III, Guardian VI, Sasquatch, USAgent (all Omega Flight)

Captain America VII / Bucky Barnes, Ms Marvel, Ronin II / Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all New Avengers)

Hawkeye III, Hulkling, Patriot, Speed, Stature, Vision III, Wiccan (all Young Avengers)

Iron Patriot / Norman Osborn, Ms Marvel III / Moonstone, Sentry, Spider-Man IV / Venom III (all Dark Avengers)

Mr Fantastic, Thing (both Fantastic Four)


Loki (posing as the Scarlet Witch)

Trish Tilby

Stark Employees
Unidentified Knights of Wundagore

In Flashback Illustrations:br
Ant-Man / Giant Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp (all Founding Avengers)

Captain America
Black Goliath

Skrull Impostors of Black Bolt, Iron Man, Jarvis, Mister Fantastic

Story Notes: 

Avengers Mansion was destroyed by the Scarlet Witch in Avengers (1st series) #500-503.

This Vision is the third Vision, a combination of the Vision II (the former Avenger) and Iron Lad (teenage Kang the Conqueror) of the Young Avengers.

The Wasp, one of the founding Avengers, died in Secret Invasion #8.

Stature’s dad is Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man, who died in Avengers (1st series) #500.

This is not the Scarlet Witch, but Loki, posing as her [as revealed in Mighty Avengers #23]. The Scarlet Witch previously went insane after a life of tragic events [Avengers (1st series) #500-503], and after plunging the world into the “House of M”, which resulted in 90% of the world’s mutant population losing their powers [House of M #1-8. House of M: The Day After], she seemingly vanished. Wanda appeared living in Transia, apparently without her memories. [New Avengers #26, X-Men (2nd series) #204 (second story) and Young Avengers Presents #3]

The most well known Vision, long-serving of the Avengers, died in Avengers (1st series) #500.

Captain America - the real Captain America, Steve Rogers - was killed in Captain America (5th series) #25.

Hank’s new codename, the Wasp, is of course a homage to the original Wasp, his late wife. Hank began his career as a super hero using the code-name Ant-Man, and later became Giant Man (his most commonly referred to identity), then Goliath and Yellowjacket. During his West Coast Avengers days he went by Doctor Pym. There have been two others to use the name Ant-Man (Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady), four other Goliaths (Hawkeye, Bill Foster - who also went by Black Goliath -, Eric Josten and Tom Foster), and one other Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara).

Hank’s comment about being off Earth for a while refers to his recent time aboard a Skrull ship while his Skrull doppelganger went about in his place on Earth.

Hercules can call the X-Men’s Angel (Warren) his friend, as they were one third of the short-lived Los Angeles-based team, the Champions [Champions #1-17].

Hercules most recently led the God Squad, including Snowbird, Ajak, Mikaboshi and the God-Eater, in a desperate attempt to destroy the Skrull God. “Sacred Invasion” [Incredible Hercules #117-120]

The original Avengers banded together to fight Loki in Avengers (1st series) #1.

The Civil War took place in Civil War #1-7, among numerous other titles.

Goliath a.k.a. Bill Foster was killed in Civil War #4.

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