Mighty Avengers (1st series) #27

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
The Unspoken, part 1

Dan Slott (plot), Christos N. Gage (script), Khoi Pham (penciler), Crimelab’s Allen Martinez (inker), John Rauch (colorist), Dave Lanphear (letterer), Jeannie Scaeffer (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Years ago, teenage royal Inhumans - Black Bolt, Medusa, Gorgon and Karnak - overthrew their cousin, the King, angry at him for taking away the slave engine. The King battled the young royals, who eventually overthrew him. The young royal Inhumans took their former King to the icy lands surrounding Attilan, and banished him, with Black Bolt speaking his name one last time. The resulting powerful blast sends the former King, now known as the Unspoken, into the icy waste beneath a mountain. The young royal Inhumans however go unaware that the next day, several Alpha Primitives, who the Unspoken had been kind to, find him, and take him away. Today, USAgent, Quicksilver and Ban-Luck have detected the Unspoken in Tibet. USAgent and Ban-Luck banter for a while, while Quicksilver is shocked at the appearance of the Unspoken, and urges his companions of the potential disaster. Their teammates are being introduced to their new headquarters - the combination of Jocasta and Salvation Two - Infinite Avengers Mansion - an appropriately named complex with doors leading to almost any location imaginable. Jocasta explains the transformation she has gone through, while Stature panics when she sees the Scarlet Witch - still unaware of course that it is really Loki. Back in China, USAgent, Quicksilver and Ban-Luck watch as the People’s Defense Force arrive to deal with the Unspoken - only for the Unspoken to wipe them out in a single blow - which causes USAgent to realize that they need every Avenger they can get.

Full Summary: 

(Flashback, years ago):
From the proscribed volume of the Royal History of the Inhumans:

You are not reading these words. This tome does not exist. If you are wise, you will close it now, and remember our history as taught by your gestational subcortical culturization. But if your curiosity spurs you on, gird yourself, for you shall learn the saddest chapter in the storied history of a proud people. And understand why it must remain forever unspoken. The Forgotten Reign was not an unhappy one. Our city thrived. King ------ was respected by all. And more than respected - loved. Even the brutish Alpha Primitives, upon whose sweat and toil Attilan is built, adored their monarch in their own simple way.

For though it is their station In life to serve, he treated them with kindness shown by few others, preferring their stoic company to courtiers’ gossip and intrigue. But make no mistake. Loved though its wielder may have been…the incalculable power of ------ was, first and foremost, feared. By all save a few….

Black Bolt! Medusa! Karnak! Gorgon! The four teenage royal Inhumans stride purposefully towards the King’s throne room. ‘Hold, young royals. Where do you think you’re going with such a determined stride?’ one of the guards asks the quartet. The fiery Medusa reveals that Prince Black Bolt demands an audience with his cousin, the King. One of the guards laughs and remarks to his colleague: ‘Do you hear? The stripling, standing barely to the point of my tusks, makes “demands” of King ------’. The other guard remarks ‘And his cousins, just a week removed from their Terrigenesis, seek to intimidate the Palace Guard! The cubs think they are snow leopards!’

The guard tells Lady Medusa to go home. ’Before we take you across our knees and -’ he begins, before Medusa extends her long red hair, and uses it to grab the guard and throw him across the chamber, while asking Gorgon and Karnak to clear a path. The two teenage Inhumans do as Medusa requests, and take down the other guards with ease. Black Bolt stands before the door to the throne room, and Medusa exclaims ‘Where Prince Black Bolt wishes to enter…none may bar the way!’ And with that, Black Bolt slams the door open, startling the Alpha Primitives inside. ‘What effrontery is this? How dare you -’ The King booms, though he does not rise from his throne.

‘No. How dare you? Prince Black Bolt is an heir to the throne!’ Medusa exclaims, interrupting the King. Medusa asks him if he imagined Black Bolt would not find out what he had done with the slave engine. Gorgon adds that it is their birthright, their holiest relic, and that the King had no right to remove it from Attilan. Karnak informs the King that one week ago, the sacred Terrigen Mists granted him the power to find any object’s weakness. Karnak announces that with the slave machine gone, he detects weakness throughout Attilan.

Karnak continues, remarking that they live surrounded by savages, and yet despite their power, the humans far outnumber them. ‘We cannot defend against an all-out attack!’ Karnak exclaims. Karnak adds that Attilan should be a shining capital from which they rule the world, but without the slave engine, it becomes their prison. ‘A great refuge in which we can hide from the outside!’. The King gets up from his throne and exclaims that he is not in the habit of explaining himself to children, but out of respect for their shared bloodline, wants to tell them something: ‘The slave engine bestowed too much power. Far more than any Inhuman…any being should possess. Better it be hidden where none shall ever be tempted to use it!’

‘Prince Black Bolt says the slave engine belongs to all our people. No one man has the right to take it from us!’ Medusa exclaims. ‘Arrogant pups! I am your King!’ the larger Inhuman booms. ‘Black Bolt says…that can change!’ Medusa snaps back. ‘HERESY!’ the King shouts, and power crackles around him. ‘We do not fear you, ------. I know the monumental task of moving the slave engine has taxed even your vast power!’ Karnak remarks, reminding the King that, as he said, it is his gift to detect anything’s weakest point. ‘And today, for our people…that weakness is you!’ Karnak reveals.

Nearby, one of the Inhuman guards gathers his fellows. ‘Form on me! We must -’ he begins, before another tells everyone to hold their positions, as this is a challenge of royal succession. ‘And a foolish one at that. Weakened or not, King ------ is still the most powerful of us all!’ the guard exclaims, remarking that he embodies the ultimate gift of their people. ‘He is living terrigenesis - change itself. This will not last long!’

Gorgon rushes towards the King, fist ready, while the King moves forward, his power trailing behind him, warning the younger Inhumans that their royal blood will not save them from the headman’s axe. ‘Traitors!’ he exclaims, but Gorgon tells the King that he is the traitor for stealing their greatest weapon. ‘I am our greatest weapon!’ the King booms as he slams into Gorgon. ‘Your arrogance will doom us all!’ Medusa shouts at the King, who turns to her and declares that she speaks of arrogance while actually displaying it. ‘Learn humility!’ he shouts as he grabs Medusa’s hair and causes her to scream.

Karnak leaps towards the King, telling him to take any form he wishes, but he will find a way to shatter it. ‘Oh? And how will you shatter…the energy of the cosmos itself?’ the King asks as he blasts Karnak away, before turning to Black Bolt - who uses his strength to grab the King’s arm. ‘You are strong indeed, young prince. But you dare not employ your deadliest weapon - your destructive voice - so close to your comrades. Pity. You might have made a fine king!’ Black Bolt’s cousin admits. ‘If you’d survived’ he adds as a massive blast of power engulfs them both.

Suddenly though, Black Bolt gains the upper hand and smashes the King in the face. ‘No…my power cannot fail now…I am King!’ the King exclaims as Black Bolt smacks him over, knocking his crown off, it bounces along the marble floor. ‘I am…King…’ the King whispers wearily.

The fallen monarch was brought to the inhospitable wastes ringing Attilan’s borders…

‘You went astray, ------. But you ruled us well for a time. You may yet salvage your legacy’ Medusa tells the former King as they, Black Bolt, Gorgon and Karnak stand in the snowy wasteland. Medusa informs the former King that King Black Bolt is prepared to be merciful. ‘Simply tell us where on Earth you’ve hidden the slave engine’ Medusa asks. ‘Never. My legacy be damned. Curse my name for all eternity if you wish!’ the former King retorts angrily. ‘We shall do the opposite. Your name will be spoke only once more…and never again. With its last utterance you are banished!’ Medusa announces.

‘From our hearts, our history, our future…our very existence!’ Medusa exclaims. ‘Speak it, then. I shall face my fate like a king! the former King snarls. Suddenly, Black Bolt opens his mouth - and speaks the former King’s name: ‘------’. With that, the once and former King is knocked backwards off the snow-covered mountain, to the icy wastes below.

Wise Black Bolt knew our people could not recover from what the Unspoken had taken from them. His crime was a wound that could never heal. Therefore, it must cease to exist. So let it be written. So let it be undone.

That next morning, a quartet of Alpha Primitives make their way down the mountain side, and find the Unspoken, lying in the snow. They help him up, and walk off with him into the distance….

The Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China. The quartet of Alpha Primitives walk through a small town, guarding the Unspoken who strides between them, unaware that they are being watched….

‘There. The big guy. He’s definitely the source of your terrigen particle readings’ announces John Walker a.k.a. USAgent. Walker continues, announcing that the instruments confirm he is Inhuman. ‘Which is not good, considering the Inhumans declared war on the US’ Johnny adds. ‘If they form an alliance with China, the geopolitical picture suddenly gets a hell of a lot more dangerous!’. Looking at the Unspoken through a pair of tri-noculars, USAgent remarks that his power level is off the charts, but that he cannot I.D. him. ‘You said the Global Reaction Agency’s files were thorough, Ban-Luck’. Ban-Luck replies ‘As much as they can be, USAgent. The Inhumans have always been a secretive people…’ she points out, remarking that is why she called for Quicksilver, as he lived among them, which makes him their top specialist on the subject. ‘From what I’ve seen of your organization, I’m your top specialist, period!’ Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff replies, standing nearby.

Ban-Luck asks Quicksilver to prove it, and tells him to look through the tri-noculars to see if he can give their quarry a name. Walker folds his arms across his massive chest and tells Ban-Luck that he understands why she chose Quicksilver, but what about him. ‘Was it my military record?’ he asks. ‘Not exactly’ Ban-Luck replies, revealing that she examined Walker’s sealed file, and thought he was cute. ‘You what? We’re professionals! This is life and death stuff and you -’ Walker exclaims, when, suddenly, Quicksilver, staring through the tri-noculars, whispers ‘No -’, before speeding off.

‘Kidding. Relax. I’m having fun with you’ Ban-Luck tells USAgent. ’Missions aren’t fun’ Walker replies. ’I can see yours aren’t’ Ban-Luck tells him as Quicksilver returns. ’This - this is bad. Apocalyptic!’ Pietro announces. ’That’s The Unspoken. If we engage him, we’re dead!’ he exclaims. Ban-Luck sees some leaves in Quicksilver’s hair and remarks that they are native to Indonesia. ’Indonesia?’ USAgent asks. ‘Fight-or-flight instinct. It’s passed. But you must listen to me!’ Quicksilver exclaims, telling Walker and Ban-Luck that if the Unspoken has returned, their only chance - the planet’s only chance - is to call in the Avengers. ‘All of them!’

Meanwhile, one group of Avengers are currently assembled in Hank Pym’s lab: Dr Hank Pym a.k.a. the new Wasp, Hercules and his side-kick Amadeus Cho, Cassie “Stature” Lang, the new Vision - who calls himself Jonas, and the Avengers’ long-time housekeeper, Edwin Jarvis. ‘Um, Uncle Hank…I’m feeling extra blonde over here. You keep talking about our new base, but this looks like the old one to me’. ‘Young Stature speaks for us all, Henry!’ Hercules exclaims, before asking ‘And what of Jocasta? Her voice echoes as if from Olympus - everywhere, yet nowhere’.

Hank motions to a door and tells Hercules that the answers to all his questions are on the other side of it. ‘Uh-huh. Are there Oompa-Loompas in there too?’ Cho asks sarcastically. ‘See for yourself, Amadeus’ Hank smiles, before opening the doors: ‘Welcome, Avengers…to your new headquarters. The Infinitive Avengers Mansion!’. “Infinite” is an appropriate word, as the assemblage gazes at their surroundings in awe: a seemingly never-ending corridor lined with doors and large photographs of former Avengers. Massive columns hold up the next floor, and the floor after that.

Suddenly, Jocasta appears: ‘Hello, everyone. Sorry if I startled you. There was no time to explain!’ the robotic Avenger exclaims. ‘Jocasta?’ Hercules asks as he and everyone admires Jocasta’s new stream-lined physical form. ‘Okay. You’ve got a new body…but I thought you’d become “one with the new headquarters” or something?’ Amadeus remarks, before asking ‘And what’s with the Jane Jetson look?’. Jocasta replies that her new forms were pre-programmed into the Infinite Mansion’s matter replication lattice. ‘Humans experiment with different looks, why not me?’ Jocasta replies. ‘”forms,” plural?’ the new Vision asks.

Hank tells the new Vision to turn his visual and audio receptors to their highest magnification and have a look down the hall. ‘I…see. How many bodies do you have?’ the Vision asks as he sees another Jocasta down the hallway. Jocasta replies that she has one at every mile marker to help anyone who might get lost in the Infinite Avengers Mansion. Jocasta explains that they are inert until she projects her persona into them, and she can only inhabit one at a time. ‘But I’m becoming quite adept…at getting around’ Jocasta smiles, suggesting to the new Vision that he tries it. ‘I’m…still getting used to the body I have, thank you’ Jonas replies nervously. ‘My inventions can unnerve a synthetic man. I’ll take that as a compliment’ Hank smiles.

Cassie increases her form and exclaims ‘This place goes on forever. There must be a million floors!’. Hank looks up at his “niece” and tells her that is only a slight exaggeration. ‘And each level, you’ll notice, has its share of doors’ he adds. Hank opens a door and, revealing what lays beyond it, asks Hercules if it looks familiar. ‘Athens!’ the Olympian exclaims, stroking his beard. ‘Well done, Henry. Perchance, do any of these lead to the clothing optional beaches on Mykonos?’ Hercules asks. ‘If not, I’ll make one that does’ Pym replies, before announcing that all their dimensional doors are working better than before. ‘And there are a lot more of them’ he adds.

Jocasta approaches Jarvis and remarks that he has been awfully quiet. ‘Are you all right?’ she asks. ‘It…it’s so…vast!’ Jarvis replies. ‘It’s self-cleaning’ Jocasta whispers. ‘Thank God!’ Jarvis exclaims, while Stature exclaims ‘Unbelievable!’ and asks how this place even exists. ‘I’m glad you asked’ Hank replies, revealing that his breakthrough came after the Scarlet Witch brought them together. ‘That got me thinking about magic in terms of quantum physics. M-theory - and for some scholars, the ‘M” does indeed stand for “magic” - posits eleven dimensions of Space-Time…numbers of different types of membranes in the various dimensions increase exponentially, so of course…’ Hank remarks, when, suddenly, Stature sees the Scarlet Witch standing on one of the higher levels. ‘So you’re here too, huh? Good!’ Cassie exclaims angrily, while the Scarlet Witch - or rather, Loki posing as the Scarlet Witch - stares back.
Meanwhile, back in China, USAgent is suggesting that they take the Unspoken by surprise, and end this now. ‘You aren’t listening! You have no idea how powerful the Unspoken is!’ Quicksilver exclaims. Ban-Luck, looking through the tri-noculars, tells her companions that it is moot point anyway. ‘The welcoming committee’s arrived!’ she announces as several super beings approach the Unspoken and his Alpha Primitives. The Collective Man asks Radioactive Man to confirm identification, to which the Radioactive Man, formerly of the Thunderbolts, replies ‘Confirmed. The energy of the Inhuman’s terrigen crystals is unique…and his body is suffused with it’ the Radioactive Man replies.

‘Looks like Collective Man, Radioactive Man…is that China Force?’ USAgent asks. ‘I didn’t know there were so many of them!’ he exclaims. Quicksilver tells his teammate that they are called the People’s Defense Force now. ‘If you’d watch something besides American news, you’d -’ Pietro begins, before Ban-Luck tells them both to shush. ‘Imagine those guys backed by an army of Inhumans. We’re talking Red Dawn type scenarios’ USAgent points out. ‘Wait. It doesn’t look like they’re especially happy to see him’ Quicksilver remarks.

Princess of Clouds, Lady of Ten Suns, Scientific Beast, Most Perfect Hero, the Ninth Immortal and the other members of the People’s Defense Force gather behind the Collective Man and Radioactive Man, while the Collective Man addresses the Unspoken as “stranger” and tells him he has been identified as an unauthorized extraterrestrial. ‘Leave China immediately, or face arrest!’ the Collective Man declares. But when he gets no answer, the Collective Man suggests to Radioactive Man that perhaps the stranger does not understand, and asks Radioactive Man to explain in English. ‘Wait. I think he understands!’ Radioactive Man announces as the Unspoken raises his hands… only to unleash a massive amount of energy, knocking the entire People’s Defense Force aside.

‘Son of a -!’ USAgent begins. ‘Shield your eyes!’ Ban-Luck exclaims as a blinding light engulfs the area. USAgent, Quicksilver and Ban-Luck take in what the actions of the Unspoken resulted in: broken land, with the unmoving bodies of the People’s Defense Force scattered around. ‘Oh. Oh my God…he Alpha Flighted ‘em!’ USAgent exclaims, before telling Ban-Luck that Quicksilver is right. ‘Forget just calling Pym’s Avengers. We need Clint Barton’s team, Osborn’s team, Young Avengers, The Initiative…we need every damn Avenger we can get!’.

Characters Involved: 

Hercules, Jocasta, Quicksilver, Stature, USAgent, Vision III, Wasp II (all Mighty Avengers)
Edwin Jarvis
Amadeus Cho

Ban-Luck (Agent of GRAMPA)

Loki (posing as the Scarlet Witch)

Collective Man, Lady of Ten Suns, Most Perfect Hero, Ninth Immortal, Princess of Clouds, Radioactive Man, Scientific Beast and several unnamed others (all People’s Defense Force)

The Unspoken
Alpha Primitives


In Flashback:
Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Medusa (all Inhumans)

The Unspoken
Other Inhumans
Alpha Primitives

Story Notes: 

The Mighty Avengers joined GRAMPA in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #24.

Jocasta merged with Salvation Two to become the Infinite Avengers Mansion in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #26.

Jane Jetson was, of course, the wife of George Jetson in the animated cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera.

China Force first appeared in Alpha Flight (1st series) #69, where several team members, named after signs of the Chinese Zodiac, were operatives of the Chinese government who sought to bring defected Chinese mutant Jade Dragon back to China. After appearing in various issues of Alpha Flight (1st series) China Force faded into comic limbo, before returning in X-Force (1st series) Annual #3, where they teamed up with the Mutant Liberation Front, while battling X-Force and rival Chinese team 3-Peace. That issue marked the original China Force’s final appearance. Between that issue and now, it appears the Chinese government re-organized their super team into the People’s Defense Force. Only Radioactive Man and Collective Man are known, the others make their first appearance this issue. Interestingly, the Collective Man was a member of 3-Peace, who fought against the Chinese government’s team. Notably absent Chinese super humans include Jade Dragon (Alpha Flight ally and 3-Peace member) who has not appeared since X-Force (1st series) Annual #3. His post M-Day status is unknown. Cybermancer, who is involved with War Machine, Silver and Auric (Alpha Flight associates who merged into another being during the “Hero Killers” storyline, and surviving members of the original China Force Snake, Ox and Rat.

USAgent’s term “Alpha Flighted” refers to a situation where an entire team is taken down by a single foe in one foul swoop. This marks the first time the term has been coined, but gets its origins from New Avengers (1st series) #16, in which the uber-powerful Collective (Michael Pointer) took down a team of Alpha Flight members with one powerful blow, killing six of the seven heroes.

The story of the Unspoken doesn’t jibe with other stories told of the Inhumans’ past and Black Bolt’s rise to power. According to writer Dan Slott the Unspoken’s story is apocryphical and the difference to those other stories is deliberate.

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