New Avengers (1st series) #5

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Breakout! - part five

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Finch (Penciler), Danny Miki (Inker), Frank D’Armata (Colorist), RS and COMICRAFT’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), James Taveras (Production), Stephanie Moore and Molly Lazer (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Iron Man takes down the attacking Tyrannosaurus rex, but unfortunately the Quinjet is wrecked. Nearby, Wolverine mistakenly attacks Spider-Woman, which leads to him being stabbed in the throat with his own claws, thanks to Jessica. After Wolverine calms down and heals, he informs the new Avengers that he was there on the trail of Karl Lykos as well; as the Scorcher called the mansion the day before the jailbreak, claiming Savage Land mutates wanted him to bust out Sauron, but he wanted to live the straight life. Wolverine came there after the break and found himself on the run from the mutates. The Avengers are then attacked by mutates and taken down by Vertigo. They awaken and find themselves naked and captives of Brainchild and the Savage Land mutates. Lykos speaks to Captain America about how he was conscripted into the Weapon X program and, after that conversation and an argument between Lykos and Brainchild, the Avengers surmise that the mutates paid off S.H.I.E.L.D. with vibranium in exchange for the chance to get Lykos back. Tony Stark verbally orders his armor to attack and the armor frees the Avengers, who dress and take down the mutates. Lykos, however, is able to drain Wolverine and is about to reveal the purpose for his return to the Savage Land, when surprisingly S.H.I.E.L.D. agents shoot him in the head and move out to kill the Avengers as well.

Full Summary: 

The Tyrannosaurus rex roars in pain, as it causes another explosion in the already wrecked Quinjet. As Spider-Man and Captain America duck for cover, Iron Man yells at the once-thought extinct dinosaur and tells it that a Quinjet’s highly advanced engine doesn’t grow on trees and he isn’t made of money like he used to be. He then punches the beast in the face, but the dinosaur quickly recovers and captures Iron Man in its mouth. As the creature tries to eat him, Spider-Man looks to Captain America for orders, but the star-spangled Avenger tells the web slinger than Iron Man has everything under control.

Iron Man then lets lose a bright and painful blast. As the T-rex falls to the ground, Spider-Man and Captain America jump out of the way to avoid being crushed. Iron Man emerges from the jaws of the mighty beast and takes off his helmet. He smiles and tells the group that this was something he didn’t expect to do today. Captain America smiles back and tells him that they should get the others. Spider-Man looks around and wonders where Spider-Woman and Luke Cage disappeared off to.

In the dense jungle, the confused Spider-Woman wonders why Luke keeps on staring at her strangely. Luke, however, is staring at the menacing adamantium claws ready to strike Jessica Drew from behind. However, Cage suddenly recognizes the claws. Spider-Woman is suddenly aware of her attacker and quickly blasts him in the face with her powers. She then yanks the stunned enemy out of the vegetation and flips him over onto his back, shocking Luke Cage. Spider-Woman, in an angry rage, stabs Wolverine in the throat with his own adamantium claws, much to the disgust of Cage.

Cage comes over and calls out Wolverine’s name. Spider-Woman calms down and realizes her error. Angry, Wolverine curses and throws the woman away. The feral mutant leaps at her and is about to stab her for stabbing him with his own claws. Cage, however, is able to grab onto Wolverine before its too late.

Nearby, the three other Avengers still ponder where their missing comrades are. Suddenly, Wolverine is thrown against the carcass of the dead dinosaur. Spider-Woman tells the three that they are never going to believe this. Wolverine pops his claws back out and then screams that she stabbed him in the throat with his own claws. Spider-Woman prepares for a fight and screams and that she could care less. He is the one who jumped her! As Captain America steps between the two, both continue to argue and accuse of each other of being the wrongdoer. Cage asks Wolverine what he is doing there, to which Wolverine responds with the same question. He tells the heroes to hold on as his throat is still healing. He can barely talk.

Iron Man asks Spider-Woman if she really did that to Wolverine. The woman admits that she didn’t mean to, but Iron Man tells her that her work isn’t too shabby. S.H.I.E.L.D. training, replies Spider-Woman. Cage asks Wolverine why he jumped her. The X-Man explains that he was being tracked and couldn’t take chances. He didn’t expect any of them to be there and he didn’t recognize their scents, because the Savage Land screws with him like that. Cage asks Logan who is following him as Iron Man puts his helmet back on. Iron Man then asks him why he is there. Wolverine asks them if they ever heard of Karl Lykos.

Someone called the X-Mansion yesterday to tell the X-Men that a couple of Savage Land mutates offered him money to get Lykos out of jail. Captain America asks who the caller was, and Wolverine responds that his name was Hudak, whose name is recognized by Spider-Man. Hudak is the Scorcher. Wolverine tells them that the Scorcher has been trying to lay low ever since that incident with Fury and their secret war a little bit ago. Scorcher was scared of being dragged back into the bad guy world and called the X-Men, because the Avengers are no more and S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t easy to contact. When the Raft was broken into it was exactly what Hudak described, so Wolverine went to the one place where he knew Lykos would go.

Iron Man asks Logan where he landed and Wolverine points out to the jungle and informs them that he crashed back there. Captain America ask where the X-Men are, but discovers they are teaching classes, for they have a school to worry about. Cap asks Wolverine if he came here by himself and learns that the man has done it many times before. The truth is that he has been hitting a rough patch lately. There is too much change and not a lot to show for it. He thought the air might have done him good, but there was something fishy about the way this all went down. Cap questions Logan on his meaning, but the X-Man reminds him that he has mutates on his tail that he was evading for six hours, but his stride was broken by “happy pants” over there.

Again, Spider-Woman defends herself and tells him that he put a knife to her throat. Wolverine looks around and tells her it’s the jungle. He wasn’t expecting a bunch of… what are they supposed to be anyway? Spider-Man’s spider-sense goes off as Iron Man’s armor picks something up. Suddenly, a whole group of mutates descend from the trees and surround the Avengers and Wolverine. Spider-Woman questions what the beasts are, and Wolverine tells her that these are the mutates following him. Cage is confused as to what a mutate is, but Spider-Man tells him to Google it when they get back home.

Cage wonders who is in charge, but realizes he doesn’t care and wants to just blast a hole through the attackers. Iron Man finds that his armor is down, and Spider-Man realizes his organic webs aren’t working. Even Spider-Woman’s powers no longer work. Suddenly, Cage becomes extremely tired, as well as the rest of the heroes. All except Captain America fall to sleep and collapse to the ground. Cap combats the attack, as he looks to see Vertigo approaching him. She tells him not to fight and to give in. Captain America tries to resist, but soon falls asleep as well.

Sometime later Captain America wakes up and finds himself hanging by his arms in a circle with his teammates. He suddenly realizes something odd and Peter Parker outright states that what he is seeing is right. They are all butt naked. Fortunately, some sort of green glowing energy ring has been wrapped around their groins, leaving their genitals covered, though Jessica Drew relies solely on her hair to cover her breasts. To the side sits Brainchild on this throne, with this fellow higher ranking mutates with him: Vertigo, Amphibius, Barbarus, Lupo, Whiteout and Worm.

Jessica asks why they couldn’t leave their underwear on. Peter, however, apparently wasn’t wearing any underwear. Confused, Jessica asks him why he wasn’t wearing any. “I chafe,” replies Peter. Jessica looks at him, and then looks to the others and quits the team.

Cage turns to the mutates and asks them what the plan for the afternoon is. Peter agrees and asks if one of them is going to yammer about their big, evil plan. No one says a word. Tony then asks how they got his armor off without setting off any booby traps. Brainchild simply smiles and taps his big head. Annoyed, Peter tells Brainchild to get his head checked, as it looks swollen.

Brainchild welcomes Spider-Man to the Savage Land and tells him that he looks forward to continuing his studies of Peter’s unique physiology. He then tells Stark that he read his papers and that Tony should be proud of the work he has accomplished with his limited abilities. “You ever notice how obnoxious ‘evolved’ people are?” asks Peter. Captain America then demands to speak to Karl Lykos.

On cue, Karl Lykos steps out of the shadows of his dome lair and tells Captain America to speak. Captain America orders Lykos to surrender. As Vertigo comes to Lykos’ side, the villain admits that he most likely won’t do that. He then asks what brings such a motley gang of heroes out here to find him. Cap informs Lykos that forty-four criminals escaped to cover his own escape. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents died along the way. More innocents are in danger and every death is on Lykos’ head. They are there to avenge the wrongs.

Genuinely shocked, Lykos admits that he did not know that forty-four escaped. Brainchild tells Lykos that the criminals are in the surface world, so who cares? They certainly do not care about them. Lykos tells Brainchild that he had to know that the heroes would come after them for it. Actually, replies Brainchild, they were told no one would come. That was part of the deal. It seems that they were lied to again. However, what can they do that they haven’t already done? Rape their land? Enslave Lykos again?

Captain America screams out loud for Lykos to surrender. Annoyed, Lykos asks what will happen after that. Who would they be handing him over to? Did the heroes even bother to figure out why he was locked up in the first place? Does Captain America know what Weapon X is? Wolverine knows. Lykos tells Logan to tell Captain America to explain how his government uses mutants behind his back. Tell Captain America how they send mutants on missions to murder other mutants who might end up being trouble one day, and how the minute a mutant refuses to say no to them they are locked away. “Wah, wah,” replies Wolverine, “Boo-hoo.”

Shocked to hear this from Wolverine, Lykos orders them all killed and their bodies dumped in other territories. If anyone finds out that Brainchild had Captain America and Iron Man like this, well, there is not enough vibranium in the world to buy them out of this. Brainchild argues with Lykos, as there are opportunities there to experiment. Lykos refuses to wait and tells Brainchild to kill the heroes now. He is just giving S.H.I.E.L.D. an excuse to wipe out everything he built there.

Brainchild has no plan for this. Brainchild reasons that they have the technology to turn the heroes into mutates. They can send them to attack the surface world. It will send a message. Not really, replies Lykos. Annoyed, Brainchild tells Lykos that he sounds very ungrateful, especially after all the lengths that the mutates went through to get him back.

While they argue, Tony asks Cap if he has heard enough. Cap acknowledges that he has. Tony then says one word, “assemble.” Peter is confused and tells Tony that they are all there already. Tony tells Peter he wasn’t talking to them. Nearby, Iron Man’s discarded armor turns on and reforms into the Iron Man suit. The computer greets Mr. Stark and transforms into battle mode. Tony then orders the armor to attack Karl Lykos. Brainchild is terrified for the safety of his precious computers, though Lykos yells at him and tells him to look what happens when they let heroes live.

The Iron Man armor then blasts the computers, sending Brainchild flying away. The machines holding up the heroes disengage and the naked men and woman fall. Annoyed at all the trouble she goes through not to be naked all day, Jessica blasts down Vertigo before she can put them asleep.

The Iron Man armor continues to attack Lykos and causes the other mutates to scramble. Tony has the armor standby as the others grab their uniforms and dress. Wolverine asks them if they are a team or something. Cap pulls his cowl down and tells the group that though they are new to this he is asking them to follow his lead. The heroes agree, but Spider-Man thinks they should all get armor. Iron Man asks if he has seven million dollars to pay for it.

Not even commenting, Spider-Man asks what the mutates meant about vibranium and thinking that they wouldn’t get into trouble. Captain America looks at Spider-Woman and announces that they now know why their “friends” at S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t want their help. Spider-Woman asks if they are really going to believe the mutates, but Cage tells them that his philosophy is to assume that everyone is a piece of crap and to be pleasantly surprised when you find one who isn’t. Spider-Woman continues to defend her agency and tells them that they do not make deals with foreign countries, nor do they trade agents’ lives for vibranium. They are a peace keeping force, and this whole Savage Land affair is the opposite of peace keeping. Even if S.H.I.E.L.D. did things like this, the Savage Land is off-limits to all countries.

Spider-Man complains that he tore his booty. Cage stares at him, prompting the web slinger to ask him what is wrong. Cage asks him if he really said booty. What do you call it, asks Spider-Man. A boot, replies Cage. The mutates, however, regroup, with Whiteout and Barbarus in the lead. Spider-Man tells Captain America that he has to say it. Captain America obliges him and calls out the Avengers battle cry, “Avengers Assemble!”

As the Avengers battle the Savage Land mutates, Lykos escapes and runs away. Wolverine, however, spots him and gives chase. Wolverine catches up and tells Lykos that after all the crap he has done in his life, this one is the worst. He then lunges at the man and stabs him in the chest. The Avengers finish off the mutates and are horrified to see that Logan has made contact with Lykos. Before Logan realizes his error, Lykos touches Wolverine’s skin and absorbs his energy. Lykos transforms and bats Wolverine away.

The mighty Sauron takes to the air and tells Wolverine to listen to Captain America. One should never get close to Karl Lykos, even if its to kill him. Wolverine allowed him to take the mutant energies out of his body and now they see him for who he really is: Sauron! Sauron begins to use his powers on the Avengers and tells them that what they are feeling is his hypnotic gaze stopping them from attacking him. He was brought here for a reason. He was brought here for… Suddenly, Sauron is shot in the head and falls to the ground motionless.

The Avengers look to the jungle as a woman walks out and tells her S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that he wants the entire structure cleaned and cleared in ten minutes. She wants no survivors. An agent tells Agent Belova that Captain America is there too, as well as other heroes. Agent Belova tells the soldier that she doesn’t care if Ronald McDonald is there. “No witnesses means no witnesses.”

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman I (Avengers)
Wolverine (X-Men)

Amphibius, Barbarus, Brainchild, Lupo, Sauron, Vertigo II, Whiteout, Worm (Savage Land Mutates)
Various generic mutates

Agent Belova and various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Story Notes: 

Six months after Avengers (1st Series) #503, Electro is hired by a mysterious employer to break Karl Lykos out of the Raft, a prison near New York for super-powered criminals. Already on the island were Matt Murdock and his hired bodyguard, Luke Cage, who were there to meet with the mysterious super-hero, the Sentry, who was in jail by his own decision and for also apparently murdering his wife. Spider-Woman, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., also worked at the Raft when Electro attacked. Soon, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man found themselves at the Raft to help out, and won the impossible battle. Captain America, inspired, asked Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, and Daredevil to join him as the new Avengers, though Daredevil rejected the offer. However, Spider-Woman seems to have a triple allegiance, as not only does she still work for S.H.I.E.L.D., but she also works for a secret employer whom she is reporting back on about the activities of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sauron was in the Weapon X program in Weapon X (2nd Series).

The “secret war” Wolverine refers to was in Secret War #1-5.