New Avengers (2nd series) #7

Issue Date: 
February 2011
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade Von Grawbadger (inker), Laura Martin (color artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters and production), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

As Damage Control arrives to fix up Avengers Mansion, the team has breakfast and Dr. Strange makes his way downstairs. He hates to bother them, but Luke is having none of it. He’s more than earned a place on the team and he’s happy to offer him a position. Strange gratefully accepts. The team’s new liaison, Victoria Hand, gets down to business and hands out some paychecks. Luke isn’t happy with this, believing the team should fly on its own, but the general consensus is that it’s a good thing. Luke’s wife Jessica, for one, could do with the money. Spider-Man is the only one who doesn’t receive one as he hasn’t revealed his identity to the government. Spidey is also unhappy with Victoria, being there, as he believes she’s too close to his nemesis, Norman Osborn, but he accepts her being there after a prolonged argument. The first thing Jessica does with the paycheck is hire a nanny. Several candidates are interviewed in including the runaway Molly Hayes, Tigra, Sepulchre and Mantis, but it’s Squirrel Girl who gets the position. Dr. Strange’s long-time helper Wong arrives to take on housekeeping duties, much to his chagrin.

Full Summary: 

Luke Cage, Jessica and Iron Fist are standing outside Avengers Mansion with Annie from Damage Control. The mansion is in a sorry state and in desperate need of repair. Luke thanks her for coming out, but Annie replies that this is what Damage Control does - clean up the super-powered mess. She adds that they’re the ones who rebuilt Avengers Mansion to start with. She thought the new build would last a little longer.

Luke asks how much it’s going to cost but Danny Rand steps in and says he’ll take care of it. He’s sure his Rand Corporation personal insurance will cover it as he was in personal danger. Annie explains that Steve Rogers said to bill him. Luke isn’t comfortable with that at all. The point of all this was that they do this on their own. They don’t need Captain Awesome picking up the check every time they need his help. Annie tells him this is probably going to cost a quarter million dollars. Luke is speechless. Jessica grins and reckons that this is when Luke Cage gets off his high horse.

Annie writes something on her note pad and smiles. “Look at you, Luke Cage. All married with a kid.” Jessica asks if they know each other. “Ask him,” replies Annie. This time it’s Jessica who is speechless. Annie tells him that if this domestication doesn’t work out, he should give her a call. Danny’s and Jessica’s faces are a picture and Luke doesn’t know which way to turn.

Dr. Strange gets out of bed and wanders downstairs. He finds the Avengers sitting around the table eating breakfast. With them is their new liaison, Victoria Hand. He doesn’t wish to interrupt, Strange interjects, he just wishes to thank them for all their help and he’s sorry his world intruded upon theirs yet again. Luke puts his hand on his shoulder and asks where he thinks he’s going. Strange replies that he must start his studies again and find a way to reach out to the other mystic students in this dimension.

Luke asks him where he’s going to live. He admits that he has a lot to figure out. Iron Fist asks why he doesn’t become an Avenger and let them help him get on his feet again. Strange says that’s all right. He’s been in this position before. Luke asks if, in all those books of his and after all the learning he’s done, did any of them happen to mention anything about being man enough to come to your friends for help when you need it? “Especially a big pile of friends who came to you when they needed help,” adds Wolverine. Spidey points out that he was also over-the top generous enough to let them hide in his house. “And let them eat your food and turn your life upside down,” adds Ms. Marvel.

Dr. Strange appreciates the comments, but has Luke heard that the brother of Doctor Voodoo declared that he would seek vengeance on him. As long as this is a genuine concern, don’t they think it would be irresponsible for him to live in the house with his wife and child? Luke turns to the others and raises his arm. He asks the rest to raise their hands if any of them have ever had the bad guy threaten all holy hell on them before he died, went to jail, disappeared, vanished or just in general felt like lipping off. Everyone raises their hand. He then asks them to raise their hand if they can think of at least ten times that has happened to them in the last calendar year. He tells Strange that they need him and he needs them so it’s Dr. Strange, the magic Avenger. Spidey likes that. Strange closes his eyes and sighs that it’s been so hard, and Luke puts his arm around his shoulder and introduces their newest recruit, Dr. Strange, the magic Avenger. Strange asks him not to please call him that.

Victoria Hand takes over the meeting and tells them she wasn’t there for their first meeting and doesn’t know what occurred. Carol Danvers explains that they left it just when they were about to figure out how all this is going to work and then the crazy magic-dimensional invasion attack thing happened. Luke adds that they were just settling on who was going to be on the team. Spidey puts his hand up and tells Victoria that he has a question. Who is she? She explains that she is Victoria Hand. She was asked by Commander Rogers to come there and help them in any way in order for them to make the world a better place. Spidey rubs his chin and asks why she looks familiar. She replies, cautiously, that she used to work for Norman Osborn.

Spidey turns away and says that’s what he thought. He thanks everyone for the dimensional invasion and the awkward emotional moments, but he guesses he’s done with this side of the Avengers franchise. Danny asks what the problem is. Spidey tells him the problem is Norman Osborn. Luke assures him it’s okay, but Spidey says it’s really not okay. Luke, playing with baby Danielle, informs him that Captain America vouches for her, but Spidey points at Wolverine and reminds him that Captain America vouches for him!

Victoria assures them that they all want the same thing. They want the world to be better than it is, but it was Captain America’s point of view that having someone with a different point of view to their own might be beneficial with the decision making process. Spidey isn’t very happy at all, but Victoria tells him that on his better days, Osborn had a vision for the world very similar to theirs. If Spider-Man sat and thought about it for two seconds it would probably scare the pants off him. She and Spider-Man argue a little longer before Victoria states that Norman Osborn is in jail. He broke the law and he is being punished. She hopes the Amazing Spider-Man lives up to reputation and is able to perceive both Osborn and herself as more complicated individuals than just garbage. She thinks Captain America’s point in having here there was so they could have someone they could disagree with but at the same time, respect them.

Luke reiterates that Captain America vouches for her. That’s got to be enough for now. Victoria thanks him, but Luke tells her to thank Cap. He’s still on the fence. Jessica adds that she’s not. Victoria says thank you, but Spidey says they can at least see his point, right? Spidey now feels awkward. He was going to leave full of righteous indignation, but now he doesn’t want to, and to just sit down feels a little embarrassing. Ms. Marvel sips her tea and asks him to go ahead. No one was listening anyway. Spidey takes a seat and thanks her.

Victoria cracks on with business. She hands out their first paychecks. Ms. Marvel and the Thing are pleased, but Luke is furious. He reckons this wasn’t the deal. They’re not on anyone’s payroll. Jessica disagrees and takes his off him. Danny backs Luke and explains that they agreed, in principal, that this team would fly on its own. Victoria is a little confused. They’re going to be the Avengers but they don’t want to be paid? Luke replies that if they’re being paid, then, by definition they’re being forced to answer to someone. He doesn’t want to answer to anyone but himself. Jessica whispers that they should talk about this privately, but Luke wants to speak about it now.

Jessica snaps at Luke. She tells him that first of all it’s not up to him whether the others get a paycheck or not. Also, it’s not fair of him to assume that everyone in this room has to live by his code. Secondly, wasn’t he part of a company called Heroes for Hire? Didn’t he invent the idea of someone being paid to be a super hero? His client is now Captain @%&*$% America. What’s the difference? “Good point,” asks Wolverine as he tucks into some lobster. Thirdly, adds Jessica, she was going to have a conversation with him about her going back to work as a private investigator because between the Civil War, the Skrulls, the Hood and all the other things, they don’t have any more money!

She lowers her voice and informs him that all the time they were hiding from the law, they weren’t making any money or paying insurance. Now they have a baby which needs food and diapers and toys and, holy lord, a nanny. If they don’t get some help she’s going to go *&%@£ in-sane. So, she continues, if he doesn’t want to take the money, she’ll take it for him and she’s going to hire a nanny and buy them some clean clothes. Luke admits that they should probably have had this conversation in private. “She did tell you,” grins Danny. Luke reckons in that case, they’re getting paid then.

Ben Grimm says it’s better than his Fantastic Four pay, which surprises Mockingbird. Victoria Hand informs them that Steve Rogers made it clear that nothing is going to be asked of them that wasn’t already agreed to. He said there is a budget for the Avengers that he was unaware of when last they spoke. He didn’t want them to worry financially. Spidey raises his hand and tells her he that didn’t get one. Victoria informs him that because they don’t know his real identity, the government can’t pay him a salary. Spidey sighs. This is just typical him. Spidey admits that he isn’t ready to take his mask off in front of Norman Osborn’s best friend.

Victoria moves on and says they have a budget for some house help. Jessica reckons that would be okay, and Dr. Strange lets them know that he might be able to help with that. Luke assures him he doesn’t have to clean their house for them, but Strange smiles. “I mean… I know someone.” Jessica reminds Luke that they need a nanny, and if this week’s been anything to go by, they need a super-powered nanny. Does anyone know anybody who is looking for anything remotely like that? Logan stands up and jokingly mumbles. “Okay, ‘I’ll do it.” Jessica reckons it’s time to go headhunting.

A long list of possible nannies are interviewed for the job. They include Hellcat who doesn’t like babies per se, Firebird who sometimes loses control of fire, Mantis, D-Man, X-51and Echo. Molly Hayes is underage, Deadpool, Sepulchre, Stature and She-Hulk. Only one person appears to fit the bill.

As Damage Control fix up the building, Squirrel Girl is interviewed. Jessica finds her by far the most interesting candidate. Doreen finds it exciting to be in Avengers Mansion. Luke thought she used to be an Avenger, but she admits that she was in the Great Lakes Avengers. “That was a real thing?” asks Jessica. Doreen tells them that she finds it amazing what they’re trying to do. Being Avengers, being married, having a baby. It’s amazing. Whether or not she gets the job, it was truly awesome to meet them both. She’s been a fan a long time. Jessica thanks her for that and asks if she has any more questions. Doreen has just one. “Can I hold her?”

She takes hold of Danielle and gushes that she’s gorgeous. Jessica asks her if her tail is actually attached. Doreen tells her it is, but she’s in total control of it. Jessica turns to Luke and asks what he says. “If you’re happy, I’m happy,” he replies. “D-Man it is.” Jessica turns to Squirrel Girl and informs her that she’s hired and welcomes her to Avengers Mansion.

Doreen looks over to the archway and sees Ms. Marvel, Wolverine and Dr. Strange walking past. She tells Wolverine he looks well and he asks what she’s doing there. She explains that she’s working there now. Logan reminds her that they agreed never to see each other again. Doreen asks if he’s on the team. “I am,” replies Logan. “Oh,” she sighs. She then tells him she hopes they can agree to be professional. Logan replies of course. Doreen admits that he looks good, and Wolverine reciprocates. Jessica, sensing a moment, asks if she can have her baby.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Wong, Dr. Strange’s assistant. Strange welcomes him warmly and Wong quips that when he dedicated himself to Dr. Strange as Sorcerer Supreme, he closed his eyes and prayed that one day he would grow up to be a second-rate Jarvis for a second-rate pile of Avengers. As he walks away to his new quarters, he warns them that, once he gets it up, if anyone touches his kitchen he’ll burn it to the ground. “Anyone else feel some tears coming on?” asks Spidey. “You people are insane,” replies Victoria Hand. “Every single one of you.”

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Jewel, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Thing and Wolverine (all Avengers)
Victoria Hand
Danielle Cage

Damage Control including Lennie Ballinger, Robin Chapel Albert Cleary, Ann Marie Hoag and John Porter

Deadpool, Devlor, D-Man, Echo, Firebird, Groot, Molly Hayes, Hellcat, Machine Man, Madame Web, Mantis, Nighthawk, Sepulchre, Sersi, She-Hulk, Beverley Switzer, Squirrel Girl, Stature, Tigra, Trapster, Ultra Girl, U.S. Archer (all potential nannies)

Story Notes: 

Squirrel Girl (Doreen Green) debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes (2nd series) #8 back in 1992. She was a member of the Great Lakes Avengers, later known as the lightning Rods, the Great Lakes X-Men, the Great Lakes Champions and the Great Lakes Initiative.

Jessica acted as a private investigator throughout two series, Alias and The Pulse, running her own one-woman company.

Written By: