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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), David Mack (artist), Jose Villarrubia (color art), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), David Mack (cover artist), Molly Lazer (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
Echo chats with Wolverine in the kitchen. She isn’t as convinced as the others appear to be that any of them are Skrulls. Wolverine doesn’t trust anyone, as the Skrulls appear to have caught them off-guard this time. Echo leaves and heads off to Matt Murdock’s place, arriving to find Daredevil on the roof to greet her. When he asks where she’s been hiding and if she’s still with Luke Cage and the others, she asks him why he sent Captain America to her. She doesn’t find his response satisfactory and senses something is amiss. She draws her sword and asks him who he really is. When Daredevil then transforms into a doppelganger of her, Echo realizes he must be a Skrull. It fires an optic blast when Echo attacks, and they become embroiled in a fight. As the tide begins to turn against Echo, Wolverine appears and teams up with her. He severely injures the Skrull with his claws, but pays for his actions by having it rip his skin off with an optic blast. Not yet defeated, the Skrull teleports and attacks Echo once again, but Wolverine, despite being injured, manages to respond and forces the Skrull to teleport again. Realizing that it cannot defeat the pair of them easily, the Skrull takes off, leaving Wolverine to collapse from his injuries. Later, Echo recovers in the company of Clint Barton. They flirt a little and chat about how he first felt when he became an Avenger, before finally ending up in bed together.
Echo removes her hand from her face and looks back at her reflection in the mirror. A handprint adorns her exotic features. She looks around and notices Wolverine, shirtless, rifling through the fridge. She stares at him, and this doesn’t go unnoticed. “I ain’t a Skrull, Maya,” says Logan. Maya says she never said he was. Logan reckons that she is thinking that he has never once mentioned their past; that she is wondering if he knows about their past. Is that why he hasn’t mentioned it? Is it really him?
He removes a meal from the fridge and tells her that he hasn’t mentioned it because he’s a gentleman. That’s all. Maya tells him that she’s not as convinced as he that they’re involved in this conspiracy Skrull thing. She thinks they all want to be, so they don’t have to think about what a disaster their lives have become. Logan refutes that. His life is about the same level of disaster as it’s always been.
Maya replies that Captain America is dead and they are hiding. “Yeah, well,” replies Logan. “Skrulls are still comin’.” He’s pretty sure of this. He’s lived a long time and knows some stuff. She asks if he’s just going to sit there and wait for it to happen. Logan snaps open a beer and says that they can’t smell them, they can’t see them and they can’t trust anyone outside their hideout not to be one. When they come, they should be ready.
Echo tells him that she’s going out but, when she turns to leave, he grabs her arm and tells her, just so she knows, that half the reason he hooked up with these guys after Cap went and got himself popped was that he wasn’t going to let them leave her out in Japan to fend for herself. Maya stares at him. “Don’t hit on me, Logan.” Logan is affronted. He never meant that. He was just being nice to her. He’s not going to hit on her. She’ll hit on him. He smiles and adds that there’s nothing he can do about that. It’s his curse. Maya returns his smile.
(soon)Maya hits the rooftops, leaping through the night air on her way to Matt Murdock’s place. When she arrives, crouching on his roof, she finds Daredevil already standing there. He says hi. She stands and replies that she wasn’t sure he was back in America. He asks where she’s been hiding. “On a road you put me on,” she answers. He asks if she’s still with Luke Cage and the others. She says yes. He seems impressed that she is like this whole rebel super hero person now. She’s an Avenger. Maya tells him that she’s with them, but she isn’t certain that it makes her one of them... yet. He then asks if she was looking for him.
Maya tells Matt that she needed to know something. “Why did you send Captain America to me?” Matt replies that Captain America is dead. Maya says yes, and stutters as she ponders her next sentence. “Oh! Oh! You mean before?” he replies. Again she says yeah. Matt tells her that it was the right thing to do. It worked out, right? he asks. Maya pulls her sword from its sheath. “Right?” he asks again. Maya snarls at him, and asks who he is really.
Daredevil doesn’t respond, but slowly begins to change shape. As she watches, he transforms himself into a doppelganger of herself. Her eyes widen in surprise. It’s a Skrull. “You’re just a human girl. Don’t turn this into a situation,” it says. Maya attacks instinctively, but her doppelganger’s eyes begin to glow crimson. “Well, I did warn you,” it says, before unleashing a powerful optic blast at Maya.
Maya leaps to the side, but is hurt by the blast. She falls from the rooftop and onto a fire escape, hitting the metal hard. Her doppelganger informs her that it’s spent too much time studying her. It doesn't want to hurt her any more than is necessary. She should just let what needs to happen, happen. Maya hurls a plant pot at it, and it hits the Skrull in the face, giving her a moment to recover. She clambers back onto the roof and attacks once again with her sword, managing to connect with her assailant’s torso. The Skrull is hurt, but it warns Maya that this isn’t a fight she’s going to win.
Maya asks what it wants. In response, the Skrull fires another optic blast which misses. Maya comes at it once more, but this time the Skrull’s arm turns to flame and it melts her sword, burning Maya’s hand in the process. The Skrull tells her that it has studied her, and it does respect her. She’s pulled herself together from nothing, and it admires that. It asks her to surrender and let this be done. It stretches its flaming hand out. “I really do admire you.” Maya asks if it really does, because it’ll get a kick out of what’s coming next.
The Skrull looks over its shoulder and sees Wolverine leaping at her; his claws extended. He slashes all the way down the Skrull’s body causing a shriek of agony to come from his opponent. The Skrull falls backwards and Wolverine plunges three of his claws into its chest. It extends its own claws in response as it takes on Logan’s appearance and abilities. It then unleashes an optic blast, which takes Wolverine’s skin off.
Maya rushes at the Skrull, who tells her that she doesn’t even know what they’re fighting for. She burns Maya with a wall of flame and then teleports, Nightcrawler-style. It transforms back into its Daredevil appearance and tells her that they are trained to die.
Wolverine’s healing factor begins to kick in, but he can’t communicate with Maya who is facing away from him. The Skrull teleports again, and Maya looks round to see where it went. It appears right behind her, grabbing her neck and it prepares to blast her again. Before her blast materializes, Echo delivers a solid uppercut and the Skrull’s effort is directed skywards. Echo then kicks the alien in the face, but pauses.
The Skrull catches on fast, and it looks around to see a bloody and injured Wolverine leaping at it once again. “No!” it cries as it teleports. It reappears, seriously injured by now, on a chimney stack. Both Wolverine and Echo begin to charge, going in for the kill, but the Skrull exhibits its fire & flight abilities and flames on. It then takes to the air and doesn’t look back.
Wolverine is furious. The Skrull has Cyclops’ eye-blast and Nightcrawler’s teleporting prowess. It also has the Human Torch’s or Firestar’s powers. Maya says it wanted her. Logan agrees. He watches the flames disappear into the night sky, knowing he can’t track ‘damn ‘porters.’
Logan stumbles and Maya grabs hold of him. He asks if she believes him now. She steadies him and asks if he was following her. He replies that he was, luckily for her. Why? He informs her that if he was a Skrull looking to sink its claws into their little team, she’d be the one he would go after. She is the one with the least amount of ties and history. She’s the one he’d grab. Maya can’t believe it was going to kill her and replace her. Logan replies that they were going to switch her out. He was right and she was wrong. She’s welcome. He takes a breather as his healing factor goes to work on his mangled body.
(later)Maya is recovering from the battle, and Clint Barton brings her a hot drink. He jokes that it’s not every day you get to beat the crap out of yourself. He guesses the Skrulls are good for something. He asks if she’s okay. She replies that she doesn’t know what she’s doing there. Clint knows the feeling. When he first joined the Avengers as Hawkeye, he thought about how odd it looked - he and his little arrows next to the real life God of Thunder. He wondered what his exploding arrows could do, that lightning boy with the hair, couldn’t. But then, something happens. You could be on your own, or part of the team, when all of a sudden you are the exact right person for the exact right moment. You take your shot, and all of a sudden you know you’re an Avenger.
Maya says that they should be honest. This isn’t the Avengers. Where Clint was, that’s the Avengers. Clint takes a sip of his drink and agrees... expect that’s what everyone said about the Avengers when he joined them. The press bashed the @#$% out of them, but then one day everyone’s saying that those were the glory days. He adds that it never feels like it, but then all of a sudden you turn around and its tomorrow, and yesterday was the glory days. He grins, and tells her that he thinks he’ll look back on this conversation rather fondly. She looks him in the eyes. “Oh, you do?” He replies that he does.
Maya looks to the floor. Clint says he’s sorry, and asks if she remembers the other day. Maya looks up and asks if he means when she walked in on him in the shower. This isn’t the moment he meant. He meant after the fight with the Hood when he was patching her arm. He wanted to kiss her. Maya tells him that she knows. He asks if she would have minded. “No,” she replies. He asks why, in that case, she didn’t kiss him. “Hey,” she replies. “If you’re going to chicken out…” Clint interjects and asks what she means. She tells him she was right there. He chickened out. Before another word is said, their lips meet and separate. They look dreamily into each other’s eyes before kissing again, passionately.
(later)Clint lies asleep in their shared bed. Maya sits up and looks at him. She raises her fingers to her face and places them against her flesh.
Echo, Ronin, Wolverine (all New Avengers)
This is a Secret Invasion tie-in issue.
Logan and Maya’s history has never previously been explored.
Clint Barton joined the Avengers in Avengers (1st series) #16, along with Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.