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1st Story: Tom DeFalco (writer), Mark Bright (penciler), Jose Marzan (inker), Janet Jackson (colorist)
2nd Story: D G Chichester & Margaret Clark (writers), Lee Weeks (artist), Paul Becton (colorist)
Jack Morelli (letterer), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
A man called Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer has a prediction that the city of Los Angeles is going to sink into the sea, but as he tries to alert newspapers, radio and television stations, they all think he is nuts, and don't take him seriously. Hawkeye is attending the Los Angeles Manufacturers Exposition, where mayoral candidate Johnston is happy to have Hawkeye on hand to protect the valuable Star of Angels which has been placed on a model replica of the city. Some thugs enter the expo, intent on taking the Star of Angels, Hawkeye is kept occupied dealing with several of the thugs, while the leader of the group takes the Star of Angels. Outside, Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer sees that there is a function on at the center, and thinks her needs to warn everyone about the impending doom, tries to tell Johnston, but he thinks he is mad. When Hawkeye sees the leader of the thugs with the Star, he shoots him with an arrow, knocking him into the model city of Los Angeles – which then falls into a large water display. Seymour's prediction came true, but not quite in the way he imagined. The Star is rescued, and the media suddenly take an interest in Seymour, who makes his next prediction – that Johnston will one day become President.
Dr Druid is about to catch a subway train with a friend called Charles to the Letterman Show, where he is supposed to promote his latest book on the occult. But when a mysterious woman emerges from a subway train with a man whom she kills, Druid knows he has to investigate, and races into the tunnels, where he fights goblins, despite his power being weakened by the surrounding iron. He eventually comes to a railway yard where subway trains have been stacked in the form of Stonehenge. He finds the woman, called Stonecutter, about to sacrifice one final victim that would enable her and her goblin followers to move to the upper realm. Druid creates an earthquake, which doesn't manifest thanks to the iron causing trouble with his powers. He fights off the goblins, and stops Stonecutter from sacrificing the old man. When the earthquake finally appears, the trains come crashing down around them. Stonecutter reveals her true appearance of an old hag and escapes into the ground, while Druid wants to go after her, he rescues the old man who was to be sacrificed instead.
The office of Seymour the All-Seeing, 'Oh, no! No! This can't be true! It just isn't possible!' someone remarks from behind closed doors. Checking star-charts, he declares that his calculations are faultless, and that he can no longer deny the truth – the evidence is irrefutable – and the stars never lie. He picks up a telephone and as he dials a number remarks that he hopes he has discovered this in time. 'Good afternoon, you have reached the editorial offices of the Los Angeles Journal. How may I help you?' a receptionist at the Journal asks as she answers her phone. 'Listen closely, young lady! This is Seymour, the All-Seeing Astrologer, and I have some astounding news!' Seymour informs her. He is a middle-aged, bald man in a brown suit, and he informs the woman that according to his calculations the city of Los Angeles will sink into the seat at precisely twelve noon today. He tells her that she must warn the people to evacuate the city. 'Hello? Hello?' he asks as he hears a click, the receptionist hangs up the phone.
Meanwhile, inside a busy convention center: 'Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 1988 Los Angeles Manufacturers Exposition!' a voice announces over a loud speaker, while Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye stands near a model display of the city. A man in a gray suit rushes over to him, 'This is a real pleasure, Hawkeye!' he calls out, adding that he is so thrilled the chairman of the West Coast Avengers could be here on their opening day. 'Especially since the mayor arranged for us to display the priceless Star of Angels atop our scale model of the city!' the man remarks. He looks at the star, which is under a glass dome and tells Hawkeye that he is sure his presence here will guarantee a few thousand extra patrons for the expo. Hawkeye calls him Mr Johnston and tells him that he does not have to pump up his ego, as he knows that the star is the real star today.
Mr Johnston explains that the expo is very important to him career-wise, and that the mayor himself asked him to chair it. He adds that if it is a success, his political future is guaranteed. 'Uh, sure, Johnston, glad to hear it!' Hawkeye replies, before turning to a kid who smiles and hands Hawkeye some paper for his autograph. 'All right, kid, quit clowning around and tell me how to spell “Thadeus”!' Hawkeye tells him.
At that exact moment, outside the exposition center, a group of me have gathered. 'We've got trouble, chief! They've hired Hawkeye to babysit the diamond!' one of them reports. 'No problem! He's the weakest Avenger of all! He needs a real good day to measure up to the Wasp!' He smashes a post with some knuckle-dusters on his fingers, remarking that if you neutralize his arrows, he is nowhere. He adds that their superior weaponry will crush him as easily as that concrete post.
Meanwhile, at a local television station, 'You should have said no to drugs, man!' someone calls out as he and another man throw Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer from the televsion station. 'But you must believe me – the city is in great danger!' Seymour calls back.Back inside, Hawkeye walks around the various stalls and decides that this is not a bad show, with nice exhibits and really well organized. He admits that Johnston does a good job. Clint thinks that even the tourists are acting well-mannered and civilized, so this has the makings of a real fun day. The thugs from outside are gathered nearby and keep watch over Hawkeye. 'Just look at that jerk! Strutting around as if he doesn't have a care in the world!' one of them remarks to the others. 'We'll fix that! Take him out – now!' the leader of the group instructs the others. Suddenly, one of them raises their gun to Hawkeye's back and fires – shooting his quiver that contains his arrows. 'Yahoo! My concussive blast just transformed his arrows into a lifetime supply of toothpicks!' he jokes.
Hawkeye falls to the ground from the force of the blast, and wonders when he will ever learn – relaxing days are for guys who dress in polyester – not the ones in sport costumes! The thugs move in closer to Hawkeye, the one who fired at him warning him to stay down, and then he won't have to splatter his face across the floor. 'No can do, pal! I'd just get bored and fall asleep! Besides, this explosive tipped arrowhead ought to keep you occupied just long enough – for me to regain my footing and see how badly you damaged my stash!' Hawkeye calls out as he tosses the arrowhead into the nozzle of the thug's gun, causing it to explode, and creating a diversion so that Hawkeye can slip away. 'Hey! He's getting away!' one of the thugs shouts.
As he runs to safety, Hawkeye hears the shafts rattling around in the quiver and tells himself that it is a wonder any of them survived intact, as he finds one of them, and fires it at one of the thugs, the arrow wraps a rope around him, restraining him. Clint wonders what to do for an encore, and realizes that it might have to be something drastic, like using his brains for a change, but decides there is no sense in going overboard. 'Look! He's racing onto that giant stereo speaker!' one of the thugs calls out as they see Hawkeye enter the large speaker. Three of them follow Hawkeye into the speaker and one of them tells him that he is trapped, that there is no way he can escape now. 'Give up! We'll hear you if you make s move!' another adds. 'That won't be all you'll hear, buster – thanks to my handy-dandy sonic arrowhead!' Clint thinks to himself, smiling as he holds the sonic arrowhead in his fingers.
Elsewhere, at that very second, Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer walks down a street, and looks up at a clock, which indicates that the time is 11.51. He wonders what he is going to do – he has tried the newspapers, the radio and television stations – but no one believes him. He realizes that there is less than nine minutes remaining, and notices the Exposition Center, crowded with unsuspecting tourists. He tells himself that he has to warn them before it's too late, as they have a right to know about the danger.
Back inside the Exposition Center, loud noise vibrates from the giant speaker, and the civilians inside the center block their ears. Hawkeye thinks to himself that he never thought that being 80% deaf in both ears would be such an advantage at times. He pushes one of the thugs through the speaker, and slams him against a wall. Hawkeye jokes that he will have to remember to reactivate his miniature hearing aids in time to hear the applause of his adoring public. He decides that this clown is out for the count, and he finally finds his tear-gas arrow which he can use on the other thugs – but as he prepares to fire the arrow, it snaps. 'Whoops! I guess it wasn't as firm as I thought!' Clint thinks to himself. Inside the large speaker, one of the thugs tells the other to blast him, not to give Hawkeye time to nock another arrow. 'Get serious, man! The way my luck's been running, I could nock a dozen arrows and still be in hot soup!' Hawkeye remarks as he dodges the blasts from the thugs.
The leader of the thugs decides that he could not have planned this any better, as the idiots he employed will keep Hawkeye busy while he makes off with the Star of Angels. 'Watch the railing, boys!' Hawkeye calls out as he leaps over a railing as three of the thugs pursue him. At that moment, Seymour finds Johnston, the man in charge at the expo and tells him that they have to get people out of here and evacuate the city. 'Huh? Who are you?' Mr Johnston asks. Seymour introduces himself, and claims that the stars have informed him that the city of Los Angeles will sink into the sea at precisely twelve noon. 'Get away from me, you nut!' Johnston mutters, walking away from Seymour, he declares that he has enough problems without listening to a lunatic, as his exposition is in ruins – and so is his political future. 'But the city is on the verge of destruction! The stars never lie!' Seymour exclaims, wide-eyed, neither he nor Johnston apparently seeing someone lift up the dome surrounding the Star of Angels and tasking it.
Suddenly, a blinding light washes through the complex, 'What the -' the thug who took the Star of Angels exclaims, dropping the Star of Angels, while Hawkeye stands on top of a large camera which he used to create the blinding light, 'Smile, fellas! I want to immortalize this special occasion – and don't forget I already warned tou about the railing!' Hawkeye exclaims as one of the thugs falls into the railing. The thug who dropped the Star of Angels wonders how the flash could have blinded him with his sunglasses, while Hawkeye knocks out the other two thugs, telling them that they lock a little busy, he suggests they lie down. But one of them punches Hawkeye, telling him that he must be feeling very proud of himself. 'Well, I'll change that – this glove is lined with lead pellets!' he exclaims, as Hawkeye reels from the impact of the punch.
The thug reaches down to pick up the Star of Angels, next to an exhibit called trhe Living Sea, which contains water in a large tank. He finds the Star, but he needs a few more seconds to recover from the flash. Hawkeye recovers, and punches the other thug, telling him that he has had his turn, now they should see if he can take punishment as well as dish it out. The thug falls over, 'Guess not' Hawkeye remarks, before turning as the remaining thug exclaims 'Heads up, Archer! The game just went into extra innings! As he stands next to the Living Sea exhibit, holding the Star of Angels. The thug tells Hawkeye 'I'm certain I can blow you apart long before you'll ever find an arrow that still works!' as he holds his gun towards Hawkeye, who is feeling his way through his quiver to find an arrow – he knows he only has one chance at this, and quickly fires an arrow, as the thug calls out 'Make your move when you feel luckeeee!' as the arrow strikes him, he falls back into the model display of Los Angeles, causing it to fall into the Living Sea display. Hawkeye declares that luck is for losers, and that winners rely on skill!
Johnston is shocked, 'Oh, no! When he slammed into the table he caused the scale model of the city to... to... I don't believe it! That little guy was right!' Seymour smiles and announces that the city of Los Angeles sank at the stroke of noon, just as he predicted it. 'The stars never lie!' he adds.
A few hours later, Seymour stands before some reporters and camera crew who have gathered, one of them asks him how he knew that was going to happen at the exposition today, while another asks if the sinking of the scale model bodes ill for the real city. 'Any other predictions, Semyour?' a third asks, as a fourth enquires as to whether Madonna and Sean will stay together. 'What about David and Maddie?' one of them asks, as another enquires as to Reed and Sue wil rejoin the Fantastic Four. Seymour holds his hands up, 'Please! Please! You're embarrassing me! I'm a scientist – my predictions require hours of study, concentration, and calculations!' he explains, adding that he will not perform for them like a trained seal and waste his special skills on more celebrity nonsense!
Seymour announces that he has decided to focus all his attentions on politics – on the future of this great nation, and the man who is destined to be their President in the years ahead – Richard Obadiah Johnston! Hawkeye is standing next to Johnston and tells him that it looks like her is picked to be #1 with a bullet. Johnston asks Hawkeye not to mention bullets when talking about the President. Hawkeye tells Johnston that he surprises him, and that he didn't figure him the type to believe in astrology. Johnston tells Hawkeye that he isn't, but that he does believe in backing a winner, and remarks that maybe the little guy can score again. 'At the very least, I may end up the president of a small corporation!' he points out. Hawkeye wishes Johnston the best of luck, and tells him that he is going to need it!
Manhattan, where Dr Anthony Ludgate Druid is down in a subway, a man with a moustache tells him 'You gotta realize how important this is, Anthony... the Letterman Show can be a big push for your new book!' as civilians go about their business in the subway, an announcement over the intercom reports that there is a delay on the number six uptown local. Druid thinks to himself that some New Yorkers consider riding the subways a daily horror – the graffitti, the filth, delays, petty thieves, derelicts of humanity. Druid's companion remarks that occult books don't move like they used to. Druid watches a filthy, grafitti-covered train with broken windows pull up at the station, and he approaches it, thinking to himself that New Yorkers should thank their God every day that they are spared the true horrors that exist, while his companion utters 'Not with Shirley Maclaine doing her... Anthony?'
Druid doesn't answer, instead he stands next to the subway train, 'Ancient Celtic runes covering a New York City subway train? It's earth magic...tapping into the power of the planet similar to my own abilities. But where my powers are used in quest of answers to the unknown, these runes spell out a ritual – of human sacrifice!' Druid thinks to himself as he examines the markings on the subway train. Suddenly, a man stumbles out of the train, begging for help. Druid realizes the man is five steps away from him – five steps to perhaps unravelling the mystery – but five steps foo far, as the man screams 'NO!' as a blast of magical energy strikes him, and from a plume of smoke, a woman appears, holding the remains of the man she declares that the old one belongs to her and her disciples, so they come again. 'Remember – I feel – you are a man – of power! I tell you – do not attempt – your power – against mine!' she screams, before releasing a blinding energy, causing Druid and everyone else in the subway to step back away from her, before she vanishes.
The words chill the air in the wake of her departure, and police officers arrive on scene, keeping the civilians back away from the train and telling them that there is nothing to see here. Druid's companion walks over to him and asks 'Who'd believe it, huh? Good thing there're people here who can handle it'. Druid agrees, and addressing his companion as Charles, remarks that no doubt he would advise against it, but he needs him to convey his apologies to Mr Letterman. 'What are you talking -?' Charles begins to ask as Druid's costume magically appears. 'Where do you -? That show's a national push for your book sales! This is your life!' Charles tells Druid, who begins to run down the subway tunnel, remarking that it is nothing compared to mastering the unknown – that is his life.
The tunnels stretch into the underground, a network of mazes, a warren of darkness, just as the woman was able to sense Druid's power, so too he can sense her mystic energies. But, Druid knows that where his abilities are refined, requiring careful incantations, hers are crude, able to strike at any moment – a danger he needs to be ever mindful of as the iron in these walls plays havoc with the reliability of his own powers. He stops running and rounds a corner, thankful that he can still provide some conveniences, he creates a small glowing ball of light. He looks at the walls and notes that they are rough, hewn walls, chiselled by crude tools – or clawed by monstrous talons. 'Kill!' a strange goblin-like creature cries out as it lunges at Druid, who sees that there are many of the creatures running towards him. 'Kill horrible light!' one of the goblins utters as the light that Druid was holding falls to the ground. 'No – kill man!' another goblin calls out. 'Kill for her – priestess!' a third goblin tells the others. 'Kill for Stonecutter!' another utters, while Druid fends them off, he decides that there are too many to fight, and no time to draw the runes to prepare the chants he would need to repel them.
He only has once chance, and collecting the globe of light that he dropped, he knows he can use the one thing that has always driven back creatures of the night – he casts ther globe into the air, where it sizzles and releases more light, causing the goblins to scream, they turn and rush back into the shadows. Druid picks up the globe of light and thinks to himself that she now has a name, Stonecutter – and a purpose, a Celtic maze of power. He comes across more markings etched into the subway tunnel walls, and knows that a passing train will trigger the spell – transporting a subway full of innocents to... where? Druid tells himself that there is a way to find out, and as his light grows dimmer, he can hear Stonecutter's creatures beginning their approach. He knows that he either lets them take him on their terms, or he confronts them on his own. He levitates several large rocks, and breaking them apart, casts them into the shadows. There is a rumble of motion, a violent lurching from side to side – a fetid gust of wind that tears Druid apart as the darkness closes in around him.
Some New Yorkers believe that traveling the subways is pure torture – but as hellish as the subways have become, even the transit authority never intended for one of their train yards to be used quite this way, as Druid finds himself in a large underground area, where subway cars have been stacked in such a way that they resemble Stonehenge. Goblins are scattered about, and sacrifices are tied to posts. 'I promised – you followed. I – we – waited long! Soon free! The last one – other human fall – under knife!' Stonecutter calls out as she stands near one of the sacrifices. 'Power strong – human no escape – we cut chain to – lower world!' Stonecutter exclaims, raising her dagger, announcing that with this last kill, they will be free to roam and forever rule the upper world!
Druid watches, it is obvious to him what will happen if they succeed in their ritual – but he cannot help but wonder what will happen if they fail – if all the mystic energies held in check by this circle of power were suddenly freed. He wonders what would happen if something were to occur that would disrupt the festivities. He casts a spell, creating a rumbling that startles Stonecutter, causing her to drop her dagger and fall to the ground. She looks over, 'Human of power I gave – warning! Now I take – life!' she exclaims, motioning for her goblins to attack Druid.
The iron in the trainyard has disrupted his power, changing the earthquake into an earth tremor, leaving their circle of power standing – and Stonecutter's creatures out for his blood. He is forced to defend himself with punches, although the ones with weak minds, he can use his abilities on, easily bringing them around to his way of thinking, he controls them, forcing them to punch their fellows. But others are not so easily dispatched, and the run towards Druid, forcing him to rise above the situation, he levitates himself, causing two of the goblins to crash into each other.
Stonecutter leans into her sacrifice, 'Last chance – we free! I loved by – my people!' she calls out, while the sarifice begs for help. Druid realizes that there is still a chance that Stonecutter could succeed, and still a chance for him to find the answers to her questions. 'No!' Druid calls out as he pulls Stonecutter's hand away from the sacrifice. 'Thank God...' the sacrifice utters. 'No...not old one then...but you!' Stonecutter scowls, turning to Druid and raising her dagger towards him. There are several ways for Druid to stop her, but instead, the earthquake he earlier summoned does it for her, as the iron only disrupted the spell for a moment, and now it cuts back in, as the subway cars come crashing down around them, the delicately balanced circle is broken!
For some, the end is quick and painful, as the goblins start to melt, while for others, there is only pain, as Stonecutter gasps 'Failed! No – love for me – so much – work! Still – in – chains!' as her appearance changes from a young woman to a withered, green-skinned hag. She is five steps away from Druid, five steps to perhaps a few more answers – but as he moves towards her, she leaps into a hole in the ground, then the rest of the subway cars begin to topple – to the ground – towards the old man. Druid looks over, and realizes that pursuit must become preservation as he flies over to the old man as more trains collapse around them, until all that remains in the trainyard is dust, shattered subway cars – and a bruised and battered old man.
Druid has saved the old man, and tells him that he has sustained some injuries, a broken leg and sprained some muscles. He levitates the man and explains that it should alleviate some of the discomfort. 'You...you let her get away!' the sacrifice exclaims. 'Yes' Druid replies. 'But why? I'm just an old man' the sacrifice replies. Druid reveals to him that before he was an Avenger, before he knew anything of the occult, he was a doctor, and while his fascination with the unknown can never be sated, he cannot permit a fellow traveler to face life's ultimate unknown before its natural hour. The old man appears to smile.
Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer
Richard Obadiah Johnston
Television station workers
First and only appearance of Seymour the All-Seeing Astrologer.
The reporter asking whether Madonna and Sean will stay together is a reference to Madonna and Sean Penn who divorced in 1989.
The reporter who asks about David and Maddie is referencing the characters played by Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, respectively, in the popular TV series “Moonlighting” which aired on ABC from 1985 – 1989.
The comment about Sue and Reed rejoining the Fantastic Four is asked because the two quit the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four (1st series) #307, only to join the Avengers in Avengers (1st series) #300, but they left that team after only two missions, between Avengers (1st series) #303 and #304. They would rejoin the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four (1st series) #326.
Only appearance of Stonecutter, who should not be confused with the Exemplar called Stonecutter.