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1st Story: Tom DeFalco (plotter), Ralph Macchio (scripter), Ron Lim (penciler), Jose Marzan (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Andy Yanchus (colorist)
2nd Story: Howard Mackie (writer), Amanda Connor (penciler), Steve Drake (inker), Ken Lopez (letterer), Paul Becton (colorist), Dick Hodgins III (background help)
Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Abomination is about to be transferred to the Vault, but escapes the guards, and heads off to seek revenge on those who have embarrassed him, starting with Wonder Man. At Avengers West Coast Compound, Hawkeye is all by himself, thinking about his separation from Mockingbird due to their differing ideals about whether special circumstances should allow Avengers to kill. Abomination arrives, and Hawkeye confronts him, using every trick arrow he can to try and slow Abomination down, eventually leading Abomination into his games room, where he thinks he will be able to defeat the behemoth with an adamantium arrow. Abomination uses his telepathic powers to look into Hawkeye's mind, where he discovers that Hawkeye has a desire to kill him – but Hawkeye fires the arrow at Abomination's feet. Abomination thinks that Hawkeye is weak, but as he grabs the arrow, it releases a surge of energy which knocks him out. Hawkeye is relieved to have taken Abomination out, and wonders about the desire within him to kill – deciding that is what separates man from bestial desires, is the ability to control urges and not act on them. He thinks that Mockingbird will learn that someday, too.
Fixer breaks Yellowjacket out of prison – but he has ulterior motives as he is attracted to her and takes her back to his home, where he makes a pass at her. Yellowjacket clearly isn't interested, and flies away, with other things on her mind – like revenge against the Wasp. But when Yellowjacket stakes the Wasp's home out, she is impressed when a handsome man arrives, unaware that it is Black Knight. Black Knight has come to tell Wasp that he wants the two of them to be more than friends, but the Wasp rejects his offer. Black Knight leaves, embarrassed, and goes to the Avengers Mansion site, where he laments his situation, unaware that Yellowjacket had followed him and is watching him, and eventually realizes who he is. The Fixer arrives though, after putting a tracer on Yellowjacket's helmet, he opens fire on the Black Knight, knocking him into a pit within the Avengers Mansion site. Yellowjacket starts firing at the Fixer, whose blasts endanger some nearby civilians. A girl is knocked into a pit, but Yellowjacket saves her. Black Knight sees this, and realizes Yellowjacket may not be the villain she originally appeared to be. He comes to her defense when Fixer knocks her out and attempts to put a mind control device on her. Fixer opens fire again, but the Black Knight blocks the attack with his Ebony Blade. Yellowjacket wakes, and knocks Fixer out with a punch, but an autopilot in his armor carries him away. Black Knight asks Yellowjacket if she wants to get a drink sometime, and she kisses him, before explaining that she is a wanted woman, she takes flight, planning to look the Black Knight up some time.
'RAAGGHH!' the being known as the Abomination roars as he tears the shackles that bind his hands within a special federal security compound near the Rocky Mountains. 'Hit the dirt! He must have been playing possum before we could secure those manacles!' a guard shouts as he drops to the ground, while other guards look around, confused. 'Fools! In your rush to transport me to the Vault you became careless – sloppy! And thus, I escape! Nothing forged by twentieth century surfacemen can hope to contain the Abomination!' the behemoth boasts as he tears the ground up, knocking the transport vehicle over. The Abomination warns the guards that this is the smallest example of what he will do to their world, and asks them if they see the unchallengable might that they are up against. 'DO YOU?' he shouts.
The Abomination then leaps into the air, he thinks to himself that it is strange, that the man who originally became the Abomination has been separated from this body, and now, it is another's mind which inhabits this green shell – the mind of Tyrannus. He reminds himself that when he abandoned his physical form and became one with the legendary flame of life which would have given him supreme power, the accursed interfered, and his disembodied consciousness was hurled into space until the atoms of the disintegrated Abomination entity passed him by. He remembers merging his consciousness with the floating atoms of the Abomination, and willed the now-reformed body back to Earth, again encountering the Hulk, and then that strutting buffoon – the Avenger that calls himself Wonder Man. Abomination decides that the brutish Hulk can wait, for he first desires revenge on this creature who dared mock him, then defeat him in combat as he rampaged through Los Angeles. 'Wonder Man – your life is mine!' Abomination exclaims to himself.
The West Coast Avengers Compound, home of the most famous fighting team west of New York, where two of the staff, Lita and Carlos are discussing Hawkeye. Lita tells Carlos that she feels so bad for Hawkeye, as since the break up with his wife, Mockingbird, he has been so quiet, so morose, so unlike himself. She wishes there was something they could do. Carlos agrees, but reminds Lita that they are merely servants here, and Hawkeye has given them the day off so that he may be off alone. Carlos suggests that perhaps they may be helping him by doing just that – leaving.
Inside his darkened bungalow, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye sits on the edge of his bed and looks at a photo of he and his wife, Bobbi Morse-Barton and thinks to himself that they had so much going for them – so how did it get fouled up. He wonders how this could happen to him – an orphaned kid who joined a carnival and became the world's great archer – the stuff dreams are made of. 'Yeah, dreams...and what does that all mean now that my wife...my love is gone?' Clint asks himself. He reminds himself that they split over differing philosophies, as she felt that under certain circumstances, Avengers should be allowed to kill. 'Well, lady – I just don't buy that. We're the good guys...and we don't kill. Nothing can change that principle! Not even out break-up!' Hawkeye decides.
Outside, just within the Compound walls, Abomination lands on the front lawn, and thinks that his body is the result of a gamma radiation blast that struck a Russian spy, transforming him, but since his bodily separation from Abomination, it is the mind and will of Tyrannus that now commands it. Suddenly, guns rise up from the ground, and start firing at Abomination. 'Eh? Defensive mechanisms' Abomination wonders, before boasting that the puny devices were not intended to halt an intruder such as him – and he slams a fist down on them, destroying them.
Back in his bungalow, Clint hears a noise – the sound of something be trashed out front. 'Gotta be kidding me! Just when I wanted to be left alone!' he mutters to himself, before picking up his bow and arrow and trudging out into a corridor, he knows that duty calls, and no matter how bad he feels, it is time to go to work. 'That's what being an Avenger is al about! And I used to call Cap a corn-ball! Times change' Clint thinks to himself, while outside, Abomination is surprised as large metal coils rise up from the ground and ensnare him. Abomination begins tearing at the coils, while calling out to Wonder Man, announcing that there is an unfinished affair between them. 'You choose to mock one who strode this world fifteen centuries before your birth! And the penalty for such effrontery is – DEATH!' he booms.
Suddenly, Abomination cries out in agony, as an arrow strikes his head. He turns to the doorway to the building nearby and sees Hawkeye, who tells him that Wonder Man isn't here, he's off making a commercial. Hawkeye jokes that they gave at the office, and tells Abomination to beat it. 'You have sealed your fate as well' Abomination remarks, causing Hawkeye to spin and re-enter the building, slamming the door behind him, he wonders how he gets out of this one – as that was his best explosive-tip arrow. 'Cease your flight, bowman! There is nowhere to hide!' Abomination roars as he bursts through the doorway. Hawkeye turns and fires a sonic arrow at Abomination, hoping the high frequency will disturb him. Abomination drops to his knees and clutches his head, while Hawkeye realizes he better lead Abomination outside before he demolishes the place, but knows that the only chance to defeat him is in the work room.
Hawkeye runs down some stairs, knowing he has to keep Abomination off balanced. Abomination lumbers after Hawkeye, who turns around and fires a flare arrow at Abomination, striking him, and blinding him. Unable to see, Abomination doesn't notice the bolo-whip type arrow that is fired at him and wraps around his ankles – causing him to topple over and fall down the steps. Hawkeye tells him to keep pouring it on, use every trick in the quiver – including the putty arrow which he shoots at Abomination, it lands on his face, covering it in sticky putty. Hawkeye races on down the corridor, determined to stay ahead of Abomination, he wants to get more distance between them, before he turns back and prepares to fire a rocket arrow filled with knockout gas – but Abomination rounds the corner and slams his fist into the wall, sending some debris into the air, Hawkeye can't fire the arrow until the fragments drop, as he can't risk his aim being spoiled – he wants to get the beasty boy right between the eyes.
Hawkeye fires the arrow, and it indeed strikes Abomination between his eyes, releasing the gas – but Hawkeye notices Abomination hold his breath while the gas dissipates. 'How come such an ugly dude is so smart?' Clint wonders, deciding that since that didn't work, he will have to bring up thje heavy artillery, and shouts at Abomination: 'Yooo-hoo! Egg-crate head – wanna rent yourself out as a target?' Hawkeye asks. He then opens a door and beckons Abomination to follow him: 'C'mon! Let's see what's behind door number one! A new face, maybe? Some lingerie for the discriminating monster? Moustache wax?' Hawkeye jokes as he enters his work room, and starts picking up various arrows. Clint knows that he has got the Abomination steamed, so it is time for his ace in the hole – the adamantium-tipped arrow, the strongest metal ever created, complete invulnerable. Hawkeye saved this arrow in case they ever ran into their ol' buddy, Ultron, because his hide is adamantium, too, and a projectile of the same substance is the only thing that might penetrate his casing.
Hawkeye lines the arrow up on his bow, and thinks that the adamantium tip is definitely strong enough to pierce the skin of tall, green and gruesome, who arrives at the door to the room, punching it down. 'You have not exhausted the ineffectual tricks in your quiver? What possible effect can one more arrow have?' Abomination enquires. Hawkeye informs Abomination that this one is made of Adamantium, that it can pierce anything – he saves it for special occasions. Hawkeye warns Abomination to take one more step and then he will get it right through the heart. Abomination grins at Hawkeye, as he telepathically communicates with him: 'You lie, Avenger. I retain the telepathic powers I acquired when I was one with the flame of life' Abomination explains, revealing that he probes into the center of Hawkeye's mind and senses that Hawkeye has no desire to kill. 'You are weak! Weak! WEAK!' Abomination exclaims, before going wide-eyed as he digs deeper, and learns that Hawkeye does desire his death.
'Beneath the heroic exterior – at the core of your reptilian brain – there is only the predator's lust for the kill!' Abomination realizes. Hawkeye frowns and wonders if Mockingbird was right – maybe in this business there are times when circumstances dictate the death of an enemy – when your cherished principals must be violated. Clint wonders what value are principals if they don't hold up under the supreme test. 'What use is an Avenger's oath if it's disregarded for any reason?' Clint asks himself. Hawkeye then fires an arrow which strikes the floor under where Abomination is standing. 'What? I misjudged you! But I was so certain -' Abomination begins, before grinning as he tells Hawkeye that he is a fool for not having seized the advantage. 'Now the arrow that might have served as my demise... shall instead be plunged through your chest!' But as Abomination grabs the arrow, he cries out in agony as an electrical current courses from the arrow through his body.
Abomination drops to the floor, and Hawkeye remarks that he is sorry, guess he forgot to tell him that arrow wasn't simply designed to penetrate Ultron, but also to release a huge electrical discharge inside him – instant short circuit. Hawkeye adds that he set the control the feather-tip to stun not kill. 'So just hang around while I contact the boys at the Vault' Hawkeye adds. Hawkeye remarks that he can only guess what Abomination saw inside him with his telepathic probe, and walks out of the room, knowing that deep down, he is sure Abomination hit some instinctive impulse to kill whatever threatens him – but there is not a living creature that doesn't have that impulse – it is what makes them animals. Hawkeye believes that if you temper that impulse – restrain those urges – do only what is necessary to stop an enemy – then you become a man. And when that impulse dominates your life, then you become an Avenger. He knows that now, and someday, he thinks Mockingbird will see that, too.
The outer wall of a United States federal prison, a large hole is in the wall, which the Fixer has broken down, and opens fire on some guards. 'Quickly, Yellowjacket! I can't hold these guards off forever!' Fixer exclaims to Rita DeMara the second Yellowjacket, whom he has just rescued from prison. Yellowjacket fires a blast of energy at the guards as she finishes putting her costume on. She tells Fixer that she I nearly there, just needs a few seconds to finish putting on her costume which he so thoughtfully brought her. 'Allow me to provide one final distraction to assist you, my dear!' Fixer exclaims as he throws a bomb at the guards, knocking them backwards. 'Finished, at last! Now I can do one of the things I do best – get small!' Yellowjacket declares as she puts her helmet on over her head, and shrinks down to her smaller size, and takes flight alongside the Fixer, who is propelled upwards by his costume, he tells Yellowjacket that he has a place to stay not too far away from her. Guards continue to fire at the former Masters of Evil, but they miss, and Yellowjacket tells Fixer not to get too forward. 'You pick me up and right away you want to take me home. Not that I'm complaining, mind you' she adds.
Half an hour later:'Home at last!' Fixer exclaims as he and Yellowjacket stand before a run-down old warehouse. 'I've heard the saying “be it ever so humble...” but this is ridiculous!' Yellowjacket exclaims. She increases her form back to her regular size as they enter the warehouse, and the Fixer tells Yellowjacket not to sound so disappointed, and that she must have heard said “You can't judge a book by it's cover”. Yellowjacket removes her helmet, and gasps 'Wow!' as she looks into the clean, well-equipped home of the Fixer. Fixer smiles and points out that Yellowjacket seems suitable impressed, but that this is just the beginning. He claps his hands, and a small robot rolls towards Yellowjacket, with two glasses of champagne. 'Cute' Yellowjacket remarks as she takes a glass. Fixer takes the other glass and clinks it against Yellowjacket's as he tells her that he is glad she feels that way, as he would like this to be the start of a very long, prosperous and beautiful relationship.
Fizer continues, informing Yellowjacket that he loves her – and he has loved her ever since they met during the Masters of Evil's siege of Avengers Mansion. 'I suspect that you must feel the same way about me' Fixer adds. Yellowjacket looks surprised, then awkward, as she pulls away from Fixer who moves in closer to her, and tells him that she appreciates all he has done for her, breaking her out of prison and all – but she thinks he has gotten the wrong idea somewhere along the line. Yellowjacket then shrinks down to insect size and flies up above the Fixer, who asks her what she is saying. 'How can you spurn me after all I've done for you? All I'm willing to do for you?' he enquires. Yellowjacket tells Fixer that it is nothing personal, butb she didn't appreciate his advances before – and she doesn't appreciate them now. She then flies out a window, while Fixer tells himself that he won't let her get away with this – he can't.
One week later at the Creskill, New Jersey home of Jan van Dyne a.k.a. Wasp. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a long coat, Yellowjacket is crouched amongst some trees and shrubs out the front of the home, 'This is it. This is where that little runt, the Wasp lives!' Rita thinks to herself. She has been waiting for this day for months – it is high time that she pays her back for the humiliation the Wasp made her suffer through. Rita remembers that it was during her first outing as Yellowjacket, while she was stealing Dr Pym's technology, that she had the bad luck to run into the Wasp, and although she gave her a good fight, she wasn't ready to handle any Avenger then, not even one as small as the Wasp. Rita decides that the Wasp didn't actually defeat her – it was the shock of getting small for the first time that did her in, and vows that things are going to be a little different this time around.
Rita removes her hat and coat and declares that Little Miss Wasp is going to find that she will not be so easily beaten again. Yellowjacket starts to put her helmet on, thinking that it is going to be a real pleasure to kick the Wasp, she notices a car pull up out the front of the Wasp's home, and realizes it looks like she has company. A handsome man exits the car and Rita wonders what a cute guy like him is doing visiting a priss like the Wasp, and supposes it must be a relative. She realizes that she will have to wait until he takes off, before thinking that something about him seems familiar – or perhaps she would just like to get familiar with him.
The handsome man is Dane Whitman a.k.a. Black Knight, member of the Avengers. As he approaches the front door, he tells himself that he has to calm down. He knows that as the Black Knight he has been in much tougher spots, and all he has to do is say what is on his mind. 'Sure, easy, huh! Give me a nice murderous world dominating super-villain any time!' Dane thinks to himself as he knocks on the door. The door doesn't open though, instead the Wasp flies over to him, telling him that she thought she heard him drive up, and points out that he is an hour early for her fencing lesson. Dane smiles at Jan and explains that he has something to talk to her about before they start. 'Great!' Jan smiles as she increases to her regular size. 'Here. These are for you' Dane remarks nervously as he hands Jan a bunch of flowers. 'Oh, Dane, you're just the sweetest thing!' Jan responds, kissing Dane on the cheek.
Dane tells Jan that he is glad she feels that way, as it makes what he has to say that much easier. 'We've been friends for some time now. We've worked together, side by side, in the Avengers and we've occasionally dated. I think that we, er... that is, I'd like us... I want to see more of you, Jan. I'd like us to be more than just friends' Dane reveals, while thinking to himself 'That wasn't so hard'. But Jan tells Dane that she doesn't know what to say – that she is very flattered, and really likes Dane, and hopes they can always be friends. 'But I'm afraid there could never be anything more between us' she states. Dane looks away and covers his face, as Jan reveals that Dane reminds her too much of her ex-husband, Hank Pym – what with the science background, being super heroes and all. 'Dane, it just would never work. I'm sorry'. Dane quickly tells Jan that he understands and heads back to his car, remarking that he better be going.
All this time, Yellowjacket has been watching from the shrubs. 'What a jerk that little goody two shoes is! How could she let a hunk like that get away?' Rita wonders to herself, deciding that it is too bad he isn't sticking around to see the beating she is about to give the Wasp. But as Dane speeds away in his car, Rita wonders what she is doing here, realizing that she is getting too caught up in this super-villain thing. 'Who cares about little miss-too-busy-to-be-a-prom-queen and revenge? I'm going after the hunk!' Rita decides as she shrinks down and flies after Dane's car.
An hour later at the former site of Avengers Mansion, Dane peers through a hole in the fence that surrounds the property, and thinks to himself that he can't believe what a loser he is – just can't believe it. All the weeks of preparation, working up the nerve to bare his feelings to Janet and then he blew it in two minutes. He supposes he isn't destined to find the right woman. 'I'll have to be content with polishing the old Ebony Blade' Dane jokes to himself, unaware that Yellowjacket is perched in a nearby tree, thinking to herself that it is a shame someone this cute should get jerked around by a rich witch like the Wasp. Rita is in awe, as she gazes at Dane, thinking about how good looking he is, she wants to get to know him, but still has the feeling that she has met him before. 'That's it! It was right here. He's the Black Knight. I remember him from the raid on the Mansion' Rita realizes.
'What do I do now? Go up to him and say “Hi, I don't know if you remember me, but I helped put you in the hospital. My name's -' 'YELLOWJACKET!' Fixer shouts as he interrupts her train of thought, declaring that he has found her at last, he calls her an ungrateful wench and asks if she really thought he would allow her to cast him aside like yesterday's trash, and reveals that the electronic device he planted in her helmet before he returned it to her enabled him to track her wherever she went. He adds that he followed her ever since she left him. 'I've seen how you've been fawning over this, this, this – soon to be maggot ridden piece of flesh!' Fixer shouts as he turns to Dane and starts firing a weapon at him, 'Die, FOOL!' Fixer calls out, while Yellowjacket switches to her regular size and calls out 'Fixer, don't!'
Dane raises the case he has been carrying, and uses it to absorb the blasts, although Dane is knocked back through the fence surrounding the hollowed-out ground where Avengers Mansion once stood, and falls into a small pit, the case breaks open, revealing the Ebony Blade. 'What a hardy fool you are! But it doesn't matter, dying in this pit will allow you to go to where you belong that much quicker!' Fixer exclaims as he stands on the edge of the pit and aims the weapon at Dane, who has had the wind knocked out of him. He knows he needs to reach his sword, but suddenly, Yellowjacket comes to Dane's aid, as she fires a blast of energy at Fixer's helmet. 'Yeow!' Fixer cries out. 'Why kill an unarmed man, Fixer? Afraid a little woman would give you too much of a fight?' Yellowjacket asks.
'Afraid, woman? Ha! It is you who have to fear!' Fixer calls back as he turns on Yellowjacket and opens fire on her. 'You have to hit me first, Fixy!' Yellowjacket calls back as she ducks and dives between the Fixer's blasts – blasts which start to hit the fence surrounding the property, near where some civilians are gathered. 'The sky is falling! The sky is falling!' a man calls out. 'If that's supposed to be funny, I'm not laughing!' another man remarks as he begins to run. A woman calls her daughter to her, but the young girl cries that she is scared – and as the weapons fire blasts around her, she falls towards the pit. 'My baby!' the woman screams. Yellowjacket sees this, and knows she has to get to the child – so speeds towards her, 'Got you!' Yellowjacket calls out as she saves the girl.
Dane sees this, and realizes that Yellowjacket saved him and now the girl – but he thought she was one of the bad guys. Yellowjacket returns the girl to her mother, who asks 'How can I ever thank you?' and Yellowjacket tells her to get to cover while she finishes off the Fixer – but before she can defend herself, Fixer fires a blast at her head, knocking her out and boasting that it is she who is finished. Dane sees that Yellowjacket is stunned, helpless, and watches the Fixer goes over and grabs her, telling her that this is the way he likes her, and to make sure she stays this passive, he finds it necessary to give her a mind control pod. But as he prepares to place the small device on Yellowjacket's helmet, Dane shouts 'No!' and moves towards the Fixer, 'You!' the Fixer gasps as Dane holds the Ebony Blade and tells Fixer to put Yellowjacket down now.
'Fool, if you had known what was good for you, you would have stayed down in that pit!' Fixer responds as he opens fire at Dane, who blocks the blast with the Ebony Blade. Dane admits that the Fixer caught him unaware last time, but that won't happen again, not while the Ebony Blade can absorb anything that the Fixer throws at him. As Dane blocks another blast, Yellowjacket comes to, wondering what happened, she sees that the Fixer has attacked the hunk again, so quickly shrinks down, then flies over to Fixer, and returns to her regular form, 'You're really beginning to annoy me!' Yellowjacket exclaims as she slams her fist into Fixer's face. The Fixer pauses, before retreating, flying away.
'Look at him go. How's he doing that? I hit him hard enough to be out for a week!' Yellowjacket tells the Black Knight, who assumes that Fixer's armor must have an autopilot system that kicks in if he goes unconscious. Dane smiles at Yellowjacket and tells her that was a nice piece of teamwork. 'Maybe we could get a drink together sometime' Dane suggests, before going wide-eyed as Yellowjacket grabs his face and kisses him on the lips. 'I'd love to stick around, but the cops are going to be showing up soon and I am a wanted woman' Yellowjacket calls back, before telling Dane that she will look him up sometime. 'Yes...you do that!' Dane thinks to himself as he leaves farewell to Yellowjacket.
Calros & Lita
Hawkeye & Mockingbird
(In Abomination's thoughts)
Black Knight IV (Avenger)
Wasp (inactive Avenger)
In Yellowjacket II's memory:
Wonder Man defeated Abomination in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #25.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird separated in West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #37.
This story takes place before Avengers Annual (1st series) #17, which is when Yellowjacket II is made an Honorary Avenger, before Avengers (1st series) #291 when the Black Knight's curse comes into effect, and probably before West Coast Avengers (2nd series) #32.
Yellowjacket II was imprisoned after the “Siege of Avengers Mansion” which took place in Avengers (1st series) #273-277.
Yellowjacket II and Wasp fought in Avengers (1st series) #264, Yellowjacket II's first appearance.