Solo Avengers #20

Issue Date: 
July 1989
Story Title: 
1st Story: Veg Out - 2nd Story: The Sun and the Moon!

1st Story: Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wilson (penciler), Don Heck (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Marc Siry (colorist)
2nd Story: Peter B Gillis (writer), James Brock (penciler), Roy Richardson (inker), Paul Betcon (colorist), Rick Parker (letterer)
Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
Hawkeye and Orb struggle against the plant creature with large teeth – but they can't free themselves  and the creature swallows them. Plantman is pleased with himself, until Hawkeye ignites a flare arrowhead hidden in his tunic which causes the creature to cough him and Orb up. Hawkeye attempts to capture Plantman, but Plantman escapes, leaving Hawkeye and Orb at the mercy of some humanoid plant creatures – but Orb runs away. Hawkeye battles them alone, but finds them tough, so traps them behind a wall of fire he creates with a flare arrow. Hawkeye runs through the jungle until he comes to the dome wall that surrounds the jungle. Unable to find a door, he connects a suction cup from a suction arrow to a cable arrowhead and shoots it upwards, where it connects with the dome ceiling. Hawkeye then reels himself upwards on the cable, enabling him to see across the sprawling jungle, where he locates a facility. Inside the facility, Plantman has captured Orb, and is going to allow him to witness as Plantman prepares to release alien seeds that will grow more jungles like this – and cover the entire planet with them. Hawkeye crashes into the facility, and fires an arrow at the computer system, destroying it and angering Plantman, who is unable to release the seeds. Hawkeye fires an explosive arrow at the dome, and part of it breaks away, enabling he and Orb to escape – and just in time, as the entire dome and jungle within it lifts off out of the desert and flies away, with Plantman vowing that his work will go on, and Hawkeye lamenting being stuck in the desert still.

(2nd story)
In deep space, the former Defender Cloud has met up with Pamela Douglas, Demeityr, Gargoyle (who exists in a gem around Pam's neck) and Heather Douglas – Moondragon – recently reborn and now an infant. Cloud catches up on recent events and mourns for several deceased members of the Defenders. Heather grows frustrated with being in an infant's form and lashes out at Cloud, who then leaves, feeling sorry for Moondragon. That night, Demeityr goes to Pamela and they begin to kiss, before they are overcome by psychic trauma as Heather attacks them. Pamela is knocked out, so Demeityr finds Heather in a darkened room, ranting about how much she loves Demeityr – and using her powers to “grow” herself, back into her regular adult form – or at least a projection of it. Moondragon kisses Demeityr, as Pamela enters the room, and begins to fight her, but Pamela's newfound mental powers are nothing compared to Moondragon's, and when Demeityr rejects Moondragon, she casts Pamela and Demeityr  into open space. Pamela floats above a star, and Gargoyle, still within the gem, tells her to pull the star towards herself. She does so, and the energies from the sun overwhelm her. Back in the ship, Moondragon is huddled on the floor, when to her surprise, a large dragon appears hovering outside the vessel, with Pamela, Demeityr and Gargoyle, now restored to his true form, and able to switch to his human form, on top of it. They enter the ship, and Pamela reveals herself as Sundragon. Demeityr assures Moondragon that they all love her, even after she tried to kill them all, believing that Pamela had replaced her. The others soon depart into space on top of the dragon that Sundragon projects with her power, and Moondragon orders the ship's computer to take her home.

Full Summary: 

1st story:
'Push, Orb! Push!' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye shouts as a large plant with even larger teeth chomps down on he and his newfound ally, the criminal called Orb. 'Push, or we're going to be a between meals snack for this overgrown asparagus!' Hawkeye exclaims. Orb tries to push back on the creature, but tells Hawkeye that it is too strong. 'He speaks the truth, archer! Your agony would be shortened if you would stop struggling!' the villain known as Plantman calls out from where he stands nearby. Plantman declares that this is Hawkeye's just punishment for trespassing here in his dome of life and daring to damage his most precious plants – his children! 'Come on, Plantman! I'll have FTD deliver some rose bushes and we'll call it even!' Hawkeye calls back, assuring Plantman that he has made his point. 'I'll even tell the gardener to leave the crabgrass alone back at the West Coast Compound!' Hawkeye pleads.

Hawkeye tries to reach out through the plant-creature's teeth, wishing that he could reach his  bow and quiver, then he would have them out of here in no time. Orb suddenly stops pushing back against the teeth, and Hawkeye asks him what he is doing. 'What's the use of this futile struggle? It's over! We might as well give up!' Orb replies. 'No! I won't give up – won't – give – up -' Hawkeye responds, before the creature's mouth chomps down and closes on Hawkeye and Orb. 'It's done! Our project has not been disturbed too much!' Plantman announces, putting his arm around a female plant creature, he states that the mother plant has been furnished with a fresh supply of blood. He tells his humanoid plant creatures that surround him to get back to work, as there is much that needs to be attended to.

Suddenly, smoke begins pouring out the sides of the large plant creature's mouth. 'What is happening here? Smoke pouring from the mother's mouth? Something is dreadfully amiss!' Plantman exclaims, before the mother plant spews up Hawkeye and Orb. 'Come on, Orb! I get the feeling that we didn't agree with old broccoli head's digestive tract!' Hawkeye jokes. 'Or maybe it was that flare arrow head I shoved down its throat!' Hawkeye adds, before rolling across the ground to collect his bow and quiver, 'I'm glad I carry extras in my tunic straps' Clint thinks to himself, as he aims his bow and an arrow at Plantman. 'Okay, Planty, it's just you and me, man to man!' Hawkeye calls out. 'I think not' Plantman replies as he turns, and puts an arm around the female plant creature, he points out that Hawkeye has interfered with his project long enough, and announces that he has neither the time nor the inclination to deal  with him.

Plantman starts to walk further into the jungle, as Hawkeye tells him 'You have no choice but to deal with me, sprouthead!' Plantman sneers at Hawkeye as he glances backwards, 'I said no. My project is far too important for me to dally with the likes of you. Of all the Earth's so-called superheroes, you are the least consequential!' Plantman exclaims, adding that he need not soil his hands on Hawkeye, as his plantmen will crush him like the insect hs is! Hawkeye fires two arrows after Plantman, but a wall of leaves rises up after Plantman vanishes, and two vines drop down and latch onto the arrows, as Plantman's voice can be heard warning Hawkeye that when the plantmen are through with him, he may wish that he allowed him to end his pitiful life quickly. 'Goodbye' Plantman calls out.

Hawkeye turns as several humanoid plant creatures called plantmen walk towards him. He thinks that it seems like everybody leaves just when he wants to talk – first mockingbird, now Plantman. Hawkeye sees Orb skulk off into the jungle, even after he snatched him from the jaws of death. 'A guy could get a serious inferiority complex about this stuff' Hawkeye thinks to himself, before announcing that as he is on his own against these goons, it is time to give them a demo of what he does best. 'Two teargas arrows coming up!' Hawkeye exclaims as he fires two arrows, which strike the ground around the plantmen. A pink cloud of gas rises from the arrows, and Hawkeye jokes that the teargas is guaranteed to make an onion cry. 'That should keep them busy – for a while – oops' Hawkeye remarks as the plantmen walk through the teargas, none the worse for wear.

Hawkeye reaches into his  quiver for another arrow and remarks that he forgot they were just walking plants. 'I really would have better luck making an onion cry' Hawkeye mutters, deciding that it makes this fight a little easier, since these guys are just overgrown carrots, he can pull out all the stops and use his regular arrows. But as he prepares to fire an arrow at close range as the plantmen surround him, before he can fire though, 'Whoa! Vines grabbing my leg!' Hawkeye calls out as a vine wraps itself around his ankle. 'Time to slice – and dice!' Hawkeye declares as he fires the arrow at the vine, splitting it, before he fires another arrow at one of the plantmen, knocking it backwards into another. 'Bingo! That should give them something to think about!' Hawkeye mutters as the other plantmen gather around their fallen fellow – but within moments, the fallen plantman rises, and Hawkeye frowns, supposing that they are not too big on thinking.

Understanding that the plantmen are not human, Hawkeye decides to rely on trick arrows, and shoots a flame-arrow towards them, which creates a wall of fire, keeping the plantmen back from him, but Hawkeye knows that the fire won't hold them for long. He turns to the jungle and supposes that his only way out is through the jungle, and as he rushes into it, wonders what he will find. Twenty minutes later, Hawkeye continues to hack his way through the jungle, but is no closer to being out of this place. He notes that it seems like as fast as he cuts through these vines, ten new ones take their place. He fears that if he stops to rest he will be one dead archer. Slashing away some more trees and bushes, Hawkeye eventually comes to the dome wall – but there isn't a door in sight. Hawkeye also can't leave without Orb, and realizes that until now he had completely forgotten that he is inside an artificial environment in the middle of the desert – and now he has no idea how to find his way out!

Hawkeye combines a suction-tipped arrowhead with  a cable arrowhead, and slaps them on a rocket arrow, which he aims upwards to the top of the dome – which he hopes is up there, somewhere. The suction arrow connects with the top of the inside of the dome. 'Ha! Who says I'm not the greatest archer in the world?For my next trick I'll hit the Broadside of Wisconsin!' Clint jokes to himself.

Five minutes later, Hawkeye has risen nearly to the top of the dome, as the cable connected to the suction arrow reeled him upwards, over the jungle. He clings to it an surveys his surroundings, deciding that it is good he doesn't get nose bleeds easily. He wonders what this place is, and is surprised at just how big it is. He notices a clearing full of machinery, and is willing to bet the rest of his arrowheads that is where the life support system for this place is located – and  where he will find Plantman!

Inside a mechanical compound, Plantman and two female plant creatures stand near a console, while Orb has been shackled, and sits on the ground. Plantman tells Orb that he is about to bear witness to the greatest scientific discoveries of this or any other century on Earth. Plantman announces that from this dome he shall release spores into the air that will transform the barren land around them into a tropical paradise – a paradise built upon seeds of an alien nature, discovered by him many years ago and bio-engineered to adapt to even the harshest conditions. Plantman explains that it is from these seeds that he has been able to grow the simulacra which have served him all these years – and this is just the first of his domes of life – eventually, vast areas of the planet will be covered with the plant life that shall do his bidding.

'I wouldn't count my geraniums before they've germiated, Planty!' Hawkeye calls out as he swings into the control room on his cable. 'Hawkeye!' Plantman shouts. Plantman declares that he has had enough of Hawkeye's infernal interference, and that he will not allow him to halt the crowning-glory of his life's work. 'guess again, Mr Green Jeans! I've got you covered!' Hawkeye replies as he holds his bow and arrow, ready to fire at Plantman, who grins, 'Ha! You threaten me?' he asks, holding the two female plant creatures close, Plantman tells Hawkeye that his arrows mean nothing to him, as he is well protected. But Hawkeye turns his arrow in another direction and tells Plantman that it is not he and his thorny friends that he is interested in – it's the machinery. Hawkeye fires the arrow, which connects with the console, causing an explosion. 'NO!' Plantman shouts.

Hawkeye runs over to Orb and tells him that it looks like they are a team again. 'Did you miss me?' Hawkeye asks. Orb doesn't answer as Hawkeye helps him stand on his feet. 'Never mind I know how you hate it when I get sappy!' Hawkeye jokes. Plantman frowns and asks Hawkeye if he thinks his little explosive arrow can stop his project, and if so then he is wrong – as his plants have smothered the flames, and will do the same to Hawkeye. Indeed, plants have covered the flames, and vines twist their way towards Hawkeye and Orb. 'I think it's time for us to make like a tree and leave!' Hawkeye jokes, before firing an arrow at the dome wall, which he hopes isn't too thick, as this is his last explosive arrow. The arrow thankfully breaks apart a small portion of the dome wall, although a rumbling sound starts to resonate around them.

Hawkeye and Orb rush to the hole in the dome, and Hawkeye wonders what the rumbling noise is, as he doesn't think his arrow could have done that much damage. Once they are safely outside of the dome, Hawkeye explains that he just wanted to screw up the machine and possibly pollute the Epcot Center House of Horrors. 'Better get away from here before it blows – sky high?' Hawkeye remarks, puzzled as he and Orb are knocked to the gorund by the dome as it vertically lifts up from the desert into the air. 'You have been an annoyance today, Hawkeye! But my work will go on!' Plantman calls out from within the dome. Hawkeye thinks to himself that if he ever gets back to civilization, he is going to have to tell the Avengers to keep an eye out for this guy!

2nd story:
'Wow, guys, I never thought I'd see you guys ever again! And I never thought I'd get to meet you at all!' exclaims the being known as Cloud, who appears in female form within a small spaceship that moves through the deepest of space. Inside the vessel is Cloud's former Defender teammate, Heather Douglas a.k.a. Moondragon who currently looks like an infant, and sits with her arms folded on the edge of a seat, while Heather's cousin, Pamela Douglas, sits on a sofa next to the handsome Demeityr, an Eternal of Titan. 'But I can't believe it – Michael Keaton? He's so short!' Cloud exclaims, throwing her arms into the air. 'The one I'm worried about is Jack Nicholson - you know, turning it into a Jack Nicholson movie!' Pamela replies.

Cloud folds her arms and tells Heather that she doesn't know how good it feels to hear stuff about Earth. She remarks that she is happy out here, being a nebula and creating stars, but she really misses Earth sometimes. 'I only wish you hadn't told me about the Defenders dying. I'll never forget them' Cloud adds. A red gem hanging around Heather's neck suddenly speaks, it contains the soul of Isaac Christians a.k.a. Gargoyle, and tells Cloud that one can never be too sure – after all, he and Heather survived in unlikely fashions, so maybe the others managed somehow, too, and of course Angel, Beast and Iceman are still around. Cloud bites her lip and announces that she wishes she could go back to see them all again. 'Well, you can't' Heather snaps from where she sits, sternly reminding Cloud that if she tried to detach part of herself the way she did before, she would imperil the rest of her form and the stars being born out of her material. 'Well, excuuuuse me, Heather!' Cloud retorts.

Pamela, whose hair has grown to shoulder length, smiles and tells Cloud not to mind Heather, as it is awful tough to be a brilliantly powerful mind in an infant's body. 'Especially when she's -' Pamela begins, while Demeityr yawns, and Heather drops off the seat, 'What's so funny about that? Do you think I like being in this stupid prepubescent body?' she snaps. Cloud shifts her form to that of a small child as well, and tells her that, after all they have been through, the bodies they happen to inhabit don't count for a lot. 'Please don't be angry or sad – I love you' Cloud adds. 'That's easy to say when you're not trapped' Heather scowls. Demeityr suggests that they should be getting underway, and Pamela agrees.

Heather storms off out of the bridge, and Pamela tells Cloud that she is sorry, explaining that, having borne Heather's mind in her own for a while, she thought seeing her might pull her out of her mood. Cloud tells Pamela that is okay, and Gargoyle suggests that they come back later, when Heather has come to grips with this more. He adds that her body is designed to mature at an accelerated rate, before telling Pamela that he remembers better than her – the memories they shared were not all good ones. Tears fall down Cloud's face as she tells Gargoyle never to forget that among the Defenders, the two of them say that there was a good woman in Moondragon, deep down. 'Take care of her' Cloud remarks, before she shifts to her gaseous form and vanishes.

And so, three ship's days later en route to the planet Kotzwinkle, Pamela is lying on her bed when the door to her room opens. 'Now who could this be?' she asks as Demeityr approaches her. 'Couldn't sleep?' Pamela asks the handsome Eternal, who sits next to Pamela and touches her face, telling her that she should know now that the Eternals of Titan don't sleep. 'It's Heather, isn't it?' Pamela asks. Demeityr tells her that he is worried. 'Well, come closer – and I'll make it all better' Pamela smiles. Demeityr leans in to kiss Pamela, but as their lips touch, they both scream, overcome by a powerful energy, and Pamela falls back onto the bed, unconscious. 'That little – she could have killed Pamela!' Demeityr exclaims. Rubbing his head, he stands up and declares that she has gone too far.

Demeityr finds Heather in another room within the ship. He storms in and asks 'What do you think you're -' Demeityr calls out as he finds Heather sitting on a small chair in the darkened room. Energy crackles around her as she utters 'How can you do it with her? How can you?' She clenches her fists and tears stream down her face as she shouts 'I'm the one! Pamela is nothing – my little yuppie cousin with a little dim brain! She'd never have any powers if not for me! She's weak and stupid and small!' Demeityr tries to call out to Heather, 'Please -' he begins, before Heather stands up, throws her arms into the air and shouts 'I'm the one! The one with the power!' and, suddenly, 'I'm Moondragon!' she declares as she transforms into her adult form, complete with green bathing suit costume and long cape – much to Demeityr's shock.

Moondragon turns to Demeityr and tells him that this is an illusion right now, but a perfect one to every sense and that she will soon grow into it in reality. 'I'm the perfect woman – the ultimate woman! You can't chose her!' Moondragon declares as she kisses Demeityr. 'What's wrong?' Moondragon asks as Demeityr pulls away from her. 'He's scared to death of you. That's what's wrong!' Gargoyle explains as Pamela enters the room. Pamela says nothing as Gargoyle continues to speak from the crystal, revealing that Demeityr is attracted to Pamela because Pamela is a simple, uncomplicated young woman, one who is on no power trip and one who is seeing the wonders of the universe for the first time. Gargoyle adds that Demeityr, for all his Eternal nature and power is a simple soul, too. 'You want him because you can't have him – although you could if you started to control people's minds for them, like you used to – like the evil Mooondragon used to!'

'SHUT UP!' Moondragon screms as she fires a mental blast towards her cousin, 'No – don't!' Demeityr calls out, while Pamela raises her hands and blocks Heather's psychic attack with one of her own. She tells her cousin that she may not be her equal, but reminds her that after sharing a brain with her, facing the Dance, she is not powerless now. 'You're nothing!' Moondragon retorts as she continues to release her psychic power. 'And I'm Moondragon!' she adds, as her attack knocks Pamela backwards. As Pamela falls, Gargoyle tells her to combine forces with him, while Demeityr grabs Moondragon and tells her to stop it. 'Have you gone crazy? We all care for you! I care for you! Stop doing this!' he exclaims. 'Crazy? I'll show you crazy!' Moondragon snaps as she flips herself backwards,

Moondragon turns back to Pamela and Gargoyle: 'You – you bimbo – you prattling old man-under-glass – you betrayed me – laughed at me – humiliated me – and you can all – go to blazes!' Moondragon shouts, as she releases some psychic energy, and Pamela and Demeityr suddnely vanish.

'What – where – can't breathe – feel awful – burning...' Pamela thinks to herelf as she finds herself floating in open space, clutching her throat. 'Pamela! She did it! Blew us out of the ship!' Gargoyle calls out. 'Then we're going to die? I don't want to die' Pamela thinks to herself as she floats above a glowing star. Gargoyle tells Pamela to pull the star towards them with her mind and body, as he senses something. 'Okay – goodbye – Isaac' Pamela thinks to herself as she reaches out, and energy rises from the star, careening towards Pamela, who thinks to herself 'I love you! Don’t – don't want to -' as the energy from the star washes over her in spectacular display.

Back inside the small ship, 'Heather...' a voice calls out. 'Shut up. Shut up' Moondragon replies. The voice tells her to snap out of it, and look at the viewport. 'By the great Pama – a dragon!' Moondragon gasps as she looks out the viewport and sees a large glowing dragon, with three figures standing on its head. 'You almost killed them, Heather – and would have if I hadn't been watching you with a part of me!' the voice exclaims – it's Cloud, who appears over Moondragon and asks her why. 'Why, Cloud?' Moondragon responds, revealing that she wanted to start over, to cleanse the evil out of her – to do good and be good, but then there was Pam right in front of her, loved by Demeityr, Mentor, Isaac, Cloud – and there was no place for her.

'All I strove to be, to accomplish – to become Moondragon – and I had nothing! She took it away from me!' Moondragon exclaims. The three figures from on top of the dragon are transported into the ship by Cloud, who tells Moondragon that Pam is Pam, that she will never be Moondragon, she will never come close to Heather's power. 'But as she learned from you, you could learn things from her' Cloud adds, revealing that she saved Pam by uncorking the last of her inner power. 'And from now on her name will be – Sundragon!' Cloud declares as Pam steps forward, revealing a purple costume and white hair. The next figure to step forward is Gargoyle – who reverts to his human form, as Cloud explains that the crystal that held him vaporized in the star, so with some of the star and some of her own material, she restored his body, and gave him the power to transform himself from Gargoyle to Isaac Christians.

The final figure is Demeityr and he walks over to Moondragon, kissing her cheek, he tells her that they all love her, but that Isaac was right, she is too much a woman for a simple little Titan boy, that she deserves better – and will will get it. 'I – Demeityr – I -' Moondragon utters. Moondragon hangs her head and announces that she is sorry, that even dying and being reborn she seems to be making the same mistakes, that she still has not learned. Sundragon tells Heather that if she hadn't learned, then she doesn't think she would be here talking to her, or she would have taken over their minds, or worse. Sundragon informs Heather that she, Demeityr and Isaac are going to leave. Cloud's form washes over them, and Moondragon tells them that she doesn't want them to go.

Sundragon tells Moondragon that she needs to be her own woman now, to grow into her body, to look into the future. 'I think you'll do better if we dont double-date' Sundragon adds, before bidding Heather goodbye. Cloud tells the others that she wishes she could stick around, and informs Pam that she will be able to animate this form to take her wherever she wants to go. Sundragon re-creates the large dragon, which she, Demeityr and Isaac stand on top of. Cloud bids good luck to Heather and Pam. Pam asks Isaac if he thinks Heather will do all right, to which Isaac tells her that is a definite possibility. And, inside the ship, Moondragon uses her powers to create a new costume, most of which resembles the black and green costume Pamela was wearing, before ordering the ship's navigation computer to take her home – and she even smiles.

Characters Involved: 

1st story:


2nd story:
Pamela Douglas / Sundragon


Story Notes: 

Beginning with #21, this series is re-titled Avengers Spotlight.

1st story:
Plantman next appears in Fantastic Four (1st series) #335.

2nd story:
Cloud and Pamela are discussing the casting of Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in the 1989 “Batman” film. '

Cloud refers to being told about the Defenders dying, referencing Valkyrie, Andromeda, Manslaughter and Interloper who all died in New Defenders #152. They return in spirit form in Strange Tales (2nd series) #5-7 and are resurrected in Dr, Strange Sorcerer Supreme #3-4.

Pamela developed powers of her own in Solo Avengers #18.

Moondragon next appears in Avengers (1st series) #305, back on Earth and answering the call to all members of the Avengers to assemble.

Cloud  has only made two brief appearances since this issue, in Starmasters #1 and Fear Itself: The Deep #4.

Pamela Douglas / Sundragon only makes one appearance after this issue, in Cosmic Powers Unlimited #2.

Demeityr has not appeared since this issue.

Gargoyle next appears in Quasar #19-20.

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