Solo Avengers #6

Issue Date: 
May 1988
Story Title: 
Algeria is for Archers (1st Story) - Scattered Lives (2nd story)

1st Story: Tom DeFalco (writer), Mark Bright (penciler), Janet Jackson (colorist)
2nd Story: Dan Mishkin (writer), Tom Grindberg (penciler), Steve Buccellato (colorist)
Joe Rubinstein (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
After being told by Silver Sable that he cannot return home as he has to stay around for an inquiry, Sable informs Hawkeye that she may be able to speed up his return if he agrees to complete an assignment for her, tracking down one of her agents who has gone missing while tracking the impostor Red Skull. Hawkeye agrees, and is partnered with Le Peregrine as they search Algeria for the Red Skull and the timing device. After following what information they were provided with, they eventually find the impostor Red Skull in his lab, where a large dome of dirt is held in the middle of the lab. Hawkeye and Le Peregrine battle the Red Skull and his goons, during which Hawkeye smashes the globe of dirt – revealing the Sandman trapped inside. The Sandman works alongside Hawkeye and Le Peregrine, as he was Sable's missing agent. The Red Skull sets the timing device and tries to escape, but Hawkeye and Le Peregrine capture him. When he tells them that he will go to prison knowing he killed them, they discover the timing device has been activated. Sandman stops it by filling it up with sand, before removing the Red Skull's mask, discovering that he is just an old man. The authorities arrive and take away the Red Skull impostor and his goons, while Sandman and Le Peregrine argue about what Sable will do once she knows the device was destroyed – Hawkeye just wants to go home!

(2nd story)
Falcon discovers that Avengers Mansion is no longer in its usual position, and figures it is probably safer for the city without the Avengers living in the center of the city. He recalls his brief time with the team, before flying to Harlem with Redwing, where, near the church his father was a preacher at, there is a gathering, a business man who has bought the church is being harassed by the locals. Falcon diffuses the situation with a speech, before a strange man who calls himself Scatterbrain appears, and after revealing he works for local crime lord Victor Meachum, displays a strange power which enables him to transform people and inanimate objects into other things – creatures or flying saucers. He can also put people under his mental control, influencing their actions. Thanks to his experience as a social work, the Falcon detects that the man has schizophrenia, and working with Redwing, does what he can to take Scatterbrain down in a peaceful manner. Scatterbrain is defeated and arrested, before Victor Meachum appears and announces he is no longer selling the church, instead he will gift it to the congregation. Falcon thinks this was a set up, and calls Meachum on it, before announcing that he would prefer to build a new church from scratch than be beholden to someone like him.

Full Summary: 

1st story:
'Achimel! Emil! Look in the alley – an intruder!' a man with slicked back hair remarks as three arrows are fired towards the three men and release a gas. 'Yeah, I guess you can call me an intruder, bright eyes, but I'm usually referred to as an Avenger and, in case you don't recognize my very distinctive costume, my name is – HAWKEYE!' Clint Barton the Arching Avenger declares as he makes his way down the alleyway towards the three men.

Hawkeye boasts that the newspapers back home bill him as the world's greatest archer – but he is much too modest to mention that. 'You can tell that to whatever western god you worship, fool -' another man on a balcony nearby calls out as he and another hold their guns ready to fire at Hawkeye. '- because you will soon be standing with him!' the other man continues. Suddenly, though: 'Mais non, gentlemen! You are quite mistaken!' Le Peregrine exclaims as he drops down from above and knocks the weapons out of the men’s' hands.

'The American may be a bit egotistical but, as you can see, he is under the protection of Le Peregrine, the Champion of France!' Le Peregrine exclaims as he punches the two men repeatedly, before dropping off the balcony down towards Hawkeye, telling him that he is much too noisy. Le Peregrine points out that they are barely five minutes into the mission and he has already announced their presence to the opposition.

 'Whoops! Guess that means I'll have to stay after class and review my notes for Stealth 101' Hawkeye jokes as Le Peregrine grabs him and pulls him upwards, flying up to a window, Le Peregrine tells Hawkeye that he is afraid their mutual employer would not appreciate his arrogance and lack of professionalism. 'However, since we have already lost the element of surprise – we may as well dispense with the subtleties' Le Peregrine suggests as he bursts through a window.

Finding themselves in some sort of library, Hawkeye asks Le Peregrine why he chose this particular room. 'Before he disappeared, our missing agent managed to inform us that an accessway is hidden in here which will take us to our primary target and -' Le Peregrine begins to explain, before three more gunmen burst into the room. Hawkeye tells Le Peregrine to forget them and look for the secret passage, while he takes the easy job – as he fires three arrows towards thev intruding gunmen. Once he has taken down the gunmen, Hawkeye gags them and ties them up, while Le Peregrine announces that he has found the passage. Hawkeye gags the last of the gunmen and locks the door – he doesn't want any of their friends following. Le Peregrine leads the way down the passage and tells Hawkeye to hurry, as they need to reach their target before he learns they are here in Algeria. 'You kidding, pal? It's a miracle we've gotten this far!' Hawkeye points out, adding that this job was a lost cause from the very start. Clint adds that he still can't believe the way Le Peregrine's boss, Silver Sable, managed to con him into this.

Hawkeye is in Silver Sable's castle and tells her that now the French authorities have Trick Shot in custody, he would like to leave Paris and go home. Sable informs Hawkeye that the government intends to conduct an official inquiry before that can happen. Hawkeye asks Sable if there is anything she can do to help him cut through the bureaucratic red tape. 'Perhaps, there is...if you will read this dossier on the Red Skull' Sable announces as she tosses a file towards Hawkeye, who tells her that the Skull is dead, according to his pal Captain America. 'You don't have anything current, like this month's issue of “Bullwinkle & Rocky”?' Hawkeye jokes.

Sable informs Hawkeye that this is not the original Nazi menace, but an impostor, who has been operating out of Algeria since the 1950s. As Hawkeye looks at a photo of the Red Skull impostor, Sable tells him that the Red Skull recently appropriated a sophisticated timing device which is used to detonate nuclear warheads, and the manufacturer has hired her organization, Silver Sable International, to retrieve it. She adds that one of her best operatives was assigned to this case, but they have recently lost contact with him. 'He may be dead...or worse!' Sable exclaims, before reporting that she would intend to send another operative after the device. Sable asks Hawkeye if he would like to accompany him. 'And, if I do?' Clint asks. 'You may go home' Sable replies. 'You drive a hard bargain, lady' Clint tells Sable.

'A real hard bargain' Clint thinks to himself, recalling that when Sable said she was sending another operative, he never dreamed he would be partnered with the most famous crime-fighter in France. Clint wonders if Sable's other operative is another costumed super-jock. As Le Peregrine comes to a door at the end of the passage way, Clint asks him if he does all his work for Sable, but Le Peregrine reveals that, like Clint, he is a freelance operative. 'But I'm not a -' Hawkeye begins, before Peregrine shushes him, as they pass through the door, and stand on a balcony, they look down at some sort of large workshop or factory, where a large dome can be seen in the center of the room below. '... a fool to think you could stop me' the impostor Red Skull remarks, boasting that now he possesses the timer, he can detonate his own nuclear warhead whenever he chooses, so the possibilities for international blackmail are endless.

Suddenly, one of the Red Skull's assistants notices the heroes on the balcony and declares that they are being observed. 'What? Kill them! Kill the intruders!' the Red Skull shouts as he turns to see Hawkeye sliding down a pole: 'Sheesh! Like I already told the guys outside, we're Avengers, pal!' Hawkeye exclaims, while Le Peregrine flies down alongside him, Hawkeye explains that he granted Le Peregrine honorary membership for the duration of this fight. 'You elaborate far more than necessary, Hawkeye' Le Peregrine remarks, before slamming into two of the gunmen, declaring that only fists and speed are needed here – not words. Hawkeye tells Le Peregrine to lighten up, and that snappy patter is practically a requirement for all American crime-fighters. Hawkeye opens fire at the Red Skull, but the arrows miss him, and the Red Skull rushes to safety behind some equipment. Le Peregrine swoops towards more of the gunmen, while Hawkeye flips through the air, and fires another arrow at one of the gunmen, boasting that not only do they overwhelm their foes with their skill, daring and flashy footwork – they also assault them with vicious verbiage!

Hawkeye dodges the weapons fire from one of the gunmen, before wondering who the Red Skull was talking to when they entered, before noticing a dome full of dirt. Hawkeye then realizes that the Red Skull has vanished, and as Le Peregrine fights another of the gunmen, he tells Hawkeye that he thought he subdued him with his arrows. 'Nah, I only used them to add a little excitement to his otherwise humdrum existence' Clint explains. As the Red Skull appears behind the large glass dome, Hawkeye notices him and as he throws one of the gunmen towards the large glass dome, Clint supposes that he can use him to hurry the Red Skull off into dreamland – but the Red Skull sees his goon slam into the dome and he looks horrified, shouting 'No! Not the dome!' as the dome shatters and collapses towards the Red Skull, who lunges for safety. 'Geez, I hope it wasn't a family heirloom' Hawkeye jokes, before telling Red Skull that it is time for lights out as the sand gushes from the broken dome towards him. 'Here comes the sand – man?' Hawkeye utters, as he sees something shocking. 'Look!' Le Peregrine calls out. 'I see it...but I don't believe it!' Hawkeye exclaims.

'It really is the Sandman!' Hawkeye shouts as the Sandman reforms from the sand pouring out of the globe. 'Where's the Skull? We got us a score to settle!' Sandman declares as he shifts his fists into large hammers, ready to slam down on the Red Skull. 'You will settle nothing, cretin!' the Red Skull replies as he pulls back his clothing, revealing a device strapped to his chest, which fires an energy beam towards the Sandman. He then orders his  guards to attack them and kill them all. 'Are you guys here for a purpose – or am I supposed to carry the whole show?' Sandman asks. 'Don't get your gums in an uproad, Sandy! When Hakweye's around – he is the show!' Hawkeye boasts as he fires a sonic arrow towards the Red Skull, disorientating him. As he slams his hands, which had been transformed into a large panel, squashing them against the wall, the Sandman asks Hawkeye if Silver Sable didn't tell him he was working for her. 'It must have slipped her mind' Hawkeye mutters, while thinking to himself that he heard the Sandman had given up his criminal ways, but he never expected him to be Sable's missing agent.

The Red Skull examines the situation in the lab and decides that this is appalling, as his elite troops are being swept aside as if they were mere children. He decides that his plan to use the warhead for international blackmail has obviously failed, but realizes he can still win a modest victory, as he sets the detonator on the nuclear warhead, and thus condemning the costumed fools to death. The Red Skull then turns and rushes to safety – but he doesn't go unnoticed by the Sandman, which enables Hawkeye to fire an explosive tipped arrow towards the Red Skull, declaring that it will cause him to change his travel plans. The arrow strikes the strange jet that the Red Skull was about to escape in. 'Excellent shot, Hawkeye!' Le Peregrine exclaims as he swoops down and grabs the Red Skull. 'Gloat while you can, fools!' the Red Skull mutters. 'The last laugh still belongs to the Red Skull!' he boasts.

'You have finally put an end to my illustrious career as an international terrorist – but I will die secure in the knowledge that I put an end to yours as well!' the Red Skull exclaims, motioning to the ticking bomb nearby. 'Uh-oh!' Hawkeye gasps, before telling his companions that anyone who didn't flunk high school science should speak up real quick. 'Get real, Avenger – I'll just gum up the works with a blast of sand!' the Sandman announces as he clogs the weapon up with sand. 'Now, let's glom this bozo's real mug!' the Sandman suggests as he pulls the Red Skull's mask off. 'Hey! He's only some old geezer!' the Sandman declares. 'You haven't heard the last from the Red Skull the old man boasts. 'What're you gonna do – use your Medicare payments to buy another bomb?' the Sandman jokes.

Shortly, the authorities have arrived and have arrested the impostor Red Skull and his flunkies, while Hawkeye tells his companions that he is surprised the local authorities were so cooperative. Sandman tells him that Silver Sable has a long reach. 'And a memory to match' Le Peregrine adds, before reminding Sandman that she sent them to retrieve that timing device, not destroy it. 'gosh, I hope she don't get mad...and dock our pay!' the Sandman mutters sarcastically. 'What do you mean “our pay”, American?' Le Peregrine asks. Sandman tells Peregrine that he knows there was no choice – they could have been blown up, he had to destroy the device. 'Perishing in a nuclear explosion would have been a lot less stressful than informing Silver Sable that you failed to complete a mission!' Le Peregrine points out, to which Sandman asks him if he really thinks he made the wrong decision. Hawkeye tolls his eyes and tells himself that he can't wait to ditch these clowns and head home!

2nd story:
'I – I don't believe it, Redwing! Avengers Mansion – it's gone!' Sam Wilson a.k.a the Falcon gasps as he flies above where once stood the mighty home of the Avengers – now just a large gaping hole in the ground, his trusty bird Redwing flying alongside him. The Falcon swoops down to street level, past a sign at the site of Avengers Mansion, which reads “Future site of Maria Stark Memorial Arboretum”, and decides that he gets it now, it is a good idea, moving out of the city will probably cut the city's super-villain attack in half. 'But you'd think they'd have let me know, huh, bird?' the Falcon remarks as Redwing maintains speed alongside him. Redwing squawks at Falcon, who tells the bird that he is right, maybe he fought alongside them for a few months – but he was never one of them, and even when he hung around there, Avengers Mansion was never his home -b that was Harlem.

Falcon flies through an alleyway, before arriving in Harlem, and notices a crowd has gathered on the street below him, he wonders what is going on, where a man in a business suit is trying to get everyone to listen to him. 'No! You listen to us, man! Don't no piece of paper give you the right to tear down our church – so some yuppies for more places to shop!' an angry man exclaims. He holds a brick and prepares to throw it at the business man, telling him that he ain't improving their neighborhood – he is pushing folks out. Before he can hurl the brick though, the Falcon drops down and pulls it from his hand, 'Simmer down, if you know what's good for you!' the Falcon warns the angry man. The Falcon declares that he is no fan of “gentrification” either, but that breaking the law is not the answer. 'Easy for some jive super-cop to say!' the angry man snaps. 'Wrong!' the Falcon tells him, 'I didn't learn about the dangers of walking the wild side as the Falcon – it was plain Sam Wilson who almost wrecked his life by crossing that line!' he explains, pulling back his mask, before asking 'You think I want to see this church turned to rubble?'

Sam reveals that this is the church that his grandfather helped to build, and his father preached in. He remembers a sermon that his father once told him, about how the people with power in this world are like a rock – and how the rest of them, all their voices and protests, are nothing but raindrops beating on that big old boulder. 'But give us time, brothers and sisters, and we'll wear down that rock just as sure as the river turns the stone to sand!' Sam tells them. 'And that's our power!' he declares. 'Right on!' a man in the crowd exclaims. 'Tell it, brother!' another shouts as others begin pumping their fists into the air. Sam tells the crowd that is all he has to say. 'It was a mouthful, Sam. And your dad couldn't have said it better' one of the men in the crowd remarks. Suddenly: 'Hey, rev'end! That was a mighty fine speech there, rev'end! Good speech!' a tall, unusually skinny man calls out as he makes his way through the crowd, walking towards Sam.

'You don't have to call me “reverend”. I'm not -' Sam begins, before the man interrupts him, 'Y'know, rev – they say that ol' rock might get smashed up sooner than you think!' the skinny man declares, while another man in the crowd points at him and whispers to someone 'Lissen t'that scatterbrain talk! Gotta tell everyone 'bout them “voices” of his'. The other man explains that he is sick, that he thinks those Russians and spacemen he is always on about are real. The unusual man tells Sam that he has to go now, but if he needs him, to see Mr Meachum and ask for Scatterbrain. Sam watches him and decides that he is a very unusual man, while wondering what his connection to a crime lord like Victor Meachum is, as he surely couldn't make a very useful thug.

Scatterbrain approaches the business man and tells him 'If ya don't leave the neighborhood, see, I can't be responsible'. He adds that they don't want him here, and they will do what they have to to protect their turf. 'Nothing we can do about it, y'know what I mean?' he warns the business man. A police officer goes over to Scatterbrain and starts to drag him away from the business man, telling him that people’s emotions are already running high, and they don't need his threats to stir things up. 'But it ain't me! It's them!' Scatterbrain declares. 'It's them!' he shouts as he suddenly uses a psychic power on the officer, who turns and goes over to the businessman, informing him that he has to move it, as this is a top clearance government security area. 'But -' the business man begins, as the police officer tells him that the barber shop over there is the secret entrance to the CIA headquarters. 'You're as crazy as he is! But I know my rights!' the business man replies, looking at scatterbrain.

'You don't understand – it's out of our control!' the officer tells the business man, while Scatterbrain tells him that he better listen, as strange things are gonna happen if he doesn't watch out. Scatterbrain looks at two people nearby, and his powers somehow transform them, or make them appear to look like two large, hideous creatures. 'On your way, little fool! By the time I count to three, or I will break your every bone!' the larger of the two creatures begins, as he begins to count. 'But I can't leave if you don't let go!' the frightened business man pleads. Redwing flies over to the creatures and squawks, while Falcon takes flight too, instructing Redwing to do what he can to distract the aliens, but not to get too close. Suddenly, 'No!' Falcon shouts as one of the creatures swats Redwing aside. 'Begone, creature! Or I shall feast on your flesh!' the creature threatens. 'Don't mess with my bird!' the Falcon exclaims as he drops down on top of the creature. 'It gets me mad!' Falcon declares, the impact of him striking one of the creatures apparently enough to cause them to revert back into their true human forms. 'Hey...where've we been?' one of them asks.

'And you won't like me when I'm mad!' Falcon calls out, as he drops down near Scatterbrain and asks him what he thinks he is doing. 'I ain't doin nuthin' rev- it's the voices!' Scatterbrain claims. Scatterbrain explains that the voices tell him what they have to do, and he just lets them. 'And now they're telling me...that you gotta die!' he exclaims. 'Sorry, rev – it's outta my hands!' Scatterbrain claims as he looks at two civilians, uses his powers on them, and suddenly the cars they are standing next to are transformed into flying saucers. Other civilians look up in awe, 'How'd he do that?' one of them asks. 'Good question' Falcon thinks, before taking flight as the flying saucers move towards him, and chase him through the air. Sam thinks to himself that it is obvious “Scatterbrain” is schizophrenic, he believes in voices only he can hear, and feels compelled to obey them.

As a social worker, Sam has seen plenty of people like this on the street, folks who have been released from institutions without adequate follow up, or who never received proper care at all. Sam realizes that this guy can somehow change reality to give life to his voices, and is incredibly powerful – and probably the only limit on that power is the fact he doesn't realize he controls it. Sam flies through a narrow alleyway, but when he emerges on the other side, the flying saucers are still hot on his tail. He hoped that he could have lost them in a tight squeeze, but no such luck. 'I'll have to -' Sam starts to think, before the spaceships suddenly fall to the road below, returning to their true form as cars, one of which strikes a fire hydrant, causing water to burst into the street.  Sam thinks it is a good thing he saw what was happening and swooped low, and that when they transformed, they didn't have far to fall, so nobody died – yet.

When Falcon flies back to the crowd, he finds that Scatterbrain has used his powers on more of the civilians. 'Scatterbrain!' Falcon shouts, to which the unusual man tells him that is what he was called, ever since he was a kid. He beckons the Falcon closer, telling him that they all want to meet him. The transformed civilians surround the Falcon, and two of them grab him, to Sam's surprise, as he didn't think they could be this fast. 'Son, listen to me...I don't know why you're doing this, but -' Falcon begins, but Scatterbrain reminds Falcon that he isn't doing anything. 'You slow or something, man? Back in school, they always said I was slow!' he reveals. Sam tries to tell Scatterbrain that he understands him and understands what it is like to hear things nobody else can. 'Take me for instance!' the Falcon calls out, revealing to Scatterbrain that he hears the voices of birds. He calls out to Redwing, asking him to show his stuff.

Redwing appears overhead, 'And we don't need to let him know that our psychic link lets you respond to my thoughts not just my words!' Falcon tells Redwing through their psi-link, before asking 'You know the drill, right, bird?' Scatterbrain looks up as Redwing streaks through the air above him, 'Look at that sucker move!' Scatterbrain asks, before asking 'Say, rev, what else can you make him do -' before Redwing drops down onto Scatterbrain, knocking him backwards. 'Nice work, Red! Shake his concentration and he can't keep a mental hold on these monsters!' Falcon tells Redwing, as the civilians revert to their true selves, and release the Falcon, who rushes over to Scatterbrain, deciding that he won't be creating any more monsters, as he knocks him out.

Shortly, the police have arrived and are leading Scatterbrain away, and as the Falcon starts to leave, the business man rushes over to him, thanking him for saving his life and defusing the entire situation. 'You understand, of course, that it can't effect my company's plans for the church property, but -' the business man begins, before another man in a suit walks over to them, 'But maybe it affects mine!' he exclaims. He announces that he still owns the church and he might be willing to forget the entire transaction, maybe deed the property to the congregation instead of selling it. The Falcon looks at his hand and asks 'Why would you want to do that, Mr Meachum? So people will forget Scatterbrain was working for you? So they won't guess you encouraged him to use his power, even though you knew it could go wild like it did?' Sam asks.

Sam continues, asking Meachum if he thinks giving them the church – his father's church – will turn him into some sort of hero. 'No way, Meachum! You can steal their money, but I'm not going to let you have their souls!' Sam declares, announcing that he will build a new church, brick by brick before he will be beholden to a slug like him. 'Why you -! Nobody talks to Victor Meachum like that!' Meachum shouts as Sam walks away, Redwing resting on his arm. Meachum warns Falcon that he is walking a very thin line, to which Falcon replies 'Every day of my life, man!'

Characters Involved: 

1st story:
Le Peregrine
Silver Sable II

Red Skull II / George Maxon


2nd story:

Scatterbrain II

Mr Meachum
Business man
Police officer

Story Notes: 

1st story:
The Red Skull II previously appeared in  Captain America Comics #1 and #3 from 1941, and Tales of Suspense #59 in 1965. He has not appeared since this issue.

2nd story:
The Falcon was forced upon the Avengers as a member in Avengers (1st series) #184 and quit as soon as he could, in Avengers (1st series) #194. He would later return to the Avengers as a full-time member and become a mainstay of the team, leading the team also.

Scatterbrain II has not appeared since this story.

The Flashback occurs between issues 5 and 6

Written By: