Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #21

Issue Date: 
May 2017
Story Title: 
Maximum Effort

Gerry Duggan (writer), Kevin Libranda (artist) Dono Sanchez Almara & Protobunker (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Adam Kubert & Paul Mounts (cover artists), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort & Daniel Ketchum (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Deadpool has been beaten to a pulp by Rogue, who is controlled by the Red Skull. Deadpool remains brave as he talks to Red Skull and reveals that he went to visit  the X-Men to find assistance, but they weren't home, so he took something from them – he then pulls from a satchel Magneto's helmet, which he promptly places on Rogue's head, blocking the Red Skull's influence over Rogue. The Red Skull and his daughter, Sin, rush to flee from Avengers Mansion, but Rogue flies after them, taking Sin out with ease, before throwing the Red Skull out of the Mansion, where she starts to strangle him under the statue of the Founding Avengers. At that moment, the Red Skull loses his control over the rest of the Unity Squad – Human Torch, Synapse, Doctor Voodoo, Quicksilver and the Wasp, who are fighting Spider-Man and Wong. They all gather around Rogue, who reveals that the Skull is not dead. Quicksilver urges her to kill the Skull, but Rogue wants to do this the right way, and flies away with the Red Skull.  Inside Avengers Mansion, Synapse and the Wasp find the lifeless form of Cable and Synapse is shocked to discover the Red Skull wiped Cable's mind. Doctor Voodoo ushers the Mansion guests out while he tends to Deadpool who is barely alive. Wong looks after the Mansion guests while waiting for the police to arrive, while the Torch suggests to Spider-Man that he could talk to his boss at Parker Industries about buying the Mansion, but Spider-Man declines. The Unity Squad regroups and wonders what Rogue's plan is with the Red Skull, as the Avengers only had a plan to capture him, nothing planned beyond that, while Rogue arrives at New Attilan and finds the Beast, informing him that she needs him to perform brain surgery!

Full Summary: 

'I'm ready for my dessert, Sin' the Red Skull calls out to his daughter as he sits at the end of a long table in the formal dining room within the former Avengers Mansion. Sin stands near her father, while the possessed Rogue kneels over the motionless and blood-soaked body of Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool. Sin tells her father that she knows he is enjoying himself after laying low these last few months, but by now she has no doubt that the New York Police Department will have rung up SHIELD. 'Yes, well, you can't fault me for -' the Red Skull begins, interrupted when Deadpool suddenly coughs, 'Hey, Skull!' he calls out. 'DON'T INTERRUPT ME!' Red Skull shouts telepathically, while controlling Rogue to raise a fist above Deadpool. 'Yo, Red. There's one thing you should know' Deadpool remarks. The Red Skull scowls and replies that he would say he knows everything he needs to. 'Wouldn't you agree?' he asks Deadpool.

'Certainly does seem that way' Deadpool replies, before telling the Skull that he is right, it isn't important. 'You'll figure it out soon enough, anyway' he adds. The Red Skull pours some chocolate sauce over an ice-cream sundae, and tells Deapool that he has been very accommodating of him, so the least he can do is listen to his last words. 'Make them count!' the Red Skull declares. With Rogue still holding him to the ground, Deadpool tells the Skull that he knows he hates that he can't read his mind, 'Trust me, you're not missing much' Deadpool adds, before pointing out that while he keeps the Red Skull busy hurting him, he isn't hurting his friends. He explains that Rogue came charging in here because their teammates were in danger, and she left him to formulate a backup plann – in case she failed. The Red Skull bursts into laughter as he places a cherry on top of his sundae as he remarks that he was wondering why Deadpool wasn't with Rogue in her magnificent final charge. 'If you don't mind me saying, your planning is lackluster' the Skull adds.

Deadpool reaches for a bag that is nearby and explains that he didn't race in to fight the Skull, and that he really tried to think about how to beat him. He reveals that he hit up Spider-Man and Wong, and went looking for the X-Men in Westchester, but they weren't home. As he starts to eat his sundae, the Red Skull tells Deadpool that is sad for him, and asks if there is a point to this sotry, as his ice-cream is melting. 'Hang on, I'm getting to the good part' Deadpool replies as he grabs that bag and tells the Red Skull that the X-Men are sentimental collectors. 'Enjoy that sundae' Deadpool remarks. 'Rogue will be right with you' he informs the Red Skull as he pulls Magneto's helmet from the bag. 'Mein Gott! Kill  him!' the Red Skull shouts, leaping up from the table and pointing at Deadpool.

Rogue begins to punch Deadpool over and over, hard and fast, and despite his many injuries, Deadpool is able to reach up and place Magneto's old helmet over Rogue's head. Rogue is suddenly free of the Red Skull's telepathic control, and she turns to the villain and frowns. 'Nein. Her mind is closed to me!' the Red Skull gasps. He begins shouting 'No, no, no' and runs from the dining hall into the corridor, where he sees Sin and urgently tells her that they must flee, adding that he is recalling Rogue's teammates to the Mansion. 'RED SKULL!' Rogue shouts, slamming a fist into the palm of her other hand. Her attention is disturbed when Deadpool coughs, and she looks down to his mutilated body. 'Wade, I'm -' Rogue begins, but Wade tells Rogue not to let the Red Skull get away with this. 'Go get 'im, tiger!' he exclaims, before Rogue flies away through a hole in the Mansion wall.

Rogue creates several more holes in the walls of the Mansion, as she catches up to the Red Skull and Sin, blocking their exit. 'You sadist! You're not going anywhere!' Rogue shouts. 'You'll have to go through me if you -' Sin begins, clenching her fists, but she doesn't get the chance to put up a fight as Rogue hurls her into a nearby wall, knocking her out. 'If you dare lay a single finger on me -' the Red Skull warns Rogue, who shouts 'I DARE!' as she swings a powerful punch that knocks the Red Skull through a window, and out onto the Mansion grounds. The Red Skull cries out, and lands with a thud near the statue of the Founding Avengers. 'Y-you struck me. You forget – I still control your friends. They will pay the price for that' the Red Skull warns Rogue as he sits up, blood trickling from his face down onto the ground.

Rogue strides over to the Red Skull and grabs him by his collar, 'How many have you killed?' she asks him. 'UNHAND ME, WOMAN!' the Red Skull snarls. 'Sorry -' Rogue remarks as she wraps a hand around the Red Skull's throat and tightens her grip. '- you don't get to put your thoughts in my head anymore' Rogue exclaims through gritted teeth. The Red Skull tries to say something, but can't through Rogue's powerful grasp.

Out on the streets of Manhattan: 'Die, Dormammu!' Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo calls out as he battles Wong, who deflects Doctor Voodoo's attack with a mystic spell. Johnny Storm the Human Torch hovers in the air and blasts a powerful stream of flame towards Spider-Man, who protects himself with a shield made of webbing. 'You killed Reed and Sue! And I'll burn you for it!' the Torch exclaims. 'My fire will cleanse the -' the Torch begins, before he looks confused, and de-powers as he drops to the ground, 'Spidey!?' the Torch calls out, while Doctor Voodoo looks around, too, realizing that the Skull has gone quiet. 'Where is he?' Voodoo asks. 'The Mansion! Everyone – this way!' Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver exclaims as he speeds past his teammates.

Spider-Man, Wong, Quicksilver, the Torch, Doctor Voodoo, Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse and Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp shortly arrive at Avengers Mansion and gather around Rogue. 'Is the Skull dead?' Quicksilver calls out. 'No' Rogue tells him. 'Do it! Finish this!' Quicksilver urges her, but the Wasp tells Rogue to ewait a second. 'We can't just -' Jan begins, before Rogue lifts the Red Skull's unconscious body into the air, so looks down at the others and intstructs them to secure the area. 'Search for casualties. Deadpool's inside. He needs help' Rogue reports. The others look up at Rogue and Quicksilver asks her where she is going. 'I'm finishing this – the right way' Rogue responds as she flies off with the Red Skull's body.

Shortly: 'Deadpool? Cable?' Synapse calls out as she walks down a flight of stairs within Avengers Mansion – and discovers Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable laying motionless several feet away. 'Nate!' she calls out, before rushing over to him and placing a hand on his head, telling him to wake up – but nothing happens. 'How bad, Synapse?' the Wasp asks as she flies over to the young Inhuman, who goes wide-eyed as she announces 'It can't be – the Red Skull's erased his mind!'

'Deadpool, if you can hear me, say something!' Doctor Voodoo calls out as he rushes up some stairs, where he finds some hotel guests dressed as the Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man. 'What happened to us? What did that man do to us?' one of the guests asks. Voodoo instructs them to head downstairs, as police are on the way. 'There's a dead body up ahead' one of the guests calls back as they head down the stairs. 'I will attend to it' Voodoo responds.

'Wade!' Voodoo calls out as he enters the dining room and finds the severely injured Deadpool, lying in his own blood and body parts, trying to say something. Voodoo tells him not to speak, and that he will get help. 'Skull? Where...?' Deadpool utters. Doctor Voodoo kneels down beside Deadpool and tells him that the Skull can't hurt him anymore. 'He dead?' Wade asks. Voodoo tells him that the Skull isn't, to which Deadpool asks Voodoo not to let Rogue see him like this. Voodoo informs him that Rogue has gone – she flew away with the Red Skull. 'Oh, no. I failed her' Deadpool utters. Voodoo touches Deadpool's arm and tells him that he isn't thinking straight – that he didn't fail, and he saved them all. 'No. it was supposed to be me. I'm supposed to kill the Skull... not her... that's how this story was supposed to end' Deadpool explains to Voodoo.

Voodoo carries Deadpool on his back out of the dining room and tells him not to worry about Rogue, that she can handle herself – especially while wearing Magneto's telepathy-blocking helmet. 'That was inspired' Voodoo remarks, before warning Deadpool not to tell anyone that he gave him a piggyback ride. At the same time, the Human Torch is helping Synapse to carry Cable up some stairs. 'Cable's – heavier than he looks' the Torch remarks, before Synapse asks him who the best telepath is that he knows. 'Jean Grey, I suppose' the Torch replies. Synapse tells him that she thinks Cable is going to need all the help he can get. Wong stands near the front entrance of the Mansion and reports that SHIELD is setting up a perimeter, so they should evacuate the civilians. 'I'm never coming back to work here' one of the hotel staff mutters, while several guests are gathered near Wong, who remarks that he doubts there will be any more guests at this theme hotel afer the reviews of this incident.

As paramedics load Cable and Deadpool into separate ambulances, Deadpool utters' Yikes, this new “Cable & Deadpool” reboot kind of sucks, huh?' while the Torch looks over at Avengers Mansion and remarks that it is going to need a lot of screen doors. 'Maybe you could talk to your boss at Parker Industries into buying the Mansion and -' the Torch starts to suggest, but Spider-Man interrupts him by stating 'That won't be happening'. They fist-bump as the Torch thanks Spider-Man for the save, and tells him that he owes him one. 'Yes, you do!' Spider-Man replies, adding that he will take the Torch up on it someday. 'See ya 'round, buddy' Spider-Man tells his friend, before he swings away on some webbing.

The Unity Squad gather around, and Doctor Voodoo reports that the wounded are sorted. 'What now?' the Torch asks. Synapse enquires where Rogue went, and what the “plan” was that she talked about. 'That was the first I heard about it' Quicksilver reports, to which the Wasp asks if it wasn't an “Avengers” plan, then where would Rogue take the Skull. 'Hopefully to the Punisher' Synapse remarks. 'I bet Deadpool has his number' the Wasp jokes. Doctor Voodoo begins creating a mystic pentagram as he reports that Janet is correct – the Avengers didn't have a plan for the Skull beyond capturing him. 'But the X-Men did. I think I know where she's going'  Voodoo reports as the Unity Squad stand in the pentagram. Voodoo adds that even after everything the Red Skull put them through, Rogue will still try to save the Skull – but she will see him dead if it's the only way to free them all from the threat of Xavier's misused powers – so there is only one person she will turn to.

At that moment, Rogue arrives at New Attilan, home of the Inhumans. She lands on a balcony, and calls out 'Scrub up. We have a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in' as she enters the laboratory where Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast is working. 'I need you to perform brain surgery, Beast!' Rogue calls out, to which the Beast looks at the Red Skull and gasps 'Oh my stars and garters!'

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)





Red Skull



Avengers Mansion guests

Police officers


Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
Written By: