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Gerry Duggan (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist) David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), David Marquez & Marte Gracia (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
The Avengers Unity Squad gather in a hospital, with Synapse sitting at the motionless Cable's side, and Quicksilver, the Wasp, Doctor Voodoo and the Human Torch waiting down another corridor, watching as Deadpool stumbles down the corridor, despite doctor's orders that he should get back to bed. Inside an operating room, the Red Skull's body is strapped to a table, as the Beast washes his hands and tells Rogue that he hopes he just completed his first brain surgery correctly. Rogue leaves the room holding a small box, and when she rejoins her teammates informs them that it is the telepathic part of Xavier's brain. Quicksilver alerts the others to Captain America, who strides down a corridor towards them with some SHIELD operatives, who take the Red Skull away. Captain America then asks to speak to Rogue in private, and reminds her that they have had their differences, but the decisions made today could affect the life of everyone on the planet – and asks her to hand over the brain. Rogue refuses, despite Captain America assuring her that he can make sure Charles Xavier's dream never becomes a nightmare again. Rogue tells Cap that she can do the same. Cap warns Rogue not to make this unpleasant, before Rogue flies out of the hospital, and shortly the Human Torch joins her. Rogue knows that she has to end this, and asks the Torch to destroy the remains of Xavier's brain, which he does with a small burst of flame. Captain America joins the Red Skull in the SHIELD transport vehicle as the Red Skull asks him how he could let them burn the brain. Later, Rogue, Deadpool, Quicksilver, the Torch, Synapse, Doctor Voodoo and the Wasp gather at their headquarters to debrief on recent events, while Synapse asks them how she can get a message to Cable in the future to warn him about what happens in the past. Later, Rogue talks to Deadpool about what happened, and how she beat him badly, before she flies him into the air and kisses him, absorbing the poisons from within his body and restoring his appearance. They continue to kiss for some time – until suddenly, Wonder Man emerges from Rogue's mind.
'This is an outrage. I should be with my friends in surgery. They've never done brain surgery! Let alone on someone as vile as the Red Skull! They could get it right!' Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool exclaims to several hospital staff in the middle of a busy corridor, to which one of the hospital staff to get back to bed. 'I'm fine!' Deadpool exclaims while wearing his hospital gown. In another room, Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse sits at the beside of the mind-erased Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable, while the rest of the team – Johnny Storm the Human Torch, Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo and Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver stand outside the corridor listening to Deadpool. 'What the hell is Deadpool doing?' Pietro asks as he leans against the wall. Jan thinks that Deadpool is putting on a show, trying to cheer them up. Jericho tells the others that he is proud of this team, but he wishes they didn't have to see Deadpool's butt daily. 'From the Fantastic Four to this' Johnny mutters.
'Well, that was exhilarating' Dr Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast remarks as he washes his hands in an operating theater. Rogue, wearing Magneto's helmet, stands at the door, as Hank tells her that he hoped he completed his first brain surgery correctly. 'No big loss if you don't' Rogue replies, while the Red Skull lies unconscious, strapped to the operating table. Rogue exits the operating room and thanks the Beast, while carrying a box. 'Is that -' Doctor Voodoo begins when Rogue joins her Unity Squad teammates in the corridor. 'The telepathic part of Xavier's brain' Rogue announces. 'We did it!' she exclaims, as the Wasp removes Magneto's helmet from Rogue's head, telling her that she doesn't need this anymore. 'We've got company' Pietro calls out to the others, as Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America strides down the corridor, followed by several SHIELD officers. 'Nice work taking the Skull down. SHIELD will take it from here' Captain America announces.
'Oh, and you're welcome, by the way' Quicksilver grins sarcastically at Captain America, while Voodoo tells Cap that this wasn't bad for a team he dissolved. Captain America ignores those comments and turns to one of the SHIELD agents, instructing him to prepare the prisoner for transport. A moment later, the unconscious Red Skull is wheeled from the operating room, still strapped to the table, while Captain America turns to Voodoo and explains that he doesn't own his shield – the American government does, and that once this team started working with criminals to break into US government facilities, the Unity Squad was finished. He then turns to Rogue and asks her for a word. The others watch as Cap and Rogue walk down the corridor, and into an empty waiting room area. Cap tells Rogue that he knows they have had their differences, but the decisions made today could affect the life of every person on this planet. 'I know this is personal, but -' Cap begins, to which Rogue interrupts him: 'What are you asking me for, Cap?'
Cap then extends a hand, and tells Rogue that he will have the brain. 'No, you won't, Steve' Rogue replies, turning away Captain America admits to Rogue that the two of them haven't seen eye-to-eye these last few months, but that neither she nor the X-Men possess somewhere safe enough to inter Xavier. 'It's a matter of national security' Captain America declares, putting his hands on his hips. He adds that he can make sure that Charles Xavier's dream never becomes a nightmare again. Looking at the box in her hands, Rogue assures Captain America that she is going to make sure this never happens again. Rogue points out that governments are made of people – and they can make mistakes, or become compromised. 'I'm giving Charles back his dignity' Rogue explains. Captain America pulls his shield off of his back, and straps it to his arm, pointing out that the brain is a weapon of mass destruction 'Don't make this unpleasant, Rogue' Cap tells her as he reaches out for the box. The other members of the Unity Squad enter the waiting area, as does one of the SHIELD agents, while Rogue smiles at Cap, 'Oh, I won't, sugar' she replies – and an instant later, smashes her way through the hospital wall and flies away. Cap stands at the gaping hole in the wall and looks out over the city, while Rogue flies higher and higher and contacts the Human Torch, telling him that she needs him, and to meet her upstairs.
A moment later, the Human Torch flies towards Rogue, who is hovering up in the clouds. 'How did Cap take that?' Rogue asks. 'Uh, let's just say nobody can make Cap as angry as an X-Man' the Torch replies. 'He's not wrong' Rogue remarks, before admitting that she screwed up with Cable and Shaw and the Toad when they went looking for a cure for the M-Pox. 'But Johnny – I ain't wrong now' Rogue declares. Rogue holds the box close to her chest and announces that she needs to end this 'You sure?' the Torch asks. Rogue hangs her head, 'Yes. Send Charles home' Rogue utters. 'Flame on!' the Torch exclaims, before Rogue throws the box into the air, and the Torch blasts it with a surge of flame. Rogue turns her head as the ashes scatter above her. The Torch tells her that he will give her a minute, before he flies away, leaving Rogue to hover alone in the clouds, watching as the sun streaks through the clouds over the sprawling city beneath her.
Rain begins to fall as the Red Skull is loaded into the back of a SHIELD transport vehicle. 'How could they do it? They destroyed it...' the now conscious Red Skull calls out. '... they burned the brain! I can't feel my connection anymore. Don't they realize the power they gave up?' he asks one of the agents who is securing him in the vehicle. 'All your minds are so quiet now' the Red Skull utters. Captain America climbs into the back of the vehicle and announces that he will ride alone. 'You. How could you let them do it?' the Red Skull asks as he recognizes Captain America, who closes the doors of the vehicle.
The SHIELD vehicles leave the hospital, and the Avengers gather out the front of the building as the rain falls around them. 'Hey, remember how I said I needed a break after Ultron returned wearing my ex-husband's face – and then we had to go to Japan and rescue Banner from the Hand, and then the Red Skull almost killed us? I think I'm gonna take that vacation now' the Wasp remarks. Quicksilver suggests that they separate as quickly as possible, before something else ruins Janet's plans. The door slams open, and Deadpool stumbles out carrying his IV fluid with him while one of the hospital staff informs him that his Avengers-issued insurance was declined. 'Bill me at Parker Industries!' Deadpool calls back, before Quicksilver puts an arm around him to help him stand. The Torch drops down and joins them as the Wasp asks how Rogue is. 'She's going to be okay' the Torch replies, and Voodoo points out that Rogue knows where to find them after this victory. 'Disneyland' Quicksilver suggests. 'I'm not allowed there' Deadpool reveals.
Shortly, 'In the morning, “the hangover” is going to be one of the Avengers' greatest villains' Deadpool jokes as he, Johnny, Synapse, Voodoo, Rogue and Jan gather in the bar at the theater headquarters. 'Deadpool's not wrong' Jan agrees, before adding 'That's a thing I say now, evidently. Tell no one'. Jan then tells her teammates that when the cap comes off her second bottle, it is time for her to leave. 'You sure? Quitters never win, Jan' Voodoo remarks. Jan switches down to her insect size, and laughs, asking 'You know how many “team breakup hangovers I've had? Enough to last a lifetime'. She then bids everyone farewell as she starts to fly away. 'Looks like one of us is getting too old for this $#%&' Deadpool grins, his mask pulled up over his mouth. 'You're an all right guy, Deadpool' Jan replies as she flies past him. Deadpool jokingly tells her that that is not the kind of language you just casually throw around right after being mind-controlled. 'But thank you, and tell no one' he adds, quietly.
Using a walking stick to help him stand up, Deadpool holds up a bottle of alcohol in his other hand and announces that he might as well share it, informing the others that it is a 21-year-old cask-strength Glinishmore. He begins to pour the drink into five glasses and jokes 'I was saving it for when Wolverine came back....but $%&# 'im, he's late!' Deadpool, Johnny, Rogue, Synapse and Voodoo then raise their glasses, and Synapse tells the others that they didn't last as long as she had hoped, while Deadpool comments that he was an Avenger for longer than he thought he would be. 'To the departed' Johnny remarks, while Rogue adds 'For Charles', and Voodoo tells his teammates 'For Cable'. They clink their glasses together, before Deadpool tells Voodoo that Cable will definitely be back, while the Torch points out that he previously told everyone Spidey would return – and he did.
Synapse then asks the others how she can get a message to Cable in the future and warn him about what happens to him here in the past. Johnny smiles as he jokes that when he bragged before about being in the Fantastic Four – he was the Ringo – and time travel was not his forte. Voodoo tells Synapse that a great power for her to have right now would be the power to enjoy handing the hateful Red Skull his bony ass for one night. 'You have a way with words, Jericho' one of the others remarks. 'In studied poetry' Voodoo replies, while Rogue sips her drink and notices Deadpool slip away from the group.
Deadpool walks down an empty street, when suddenly, he screams as Rogue appears above him and calls out to him. 'You fliers are always so sneaky!' Deadpool mutters. 'Do you hate me?' Rogue asks. Deadpool looks up at Rogue and tells her that he doesn't hate her. 'It's just hard to explain. I dig you too much to ruin you – which I would do, okay?' Deadpool replies. He pulls his mask up over his mouth and tells Rogue that he doesn't want her feeling bad for him, and reminds her that he gets beat up all the time. 'You don't owe me anything. Look at me, I'm fine' he adds. Rogue tells him that he isn't, and that she put him on a cane. 'All the cool kids are walking with canes and – HEY!' Deadpool exclaims as Rogue grabs him by his collar and pulls him into the air. 'What are you -' Deadpool calls out as Rogue flies up above the city high rises and tells him to shush – before, under the glowing moon above them, Rogue places her lips on Deadpool's and kisses him.
A short time later, Rogue and Deadpool drop back down to the rooftop of the theater that Deadpool owns. 'That shut you up' Rogue points out as Deadpool pulls his mask back over his head, revealing a handsome face, free of the disease the plagues him. 'You absorbed my crap. You deserve better' Deadpool remarks. Rogue smiles, her face covered in deformities tells Wade that she doesn't care what she looks like. Wade tells Rogue that maybe she is going to be fine having his skin, but asks her what about what is in his head and tells her that she only likes him because she doesn't know him that well. Rogue leans in and kisses Deadpool on the lips again – but she sees a memory, of Deadpool kneeling in a pit of human bones, cradling the unmoving body of a woman in his arms, while Captain America and Wolverine watch from nearby. Deadpool is screaming in the memory, and Rogue suddenly screams, too.
Rogue drops her head, 'I'm... I'm a big girl, Wade' she smiles, before explaining that having Wade in her head is a palate cleanser after the Red Skull. 'That is the most romantic thing anyone's ever said to me' Wade smiles, wide-eyed. On the rooftop still Rogue and Wade continue to kiss, as the city lights glow behind them. Rogue pulls away from Wade, 'I...I feel...' Rogue begins, touching Wade's face. 'Yeah. I feel it, too' Wade replies as he leans in for another kiss – when suddenly, 'Then I guess I make three... 'cause I think I feel it, too, Deadpool' Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man exclaims as he mysteriously appears, grabbing Rogue, who collapses, and holding her up in his arms. 'Oh. Hey, Wonder Man. You have amazingly terrible timing' Deadpool utters. Wonder Man tells Deadpool that he better have a good explanation for this, to which Deadpool nervously steps back from Wonder Man and asks 'What if I only have a vaguely passable explanation for this?'
Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
in Deadpool's memory:
Captain America, Wolverine
Captain America disbanded the Unity Squad in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #14, although most of the team were unaware of this. The team officially reformed in #17, but without Captain America.
Wonder Man has been trapped in Rogue's head since Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #21.