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Jim Zub (writer), Sean Izaakse (artist) Tamara Bonvillain (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), RB Silva & Edgar Delgado (cover artists), John Tyler Christopher, Pepe Larraz & David Curiel (variant cover artists), Jon Malin & Jesus Aburtov (variant cover artists, based on Avengers (1963) #187 by John Byrne & Terry Austin), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), 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 members of the Avengers Unity Squad are at the remains of Avengers Mansion when a lawyer arrives wanting to speak with the Human Torch about the legacy of the Fantastic Four, but the Torch isn't interested. The lawyer is insistent and goes over a lot of information before finally informing the Torch that he is the sole heir of Reed and Sue Richards, and will inherit billions of dollars. The Beast and Wonder Man meet up at Molly Fitzgerald's bar to catch up with each other following Wonder Man's return to life. They catch up on recent events, particularly the mistakes that the Beast has made with certain decisions, and Wonder Man reflects on his own past. They wonder how they can get their lives back on track, before hearing a siren, they rush outside to find Whirlwind has stolen a armored vehicle and is speeding away from police. Rogue and the Wasp meet in a cafe, while the Torch struggles to comprehend the latest development in his life. The Wasp wants to know how Rogue is doing after all of the recent craziness, but Rogue doesn't make a big deal of things, and the Wasp reminds her that the team looks to her for guidance, but doesn't think of herself as a leader. The Wasp gives Rogue some advice about the Unity Squad, reminding Rogue of its history, and explaining how Rogue has to take charge now. Rogue agrees, as the Unity Squad is too important to leave busted up. Their conversation is interrupted when the Torch causes a commotion in the cafe about the amount he has to pay in taxes. Meanwhile, Wonder Man and the Beast catch up to Whirlwind, with the pacifist Wonder Man peacefully apprehending Whirlwind, while the Beast takes down Whirlwind's henchmen, and before long, the criminals are arrested by the police. The heroes are pleased with their actions, and Wonder Man declares that the Beast has to pay for dinner, because Deadpool stole all of his assets. Quicksilver and Synapse are catching up for a drink, with Quicksilver telling Synapse that he missed her when they were separated during the recent invasion. They are about to kiss when an alert from Rogue interrupts them, requesting they return to Avengers Mansion. They arrive to find Rogue, the Wasp, Doctor Voodoo and the Scarlet Witch standing among the ruins, as Doctor Voodoo casts a spell that brings the servants of Cyttorak to Avengers Mansion, the servants then begin to start rebuilding the demolished building. Quicksilver expresses his distaste for magic, citing the pain that it has caused him over the years, as the Juggernaut suddenly appears above the Avengers and falls towards them.
'I'm here to discuss the legacy of the Fantastic Four!' a lawyer called Harris Hutchley announces as he stands before the Avengers Unity team on the grounds of the ruined Avengers Mansion. The Avengers turn to their teammate, Johnny Storm the Human Torch, wearing only some shorts, he frowns and shouts 'Stow it, pal! Whatever it is, I don't want to hear it!' The lawyer assures the Human Torch that he would not have traveled all this way if it wasn't of the utmost importance. 'I don't care!' the Torch snaps, not looking at Mr Hutchley. 'Johnny...' Rogue calls out as she puts her hands on the Torch's shoulders. Johnny turns to Rogue and tells her that Reed, Sue and the kids are gone – that it is terrible, but that is all there is to it. 'Why can't people just leave it alone?' he asks. Harris Hutchley opens his briefcase and remarks that they can't leave it alone because the Torch's brother-in-law was the most brilliant mind this world has ever known.
Harris Hutchley continues, pointing out that Reed Richards' dedication to a better future laid the groundwork for a greater world of heroism and exploration. Hutchley hands a file to the Torch and informs him that as a legal concern, Reed Richards created a dizzying number of inventions and owned thousands of important patents – from propulsion engines and qquantum calculators to matter transfer solutions and unstable molecules. 'Reed was a super-genius. I know. Everyone knows' Johnny declares. 'You don't full comprehend what I'm saying, Mt Storm' Hutchley replies, explaining that he has been embroiled in a multitude of legal cases against dozens of the largest corporations in the world for the their unlicensed and unauthorized use of Dr Richards' extensive IP and patent library.
As the Torch flicks through the file, Jan van Dyne the Wasp looks at Harris Hutchley, and Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse starts to say 'Okay, but what does that have to do with -' to which Harris Hutchley adjusts his glasses and explains that, under directions from Dr Richards made before his untimely passing, he pursued every possible legal entanglement with an eye toward formalizing these uses and settling all related affairs discreetly and out of the public eye. He informs the Avengers that he has done that, using every bit of legal knowledge and political moxie at his disposal. Tossing some pages out of the file, the Torch exclaims 'Let me guess, now you're going to invoice me for your time?' but Harris Hutchley assures the Torch that his fees have already been covered, and that he is here to discharge the results of his work to Reed and Sue Richards' sole living heir. '... you, Mr Storm' Hutchley reveals.
Rogue, Synapse and the Wasp, along with their teammates Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch, Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver and Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo gather around the shocked Johnny Storm, as Hutchley tells him that if he will sign a few papers, then he will be in full possession of Dr Richards' illustrious patents, as well as licensing fee settlements paid in total of five billion, 196 million, 353 thousand, 518 dollars – and 41 cents. Hutchley grins as he asks if they can grab a cup of chai and discuss this matter in more detail.
Elsewhere, a figure in a long trenchcoat and wide-brimmed hat walks down a bust street. 'Vengers! 'Vengers!' a little girl carrying a balloon calls out as she walks with her mother, who calls her Stacy and tells her that she knows she is excited, but that she shouldn't run too far ahead. 'Oops!' the girl exclaims as she suddenly lets go of her balloon. 'Oh, no!' Stacy's mother utters, when suddenly, someone grabs the balloon – it's the man in the trenchcoat and hat, who kneels down beside Stacy. 'Don't lose that, little Stacy. We need you on our team' Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast grins. He tips his hat before carrying on down the street, leaving Stacy smiling behind him.
The Beast stops outside an establishment called The Luck o' the Irish Pub, which has covers over the windows preventing anyone from seeing inside, but a sign indicates that the pub is under repair but open. As he walks inside, the Beast removes his hat and calls out to the redhead behind the bar: 'Hi, Molly. Looks like the place has seen better days...' his voice trails off. 'Haven't we all, Beast' Molly Fitzgerald a.k.a. Shamrock replies. 'Touché' the Beast agrees. Molly tells the Beast that the pub fared better that most during the Darkforce crisis, but that she needs to keep slinging drinks and paying rthe bills while giving this place some R'n'R – repairs 'n' renovations. 'Where's our boy?' the Beast asks. 'Back booth. He's already got yer drink' Molly remarks.
The Beast walks over to a booth in the back where Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man is sitting. 'Color me shocked, Simon. You showed up early' the Beast greets his friend. 'Where else have I got to br?' Simon smiles. They tap their drinks together, 'Cheers!' Simon declares, before they knock their drinks back. 'So' Hank remarks. 'So' Simon replies. 'How the hell did we get here?' Hank asks. Simon laughs and asks Hank if he wants to go first. Hank hangs his head and tells Simon that it has been quite the run – X-Men, Avengers, Defenders, X-Factor, ex-X-Men – always hoping around, making a mess, never feeling settled. “Making a mess”? Simon quotes. He reminds his friend that he is the brilliant, bombastic Beast. 'Heroic genius who's forgotten more words than I've ever cared to learn!' Simon jokes. Beast puts his fingers on the rim of the glass and tells Simon that he knows he has been dead, or diffused – bur he has missed some of his screw-ups.
Memories flood Hank's mind as he explains that his intellectual and scientific capabilities have given way to devil-may-care-conceit, just like when he first drank the serum that made him this blue-furred mess. The Beast reveals to Simon that he mucked with time travel and wrecked the lives of five kids who deserved better, including a younger version of himself, then he betrayed mutants as he tried to cure a plague that threatened to wipe them out, and to get back into their good graces, he acted as a diplomat for New Tian during the Hydra debacle. The Beast cover his face as he utters 'Hydra. I watched fascism spread and looked the other way instead of fighting it tooth and nail'. Molly brings more drinks over as Hank remarks that being smart doesn't mean he actually “knows it all”, and jokes that he has become a case study for intellectual hubris. 'Wow, I didn't realize I eas going to be Father O'Williams listening to your much-needed confessional' Simon jokes, before asking Hank if he is looking for mea culpas or what. 'I'm rambling... I know you've been through the ringer' Hank remarks.'Sure, but at this point, I'm just happy to be alive for a change' Simon replies.
Simon tells Hank that everyone thought he was gone – and frankly, he thought that, too – until Rogue kissed Deadpool and his weird healing factor pushed his ionic energy form back into the world. 'Deadpool and Rogue kissed?' the Beast asks. 'Yeah' Simon tells him. 'I'll just wipe that particular apparition from my mind, thank you very much' the Beast laughs. 'Crazy, right' Simon jokes, remembering how he returned to life on this occasion. Simon reminds Hank that before that, he ewas Zemo's secret super weapon, then dead, scared, a failed Avenger, a crappy actor, a slightly better Avenger, then dead again, and back again, frustrated and lashing out because he didn't know what else to do. Wonder Man explains that he chose to become a pacifist because he didn't want to hurt anyone anymore – he wants to do good in this world. 'I'll drink to that' Hank agrees, before asking Simon if he has spoken with Wanda.
Simon glances away as he claims that there hasn't been time. 'I came back from the grave and then, next thing I knew, Steve Rogers marched on Washington and took over the whole damn country' Simon points out, adding that Wanda was possessed again, and now she is better, but she hasn't exactly been rushing to rekindle their romance. 'What do you want?' Hank asks. 'No idea' Simon replies. 'You need to talk to her. Get things settled, one way or another' Hank suggests. Simon knows that he should, but explains that he doesn't know if he can, as it is all so messed up. 'How do we solve this, buddy?' Hank asks. 'How do we get back to center instead of continually whirling out of control?' Hank enquires. 'That is the question, isn't it?' Simon frowns.
Suddenly, they look up when they hear loud sirens. 'Sounds like trouble' Simon remarks, before he and Hank head to the pub door. Hank thanks Molly for the pints, 'Any time, gents' Shamrock calls back as Simon and Hank leave. 'Well, wouldja look at that...' Hank utters as they reach the sidewalk outside. '...a patented poorly planned super-villain getaway' the Beast exclaims as they see an armored vehicle speed past, with police cars hot in pursuit. On the back of the armored vehicle is the villain known as Whirlwind, with some henchmen at his side. 'Cops? Lemme handle this!' Whirlwind exclaims as he unleashes a powerful funnel of wind that knocks a cop car up into the air. 'Time to go to work?' Hank asks. 'You know it, bud' Simon smiles as he and Hank bump their fists together.
Elsewhere, Janet van Dyne sits opposite Rogue at a cafe and asks her how Johnny is holding up. Rogue explains that Johnny is a bit bewildered by all the paperwork, but that otherwise he seems okay. 'And how about you? How are you doing?' Jan enquires. 'Me?' Rogue asks, surprised. Jan points out that Rogue has been on edge since the Unity Squad was disbanded and they zipped off to Japan to fight ninja-zombie Hulk. Rogue holds up a cup of coffee and looks away as she replies 'The Hand, M-Pox, the Red Skull, and then Steve turning traitor and selling the whole country up river while trapping us in the dark with a million-zillion monsters...wild times'. 'Absolutely. But we're still here' Jan remarks, adding that they are still looking to Rogue for guidance. 'Me? Ah'm not a leader, Janet. Ah told you that already' Rogue exclaims. 'I heard you say it, but I don't think that you believe that. Not really' Jan responds.
Rogue asks Jan why she doesn't do it, after all, she is a founding member of the Avenges, and has been chairwoman. Jan narrows her eyes and assures Rogue that she has thought about it, and informs Rogue that when she bolted during the Darkforce situation, her first inclination was to take charge, like she always does – but that isn't the long-term solution. The Wasp smiles as she reminds Rogue that she said it herself – the Unity Squad is gone, the reason these people stick around and fight the good fight is because she gives them a purpose. 'That purpose doesn't require charters or membership cards or Captain America yelling “Avengers Assemble”!' the Wasp explains, adding that she is happy to support this team, but that she can't take charge, it isn't her place. 'Ah'm gonna screw this ups sometimes' Rogue replies. 'Sure, and I'll be there to tell you when you do, but on the whole, I think you'll do a great job, Anna Marie' Jan replies, addressing Rogue by her true name.
Jan then asks what their first plan of attack is, to which Rogue replies that they may be “unofficial Avengers” but she feels that they have got to get the Mansion put back together, as it is too important to leave busted up and out of sorts. Jan sips her coffee and tells Rogue that she agrees. Suddenly, 'Taxes!' Johnny Storm shouts from a table nearby, where he sits opposite Harris Hutchley. 'Why the $#%& do I have to pay taxes on all this?' Johnny asks. Harris explains that it is called “Business & Opportunity Tax” and that it is how the system works. He adds that he is happy to introduce Johnny to some trusted accountants who can help him retain more of his money and assist with investments or trusts as required.
At that moment, 'Oh, great. It's Wonder Wuss and the Grape Ape!' Whirlwind calls out as he sees Wonder Man flying towards him, carrying the Beast. 'Ready for an intercept?' Wonder Man asks the Beast. 'Indubitably!' the Beast replies, as Wonder Man lets him go, despite the Beast telling him to be careful, as he is heavy enough to throw his momentum off balance. 'Fascinating!' the Beast then exclaims as he lands on the front of one of the in-pursuit police cars. 'Even with your flight speed and prodigious ionic strength, I'm surprised you were able to -' the Beast begins, interrupted when a spinning blade zooms past his head. Wonder Man flies in front of Whirlwind, whose henchmen open fire at him. 'Stop this vehicle right now!' Wonder Man calls out. 'KILL HIM!' Whirlwind tells his henchmen.
Suddenly, Wonder Man swoops into the back of the armored vehicle and grabs the surprised Whirlwind who exclaims 'What are you doing?' Wonder Man tells him that he is not going to hurt him, and remarks that he is committed to nonviolent super hero solutions. 'Brake time for bunky!' the Beast calls out as he leaps onto the top of the armored vehicle, then drops down into the front where he kicks the henchman driving onto the empty passenger seat. 'Prepare for rapid deceleration!' the Beast exclaims, as he pulls on the brake, bringing the vehicle to a screeching halt. 'Thank you for flying Air Avengers!' the Beast smiles. 'Please stay seated until local law enforcement has turned off your seat belt sign' he jokes. 'Be careful as you depart, as contents may have shifted during landing' the Beast adds, while in the back, Wonder Man smiles as he sits, tangled up with Whirlwind and his henchmen.
Shortly: 'So' Wonder Man remarks as he leans against a police car, watching as police officers load Whirlwind and his henchmen into the back of a secure police truck. 'So' the Beast responds. 'What do we do now?' Simon asks his friend. 'I think it's fairly obvious...' the Beast replies, pointing out that they will need to make statements to the police to ensure Whirlwind and his compatriots are properly charged to the full extent of the law in this jurisdiction. 'That's not what I meant' Simon smiles. 'I know' the Beast smiles back. Simon tells the Beast that they stpped the bad guys. 'Yup' the Beast agrees, and Simon adds that Hank even kept the driver from going through the windshield. 'Of course! The alternative would have been unbearably messy...' the Beast explains. Simon puts a hand on Hank's shoulder and tells him to joke all he wants, but that beneath that blue furry mane of his beats the heart of the most hard-working, brilliant and heroic person that he knows. 'Aw, shucks' the Beast replies. Simon suggests that they be better tomorrow than they were yesterday. 'I'll drink to that' the Beast tells him as they high-five each other. 'Good, because Deadpool stole all my assets, so dinner's on you' Simon adds.
At a restaurant, Pietro and Emily sit outside, as Emily tells Pietro that she feels a bit guilty leaving the others. 'Feh. I doubt they even noticed we took off' Pietro replies, and Emily realizes that he is probably right. 'That's what happens on teams, Emily. The loud and obnoxious ones get all the glory, while we're left to get things done before zipping out for some crème brulee' Pietro explains. 'That doesn't sound all bad' Emily smiles, before telling Pietro that she doesn't need to read his thoughts to know that he has had a lot on his mind. 'Quite true' Pietro admits. Pietro frowns and turns away as he reveals that after the invasion, when the city was cut off by the Darkforce, he wondered if life would ever return to normal. He adds that it made him realize that leaving things undone or words unspoken would only lead to more regrets. 'I missed you' Pietro tells Emily as he turns back to her. 'You did?' Emily asks. 'Yes, and I -' Pietro begins, before Emily's phone gets a message, and she pulls away from Pietro. 'Oh, it's Rogue' Emily announces. 'Of course it is...' Pietro frowns.
A moment later, 'What's the emergency?' Synpase asks as Quicksilver speeds towards their teammates at Avengers Mansion, carrying Synapse in his arms, both of them now dressed in their costumes. Rogue, Wasp, Doctor Voodoo and the Scarlet Witch are looking up at the ruined Mansion as Rogue reports that there is no crisis, she is just calling a meeting so they can talk about the future. 'Where's the boy billionaire?' Quicksilver asks. 'Making deals and handling indigestion brought on by acute fiscal responsibility' the Wasp responds. Rogue turns to Doctor Voodoo and asks him if he is sure this will work. 'I do not traffic in certainty, but I believe the results will be appreciably useful to us' Voodoo replies, before calling out to Wanda, who stands near some Mansion rubble and reports that she is is ready when Jericho is. 'What's all this?' Quicksilver asks as Wanda and Voodoo begin casting spells.
The Wasp informs Quicksilver that Doctor Voodoo thinks he can summon magical assistance to get Avengers Mansion rebuilt. 'Beyond dimensions and across the land- Cyttorak's servants, heed my command!' Doctor Voodoo utters. A portal opens, and several strange reddish beings who look not unlike the Juggernaut emerge from it. 'Fix the structure that once stood in place – restore it anew and built with great haste' Doctor Voodoo calls out. 'Cye-toe' the the beings repeat over and over as they begin picking up the rubble around the Mansion and putting it back in place as part of the longtime home of Earth's mightiest heroes. The Wasp and Rogue watch the strange creatures, perplexed. 'What in the -' the Wasp gasps, to which Voodoo explains that the Cyttora are the diminutive minions of Cyttorak the Invulnerable, and are obsessed with strength and durability, so by invoking Cyttorak's magic, he brought them here. He adds that when the Cyttora sense items that have been broken or misaligned, they instinctively begin to repair them.
'You summoned us here to watch a bunch of creepy homunculi build a wall?' Quicksilver frowns, folding his arms. 'We were in the middle of something imporant -' Quicksilver mutters, while Synapse watches the Cyttora with intrigue and exclaims 'Holy crap, Pietro! They're so cute!' but Quicksilver tells her that they are not. Wanda tells her brother that, after all these years, he should give more respect to Eldritch power. 'Why should I?' Quicksilver reports, before declaring that sorcery has brought nothing to his life but frustration and pain. 'Would that I could rid the world of it and save you from its thrall, my dear sister' Pietro adds. 'You're on quite a tear, Pietro' Synapse remarks as she puts a hand on Quicksilver's shoulder. 'Mark my words, Emily...magic sucks!' Quicksilver shouts as the six Avengers group together – and suddenly, the Mighty Juggernaut appears above them – and begins to fall straight down on top of them!
Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Stacy & her mother
in flashback images:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Marvel Girl (all time-displaced original X-Men)
Deadpool, Rogue (both Avengers Unity Squad)
Absorbing Man, Grey Gargoyle, Grim Reaper, Mister Hyde (all Lethal Legion)
Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, Franklin Richards and Valeria Richards have not been seen since the end of the “Secret Wars” event.
The Beast brought the original X-Men to the present in All-New X-Men (1st series) #1, following the M-Pox breakout he started working with the Inhumans in Uncanny Inhumans #1, and was a diplomat for New Tian during the “Secret Empire”.
Wonder Man was freed from Rogue's mind after Deadpool kissed Rogue in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #22-23.
Wonder Man was Zemo's secret super weapon in the classic Avengers (1st series) #9, and died in the same issue. He returned to life in Avengers (1st series) #151, assisted the Avengers on several missions before officially joining the team in Avengers (1st series) #194, leaving in #211 to pursue his acting career. He became “a slightly better Avenger” when he joined the West Coast Avengers team in West Coast Avengers (1st series) #1, serving with the team for most of its existence, but sacrificed himself in Force Works #1. He returned to life in Avengers (3rd series) #11, and became a pacifist in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #1.
Molly Fitzgerald a.k.a. Shamrock first appeared in the original Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions mini series, as one of many international super beings make their debut in that series. She has appeared very occasionally since then, prior to this issue in Marvel Knights Hulk #2 and #4.