Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #4

Issue Date: 
March 2016
Story Title: 
Always Shoot a Swordsman

Gerry Duggan (writer), Ryan Stegman (artist), Richard Isanove (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Ryan Stegman & Richard Isanove (cover artists), John Tyler Christopher (variant cover artist), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Breevort & 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: 

Synapse remembers emerging from her cocoon following Terrigenesis, and how her grandfather had claimed they could save the world, while her brother had not emerged from his cocoon. Now though, she is in denial that the seemingly maniacal Shredded Man is her grandfather, before she launches an assault against him when he boasts that no one can stop him. Rogue and Deadpool perform what Rogue calls the “oddball special” while they fight alongside Cable and Doctor Voodoo against the strange plant creatures. The Human Torch is with the scientists at MIT who have developed a new antitoxin. The Torch tests it by injecting it on himself – that's what Reed would have done. Quicksilver arrives and takes the antitoxin, speeding around the city and healing everyone he can find. Cable has a vision of what happens when Synapse kills the Shredded Man, so he races to find her, and pulls her away from him when Synapse starts to choke him. Cable knows they are both newly sparked Inhumans, before informing the Shredded Man that he made a second formula in the future, one that removes the Inhuman immunity to the plague he has unleashed. The Shredded Man claims that he is prepared for death, before Cable fires his weapon containing the other antitoxin at Synapse, who starts to become overwhelmed by the plague, with her immunity to it gone. The Shredded Man is worried for his granddaughter, who tells him that she does not want to die – but that she doesn't want to live with the shame of what he has done. The Shredded Man releases a cure and the city of Boston begins to restore, although he gives Cable and Synapse a warning that he could have saved the world, but now humanity's end will be worse than what he had done. Synapse is fine, and tells her grandfather that they will get help for him – but he tells Synapse that she lost his love, and his body starts to fall apart, as  he declares once again that humanity has doomed itself, and that he can regrow new bodies. The others arrive on scene, while Synapse asks Cable not to tell them about her connection to the Shredded Man – she will when she is ready. The Avengers and Cable return to the Avengers Unity Squad's headquarters, where Synapse informs Commander Rogers that she needs to speak with him. Deadpool tries to quit the team, but Rogers does not accept his resignation. When Cable learns that the secret mission of the Unity Squad is to find the Red Skull and retrieve Xavier's brain, he decides that he might stay with the team. In space, a shuttle crew is rescued by an alien – with the rescuer revealed to be Hank Pym – seemingly wearing Ultron as a suit of armor!

Full Summary: 

Eight months ago:

'Something's... happened' a young woman utters as she emerges from a cocoon, covered in green muck. 'Oh, yes. Something wonderful' an older man remarks, standing over her, also covered in green muck. 'I can feel the electricity' the girl remarks. 'I can, too – from the plants!' the older man tells her. 'No, animals, I think' the girl tells him as she gets up and crosses the room. 'Amazing' the older man utters. The girl goes out of her room, 'Is he -' she begins as she sees another cocoon. The older man tells the young woman that her brother hasn't emerged yet, before declaring that they can save the world, that this is amazing.


Boston, where that young woman has been reunited with the older man, her name is Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse and she is the newest member of the Avengers, part of the Unity Squad, and she is confronted by the villain known as the Shredded Man – her grandfather! Green mist flows around them as Synapse she declares that this is all a mistake. 'Please, I'm begging you. This is not you. You need help' she utters. The Shredded Man tells Emily that he is sorry, as he knows how sensitive she is, perhaps even more so after Terrigenesis, but that he is not the one in need of aid. 'Don't you see? A mass extinction is the only way to save the planet. It can't support all the human lives' the Shredded Man explains. 'If you ever loved me, you'll stop this right now' Emily calls out. Angrily, the Shredded Man shouts that he will not yield – not even for his own granddaughter. 'No one can stop me!'

Synapse begins to cry, before telling her grandfather that she has only been an Avenger for a couple of months, but he is the fourth person to yell that at her – 'And it hasn't been true once!' Synapse shouts as she lunges forward and shoves her elbow into her grandfather's face.

Elsewhere, three of Synapse's teammates – Rogue, Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool and Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo have united with Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable as they make their way through the strange forest that has sprung up throughout Boston, and battle the strange creatures that resemble dogs and bats but are actually plant-based that attack them Cable announces that he is reloading, and as he does so, notices a dog creature rushing towards them. 'That one's yours' he tells Deadpool. 'This is very embarrassing, but you wouldn't happen to have any 5.56 ammo, would you, Cable?' Deadpool asks. As she knocks back some bats, Rogue mutters that she told Rogers this team was underpowered, before dropping down onto the dog creature just as it lunges at Deadpool. 'And need more fliers' Rogue adds. 'I can fly' Deadpool claims. 'C'mon, sugah! Fastball Special!' Deadpool exclaims as Rogue holds her hand out, Deadpool leaps onto her hand, and Rogue hurls him through the air, towards a large bat flying towards them. 'It's even better than Logan said' Deadpool remarks. 'More like Oddball Special' Rogue jokes.

Deadpool lands on the bat, and shoves two large swords into it. 'This is your captain speaking. We're going to need to divert this flight due to some technical issues' Deadpool jokes, as the bat plummets to the ground. Deadpool sees that Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver has returned, and tells him that he needs ammo. 'Can you swing by my armory?' he asks. Quicker than the eye, Quicksilver speeds away, then returns, with a gun-store owner and some weapons. 'Gun-show-around-every-corner in America' Quicksilver mutters. 'He insisted on coming along when I told him you were here' Quicksilver remarks. 'It's a true honor, Mr Deadpool, Sir' the gun-store owner' smiles as he shakes Deadpool's hand. 'Thanks. Let's drop some monsters' Deadpool replies, as he and the man take a large weapon each, then point them skyward, opening fire on the mass of bats that  appear overhead.

Elsewhere again, at MIT:

 'So based on the sample we had, and the antitoxin from Cable, this new serum could save everyone that's infected?' Johnny Storm the Human Torch asks. 'It could' one of the scientists working with the Torch replies. 'But it could also kill everyone in the process' the Torch adds as he connects the serum to a large syringe. 'I wouldn't want to test it on myself' the scientist replies, before asking the Torch what he wants to do. 'I want... to do what Reed would do with lives on the line' the Torch replies, announcing that Reed would test it on himself, Johnny then shoves the syringe into his own neck. 'That's not exactly a clinical trial' one of the scientists points out. As Quicksilver speeds into the lab, the Torch remarks that it will have to do.

'How are your nerds doing with Cable's serum?' Quicksilver asks. The Torch hands it to him and reports that it is ready – he thinks. Quicksilver suggests to the Torch that he get back to the fight, while one of the scientists points out that everyone in the city needs the shot. 'Is he fast enough to -' the scientist asks, as the Torch interrupts him, declaring that Quicksilver isn't just the fastest, he also has the biggest heart this side of Ben Grimm. The Torch adds that Quicksilver won't stop running if there is the smallest chance that even one more person out there needs this shot.

With the syringe containing the serum in one hand, Pietro speeds about the city, injecting the potion into everyone civilian that he comes across – from those that are trapped amongst the vines that cover the ground, to those in the city's hospital. He speeds to another, and another and another – onwards he runs.

Cable asks Rogue how much she knows about the Inhumans and the damn Terrigen cloud. 'Not enough, I suppose' Rogue admits, adding that it will have to wait. As Pietro is delivering the anti-toxin. Cable lets out a groan, and his left eye flashes. Rogue asks him what is up, and Cable reports that he has a psychic flash – he sees Synapse holding the Shredded Man – before snapping his neck, and a city then cleared of all the strange creatures and plant life that now covers it – but it is a city in ruin. 'Oh, hell! The new girl's about to blow it!' Cable shouts as he runs onwards, past Doctor Voodoo who is standing over an injured civilian, and tells ghim to hold on, to stay with him as help is coming. Quicksilver arrives, and injects the serum into the civilian. He then tells Doctor Voodoo that he is going back for more serum. Doctor Voodoo offers to continue scouting for any weak souls that Quicksilver may miss.

Cable calls out to his artificial intelligence called Belle who appears as a tattoo on his cybernetic arm, and tells her that he has to get to Bedford Avenue. Belle gives directions, and Cable blasts through a large vine before him, 'SYNAPSE! DON'T DO IT!' Cable shouts as he leaps through the large gaping hole in the vine, where nearby, Synapse has an arm wrapped around the Shredded Man's neck and tells him that she doesn't know what he is – but he is not her grandfather. 'Ivan Guerrero died in that cocoon!' Synapse exclaims, while the Shredded Man chokes. Suddenly, Cable arrives on scene, and leaps at Synapse, pushing her off of the Shredded Man, he tells her that she is making a mistake. 'You kill the Shredded Man and this nightmare never ends!' Cable warns her. As she falls on the ground nearby, Synapse looks up at Cable and tells him that he doesn't know what he is talking  about.

With a filter mask enabling him to breathe safely covering his mouth, Cable asks Synapse if he heard right – that she and the Shredded Man are related, and that they are both newly sparked Inhumans. 'He's my grandfather. Or he was my grandfather... I  have no idea what he is now' Synapse laments. Cable turns to the Shredded Man and introduces himself, before announcing that he is from the future. 'And you're about to tell me my plan will fail? Comical' the Shredded Man replies. 'Quite the opposite, actually' Cable tells him, warning the Shredded Man that he is here to change all of that, and revealing that before he arrived, he spent time in his lab, and that his antitoxin is already being mass-produced. Cable informs the Shredded Man that the only people left alive in 2087 were Inhumans, which is why he made a second formula that removes the Inhuman immunity to the Shredded Man's own plague. 'We wanted a little leverage in case this event turned out to be a coordinated attack' Belle explains.

The Shredded Man replies that he is prepared for death. 'I know you' are Cable tells him as he raises his huge square-shaped gun to the Shredded Man, just inches from his face. 'Is she?' Cable asks as he suddenly turns to Synapse and opens fire, shooting her instead. 'NO!' the Shredded Man booms. 'Emily!' he shouts, as Synapse falls to the ground, Cable pulls the gun upwards and asks the Shredded Man if he is willing to watch her die. 'Feels like... fire...' Synapse utters as rhe residue of the weapons blast rises from her chest. The Shredded Man rushes over to Synapse: 'I was doing this for you. For our kind. For the planet' he utters. 'Em? Can you -' the Shredded Man calls out to his granddaughter. 'I don't wanna die... but I don't wanna live...' Synapse utters as her skin turns green and vines slowly wrap around her. '...with the shame of what you've done... there's still time for you to remember the man you were...' Synapse utters to her grandfather, who hangs his head.

The Shredded Man then raises his arms overhead and declares that now humanity's end will be worse. He releases more spores into the air, 'Famine. War. Disease. The rising tides. I could have prevented all that' the Shredded Man claims as the wind blows leaves past a group of the creatures, up over the skyscrapers in the city, and suddenly, Emily sits up, 'Wha-what's happening?' she asks. 'My will is undone' the Shredded Man claims as the wind clears the other anomalies out of the area. Synapse is on her knees and thanks the Shredded Man, telling him that they will get him help and find a cure for what happened to him. 'No, you won't' the Shredded Man replies. He leans into Synapse and tells her that she has lost his love, and that when they meet again, there will be no mercy.

'It doesn't matter what you do. Humanity has doomed itself...' the Shredded Man points out, as a bug crawls out of his mouth, and his face starts to melt. 'Wha – what's happening to you?' Synapse asks. The Shredded Man collapses to the ground and explains that when he wiped the slate clean, it destroyed all of his work – including this body. Dozens of bugs spill  from his mouth, before he convulses backwards, his body continues to melt, as he reveals that he can grow other bodies, only a pile of bones and fluid remains as Synapse and Cable stand over what was once the Shredded Man. As Rogue, Deadpool, Human Torch and Doctor Voodoo arrive, Deadpool calls out 'Geez, Nate – what the hell did you do to him? If you're gonna roll with the Avengers, you can't be dropping bodies like this'. Cable ignores Deadpool, and as he removes his gas mask, Synapse pulls her mask back up over her face, and whispers to Cable 'Don't...don't tell them. Please'.

Cable looks at the young Inhuman and tells her that he doesn't know if he can keep that secret. Synapse assures Cable that she will tell them, but that she just needs some time. Quicksilver arrives on scene and reports that he just ran the city, and that the attack is ending as quickly as it began. Synapse walks away from the others as Rogue turns to Cable and asks him how it ended. 'Poorly' Cable tells her, adding that at least it is over, and that he will debrief her later. Rogue notices Synapse standing away from the group, arms folded and her head hanging. Rogue asks Cable what is wrong with her, to which Cable replies 'She'll tell you when she's ready'.

Shortly: 'I see a lot of long faces around here...and there's no reason for that' Commander Rogers remarks as he stands next to a chopper which the rest of the Avengers Unity Squad emerge from. 'I'm just saying that maybe the Vision could do double duty on both squads' Deadpool suggests. 'NO!' Commander Rogers shouts, adding that he didn't accept any of Deadpool's other resignations, so he is not accepting this one. 'Request denied. Go get some chow' Rogers conccludes. Cable emerges from the chopper and addresses Steve Rogers, while Synapse approaches him and tells him that she needs to talk to him. Commander Rogers tells her that they can speak once she has slept and eaten. 'But fair warning: I have to prevent Wade from quitting after every mission, and I only have time to coddle one Avenger' Rogers declares.

Commander Rogers turns to Cable and asks him if he is sticking around. 'Probably not' Nathan replies. 'That's a shame' Rogers replies, before revealing that this team's secret mission is to take down Red Skull and retrieve Xavier's brain. Cable smiles and remarks that perhaps he will be here a little longer than he thought. Rogue tells Rogers that they could have done some of this better. 'Maybe. Maybe not' Rogers replies, adding that he thinks some luck turned up with Cable. The Avengers Unity Squad walk side by side across the rooftop, and Rogers tells them all that he wants them to know they did him and the entire Avengers Organization proud. 'The world lives to spin another day. That's the only job. Now rest up... because we don't know what the universe will throw at us tomorrow!'

Meanwhile, in space, a shuttle floats alongside an asteroid belt, seemingly very damaged with a large alien atop the shuttle. A figure streaks through space, a stream of energy glowing behind them. 'I don't know who you are, but we owe you our lives' one of the crew inside the shuttle calls out 'Happy to help! I was on my way home when I saw you in distress' he grins as he flies past the alien, burning it alive with the energy that streaks behind him. 'That's the last of them, fellas. Permission to come aboard?' he remarks as he flies towards a hatch, which opens, as the crew wait for their savior to board. 'Wow! Are you from Galador?' one of them asks. 'A – a Space Knight?' another enquires. A strange armor seemingly melts away from the mysterious savior, as he replies 'No. I'm not, but that's a good guess based on my latest exo-design...' he replies, before grinning and introducing himself as Hank Pym – and that the silver he is wearing is his friend... Ultron!

Characters Involved: 

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


Belle IV


Shredded Man

Hank Pym / Ultron





Spaceship crew


In flashback:

Emily Guerrero

Ivan Guerrero

Emily's brother (inside cocoon)

Story Notes: 

Hank Pym and Ultron were last seen in the Avengers: Rage of Ultron one-shot, where they merged.

Written By: