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Gerry Duggan (writer), Ryan Stegman (penciler), Marl Morales, Dave Meikis & Ryan Stegman (inkers), Richard Isanove (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Ryan Stegman & Richard Isanove (cover artists), Joelle Jones & Rachelle Rosenberg (variant cover artists), 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
In Pleasant Hill, Rogue goes about her new life, as a woman called Claire. She walks her dog and passes her Unity Squad teammates, all who are slightly changed, and living their new lives, too. She returns to her home, where some sort of stalker calls her. She is frustrated, but as she cuts her sandwich into triangles which form an X shape, she is confused. The stalker on the phone asks “Claire” if she remembers what he taught her long ago. “Claire” remembers her early time with Professor Charles Xavier, who spoke with her about psychic defenses, and gives her advice and training on protecting her mind from psychic attack, explaining that she needs a clear and simple warning that her subconscious can send to her conscious mind. Rogue chose the Professor as this warning signal, and “Claire” suddenly sees the Professor in her kitchen, and pulls a playing card from his sleeve, realizing she missed something else, too. Xavier tells her that she can achieve the impossible, before he vanishes. Rogue goes outside to where her neighbor “Chet” is mowing his lawn. She tries to tell him that he is really the Human Torch, but he doesn't understand – so she sets him on fire. Shortly, Rogue and the Torch make their way through Pleasant Hill, where Rogue grabs a young woman who she thinks is Kamala Khan. Kamala fights Rogue, resisting a Rogue tries to tell her who she really is, so Rogue takes some extreme measure by flying Kamala up over Pleasant Hill and threatening to drop her, until Kamala admits that she is Ms Marvel. They return to the ground, where the Torch has found Cable, Synapse, Quicksilver and Doctor Voodoo and freed them from their fake lives. Rogue notices a man playing a piano in a music store before they set out to find Deadpool – who is the local fireman. Rogue gives him the bad news, and Deadpool's fake life is shattered when his true deformed body is restored. Doctor Voodoo reminds the others that they were dealing with multiple Maria Hills earlier, and Synapse believes she can enhance the memory functions of the other Avengers still trapped here. They find Tony Stark and Miles Morales working in the auto repair and convince Tony about who he really is. Rogue thinks she knows where Vision is – the man playing the piano. She goes to him with Kamala, and restore his true memory. They return to the others, who have now gathered Thor and Nova, as they start to plot their escape from Pleasant Hill – only a mysterious girl appears before them and tells them that they aren't supposed to be awake and that it is time to go back to sleep.
'I'm so tired these days. I feel like I'm sleepwalking' Rogue thinks to herself as she walks down a deserted street, holding a leash with a white dog at the other end. She thinks that she isn't motivated, not inspired and there is no excitement – or, rather, there is some excitement, but just the wrong kind.
'Heya, Claire' a shirtless, burly man at the firestation calls out, turning from washing his fire engine to “Claire” as she walks past. 'Hi' Rogue waves back. She cuts onto a park, where a handsome man walks nearby in a blue suit. He has a patch over one eye and only one arm. A man with a white streak through his hair sweeps the front porch of a funeral home. 'Everything is fine. That's the problem' Rogue decides. She continues on her walk with the dog, passing a gym where two men are running on treadmills. Rogue can't remember the last time she saw a fight or a fire. She wonders what that firefighter does all day. 'Ugh, why am I thinking about Magnum PI the Firefighter?' Rogue wonders as she passes another window of the gym, where a young woman with long braided hair punches a boxing bag, and two other men work out nearby.
Rogue walks up to her home, a neighbor can be seeing trimming some shrubs on his side of the picket fence. 'There is one unpleasant thing in my life nowadays. If that weirdo who's been harassing me calls again, I'm not answering' Rogue tells herself. She goes into her kitchen and starts preparing some food, when suddenly, the telephone rings. 'Dammit, I'm not answering the phone today!' Rogue exclaims. 'I'm going to eat my lunch, and then – then...' “Claire” tells herself, before looking down at her sandwhich, which she has cut into triangles, a large X formed in the cuts. Her phone continues to ring, so she picks it up: 'Hello, Claire speaking' Rogue remarks. 'Do you remember?' a voice asks her. 'Whoever this is – this has gone on long enough. Stop calling me. It's not funny!' Rogue tells them. 'Something's wrong. You asked me to be the one to reach out to you' the voice on the other end of the phone remarks. 'Who are you? Do I – do I know you?' Rogue replies. The caller confirms that she does. 'I feel like I'm going out of my mind' Rogue admits, before the caller suggests that they meet in their study. 'Do you remember what I told you long ago?' the caller asks.
Charles Xavier sits next to the fireplace in his study while Rogue stands before him. He tells her that if she continues at his school she will be trained to defend herself in every way – including against psychic attacks. He explains that not all attacks are brutal, as a telepath may seek to influence her thinking, to enthrall her to serve their agenda. Xavier continues, informing Rogue that he will first teach her how to detect them and then how to deflect them. Professor X explains to Rogue that the first step is to pick a clear and simple warning that her subconscious can use to signal her conscious mind. 'Gosh, I guess I'll pick you, Professor' Rogue responds. Charles tells Rogue that he will be the image she sees – or voice she hears in her head – when she suspects she has been psychically incapacitated.
Rogue asks how she will know what an illusion feels like, and Charles tells her that is an excellent first question. Rogue wheels the Professor out of the library as Charles tells her that, with her permission, he will use his telepathic powers to place her under just such a spell, and then he will help her pick the lock. Nightcrawler appears on the staircase and asks Rogue if she is having fun with the Professor's mind games, and suggests that perhaps he is not even here. 'Very funny, Nightcrawler' Rogue responds, before Wolverine opens the front door, 'Morning, Chuck' he calls out to the Professor while holding several cans of beer. 'A bit early, isn't it, Logan?' the Professor responds. 'Nah, I ain't slept yet, so yer “5 o'clock” rule ain't enforcable, Bub' Logan replies, before calling out to Nightcrawler to come with him.
Rogue continues pushing the Professor in his wheelchair as the Professor tells her that she must remember that while they deal with threats to their existence every day, the most insidious threats is in allowing their mutant gifts to be subverted. He reminds Rogue that humanity already fears them, so they don't need the push. They reach a path outside and Charles informs Rogue that he will teach her a few tricks that will help her break out of a psi-attack. He explains that it would be difficult to interpret at first, but essentially, even if she didn't remember him, she might see him out of the corner of her eye, or perhaps she would experience deja vu. Rogue replies that she thinks she understands – that she will be sending messages to herself.
“Claire” turns in her kitchen to see Charles Xavier sitting there. 'I've seen a lot of X's around lately' she remarks. 'Indeed?' the Professor replies, suggesting that Rogue might one day hear his voice, or see the letter X too often, and that will help her realize that something is not right. 'I remember.' Rogue remarks as she touches the Professor's hand, 'And...I missed something else, too' she adds as an ace of spades card appears out of the Professor's shirt sleeve. 'A matter for another time' the Professor tells Rogue, adding that what is important is for her to realize that she is under attack. 'I know' Rogue responds. The Professor tells her to take heart, that she is one of his X-Men, and can achieve the impossible – even if she finds herself alone. With that, the Professor vanishes, but Rogue is left holding the ace of spades card.
Outside, the handsome man is still in his garden, pouring petrol into his lawnmower and whistling. Suddenly, Rogue bursts through the front door, breaking it down. 'WHOA!' How'd you just do that, Claire?' the handsome man asks, surprised. 'My name's not Claire, and your's isn't Chet. Or maybe it is. We both moved in on the same day. Don't you think that's weird?' Rogue asks as she breaks through the picket fence. Rogue takes the petrol can away from “Chet” and tells him to snap out of it. She calls him Johnny and declares that he is the Human Torch. 'What are you talking about?' “Chet” asks. 'Fine. Have it your way' Rogue frowns.
A little while later, 'I cannot believe you set me on fire. What if you had been wrong and I was just some guy named Chet?'
Johnny Storm asks as he and Rogue walk down the sidewalk towards Pleasant Hill Gym. 'The world would be lighter one Chet' Rogue replies. They stop outside the gym and Rogue tells Johnny that she thinks he will find Synapse and Quicksilver inside. 'Try to wake them up quietly' she asks him. 'Yeah, we wouldn't want to disturb them, or set them on fire' Johnny mutters, before asking Rogue who is behind this. Rogue tells Johnny that she wants to say it is the Red Skull, but that it doesn't feel right. She informs him that at Xavier's school, they grew up being terrified of being sent to camps. 'I think they learned not to make mutants scared. So they made a prison without walls' Rogue adds. 'What? We're in jail? How do you know?' Johnny asks. 'Because I think that's Ms Marvel and across the street, a d-lister named the Wizard' Rogue replies as Kamala Khan rides towards them on a bicycle, and the Wizard walks across the street, whistling. 'Why do I always have to fight the Wizard?' Johnny mutters. 'Maybe we'll find Deadpool. He'd probably love to fight the Wizard' Rogue jokes.
Suddenly: 'Scuse me, can I -' Rogue calls out to Kamala as she passes them, startling Kamala and causing her to fall off her bike – and as she lands, she extends her hand, making it much larger to steady her fall. 'You okay?' Rogue asks as she rushes over. Johnny picks up Kamala's bike while Rogue helps Kamala to her feet and remarks 'Hey, I know you don't remember me, but we've met before'. Kamala starts to get back on her bike, 'No, we haven't' she replies. 'Yeah -' Rogue begins, but Kamala tells her 'No offense, lady, but you're freaking me out'. Rogue stands with her hands on her hips and asks Kamala if she didn't see what she just did now with her hand. 'You're an Avenger. I think we were somewhere else together, and -' Rogue starts to say, before using her strength to lift Kamala and her bike off the ground. 'Stay away!' Kamala shouts, while Rogue declares that she doesn't have time to hold Kamala's giant hand through this. 'What are you doing?' Kamala asks. 'If this is a fight, should I go beat up the Wizard?' Johnny asks as he looks on.
'LET ME GO!' Kamala shouts as she punches Rogue, knocking her backwards. 'I'll go get the Wizard' Johnny mutters, while Rogue lands several feet away. 'You hurt Carol!' Kamala exclaims, before looking confused and wondering who Carol is, and why her head is so scrambled. 'AND WHAT HAPPENED TO MY HAND?' Kamala shouts as she looks down at her large hand. Rogue flies back towards Kamala and tells her to calm down. 'What did you do to me?' Kamala ask, before Rogue slams into her, knocking her off her bike again. 'We really can't afford to make a scene -' Rogue begins, before Kamala slams her huge fist into Rogue's back. 'Let go of me!' Kamala protests as Rogue wraps her arms around her. Rogue tells Kamala that she will let go, but not until she is awake and trusts her. 'This is your last warning: let go of me' Kamala declares, before she goes wide-eyed, realizing that Rogue is now several feet off the ground – and holding her by her wrist. 'I've changed my mind. Please don't let go!' Kamala pleads.
Rogue tells Kamala that she won't, but that she really needs her help. Rogue asks her fi she remembers her name, 'Yeah, it's Kama-' she starts to reply, 'Not that one' Rogue tells her. 'I'm – Ms Marvel' the young hero smiles. Rogue smiles back, 'Hell yeah you are' she tells her, before suggesting they go find the rest of her teammates. Rogue drops back to the ground with Kamala and finds Johnny waiting for her, along with several others: 'I found Quicksilver, Cable nad Voodoo. Synapse here thought I was a crazy person. Hurtful' Johnny remarks. The heroes walk past a piano store and Rogue looks in the window to where a man is playing the piano, as Cable tells Rogue that the Torch mentioned she was the first to free herself, and asks how she managed to break the spell. 'Long story, but I had help from an old friend' Rogue replies, adding that she doesn't recall seeing anyone that would be a match for Deadpool in the last few days. A fire engine comes screeching to a halt at the street corner, 'I just called Deadpool' Cable announces, as the burly fireman exits the fire engine and remarks 'Hey! There was a 9-1-1 call about a heart attack?' 'Oh, no' Rogue mutters. 'No. this is Wade? I have some bad news' Rogue adds.
The burly man informs the others that it is a crime to misuse the 9-1-1 system, to which Rogue calls him Wade and tells him that he was right – Connecticut is bad. 'So you'll set me on fire, but Deadpool gets the kid gloves, huh?' Johnny asks, before suggesting that they could rip his arm off, maybe he will remember who he is when he starts to grow a baby arm. Rogue informs Wade that he isn't actually a fireman, and this is not what he really looks like. 'My name's not Wade, it's...it's...$#%&!' Deadpool exclaims as he touches his face, which suddenly begins to return to his true disfigured appearance. '$#%&^&$ Connecticut!' Deadpool roars, throwing his fists into the air. 'EVERY DAMN TIME!' Deadpool then hangs his head and mutters that this time the Nutmeg State delivers a spiritual death.
Doctor Voodoo remarks that this place is no incantation and asks how this happened. He adds that his memory is foggy, but he does recall multiple Maria Hill clones, and Synapse remarks that she remembers a hilltop. 'The first mystery I need to solve is what SHIELD did with my missing arm' Cable tells the others. Doctor Voodoo tells Cable that he can't help him there, but he can hone in on the souls of the other Avengers. 'I'm gonna kill whoever did this to us' Deadpool mutters, while Doctor Voodoo suggests that they start down street at the mechanic, while Synapse reveals that she thinks she can enhance the memory functions of the Avengers that are still trapped and help them remember who they are.
'I am Iron Man?' a mechanic tinkering with a car engine asks. 'I thought this day was weird enough' he adds, wondering if he made himself a mechanic, or whether “they” did – not to mention who are “they”. He informs the others that he remembers something about a girl. 'You're going to need to be a little more specific' Rogue replies, arms folded, before Cable reports that he remembers a girl, too. Tony suggests that until they know what they are up against, they should play it slow – no reason to let anyone know that they are awake. Rogue informs Tony that they sent Quicksilver out on recon, and that they are surrounded by some kind of force field. Tony wonders where his armor is, and Cable asks again about his arm. Tony tells the others that he thinks Maria Hill led them into this trap, while Deadpool asks where Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers are. 'Have they been hit with the whammy stick, too?' he enquires. Rogue looks over at Tony, who turns to Deadpool and points out that if Steve were brainwashed, that would explain why Steve made him an Avenger. 'That was never aboit me. It was about all of you' Deadpool retorts. 'I'm sorry?' Tony asks. 'Rogers told me I was around to remind all of you all that not everyone is a god' Deadpool frowns.
Deadpool continues, gritting his teeth as he declares that he is finished apologizing for being an Avenger, adding that the decision was made by Steve Rogers, so if Tony has a problem with that he should head on over to the Pleasant Hill nursing home and take it up with him. Deadpool turns and walks away, announcing that while they are on the subject of questionable rosters, he points to where Kamala, Miles Morales a.k.a. Spider-Man and Sam Alexander a.k.a. Nova are waiting and suggests 'Maybe forming the “Tiny Tony Urban Achievers” - yes we are all proud of them – wasn't your finest hour, Iron Man'. Tony wipes his hands with a rag and tells the others that Deadpool shut him up, before suggesting that they find where his armor is stowed, Nova's helmet and Johnny's asbestos pajamas. Doctor Voodoo offers to teleport them all away so they can regroup, to which Cable suggests that is their backup plan, as he doesn't think they should give the element of surprise.
Rogue turns to Voodoo and instructs him to wake up the rest of the Avengers. Voodoo informs Rogue that he can hone in on their souls, but he won't be able to find the Vision. 'Not passing judgment, but my spellcraft only...' his voice trails off, before Rogue walks towards Kamala, Miles and Sam as she tells Voodoo that she thinks she knows where to find the Vision, and instructs him to meet her at the music store when he is done with the others. Rogue turns to Kamala and asks her if she will join her.
Soon:'... Let's say for the sake of argument that I believe you... that your long story is actually true...tell me one thing: how did you know where to find me in this town full of masquerading characters?' the bald man in the tuxedo asks Rogue while he plays the piano. 'I heard you playing a friend's favorite song. Your performance was perfect. Too perfect?' Rogue replies, while Kamala stands next to her. 'Too soulless, you mean?' the bald man responds. He looks at his hands, which are coveredin blood, and remarks that he knew something was wrong – as he couldnt' feel anything. He steps away from the piano and asks if the others are assembled.
'Who has done this to us?' the Vision, still appearing as the bald man in the suit, asks as Kamala carries him through the air towards the mechanic workshop. Rogue flies behind them and suggests that it is possible this is some perverse game that the Red Skull is playing. 'Or it could be SHIELD' Kamala remarks, adding that both teams remember Maria Hill before they ended up here. 'At least we haven't left the planet' the Vision points out, to which Rogue tells him that she hadn't considered that possibility, and asks him how he knows. The Vision explains that the sun is where it should be in the sky, and the force of gravity is consistent with conditions on Earth. 'Worried we made it into the Collector's collection?' Tony smiles. The Vision informs him that there are only a small number of people and objects that could warp reality on this scale, but none are good news, and in fact, there are several frequencies in the air. 'Some are SHIELD, but at least one suggests the energies are emitted by a -' the Vision begins, before a voice calls out 'Oh, no!' This causes Rogue, Tony, Vision, Deadpool, Cable, Synapse, Miles, Kamala, Voodoo, Quicksilver, Johnny, Jane Foster and Sam turn and look up to where a girl is hovering above them, energy crackling around her, several toys and a dog suspended alongside her, she exclaims 'You sillies are supposed to be awake...time to put you back to sleep!'
Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II/”Chet”, Quicksilver, Rogue/”Claire”, Synapse II (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Iron Man, Ms Marvel IV, Nova III, Spider-Man VII, Thor IV, Vision (all Avengers)
Nightcrawler, Rogue, Wolverine
This issue is part of the “Standoff - Assault on Pleasant Hill” event. It follows All-New, All-Different Avengers #7 and continues in All-New, All-Different Avengers #8.
Deadpool was invited by Steve Rogers to join the Avengers in Avengers (6th series) #0.