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Gerry Duggan (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist) David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Mark Bagley, Drew Hennessy & Richard Isanove (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 New Orleans, Gambit is preparing to rob some auction items, when Rogue appears, wanting to know if he was recently in Bagalia. Gambit assures her that he was wasn't, which confirms what Rogue thought – that the Red Skull used Xavier's powers to manipulate her. Gambit tells Rogue to call him when she finds the Red Skull, but Rogue has other matters to deal with when Captain America contacts Rogue to report a capsule entering Earth's atmosphere from the international space station, and the land zone is predicted to be near her location. Rogue flies to where the space junk lands, and is shocked to find Hank Pym, wearing Ultron as some sort of armor. Captain America and Deadpool are at a wildlife preserve dealing with poachers who are trying to take the frustrations out regarding Inhumans. Rogue and Hank soon join them, and Hank tells Cap not to worry about Ultron, claiming that he has conquered him. Cable, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch, Quicksilver and Synapse soon arrive on scene, most of whom are doubtful about Hank being in control of Ultron. Hank then displays the ability to use Ultron's capabilities, transforming himself into Ultron and claiming that he has not had a burger in months, he flies off. Rogue goes after him, while the others return to their secret hideout. Cap recalls the battle that led to Hank and Ultron departing for space, and goes to contact the Wasp to let her know about Hank's return. Rogue and Hank soon arrive at Avengers Mansion, where Hank is disgusted to see that it had been turned into a tourist attraction during his absence. He then asks Rogue where his memorial is. Rogue takes him to the statue behind the mansion, and Hank blows the statue up, boasting that he is back, before he flies off into the night, with Rogue flying after him.
New Orleans, where an auction is currently underway:
'Do I hear seventy? I have seventy, thank you. Seventy-five?' the auctioneer asks. 'Seventy-five, going once...' his voice can be heard down in a basement under the auction room, where Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit leans against a wooden crate, and turns to the man wearing a black and white stripe top, and a black mask over his eyes, and calls him Rodrigo, as he asks him if he is sure that once the painting sells they are going to make the switch down here. 'Positive' Rodrigo responds, adding that when he used to work here, this is where he would pack up the counterfeit, and the original left again with the seller. 'Perfect. I never lose any sleep over stealing stolen art' Remy remarks as he looks at his tablet, adding that nobody is ever going to know they were here. 'That ain't true, Gambit' a voice calls out. 'Who's she?' Rodrigo asks, frowning. 'Crap' Gambit mutters, as Rogue enters the basement, telling Remy that they need to talk.
Gambit tells Rogue that now is not exactly the best time, and asks if they can chat after his “business meeting”. 'What the hell is this, man?' Rodrigo shouts, pointing at Rogue. 'I wouldn't speak to her like that' Gambit smirks, before Rogue flicks Rodrigo with her finger, knocking him backwards. 'Well, enjoy nap time' Gambit mutters, before Rogue asks Gambit if he was in Bagalia. 'What's going on?' Gambit responds, to which Rogue tells him to answer the question. Gambit assures Rogue that he hasn't been in Bagalia for ages, to which Rogue sits on a cabinet and mutters that she guesses she knew that already, and quietly remarks that she feels like such a fool. Gambit asks her to tell him, so Rogue reveals that the Unity Squad has been chasing the Red Skull, that she caught him and didn't know it – he used Professor X's telepathic powers to make her see what she wanted to.
'And I was what you wanted to see?' Gambit asks, leaning into Rogue, he tells her that he is very touched, and attempts to kiss her, but Rogue pulls her face away, telling Gambit that she doesn't have time for his insensitive rube. Gambit calls Rogue Anna Marie and asks her to wait, to tell him honestly whether she needs some help on this Avengers team. 'I'm sorry, are you pitching yourself as an Avenger during a heist?' Rogue asks. Gambit contemplates this and points out that Deadpool has done worse. Rogue pulls her hood up over her head and informs Gambit that Deadpool has really surprised her. 'When you got that skull-faced freak cornered, do be kind – and drop a dime' Gambit asks her 'Yeah? You'll come running?' Rogue asks. 'After what the Red Skull's done to the Professor? Sugah... we'll all come running' Gambit replies. Rogue tells Remy that this is good to know. 'Speaking of running...' she adds as she pulls some wires out of an alarm, which begins to ring loudly. Rodrigo looks up, his face bruised from where Rogue flicked him, while Gambit cover his own face with his hands.
Rogue flies off into the night, where she gets a communication from Steve Rogers, who tells her that there is a priority alarm from low-Earth orbit. 'I hear ya, Cap' Rogue responds. Cap reports tjat the Soyuz Capsule was attempting re-entry from the international space station, they think it hit some space junk and now the heat shield is damaged – so the astronauts are going to burn up unless they intervene. Rogue asks Cap what the drop zone is, and Rogers informs her that they were supposed to land in Kazakhstan, but after a few orbits in low-power mode, they are predicting somewhere between Cleveland and New Jersey. As she speeds off in that direction, Rogue asks about Iron Man and Vision, but Cap reports that they are not within intercept range, before announcing that he has to go, as he and Deadpool are taking down extremists in the wildlife preserve. 'Copy that' Rogue replies, before reporting that she thinks she can see the capsule.
Rogue flies towards it as the capsule descends, but to her surprise, someone else grabs it and lowers the capsule down into the forest below. Rogue reports that she thinks they are good, and as she drops down into the woods adds that she will find out where NASA should send the medal. 'Thanks for the save...?' Rogue asks as she approaches a figure standing next to the capsule. 'Hello again, Rogue' the figure responds. 'Oh my stars...' the shocked Rogue utters as Hank Pym stands over her, while the space crew emerges from the capsule. Hank smiles at Rogue and tells her that it is nice to see a friendly face, joking that he is grateful intelligent apes haven't taken over since he has been off in space. Rogue looks nervously at Hank Pym as she tells him not to celebrate prematurely, as he hasn't caught up on the presidential election yet, before she notices the strange armor on his body and asks him what he is wearing.
'Spasibo!' one of the space station crew calls out, while Hank tells Rogue that she knows what it is, that it is Ultron – they merged. 'Bozhe moi!' the crew member gasps, as Hank tells Rogue that she has nothing to worry about, and that he has mastered his creation – they just need some time to gel. Rogue frowns and tells Hank that she is glad to hear that, before suggesting they go find Captain America and give him the good news. Rogue informs Hank that Cap is clearing some domestic terrorists out of a wildlife preserve. She warns Hank that there have been a lot of changes since he has been gone. 'Steve Rogers was still an old man when you left Earth, right?' Rogue adds.
At that moment: 'Put your weapons down – or we'll put you down!' Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America shouts as he hurls his shield towards a poacher in the La Reserva Wildlife Reserve. The poacher is knocked backwards as Cap's shield flings around and slices through the air, straight back to Cap, who catches it. 'Stupid jackbooted facist mother -' another poacher nestled in a tree mutters to himself as he prepares to takew a shot – only for an energy blast to strike his gun. 'You only get one warning shot!' Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool warns the poacher, before he drags him over to where Cap stands over two other poachers who have their hands behind their heads. 'You two are traitors to our species! You should be standing with us, not opposing us!' one of the poachers exclaims. Cap tells the poachers that occupying a wildlife sanctuary is a poor way to express their concerns about their Inhuman neighbors. 'The Inhumans are taking over!' the poacher that Deadpool drags over exclaims. 'Yeah, yeah! Just like the mutants before them, and the Mutant Ninja Turtles before everybody. Blah blah blah they took our jobs' Deadpool mocks.
Cap breaks one of the poachers' rifles by breaking it in half as Rogue radios him, reporting that she is inbound to his location. Cap tells her that there is no need, as they are almost done here. 'Why should you have all the fun?' Rogue asks. 'Copy that. See you soon' Cap replies, while Deadpool tells Cap that Rogue is in trouble, as she use thoe duress code. 'Full squad assemble on my position' Cap radios to the rest of the Unity Squad, as a blinding light approaches the wildlife park, and Deadpool looks amazed as Rogue drops down with Hank Pym. 'Steve Rogers!' Pym calls out. 'Hank Pym? You're alive?' Cap replies, shocked. 'And you're young again' Pym points out as he and Cap shake hands, with Pym adding that Rogue tells him he had a service. Cap tells him that it was nice, and Janet gave a wonderful eulogy. Pym then remarks 'I'd like to see her when we're ready' to which Cap looks at him confused and asks him 'Who's “we”? Hank'. Hank tells Cap not to worry, that he has conquered ultron, and his operating systems is running over Ultron's.
'I'd like to believe that...so I trust you'll submit the suit for “peer review” then?' Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable asks as he, Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo, Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver, Johnny Storm the Human Torch and Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse appear through a portal summoned by Doctor Voodoo. Hank turns to the new arrivals and tells Cable that the problem is, he doesn't have peers anymore. 'What a...disquieting thought...' Pietro remarks as he darts quickly around Hank. Pym smiles as he remarks that it is a little disappointing that a founding Avenger has to explain himself to the “charity squad” and reminds them that it wasn't that long ago that Cable and Deadpool were wanted terrorists. 'Yeaaah, wait a minute' Deadpool begins, while Captain America informs Pym that this is the Unity Squad, while Deadpool folds his arms and exclaims 'I'm not Deadpool. I'm secret ninja Avenger Ronin dressed as Deadpool', before Captain America warns Hank that he is going to come out of that suit the easy way, or the hard way.
'I was hoping not to have to do this...but I understand. Trust, but verify, right?' Pym asks as his Ultron suit begins to shift around him, and he tells the Avengers that as they can see, there is not all that much organic left, but it is still him in here – and now he needs something from them. 'What's that?' the shocked Rogue asks, wide-eyed. 'I haven't had a burger in months' Pym, now appearing completely as Ultron, announces. 'I'm starving' Pym calls out, throwing his arms into the air, he suddenly takes flight, telling the Avengers that he will meet them back at the Mansion. 'Wait, Hank!' Cap calls out, to no avail. Cap quickly tells Rogue not to let Pym out of her sight, as Rogue takes flight after him. Doctor Voodoo begins to teleport the other Avengers away, as Cable points out that they will have a chance to compare notes. Voodoo tells the others that he is a bit disarmed, as he has a tough time reading synthetic life, which Hank Pym has clearly become. 'Take us home, Voodoo... we have a lot to do' Cap points out.
As the heroes teleport, Captain America asks asks Synapse what her impressions were, and as the Avengers re-materialize in their old abandon cinema headquarters, Synapse reports that she definitely registered brain activity from Pym, but it felt very measured and regulated – not warm, to which Synapse asks if perhaps that is normal for Hank Pym. Cap turns to Cable and informs him that he wants a way to non-fatally neutralize Hank if they need to. 'On it' Cable replies, while Voodoo asks Captain America if he is jumping to conclusions, reminding Cap that when they last saw Pym, he had sacrificed himself to stop Ultron, and they presumed him dead, assimilated into Ultron's body. 'But if he survived...is it possible Pym redeemed his creation?' Voodoo asks. 'Could the father have brought peace to the son?' Voodoo wonders. Cap tells him that anything is possible, and that he wants a plan for every possibility, before he walks away from the others, announcing that he needs a few moments.
Cap goes into a communications room, and after a short moment, Jan Van Dyne's image appears on a monitor. Jan greets Steve and tells him that it is nice to see him young again. 'Janet, I...' Caop frowns, which causes Jan to go wide-eyed and asks 'Oh, God. What now?'
'I don't understand how this happened. I mean this is – it's a disgrace!' Pymexclaims, sipping a soda and sitting on a park bench outside what used to be Avengers Mansion. 'This was our home!' Hank declares. Rogue points out that it was an expensive piece of Manhattan real estate, and that they couldn't hold on to everything. 'Yeah, but did it have to be turned into a cheesy tourist trap?' Hank asks. Rogue informs him that the money from the sale of Avengers Mansion saved lives, to which Hank remarks that some things are more important than money – like a legacy. He frowns as he asks 'Where is it, Rogue?' to which Rogue asks 'Where's what?' 'My memorial' Hank enquires.
Rogue and Hank walk behind Avengers Mansion as Hank asks if anyone went looking for him. 'Or did the Avengers just rush to put this up?' he asks, looking at the large statue of himself. Rogue tells Hank that it is not like that, as they thought he had sacrificed himself to save them – to save the world. He doesn't respond, so Rogue asks him if he is okay. 'This is a lie...I'M NOT DEAD' Hank shouts as he fires a blast of energy from the Ultron suit which destroys the statue. 'Oh, boy. That was stupid' Hank smiles. 'Yep' Rogue tells him. 'But if felt really good' Hank admits. 'Yer only human, right?' Rogue replies, while a janitor appears. 'What the hell was that? Aw, for the love of...' he mutters. Hank apologizes for the mess, but tells the janitor that he won't be needing that memorial anymore, as he is alive. 'Send the bill to Deadpool!' Hank calls out as he takes flight. Rogue flies behind him, pointing out that Deadpool has his uses. 'Hah! It's great to be home. Hank Pym is back!' Hank shouts as he continues to fly off over the city....
Captain America, Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse II (all Avengers Unity Squad)
in illustrative image:
Hank Pym, Vision
Rogue encountered the Red Skull in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #5.
Hank's comment about intelligent apes taking over while he was in space is a reference to the “Planet of the Apes”.
Pym sacrificed himself to stop Ultron in the Avengers: Rage of Ultron special.
The title is taken fromt he 1976 science fiction movie with David Bowie.