Uncanny Avengers (4th series) #1

Issue Date: 
October 2023
Story Title: 
Truth & Justice

Gerry Duggan (writer), Jonathan Hickman (G.O.D.S. page writer), Javier Garron (artist), Morry Hollowell (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer & production), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Javier Garron & Morry Hollowell (cover artists), Alex Ross; Ario Andindito; Elena Casagrande; George Perez & Richard Isanove; Greg Land & Frank D'Armata; R1c0; Romy Jones (variant cover artist), Martin Biro (assistant editor), Annalise Bissa (associate editor), Tom Breevort (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Not long ago, Dr. Stasis and M.O.D.O.K. revive someone currently being held in suspended animation who they know is very powerful, and will be useful for Orchis' plans. At the Daily Bugle, Ben Urich contemplates the current state of affairs for mutantkind since Orchis launched their war on mutants. At an Orchis filtration center, dozens of mutants are being prepped to be sent off-planet to Arakko – until two renegade mutants arrive and kill the Orchis agents and free the mutants. The renegade mutants are Kwannon and Monet, who have teamed up since the mutant massacre to free mutants whom Orchis has captured. Their activities have not gone unnoticed by Steve Rogers, who arrives along with Deadpool and Quicksilver, and invites Kwannon and Monet to join the new Avengers Unity Squad. They accept. Rogue is currently scouting one of Orchis' gulags, but she is spotted by an Orchis agent. The mysterious new Captain Krakoa has arrived at the abandoned nation of Krakoa along with Blob and Wildside, two members of his new Mutant Liberation Front. Captain Krakoa drops down into the Quiet Council's chamber, where he smashes his way down into the Pit, beneath Krakoa's surface, where he finds the Fenris Twins, and liberates them. The Avengers Unity Squad move inconspicuously through Manhattan, where they make their way into the old Morlock Tunnels, for a meeting with the remaining X-Men, Emma Frost and Tony Stark. Quicksilver speeds all of his teammates to an atomic reactor, where the new Mutant Liberation Front has launched an attack. The Avengers Unity Squad battle the mutants, and part way through the battle, Captain Krakoa breaks Captain America's arm.

Full Summary: 

Not long ago:

'This way, M.O.D.O.K.' Dr. Stasis remarks as he leads the way through some sort of dark laboratory, a small flicker of light leading their way. The floating head called M.O.D.O.K. tells Dr. Stasis that he has a wonderful lair, but asks why they aren't using the lights. 'Because our friend’s eyes haven't adjusted yet' Dr. Stasis responds as he walks down a small set of stairs towards some sort of strange stasis tank. 'Are you sure he's necessary?' M.O.D.O.K. asks. 'I think so, yes' Dr. Stasis answers. He adds 'He's going to get his hands dirty, and a little deniability goes a long way. Success is not assured' Dr. Stasis adds, before noting that the person in the stasis tank is awake, and vitals are strong. 'Hello there. This must be disorientating for you' Dr. Stasis calls down into the tank. He introduces himself and M.O.D.O.K. and explains that they have combined their considerable intellects to correct a terrible mistake. M.O.D.O.K. tells the person in the tank that the world has changed since they have been gone, that it is worse, of course, but that they are making it better and want to enlist them to their cause.

Dr. Stasis leans on the tank and tells the person inside that America has gone downhill, and that he is glad they are sitting down, because he has some terrible news: 'The mutants have formed their own country' Dr. Stasis reveals. He explains that he and M.O.D.O.K. are members of Orchis, the humble servants of humanity filling the void in law and order since S.H.I.E.L.D.'s demise. Dr. Stasis announces that the day is fast approaching when they will wipe the mutants off the face of the Earth at their state function on the summer solstice, and while it will be messy, they need to “manage” the survivors and public opinion. 'We won't rest until a new world order is cemented...in mankind's image' Dr. Stasis utters. 'And we could use a few good men. So blink twice if -' M.O.D.O.K. begins, when suddenly, a hand bursts up through the tank, shattering the glass. 'We'll take that as a “yes”.' M.O.D.O.K. frowns. Dr. Stasis tells the person in the tank to brace themselves, as the world is in need of their power. 'Let's get this man a uniform' M.O.D.O.K. grins, to which Dr. Stasis declares that he thinks he knows just the one to use.


In his office at the Daily Bugle, Ben Urich looks at a copy of the well-known newspaper, the headline on the front page reads “Mutant Massacre!” and has a picture of Captain Krakoa standing in front of a devastated Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It has been weeks since this mysterious Captain Krakoa attacked Washington, D.C., and the times that we live in have only gotten more interesting. Ben looks out the window of the Daily Bugle building. He may be the owner of the Daily Bugle now, but he doesn't care about that, his primary concern is his job of reporter. He remembers the mutants banded together and formed a nation – the announcement was heard around the world. They grew medicines to treat diseases of the mind – only those drugs have been tainted. Ben knows that if one was to believe Orchis, whom he sees as a hodgepodge of questionable characters, then the mutants are to blame for this – Ben isn't so sure. He doesn't have all of the facts – but he is determined to get them.

Ben thinks of Captain Krakoa, the X-Men's own symbol of a nation, whom he knew was Cyclops, operating under this alias. He finds it hard to believe that this is the same man who committed a vicious act of terrorism in Washington, D.C. He fears that if Captain Krakoa is a false-flag operation, then it is working, as fear of Krakoa and mutants in general have never been higher. Ben knows that Orchis has set their aims higher still, as most of the mutants walked through their magic plant gates, and haven't been seen since. Orchis has been rounding up the ones who didn't leave and deporting them to Mars, where a divergent line of mutants has taken up residence. Ben finds keeping up with his own planet's politics exhausting, but evidently, there is now a civil war raging up on Mars, and the fates of these mutants is very tenuous. But he knows that one thing is sure – one way or another, there are a lot of people who need to face justice, and a lot of dead folks who need to be avenged. Ben decides that it is going to be a big story, but, luckily, he has a friendly source on the inside.

The Orchis Filtration Center, in Kansas City. Rain pours down through the night as lights shine down over mutants who trudge along in a line behind a high fence. Orchis agents line the fence, weapons at the ready, while an angry old white man in Orchis armor shouts at the mutants and tells them that anyone not willing to take Orchis' mutant-inhibitor injection, well, their one-way ticket is ready. 'Keep your head down and keep moving!' he shouts. Suddenly, a cloaked figure at the head of the line stops and tells the mutants behind them that in a moment, anyone who wishes to run may do so, but that they should not return to their homes. 'Hey! Hey! Keep it moving, lady!' the angry old white man shouts. But the cloaked figure doesn't move. 'Looks like somebody needs some motivation' the Orchis agent decides as he storms over to the cloaked figure, with a energy baton at the ready – but before he brings it up and uses it on the woman, the woman quickly raises a thin blade and slices it across the angry old white man's neck.

Wide-eyed, the Orchis agent turns around, rain pelting down on his armor, he tries to speak, but all that happens is a thick spurt of blood sprays from his neck across another armored Orchis agent. 'That was my signal, by the way' the cloaked woman remarks, before placing her sword back in a holster hanging from her waist, she tells the mutants that if they are staying, then they are fighting. The woman removes her cloak and leaps towards several Orchis operatives, slicing her way through them with her swords. She is Kwannon a.k.a. Psylocke, and she was trained by the Hand to  be an assassin, and until the “Mutant Massacre” she served as a Great Captain of Krakoa, charged with the nation's defense. She will never forgive herself for the fall of Krakoa. But it wasn't her fault. The assault was a brilliantly executed trap with a flawless propaganda component. Kwannon's mutant gift is a psi-blade, but she rarely uses it, opting for more lethal tools, as she leaps across the tops of several Orchis agents who open fire at her, but she dodges their blasts with ease, and shoves her blade into the back of another agent.

In the weeks following the attack, Kwannon hid by day, and at night, she shared the darkness within her with the fascists who had nearly exterminated her people. She was quick. She cut and run before the new Sentinels packing Iron Man's technology arrived. 'It's a dead end!' a frightened mutant calls out as they and several others find themselves trapped – when suddenly, Monet St. Croix a.k.a. Penance leaps through the fence, slicing it open with ease. Monet, like Kwannon, was among the small number of mutants who have been tactically trained. Both are failed warriors who had decided to go out cutting as much as they could. They have accepted their fate, and are content to kill as many of them as possible as they went. Monet is in her Penance form and she tells the mutants to run for their lives and not to return to their homes, while her partner Psylocke does her daily exercise regimen. The mutants run through the open fence as Kwannon pulls her sword from the back of one of the Orchis operatives, then kicks his body hard, straight into the  back of another agent, who turns and aims his weapon towards Kwannon.

But Kwannon is not bothered by the weapons’ fire, dodging it with ease, as she, and her blood-soaked blades, leap towards the other Orchis agent, Kwannon shouts 'There were children on that island – so many children!' With that, Kwannon shoves her psi-blade into the agent's head. She likes them to to feel the pain that they have caused. The Orchis operative falls backwards into a heap of other dead Orchis agents. This is self-care for the assassin. She knows that one night she would be challenged – by metal she could not cut – and that night is tonight – as one of her swords suddenly comes to a stop – against the powerful shield of Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America. 'Easy, Psylocke' Cap frowns. Kwannon leaps backwards: 'Why am I not surprised? The great Captain America, protecting the oppressors of mutants' she calls out, before suggesting they make this a fair fight, and ask where the rest of the Avengers are. 'Well, actually – that's what I wanted to talk to you and Penance about' Captain America responds as he hurls his shield behind Kwannon, where it slams into one of the remaining Orchis agents, then it bounds around the area, taking out several other agents, too, before returning to Captain America's hand.

Captain America informs Kwannon that he has a little bit of experience fighting fascism, and while it took him a couple of nights to get a bead on her, if he can, then Orchis can, too. 'Our enemy is way ahead of us, and we need to get caught up fast' Cap remarks. He adds that he thinks, given the terrible events of the past few weeks, the world could use an example of unity, and he would like both of them to join his new Avengers team. Monet, in her human form, walks up to Kwannon and tells her that she is in Cap's mind – as much as he will let her – and that this is not a trap. 'I don't think I can stand any lectures about my methods. They killed hundreds of thousands of mutants' Kwannon declares. 'Then avenge them' Cap responds as a fire blazes behind him.

'Charges are set, Cap!' Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool announces as he walks up alongside Captain America. 'I believe you know Deadpool and Quicksilver' Cap remarks as Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver pulls up on his other side, reporting that he ran as many of the mutants as he could to the Canadian border. Monet looks at Kwannon and telepathically tells her that she wants to change her vote. 'We can always -' Monet begins. '- quit if they go soft' Kwannon decides, before informing Cap that they are in. Deadpool reports that bogeys are incoming, while Cap states that he wants to stay close to the anti-mutant rally in DC tonight, as it might prove to be too tempting a target for “Captain Krakoa”. He suggests that they make a quiet exit now, as those Sentinels are a problem. The five heroes begin to run from the Orchis Filtration Center, as several Stark Sentinels arrive overhead. 'Is someone going to do something about them?' Monet asks as she looks up at the imposing robots. Cap reports that Stark is on it, but that a solution needs to be engineered, and he needs time. Cap moves towards a chopper and suggests that he might get some good news at their meeting later. Quicksilver announces that he is going to continue his scouting of the Orchis defenses, and boasts that he should have North America fully mapped soon. The others take off in the chopper, and Deadpool calls out over the radio 'Deadpool to Sugah. Come in, Sugah'. Deadpool jokes that the “Rogers Family Adventures” have two more stabby friends. 'We're oscar mike to our secret home  base that is totally not a mansion outside New York in case anyone is listening' Deadpool adds.

At that moment, flying high above another city, Rogue responds by telling Wade not to “sugah” her. 'That's my favorite Whitesnake song. Over' Deadpool replies, to which Rogue tells him that she ain't in the mood. Using high-tech binoculars, Rogue has her eyes on an Orchis facility, and reports that she is seeing how close she can get before she sets off their alarms. 'Oh, $#&%!' an Orchis operative calls out when they look up and see Rogue, who realizes that it is about two hundred meters, and flies off, suggesting that the mutants are going to need some ways of blending in.

Meanwhile, aboard the X-Men's former jet, the Thunderbird, streaking across the South Pacific Ocean. 'We're over Krakoa now... I wish we could go home' Fred Dukes a.k.a. the Blob remarks as he looks down at his former home. Standing beside him is Richard Gill a.k.a. Wildside, and on the edge of the jet's ramp is Captain Krakoa, who tells his companions that it is too dangerous to go home. 'This is why we fight, Blob. It's up to us now, the new Brotherhood' Captain Krakoa smirks, before instructing Blob and Wildside to take the Thunderbird to a higher altitude and wait. Captain Krakoa leaps out of the jet, announcing that he wants to check the island's prison and see if there are any more soldiers for their cause. 'If I trip any alarms, return to base and I'll make it back in my own time' he adds.

Captain Krakoa drops down past several Stark Sentinels who patrol the nation. He has been telling a lot of lies. One was that he is invisible to the Stark Sentinels. He has lied about everything, including his name. He lands in the Grove, where the representation of Krakoa appears to be crying, sap pouring from his eyes. Blob thought that Captain Krakoa was Cyclops. Wildside doesn't care – he just wants to kill. Both of them are Captain Krakoa's useful idiots. Captain Krakoa begins smashing his foot into the large X that sits in the middle of the Grove. He breaks through and begins to drop down into the Pit, which is where mutantkind hid their worst. He is looking for a particular duo – and finds them. Andreas and Andrea von Strucker, the Fenris Twins, who are currently trapped in a mess of vines.

'Decide right now. Come with me, or stay here and fight the humans intent on exterminating you' Captain Krakoa tells the twins. He reminds them that they come from a great family, that their father shook the world – and now, the world must move again. He extends a hand to the twins, asking them if they will join his cause. Andrea takes Captain Krakoa's hand, telling him that Fenris will proudly fight alongside him – and calls him Cyclops. Andrea places her hands on Captain Krakoa's chest and looks up at him affectionately as he replies 'That name is dead. I'm Captain Krakoa now... and forever'. 'Isn't anybody going to help me up?' Andreas snaps from where he remains trapped in the vines.

In Manhattan, an opposing force was being gathered by a very different soldier. Steve Rogers was a born leader, and he learned long ago that misfits could be tempered into the finest soldiers. Wearing civilian clothing, the great hero walks down some stairs into a subway station, where he is joined by Wade Wilson, also wearing civilian clothing, including a baseball cap and a face mask to hide his identity. Captain America thinks that Deadpool would have fit right in among the Howling Commandos, even if he would have annoyed them morning, noon and night. Captain America had redeemed Deadpool once on the Avengers unity Squad, and it had cost Wade Wilson everything during the rise of the Secret Empire. Rogers was not to blame, but he felt he owed Deadpool another chance on the Unity Squad for following his doppeldanger blindly into destruction. They meet Monet and Kwannon on a train platform, also wearing civilian clothing, and Kwannon carries a large music instrument case to disguise her swords. By recruiting them, the team was now complete, if not ready for the challenges ahead.

The four drop down onto the subway tracks and make their way into the old Morlock tunnels which snake under Manhattan. They were once home to the mutants who had no place in the surface world. Now they are the refuge of the remaining X-Men. The heroes shed their civilian atire, as Deadpool asks 'Uh, so, just how hard is Tony Stark fighting the forces of evil?' Deadpool asks as he, Cap, Monet and Kwannon emerge from one of the tunnels into an area where several tunnels converge, and Tony Stark is waiting for them. Holding a glass, Tony assures the new arrivals that he is drinking ginger ale, and that he is playing possum while Orchis watches him like a hawk. He adds that he is working every waking minute on a solution to the Sentinels. Referring to the woman with brown hair and glasses standing next to him, Tony comments that her is sure they have all met his personal assistant, Hazel Kendal.

'There's no need for this Hazel Kendal charade down here. You all know who I am' the woman with glasses announces. 'White Queen? More like Undercover Boss Emma Frost' Deadpool jokes. Captain America frowns and tells Kwannon that he thought the X-Men were meeting them here. 'They're here' Kwannon responds, before assuring the X-Men that they can come on out, and that they weren't followed. 'It's the real reason I was recruited, right?' Kwannon asks. 'The Avengers have always been a little light in the telepathic department' Captain America admits, before turning to three new arrivals – Kate Pryde a.k.a. Shadowkat, Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms. Marvel and the mysterious Rasputin IV. Cap greets Shadowkat, who informs Cap that she thought it was time he met Rasputin, as she will lead the assault on Nimrod. 'Humans' Rasputin remarks. 'She's from the future! And she won't tell me anything about it!' Kamala protests.

'Let's just be glad there is a future, Ms. Marvel!' “Hazel” begins, before reporting that her inhibitor ring prevents her gifts from being detected up on the surface by Sentinels, but that she doesn't need them to know that someone is approaching – fast. A blur streaks past and knocks “Hazel's” brown wig aside, revealing Emma's blonde tresses beneath. It's Quicksilver, who informs Cap that his hunch was right, and that he thinks he has found their targets. Cap tells Tony and Emma that he is sorry to cut this short, and that he will keep an eye on the dead drops if needed. 'Unity Squad – on me' Cap calls out, to which Deadpool mutters that he still thinks 'Avenging X-Men” sounds better than “Unity Squad” and if they aren't going to use it then somebody should.

Quicksilver grabs each one of the Unity Squad and speeds along with them. 'Watch the hands' an unimpressed Monet remarks. Quicksilver looks at her nervously as he explains that he needs a tight grip, or else she'll end up with road rash. Quicksilver was the fastest man alive. He has suffered a couple of hard years. First, he and his sister discovered that they weren't really the children of Magneto, weren't mutants – and Krakoa was not for them. Then, before he could reconcile with Magneto, the master of magnetism was killed in action on Arakko. Pietro found purpose in his service as an Avenger, further proof that Rogers' reclamation of misfits was a worthwhile endeavor. Cap asks Quicksilver where they are headed, and Quicksilver tells Cap that he was right, the enemy is after atomic weapons.

Quicksilver is exhausted after speeding his teammates to where Rogue is waiting for them. Monet switches to her Penance form, while Deadpool puts on a walkman. The Unity Squad stands ready as Captain America tells several opponents standing before them that, whoever they are, their attacks have become predictable. “Captain Krakoa”. 'God only knows what you'd have done if we weren't here to stop you' Cap remarks, while Rogue calls out to one of them – the Blob – and asks him what he is doing standing with Captain Krakoa. 'You don't get to question my company, Rogue – not when you're standing next to that star-spangled fascist! America supports Orchis!' the Blob shouts as he stands alongside Captain Krakoa. Wildside and the Fenris Twins are ready, too. 'You never cared about Krakoa. Well, we do! We're the new Mutant Liberation Front!' the Blob announces.

Wildside leaps towards Kwannon, who dodges his claws and telepathically tells him that he has one chance to surrender. 'Shut up and stay out of my head!' Wildside snarls. In her Penance form, Monet flies towards Captain Krakoa: 'I'll have that armor, murderer!' she calls out. 'You can have it – if you're still alive when I'm done!' Captain Krakoa responds as he slams his fist into Penance, knocking her backwards. 'Shall we, Andrea?' Andreas asks his sister, who replies 'Let's' as she takes her brother's hand. Energy glows around them upon the twins contacting each other, as Andreas suggests they start with Deadpool. 'He's always so annoying' Andrea remarks as she directs the energy at Deadpool – blasting a hole right through Deadpool's chest. Deadpool looks down and sighs, muttering that he just washed his uniform.

'Dammit, Fred! You're fighting this war all wrong!' Rogue calls out to the Blob as she goes head-to-head with him. 'Disguising yourself in the uniform of your enemy is a violation of the Geneva Conventions' Captain America frowns as he hurls his shield towards Wildside, smacking him in the head, before is rebounds against Captain Krakoa's armor, then back to Captain America's hand. Captain America then rushes towards Captain Krakoa, suggesting they see who is really behind that mask. 'I'm the fighting symbol of my nation, Rogers!' Captain Krakoa retorts, before he suddenly grabs the other side of Captain America's shield. The Krakoan battlesuit was designed to amplify the strength of ordinary noncombatants, giving them an edge during an extinction-level event. Whoever the new Captain Krakoa is, he is much stronger than an ordinary person. Captain Krakoa smirks, and tells Captain America that his attacks are so obvious and predictable. 'Allow me to break you of that habit' he offers as he suddenly pushes the shield, which is connected to Captain America's arm through the brace on the back of the shield, backwards, snapping Cap's arm....

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Deadpool, Kwannon, Monet, Quicksilver, Rogue (all Avengers Unity Squad)

Ms. Marvel IV, Shadowkat, Rasputin IV (all X-Men)

Emma Frost/”Hazel Kendal”

Tony Stark


Blob, Captain Krakoa II, Andreas & Andrea von Strucker, Wildside (all Mutant Liberation Front)


Ben Urich


M.O.D.O.K., Dr. Stasis (both Orchis)


Orchis agents

Stark Sentinels

Mutant refugees

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place after the X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 issue of 2023 and Free Comic Book Day 2023 Uncanny Avengers #1.

This issue ties into the “Fall of X” event.

Captain America, Deadpool, Rogue and Quicksilver are all Unity Squad mainstays, having served on previous versions of the team. Monet and Kwannon join the team for the first time this issue.

Ben Urich follows the activities of the original Captain Krakoa in X-Men (6th series) #6-12.

Emma Frost / Hazel Kendall works together with Iron man against Orchis in Invincible Iron Man (5th series).

Quicksilver makes a comment about moving as many mutants as he could to the Canadian border. Not sure why he would be doing this considering Canada has outlawed mutants themselves, while a small taskforce of Alpha Flight members are currently rescuing Canadian mutants in preparation of taking them to Chandilar, it's unlikely they have the resources to assist with too many American mutant refugees too. [Alpha Flight (5th series) #1]

The Mutant Liberation Front are well-known for being a group of terrorist mutants, often led by Stryfe, who battled the New Mutants and other X-teams throughout the 1990s. Most of its members now reside on Krakoa in some capacity. Of the new team assembled this issue, only Wildside is a member of any previous incarnation.

Blob has most recently been living on Krakoa as the bartender at the Green Lagoon.

Wildside has been living on Krakoa prior to this issue, and most significantly appeared in New Mutants (4th series) #9-11.

The Fenris Twins caused some trouble for a team of young mutants in Bishop: War College #1-5, which resulted in them being imprisoned in the Pit.

Quicksilver discovered that he was not Magneto's son in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7.

This issue includes a paid op-ed from Orchis to major newspapers outlining the benefits of the Stark Sentinels.

This issue also includes one page written by Jonathan Hickman as part of the lead-in to the G.O.D.S. storyline.

Written By: