West Coast Avengers (1st series) #2

Issue Date: 
October 1984
Story Title: 
Blanking Out!

Roger Stern (writer), Bob Hall (penciler), Brett Breeding (inker), Diana Albers (letterer), Julianna Ferriter (colorist), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Jim Shooter (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Tigra undergo a training session with Iron Man at their new West Coast Avengers Compound. The trio prove their abilities against Iron Man, unaware that he is not Tony Stark, but are still taken out by his incredible power. After the training, Tigra laments her lack of power compared to her teammates, while Iron Man wonders how he can tell the others he isn't who they think he is. Wonder Man visited by his fellow stuntman, Freddy, who has come to help him pack up his house in preparation for moving to the West Coast Avengers Compound. Freddy admires just how strong Wonder Man is when he sees him lifting up the side of his house. They discuss Wonder Man's film career and his plans for the future, before heading to the shops to get some nails. En route, they come across a bank that is being robbed. Inside the bank, a strange gray figure with no features starts to walk from the bank with a bag of cash. A security guard is unable to shoot the mystery thief as bullets bounce off their strange form. Wonder Man rushes to confront the thief out front of the bank. The thief shoots Wonder Man in the chest, and is shocked that the bullets bounce off him. Wonder Man punches the thief, who has dubbed himself the Blank, back into the bank and they fight for some time, until the Blank slips away from Wonder Man, out into the crowd, and vanishes. Wonder Man asks several people which way the thief went, but everyone tells him a different way. The Blank in reality had returned to his human form, a non-descript man in a blue jacket, who returns to his sparse apartment, enjoying his latest amount of stolen money. His mind wanders back to how he acquired the strange machine and belt that enabled him to change his form into a blank state. He uses the device to recharge the belt that gives him those abilities, but does not see a strange figure attempt to take shape from the device. At the West Coast Avengers Compound, Wonder Man has relayed the incident to his teammates. He is clearly upset about failing to apprehend the criminal, while his teammates do his best to calm him. Later that night, the team ventures to downtown LA, they split up to search for any sign of the mystery thief. Just outside the city, the non-descript man  is preparing to rob an armored truck. He becomes the Blank and races onto the back of the truck as the security guard drivers attempt to flee him after one of them is shot. Mockingbird picks up a distress call over the police radio in her car and gives chase, eventually locating the Blank after he grabbed what money he could and then jumped out of the truck. Mockingbird chases the Blank, who soon finds himself pursued by Hawkeye and Iron Man as well. Cornered, the Blank knocks over a gas pump at a gas station, which begins to leak gas that connects with sheared-off electrical cables, and then explodes. Iron Man flies to a nearby construction site and picks up a truckload of sand, which he dumps onto the fire as Hawkeye and Mockingbird attend to the gas station attendants. Wonder Man and Tigra arrive on the scene, too late to be of assistance though, as the Blank has escaped, leaving Wonder Man even angrier than before. The Blank returns to his apartment and switches on his device to recharge his utility belt, when suddenly, the mysterious figure emerges from the energy around the device – it's Graviton, and after he gathers himself, he learns about the Avengers based in LA and enlists the Blank's help in taking them down.


Full Summary: 

'Okay, Avengers! You think you're so tough. Let's see you survive – the power of IRON MAN!' shouts the armored Avenger as he chases after Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Tigra, firing energy blasts at them as they run through the lush forest on their Palos Verdes Compound. 'His blasted repulsor rays are as deadly as mortar fire! We're too vulnerable if we stick together – spread out! I'll give us some cover!' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye exclaims as he fires a smoke screen arrow towards Iron Man, while Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra climbs up a tree and Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird heads in another direction. Iron Man admits that those arrows of Hawkeye's are pretty tricky, and the smoke screen that he put up would slow down just about anyone – but not him, as he simply switches on his radar, which enables him to see through the smoke, the infrared lenses in the helmet pick up Tigra on a tree up ahead, so Iron Man flies towards her – but Tigra sees him and swings around a branch to evade him.

'What – I didn't know you could move so fast!' Iron Man gasps. 'Fancy that!' Tigra replies, before leaping towards Iron Man and tells him that he should know better than to come roaring through the rooftops, assaulting her tender little ears with his noisy old boot-jets. 'Hey, what -?' Iron Man utters as Tigra wraps her arms around his helmet. 'Mockingbird, now!' Tigra calls out, and below, Mockingbird tells herself that she has to get this right the first time, to strike while Iron Man is momentarily distracted. A battle-stave darts from her billowing sleeve upwards towards the tree, and just a split second apart, her two steel-alloy battle staves find their mark, and slam against Iron Man's helmet. Below, Hawkeye prepares to line up another shot. 'Just a few more feet...' he thinks to himself, while Iron Man suddenly twitches, and dodges the arrows  that are fired his way. 'You really think you can keep a hold on me?' he asks. 'Maybe not forever...but long enough!' Tigra responds, as suddenly, two suction-tipped arrows connect with Iron Man's boots. They rupture, and release a highly adhesive putty – which gums up the air intakes for Iron Man's boot jets in an instant – and the repulsor blasts suddenly stop – and as a result, Iron Man plummets to the ground below, hitting it hard.

Tigra hangs from a tree branch above, before dropping to the ground as Mockingbird and Hawkeye move towards Iron Man. 'There, ladies, you see? It's just like Captain America always told me... “with the proper teamwork, even the strongest opponent can be beaten”!' Hawkeye quotes Captain America.

Iron Man starts to get up, and admits that there is a lot of truth to that, but he bets there is something else that Cap would go along with – namely – never count your enemy out until you're sure he's really out! With that, Iron Man's palms, flat on the ground, trigger the repulsor ray units in his metal gauntlets, shaking the grounds of the Avengers' California Compound with a concussive blast equal to that of several dozen pounds of TNT, and knocking Hawkeye and Mockingbird off their feet, and sending Tigra scrambling up another tree. 'Will that be all for the day, teacher?' Iron Man asks as he stands up, before extending a hand to Hawkeye, helping him off the ground. 'That's enough for one day's workout!' Hawkeye decides.

Iron Man asks how he did playing the bad guy, and whether he pulled his punches too much. 'Hardly!' Mockingbird declares, while Hawkeye assures Iron Man that he did fine. Hawkeye smiles as he tells Iron Man that, in a way, this reminded him of the old days when the two of them used to at it, hammer and tong. 'Uh, yeah, well, I'm glad we're buddies now' Iron Man replies. 'Same here' Hawkeye tells him, before frowning and suggesting to him that next time he try not to knock his group leader back on his behind so  hard. Mockingbird goes up behind Hawkeye and begins to pat her hand against his butt, telling him not to worry, as nothing looks too out of joint – of course, she hasn't taken a good look at his nose yet. 'Gee thanks, honey. I can always depend on you!' Hawkeye frowns. Mockingbird tells him not to be grouchy – to be glad that Wonder Man wasn't here to play bad guy!

As Hawkeye brushes some dirt off Mockingbird's back, Tigra sits on the tree branch and hugs herself, forlorn, she thinks that they joke about it so easily, and wishes she could. She bets that Iron Man could have blown them away whenever he felt like it – he was probably just toying with them during the whole workout. She tells herself that she isn't anywhere near being in Iron Man's league and wonders why she let Hawkeye talk her into joining this new Avengers team. Down below, Iron Man leans against the tree and wonders if he should tell the others that he is not the original Iron Man – that he is Jim Rhodes and not Tony Stark inside the metal suit. He doesn't want to trade on another man's reputation -  but he knows that he is Iron Man now, and he likes it. He has just barely got a taste of what it is like to be an Avenger when he was off in space with them, but that felt good – real good. Jim doesn't want the Avengers to treat him like an amateur, even  if they did show him up today.

As the armored Avenger ponders his future, here in a quiet Los Angeles sub-division, a fellow member of the West Coast Avengers is about to have his day interrupted. 'Number 117...this  is the place. Gee, what a boring neighborhood' the blond stuntman called Freddy thinks to himself as he walks up the path to the house. Walking down the side of the house, he decides that he can see why Simon would be eager to move. 'Hey, Simon!' Freddy calls out, and Simon Williams can be heard calling out to Freddy, telling him to come around the back. 'How's  the packing, going, ol’ buddy? I thought I'd stop by and see if I could give you... a... hand? Holy cats!' Freddy exclaims, wide-eyed as he sees Simon lifting one wall of the house up with his bare hands. 'What're you doing, Simon? Taking the house along with you?' Freddy asks, surprised. Several items are scattered across the grass as Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man wears very short cut-off jeans and a black t-shirt and tells Freddy that this was a good enough place to hang his hat while he was establishing himself in the film business, and the rent was cheap, but he would never buy such a shoddily built house! 'There is one advantage to prefab construction, though... it makes moving out a cinch!' Simon jokes.

Simon then snaps the wall back into place against the other walls and the floor, while Freddy stands behind him, 'Uh-huh. Especially if you're the strongest cuss this side of the Rockies!' Freddy points out. 'Well... yeah. Strength and invulnerability does have its advantages! I haven't owned a hammer in ages!' Simon smiles as he uses his fists to slam the nails back into the house wall. 'You're really serious about going back to being Wonder Man, aren't you?' Freddy asks, sitting on some equipment nearby and watching Simon. Simon then starts to put his belongings into a large wooden crate and tells Freddy that for good or bad, Wonder Man is what he is. He admits that it has taken him awhile to become comfortable with that, but he finally has, and he thinks that being a stuntman these last few months has helped, as doing stunt work day after day has really given him a sense of his own worth. 'You and the rest of the stunt crews helped me find a new life...I owe you a lot! But I also owe the Avengers!' Simon tells Freddy, adding that when Hawkeye offered him an active role in the Avengers new West Coast expansion team, he surprised himself by signing on.

Simon starts to put the crate lid on and tells Freddy that what he is saying is that the Avengers is part of his life, and he found himself missing it more than he expected – and that was before he saw the plush accommodations of the new Avengers Compound! Freddy asks Simon how he is going to get all his worldly possessions that he has stuffed into the crate to his fancy new digs. Simon starts to nail the lid shut and tells Freddy that once the crate is sealed up, he will wrap it with one inch cable from the spool that Freddy is sitting on, that will give him a good handle, and then he will just strap on his new belt-jets and fly away! Simon and Freddy lean against the crate and look at each other as Simon realizes he is out of nails. He asks Freddy if he wants to go to the hardware store with him. 'And leave your crate sitting out?' Freddy asks. 'It weighs over a quarter ton. Who's going to carry it off?' Simon replies. 'Good point' Freddy remarks.

And so, shortly, Simon and Freddy walk down a busy sidewalk and Freddy asks Simon how the Avengers gig is going to affect his stunt work. Simon tells Freddy that he hopes he will  be able to do both, but it will take a bit of juggling. 'With any luck -' Simon begins, when suddenly, he hears a strange sound. 'What's that?' Simon wonders, as he, Freddy and several civilians look towards a corner bank, where Simon realizes the alarm is coming from. He has his account with that bank, and wonders who would be crazy enough to rob a bank in broad daylight.

Inside the bank, a strange blank figure walks past bank customers, holding a bag in his hand, he ignores a security guard who shouts 'Halt or I'll shoot!' 'So shoot!' the mystery man calls back. 'Okay, I warned you!' the guard declares as he opens fire, but the bullet just bounds off the blank man's form. 'Omigod! That bullet didn't even make him flinch! He's not human! He's... blank!?' a woman exclaims as she stares in horror. Another bullet is fired but doesn't stop the mystery man, who tells the guard that he should listen to the lady. 'You can't hurt a blank  - no make it... “The Blank”!' he declares, deciding that he likes that name. He then warns the guard that, on the other hand, he can hurt him. 'I have a gun, too – and it doesn't shoot blanks!' the Blank exclaims, laughing as he fires his weapon towards the security guard. 'Look out, that gray guy has a gun!' a civilian shouts as the Blank walks past them and out of the door. 'That's right, stay out of my way and no one'll get hurt!' the Blank warns the civilians. 'Don't go near him! He's a maniac...and he can't be hurt!' a woman shouts, while Wonder Man rushes through the crowd towards the bank, 'Is that so? Sounds like the kind of man I want to meet!' Wonder Man exclaims.

'Okay, hold it right there!' Wonder Man shouts as he confronts the Blank on the sidewalk. 'Ah, wouldn't you know there'd be one brave boy in the crowd!' the Blank declares as he turns to Wonder Man. 'You picked the wrong day to play hero, pal!' the Blank exclaims as he fires his gun at close range, straight at Wonder Man's chest. 'I don't think so!' Wonder Man responds as the bullet bounces off his muscular chest. 'What the -? Bullets bounce off you, too!' the Blank gasps, shocked. 'Bullets aren't the only thing!' Wonder Man boasts as he slams his fist into the Blank, knocking him back into the bank, straight back towards the rear of the room near the open vault. Wonder Man follows the Blank into the bank and asks him if he wants to give him the gun, or if he wants to waltz around some more. 'No...you can't stop the Blank!' the criminal exclaims. 'The Blank? Is that what you call yourself?' Wonder Man asks as he grabs the Blank and holds him up above him. 'Hey, leggo me! Put me down!' the Blank protests. 'Not until you drop the gun and -' Wonder Man begins, as the Blank thrashes about and knocks Wonder Man's shades off of his face. 'Put me down!' the Blank shouts.

With his shades gone, the rolling energy matrices that once were Simon Williams' eyes are revealed for everyone in the bank to see. 'Good Lord! He isn't human, either!' someone exclaims, while Wonder Man tells the civilians that it is all right, there is no need to panic. He tries to move the Blank into the bank's open vault, while assuring the civilians that he won't hurt them, and identifies himself as Wonder Man, when suddenly, the Blank slips out of his grasp and begins to run back towards the front of the bank. 'What's this character made of? He seemed to ooze right through my fingers!' Simon thinks to himself, while calling out to the Blank, telling him to come back. 'No way, pally – I'm gone!' the Blank declares as he suddenly leaps through a window, shattering glass across the civilians outside. 'The gray man – which way did he go?' Wonder Man asks as he arrives at the broken window. A woman explains that she turned away to avoid the glass, and then he was gone. 'He must have run down the block' she suggests, pointing in one direction. 'Or across the street!' a man suggests, pointing in another direction. 'Naw, he had to have ducked around the corner!' a third person exclaims.

After a few moments of intensive questioning. 'He just sorta dove into the crowd and vanished' Freddy tells Simon as he stands near him, while around the corner of the bank, a man in a blue bomber jacket helps a woman to her feet. 'Why, thank you' the woman remarks, while thinking that he is such a nice young man. But as the police arrive on the scene, no one notices that the “nice young man” silently slips away.

Later, a reporter on the television announces that in a bizarre daylight holdup of a Pacific Bank branch, a man described as “having no discernible description” made a clean getaway with an estimated $75,000 in cash, despite the intervention of movie stuntman Simon Williams, better known as Wonder Man. The reporter adds that an LAPD spokesperson admitted they had no clues as to the identity of the robber who has been dubbed “The Blank”. The man in the blue bomber jacket sits on a chair in a sparse living room, cash scattered across the floor, he laughs when the reporter states that the police have no clues, and that there is no way the 75 thou can be traced back to him. He waves some money in front of his face and declares that after a lifetime of bad breaks, Lady Luck has finally smiled on him – and to think, he owes it to lousy bus service – and the meatball who was stuck waiting with him.


'Well, when's this bus supposed to get here?' an elderly man in a suit carrying a satchel complains as he waits at the bus stop. 'Five minutes ago...but I've been waiting ten' the man in the blue bomber jacket replies, leaning against a lamppost and reading a newspaper. The old man swears and declares that if it is not one thing it is another. 'But it's no wonder the world's in the shape it's in... not with the quality of management today! They're idiots! All idiots!' he shouts. 'You take me...I've been working in research and development at Stark International for five years...everything's dandy! Then, all of a sudden – WHAM! Obadiah Stane, some big wheeler-dealer, takes over the company and turns everything upside down! Well, no more bosses for me! I quit! I packed up my new discovery here and carried it right out the main gate!' the old man reveals, holding up his satchel, muttering that he would have driven out with it, but they had confiscated his company car.

The old man declares that he put too much work into his brainchild to let that leech Stane get it, and claims that he is going into business for himself. 'Where's that bus?' he mutters as he steps onto the road. 'Hey, pally -' the man in the blue bomber jacket calls out, but  the old man ignores him: 'You wait and see! A year from now – I'll be rich enough to buy and sell Stane -' the old man exclaims, before he is struck by a car. The man in the blue bomber jacket watches as others gather around the old man's body. But one man's bad luck is another's fortune, as the old man's satchel lands at the feet of the man in the blue jacket. He picks it up and walks away from the tragic scene.


The man with the blue jacket that calls himself the Blank stands with a strange red brace-like contraption around his waist and presses the button on a machine that is on the table, he reminds himself that it took him a few months to figure out how to operate this gear that makes his slippery force field, but knows that it was time well spent. He decides that he better give the belt another charge if he is going to pull off that other job tonight, as the last one has just about worn off. Energy seemingly transfers from the machine to the brace-like belt around the man's waist. 'Yeah, baby, that's it...soak up that power. This morning was just a test run – tonight, we go for the big money!' he boasts. But, as he walks away, he doesn't notice the vague form which seems to momentarily flicker above the charging device – a strange figure that calls out 'No... come back... need more... power'.

Meanwhile, in the main assembly of the Avengers Compound, the newly formed West Coast Avengers are gathered, and Hawkeye tells Wonder Man to take it easy, as the LAPD has already assured him that they will be getting full cooperation on this case. 'We'll nab this Blank character and -' Hawkeye begins, to which Wonder Man exclaims 'You just find him, Hawk! I'll do the nabbing!' Tigra keeps quiet, sitting on a console, legs pulls up to her chest, arms wrapped around them. Hawkeye then asks Wonder Man what is eating him. He assures Wonder Man that he can understand that he is unhappy that he let the Blank get away, but that this is an Avengers matter now, and they will handle this as a team. 'Unhappy? I had him in my hands, and he slipped right through them! What good am I to the Avengers if I can't even handle one gimmicky bank robber by myself?' Wonder Man asks, clenching a fist.

'No good at all if you worry more about personal performance than you do about how you work as part of this team! What do you want to do, search all of greater LA on your own? That's crazy!' Hawkeye declares. Mockingbird tells Wonder Man that Hawkeye is right, that the five of them working together can cover the metropolitan area better than he could on his own. Iron Man agrees, and points out that a creep like the Blank is bound to try something again, so if they are all out there, on their toes, there is a better chance that one of them will find him – and when one Avenger finds him, they all do. 'Right, Hawk?' Iron Man asks. 'Right!' Hawkeye agrees, before informing the team that they will each patrol a section of the city and keep in touch by radio. 'What do you say, Wondy?' he asks Wonder Man, who throws his arms in the air, 'All right, all right! I admit that it makes a lot of sense!' he mutters as he turns to leave the communications room, telling his teammates to make sure they keep in touch, as he wants the blank behind bars. Mockingbird turns to Hawkeye and points out that he just weathered his first leadership crisis. 'Why the thoughtful look?' she asks. Clint confesses to remembering how he used to be the one who always blew his stack. 'Honey, all of a sudden I feel old...real old!' Hawkeye frowns.

Night finds the Avengers scattered across the urban sprawl of Los Angeles County. Tigra prowls the rooftops of Chinatown, unseen by civilians on the streets below, while Iron Man soars above the Santa Monica Mountains, scanning the area with the whole spectrum of his armor's sensory equipment. To the south, Hawkeye flies above the glittering high-rises of Marina del Rey astride his sky-cycle, while Mockingbird cruises the city's web of freeways, always keeping an ear cocked for the police radio in her custom convertible. And, in the heart of what Angelenos call Downtown, high atop the LA City Hall, Wonder Man looks out over the great metropolis, searching – always searching. 'You have to be out there somewhere, Blank! Show yourself!' Simon thinks.

But at that moment, just outside the city limits, in Inglewood, the man known as the Blank backs up against a building, while watching an armored car across the street. He knows that the armored guards are here to collect from Emilio's, and are usually carrying quite a haul. He touches his belt, which makes him appear in his gray state, hoping that their customers had a good day, because the better theirs was, the better his night is going to be. With his comforting force field surrounding himself, the Blank rushes forward to the armored guards, 'What the devil?' one of them asks as he sees the strange being approaching. 'It's the Blank! Let's get out of here!' the other guard calls out. The Blank is annoyed, he didn't think they would notice him coming out of the shadows, so he has to work fast now, and opens fire, shooting one of the guards. The driver gets into the van and takes off, but the Blank is able to jump onto the back of the van, as the guard he shot was too shaken to shut the rear door. Two civilians walking out of Emilio's see the Blank and wonder what is going on.

Sometime later, Bobbi is still in her car and hears an announcement over the police radio, reporting that there is trouble heading out of west Inglewood – the Blank is in a vehicle, and officers should exercise caution. Bobbi knows that the next exit will take here where she needs to go, but as she streaks off the San Diego freeway, in the back of the armored car, the Blank speaks through a grate to the driver, telling him to pull over, otherwise his colleague is dead meat. 'Don't do it, Raoul!' the guard calls out to the driver. 'No deal, man! I've already radioed for help! We're headed straight for the nearest cop shop!' the driver announces. 'Everybody wants to be a hero these days!' the Blank thinks to himself, deciding to just take what he can carry and split. With a couple of bags in his arms, he then leaps from the back of the van, protected by his force field, he safely skids to a halt along the road, then gets to his feet in seconds, running down the street – as a car drives towards him. 'I've found him!' Mockingbird exclaims, deciding that the Blank is a weird one all right, as he heads down Sepulaveda Boulevard. One of the others radios back to Mockingbird, telling her to keep him in sight.

The Blank looks over as Mockingbird approaches him, and wonders why he is being chased be a blonde in a sports car. 'I was right earlier. Everybody does want to play hero tonight!' the Blank thinks to himself as he moves onto the sidewalk near a construction site, when suddenly, something is fired at him from above. 'No what?' the Blank wonders, as Hawkeye hovers above on his sky-cycle. 'Hold it right there, Blank! Those magnesium flare arrows were just a warning! If you don't drop those money bags, I'll have to let fly with something a little more persuasive!' Hawkeye warns the Blank. 'I don't believe this!' the Blank mutters, dropping the money bags as another arrow is fired towards him, which shatters the fence surrounding the construction site. 'Yeow! All that from an arrow?' the Blank wonders as he makes his way towards a gas station, where a blinding light stops him in his tracks, 'Running won't do any good!' a voice calls out. 'Oh no' the Blank complains as he looks up and sees Iron Man above him, the light blasting own from his armor as he warns the Blank that he has even more tricks up his sleeve than Hawkeye. 'You really wouldn't want to see 'em!' Iron Man declares.

Hawkeye readies another arrow, and tells the Blank that he is cornered and that there are two more Avengers on their way. 'I think you know one of them...gent by the name of Wonder Man. He's real anxious to see you again!' Hawkeye exclaims. 'This is crazy! I can't fight the Avengers!' the Blank thinks to himself as the headlights of Mockingbird's car join the light beam from Iron Man's armor. The Blank decides that he especially can't fight Iron Man, as his armor is supposed to be loaded with all kinds of electrical armament – he might figure out some way to get through his force field. He knows he has to get away, but wonders how. He suddenly sees the gas pumps and runs towards them. 'Hey, what're you -' the garage attendant exclaims as he looks out from inside the office nearby. Running for all he's worth, the Blank bolts across the station lot, and slams into the nearest pump at full speed, knocking it over. Gasoline spurts from the ruptured pump housing, pooling upon the pavement, and sheared-off electrical cables crackle, showering the explosive liquid with shards of hot metal.

One little spark is all it takes, as the gas station suddenly explodes in a fiery blaze. 'Holy!' Hawkeye calls out as the force of the explosion knocks both he and Iron Man back through the air. Wonder Man thinks her can snuff the fire, and tells Hawkeye, while Hawkeye and Mockingbird rush into the flames and help the gas station attendants to safety. Iron man knows that he has to hurry, as a fire like that could take out two or three blocks in as many minutes. He also knows that water is no good for smothering a gas fire, but that sand works just fine, so at the dropping down into the constriction site, Iron Man picks up the large compartment of a truck that carries piles of sand, then speeds it back to the gas station, where he drops the tons of sand over the roaring fire, and in a matter of seconds, the fire is out. 'Now I've seen everything!' one of the gas station attendants declares.

'Looks like we missed some excitement! What happened?' Tigra asks as Wonder Man carries her through the air, dropping down near their teammates. Hawkeye reports that when they cornered the Blank, he blew the tanks at this gas station, and while they managed to save the station's attendants and Iron Man put the fire out – 'Don't tell me...you lost the Blank, right?' Wonder Man frowns. Hawkeye admits that the Blank disappeared in the explosion, and that there hasn't been any sign of a body yet. 'If he's as tough as I think he  is, there won't be!' Wonder Man declares as he turns and walks away from his teammates.

Over an hour later, a frightened little man in a blue bomber jacket returns to his apartment. 'Oh, man! That does it! I'm getting out of this town!' he thinks to himself, covering his face with one of his hands. He tosses his blue jacket onto the floor and walks over to the contraption on the table, deciding that he never wants to go through another night like this, as that gas explosion blew him a good three blocks away from those Avengers, but even with his field going, the impact of landing knocked him silly for about five minutes, everything kept spinning, he was scared to death that somebody would find him. Touching the contraption, the Blank declares that he is taking the money from this morning's job, and going someplace where people don't come flying through the air at you. Standing over the contraption, he gives his belt one last charge before he hits the road, just to be on the safe side. Energy crackles from the device to the belt, as a figure begins to take shape, and calls out 'No! Don't turn it off! I need more power!'

'Holy geez!' the Blank gasps, falling backwards, as he is thrown out of the recharging field, he looks on in horror, as another man takes form within his tiny apartment. 'At last...at last, I am free!' the other man in a blue and white costume gasps, dropping onto the floor. The Blank apologizes for all he has done, and offers to give back the money. 'You can have the gizmos...I'll even go to jail! Just don't call your Avenger buddies on me!' the Blank pleads. 'Avengers? Are you mad? I'm no Avenger!' the mystery man replies. 'You're not? But I thought -' the Blank begins, to which the mystery man tells him to be still, and reveals that he has been through a great ordeal and is very weak, that he needs help.

Shortly, the mystery man sits on a chair with a blanket wrapped around him, as the Blank hands him another mug of soup. The mystery man claims that he hasn't eaten food in months, to which the Blank asks how that is possible. 'You'd be dead!' he exclaims. Sipping the soup, the mystery man tells the Blank that there are more things possible than he could imagine, before reminding him that he said he had run afoul of the Avengers. 'Yeah, that's why I'm leaving LA' the Blank replies. The mystery man tells him that there is no need for that. 'Help me and you'll never have to worry about Avengers again!' he declares. Smoking a cigarette, 'You think you could do any good against the Avengers?' the Blank asks, confused. Suddenly, the mystery man levitates the cup of soup he was holding, and narrowing his eyes, he boasts 'I don't think...I know! You see, I control the most powerful force in all of creation! Men call me... Graviton!'

Characters Involved: 

Hawkeye, Iron Man II, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man (all West Coast Avengers)

The Blank






Security guard

News reader

Armored guards

Gas station attendant

In flashback:

The Blank

Stark International employee

Story Notes: 

Iron Man II was in space with the Avengers during the Secret Wars limited series.

Freddy is a stuntman Wonder Man was working with last issue, the two seemed very friendly with each other.

First appearance of the Blank.

Graviton was last seen in Thor (1st series) #324.

Written By: