Avengers (1st series) #501

Issue Date: 
October 2004
Story Title: 
Chaos, Part 2

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Finch (Penciler), Danny Miki (Inker), Frank D’Armata (Colorist), RS and COMICRAFT’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), Nicole Wiley and Molly Lazer (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

As he flies towards Avengers Mansion, Tony Stark speaks with the White House chief of staff in regards to his behavior earlier at the United Nations. As the UN considers cutting all ties with the team, the chief of staff asks for Tony’s resignation as secretary of defense. At the mansion, Iron Man finds the rampaging She-Hulk, who has crushed Captain America under a car and brutally injured Captain Britain. Iron Man takes her down and helps free Captain America, who has a dislocated shoulder. Yellowjacket arrives on the scene and is horrified to see the destroyed Ultrons, the dead Vision and, worse, a gravely injured Wasp. The team is taken to the hospital, as S.H.I.E.L.D. locks down the mansion. Captain Britain and Wasp are both in critical condition and Jan is in a coma. She-Hulk is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, while Ant-Man’s remains are taken to their morgue. The body of Vision is taken to Stark Enterprises. As Yellowjacket worries over the comatose Wasp, who hasn’t returned to normal size, he admits that this is not how he wanted things to turn out between the two of them. The others discuss the attacks, which are dismissed as a huge coincidence by Hawkeye and Falcon, who hypothesize that Ultron may have pre-programmed the Vision to unleash the horror when their Code White was given out. Yellowjacket joins the group and tells the team about what Tony did at the UN and the Avengers have doubts about Tony’s sobriety. Angered by their betrayal, Iron Man flies away. While Yellowjacket stays with Wasp, the Captain America, Hawkeye and Falcon head back to the mansion, as there apparently is a situation going on. Once there they find that almost every Avenger that there ever was has responded to the emergency call, as well as several other heroes.

Full Summary: 

Inside his Iron Man armor, Tony Stark sets his suit to auto-pilot, as he reviews the tapes of his incident at the United Nations building. After watching the scene where he asks for a vote to wipe Latveria off the face of the planet, Tony tells the chief of staff on the screen before him that he doesn’t need the video replayed. Angrily, the chief of staff tells Stark that it is too bad, because he is sure that this video will be replayed over and over for the rest of their lives.

Tony asks him to explain to the president what happened. He knows that this looks bad, but he needs the president to know that this isn’t what it looked like. The chief of staff cuts Tony off and asks him if he really needs to ask for his resignation. Tony asks if he can speak to the president, but the other man tells him that he doesn’t see that happening. Accepting this, Tony excuses himself, as there is an emergency at Avengers Mansion. He ends the communication and disengages the auto-pilot as he streaks towards Avengers Mansion.

At Avengers Mansion, the scene is grisly. A raging hulked out She-Hulk lifts up an armored van and prepares to crush Captain America, who is defenseless on the ground before her, with it. Captain Britain swings her sword at She-Hulk, but finds that it doesn’t even scratch the jade giantess. She-Hulk gives a howl as she smashes the van into Captain America, who luckily is able to get his shield up in time. However, no one is able to help him as he is buried under the wreckage.

Nearby, Agent Maher calls the Helicarrier and informs them that they have a problem. They need a Hulkbuster crew immediately. Suddenly, he stops talking as a horrific sight unfolds before him. The enraged She-Hulk turns her attention to Captain Britain and grabs her by the head. Captain Britain begs her to stop, but the She-Hulk throws her violently like a rag doll. The woman does not get back up, nor does she move.

The terrified S.H.I.E.L.D. agents begin to fire on She-Hulk, who runs out of the Avengers Mansion grounds and into the streets of New York City. Scared citizens run for cover, as she begins to pick up parked cars and chucks them. Hawkeye calls out to her and asks her to please grab a hold of herself, but the woman is far beyond reason now.

As Iron Man reaches the mansion he sees the ruins, as well as She-Hulk throwing a car. Fearing the worst, he heads down to stop her as she smashes another car with her fists. Iron Man punches She-Hulk right in the face, causing her to become disoriented. He then takes advantage of this to knock her back into another parked car, knocking the woman out. Iron Man heads over to Hawkeye and tells him that he took no pride in that. Hawkeye, however, is more concerned with Captain America, who is trapped under a truck.

Horrified, Iron Man asks him what happened, but Hawkeye asks him to just get Captain America freed first. Iron Man magnetizes his armor in two seconds and lifts the truck. The two look down to see Cap, not moving, with his shield over his face. For a moment, they fear the worst, but then Cap moves. Iron Man helps him up and asks if he is ok. Cap asks if She-Hulk is down. Iron Man confirms and asks if she did all this. Cap admits that he does not know. Behind them, Hawkeye tells them that they have another man down. Captain Britain is out.

Falcon comes running over to Cap and Iron Man. Cupped in his hand is the Wasp, who is in bad shape. He tells the two that he knows he shouldn’t have moved her, but he was afraid that someone would step on her. Cap tells him to take her to the hospital. Falcon says that he is going to, but he was hoping that they could do something for her there. He then trails off as he looks up in the sky. Standing as tall as a skyscraper is Yellowjacket, who looks down at the burning mansion in sorrow.

His attention is then drawn to the broken Ultron bodies, which makes his eyes widen with horror. He then notices half of the destroyed body of Vision. That is when he spots Falcon, more so what Falcon is holding. Yellowjacket kneels down and asks about her. Falcon informs him that he was just about to take her to the emergency room. Yellowjacket picks up Falcon and tells him to hold her steady. They will be there in a second. He then starts to walk to the hospital.

The other Avengers are all also taken to Beth-Israel Hospital. In a room, Captain America sits on a bed with his shirt off. Falcon helps Cap brace, as a doctor forcefully pushes his dislocated shoulder back into its socket. Cap rubs his shoulder and tells the doctor that it hurt a lot. The doctor tells him that there is no nice way to pop a shoulder and there is no nice way to pop it back in. He might want to take it easy for the next few weeks. Thinking of the tragedy at the mansion, Cap tells the doctor that he doesn’t think that will happen. The doctor then excuses himself, as he has to check up on his teammates. Upon hearing this, Cap asks about the condition of the others.

Things are grim for the other Avengers. Elsewhere in the hospital, two doctors discuss the condition of Kelsey Leigh, a.k.a. Captain Britain, who lies in the bed next to them. One doctor looks at her chart and sees that she is in critical condition. Elsewhere, She-Hulk has been taken to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and contained in stasis. Nick Fury watches over her, though an investigation is pending on her attack. Scott Lang is not so lucky. The remains of his body have been taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. morgue. His cause of death has been labeled as spontaneous disintegration, with an investigation pending. The remains of the Vision’s body are being taken to Stark Enterprises. So far, the first of two packages have arrived.

Elsewhere in Beth Israel hospital, Janet Van Dyne lies in a coma in critical condition. However, she is still in her bug size. Yellowjacket sits by her bedside and speaks to Jan. Worried, he tells her that it is hard for the doctors to operate on her in her little wasp size. What’s worse, however, is that in the past when she has been this hurt she would automatically revert to full size. This time she hasn’t. He won’t lie to her; he is scared. He has sent the doctors to pull her medical records off his server at home. They already have x-rays and cat scans. Hopefully they will find something that can help.

Hank begins to cry and begs Jan to wake up now. He admits that no one is more surprised to find himself this worried over her than him. The only thing she was worse at being than a wife was an ex-wife. She has gone to great lengths to make his life miserable for a long while now, and he has truly resented her for that. However, today, now in this room, he doesn’t care about any of that stuff anymore. He just wants her to open her eyes. Hank sobs for a few moments and then turns back to Jan. Does she want to know what today has taught him? No matter what he does in his life as Giant-Man, Ant-Man, or Yellowjacket, it doesn’t matter. He will only be remembered for one thing: accidentally creating Ultron. Hank begins to cry again, wondering what he has done to this team. This isn’t the life he wanted. This isn’t how he wanted them to end up.

Outside in the hospital plaza, Falcon, Captain America, Hawkeye and Iron Man meet to discuss the events, while the staff and patients of the hospital look at them in awe and excitement from the inside. Iron Man states that they are under attack. Sarcastically, Hawkeye replies that he kind of caught on to that. Iron Man snaps back that he is asking by whom. We know who, replies Hawkeye. He also adds that he thinks this is just a bad day that isn’t over yet. A bad day, questions Iron Man, surprised that Hawkeye would demean what just happened by calling it that. A really bad day, continues Hawkeye.

He doesn’t mean to be a braggart, but they are extraordinary individuals. They truly are. Iron Man is about to say something, but Hawkeye cuts him off. People like them don’t have bad days. They have extraordinarily good days and extraordinarily bad days. This was an extraordinarily bad one. Falcon tells Hawkeye that it is a lot more than that.

Hawkeye continues on and tells the three others that they had this coming. He knows that that wasn’t the most popular thing he ever said, but the truth is that they had it coming. They always react and think on think on the short-term. They deal what is in their face in one second and then they are on to the next thing. They think Jack of Hearts is dead, so they just leave him in space. What do they know? They know nothing. Instead of doing anything, next they have to deal with Namor or someone else. It turns out that Jack isn’t dead and that he comes back and explodes like he always feared he would. Scott is now dead, which his brain cannot even process yet at the moment. In addition to that, they have put out the code white, which is their highest priority call.

Things do not end there, continues Hawkeye. The Vision shows up and unleashes and Ultron attack. Iron Man buts in and tells Hawkeye that all these things happening at the same time is hardly considered a “bad day.” Falcon agrees, but points out that Ultron is their worst enemy. Let them suppose that one day, years ago, he could have implanted some code or chip or whatever inside Vision. A command, finishes Iron Man. Falcon continues and says that this command could have been set to go off when the Avengers White Code was activated. It would launch this pre-programmed attack. It is kind of genius. It did work. Hawkeye thinks about it and then tells Falcon that he has a pretty good hypothesis.

Hawkeye carried on with the idea and reminds the others that Ultron has done worse to them. They don’t really know how to truly kill him anyway. He is A.I. They don’t know how he sustains life. “No, you don’t,” Iron Man responds, “I do.” Hawkeye snaps back that Ultron could be in his armor for all he knows. Iron Man then asks how She-Hulk figures into all of this. Falcon remarks that the Avengers always keep putting Hulks on the team and then act shocked when it backfires. Hawkeye tells the other that he isn’t happy about this, but with the way that they lead their lives they had this coming. Iron Man tells the three that there is more.

Iron Man begins to explain what happened in the United Nations, when Yellowjacket meets up with the group and angrily asks him if he told the others yet. Iron Man tells him to calm down, but Hank orders him to tell them what he did. Concerned, Captain America asks Iron Man what happened. Before he can answer, Yellowjacket blurts out that Tony was drunk. He spoke in front of the United Nations drunk. He then threatened to murder the Latverian delegate in front of everyone. It was a total disaster. As things head downwards for Tony, he tries to explain that he wasn’t drunk. Angry, Yellowjacket dares Tony to say that again. He was there and saw it himself!

Again, Iron Man states that he wasn’t drunk. He didn’t have a drink. In fact, he can’t remember the last time he did have one. He was speaking to the delegates when he was suddenly overcome with the feeling of being drunk. He wasn’t in control anymore. That is why he thinks that they are under attack. It all happened at the same time. First the mansion is destroyed, then Scott dies, and then Vision attacks, and then finally he is asked to step down as secretary of defense.

Shocked, Captain America asks when this all happened. Tony responds that it happened at the same exact time as when the mansion was attacked. Do they understand his reasoning now? More angered, Yellowjacket asks Tony if he is actually going to use this tragedy to whitewash what he did. Tony tells Hank that the incidents are all related, but Hank tells him that he should accept the responsibility like has over building Ultron. Tony asks him if he believes him, to which Hank replies no. He was right there and saw it all. Angry now, Tony asks the others if they believe him.

For a moment, Falcon, Hawkeye and Cap all look at him. Finally, Captain America tells Iron Man that he believes him. Falcon follows suit. However, Hawkeye is not sure. His dad was an alcoholic and when he hears Tony saying these things he also hears all the crap his father used to say. He is kind of wobbly right now. At first Hawkeye thought it was because of the drama, but now he is not sure. He isn’t judging him. This is something that they need to work out together as a team.

Angered, Iron Man sarcastically admits that he is so happy he spent more than half his fortune funding a team, only to receive this kind of support from them. Tony puts his helmet back on and walks away. Hawkeye turns to Cap and tells him that he didn’t mean Tony should leave. Iron Man tells the four that his heart is filled with their understanding and respect. Cap calls out to Iron Man, but he the golden Avenger flies away and thanks them for their help.

Falcon asks if he should go after him. Cap tells him to let Tony have a minute to get together. Falcon admits that he can’t fly that fast anyway. Hawkeye tells the others that he didn’t mean for Iron Man to bail. He asked a question so Hawkeye gave him an answer. Falcon asks Hawkeye how he thought Tony was going to react after being accused of being a drunk. Cap admits that he believes Tony, but Yellowjacket stands firm that he doesn’t. Falcon tells the others that he did notice that Tony was shaky and sweaty. He usually isn’t like that.

Yellowjacket tells Cap that he hasn’t seen what he saw or the news. Hawkeye asks if it is that bad. Hank informs them that it is all over the news. Can they see the monitor inside from out here? The UN is having an emergency meeting right now and they can only imagine what the topic is. Falcon asks if they are going to bail on the team, when suddenly their communications cards begin to beep. Falcon pulls his out and sees that there is something going on at the mansion. He thought it was on lockdown. It is, replies Captain America. As Falcon flies off ahead, Hawkeye follows Captain America to the Quinjet. Yellowjacket tells the group that he is going to stay with Janet. “Do what you think you must,” replies Cap, which both saddens and angers Hank.

Soon, the Quinjet lands in the park across from the mansion. Hawkeye asks if it is okay to do this, but Cap tells him that the mansion is a crime scene. This will have to do. Hawkeye then asks Cap if he had seen what Hawkeye saw. Cap confirms that he did. As the two men exit the Quinjet and walk to the mansion, Hawkeye asks if he was ready for this. In front of the burning mansion are several of Earth’s heroes, in addition to almost every Avenger ever, responding to the Code White emergency!

Characters Involved: 

Black Panther, Captain America, Captain Britain III, Falcon, Hawkeye, Iron Man I, She-Hulk, Wasp, Yellowjacket I (all Avengers)

Black Knight IV, Black Widow, Crystal, Darkhawk, Demolition Man, Firebird, Firestar, Hellcat, Hercules, Jocasta, Justice, Living Lightning, Mantis, Moon Knight, Namor, Photon, Quasar, Rage, Rick Jones, Sersi, Silverclaw, Spider-Man, Starfox, Stingray, Tigra, Triathlon, USAgent, Warbird, Wonder Man (all former Avengers)
Daredevil, Luke Cage, Nick Fury, Spider Woman I
Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (Fantastic Four)

White House chief of staff
Agent Maher, various agents (S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Various patients and staff at Beth-Israel hospital

Story Notes: 

This storyline is part of Avengers Disassembled, which is an event more so than a traditional crossover. Other titles were affected as well, though the storylines in those books are not needed to read each title. These titles include Captain America and the Falcon #5-7, which takes place right before Avengers #500, Iron Man (3rd Series) #86-89, Thor (2nd Series) #82-85, Captain America (4th Series) #29-32, Spectacular Spider-Man (2nd Series) #17-20, and Fantastic Four (3rd Series) #517-519.

Though it seemed as if things were fine between Yellowjacket and Wasp, Jan slept with Hawkeye in Avengers (3rd Series) #83, but was caught in the act by Hank. The writer at the time, Chuck Austen, explained much later that his plan was not to have the two become a couple, but for each to get over their relationship problems in the past, as Austen was not convinced that the seriousness of the death of Hawkeye’s wife, Mockingbird, was dealt properly.

Spider-Woman I, Jessica Drew, was accidentally drawn in the group gathering in the end. In truth, it is supposed to be Spider-Woman II, Julia Carpenter. Jessica Drew never served as an Avenger at this point. Artist David Finch admitted in an interview that he drew the wrong costume.

Several notable Avengers who are missing since the last large group gathering in Avengers (3rd Series) #1-4: Swordsman and Magdalene, who returned back to their dimension in Avengers Annual 1999, Sandman who has returned to a life of crime, Moondragon who was currently busy in space in Captain Marvel (3rd Series), and Machine Man, whose whereabouts are unknown.

It should be noted that in the advance art preview for this page, Quicksilver was drawn behind Silverclaw. However, when this issue was published readers found that Quicksilver was removed from the group gathering. In addition, an unidentifiable figure was added behind Firestar.

This Issue has been reprinted in: