Avengers (1st series) #678

Issue Date: 
March 2018
Story Title: 
No Surrender, part 4

Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub (writers), Pepe Larraz (artist), David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Mark Brooks (cover artist), Julian Totino Tedesco; Mike del Mundo (variant cover artists), Carlos Lao (graphic designer), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Breevort (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

In Peru, the Human Torch doesn't want to wait around or the Falcon to come up with a plan, while members of the Lethal Legion and Black Order fight each other, seemingly oblivious to the Avengers' presence. In Rome, Rogue and her team worry about Quicksilver, before the Metal Master tosses Thor's hammer at Cannonball, concussing him. The Blood Brothers are about to finish off Quicksilver, when Black Swan, Supergiant and Black Dwarf arrive, and distract them. The two teams of villains engage each other in battle, and Rogue realizes that this is some sort of game, wondering who is behind it. The Grandmaster observes the battles from his cosmic game room, and his mysterious companion warns him that the Black Order is a supreme fighting unit who will destroy the space trash he has assembled for his Lethal Legion, the Grandmaster isn't so sure, though. Back in Peru, the Falcon tells his teammates what he knows about the Black Order, and Synapse uses her powers to find out what she can about the Lethal Legion, which isn't much. With no plan, the Avengers decide to simply observe the two teams of villains fighting. Voyager arrives in Rome and takes Quicksilver and Cannonball back to the Auxiliary Avengers HQ, where the Scarlet Witch realizes that she is responsible for what happened  to Quicksilver – who suddenly unfreezes, and the Vision returns to his frozen state. In Rome, the Black Dwarf leaps towards the energy column with the pyramid at the top of it – and is seemingly destroyed as he grabs the pyramoid. Black Swan declares that the first point goes to the Black Order, and the Avengers worry about the team in Peru, so Lightning offers to fly there to warn them. By now, the Avengers in Peru have engaged the Black Order and Lethal Legion in battle, while the Torch heads towards the column of energy, thinking that if both teams want the pyramid in the column, the Avengers should get it first. Lightning arrives in Peru, and calls out to  the Torch to stop, but he doesn't hear him. Red Hulk decides that he should get the pyramid first, so leaps towards it, too – but the Torch grabs it, and suddenly glows with energy.

Full Summary: 

Peru, where Johnny Storm the Human Torch thinks to himself that if Reed was here, he would have a plan of attack immediately, but not the Falcon, though, as he can practically feel the Falcon strategizing on the fly – where to put Wonder Man, how to place Synapes, Red Hulk (Rulk?) and Voyager. So, Johnny decides to do what he does best, without standing around waiting for orders – so he leads with his face. 'FLAME ON!' Johnny shouts as flies past the other Avengers, ready for action. 'Torch, wait! Are you serious?' Sam Wilson a.k.a. the Falcon calls out. 'Do you plan to take on all these guys on your own?' the Falcon asks the Torch as he flies towards deadly members of two teams – the Black Order and the Lethal Legion – who are currently engaged in battle. Corvus Glaive goes up against Drall, while Ebony Maw fights Frene the Other and Proxima Midnight battles Captain Glory. 'They'd take you apart!' the Falcon calls out.

Meantime, in Rome, Italy, the frozen body of Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver has been smashed into the ground by the Blood Brothers, who stand over Quicksilver, alongside two of their Lethal Legion teammates, Metal Master and Mentacle. 'Nice try, speed guy' one of the Blood Brothers exclaims. 'That's what happens when you mess with the Lethal Legion the other Blood Brother snarls. 'Pietro!' Rogue gasps as she and the rest of her team – Hercules, Thor, Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball and Miguel Santos a.k.a. Lightning – recover and turn their attention to their fallen teammate. Hercules tells the villains to stay their hand and warns them that they may strike one of them down, but the rest shall avenge him. 'Metal “Master”...you are not worthy to wield the might of Mjolnir!' Thor exclaims as she holds out her hand for her hammer to return to her. 'You named your hammer? How amusing!' the Metal Master remarks.

The Metal Master announces that he can sense the hammer is quite unique, but that no matter where it came from, if it contains metal, he can control it. He then sends the hammer screeching through the air, and suddenly, Cannonball blasts towards it, despite Rogue telling him not to. Cannonball exclaims that his blast field will stop the hammer – but the hammer strikes Cannonball and knocks him back into Rogue, who catches him. 'Dammit, Sam!' she mutters. Mentacle attacks Hercules with a psychic attach and instructs the Blood Brothers to slay the speedster so that he does not impede their progress any further. 'No way, squid-boy!' Lightning calls out as he casts a blast of electrical energy at Mentacle.

The Blood Brothers follow their instructions and one of them picks the frozen Quicksilver up by his head: 'Lights out -' the Blood Brother begins, when suddenly, both of them cry out as a large blast of energy strikes them, knocking them both through the air, and sending Quicksilver out of their reach. Hovering in the air is the woman responsible for the blast – Black Swan. At her sides are Supergiant and Black Dwarf. Black Swan declares that the Legion are so easily distracted by the designated obstacles, and tells them that their strategy is shameful. Metal Master is loath to admit it, but tells his teammates that Black Swan is correct, as they wasted time instead of scoring the first point. He sends Mjolnir through the air again – straight towards Black Swan who throws up a force bubble around herself, Mjolnir is unable to penetrate the force field, and bounds off of it. 'Sad... I'd hoped you'd prove to be worthy opponents' Black Swan remarks.

Metal Master cries out as Supergiant's non-stable form phases through his alien body, telling him that his powers are vast, but that his mind is vulnerable. 'Let the Black order show you how the game is played!' Black Dwarf exclaims as he slams Mjolnir down towards Thor, who is knocked aside as the powerful hammer strikes the ground. Clutching Cannonball's unmoving body, Rogue thinks “game?” and wonders if all this pain and destruction is for a game, and if so, who the hell is behind it?

Meanwhile, in the Grandmaster's cosmic game room, the ancient cosmic being stares at monitors placed around the chamber which depicts the events transpiring on Earth. 'Hm. You know, I thought they'd have worked it out by now' the Gamesmaster remarks, to which his companion, standing in the shadows, tells the Grandmaster that was only the latet in his many errors, like this “Lethal Legion” he is fielding. 'The Black Order is a honed fighting unit – subalterns to one of the most feared creatures in this universe' the mysterious being declares, exclaiming that the Grandmaster has just cobbled together a collection of dregs – mercenaries and space trash. The Grandmaster tells his companion that the “space trash” may surprise him yet. 'I know this universe, old foe. And I always play to win' the Grandmaster declares, telling is companion that he knows that, before suggesting that they study the board.

Back in Peru, the Falcon flies over thr battle that rages between the Lethal Legion and Black Order, and calls out to Valerie Vector a.k.a. Voyager and asks her to see if the Rome team can spare any backup, because he doesn't have the first clue whether these new arrivals are friends or foes. He tells his team that he recognizes the ones from the Black Order and tells them that Corvus Glaive is tought and strong and that his blade can cut through absolutely anything, and Proxima Midnight is his wife, tough and maybe even stronger, her lance kills everything she throws it at – and she never misses, while Ebony Maw has mind control powers. The Falcon realizes that Synapse has mind control powers, too and asks Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse if she can go brain to brain with him, reach into his head, maybe get an impression of anything going on here before they dive in. 'New trick, but I'll try my best...' Synapse replies as she unleashes her power – then screams, clutching her head.

'Are you okay? Bad idea, apparently!' Falcon exclaims, but Synapse assures him she is just sorting through it all, and reports that the new three are definitely bad guys, part of some new “Lethal Legion”, and that their names are Captain Glory, Drall and Frene, but she doesn't know more than that. Synapse notices a golden pryamid-shaped object hovering nearby and tells the others that it is what the two groups are fighting over, some alien artefact. 'So... are we ready to throw down?' the Human Torch asks as he flies alongside the Falcon, who tells him to slow his roll. He points out that the villains haven't seen them yet, and that gives him the best idea of all. 'Instead of charging in – let's watch the villains beat the hell out of each other for a change!' the Falcon suggests. 'AVENGERS OBSERVE!' Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man shouts, throwing his fists into the air.

At that moment, Voyager arrives in Rome, near the half-demolished Colosseum, she looks out for the Avengers, when Rogue calls out to her. Voyager goes over to Rogue, and sees her holding the frozen Quicksilver. 'Is that...' Voyager begins. Rogue tells her that Pietro was frozen like the others, and the Lethal Legion got the drop on him. Rogue instructs Voyager to ferry Quicksilver and Cannonball back to base. Clutching his head, Cannonball claims that he will be okay, and reminds Rogue that he is nigh invulnerable while he is blasting. Rogue looks at Sam and tells him that there is a lot of room in that “nigh” and that he has a concussion, possibly a skull fracture, so he needs to go with Voyager. 'That's an order' Rogue declares. Voyager's teleport field surrounds Cannonball and herself as she holds Quicksilver in her arms and informs Rogue that she is running on fumes – if she leaves, she can't make it back. Rogue knows that Quicksilver can't wait, and accepts that is how it must be She tells Voyager to get going, as the rest of them will be fine. 'Ah hope' Rogue mutters to herself.

At the Auxiliary Avengers HQ, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch and Jericho Drumm a.k.a Doctor Voodoo are with the recently-revived Vision, who announces that his interntal chronometer is malfunctioning. Wanda tells the Vision that he keeps pausing, and that it looks like whatever put him in stasis wants to keep him that way. 'It's taking all my concentration to -' Wanda begins, when suddenly, she calls out to her brother, as Voyager teleports into the Auxiliary Avengers HQ, holding Pietro's frozen body, she reports that something froze him, she isn't sure what, and announces that she can't teleport anymore and needs to rest. Doctor Voodoo calls out to Dr Toni Ho a.k.a. Iron Patriot, and informs her that they need the medical bay online, now. 'Wanda? Who is tha-' the Vision begins to ask as he sees Voyager, before he suddenly returns to the frozen state, and Quicksilver stirs. Wide-eyed, Wanda utters 'Oh, no. We did this'.

Back in Rome, 'No! Don't say that! It's not right!' the Metal Master utters as Supergiant manipulates him. 'Relive those awful memories. Drown in them...' she tells her opponent. Molyn exclaims that conquest is his art, that he sculpts whole societies, and if he is exiled, it will be censorship. Rogue flies over to Thor and asks her if she iis all right. Thor slams her fist into one of the Blood Brothers and tells Rogue that with the Metal Master down, Mjolnir is hers once again – and neither of them are in the mood to forget the indignity. 'Good, get ready, team. That floating thing is the cause of all this – what they're fighting over. Figure that means we grab it first...' Rogue calls out as she sees the pyramid-shaped object floating above them.

Supergiant flits over to Black Swan and tells her that the obstacles are working out the rules, but Black Swan replies that it doesn't matter, and explains that if she shields the Black Dwarf from the orbiting rocks, it will allow him to take the pyramoid – if he dares. 'Ha! You think I won't make the sacrifice? Show these fools our power, Swan – while I show them our will!' the Black Dwarf exclaims as he leaps into the column of glowing energy above the Colosseum that continues to be torn apart, ghe rubble blasting around the  energy. 'The will of the Black Order!' the Black Dwarf shouts as he reaches for the red pyramoid – and suddenly roars in agony as he vanishes, apparently torn into a million pieces. 'Od's blood...' Thor utters as she and the others stop the fight and look up at the air where the Black Dwarf was – and now a large glowing numer 1 can be seen in the sky. 'First point to us' Black Swan smirks, before informing Supergiant that that they are done here.

Supergiant and Black Swan then vanish, while one of the Blood Brothers tells Molyn that they have to go after them. The other Blood Brother holds Molyn the Metal Master, who is still a babbling mess. Thor spins Mjolnir and announces that they should chase their enemies down, but Rogue tells her to wait, and reminds her that they were going to grab that pyramid thing before Black Dwarf, and then it disintegrated him. Wide-eyed, Rogue wonders what will happen when the team in Peru try that. Lightning suddenly blasts into the sky and announces that he can get to Peru the fastest as pure energy. 'Let's hope it's fast enough' he adds.

In Peru, the enemy teams have switched battle partners, as Frene slams her fist into Corvus Glaive's face. Corvus Glaive asks Frene if her name has significance. 'It means “Soul of Iron”. It means “The Last Name You Will Ever Speak”!' Frene replies, before Corvus Glaive declares that in his native tongue, it means something altogether different, and slams his blade against Frene, telling that her name means “Victim”. 'Die!' he exclaims – but as he prepares to strike her down, Red Hulk a.k.a. General Robert L Maverick lunges at him, and pushes him aside. 'Avengers rules of engagement, son – nobody dies!' Red Hulk exclaims.

'So much for the entertainment portion of this evening' Synapse remarks as Wonder Man flies her alongside the Falcon and the Torch. 'Avengers rule number one: Save lives. Even the poisonous ones. Let's go!' the Falcon exclaims as they fly into the battle, where Drall is now up against Proxima Midnight, and she tells her that this time, her corpse will be hers. 'There are six total in your “Legion”, Drall. If you wish to best me, you would be wise to summon them all to your side' Proxima Midnight replies, before Wonder Man flies between them, and pushing them apart from each other he asks 'Ladies. All this drama. Can't we reason together?' At that moment, Ebony Maw is up against Captain Glory, and tells him that he has such a lofty title. 'You Kree have always been such a literal people -' Ebony Maw begins, while Captain Glory tells him 'And yours incredibly weak' as he blasts him with a surge of energy.

Falcon declares that Man is down but not out and asks Synapse to see if she can keep him from possessing any of them. 'Torch, you can – torch? Where are you?' Falcon calls out – but the Torch is busy, flying near the column of energy, he locks his eyes onto the prize, and decides that whatever the pyramid gadget is, if the Black-Legion-Order-League want it, then it is something bad. Suddenly, 'I made it! There's still time!' Lightning exclaims as he arrives in Peru, and darts towards the Human Torch, who thinks that if the villains want this, the Avengers can't let them have it. Down below, Drall battles Proxima Midnight, who tosses her lance into the air. The Torch notices it, while Lightning moves closer towards the Torch, who decides that the lance probably can't follow him into a cosmic firestorm.

Red Hulk looks up from where he has a large hand on Captain Glory's face, 'Now what in the heck was he...?' Red Hulk wonders, before realizing that the fight is over when someone grabs the doohickey in the sky. 'Might as well be me!' Red Hulk decides as leaps into the air, towards the column of energy, as Lightning calls out to him, urgently telling him not to touch it. The Torch thinks to himself that Reed wouldn't need to be told – he would have a plan immediately. The Torch knows that he has a new team now, “Once an Avenger, always an Avenger” he quotes, realizing that there is still part of him that's doing this for the Fantastic Four. 'Don't -' Lightning exclaims as he, Torch and Red Hulk move closer to the pyramoid. 'I got it!' Red Hulk shouts. 'I've got it!' the Human Torch announces as he grabs the pyramoid, thinking to himself that there is still life in the Human Torch – before he screams, and starts to glow with energy....

Characters Involved: 

Falcon, Hercules, Thor IV, Vision (all Avengers)
Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Synapse II, Wonder Man (all Avengers Unity Division)
Cannonball, Red Hulk II (both US Avengers)

Voyager / Valerie Vector
Black Dwarf, Black Swan II, Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, Supergiant (all Black Order)
Blood Brothers, Captain Glory, Drall, Frene the Other, Mentacle, Moyln (all Lethal Legion)

Unidentified being

Story Notes: 

This issue is narrated by the Human Torch.

Written By: