Avengers (3rd series) #9

Issue Date: 
October 1998
Story Title: 
The Villain who fell from Grace with the Earth

Kurt Busiek (writer), George Perez (penciler), Al Vey (inker), Richard Starkings, Comicraft & Dave Lanphear (letterers), Tom Smith (colorist), Tom Breevort (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The morning after the Avengers' battle against Magnum Force, the heroes are taking some time out to enjoy breakfast together. Lupe explains that her ability to become Silverclaw is her birthright, while the Scarlet Witch contemplates Wonder Man's most recent appearance to her, and Hawkeye laments to the Vision that he is feeling like a fifth wheel amongst the Avengers. Justice and Firestar arrive, and Firestar reveals to the Scarlet Witch the issues she is having with her powers, and the Scarlet Witch offers to give thought to some solutions. With everyone gathered, Cap commences a meeting where he tells the team what they know about Moses Magnum, and the seismic cannon which his Magnum Force stole. A message is suddenly transmitted through the Avengers' secure frequency, and they are surprised that their new ally Triathlon is the caller, revealing to the Avengers that he stowed away with Magnum Force and is now at his lair, but things are getting troublesome. Iron Man is suspicious of Triathlon, wondering how he accessed the secure line. But, nevertheless, the Avengers answer the call, and launch an assault on the floating resort called the Evangeline, where Moses Magnum is based and preparing his next assault against the world. Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Firestar enter through the under-water sub-levels, while the Scarlet Witch, Justice and Silverclaw are already onboard, surveying the situation. Once Cap and his team reach the inside of the Evangeline, they split up and search for Magnum, while Cap realizes that they don't really know that much about Triathlon, and wonders whether he can be trusted. The heroes take out various members of the Magnum Force security team as they make their way through the facility, until Hawkeye eventually meets up with Triathlon and they crawl through a duct together, as Triathlon knows where Magnum is. En route through the tunnel, Triathlon reveals his origin to Hawkeye, how the Triune Understanding saved him from when he was at a low. They find the lab where Magnum is hooked up to the seismic cannon. He wants more power, he wants to show Apocalypse that he has become a weapon with unbridled destructive force. Magnum discovers the two and orders his soldiers to subdue them. Luckily, the rest of the Avengers burst into the lab, and a battle ensues. Magnum proves powerful though, until the Scarlet Witch uses her power to block Magnum's connection to the Earth – so Magnum responds by throwing some equipment at her and knocking her out. This causes Wonder Man to materialize, and enraged, he flies towards Magnum, grabs him, forces him off the Evangeline, over to the nearby mainland where he pummels him over and over. Magnum fights back, a little surprised that he is able to stand on solid ground, he claims that he is cured – but then there is an earthquake, and he realizes that the curse Apocalypse set upon him remains – he cannot come into contact with the ground, as he cannot control his power – which is why he needed the seismic cannon. The other Avengers arrive on the land, and before they can save Magnum, the ground opens up and swallows him. The Avengers lament being unable to help Magnum, while the Scarlet Witch is determined to understand how Wonder Man appeared without her conjuring him. The Avengers return to their mansion, and after seeing Silverclaw off to the school she is going to attend, Triathlon leaves, and offers the Avengers help whenever they need him. The Scarlet Witch wonders where Hawkeye is – and Jarvis discovers a farewell note from the Avenging archer.

Full Summary: 

The Caribbean Sea, four  miles north and east of the island of Martinique. Four Avengers sporting deep-sea diving equipment swim forward on a mission. 'Captain America to submersible team – we're approaching target. Everyone good to go?' Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America asks via communicator. Three green tell-tales light up on the inside surface of the living legend's faceplate. Earth's Mightiest Heroes are ready. Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye and Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar are part of Cap's submersible team. Cap tells them to move in, but to stay cautious, as they don't know what is waiting for them – it could be a trap. Cap then asks the surface team if they are in place, and three more tell-tales come to life. Suddenly, the shadow of the target falls over the four underwater Avengers – the floating resort called the Evangeline.

The sprawling vessel is registered out of the tiny nation of Alberia, the Evangeline went into service less than a year ago, and has been fully occupied since its first week. Displacing 344,000 tons, it is more than three times rthe size of any cruise ship, and never comes in to any port, instead ferrying guests to and fro via a fleet of forty boats and ten helicopters. It offers gambling, sports, sightseeing, shopping, nightclubs, the amenities of a dozen first-class hotels, and even a nautical  theme park. To any of its guests, it look like exactly what its brochures claim – the lushest resort on the high seas. 'Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen...' someone working at a casino table calls out in the very busy casino. 'And the house stays...' another worker declares. 'You call that a bet, Harry?' a woman asks.

But from below, the four Avengers approach the underside of the vessel. Cap reports that it looks like they are on the right track, as the craft is far, far bigger than its specs would have people believe. He asks the surface team to acknowledge transmission and make their move. Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch reports in and informs Cap that she is headed for the rendezvous point. Wanda hopes to herself that Simon won't be needed for this mission. Back below, the four Avengers swim up to a large panel and Cap instructs Iron Man to get them in. Back aboard the vessel, Vance Astro a.k.a. Justice reports in and announces that he is on his way, while wondering to himself 'I don't get it. I was good with the New Warriors – confident. So why am I always so nervous now?'

Nearby, Maria de Guadalupe Santiago a.k.a Silverclaw, touchers the communication piece in her ear and reports that she is moving in, while thinking to herself that she cannot believe this – only days ago she was leaving her village, headed for college in the United States – and now, she is in a place like this – with the mighty Avengers! Iron Man has opened the hatch beneath the Evangeline and informs Captain America that they are in, and he has overridden the electro-lock and the alarm system, but as the four Avengers swim through the hatch, Iron Man reports that he cannot guarantee how long that will last. 'All right, people. Let's make this quick' Cap tells his team, while up above, Wanda, Justice and Silverclaw group together and move out of the casino, making their way through a door. The underwater team have intense torches illuminating the water for them, and Cap thinks that their information has proved solid so far, he hopes it stays that way – otherwise the Avengers could be involved in an international incident. Unbidden, Captain America's mind turns back to the events that brought about this mission – to the morning after a battle at New York's Kennedy Airport, a battle, in part, against a foe who turned out to be a friend.

Inside the dining room at Avengers Mansion, Captain America and Iron Man sit at one end of the table, while Hawkeye helps himself to a buffet of food. The Vision stands nearby, while Jarvis stands next to his sponsor child, Maria, who sits at the head of the table. She tells Tio Edwin that she is very sorry, and should have mentioned in her letters that in her village she is “the daughter of the volcano god” and that she had the shape-shifting powers of her birthright. Jarvis calls her Lupe and admits that he was a bit startled, but that as butler to the Avengers, he has grown accustomed to surprises, and that the fact the child he sponsored overseas is super-powered pales next to her charm and vivacity. 'More juice?' he then asks her. 'But Tio – I hurt you! How can I make up for -' Lupe begins. Jarvis touches the bandage on his head and assures Lupe that he has had worse than this in his time, and is sure he will again. He tells Lupe not to think twice about it.

Her new costume flowing behind her, Wanda enters the dining room and bids Jarvis good morning. Jarvis says good morning to Wanda and tells her that she looks positively radiant this morning. 'I... I do?' Wanda asks. She smiles as she stands at the buffet. She thinks to herself that she has been able to cause Wonder Man to manifest recently, to return from the dead at times of need, and last night, she felt so adrift, so isolated, that he appeared. 'But I never intended...' her thoughts trail off, while the Vision watches her. Mouthful of food, Hawkeye asks the Vision if he got a chance to put together those files he asked for. 'Vision?' Hawkeye calls out, but gets no response as the Vision is fixated on Wanda. He then turns to Hawkeye and tells him that he transmitted the files into his account. Shovelling more food into his mouth, Hawkeye thanks the Vision, and tells him that he has been feeling like a fifth wheel after going back to playing soldier boy after being team-leader for so long. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's okay – Cap's a good leader, and it's fine. It's just sorta confining, and I was thinking... Vizh?' Hawkeye calls out when he realizes that the Vision has turned his attention back to the Scarlet Witch.

'Oh, boy – breakfast!' Justice exclaims, licking his lips as he and Firestar enter the dining room. Firestar tells Vance that he could have eaten at home, to which he replies 'Sure, Angel – if I wanted to choose between the moldy yogurt and the stale hostess sno-ball in Nita's fridge. You want something?' as he starts piling food onto his plate. Angelica replies that she might get a piece of fruit, before heading over to sit with Wanda.

Wanda turns to Angelica, who asks if she can talk to her about something. Wanda tells Angelica to have a seat and asks 'What is it? If there's any way I can help...' Angelica is reluctant, and begins by telling Wanda that she isn't sure anyone can help. 'Oh, I hate this. I'm just going to come out and say it. My powers are microwave-based and when I use them at high levels, I run the risk of radiation poisoning and sterility' she announces. Angelica assures Wanda that she isn't hiding this – she has told Cap, but when she does things like power up that dimensional portal, it scares her, and she doesn't want to leave. 'But if I have to do more stuff like that, I -' Angelica remarks.

Wanda tells her young teammate that it is no wonder she is scared. 'In your place, I'd be terrified' Wanda admits, before she tells Angelica that maybe things aren't as bad as they seem. She asks Angelica to give her a day or two to think, and maybe she can suggest something.

And then, Cap stands up, wiping his mouth, he points out that it looks like the team is here, and asks them for their attention. Jarvis suggests to Lupe that they retire to another room, as this is Avengers business, but Lupe declares that she wanted to hear. Captain America tells Jarvis that she can stay, and points out that with the Vision limited to holographic form while undergoing repair, and Thor absent, they could use an extra hand. He adds that Lupe was in this fight before the Avengers were, so she has a right to finish it. 'And having fought her – I can attest to her competence' Cap adds. 'Well – I suppose – I mean, she is older than Miss Firestar...' Justice responds, as the wide-eyed Lupe thanks Captain America and promises him that he won't regret this. 'I don't expect to, Lupe, not with these bruises' Cap tells her, before returning to business. The Avengers all watch Cap as he states that Moses Magnum is an arms dealer and international eco-terrorist, who smuggled his men onto a plane in Costa Verde yesterday, in order to intercept another plane at Kennedy Airport carrying an experimental device called the Seismic Cannon.

Cap reveals that the Seismic Cannon was designed by Rand-Meachum to control and ameliorate the tectonic forces that cause earthquakes, and since Magnum's been connected with earthquake threats before, they have to take this very seriously. 'Any questions?' Cap asks, when suddenly, the Vision appears strange, as he receives a communication. He announces that it is coming in on the epsilon frequency, and that he will put it on video. 'Epsilon frequency? But that's only for internal communications! Who could – Triathlon!' Cap replies as the image of Triathlon appears, projected on the Vision's holo form. 'Howdy, Avengers – sorry about breaking in on your private wavebands here, but I didn't have time to find a pay phone!' Triathlon exclaims. He informs the Avengers that he stowed away on a plane Magnum stole and tracked him to his lair, but that things are getting out of hand.

Iron Man is curious as to why Triathlon is sorry for breaking in on their wavebands – how does Triathlon even know about their comm-system? They only met him yesterday. 'Hold it, Triathlon, let's start with -' Cap begins to reply, but Triathlon interrupts Captain America, announcing that Magnum is a major league loony-tune, that he keeps talking about someone named Apocalypse, and how he will show him chaos and millions of people dead. Triathlon adds that whatever Magnum is up to, it sounds like it is coming soon. Cap tells Triathlon to give them his location and they will be there as soon as they can.

Captain America has emerged from the water and is in some sort of transfer room between the water beneath the vessel and the vessel itself. Cap thinks that they don't know too much about Triathlon, but they have to take his warning seriously. Cap recalls that the X-Men have filled the Avengers in on Apocalypse, and he is a mutant hardnose, fascinated with natural selection and survival of the strong, so anything he is mixed up in could be bad news. 'So we got here, and waited until dark, as Triathlon suggested. And now...' Cap thinks to himself, while, through the chamber, in a corridor, several Magnum Force soldiers are walking, and notice a hatch open. Cap leaps from it and slams into them with his holo-shield, knocking them over. 'Excuse me, gents – but I'd like to have a word – a private word – with your boss!' Cap exclaims as he runs onwards down the corridor. He knows that the Avengers don't have a prayer of making it to Magnum unnoticed, but that they have to keep the alarm from being raised as long as they can. He hopes that the others are doing okay.

To the east, soldiers are firing large weapons at Iron Man. 'Kill him! Kill the intr-' one of the Magnum Force soldiers exclaims, while Iron Man destroys the weapons. He thinks that they are called the Magnum Shells, and didn't get a chance at them before, and although they are tough, he can handle them. Iron Man decides that their presence proves one thing – Triathlon didn't steer them wrong – the Evangeline is definitely a Magnum operation. To the south, Firestar releases a blast of microwave energy at some of the Magnum Force operatives. 'Nobody does anything stupid, nobody gets hurt!' she tells them. 'Well, except maybe me, that is' Angelica thinks to herself, before her thoughts travel back to her discussion with Wanda, how she told Angelica that she needed a day or two to think. 'I wonder what she – but I can't think about that right now. Got to concentrate on these guys – make sure nobody slips away' Angelica tells herself, putting her attention back on the assignment.

Several decks below, a Magnum Force operative in some sort of monitor room is taken by surprise when the monitor board lights up like a Christmas tree, showing multiple disruptions. 'We're being invaded – from below!' he exclaims, before calling out to Jorge and Robert, instructing them to flood the lower decks with nerve gas so the invaders choke. Suddenly, the console before him explodes with pink energies. 'Huh? What's going -' he calls out, before the Scarlet Witch appears, informing him that was a mutant hex, disrupting his communications system. 'And this – is an elbow smash!' Wanda adds, shoving her elbow into the back of his neck. 'And as for the rest of your squad -' Wanda begins, while in the room next door, Justice telekinetically slams two Magnum Force operatives together. He tells the Scarlet Witch not to worry, that they won't be gassing anyone. Justice then calls out to Silverclaw, warning her that there are two behind her. Silverclaw thanks Justice, her appearance like a monkey, she leaps above the two operatives and uses her feet to push them into one another. Silverclaw tells Justice that his warning was unnecessary to one who commands all the abilities of the jungle beasts. She adds that their attack is as slow as syrup, and as effective.

Silverclaw wonders if she misunderstood their leader's English. 'To stop our attack – they would surely not have murdered their own men?' Silverclaw asks. But, decks below, Hawkeye stands on a platform and looks down on a corridor, littered with Magnum Force operatives as the gas around them vanishes. Hawkeye is in disbelief – they gassed their own guys just to try and get at him. Clint is thankful he had the respirator that he uses with his own gas arrows. He thinks he got the two who triggered this nightmare.

Clint suddenly spins around, arrow ready, he thinks someone is above him. Indeed, a small panel opens and Triathlon waves at Hawkeye: 'Whoa! Whoa! Pax, friend! It's me!' he exclaims. 'Triathlon!' Hawkeye shouts. 'You remember – I'm touched' Triathlon replies, before telling Hawkeye that they gotta get to the central lab area fast. He tells Hawkeye to come up into the vent-ducts so they can make better time and avoid notice.

Hawkeye shortly crawls after Triathlon in the vent ducts and asks him what his story is. 'You're helping us out, but you came outta nowhere. Who are you?' Clint remarks. Triathlon tells Hawkeye that he might have heard of him, and reveals that his name is Delroy Garrett Jr. 'Garrett? Yeah, I have heard of you...' Hawkeye admits.

Shown with flashback images:
Delroy tells Hawkeye that he supposes he heard the same thing everybody else did – that a young kid from Philly broke all the track records in high school, before making the big time with the US Olympic track team. Delroy reveals that he did pretty well, too – three gold medals, all the sneaker companies on the planet offering him endorsement contracts. 'But then -' Delroy begins, as Clint interrupts: 'Yeah, I heard about that, too. What was it – illegal steroids?' he enquires. Delroy admits that was not one of his proudest moments, but he did it to himself and there is no one else to blame. He supposes that he wanted it too bad, so he cheated and got caught – then they stripped him of his medals and banned him from competition. Delroy reveals that he didn't do a lot after that. There were still job offers, but not from anyone looking for a hero – just from people willing to accept damage goods, so he didn't take them, just wallowed in his shame – until he discovered the Triune Understanding. Delroy explains the Triune Understanding as a way of thinking, or a church, but he didn't believe in what they had to say at first – until they showed him a way to find peace, to let go of the anger he had toward himself – and in time, a way to unlock the power within him – making him three times as strong, fast and agile as humanly possible.

'Those Triune guys – didn't I hear they were some kind of cult?' Hawkeye asks as he continues to follow Triathlon through the vent duct. 'Could be' Triathlon replies, adding that is what a lot of people think, it seems – what he thought, too, until he gave them a try and learned – and they have been nothing but good for him. 'Hey, no offense' Hawkeye declares. 'None taken. You can't help being ignorant' Triathlon points out. 'Huh? What's that supposed to -' Hawkeye begins, but Triathlon shushes him as they reach a panel in the vent, and tells him to take a look. 'We're here' Triathlon announces. Hawkeye peers through the panel and he sees the Seismic Cannon that was stolen. 'But what's all that other stuff? What's he doing with it? And more importantly – what's he doing to himself?' Hawkeye asks.

Moses Magnum is standing on a large piece of equipment, green energy radiating around him. 'Initiating control feedback. Current readings, Matuscek' Magnum remarks to a woman at a control panel. Matuscek reports that there is a partial success, that the Seismic Cannon's containment resonances are affecting his cellular structure, super-charging the seismoplasts, and 15% of them are damping – but that's not enough. 'Sir, if you're to -' Matuscek begins, but Magnum instructs her to increase the power. 'Increase power? But Sir – we're already well past maximum safe -' Matuscek begins. 'I said increase power, woman! Risk be hanged! We must succeed! We must! I must show Apocalypse, by taking his gift – and turning it into a weapon – a weapon that will stagger even such as he – with an unbridled display of sheer destructive force!' Magnum roars, the energy rising up around him.

'So what's he talking about?' Hawkeye asks Triathlon replies that he doesn't know, but that this is the sort of thing Magnum was going on about before. 'This is why I contacted the Avengers' Triathlon adds. 'Good call. But we'd better wait until the others are in pos-' Hawkeye begins, before the vent they are in is torn open and they fall into the chamber. 'Heads up, Triath – we're rumbled! Looks like our buddy over there skimped on the budget  for his ventilation ducts. 'On the contrary, Hawkeye – your entrance was quite deliberate – and entirely under my control' Magnum declares, to which Hawkeye tells him that strapped into that torture device like that, there is no way he could have known they were here.

Hawkeye aims an arrow at Moses Magnum, who tells Hawkeye that his ignorance is appalling, for to one as attuned to seismic vibrations as he, their whispers resounded like thunder. 'You know, that's the second time I've been called ignorant in as many minutes, glow-boy – and I'm starting to feel slighted' Hawkeye exclaims, before telling Triathlon that they should take him. 'You will take nothing, Avenger!' Magnum responds, before shouting at his guards to subdue the heroes. Hawkeye and Triathlon look around and see armored and armed members of the Magnum Force behind them. 'Uh-oh. Didn't realize this was an open party' Hawkeye remarks. 'What you said, Purple' Triathlon agrees. 'Drop the bow – and put your hands on your heads, both of you! NOW!' one of the Magnum Force shouts.

'Ah, Hawkeye?' Triathlon asks. 'You're the old pro here. We're outnumbered and way out-gunned. Got any suggestions?' Hawkeye smiles and tells Triathlon to hold tight – because if the rumbling he hears from either side means what he thinks it does, then the Avengers – are here! Indeed, Iron Blasts his way through one wall, followed by Justice and Silverclaw, while Firestar destroys another wall and flies into the chamber with Cap and Wanda. 'Well, all right! This guy's a big talker, Avengers – so let's shut him up and shut him down!' Hawkeye exclaims, firing an arrow behind Magnum, which explodes, causing Moses Magnum to drop from the platform. 'Fools! You won't stop me – you can't stop me! I have a message to send – and nothing will prevent it!' the villain boasts.

Using his holo-shield to deflect weapons fire that the Magnum Force soldiers blast about the chamber, Captain America slams a fist into one of the soldiers and tells Moses Magnum that if he wants to send a message, then he should try Western Union. Cap then points out that with Thor not here, Iron Man is their heavy hitter, and instructs him to take Magnum, while the resto f them block the soldiers for him. Wanda casts a hex which causes weaponsfire to miss her, while she is unsure what Cap is doing – Iron Man is their heavy hitter, but Wonder Man is stronger – if she would just bring him through. 'Cap knows that I don't want to do it – that not knowing how I'm linked with Simon, or why – that it makes me nervous!' Wanda tells herself, deciding that she should just get past it, do what needs to be done – but after what happened last night, she doesn't know if she should be glad she can conjure Simon – or scared.

Silverclaw has shifted into a large crocodile form and her tail slams into one of the armored soldiers, boasting that her crocodile aspect is more than enough to deal with the mercenaries. 'So do as Captain America wishes – and fall!' she exclaims. 'What the lady said, guys!' Justice calls out, while lashing out at some of the Magnum Force soldiers with a telekinetic surge. Vance tells himself to settle down. 'You can take 'em. You are taking 'em' he thinks to himself. 'Settle down'. Suddenly, Captain America tells Iron Man that he is clear: 'Do it!' he calls out – but before Iron Man can strike out against Moses Magnum, 'Armored idiot! I hold immeasurable seismic power within my body!' the villain boasts as he slams Iron Man backwards. He declares that this is power enough to level cities, raise mountains – and it gives him more than enough strength to deal with him!

Silverclaw has transformed into a bird-like form and attacks one of the soldiers, while Triathlon takes down several soldiers with his athletic prowess. Hawkeye observes them and thinks to himself that Iron Man may have gotten slammed, but that the new kids are doing good – real good. Clint decides that Triathlon is a little touchy, but has the stuff. Suddenly, though 'Enough! I said you cannot stop me, Avengers – and I spoke the truth!' Moses Magnum booms as he creates a forceful seismic wave that knocks the Avengers off their feet, they collapse in a heap. Magnum declares that the Seismic Cannon has worked, that it has increased his control, extended it – he can now tap into the very energies of the Earth, and uneash them wherever he chooses. 'And to prove it, I choose to destroy the Eastern Seaboard of the United States – right now!' 'No -' Triathlon calls out. 'Stop -' Captain America asks, but as Moses Magnum prepares to unleash further power, he suddenly finds that something is blocking his power, preventing him from causing more destruction.

'That would be me, Magnum!' the Scarlet Witch exclaims. 'Wanda? But how?' Justice asks, while Wanda tells Magnum that he mentioned the Earth's energy, and reveals that she has been tapping into energy-fields lately, though she doesn't know how – firstly Morgan le Fay's magick, then Moonglow's and the Corruptor's energies. Moses grimaces as he feels the power leaving him. Sweat pours down Wanda's face as she concentrates – consciously, for the first time, feeling Magnum's connection to the Earth and blocking it. Magnum drops to his knees and declares that he won't be stopped, as the price is too high. 'Pour it on, Witchie!' Hawkeye tells his friend. Wanda continues to take Magnum down, and without using Wonder Man. 'Price is – TOO HIGH!' Magnum booms as he tears some machinery from the floor and hurls it through the air. 'WANDA!' Firestar screams – but it's too late, as Wanda throws up her hands to defend herself, no use though, and her last conscious thought is to wonder what Magnum is so scared of.

Firestar tried to blast the machine, but wasn't quick enough. She, Cap and Hakweye rush over to Wanda, and Cap calls out to her, but gets no response. 'And thus shall fall all who oppose -' Magnum begins, but he gets a surprise as from Wanda's slumped, unmoving form, Wonder Man slowly emerges in his ionic form. 'MAGNUM!' he booms, before flying past Cap, Hawkeye, Silverclaw, Triathlon, Justice, Firestar and Iron Man, who points out that Wanda isn't even conscious. 'How did she summon -?' Hawkeye begins as Wonder Man slams into Magnum, and forces him through floor after floor of the Evangeline. 'You're. Going. To. Pay. For. That!' Wonder Man exclaims as he flies Magnum out of the Evangeline and onto a cliffside over the shore of Martinique, where he pummels Magnum with blow after blow. 'You – you fool! Do you realize what you've done?' Magnum asks.

If Wonder Man hears the terror underlying Magnum's voice, as the Scarlet Witch did, it doesn't register on him. 'What I did? It's what you did, monster!' Wonder Man retorts as they move closer to the edge of the cliff. 'You hurt the kindest, gentlest, sweetest, most caring woman on the face of the Earth – and she'd better be only hurt, or -' Wonder Man declares, while Magnum tries to throw a punch of his own, and remarks that it isn't happening. 'The Seismic Cannon – it must've worked even better than we thought! I'm cured! Do you hear me, you over muscled imitation of a human being? I'm CURED!' Magnum shouts, but, as the words leave his lips, it begins – a massive rumbling that sends civilians on the beach below into a panic, and they start to run for their lives. 'No. By all the merciful gods – no!' Magnum utters as green energy once again surrounds his body. 'You fool! You absolute, unmitigated FOOL!' Magnum shouts as he hurls Wonder Man from the edge of the cliff.

Fearful, Magnum looks around nervously and decides that he has to get back off the island and onto the Evangeline, but before he can make his move, the Avengers appear before him. 'You're not going anywhere, Magnum. Not 'til we're done with you' Iron Man calls out as he and Firestar hover nearby. Justice flies behind them, using his telekinesis to levitate Cap, Wanda, Hawkeye and Triathlon, and Silverclaw flutters beside them in a bird form. Captain America realizes that the whole island is shaking, and that Magnum is the epicenter. 'What's causing this?' he enquires. Anguished, Magnum declares that it is Apocalypse, that this is his curse, his punishment. He reveals that Apocalypse rescued him from certain death and gave him the power of the Earth if he would act as his agent, one of his Chaos-Bringers, only he failed him, first against the X-Men and then against the Black Panther and Deathlok, however Apocalypse let him keep the power, but took control of it, so that every time he touched the ground, quakes would come.

Magnum explains that is why he had to hide from Apocalypse – stay away from land, on the Evangeline, that's why he needed the Seismic Cannon, to overcome the curse and channel the power into something he could win back Apocalypse's favor with. 'Well, that's not going to happen' Captain America tells Magnum, before asking him to let the Avengers help him, they will get him back to the Evangeline, where they can see what they can do about this curse. 'No! You don't understand! He's found me now – found me! And I'll never be free of him again!' Then, with a great howl of grinding rock, the ground opens up – 'NEVERRRRR -' Magnum calls out as he falls into the ground. 'Magnum!' Iron Man shouts as he flies down and attempts to grab the villain. 'Blast' Iron Man mutters as the ground closes again.

The heroes stand together on the ground. Cap wishes that Magnum came to them first, as they would have helped him, or at least tried to, but he was used to using terror and force to get his way, that it never occurred to him. But Iron Man remarks that he can't feel too sorry for him, as Magnum was willing to kill millions, just to prove something to a man who had rejected him. 'But still – to die like that...' his voice trails off. Justice tells Firestar that he could have caught Magnum – he should have, but he was carrying the others and there wasn't time. Angelica tells Vance not to beat himself up about it, that not everything is up to him, and he did his best – that is what counts.  Wanda gazes to the setting sun and thinks that Simon is gone again, and how this time, he appeared without her even calling him. She decides that she must know the truth, she has to make it a priority to find out how this happens and why – even if it means leaving the Avengers. Hawkeye looks at Silverclaw, Firestar and Justice and thinks to himself 'Look at 'em. They're young – but they've got it more together than I ever did. The team – and its future – are in fine shape – which'll make it easier to do what I'm going to do...'.

The next day, outside Avengers Mansion, 'You've been so wonderful to me, Tio Edwin – all of you have!' Lupe exclaims as she hugs Jarvis. Cap, Wanda. Iron Man, Justice, Firestar and Triathlon are with them. Lupe reports that she has to go, she has tro move into her dormitory at Empire State University and start orientation, but that she will come back and visit. 'Make sure you do, Lupe – I'd feel most remiss in my duties as your sponsor if you didn't!' Jarvis smiles. 'Cross my heart' Lupe smiles. Triathlon is wearing a long overcoat and tells the Avengers he has to go as well, but that he gave the Vision his contact information. 'You're real good people, Avengers – and if you need me for anything, I'll be happy to help' he tells them. Captain America shakes Triathlon's hand and tells him they will keep that in mind.

The Avengers head back inside. Justice stretches and yawns and remarks that he is beat, but it is still early, and asks Angelica if she is up for a movie. 'Sure – we can call Robbie and Dwayne -' Firestar replies, referring to their friends in the New Warriors. Wanda stands in the lobby with one arm in a sling. The Vision moves towards her and informs her that Captain America radioed back what happened. 'Are your injuries -?' he asks. Wanda assures him that she is all right, and explains that she got off a partial hex, lessening the impact. She adds that all she wound up with were bruises, scratches and a nasty sprain – nothing a bowl of Hawkeye's five-alarm chili won't fix. 'Say – where is Clint, anyway?' Wanda asks, remarking that she hasn't seen him since they landed. 'Ah, Avengers – perhaps you should see this!' Jarvis announces, as he discovers a note taped to the fridge. It is from Hawkeye and reads that he is out of here for a while, a long while, maybe, as he has things to do. He tells the Avengers not to wait up  for him, but to leave a light in the window, as Hawkeye will be back, like always, when they least expect it!

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Firestar, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Justice, Scarlet Witch, Vision (all Avengers)
Wonder Man
Edwin Jarvis

Moses Magnum
Magnum Force soldiers

Evangeline staff and guests

In flashback images:
Delroy Garrett Jr

In Moses Magnum's thoughts:

Story Notes: 

Hawkeye mentions feeling confined after being team leader for so long. He led the Avengers West Coast branch for most of its history, and was only briefly back with the Avengers before the Onslaught disaster, so hasn't had much time to adjust to being a member of the team instead of the leader.

Firestar used her powers to excessive levels in Avengers (3rd series) #7.

Moses Magnum was rescued by Apocalypse in Classic X-Men #25, and fought the X-Men in X-Men (1st series) #118-119, and the Black Panther and Deathlok in Deathlok (2nd series) #22-25, his most recent appearances prior to this story.

Moses Magnum subsequently returns in Civil War Battle Damage Report #1, Amazing Spider-Man (1st series) #577, Dark Wolverine #78-80 and Iron Man / Thor #1.

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