Avengers (4th series) #3

Issue Date: 
September 2010
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Dean White (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), John Romita Jr., Klaus Janson and Dean White (cover), Lauren Stankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers battle Apocalypse and his four horsemen at Avengers Tower. Famine, who is actually the Scarlet Witch, takes down Iron Man by dissolving his armor. Spider-Man catches him as he falls, earning him Tony’s unending gratitude. Tony realizes that something is amiss. He realizes that Apocalypse is as confused as they are as to why they are here. Inexplicably, Apocalypse and his horsemen disappear into the timestream as quickly as they arrived, but not before Tony’s armor takes plenty of readings. He explains to the others that with this data they can follow Apocalypse’s movements back to their source. Maria Hill then splits up the team. She tells Iron Man, Captain America and Wolverine to go with Noh-Varr into the future. The rest of them have work to do in New York City. As Noh-Varr’s team head to one of Nick Fury’s safehouses to build a time machine, Killraven and Devil Dinosaur appear in New York, right behind Spider-Man!

Full Summary: 

A young girl is watching Avengers Tower from her bedroom window through binoculars. Her friend lies on the bed reading the paper. He asks what she’s doing. She explains that she’s watching Avengers Tower. It’s hypnotic. The windows are blacked out and she can’t see anything. However, she finds it awesome. Super heroes are coming and going. Windows are exploding. It’s like an honest to God castle right in the city. Or the great pyramid. And it’s here in New York City, she adds. And they have a perfect view. She sees another window explode and tells her friend that something just happened. He reckons they’re probably not even there. “I saw something,” she insists. In an instant her view is blocked by the silver and black of Thor’s costume. Before she can even blink he comes crashing in through the window beside her and she is forced to cover her face as he slams into the back wall. He picks himself up and offers a thousand pardons before clenching his fist and rocketing back to the tower.

There, the Avengers are fighting Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen - Death, War, Famine and Pestilence. Spider-Man has a question for the rest of them. “What the hell?” Thor tells Apocalypse that he attacks his comrades in arms in their home?! He has chosen poorly. Apocalypse growls, telling him to die a thousand deaths. Thor slams Mjolnir into his stomach to the sound of an almighty krakoom! Captain America shields himself and Hawkeye as Maria Hill calls for assistance. She doesn’t know which of the Avengers can hear her, but they are in a battle royale with something called Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Their old S.H.I.E.L.D. intel says… well, they can see how much trouble they are in. She asks Stark to take the alien boy, break off from the fight and go get the new time machine ready.

Stark replies that there is more to it than this, but Maria says there isn’t. He should check his files. This is Apocalypse. If he is here then there is a timestream problem. They need to fix the timestream, not make kissy faces with a guy like him. As he speaks, Iron Man narrowly avoids an attack by Death who sports extremely long claws. Iron Man tells Maria that he’s looking at Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch. She was an Avenger. They need to help her. “Tony!” snaps Maria, but it’s too late. As Tony calls out Wanda’s name, she turns and hits him with a hex which dissolves his armor. He begins to fall from the sky, helplessly. Spider-Man spots him and leaps after him. “Go, man, go!” cries Hawkeye as Spidey drops from the tower.

Spidey gets Tony in his sights and fires his webbing. Tony looks up, scared to death. “Kid. Let’s go!” he says. Spidey manages to create a webbed trampoline to catch him and Stark lands safely about five meters above the ground, watched on by startled onlookers. Spidey then grabs him in another web and lifts him to a streetlamp. “I could kiss you,” smiles Stark. “Not with that mustache. I have delicate skin,” quips Spidey. Tony thanks him… seriously. He knows he’d be a goner if not for the save. Spidey admits that he has trouble doing the math in his head to figure out how much webbing he’ll need while freefalling into major metropolitan areas.

Meanwhile, the battle rages. Wolverine is grabbed by War. Spider-Woman blasts his steed’s head and Captain America shoots him in the eye. He reels and almost drops Wolverine, instead hurling him at great speed through the wall of the tower. Maria Hill asks if he’s all right. He says he’s fine but informs her that this isn’t the fight. He knows where Apocalypse came from. This is because of the Kang thing. Or, suggests Captain America, this is the Kang thing. This is the surprise attack. Wolverine says he’s betting no. he isn’t supposed to be here. And, his new horsemen being like they are? It ain’t right.

As he leaps from the building to inform the others, he walks straight into Pestilence who zaps him with a poison. He drops immediately as his body is overloaded with toxins. Spider-Woman catches him as he falls. Hawkeye asks her what he said. She replies that he said that this isn’t the fight and that they should go. Thor zaps Pestilence with Mjolnir and says the fight is right in front of them. Where would he have them go? Maria Hill calls out for all of them to hold their ground. She sees Tony and asks him to take alien boy to another location and get the damn machine up and running. Tony replies that he needs to talk to Apocalypse first. “Not words you hear every day,” says Spider-Man.

Tony armors up and Spidey points out that he couldn’t do that three minutes ago. Tony explains that the system had to reboot. Magic whammy and biotech don’t mix. The armor goes online and activates which allows Iron Man to rejoin the action. Cap asks him to tell them what he needs. Tony tells them he needs to not see those bastardized versions of their friends being used as puppets by some sort of mutant megalomaniac. “You love to label,” jokes Spidey.

Iron Man approaches Apocalypse and uses his repulsors to hold him in some kind of forcefield. Apocalypse asks who dares. His horsemen will feed on his flesh. Iron Man tells him they’ll get to that in a minute. He asks when he came from. He seemed as surprised as he was to see them. Where did he come from? Apocalypse replies that he can see through this charade and he will not be trifled with. Iron Man asks him to settle down. He knows he is in trouble and needs help. They can help each other.

As the other Avengers reach a stand-off with the horsemen, Apocalypse laughs off the suggestion. He is their God! He is the reason they live and breathe. He is the air and the moon. Tony cuts him off and informs him that the timestream is broken and he can help them fix it. Apocalypse adds that Iron Man is an ant and he is the sun. Tony appears to be getting nowhere. Meanwhile, Thor summons lightning using Mjolnir and swings it around almost three hundred and sixty degrees, forcing all the horsemen back. His comrades are almost surprised at the power he wields. Suddenly, Apocalypse begins to shake. “No!” he cries. “Not again!” Iron Man has no idea what is happening but tells Cap and Hawkeye that they should see the readings he’s getting.
Apocalypse asks why this is happening. Why are they vexed so? He and the horsemen then begin to disappear into the timestream leaving the Avengers wondering if they won. Iron Man reckons this is bad. It’s worse than the last time he said that.

Cap asks where they went. Iron Man explains that they are trapped in the timestream hell created by Kang. He had no idea where he was or how he got here. He was reacting like a caged animal. Because of that, he didn’t actually think that Apocalypse would help them. He was just trying to stall him. During that time he scanned every molecule on him. Cap asks what he found.

Outside, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are both squatting against the side of the tower looking out over New York City. Inside, Iron Man explains that it’s good data that he’s got. It’s a trail. It acts as a map of everywhere Apocalypse has been and where he started from. This will help them pinpoint the exact location they need to go in the timestream. Hawkeye asks if they’re all going. They should call in the troops and then get Steve Rogers in on this. “Hell no,” replies Maria Hill. Outside, Jessica congratulates Spidey on his amazing save. Spidey reckons he and Stark actually had a moment. She adds that he handled that demonic version of himself pretty well. “The what?” asks Spidey. She reminds him of the guy with six arms. That was him from the future, right? Spidey admits that he hadn’t seen that until she just mentioned it.

Inside the tower, Maria explains that they’re not sending all the Avengers into the timestream. Most of them are staying behind to deal with the growing problems she’s picking up that are happening all over the Eastern seaboard. Outside, the Protector joins the two Spidey’s by walking up the side of the building towards them. He informs them that they no longer have to do recon. The timestream flux that had opened up around them has now closed. Spidey asks if he can stick to the wall too. Noh-Varr explains that he has the spliced DNA of a Kree insectoid.

Spidey waves his arms around, theatrically and says there are entirely too many spider-people on this team, whispering to himself that he should have gone with Cage. Noh-Varr asks if he has offended him. Jessica tells him he’s just upset about his future as one of Apocalypse’s horsemen. He replies that it’s nice to know he’ll have employment. Spidey sits there looking at him. “Wait, was that a joke?” he asks. Noh-Varr says it was an attempt. Spidey admits that it wasn’t bad.

Noh-Varr then gets a call and joins the others inside, asking Maria to call him Noh-Varr, not alien boy. She asks Stark to take him, Wolverine and Captain America to their secret location and set up the time machine. They can go forth into the timestream and do what has to be done. The rest of them have missions in the city. There have been some time-related disturbances nearby that need their attention. Hawkeye tries to argue but she cuts him short and tells him he needs to follow orders.

Iron Man takes his team and heads to one of Nick Fury’s old safehouses. Cap wonders how many bunkers he has like that in the city. Wolverine reckons that knowing him, it’s as many as he needs. Noh-Varr and Iron Man get down to the technical stuff. It doesn’t take Noh-Varr long to recreate the device as he’d already just built one. “Next stop,” says Iron Man, “Our apocalyptic future.”

Meanwhile, the others head into New York City and Hawkeye wonders where everybody is. Spider-Woman reckons they clearly saw what they are there for and took off. Or, suggests Spider-Man, they took off into the timestream and are scattered about all over the place. “Don’t even joke,” she replies. Thor then asks them all to be quiet and to listen to the wind. Maria Hill radios them and informs them that her instruments are shot all of a sudden. Can they even hear her? Spider-Man says his spider sense is tingling and that means it’s all about to come crashing down on his head. “Uh,” says Hawkeye. Spidey asks him not to ‘uh’ him but then pauses a moment. “Oh… it’s right behind me isn’t it?” he asks. Behind him, Killraven appears with Devil Dinosaur right behind him.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America (Bucky), Hawkeye, Iron Man, Protector, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Thor, Wolverine (all Avengers)

Apocalypse and his four horsemen, Death (Wolverine), Famine (Wanda Maximoff), Pestilence (Peter Parker), War (Red Hulk)

Maria Hill
Devil Dinosaur

Girl and boy

Story Notes: 

The title should be “Next Avengers part 3”.
Luke Cage had two teams around this time, the New Avengers and the Thunderbolts.

Written By: