Avengers: The Children's Crusade #5

Issue Date: 
June 2011
Story Title: 

Allan Heinberg (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales with John Livesay & Dave Meikis (inkers), Justin Ponsor (colorist), Jim Cheung & Laura Martin (Cover), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive editor)

Brief Description: 

The Young Avengers, Avengers, and former Avengers continue to battle the Doombots in Latveria, while Magneto goes head-to-head with Dr Doom, however everyone is startled by the sudden reappearance of Iron Lad. In particular Stature is ecstatic to see him, the new Vision less so. Iron Lad explains that he was monitoring the Time Stream and saw Wiccan in trouble, which is why he has returned. Doom escapes Magneto’s attack, and confronts Wiccan, attacking the young hero, while Wanda finally manages to talk Doom, her fiancée, down. But Magneto and several of the Avengers arrive and attack Doom, enabling Wanda and Wiccan to escape. In the woods, they meet up with the rest of the Young Avengers, and when Doom tries to follow them, Iron Lad teleports the Young Avengers and Wanda into the Time Stream. This worries Doom, who points out that in the Time Stream, Wanda could re-write history or the future just as easily as she said “No more mutants”. The Young Avengers decide to go back to the day when the Scarlet Witch brought Jack of Hearts back from the dead, before he killed Ant-Man, as they think they may be able to undo everything, although some of the team have reservations about messing with the timeline. Arriving back at Avengers Mansion before it was destroyed, Wanda does not recognize anything. Iron Lad jibes the new Vision by telling him that he and Wanda are married as the Scarlet Witch and Vision never officially divorced, when suddenly, Stature sees her father, Ant-Man. Stature pretends that the Young Avengers are her classmates and they have come for a tour of the mansion, when suddenly, the deceased Jack of Hearts appears. The Young Avengers and Ant-Man run away from him, but Wanda is transfixed by him for some reason. Speed races to save Wanda, before Jack of Hearts explodes. Things get more confusing when after everyone wakes following the explosion, there is a statue of Ant-Man in the memorial garden, despite Ant-Man being alive, as he did not die in the explosion. Iron Lad tries to explain that he did not bring them back to this timeline, when suddenly, Wanda appears. Dressed as the Scarlet Witch, she announces that she remembers everything!

Full Summary: 

Doctor Doom’s fortress, in Latveria - where a war is waging between Doom’s forces - his Doombots - and some of the mightiest heroes on Earth! ‘For the record? I am not the kind of guy who says “I told you so”!’ Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America remarks to Eli “Patriot” Bradley of the Young Avengers. Patriot knocks back a Doombot with his shield and tells the Avenger that he cannot say how glad he is to hear that. ‘But if I were that guy…’ Captain America remarks as his shield blocks a blast. ‘Hypothetically speaking -’ Eli replies. ‘…I might say something like “See? This is why we didn’t want you kids going after the Scarlet Witch”!’ Cap concludes. ‘Nuff said’ Eli mutters.

But Captain America tells him ‘Not quite’ and points out that there is a legion of Doombots programmed to kill them, while Avengers, Young Avengers and former Avengers are staging what looks like an invasion of Latveria, while Doctor Doom and Magneto try and “out-bad-guy” each other to death. ‘And we’ve got…’ Cap remarks as he looks at Logan a.k.a. Wolverine. ‘We’ve got Wolverine flying backwards through the air’ Patriot exclaims. Cap asks where Wolverine came from, while Eli asks, more importantly, who is powerful enough to do that to Wolverine.

‘That would be me’ a robotic voice announces. ‘Is that…?’ Teddy Altman a.k.a. Hulkling gasps. ‘No, it can’t be…’ the new Vision a.k..a Jonas exclaims. Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man stops in his tracks, as does Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms Marvel, Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, Tommy “Speed” Shepherd, Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man, Kate “Hawkeye” Bishop, Tony “Iron Man” Stark, and even Doctor Doom and Magneto cease their battle. ‘Nathaniel…’ gasps Cassie “Stature” Lang as Iron Lad flies past everyone. Stature is in her larger form, and Iron Lad tells her that her size marks her a target, so she needs to stand down. ‘Oh, no’ Captain America exclaims. ‘It’s really him. It’s Iron Lad!’ Patriot declares.

Iron Lad and Stature both smile as Stature finds herself in Iron Lad’s arms, catching her after she decreased her size. Cassie asks Iron Lad what he is doing here, how he can even be here and how long he is going to stay. ‘Can you tell I’m happy to see you?’ Cassie exclaims. Nathaniel replies that the feeling is entirely mutual. ‘Good!’ Cassie declares, before asking Nathaniel to answer the questions. Iron Lad replies that it is a long story. Stature asks him to tell her everything and not to leave anything out. ‘It involves time travel’ Iron Lad explains. ‘In that case, give me the gist’ Cassie mutters. ‘Cassie?’ Jonas calls out, dejected as he follows the two. Iron Lad explains that he was monitoring the time stream and could not help but notice that they could use a hand.

Suddenly, Iron Lad separates Magneto and Doctor Doom. ‘What are you -?’ Cassie asks. Iron Lad explains that he is generating twin containment fields, although they will not last long, they will buy them enough time to escape. ‘Did that kid just give Doom and Magneto a high-tech time-out?’ Simon asks. Carol announces that the kid is from the 30th Century and grows up to become Kang the Conqueror. ‘Yeesh, what’s he doing here?’ Simon asks. Iron Man explains that the last time he was here, Iron Lad was trying not to become Kang the Conqueror. ‘If you single-handedly take out Magneto and Doom, how do you not become Kang the Conqueror?’ Simon asks. Tony replies that he is guessing that is what Iron Lad is here to find out.

Stature shrinks down to a small size and sits on Iron Lad’s shoulder as he flies towards the others, asking them if they are okay. ‘You tell us. Should we be worried that you’re here?’ Patriot asks. Battling the Doombots still, Kate agrees, and asks Iron Lad if his presence here doesn’t threaten the whole time-space continuum. Blasting some Doombots away, Iron Lad replies that he has gotten pretty good at navigating divergent timelines, so when he saw that Billy was in trouble - ‘You saw Billy? Where is he? Is he all right?’ Hulkling asks as he pummels two Doombots.

Iron Lad replies that Billy is fine, that he is with the Scarlet Witch. ‘You found the Scarlet Witch?’ Hulkling asks. Iron Lad explains that Billy did, and that they are just outside the city. ‘No, they’re not’ Speed replies. ‘How do you -?’ Iron Lad begins to ask, but Tommy explains that he just circled the city at super speed and they are not there. Stature drops down from Iron Lad’s shoulder and points out that they are not the only ones missing. Indeed, above everyone, Magneto shouts ‘Where is he? Where’s Doom?’

‘Victor, stop! You’re killing him! Victor, please! He’s only a child!’ Wanda Maximoff calls out as Doctor Doom engulfs Billy Kaplan a.k.a. Wiccan in energy. Wiccan keels backwards, while Doom remarks that, apparently, Wiccan is much more than a child, and reminds Wanda that even without his powers, he still managed to escape his cell, contact his allies and kidnap her. ‘He didn’t do any of that. I’m the one who freed him’ Wanda, still in her wedding dress, explains. ‘You?’ Doom asks. Wanda points out Wiccan traveled halfway around the world and risked his life looking for her, so she had to find out why. ‘And did you?’ Doom asks as he turns to Wanda, who replies that Wiccan told her his story. Doom asks her if she believes him. ‘Do I believe that I’m an all-powerful sorceress who lost her children and murdered her teammates? No, Victor. But the real question is…why are you so afraid I’d believe such a story?’ Wanda replies.

Doom doesn’t reply, and suddenly, ‘DOOM!’ shouts Magneto as he, Ms Marvel, Wonder Man, Iron Man and Spider-Man appear. Magneto bathes Doom in magnetic energies, while Wanda helps Wiccan up, though she calls out to Doom. Wiccan tells Wanda that they have got to get out of here, but Wanda exclaims that she cannot just leave Victor. ‘Believe me, Doom can take care of himself’ Wiccan tells Wanda, adding that they have to get her someplace safe where no one will try to capture her - or kill her - or marry her. ‘I think we might be able to help with that’ a voice exclaims as Wiccan and Wanda make their way through the forest.

Wiccan looks up and sees Iron Lad, with the rest of the Young Avengers. Wiccan and Hulkling smile at each other, and Wiccan tells his teammates that he is so happy to see them right now, he almost doesn’t care that they are about to start yelling at him. ‘Good, because -’ Teddy begins, ‘I said “almost”!’ Wiccan exclaims. ‘The Young Avengers, I presume?’ Wanda asks. ‘Guys, allow me to introduce -’ Billy begins, but Tommy interrupts: ‘The Scarlet Witch’ he exclaims. ‘I can’t believe it, Kaplan. You actually found her’. ‘I am not the Scarlet Witch’ Wanda replies, as Billy announce ‘This is Wanda Maximoff’, and explains that she has no memory of the Scarlet Witch, and no powers. ‘Neither do I, at the moment’ he explains. ‘Because you didn’t listen to me and tried to take on Doom by yourself?’ Hulkling asks, putting an arm around his boyfriend.

‘That is one way of looking at it. But it means I can’t magic us out of here’ Wiccan replies, pointing out that they need another way out before Doom and the Avengers - but he is interrupted by the arrival of Doom, who rushes towards them, calling out for Wanda, he is pursued by Magneto and the Avengers. ‘Too late’ Hulkling exclaims. ‘No, it’s not’ Iron Lad declares. ‘That’s the thing about time travel…it’s never too late!’ he exclaims as he engulfs his friends in energy, and they vanish.

‘She’s gone!’ Magneto exclaims. ‘Again. Thanks to Doom’ Quicksilver declares, annoyed. Magneto hangs his head and announces that Wanda was happy here, and that they were to be married. Everyone looks up as Doom hovers over them, while Magneto replies that he daughter would never have married Doom, not willingly, and asks him what he has done to her. Doom replies that he has been trying to save her. ‘From you. From all of you…who sought to destroy her’. He declares that now, because of them, the most powerful force in the universe has been unleashed into the time stream, where she can rewrite the past or the future just as easily as she said the words “No more mutants”. Everyone goes silent, and they all frown. ‘God help us all’ someone utters.

In the time stream, ‘Where to?’ Iron Lad asks, controlling their journey. Cassie announces that she knows. Hawkeye knows what her teammate is going to say, ‘Cassie -’ she begins, while Stature declares that if they are going to undo this, they need to start at the beginning - the day the Scarlet Witch brought Jack of Hearts back from the dead - just long enough to kill her father, Ant-Man. ‘So you can save him and change history?’ Patriot asks. ‘I won’t I promise -’ Cassie begins, but Patriot tells her that she will not be able to help herself. ‘And you’ll create a divergent timeline with two Cassies in it…neither of whom will want to come home with us’ Patriot points out.

Wanda steps forward: ‘Assuming we can go home’ she declares. ‘Forgive me, but we seem to be on the run because of something I’ve done. So, if reliving the past could help me remember, maybe I could set things right’ Wanda suggests. But Hawkeye exclaims ‘I’m sorry, but we’ve learned the hard way that once you start messing around with the past -’, however Iron Lad interrupts, explaining that they would not be changing the past. Iron Lad announces that he has developed a new technology which would allow them to inhabit the moment in time without altering it. ‘Then maybe Wanda will remember’ Hulkling suggests. ‘Then maybe she’ll lose control and kill us all…’ Patriot mumbles. Hawkeye smiles and asks how reliable this technology is.

‘I promise you, Kate…no one will ever know we were here’ Iron Lad declares, and an instant later, they appear in the memorial garden at Avengers Mansion. ‘Oh, my…’ Wanda gasps. ‘Do you recognize it?’ Wiccan asks. ‘You know where you are?’ Stature exclaims. Wanda hangs her head and replies ‘No. I’m sorry…’, to which Cassie suggests she takes a look around. Stature tells Iron Lad that she cannot thank him enough for everything he has done. The Vision approaches them and remarks ‘Yes, we’re all very fortunate you showed up’, before asking how long he will be staying. Iron Lad frowns and the Vision and replies, that barring any unforeseen complications, he does not see any reason why he could not rejoin the team permanently.

‘You mean it?’ Stature exclaims. ‘If you’ll have me’ Iron Lad replies. ‘Of course we will. What wonderful news’ Jonas remarks’ Speaking of wonderful news…now that Wanda Maximoff is alive and well, I suppose that means you’re married!?’ Iron Lad exclaims. ‘What?’ the Vision gasps. ‘What?’ Stature echoes. Iron Lad smiles as he announces that according to his research, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch never actually divorced. ‘So I guess congratulations are in order’ Iron Lad smiles. Jonas frowns and replies that the Scarlet Witch was married to the former Vision, ‘As you well know -’ he begins, before Cassie gasps ‘Oh my God…DAD!’

Stature races towards Scott Lang a.k.a. the second Ant-Man. ‘Cassie, no’ Hawkeye calls out, while Iron Lad explains that Cassie can see Ant-Man, but he cannot see her. However, ‘Cassie?’ Scott asks as his daughter throws her arms around her father. ‘Daddy…’ Cassie exclaims. ‘What are you doing here, sweetheart? Everything okay?’ Scott asks. ‘It is now’ Stature replies. ‘In my defense, it is new technology’ Iron Lad mutters. ‘And apparently useless’ the Vision frowns. ‘I’m still beta-testing it, but the results have been -’ Iron Lad begins, until Hawkeye, frowning, asks Iron Lad if he has any idea what he has done. ‘The minute I power back up, I’ll get us out of here, Kate, I promise’ Iron Lad replies.

‘Aren’t you supposed to be at your mom’s today? And what are you wearing? And who are your friends?’ Scott asks Cassie, confused. Cassie breaks the embrace, and motions to her teammates, ‘Um…they’re…from school. We’re…dressing up as…Young Avengers for Halloween’ she explains, adding that she promised them a tour of the Mansion. ‘You want to introduce me?’ Scott asks. Cassie tells her father that he has no idea how much. ‘This is Nathaniel’ Cassie announces as Iron Lad and Ant-Man shake hands. ‘It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, sir’ Iron Lad smiles. Scott replies ‘That’s a pretty impressive get-up, young man. They all are, before remarking that the Jack of Hearts costume is in poor taste.

‘No…’ gasps Stature. ‘…that is the Jack of Hearts!’ Indeed, the decomposed body of Jack Hart a.k.a. Hack of Hearts smoulders nearby. ‘That’s impossible. Jack’s dead!’ Scott exclaims, before Cassie urges Nathaniel to get them all out of here. Nathaniel replies that he needs a moment to get his power levels back up, but Stature replies that they do not have a moment. Scott asks his daughter what is going on, but Stature ignores him, ‘Wanda! Everybody! Run!’ she exclaims, while Wanda stands fixated on Jack of Hearts. ‘Wanda!’ Wiccan calls back after Teddy throws him on his back and begins to fly away. The Vision grabs Hawkeye, and Iron Lad carries Patriot, while Speed runs along side everyone, and Scott and Stature lead the way.

‘Cassie Lang, what did I say about altering the course of history?’ Kate exclaims. ‘That I shouldn’t, but that you knew I would anyway?’ Cassie replies. ‘You are eventually going to tell me what’s going on, right?’ Scott asks. ‘If we don’t die, absolutely’ Stature assures her father. ‘Wanda?’ Jack of Hearts calls out as Wanda approaches him. ‘Oh, my God…’ Wanda gasps, while Wiccan calls out to her, ‘Wanda, come on!’ he shouts. ‘Jack…’ Wanda utters. ‘Why are you doing this?’ Jack asks, his decomposed form approaching Wanda. ‘Jack of Hearts…’ Wanda remarks. ‘Please, Wanda…don’t make me do this’ Jack calls out. ‘Please?’ he asks.

The Young Avengers and Ant-Man stop running and turn back to look at Wanda and Jack of Hearts. ‘What is she doing?’ Hulkling asks. ‘We have to go, now!’ Cassie calls out. ‘Not without Wanda’ Wiccan declares. ‘Don’t worry…I’ve got her!’ Speed exclaims as he races to get Wanda - he does - just as Jack of Hearts begins to cry, and he whispers ‘I’m sorry’ - and an instant later, he explodes, decimating the Mansion as well.

There is white all around, before the Young Avengers slowly rise. ‘Kate?’ Patriot calls out. ‘I’m not dead. So that’s something’ Kate replies, while Teddy calls out to Billy, and goes to help his boyfriend up. ‘I’m okay’ Billy assures Teddy, while Kate tells Eli to take it easy as she helps him up, though Eli assures her that he is fine. ‘Cassie? Are you -?’ the Vision begins, but Cassie ignores him, instead asking her father if he is all right. ‘I’m okay. If anybody’s interested’ Speed mutters. Scott rubs his head and asks ‘What just happened?’ Iron Lad fumbles around with some controls on his armor and declares that he is trying to find out. ‘Jack of Hearts exploded’ Stature exclaims. ‘But…Jack of Hearts is dead’ Scott replies. ‘He is now, that’s for sure’ Cassie remarks. ‘But -’ Scott begins. ‘Dad, the important thing is, you’re alive’ Cassie exclaims.

‘If that’s true…then why is there an And-Man memorial in the Statuary Garden?’ Scott asks. Cassie replies that is an excellent question, which she is hoping Iron Lad will be able to answer. Iron Lad announces that according to his chronometer, they have returned to Cassie’s original timeline, where her father is still dead, though he has no idea why. ‘Excuse me?’ Scott asks. Patriot declares that he knows why. ‘Why?’ Iron Lad asks him. ‘Because you’re a time traveler who refuses to learn from the past’ Eli exclaims, asking Nathaniel if he remembers what happened last time he changed history.

Suddenly, Billy asks ‘Where’s Wanda?’ Speed announces that he will search the grounds, and takes off, while Iron Lad declares that the last time he changed history, he stopped Wolverine from killing Billy and Wanda. ‘You didn’t seem to have a problem with that’ he points out. ‘Actually -’ Patriot begins, while Iron Lad explains that his power levels have still not recharged, so there is no way he could have brought them back here. ‘Then who did?’ Patriot asks. Speed returns to the group after searching the grounds, while a voice from above calls out ‘I did‘. Everyone looks up, to see Wanda, wearing a strikingly familiar pink and red costume - hovering in the air, power cursing around her, she exclaims ‘You were right, Billy. I am the SCARLET WITCH…and I remember everything!’….

Characters Involved: 

Hawkeye III, Hulkling, Patriot, Speed, Stature, Vision II, Wiccan (all Young Avengers)
Iron Lad

Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)

Ant-Man II, Jack of Hearts, Wonder Man (inactive Avengers)

Scarlet Witch

Doctor Doom


Story Notes: 

This series was planned some time in advance, and as such the costumes of Captain America and Iron Man do not represent the costumes they are supposed to be wearing.

Wiccan was rendered powerless by Doom in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4.

The Scarlet Witch uttered the famous words “No more mutants” in House of M #7.

Jack of Hearts died in Avengers (3rd series) #76, and was brought back by the Scarlet Witch in Avengers (1st series) #500, where he subsequently exploded, killing Ant-Man II.

Iron Lad prevented Wolverine from killing Wanda and Wiccan in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4.

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