Force Works #3

Issue Date: 
September 1994
Story Title: 

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Tom Tenney (penciler), Rey Garcia (inker), Jack Morelli (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist), Mike Marts (assistant editor), Nelson Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Force Works and their alien ally, Century, discuss the Scatters’ imminent attack on planet Earth, before Iron Man introduces the Scarlet Witch to the Chaos Computer, explaining that it is a predictor which statistically assesses where crisis points will occur, and that her mutant hex power can be used to enhance it. The Scarlet Witch begins to use her power in the Chaos Computer in the hope of ascertaining where the Scatter will attack. USAgent tests out the Vroom Room, while Spider-Woman reveals her fear of the Scatter, and Plato shows Century to his own quarters at Works HQ, while the Recorder reveals his interest in Century. The Scarlet Witch eventually detects that the Scatter are going to land in Houston, so the team makes their way there, and battles the initial Scatter that have arrived, but they cannot prevent a portal opening, which brings the collapsing Scatter world to Earth. Century teleports the Scarlet Witch and USAgent to the Scatter planet in the hopes of stopping it at that end, leaving Iron Man and Spider-Woman to do what they can to stop the falling debris from causing too much destruction in Houston - which includes Spider-Woman pushing her powers further than ever, creating a massive psychic web which collects the falling planet debris. On the collapsing Scatter planet, Century and the Scarlet Witch plan to enter a new pathway to the Scatter’s course, which, with their powers combined, works, and the gateway to Earth closes as the Scatter’s falling planet is sent to the other side of Space-Time. USAgent, Scarlet Witch and Century make it back to Houston just in time. Back at the Works HQ, the Chaos Computer picks up a priority crisis in Slorenia - which the Recorder mysteriously cancels.

Full Summary: 

19.40 PM, The Works HQ, Ventura, California, home to the world’s newest super hero team - Force Works. Currently, the team is in a room known as the Chaos Computer Vault, where their newfound ally, the alien Century, is explaining to Force Works about the Scatter - a ravening, merciless, cruel alien race. Century explains that the origin of the Scatter is unknown, but it is obvious they come from an utterly alien facet of dimensional space. Century points out that the Scatter’s speed, strength and reflexes are appreciably beyond human, and their claws can cut through tempered steel, while their bodies are armored in a chitinous metal alloy compatible to titanium. ‘These body shells are actually host structures for insectoid parasites’.

Century tells Force Works that even rudimentary communication with the Scatter is out of the question, and they are impossible to reason with. ‘And they’ll be here in 72 hours’ he reveals. ‘And the bad news?’ Johnny Walker a.k.a. USAgent asks. ‘Are these facts not grave enough?’ Century replies, to which Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch explains that USAgent was joking - inappropriately, before asking Tony “Iron Man” Stark if his armor logged anything that might give them an edge. Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter stands by her friend Wanda while Iron Man replies ‘Not much’ and that the Scatter are interstellar scavengers, who move from world to world, devouring as they go. ‘If Century is right, we’re in for one nasty visit’.

‘It is so’ Century replies, revealing that the apparatus he saw in the Scatter’s transmat chamber as they made their escape was designed to open a dimension rift for their invasion host. ‘They have never had so vital a feast before’ Century announces. ‘This is your fault, alien!’ Walker suddenly snaps. ‘You practically admitted their appearance on Earth was your doing!’ Julia tells Walker to ease off, reminding him that Century has told them that his memories of the Scatter are weak. Century adds that it remains that way, but that what he means is simple - the Scatter unusually feast on vulnerable worlds that have been crippled by natural cataclysm. ‘This planet is alive / rich / ripe…’ his voice trails off as he is interrupted by Iron Man: ‘Enough, Century’ Tony exclaims, before announcing that it is time he introduced them all to the Chaos Computer and explained Wanda’s role in it.

‘My role…?’ The Scarlet Witch asks curiously. Tony motions to the Chaos Mainframe and explains that it is a predictor designed to assimilate worldwide data and statistically assess where crisis points will occur. Tony reveals that it will be Force Works’ prime weapon to proactively guard the planet. ‘Its accuracy surprises even me’ he adds, before remarking that if Wanda were to interact with it with her probability altering hex powers, they could achieve and almost perfect success rate. At Tony’s direction, Wanda centers herself in the dataflow - which is basically a stream of purple energy, interjected with colorful shapes. ‘This is weird…’ Wanda remarks, while Tony tells her to concentrate and visualize the Scatter, to manipulate the data solids with her hex. ‘Pinpoint the focus. The focus of the Scatter attack!’

20.15 PM, Wanda exclaims that it is no use, that she cannot clear her mind enough to interact. ‘I…I can’t stop thinking about Wonder Man…’ she explains. ‘Neither can I, Wanda…and the guilt is eating me up’ Tony replies, before telling Wanda that if they don’t get a result here, Simon’s death will have been for nothing. ‘Okay. Okay’ Wanda replies, asking Tony to re-engage the dataflow so she can try again.

20.46 PM, inside the Force Works training suite known as the Vroom Room, where USAgent, wearing a leather jacket with an American flag on the back, and large shoulder pads with authentic tassels, battles some holograms. ‘YAAH! Photon shield ten points, holo-fodder nil!’ Walker boasts as his new photon shield bashes through the Vroom Room’s creations. When he finishes, Walker tells the computer to cancel the program, before turning to Julia, and telling her that she should try this. ‘Sure blows away the cobwebs. Heck, I’ve almost forgotten how little I trust that freak Century’. Walker tells his friend that she looks washed out. ‘What is it? Wonder Man?’ he asks. Julia replies that she wishes it was, but right now she cannot get the Scatter out of her head. Julia explains to Walker that the psychic feedback she caught let her glimpse into the Scatter’s mind. ‘Agent, they absolutely terrify me…’

20.51 PM, on the residential level of Works HQ, Century follows Plato down the corridor, and Plato motions to a set of doors, explaining to him that he has assigned him these quarters. ‘I hope you find them…’ Plato begins, before getting interrupted by the enigmatic Recorder ‘Salutations!’ the Recorder exclaims. ‘Bless me!’ Plato gasps, surprised by the Recorder’s arrival. Plato remarks that he does not know how the Record cloaks himself from his sense-net, but it is beginning to degrade his patience software. The Recorder apologizes to Plato, and remarks that he is intrigued by the alien Century. ‘As a source of experimental data, he -’ The Recorder begins, before Plato announces that Century is receiving a summons from the Scarlet Witch.

20.53 PM, inside the Chaos Vault, Tony helps Wanda down from the mainframe, ‘Steady’ he tells her, while USAgent, with Spider-Woman standing at his side, asks ‘Well, what’s the word?’. A weary Wanda announces that it’s Houston. ‘It’s going to be Houston Texas’.

Shortly, Houston, 21.46 PM, USAgent pilots the Hex Ship, and the Scarlet Witch asks Walker to put them on a landing approach for the city center, before asking Julia for a sensor check. Julia replies ‘See for yourself’ and remarks that there are unseasonal katabatic winds, and dense spiral pattern cumulonimbus cover. ‘These weather formations aren’t natural. There’s also a way hot electro-static focus about a kilometer ahead’ Julia adds, before announcing that local radio and TV are now reporting mass panic, and people are fleeing into the downtown center. ‘Let’s deploy fast!’ someone exclaims as countless civilians rush to the center of Houston city.

Moments later, Force Works and Century race through the crowd, while Walker asks Iron Man ‘When did the alien get voted to the team?’. ‘Later, Agent…much later!’ as the heroes come across the enemy: ‘Scatter!’ Iron Man shouts, pointing out that they have their rift-generating equipment with them. ‘Force Works…it’s time to roll!’. Force Works begin fighting the Scatter, and USAgent shouts ‘Swing that blasted javelin, weirdo! This is my world you’re fighting for now!’ at Century. Century replies that he needs no urging / encouragement / advice. ‘None at all!’.

Spider-Woman darts over the top of the Scatter, kicking them with her powerful legs, as she announces that she counts twenty-five of them, and suspects that they are the advance guard. The Scarlet Witch unleashes a hex-blast, telling Julia that she agrees, and remarks that they are probably setting up a beachhead. ‘Iron Man’ Wanda shouts as she sees one of the Scatter creep up on Iron Man, but she blasts the alien, saving Iron Man. ‘Thanks, Wanda’ Tony replies.

A noise is heard coming from USAgent’s costume, and Walker reports that it is the gauntlet alarm, meaning his photon shield has soaked up it’s energy limit, and he has to dump the photon charge where it will do the most good - and he does so, slamming it into two of the Scatter. ‘Shield re-ignite!’ Walker commands, adding ‘These slugs are gonna take some beating’ as he moves towards more of the Scatter, but Julia tells him to wait, offering to wrap them into a more manageable target. ‘If I can conquer my revulsion of them long enough to cast a decent psi web!’ Julia thinks to herself, before using her psychic abilities to wrap psionic webbing around several of the Scatter.

Iron Man tells Spider-Woman to keep it steady. ‘I’ll take it from here!’ he shouts as he unleashes a powerful repulser ray against the remaining Scatter, who consequently explode. ‘That took care of their infantry. Now their hardware…’ Iron Man begins, before noticing that the generator is coming on line. Century lashes out at the generator with his staff, parallax, and exclaims that the equipment has sheathed itself with an energy field, and parallax cannot cut through it. Suddenly, Tony warns everyone to get back, as he is detecting a massive power surge. ‘EVERYONE DOWN!’ he shouts.

But Iron Man’s words are engulfed in an energized roar, as the alien technology lets rip into the Texas skies, as brittle Time-Space tears open under the onslaught and a giant wormhole blossoms overhead. Almost at once, vast chunks of planetesimal debris begin to hurtle through - an overture to the Scatter’s ruthless invasion. Iron Man asks Century if the hole can be sealed, but Century replies that without access to the Scatter’s machinery he cannot even theorize a way. ‘Not what I wanted to hear!’ Iron Man snaps back as he unleashes a multitude of repulser ray blasts at the falling debris. Tony tells Walker to shield the others with his photon-shield. ‘I’ve got some bad news!’ he announces, revealing that his sensor readings show that the volume of matter on the far side of the rift is immense.

‘The Scatter are collapsing their previous host planet and blasting the debris at us!’ Tony announces. Century suddenly reveals that he remembers this, and declares that this is the Scatter’s way - to use their last victim to murder their next. ‘You know about this?’ the Scarlet Witch asks, shocked. Century replies that they must destroy their energy source, and he must warp back to the Scatter world. Wanda tells Century to get her there and she will hex the life out of their systems if that is what it takes. Tony announces that he is going with them, but Wanda tells him that he isn’t, as he has to handle things here. ‘But…’ Tony begins. ‘Team leader’s call, Tony. You stay. Agent goes with me’ Wanda declares.

Iron Man isn’t happy, but Agent breaks the tension - or adds to it - as he exclaims ‘You heard the chief, Shell-head. I’ll ride shot-gun’. Tony tells them to go and be careful. As Century begins the warp, Walker tells Tony to worry about his own backside. ‘We’ll be fine!’ he boasts. ‘Blast it! I don’t like this at all!’ Iron Man exclaims, turning to Spider-Woman. ‘The potential end of the world, or being ordered around by Wanda?’ Julia asks. ‘Both!’ Tony replies, to which Julia tells him that he shouldn’t have made Wanda the boss. ‘As for the end of the world, if we don’t start swatting these meteors, Houston’s going to end up flatter than road kill!’ Julia points out, before Iron Man exclaims that he has an idea, and asks Julia ‘How are you at working miracles?’

Meanwhile, in warp space, Century apologizes to Wanda and Walker, telling them that this close to an active wormhole the dimensional currents are violent / distressing / exhausting. ‘Next time, fly me first class. This is knocking my guts for a loop!’ USAgent declares. ‘Not to mention the mind-blowing view’ Wanda adds, pointing to the Scatter world which is pouring away through the rift, like sand through the neck of an hourglass. Century notes the Scarlet Witch’s observation, before telling Wanda and USAgent to brace themselves, as they are about to exit the warp.

Moments later, the trio are back on the planet they recently escaped from, ‘What do we smash first?’ USAgent asks, before Century explains that the power core is their target. ‘But take caution - these pods contain the Scatter elite, held in protective stasis for the rift-transit!’ Century explains, to which Walker remarks that he will be sure not to wake them, when suddenly, several of the Scatter elite burst through. ‘Holy!’ USAgent shouts, before telling Wanda and Century to take the power core. ‘These mothers are mine!’ Walker exclaims as he ignites his photon shield.

Walker begins taking down the Scatter, thinking to himself that he has to keep this fast and loose - ‘Keep these ugly suckers reeling and diving…and a photon shield at high velocity is a good start!’. When he has finished destroying the Scatter, Walker asks Wanda and Century how it is going, to which Century replies that it is not going well, as neither of them can disrupt the energy flow, and the transfer is about to occur.

Back in Houston, the accelerating planet debris continues to tumble through the rift - straight into a massive catch-net of psychic webs! ‘Your psi-web’s doing the trick!’ Tony tells Julia, telling her to keep at it and hold it steady. Julia replies that she doesn’t know how long she can hold it, as she has never spun a web this size before. ‘It’s just a question of tolerance! Sooner or later, the debris mass will exceed my webbing strength!’ Julia exclaims. Under immense pressure, Julia tells herself to reinforce her web with layer after layer and mend and patch any splits. ‘And do anything I have to keep those creatures off my world!’ she adds.

Back on the falling planet, Wanda tells Century to think, and asks him how the Scatter steer their planet-ship during these rift jumps. Century replies that they use automatic systems and pre-program their navigation controls, and duplicate the routes that he takes. ‘They observe my instrumental journeys and plot their course along the same paths’. Wanda tells Century to use parallax to plot another pathway and she will hex the specifics right into the heart of the Scatter’s control core. As Johnny is grabbed by some of the Scatter, he shouts ‘Move it, you two! Move it!’, to which the Scarlet Witch, conjuring her hex, tells her friend that she is almost there, but it has to be precise if she is going to override the Scatter navigation system. ‘I only hope that -’ Wanda begins, but she is cut off as the rift transfer in space suddenly drops away.

Everything inside the rift transfer is plunged into the void, stretched out into infinity by the seething vortex of the gravitational rift. The mass of the enter Scatter planet accelerates to the threshold of light speed, and exits from it’s native reality through the wormhole brighter than a billion suns. And in its wake, the outraged forces of nature surge in to repair the brutal cosmic wound.

In Houston, the Time-Space rift slams shut with massive force, and Iron Man pushes Spider-Woman to the ground, covering her with his armored form to protect her. ‘Theories?’ Julia asks. ‘The wormhole collapsed. Violently, The others must have managed -’ Tony begins, when suddenly, Walker, Wanda and Century return, ‘Right. To send Scatter world to the other side of creation’ Wanda exclaims, interrupting Tony. The Scarlet Witch explains that they could not prevent the rift-jump, so they gave the Scatter a new place to go instead. Wanda adds that she doesn’t pretend to appreciate the scale involved, but that Century assures her the Scatter have ended up on the other side of Space-Time.

The Scarlet Witch adds that they gated out at the last moment, before declaring that they need to impound the Scatter survivors and start the clean-up. ‘Thanks, Wanda. It’s great to see you, too…’ Julia tells her friend.

Meanwhile, at Works HQ in Ventura, California, serene and quietly perfect, the structures automated systems tick away in the empty afternoon. They have pre-programmed work to do. They get on with it. The Chaos Computer for instance is constantly sweeping the planetary data net for high-profile singularities - like the one it has just found - an imminent crisis in Slorenia, a Baltic State, with a 97% certainty that there is something wrong there. Suddenly, someone presses a button on the Chaos Computer, cancelling the priority-1 alert. It’s the enigmatic Recorder. ‘Interesting…’ he states as he strikes his chin….

Characters Involved: 

Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent (all Force Works)



Recorder II

The Scatter


Story Notes: 

Force Works and Century escaped from the Scatter in Force Works #2.

Century appeared on Earth in Force Works #1, with the Scatter not far behind.

Wonder Man was killed in Force Works #1.

Linked to one of the Scatter by her psionic webbing, Spider-Woman received psychic feedback from the alien in Force Works #2.

The Scarlet Witch became leader of the Avengers West Coast in Avengers West Coast #98, and even after the teams’ disbanding, she continued as leader of Force Works at Iron Man’s request.

Issue Information: 
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