Mighty Avengers (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
June 2009
Story Title: 
Chasing Ghosts

Dan Slott (writer), Rafa Sandoval (penciler), Roger Bonet Martinez (inker), John Rauch (colorist), Dave Lanphear (letterer), Jeannie Scaeffer (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

On the psychic plane, Norman Osborn and his group meet, discussing various matters, but most importantly Hank Pym’s Avengers, and how they make Osborn look bad. Later, in her quarters, Loki is very pleased with herself at how well her new team of Avengers are doing. The Young Avengers meanwhile, have met at the former Avengers’ Mansion, where Stature wants to tell Wiccan and Speed about the Scarlet Witch - but entering the Mansion, Stature and the new Vision find themselves transported to Hank Pym’s lab, where Stature is told to quit harassing the Scarlet Witch, before Hank Pym, USAgent, Hercules, Stature and the new Vision are sent on a mission, while Jocasta and Jarvis look after things in the lab. Quicksilver meanwhile races around, trying to find his sister - he even visit’s the long abandoned Avengers West Coast Compound, but to no avail, though passing a radio, he learns that the Avengers are in Buenos Aires. Indeed, they are, where they are fighting Swarm. Just when they have things under control, Quicksilver shows up, and causes trouble - potentially costing the team Hank and Stature, but they are fine. Hank reminds Quicksilver that he declined an offer to join this team, moments before the Scarlet Witch shows up and teleports the Avengers away - but not Quicksilver, who is confused as to what is going on. At Avengers Tower (home of Osborn’s Avengers), HAMMER scientists are struggling to track Pym and his team, until Osborn gives them the clavicle bone of Goliath - who was once exposed to the type of Pym Particles that they are looking for. When a news report of Hank’s Avengers averting yet another disaster around the world appears on a monitor, Osborn snaps Goliath’s bone in fury. Hank’s team is teleported away once more, just as Quicksilver arrives. Quicksilver boasts to the reporter that he is part of this team. In south-west France, Hank’s Avengers, along with Ace and Blackjack, are battling Titan, though they are struggling - and it isn’t until Quicksilver arrives that the creature is taken down. The Avengers thanks Quicksilver, and welcome him onto the team, while Hank accepts Blackjack and Ace’s offer to join their organization - GRAMPA, which enables Hank’s Avengers to be fully sanctioned to operate in any country where Osborn doesn’t rule - so basically anywhere except the States. Meanwhile, HAMMER agents finally find Hank’s lab in Chicago, but Jocasta “casts” it off into the side dimension, just in time, although the HAMMER team find a shrunken gorilla, so they know Hank was here. Quicksilver gives a media statement in which he announces that he was replaced by a Skrull. Returning to the lab, Jocasta doesn’t get time to tell Hank what she had to do, as Jarvis takes him aside, and they both confirm that they never saw Quicksilver aboard the Skrull ship when they were held prisoner. Hank points out that Quicksilver deserves another chance, and that he is probably keen to get back in touch with his sister and solve the mystery of her sudden return - which is overheard by an unimpressed Jocasta. On the psychic plane, Osborn is harassed further about Hank’s Avengers, and when he is told that other countries are calling them the real Avengers, he switches to his Green Goblin guise, before covering his face with his Iron Patriot mask, and adjourning the meeting, stating that they will no longer be held on the astral plane. When the Hood asks whose idea it was to have the meetings here in the first place, Loki smirks.

Full Summary: 

The psychic plane…where a secret alliance of six of the most powerful beings on Earth is underway: Norman “Iron Patriot” Osborne, Emma “White Queen” Frost, Doctor Doom, Namor, the Hood, and Loki. Seated around a stone table with high-back chairs, Norman thanks Emma for projecting them onto the psychic plane and making the impromptu meeting possible. The White Queen suggests to everyone that they should take a moment to ensure their mental shields are up, to which Doom boasts that he has no need for such things. ‘In this den of crooks and liars? You would do well to mask your every thought’ Loki tells Doom. ‘Speak for yourself, “woman”!’ Doom retorts. Loki just ignores him.

Doom reaches for his faceplate: ‘Look deep into my mind. Into my naked soul. My true essence. I know what you’ll see. A man of great power. A force to be reckoned with!’ he boasts as he removes his faceplate. Loki just scowls. ‘Fine! Now that that’s out of the way…can we get back to business?’ Norman asks as he too removes his helmet. Norman turns to Doom and asks ‘You had a grievance? Though I fail to see what it could possible be. We’ve kept up our part of the bargain. Have you or have you not been reinstated in Latveria?’ Norman asks. Doom replies that he has, but as soon as he reclaimed his throne, he found his kingdom overrun with Asgardian refugees.

‘That was our agreement, Doom!’ Loki declares, to which the Hood remarks that, speaking of agreements, he was promised some protection, but instead has the Punisher after him. He adds that the Mr Negative guy is moving in on his action. ‘What’re you doing about it, Osborn?’ he demands to know. More questions begin to get thrown around the psychic room: ‘And what’s this I hear about another team of Avengers?’, ‘Mutants massing in San Francisco?’, ‘How goes the hunt for Stark?’, ‘Is Camp Hammond dismantled yet?’

‘Yeah, Osborn. What’s up with that? I thought your guys were the official team? The Hood asks. ‘Having these other Avengers running around…well…it kinda makes you look like a chump, don’t it?’ he points out, to which Loki smirks. Taken aback by the question, a nervous Osborn replies that he is taking care of it, before calling the next order of business. Loki just looks very pleased with herself.

Later, in Asgard, the private quarters of Loki, Goddess of Mischief. The powerful Goddess laughs to herself as she exclaims that she places the first cracks in Osborn’s armor. ‘Now to widen them. To me, my Avengers…for this is the day you become the heroes this world - and I - greatly need!’ Loki exclaims as she casts a spell, disguising herself as none other than the Scarlet Witch!

Meanwhile, on Earth, at the remains of Avengers Mansion, the current meeting place for the teenage heroes known as the Young Avengers. Cassie “Stature” Lang, and the new Vision, who goes by the name Jonas, stand outside the door, where Jonas asks Cassie if she is ready. ‘Have you thought about how we’re going to tell them?’. Cassie replies that she has no idea. ‘Do I just blurt it out?’ she asks. ‘Billy. Tommy. Guess what? The Scarlet Witch, the woman who killed my Dad and who might be your Mom…we bumped into her the other day. She says “hi”’ Cassie mocks.

‘I have complete audio playback of the event. She never -’ Jonas begins to point out, but Cassie interrupts him. ‘I was being -’ she exclaims, before their five teammates - Patriot, Wiccan, Speed, the female Hawkeye, and Hulkling arrive. ‘All right, you two, what’s the emergency?’ Patriot asks matter-of-factly. Hawkeye tells Stature not to mind Patriot, as that is just his way of saying “good morning”, while Speed greets his teammates and asks ‘What’s up?’. ‘Um…hey guys…‘ Cassie replies, before Wiccan asks her if she is okay. ‘You sounded really weird on the phone’ he points out. ‘Well, Billy…it’s…um…’ Cassie begins, while asking Jonas for a little help.

The new Vision opens the door to the Mansion and suggests they all go inside. ‘We’ll be with you shortly’ he tells them. ‘Great. More standing around the Mansion…like we didn’t do enough of that when we got turned into statues…’ Hulkling mutters. With their teammates inside, Stature tells Jonas that this is big - Kang-level big. ‘You think they’ll be up for it?’ she asks him. Jonas replies that they will not know until they ask. ‘And we can’t ask them until we take this first step. Come on’ he tells Cassie. ‘Okay. Let’s do this’ Cassie agrees as they make their way into the Mansion: ‘Guys, there’s something you need to know about - the Scarlet Witch?’ Stature exclaims, confused as she and Jonas find themselves not inside the former Avengers’ Mansion, but in Hank Pym’s lab, where the Scarlet Witch hovers in the air.

Dr Hank Pym - now calling himself the Wasp - turns to Stature and the new Vision and asks them what took them so long. ‘The mighty Avengers have work to do!’ he exclaims, with Hercules, John “USAgent” Walker, Jocasta, and Amadeus Cho at his side. A confused Stature asks ‘What’s going on? Where are the Young Avengers? Uncle Hank? What’ve you done to the Mansion?’. Jonas tells Cassie that, according to his GPS, they are not in the Mansion, but in Chicago. Edwin Jarvis, long-time housekeeper to the original Avengers team approaches Stature and the Vision, remarking that the Vision is correct, and explaining that this is Dr Pym’s lab which resides in a dimensional “Pym Pocket”, that is anchored to Chicago. Jarvis adds that the doorway to Avengers Mansion is one of its many entrance points. ‘Refreshments?’ he asks.

‘Refreshments? Jarvis! All of you? Are you crazy?’ Stature shouts, motioning to the Scarlet Witch, who is slowly fading from view, she exclaims ‘The Scarlet Witch is right there! And she’s getting away! Someone do something!’. Walker tells Cassie to stow it, informing her that the Scarlet Witch gave them Intel on dozens of hotspots around the globe. ‘Which she probably caused’ Cassie whispers. Hercules tells Cassie that he understands her doubts, but reminds her that it is was with the help of the Scarlet Witch that their band of Avengers saved reality itself. ‘Wait! Vision and I…we’re not part of this team! We’re with the Young Avengers -’ she exclaims. ‘Right. Look, if Wolverine can be on three teams at the same time, you guys can two!’ Amadeus Cho points out.

A portal opens and Hank tells everyone that they are on the clock, announcing that, first up is a splinter group of Lava men trying to submerge Borneo. ‘I’ve set the doorway to the proper co-ordinates. In you go!’ he tells them. Walker leads the way, followed by Hercules and his side-kick Amadeus, while Cassie and the Vision follow, though Cassie asks ‘And we’re going with them. Why?’. Jonas informs Stature that Borneo is the third largest island in the world. ‘We were brought her against our will. We were - doornapped!’ she exclaims. ‘It has a population of over 16 million’ Jonas explains, to which Cassie just sighs. Jocasta and Jarvis watch their friends depart, with Jocasta telling Pym to be careful, and assuring him they will monitor things from here. ‘Godspeed, Avengers!’ Jarvis calls out.

Meanwhile, in Palos Verdes, California, at the Avengers West Compound, home to the former Avengers team, but long since abandoned. There is a mighty WHHSSHHH noise, as Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver speeds through the Compound, calling out: ‘Wanda? Sister?. USAgent? Pym? Show yourselves!’. But Quicksilver realizes that it is no use, that the Compound is empty. ‘Like everywhere else I’ve checked! But it doesn’t matter. I’ll find you sister. Now that I know you’re with Hank Pym and his second-rate team of -’ Pietro exclaims as he speeds along the beech under the cliffs of Palos Verdes, running past some beachgoers.

Quicksilver slows down when he hears a report coming from one of the civilians’ radio: ‘- third Avengers fighting today. From Indonesia to Ireland and now Argentina. I guess saving the world once wasn’t enough for Dr Pym. Now he’s doing it one country at a -’ Pietro speeds up, racing across water, ‘YES!’ he shouts. ‘I’m coming, Wanda!’

Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, the Avengers find themselves going up against Swarm. ‘Bees. I’m fighting myself made out of bees. Not every day you get to say that!’ Amadeus Cho exclaims, while wearing the Ant-Man helmet on his head as he indeed takes on a bee-version of himself. Hank communicates with Amadeus, telling him to focus, and asks if the helmet is helping him block Swarm’s signal. Amadeus replies that it is a little. ‘Still…evil twins made out of bees. That’s just weird!’. Suddenly, Swarm shouts ‘Nein! They are beautiful. A new race of insect men! Soon my Hive Reich will replace you all!’. ‘Freaking Nazi!’ Walker shouts at Swarm, while punching his bee-self in the face.

While the new Vision fries his bee-self with a blast of energy, Hercules smashes his opponent in the face. ‘Von Meyer, my old foe. Ah, what a glorious lunatic’ he remarks. Hank and Stature have both reduced their forms to insect-size, and Hank tells Cassie to keep an eye out for the queen, as that Is where Swarm’s intelligence is stored. ‘Yes, Uncle Hank. About -’ Cassie replies, before Hank interrupts, ‘Found her! Get the inhibitor collar ready!’ he orders. ‘- the Scarlet Witch. Why on Earth are you working with -?’ Cassie continues, but Hank tells her ‘Enough. This isn’t a John Hughes movie!’ ‘What? Who’s John Hughes?’ Cassie asks.

Hank explains to Cassie that he is sating she is not in a world where kids are the smart ones and every adult is an idiot. ‘I was there. I saw Wanda kill my teammates, wreck the Mansion - and end an era of Avengers history’ Hank reminds Cassie, explaining that he is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer. ‘And we are not talking about this again, Ms Lang. Is that understood?’. Cassie replies ‘Yes, Sir’, before informing Hank that she collared his Nazi-bee.

Indeed, Swarm begins to dissipate: ‘What - what have you done? Can’t think? My mindzz all bzzzzz?’ he exclaims. The bee-versions of the Avengers also being to separate, and Walker exclaims ‘They’re all going away. Pym did it!’. ‘With Stature’s help’ the new Vision adds. Cho calls the Vision “Spock” and tells him to take it easy, and that no-one is selling blondie short, before announcing that his com system is down, that he is not picking anything up from Pym. ‘So Hank and the girl are still in there?’ Hercules asks, looking at the swarm of confused bees. Cho replies that as near as he can tell they are, when, suddenly, Quicksilver arrives!

‘Greetings, fellow Avengers! What seems to be the problem?’ he asks casually. ‘A plague of insects? That’s nothing to me. I’ll have them out of the way in no time!’ Pietro boasts as he begins twirling his arms around, creating a funnel which sends the bees dispersing all over the place. ‘Quicksilver? NO!’ Amadeus cries out, before Walker comes over and calls Quicksilver an idiot, explaining that Wasp and Stature were shrunk down in that swarm. ‘Cassie?’ Jonas calls out, concerned, while Pietro asks how he was supposed to know that. Amadeus takes off the helmet, declaring that it has gone dead. ‘Hope that doesn’t mean -’ he begins, when, suddenly, Hank and Cassie appear, in their human sizes.

‘It’s okay, guys. We’re fine’ Cassie tells everyone. ‘Barely’ Hank mutters, before asking what happened - ‘Oh…Pietro. I should’ve known. Let me guess. Jumping in without thinking?’ he remarks. ‘That about sums it up!’ Walker confirms. ‘I will not be talked to in such a fashion!’ Pietro retorts. ‘I was about to -’ he begins, ‘What? Destroy Earth’s dwindling bee population?’ Hank asks. ‘- I was trying to contribute to this new team. Excuse me for -’, but he is interrupted again, by Hank, who points a finger at him and stares him down, remarking that he will not excuse him. ‘I offered you a spot, remember? But…what was it? We didn’t measure up to your “caliber”!’ Hank reminds Pietro.

‘Pym, I -’ Quicksilver begins to reply, but Hank tells him to run along, as he is good at that. Suddenly, an astral projection of the phoney Scarlet Witch appears in the sky. ‘Come, Avengers! We’re needed elsewhere!’ she exclaims, teleporting Hank, Johnny, Hercules, Cassie, Jonas and Amadeus away. ‘Wanda? No! You can’t go! Take me with you! Don’t leave me behind! WANDA!’ Pietro screams.

Meanwhile, Avengers Tower, the Manhattan headquarters of Norman Osborn’s sanctioned team of Avengers. Numerous HAMMER staff go about their business, in this case, the search for Hank Pym and his Avengers. ‘Don’t we have a lock on them yet?’ one of them asks. ‘No. They’re using two forms of transportation’ someone else replies. ‘Those Pym Particle Portals and…something else’. Another of the HAMMER staff declares that they had better find a way to track it fast. ‘Or you can be the one to tell Osborn that we haven’t -’ he stops short in his tracks as Iron Patriot enters the laboratory. ‘Commander Osborn!’ someone shouts.

Osborn asks the scientists for an update on their progress, to which someone quickly replies that they believe Pym and his team are using a new type of Pym Particle to enlarge and shrink fissures in Space-Time, but that even with HAMMER’s best satellites, they cannot get a proper reading. ‘I figured as much. Here. Run a scan on this to get your baseline’ Osborn declares, placing a large container onto a table. Opening the container, a large bone is revealed inside. ‘What is that?’ someone asks. ‘Human bone that’s been exposed to the unique Pym Particles we’re looking for. This is Goliath’s clavicle. I exhumed it on the way over!’

As Osborn holds onto Goliath’s bone, one of his staff rushes over with a portable monitor, exclaiming that he thinks he will want to see this. ‘What now?’ Osborn snaps, ‘It’s Pym and his Avengers. They’re on the global news network…’. Indeed, a reporter is standing near Hank, live from Tokyo‘s Akihabara District, telling him that by her count this is the tenth superhuman crisis he has averted today. ’That sounds about right’ Hank replies, while in the background, his teammates go about collecting up the AIM scientists they have taken down. ‘You heroes are making quite a name for yourselves. But what our viewers are asking…should that name be “The Avengers”?’. ‘Why not?’ Hank asks.

The reporter points out that, recently, the Iron Patriot stated that Hank is not affiliated with his team. ‘The way I see it, I’m currently the only Founding Avenger running one of these. By out charter…that makes us the real Avengers!’ he exclaims.

‘WHAT?’ shouts a furious Osborn, snapping Goliath’s clavicle in half as he storms from the laboratory, telling his staff that they will get better readings from further inside the bone. ‘Th-thank you, Sir’ someone replies nervously.

‘I can’t stress this enough. The Avengers don’t belong to any one country or Government. We are - and we always have been - Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. We’re here for every man, woman, and child on this planet. And I promise…we’re going to do right by you!’ Hank exclaims, before he and his teammates vanish. ‘There you have it. Hank Pym, now calling himself the Wasp…and his team of mighty Avengers. Gone in a literal flash. Where will they show up next? Your guess is as good as -’ the reporter declares, before being startled at the arrival of Quicksilver!

‘No! I can’t have missed them! Not again!’ Quicksilver exclaims, while the reporter announces that they have a new development here, as the one-time Avenger, Quicksilver has just arrived. Pietro stops as the reporter asks Quicksilver if he is part of this team. With the camera on him, Pietro replies ‘Well, of course. Why would you ask such a thing? Now tell me…did they say where they were going?’.

Meanwhile, in Biarritz, off the south-western coast of France. A peculiar behemoth battles Hank and Stature - both whom have increased their height to match his. ‘Titan will crush you, surface dwellers!’ the creature boasts, declaring that he will lay waste to all of their arid kingdoms. ‘Titan will rule you all!’. Hank asks Stature how she is holding up, to which Cassie replies that she has never grown this big before. ‘Heart feels like someone stuck a hummingbird in my chest!’ she exclaims. Hank replies that he knows, and tells Cassie that this is their upper limit, so not to push it.

Down below, Hercules holds up a mirror that Pym enlarged, and tells Jonas to use his solar beam on the mirror. Hovering nearby, Jonas replies that he fails to see what that would accomplish. ‘Why, we’ll bury the foul creature. Trust me, android!’ Hercules replies, adding that this is how Archimedes and he torched Roman warships at the Siege of Syracuse. The new Vision begins to blast his solar beam at the mirror, adding that he is confused. ‘According to my files, that is historically inaccurate. That’s a myth - a legend’ he declares. ‘Aye! Like everything I do, it was both mythic and legendary!’ Hercules replies, holding up the massive mirror with his equally massive strength.

The solar beam bounces off the mirror, striking Titan, causing him to cry out In agony, but he manages to get a good swipe at Hank, knocking him over. ‘Uncle Hank!’ Stature calls out, concerned. Pym tells everyone not to worry about him, and reminds them to keep Titan away from the water. ‘We’ve almost got him dryed out. Blackjack! USAgent! Cho! Hit ‘em with the guns! Now!’ Hank exclaims. Holding rather large guns, Walker and the others do as Hank orders, while a blonde woman dressed in black turns to her male companion, addressing him as Ace, asks him to explain to her why they are taking Wasp’s orders. ‘We’re Blackjack for God’s sake. And we got here first!’ she adds. ‘Well, Jacquie, I guess today we’re going by height’, Ace replies.

Walker turns to Blackjack and Ace and tells them that, new friends aside, he doesn’t understand why they are shooting Titan with a salt solution. ‘Doesn’t he live in saltwater?’ Johnny asks. As the saltwater solution spurts from the weapons, Cho points out that there is no water in this goo, as it is a special saline mix, which will draw all the moisture out of Titan, like pouring salt on a bug. ‘I’ll draw you a picture when we get home’ Cho remarks, insulting Walker.

Back in Chicago, ‘Oh my God! SHIELD’s invading the mall!’ a civilian gasps as countless shoppers drop what they are doing to stare at the soldiers who have suddenly swarmed the mall. ‘They’re not SHIELD anymore, honey. They’re HAMMER’ a man corrects his partner. ‘What does that stand for?’ she asks. ‘By the look of em? Anything they want!’ the man replies. Suddenly, the HAMMER agents surround a maintenance door, banging on it, they should ‘This is HAMMER! Open up! We’ve tracked illegal Pym Particle emissions to this location!’

Inside, Jocasta and Jarvis - along with several animals, look concerned, while HAMMER shouts ‘If anyone’s in there, we strongly advise you to surrender…lie down on the ground and place your hands behind your head!’. ‘This is most unfortunate. They’re at the main entrance!’ Jocasta points out. ‘Madame Jocasta…can they get in?’ Jarvis asks. ‘Of course. It’s just a normal door’ Jocasta replies, while the door-barge continues to pound the door. ‘Ma’am? What are you doing?’ Jarvis asks when Jocasta begins pressing buttons on a monitor. ‘I believe this is called a “Hail Mary”’ Jocasta replies, adding that it is interesting she cannot tell if she is more afraid of this working, or of it not.

The door suddenly swings open, and one of the HAMMER agents tells his colleagues to be careful, for the door may say “maintenance closet”, but it is actually Hank Pym’s lab. ‘Anything could be in there. Armies of ants. Ultrons. Even…’ ‘…mops and cleaning supplies? So it is a maintenance closet?’ another of the agents asks. Suddenly, there is a small grunting sound, and the agent finds a gorilla, shrunken down to a size that it fits in his hand. ‘Oh, this was Pym’s lab all right! We’re just a little too late!’

‘My word, what a mess!’ Jarvis exclaims. ‘Edwin? Are you -?’ Jocasta asks as she helps Jarvis steady himself. Jarvis replies that he is fine, before asking what it is that just happened. Jocasta replies that she cast off their “anchor”. ‘You what?’ Jarvis asks. The robotic Avenger tells Jarvis that this “Pym Pocket” they are in used to exist in two places at once - Chicago and this side dimension. ‘”Used to”?’ Jarvis asks. Jocasta explains that she cut their tether to the real world, and tells Jarvis not to worry, as they are not trapped - yet. She explains that the doors still work, but they are fading one-by-one, and in less than 48 hours, they will all be gone - then this lab, along with all of Hank’s projects, will be stranded outside of Space and Time. ‘Oh, he’s not going to be happy about that…’ Jocasta tells herself.

Back in France, Titan flees from the saltwater spray, pushing Stature aside as he lumbers towards the ocean. ‘Out of my way, mammal!’ he exclaims. Hank grabs Cassie before she falls, and tells her that the strain is getting to her, so she needs to shrink back down. ‘No…I can’t…if Titan gets back in the water…’ Cassie exclaims. ‘He’ll replenish himself. And it all starts over. I know. That’s not important’ Hank tells Cassie, adding that they have to come up with something, and fast. ‘Luckily for you, Pym…fast is what I do best!’ Quicksilver boasts as he arrives on scene, and begins running super-fast circles around Titan. ‘I know. I’m positively breathtaking’ Pietro boasts, while Titan coughs and splutters. Moments later, he falls to the sand-covered ground, sending sand flying everywhere, while the Avengers, Cho, Blackjack and Ace look on.

Shortly, Titan has been lifted on to GRAMPA machinery for transport, and the heroes stand nearby, where Hercules congratulates Quicksilver. ‘What Herc said. Guess this means we’re letting him on the team, huh, Pym?’ Walker adds. Hank points out that they certainly made Pietro work for it, and asks him what he has to say. ‘Once an Avenger…’ Pietro replies. ‘…always an Avenger. Welcome aboard, old friend’ Hank tells Quicksilver.

‘Ace, about Titan…’ Hank begins, but Ace tells Hank not to worry, assuring him that their agency has facilities that can hold him. ‘Now as the new kid, you’ll have to do some scut work at first. Run errands, help Jarvis with the cleaning…’ Walker begins, but Stature tells him to cut it out. ‘We’re not like that’ she points out. ‘Hey, blondie. You said “we”!’ Cho remarks.

Blackjack informs Hank that she has heard a rumor he has been targeted by HAMMER, and tells him that she thinks they might have a solution for him. Ace tells Pym that, if he likes, they could deputize his Avengers and fold them into their Global Reaction Agency. ‘You’d have clearance in every country without an Osborn’ Ace adds. ‘That is too good to pass up. So a Global Reaction Agency?’ Hank replies. ‘For Mysterious Paranormal Activity’ Blackjack adds. ‘Wait. Osborn gets HAMMER…and I’d be with GRAMPA?’ Hank asks. ‘Doctor, you’re calling yourself the Wasp. I think that ship’s already sailed’ Jacquie tells him.

Later, Quicksilver appears on the Europa television network, where a reporter remarks ‘To be blunt, Mr Maximoff, given your recent troubles…with the Inhumans, superhumans and the mutant communities…do you feel that you deserve a coveted spot on an Avengers team?’. Quicksilver replies that he is glad the reporter brought this up, because there is something his viewers need to know: ‘Most of this is new to me. You see, for the past few years I’d been replaced by a Skull. I’ve only recently come back to Earth along with the rest of the abductees…’.

Jocasta and Jarvis watch the report, when the Avengers and Cho return to Pym’s lab, with Pietro telling Hank that he thought Wanda used her spells to transport the team. Hank replies that sometimes they use Pym Pocket doorways, as the Scarlet Witch comes and goes as she pleases. ‘We never know when she’ll show up. All we know is that when she does…it’s for something of the utmost importance!’

Jarvis rushes over to Hank, telling him that he needs to talk to him right away. ‘Of course, Jarvis, what’s the matter?’ Hank replies, before Jocasta interrupts, exclaiming ‘Hank, there’ something you should know -’, but Jarvis pushes Jocasta to one side, ‘Later!’ he tells her, before leading Hank away from the others, and asks ‘You are aware of Master Quicksilver’s recent claim?’. ‘That he was abducted by the Skrulls? Yeah. I caught that’ Hank replies. Jarvis reminds Hank that the two of them were abducted by Skrulls, and both replaced by doppelgangers. ‘I can’t speak for you, Dr Pym, but I know that the entire time I was on that Skrull ship…I never saw Pietro Maximoff!’. Hank agrees, but suggests to Jarvis that more than any other Avenger, he also knows that each of them deserves a second chance. ‘Besides, it’s not like we’re not getting something out of the bargain too’.

Watching Quicksilver, Walker, Hercules, Jocasta, Stature, the new Vision and Cho standing around talking, Hank tells Jarvis that Quicksilver is obviously here to reconnect with his sister, which is fine by him. ‘The two of them have always been close - practically joined at the hip. Who knows, with his help…we might be closer to solving this mystery of Wanda’s sudden return. However, Hank is unaware that an astral projection of the Scarlet Witch - in truth, Loki - was hovering nearby as he said those words, and she frowns, clearly unhappy with that idea.

Later, on the psychic plane once more. Osborn’s group are meeting once again. ‘Why hasn’t this been dealt with?’ someone asks. ‘Magneto’s son is now once of their members’. ‘That won’t sit well with the mutant community’. ‘Your Avengers know to stay clear of my business. These guys don’t!’. ‘What “business” do you have abroad?’, ‘Yes, so far Pym’s team has only operated outside of America’. ‘I hear in Europe and Asia they’re calling them the real Avengers’.

REAL Avengers?’ Norman suddenly shouts, in amongst all the discussion. ‘My team is the real Avengers, y’hear me!?’, suddenly, his face flashes to its former guise of the Green Goblin. ‘Osborn! Your face!’ someone exclaims, causing Osborn to quickly put his helmet back on, covering his face as he announces that the meeting is adjourned. As the six go their separate ways, Norman declares that all future meetings here in the psychic plane are cancelled. ‘I warned you things like that might happen’ the White Queen points out, while Namor agrees, remarking that this venue is far too revealing. ‘Yeah. Lame idea if you ask me. I mean…who even thought of it in the first place?’ the Hood asks, while Loki remains seated, and smirks to herself….

Characters Involved: 

Hercules, Jocasta, Quicksilver, USAgent, Wasp II (all Mighty Avengers)
Edwin Jarvis
Amadeus Cho

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

Doctor Doom, The Hood, Loki (also posing as the Scarlet Witch), Namor, Norman Osborne, White Queen (all the Cabal)

Ace & Blackjack (both Global Reaction Agency)

AIM scientists

HAMMER staff

Story Notes: 

Stature and the new Vision encountered who they thought was the Scarlet Witch (but actually Loki in disguise) in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #21-23.

Hulkling’s comment to doing enough standing around the Mansion when they got turned into statues refers to Mighty Avengers (1st series) #21, when the Young Avengers were turned to statues in the Chaos Cascade. They were freed in #23.

This marks the second time that the Avengers West Coast Compound has been seen recently. It had not appeared since Force Works #1, but with Mockingbird’s return, it made an appearance in the New Avengers: The Reunion mini-series. However it appears in slightly better condition this issue than it should be in.

Hercules previously encountered Swarm in Champions (1st series) #14.

John Hughes was a well-known film director and writer, who passed away in August 2009 - some months after this issue was published. The majority of the films he was involved in all had teenage protagonists. Among his many writing credits, the films he directed in the 1980’s were immensely popular, such as “Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club”, “Weird Science” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

The insane Scarlet Witch’s attack on the Avengers can be seen in the neo-classic Avengers (1st series) #500-503.

Quicksilver turned down membership with Hank’s Avengers, before he realized that his sister (unaware she is actually Loki) was involved with the team. [Mighty Avengers (1st series) #23]

Goliath IV a.k.a. Dr. Bill Foster, a long-time close friend of Pym’s, was killed in Civil War #4.

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