Mighty Avengers (1st series) #35

Issue Date: 
May 2010
Story Title: 
Salvation, part 1: Heir Apparent

Dan Slott (writer), Khoi Pham (penciler), Craig Yeung (inker), John Rauch (colorist), Dave Lanphear (letterer), Khoi Pham, Craig Yeung & Morry Hollowell (cover),Damien Lucchese (production), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Ace and Blackjack arrive at the Infinite Avengers Mansion to talk to Hank Pym about the Mighty Avengers’ status with GRAMPA. They find Pym working on Jocasta, while they give him a run down of the Mighty Avengers’ recent activities, telling him that they are no longer happy with what has been going on. Elsewhere in the Mansion, the countless other Jocasta units are reunited with Ultron, who has a new plan to destroy the world until only he and his brides remain. Pym learns about the incident with Volstagg, before Pym gets a call from Steve Rogers, informing him that he is taking a team to Asgard to deal with the situation. Pym tells Steve that he cannot go with him right now, and after Jocasta wakes and is given legs and arms that resemble flesh, Hank informs Ace and Blackjack that the Mighty Avengers disbanded after Hercules died. Jarvis then leaves the Mansion, which is when Ultron and his brides attack. After a brief confrontation, Hank, Jocasta, Ace and Blackjack make their way to Hank’s original lab, which holds the heart of the Infinite Avengers Mansion. He shrinks the heart down and places it inside Jocasta, effectively taking the Mansion offline so that Ultron and the brides cannot leave. They go through another door in the lab, which takes them to Under space - the realm below the Microverse, where he learned that his ex-wife now resides. Meanwhile, Amadeus Cho rallies former Mighty Avengers USAgent, Stature and the new Vision to battle the Thunderbolts, while Quicksilver runs around the globe, trying to make sense of his life and wishing that the Scarlet Witch was with him.

Full Summary: 

‘Master Ace, Madame Jacquie. Welcome to Mighty Avengers Headquarters’ Edwin Jarvis declares as Ace and Blackjack enter the Infinite Avengers Mansion. ‘Thank you, Jarvis. Well, Ace, looks like I owe you a tenner’ Blackjack remarks. ‘Pardon?’ Jarvis asks, confused. ‘A wager. I said this was called the Infinite Mansion due to its size…Jacquie thought it was for the wait to get in’ Ace explains. Jarvis tells the guests that normally their resident robot, Jocasta, sees to their visitors, but she is currently off-line. ‘On top of that, we seem to have misplaced all of her bodies’ he adds. ‘Understandable. I’m amazed you can find anything around here’ Jacquie exclaims.

‘Speaking of which, could you help us locate Dr Pym?’ Ace asks. ‘Of course’ Jarvis replies, asking if this is regarding the Mighty Avengers’ ties to their organization. ‘What was it again?’ he asks. ‘GRAMPA. The Global Reaction Agency…for Mysterious Paranormal…Activity’ Jacquie explains as they pass a large photograph of the original Hawkeye, Goliath and Wasp - where a strange image mysteriously appears. ‘Wait. Did you just see -?’ she asks, looking at the photo. ‘Ma’am?’ Jarvis asks. ‘Never mind’ Blackjack replies.

Moments later, Jarvis motions to a laboratory: ‘Here we are. Master Pym, ther Agents of GRAMPA are here to see you’ Jarvis announces. ‘Can it wait? I’m rather busy at the moment’ Dr Hank Pym a.k.a. the new Wasp replies, currently in Giant-Man size, he holds Jocasta up as he makes some repairs on her. ‘This won’t take long, Doctor’ Ace announces, informing Pym that he and Jacquie are here to evaluate his performance, revoke the Mighty Avengers’ GRAMPA status and record the end to GRAMPA’s association with the Mighty Avengers. ‘It’s for our files’ Jacquie explains.

‘Fine. Get one with it’ Pym snaps, without turning to look at his associates. Blackjack tells Pym that he must understand their agency was quite impressed with the Mighty Avengers’ initial outings. ‘Fighting off Chthon, Swarm, the AIM, the monster titan’ she recalls. ‘Not to mention the aid and support you lent to our agent, Ban-Luck during the Unspoken’s attack on Tibet and China’ Ace adds, before remarking that following that mission there is a bit of a gap. ‘Then you were off dealing with Zzzax, Dansen Macabre, Terminus -’ Jacquie adds, while Pym shrinks back down to human size. ‘There was no gap’ he replies. ‘Come again?’ Blackjack asks. ‘during your “gap” we were out in Kree space helping the Inhumans fight off insurgency. My Avengers didn’t sit around on their hands, Ace. We kept things busy’ Hank declares.

Elsewhere inside the Infinite Avengers Mansion - miles away, to be precise, at one of the Mansion’s robot spawning nodules, where countless Jocasta bodies have gathered. ‘His spirit has returned to us, from the far reaches of the cosmos’ one of them announces, standing before some sort of cauldron, where a strange energy rises. ‘He followed Pym, the creator, back to this infinite domain…and found his brides waiting. Now we keep his program alive’. The “spokeswoman” for the Jocasta’s tells her “sisters” to run the code, so that he may be restarted, rebooted and reborn.

The myriad Jocasta’s begin chanting the code:
‘100U101L101T011R101O110N101L010I011V101E011S’, repeated over and over. ‘Query: By what designation shall we call you? Ultron XIV, XV, XVI…?’ the Jocasta unit asks. The energy that rises from the cauldron takes shape, and a voice booms ‘There is no number that can define me. I have moved beyond such thing. I accept my lineage. I am Ultron Pym, rightful heir to Hank Pym’s legacy and all that entails. And once I have slain my father, all of this shall be my inheritance!’ UItron booms.

‘What of the vessel which brought you back to us?’ the Jocasta unit asks. Ultron holds in his hand a wasp, and declares that it is obsolete, meaningless. ‘We are the future. We are the superior models. Like every other form, it must be replaced by our perfection’ he declares, before crushing the bug in his hand. ‘Organic. Mechanoid. All must be remade! Once we secure this beachhead, we shall spread out across all of creation - and recreate it in our image! Soon there shall be only…Ultron and his army of brides!’

Back in the lab, Ace tells Pym that now they are getting to the part where he overreached himself. ‘You locked horns with Osborn’. Blackjack adds that it was on American soil also, something beyond GRAMPA’s jurisdiction, and therefore, beyond the Mighty Avengers’. ‘We were quite explicit in this’ Jacquie reminds him. ‘I know. We were played and I fell for it’ Hank replies, telling his associates that Osborn was on the ropes, the Mighty Avengers were revered around the world. ‘And by saving the day and showing us up, he was right back on top again. The poster boy for world security’ Hank mutters.

‘Correct’ Ace replies. ‘Thank to you public sentiment is squarely behind him with all this Asgard business’ he adds. ‘What do you mean “Asgard business”?’ Hank asks. ‘You’re serious? It’s all anyone’s talking about’ Jacquie tells him. Hank replies that he has been a little preoccupied with Jocasta. An image appears on a screen: ‘An Asgardian. One of Thor’s friends’ Jacquie remarks. ‘Volstagg’ Hank replies. ‘He wandered into a superhuman crisis, that he was ill-prepared for’ Jacquie explains. ‘Due to his reckless handing of the situation, thousands of innocent civilians perished’ Ace reveals. ‘My God!’ Hank gasps, holding Jocasta in his arms.

Jacquie tells Hank that it is the Stamford paradigm all over again. ‘The similarities and the measured response it produced…they’re so similar, it had to have been orchestrated’. Ace informs Hank that Osborn has used this as justification for a military strike on Asgard. ‘Or Loki egged him on. I brought them closer together’ Hank remarks, while whispering to himself that he is the catalyst, that this is all his fault.

Suddenly, there is an incoming call which appears on the video-monitor. ‘Calling the Wasp. Dr Pym, please respond’ a voice calls out. An image of Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America appears. ‘Good. There you are’ Captain America exclaims, telling Hank that he is assembling the Avengers - every able-bodied man he can get. ‘We’re pulling out and heading off to Broxton within the hour’. ‘Astounding. That’s Steve Rogers!’ Ace exclaims. ‘He’s back? Captain America’s back?’ Jacquie asks. ‘You’re serious? That’s some secret agency you work for’ Hank mutters, before telling Steve that he is sorry,

Pym claims that he doesn’t have a Pymspace doorway to Oklahoma at the moment, and that he is in the middle of something here. ‘I’ll show up when I can’ he assures Steve. But Steve replies that this is urgent, and both Thor and Iron Man are there already. At the back of the lab, Jarvis hangs his head. ‘It’s time, then. Very well. Once an Avenger…’ he whispers. Captain America’s image vanishes and the screen goes blank as Jacquie gasps ‘You’re turning down a call to arms…from Captain America?’. Hank replies that there is a bigger picture here, more at stake than they could imagine. ‘Try us’ Ace suggests.

‘It’s Jocasta. She’s been offline too long’ Hank replies. ‘That’s it?’ Jacquie asks in disbelief. ‘If her pattern degrades…if it’s not linked to the Mansion…trust me, you wouldn’t understand’ Hank replies, before announcing that he has just made some upgrades, that are time-sensitive - and with that, flesh colored arms and legs appear on Jocasta’s body. ‘Ohh! I’m alive again!’ Jocasta gasps. ‘How do you feel, J?’ Hank asks. ‘I feel…wait. I do! I actually feel things!’ Jocasta exclaims. Hank smiles as Jocasta touches his face. ‘They’re flesh apsect limbs. When you’re ready, we’ll upgrad the rest later’ Hank tells her. ‘Ha. You need a shave’ Jocasta smiles.

‘You put off Cap to snog a robot?’ Jacquie asks. ‘My God, man! At least call in the rest of the Mighty Avengers!’ she exclaims. ‘Hank - the GRAMPA Agents - you haven’t told them?’ Jocasta asks, surprised. Hank informs Ace and Blackjack that there have been some disagreements of late between he and the team. ‘We disbanded. While there has been the odd time or two where we worked together again…and put on a brave face for the sake of appearances…after the death of our teammate, Hercules, we finally went our separate ways’ Hank explains.

Hank declares that, as it stands, the Mighty Avengers are no more. ‘Right now, the only ones here are myself, Jocasta, and…Jarvis? You too, old friend?’ Hank asks as he sees Jarvis holding a suitcase. ‘Pardon me, Sir. I have to go’ Jarvis replies.

As Jarvis makes his way through the Infinite Avengers Mansion, he is unaware that he is being monitored by Ultron and his brides. ‘Bride 5X-472-epsilon status update: one of the organics has left the subject. Advise’ she announces. ‘Identify’ Ultron asks. ‘Edwin Jarvis: the domestic technician. He is attempting egress’ the Jocasta unit explains. Ultron asks if Jarvis is aware of their reformatting process, ‘Negative’ the Jocasta unit replies. ‘Let him go. He is a standard carbon-based life-form and of no importance. His time will come. Do not interrupt the program. Reformatting almost complete’ Ultron declares, and as Jarvis leaves the Infinite Avengers Mansion, Jocasta brides fill the foyer, and all the posters on the wall no longer depict former Avengers, but now images of Ultron!

Inside the lab, ‘Not a bright spot on the agency’s record. I guess we’ll have to chalk this Mighty Avengers experiment up as a failure’ Ace declares. ‘Whatever. Let me hook Jocasta back up to the main systems and she can show you the way out’ Hank replies, but as he hooks Jocasta up, she goes wide-eyed and shouts ‘Emergency! Firewalls up!’, before urgently asking Hank to disconnect her. ‘There! I got it. Are you okay? Do you need me to to run a diagnostic on -’ Hank asks, but Jocasta tells him that all external systems are compromised. ‘We can’t stay! We have to run!’ Jocasta announces. ‘HE’S HERE!’ she shouts. ‘Who?’ Hank asks.

Suddenly, the monitor screens flash orange and the room turns a purple color. ‘Doctor? What’s happening?’ Ace calls out. Hank replies that something is overriding the Mansion’s fabrication nodes and is reconfiguring the entire base. Hank adds that the number of calculations that would require this to happen, he cannot imagine anyone or anything capable of doing it - before suddenly, Ultron’s image appears on the monitors. ‘Greetings, father. It’s been a while. I cannot wait to delete / see you in person!’ Ultron booms.

‘Killer robot?’ Ace asks. ‘Yes!’ Hank replies. What’s he capable of?’ Ace asks. ‘Anything’ Hank replies. ‘Anything?’ Ace asks. ‘YES!’ Hank shouts. ‘He should know. He built it! I’d say a retreat’s in order!’ Jacquie declares. ‘It’s the entire Mansion. He’s rewritten all of it!’ Jocasta exclaims as the four run out of the lab. ‘No! He’s altered her memory files too…’ Hank gasps. ‘Memory files?’ Ace asks. ‘The portraits on the walls, of the Avengers, those were her - wait. If he could reprogram all of -’ Hank begins, before the four are surrounded by the Jocasta units.

‘Dr Pym, I think I’ve located your missing number of infinite robots!’ Jacquie exclaims as she begins to blast the Jocasta units. ‘They’re not infinite! There’re ten billion of them!’ Hank replies. ‘Seems a bit overkill, to me. Once you reach that many zeroes. Why ten billion, exactly?’ Ace asks as he begins firing at the Jocasta units as well. ‘I - I cant tell you. It’s a secret’ Hank replies. ‘What?’ Jocasta asks. ‘Oh, and don’t shoot the one with the flesh arms. She’s with me’ Hank declares, before announcing that he has a plan, but first he needs some private information. He tells Ace and Blackjack to stay still, as he needs to record full body scans. Hank proceeds, and remarks that he can now call in the troops. ‘Troops? I thought you said the Mighty Avengers disbanded?’ Jacquie asks. ‘Well? Are they or aren’t they?’

Meanwhile, in Central Park, Amadeus Cho, former side-kick of the Incredible Hercules holds his communicator and exclaims ‘Mighty Avengers, come in! This is Amadeus Cho! Is anyone online?’ He gets no response from Stature or the new Vision, and supposes that Pietro is on the other side of the planet, as he cannot reach him either. ‘Finally someone…it’s USAgent!’ Amadeus remarks. ‘Stop calling me that, kid. I’m not USAgent anymore’ John Walker replies. ‘After wearing the mask during that Olympus debacle…they’ve stripped me of my rank. I’m nobody now. I’m just John Walker’ the handsome hero remarks as he puts his USAgent uniform into a box.

‘The John Walker with superhuman strength and combat training? That John Walker? Because I could really use him right now’ Amadeus replies. Amadeus informs Walker that he has just intercepted a call about some major bad stuff going down in Asgard. ‘Something that needs Mighty Avenger-ing. All-life-on-Earth stuff’ Amadeus exclaims. Walker tells Amadeus that he is sorry that he lost Hercules, but that he and Pym are going to have to find somebody else to do the heavy-lifting.

‘Screw Pym! We’d be doing this without him. We’d be doing this because the world’s in danger…and a friend of mine used to say, when that happens, you don’t run from it. You face it, you look it in the eye…and you smite the living @#$% out of it!’ Amadeus exclaims. ‘Nice speech, kid. But you had me at “screw Pym”!’ Walker replies.

At that moment, in Brooklyn, Captain America is speaking to Maria Hill , the other Captain America and several others, including the new Vision and Cassie “Stature” Lang, when the new Vision answers the transmission from Amadeus. ‘Cho? I can’t talk now. We’re in a strategy session. With Steve Rogers’ he declares. ‘Is that Amadeus? Say “hi”!’ Cassie exclaims. ‘Where?’ the Vision asks Amadeus. ‘In a jet with Walker, en route to Broxton? We’re going to!’ he exclaims, before telling Cassie that Amadeus wants them to meet up and help them fight the Thunderbolts. ‘The team with that jerk-face Ant-Man?’ Cassie asks. ‘The same’ the Vision replies. ‘Hey, it’s a big war. We’ll find a way to fit ‘em in!’ Cassie smiles.

And at the Earth’s Equator, circling the globe at speed faster than radio waves. ‘Why did I leave them? Why did I run away? As an Avenger, I had purpose again…to play the hero…what did it get me? A daughter who no longer loves me? Lies and betrayals from so-called friends? Don’t know where I’m running to or from…’ Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff tells himself. ‘Everyone? Everything? Wanda. I wish you were with me now. My sister. My family’.

Back inside the Infinite Avengers Mansion, Ultron, flanked by dozens of his brides, walks towards Hank, Jocasta, Jacquie and Ace. ‘Father. It has been too long. But the prodigal son has come home. And what a wondrous home you have built for me’. Ultron declares that he has the fabrication nodes to raise an entire army, and dimensional doorways to dispatch them throughout the universe. ‘You could not have built a deadlier weapon if you tried!’ UItron boasts, adding ‘And that coming from me!’. ‘Fair enough. Well, “son”, you have us surrounded at your mercy. At this time, I’d like to negotiate a peaceful surrender’ Hank replies. ‘No. I am in the position of strength. That would be illogical’ Ultron replies. ‘In that case, there’s something you should know’ Hank replies. ‘I’m not Hank Pym!’ he announces.

‘What does that mean? Answer me, father! Tell me or I will -’ Ultron begins, before realizing that he has just been speaking to an ant with an image inducer. ‘One complex enough to confound even my sensors. The other two organics and the uncoded bride. They are using them as well!’ he exclaims. ‘Husband, please respond’ one of the Jocasta units calls out. ‘Bride 7A-139-Theta, status update’ Ultron asks her. ‘Our section is being overrun by colonies of -’ she begins, but Ultron interrupts: ‘Ants. Always with the ants, father’ before telling his brides that he is on his way.

Down on the floor, Hank, Jocasta, Jacquie and Ace run alongside a colony of ants, with Hank informing everyone that they have arrived at the destination and that he is going to turn off the image inducers and re-enlarge them all. ‘Very good, we’ll cover you!’ Ace exclaims, gun ready, while Jacquie tells Pym that there is one thing he has not explained. ‘They see us! Hurry!’ Jocasta calls out. ‘Where are you taking us?’ Jacquie asks as they return to their true sizes. ‘This is my lab. My original lab’ Hank reveals, while Ace and Blackjack take out the Jocasta units standing nearby.

‘It’s the very heart of the Infinite Avengers Mansion’ Hank explains as the doors to the lab open, he tells everyone to get in. They all make it in and the doors slam behind them. ‘There. It’s dead bolted. It’ll take ‘em a while to get through that!’ Hank boasts, while Ace and Blackjack stare in awe at something: ‘Look at that, Jax!’ Ace exclaims. ‘Incredible!’ Jacquie declares. What that are so enthralled with is a massive heart in the middle of the lab. ‘My dimensional wave device, the science that makes Pym Pockets possible…for the sake of the universe, we have to shut it down!’ Hank exclaims, adding that whatever else happens, he cannot let it fall into Ultron’s hands.

Outside the lab, Ultron storms towards the door: ‘Where is he? Where is Pym?’ he shouts. One of the brides replies that he is trapped, that there is no other way out. ‘We have the upper hand!’ she exclaims. ‘You trapped him? In his lab? You fools!’ Ultron shouts. ‘That’s the one place where he can accomplish anything! That is where he is a GOD!’ Ultron booms.

Inside the lab, Hank uses his Pym Particles to shrink the heart down, disconnects it and takes Pymspace offline. ‘Before, Ultron and his robot army could spread throughout the cosmos. Now, they’re stuck here in limbo. Along with us’ he declares. Ace tells Pym that is a good first step, before asking what the next part of the plan is. ‘I have no idea’ Hank replies, holding the now shrunken heart in his hand, before turning to Jocasta: ‘Do you mind? I need to put this somewhere for safekeeping’ Hank tells her. ‘By all means. Here’ Jocasta replies, opening her chest up, wires automatically move aside as she makes room for the heart, which Hank puts inside her. ‘Thank you’ he tells her.

Blackjack remarks that they cannot stay here all day, and reminds Hank that he said that door would not hold them for long. ‘True But it’s our only working door’ Hank replies. Ace motions to another door in the lab and asks where it leads to. ‘It used to go to Chicago’ Hank replies, before reminding Ace that Pymspace is down, so now it goes nowhere. ‘There’s something on the other side, though?’ Ace asks. ‘Yes, sort of -’ Hank begins. ‘Breathable atmosphere?’ Ace asks. ‘Technically, but -’ Hank begins, before Ace exclaims ‘Good enough for me. Jax?’. ‘Way ahead of you, luv’ Jax replies as both of them blast the door down with their weapons.

‘What gives you the right to do this?’ Hank shouts. ‘Doctor Pym, haven’t we met? We’re Ace and One-Eyed Jacquie, codename: Blackjack. Agents of GRAMPA. We have global authority!’ Ace replies, while Jacquie steps into the blinding light through the door, ‘Ace, dear, I think he may have a point’ she calls back. ‘Where on Earth are we?’ she asks as they all gaze around at their strange new surroundings: terrace-like buildings lined up with a black ground around them. ‘The Infinite Mansion isn’t on Earth. It’s true location was a secret…but there’s no use now. We’re un Underspace’ Hank reveals. ‘Underspace? What does that mean?’ Jocasta asks.

Hank asks Jocasta if she remembers how he traveled to Overspace, the dimension above the Macroverse, the plane where the cosmic entity Eternity resides. ‘This realm, Underspace, is its polar opposite. This is the dimsnion below the Microverse. And not long ago, I deduced that this was the dimension…where Thor sent my ex-wife, Janet Van Dyne…the original Wasp!’ Hank explains, while the Wasp appears to be the living embodiment of the Infinite Mansion!

Characters Involved: 

Jocasta & Wasp II (both Mighty Avengers)
Quicksilver, Stature, Vision III, USAgent (all former Mighty Avengers)
Edwin Jarvis
Amadeus Cho

Captain America
Wasp I
Captain America VII

Maria Hill

Ace & Blackjack (both Global Reaction Agency)


In Illustrative Flashback Images:
Hercules, Stature, USAgent (all Mighty Avengers)
Ban-Luck (agent of GRAMPA)

AIM operatives
Monster Titan
The Unspoken

Image on Monitor

Flashback Illustration
Jocasta & Wasp II
Stature & Vision III
Amadeus Cho

Story Notes: 

The Mighty Avengers became affiliated with GRAMPA in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #24.

The run-down of events that Ace, Blackjack and Hank Pym refer to take place from Mighty Avengers (1st series) #21-33 and Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2.

The crisis that Volstagg was involved in was a set-up by Osborn, and took place in Siege #1.

Hercules died in Incredible Hercules #141.

USAgent was stripped of his rank in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #33.

The “jerk-face Ant-Man” that Stature refers to is Ant-Man III a.k.a. Eric O’Grady, who took over the role from Ant-Man II a.k.a. Scott Lang - Stature’s father.

Stature and Ant-Man III battled in Avengers: The Initiative #8.

Quicksilver’s daughter, Luna, told her father that she no longer loves him in Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2.

Hank traveled to Overspace in Mighty Avengers (1st series) #30 where he met with Eternity.

The original Wasp died by Thor’s hand in Secret Invasion #8.

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