New Avengers #15

Issue Date: 
March 2006
Story Title: 
untitled
Staff: 

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Frank Cho (Penciler), Jason Keith (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), Jacob Chabot (Production), Molly Lazer and Aubrey Sitterson (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Ms. Marvel defeats Klaw, who escaped while being transported to prison. After her battle, she learns from a guard that the Avengers are going to introduce their new line-up today. Ms. Marvel flies to New York and meets the Avengers, who are getting ready for the big event. Carol speaks with Cap, who thinks she is here to return to the team, but Carol declines his invitation. She talks to him about the House of M and how she had the chance to live the life of a true great hero, like him. After that incident, she realized that she wasn’t living up to her full potential and will go now and strike it big on her own. When she has proven to herself that she is a hero, then she will consider returning to the Avengers. Cap accepts this, though lets Carol know that she already is a great hero. Iron Man preps the rest of the team, though Wolverine refuses to go on stage, as he is a murderer and this won’t look good. Plus, it wasn’t part of the deal he and Tony cut. Spider-Man is worried about the bad press he might attract for the Avengers, but Iron Man brings J. Jonah Jameson to the Tower to cut a deal. The Avengers will give Jameson exclusive access to them in exchange for him laying off Spider-Man. Jameson agrees. Before the Avengers head out, Spider-Woman tells Cap that she doesn’t feel right gong out with them after all she has done, but Cap promises her that they will get her out of this mess. The team then introduces themselves to the public, minus Wolverine and Echo. However, when the Daily Bugle hits stands soon after, the team is angered to learn that Jameson back-stabbed them and wrote ill about them, even misrepresenting the teams attempt to reconcile differences between himself and Spider-Man. Having enough for a day, Jessica leaves to a bar, but secretly meets with her handler, Connelly, where she shamefully reveals to him that the Avengers know the truth about her, but Nick Fury is back in the game. Connelly is intrigued by the news, and tells his double agent that she has secured her life for yet another day.

Full Summary: 

Carol Danvers recalls the most recent moments of her life on her blog.

Sometimes she goes by the name of Ms. Marvel. Other times she is Warbird, though she knows many people think that this name sucks. When she had cosmic adventures she called herself Binary. Carol welcomes visitors to her blog. While today is not the most auspicious day for a blog, she promised herself she would start one today, so she has.

Earlier in the day a friend of a friend called in a favor and asked her to chaperone a super-villain prison transfer. She flew all the way to the Rocky Mountains just to be blasted around by Ulysses Klaw as he attempted a jailbreak. Though she usually doesn’t have the time, Carol was able to read up on her opponent ahead of time. Usually, though, some villain hits a hero on the head and afterwards, if the hero is curious enough, they will go on-line to find out why. Klaw was a scientist who turned himself into living energy that relied on sound waves to exist. With this miracle he decided to be a monster. Towards the end of the transfer, when Klaw figured out a way out of his containment cell, Carol was more than happy to beat on him.

However, Klaw is one of the tough ones and he hit Carol with a sound converter he created in place of his right hand. Carol read on-line that he could hit with a maximum force equivalent to 3,000 pounds of TNT, which Carol now knows she can take, despite being a bad way to find out. Among her numerous abilities, which of course will be on her FAQ page, she can absorb forms of energy. She doesn’t know exactly all the kinds she can absorb considering that there are millions in the universe. It was a nice surprise when she found out she can absorb Klaw’s sound energy. Too bad it wasn’t a nice surprise for him.

Once the fight turned, it turned all the way. Without any more control over his sound energies, Klaw was losing control of himself. Without control of his body, he was sucked into his own energy transfer invention. The ending was loud, but at least it was an ending. Too bad her ears are still ringing.

After the fight, a guard helps Carol up, and she asks the men if they have Klaw now. The guard thanks Carol for helping them out, as he doesn’t know what they would have done without her. He then realizes that she must fly to New York now, right? For what, asks the confused Ms. Marvel. The guard then realizes his error and embarrassingly apologizes. Carol turns to the man and asks him what is going on in New York. The guard admits that he thought Carol was still an Avenger. Interested, Carol wants to know what is happening with the team. The guard informs Carol that the Avengers are announcing their new line-up this afternoon. He apologizes again, as he thought Carol was on the line-up. No, says Carol. She quit the Avengers. The guard then asks Carol if she at least knows who is on the new team. The suspense is killing him!

After taking care of Klaw, Carol flies straight to New York City and to Stark Tower. She is not one of the New Avengers. She was a member of the old, or classic, Avengers. She was there for the best and worst days of this team. So much of her adult life is intertwined with the team that she thought it was weird that such an important day for the team was occurring and she wasn’t there. She just flew to New York from Colorado. She had meant to visit the team anyways, for she had a lot on her mind.

She thought that the team would stay low, which is what Luke Cage told her. However, anyone who can see what the tower turned into knew something was up. The team had to go public. Carol is unsure how the team got that giant black structure on the Tower, but it is stunning. It takes her breath away. Ms. Marvel lands on Avengers Tower, which is much more than Avengers Mansion. This is a more fitting symbol. Jarvis greets her via camera and tells her to come down to the 34th floor.

Carol goes down and doesn’t lie to herself. It is weird seeing this new group and imagining them as Avengers, but she is sure some thought that of her in the past. Captain America and the others are glad to see Carol, and Iron Man asks if anything is wrong. Carol hugs her friends and tells them that she was just in the neighborhood. Were they in the middle of something, she can always come back later. Jessica Drew tells Carol to stay, as she has to get ready for their big debut. She then skulks off.

Jarvis presents a tray of blueberry muffins to Carol, who thinks Jarvis is a psychic genius to have made her favorite snack on this of all days. Jessica asks Tony if they must wear their costumes for this thing today. Her costume smells like dead ninja. Spider-Man quips that his smells like symbiote. That’s what that is, says Jessica. Carol approaches Cap, who is still in his civilian clothing, and asks him if they can talk. Steve agrees and asks Tony how long they have. Tony tells him that they have an hour, but he wants time to go over some stuff with the team.

Ms. Marvel and Captain America exit to the next room, where Cap immediately tells Carol that if this is about rejoining the team then the answer is yes. Once an Avenger, always an Avenger. Carol takes off her mask, flattered, but that isn’t what she came there for.

Carol then apologizes to the readers of her blog, as they will hate her for this. She has to be a bit vague concerning the events she is going to confess to Captain America. She agreed that if it concerns herself she will be an open book, but some of the things she finds herself involved in aren’t her stories to tell. This is one of them. There are events that are so big that she cannot discuss freely in this blog. Something recent changed her life profoundly. She had to share this with Captain America, as she knew he above all would understand.

Carol thanks Cap for his invitation back to the Avengers, but does he really think that she is that much of a glory hound that the second before the new team was going to go public she would run back to the stage and ask to join. “Well…” replies Cap, jokingly. Carol playfully punches him in the arm, and then confesses that she wants to talk to him about the House of M incident. Cap asks her if she is OK. Are her powers fine? Carol admits that she is fine. In fact, she is more than fine. Thanks to the House of M incident she finally had the chance to live the life of a real hero. You are a real hero, points out Cap.

Carol tells Cap to listen, as she knows he won’t acknowledge this since his brain doesn’t work this way, but in their circles there are levels of heroes. There are great heroes like Captain America… and then there is everybody else. For a while, she has been wallowing in the “everybody else” category. However, in the House of M, she lived the life of a real hero, who inspired people. She loved that feeling. Now she realizes that she loves being that person and there is no reason in the world why she shouldn’t try and become that person. She is embarrassed to admit that she is not near the person she could be. She wasted time being half herself. Does this make sense? Cap smiles and tells her that he doesn’t agree, but he understands what she is saying.

Ms. Marvel leans back and explains that she was filled with purpose. She feels reinvented. With the House of M fallout being horrible for everyone, though, she couldn’t just waltz around and announce that despite human/mutant relations dying out, she feels great. She just wanted to let Cap to know she will go out there and re-earn her wings as a superhero. She will earn her name. Perhaps when she feels she has done so, she will return to the Avengers, if that is OK with him.

Cap tells Carol that he will never argue with someone who wants more from themselves, but in his opinion she is a great hero, and once an Avenger, always an Avenger. Carol’s eyes tear up a little as she says OK. The two old friends hug, as Carol tells him that if the team needs her for anything...Cap interrupts her and tells her that she doesn’t have to finish the sentence. The two then walk back to the main room, as Carol asks if she can stay for the unveiling. This was always her favorite part of being an Avenger. It is like being back-stage at a great show. While she dons her mask again, Cap tells her that they will see what kind of show this is.

Wolverine, who has a gallon of juice in his hand, yells at Tony and tells him that he will not go on a stage and play dancing monkey. While he chugs the juice, much to Jarvis’ disgust, Tony tells Logan that he can do what he wants, but with mutant-human relations a disaster now, perhaps a public show of solidarity wouldn’t be the worst thing he has ever done. Wolverine wipes his mouth and tells Tony that it might be. Here is a news flash: he has killed. He has murdered people in their sleep. Those people deserved to die of course, but no one who has done what he has done to stay alive should be getting on a stage waving to people. Before Logan begins to chug again, he reminds Tony of their deal. This isn’t apart of it. Tony walks away from Wolverine, telling him that he is not wrong. It is his choice. Tony then approaches Luke, asking him if he is getting ready. Yeah, says Cage as he stares off.

Sometime later, the costumed team goes over the forthcoming events with Iron Man. Tony explains that this is both the toughest and best part of being an Avenger. They are all about to become rock stars, movie stars, and reality show stars wrapped up in one. They will be icons now. Perched against a wall holding himself, Peter tells the team that this is when he becomes a huge liability to the team. He doesn’t get good press at all. Cap reasons that they have all received their fair share of bad press, but Peter argues that they haven’t received press like him. They have all read the Daily Bugle. He is called a menace and a murderer since he was a junior in high school. Green Day even made a song out of it. “It’s not a bad song,” chimes in Spider-Woman.

Tony tells Peter that this isn’t where he becomes a liability to the team. This is where the team becomes – what’s the opposite of liability. A good thing, suggests Cage. A good thing, says Iron Man. They will see how the machine works for Spider-Man. How so, asks the worried Parker. Tony puts his helmet on and tells Peter to put on his mask and then hide his wife and aunt. He will be here in 27 minutes. He who, Peter questions.

27 minutes later:
Jarvis welcomes in Joseph Roberts, Kat Farrell and J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle to Avengers Tower and takes them to the Avengers meeting room, where Captain America graciously accepts Jonah into their home and thanks him for accepting the invitation to come. Jonah stands there with a dirty look. “Oy,” says Spider-Man.

Cap asks Jonah if they can get him anything, but the fickle chief of the Daily Bugle tells Cap to just get to the point of this. Cap smiles and introduces Jonah to the New Avengers. They will announce the line-up in just an hour. This is the team, more or less. Him, questions Jameson as he points at Spider-Man, still sitting on the wall.

Yes, says Captain America. They know Spider-Man and Jameson have history. Cap knows Jonah has an opinion on Spider-Man, but Cap wants to vouch for Spider-Man, as he is an all-American hero. He has seen Spider-Man in action with his own eyes and knows that Spidey has been through more than all of them put together. Iron Man than states that even when the press turns against him, Spider-Man still protects the city.

Offended, Jameson tells Iron Man that he reports the news. Iron Man pulls up files of Bugle headlines against Spider-Man and displays them on a screen. Iron Man reminds Jameson that he also editorializes. That is his right, though, as it is his paper and his point of view. However, what if the Avengers gave him stories better suited for a paper with the power of the Daily Bugle. Wouldn’t that fill up the paper better than stories against Spider-Man? Jameson sits down and asks Iron Man what they are talking about.

Iron Man is blunt. Jameson will get exclusive coverage and access to the team. If I lay off of him, says Jameson. Robbie tells Jameson to accept the offer or he will quit. Spider-Man stares at Jameson. Jameson gets up, walks over to the wall Spider-Man is perched on and stares at his enemy. He then extends his hand, surprising Spider-Man. The two old rivals shake hands, much to the surprise, worry, and relief of the crowd gathered.

Sometime later, Iron Man meets with an assistant and tells the others that all they have to do is smile and be themselves. If they don’t want to answer question they should just smile warmly and say that they do not want to answer. If any of them feel overwhelmed they should just gently leave and the others will cover for them.

As Spider-Woman dons her mask, Captain America asks her if she is okay. Jessica admits that she doesn’t think she should be on stage with them, considering she almost killed Cap this morning. Almost, jokes Cap. He is fine. Cap, seriously now, tells Jessica that she has to go on stage. People are watching, such as Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. She will jeopardize her cover if she doesn’t go out. Jessica tells Cap that she hates all of this. Steve then reminds her that he has been an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a good while. He is sure between the two of them that they can get her out of this. He then walks away, leaving Spider-Woman stunned and in awe of her great leader.

Carol writes in her blog that she always gets the same question: What is Captain America really like? Carol tells her readers that he is what one would think he is like. He is amazing.

As Captain America goes outside and stand upon the stage to a large crowd, Carol thinks to herself that in this age where having an ideal can put a target one ones head, Captain America is able to go on stage wearing the U.S. flag, and the crowd goes berserk. She was watching from the 34th story on television with Wolverine, Jarvis, Mary Jane, Aunt May, and Jessica Jones and she could hear the crowd from outside. No one handles it with more humility than Captain America.

Captain America greets the crowd, and admits that while he is not one for speeches, he did want to tell the crowd briefly about what the Avengers mean to him. As they know, the Avengers are the ones who found him. They were the first faces he saw in this brave new world and they have been his family ever since. Just like any huge family they have their ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs. New people come into their lives as old members leave to find their own lives.

The Avengers called it quits a few months ago, but that was premature. They needed to rediscover themselves, as it is not easy to be attacked at home and watch teammates fall. However, a couple of weeks ago the city was in danger and heroes gathered to fight. It was a gathering like the one that brought the original Avengers together. That is when they decided to honor their fallen brothers the best way possible, and that was to reform the Avengers.

Captain America then proudly introduces the Avengers, as Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Sentry walk on stage.

Carol writes that the day was as great as it sounded. She is glad she stayed. Too bad she didn’t leave before it became ugly.

Sometime later, Iron Man takes off his helmet and in anger yells ‘no.’ The Avengers read the Daily Bugle and what Jameson wrote in there. Cage reads out loud about how the Avengers include a wanted murderer, an alleged ex-member of a terrorist network, and a convicted heroin dealer. These are just a few recruits ruining the good name of the Avengers. Mary Jane looks at the paper and asks who is a terrorist. Me, says Jessica nonchalantly. Sentry wonders who was convicted of heroin dealing. Cage angrily states that he was falsely accused. The case was overturned! Jessica Jones is angry, as she works for the Daily Bugle. Now she has to quit!

Iron Man is in disbelief that Jameson walked into Tony’s home, looked him in the eye, and agreed to a deal. Now he has gone and done this. Peter, however, tells Iron Man that he can believe it. Cage then reads more, as Jameson writes that the Avengers had the audacity to invite him into their home to try and get him to spin the news for them in return that he lays off the wall-crawling murdering menace. This shows how low the team has fallen.

Jessica Drew gets her jacket and says that she is going out. Wolverine crunches a beer can and tells her that he will come with her. Jessica declines, as she has had a day. She needs time alone. She will drink him under the table some other day.

That evening at McSwiggin’s Pub, Jessica sits alone at the bar, until a man enters and tells her that she is a rock star now. Not even looking, Jessica tells Connely to be quiet. There is no one there, says the Hydra agent. She knows, replies Spider-Woman. She just doesn’t want to hear his condescending banter. Connelly gets a drink and asks Jessica if the Avengers figured out her connections to Hydra. Of course they did, says Jessica. Captain America was right in her face! What is wrong with Viper? Well, she is a tad insane, says Connelly.

She is alive, Jessica questions. Yes, says Connelly. She flew her anti-gravity boots right back to Osaka. The Avengers will be ready for her, says Jessica. Connelly asks her if she told them everything and they forgave her. Almost everything clearly, replies Jessica. Nick Fury, questions Connelly. He’s back in the game, reveals Jessica. He is going to work with the Avengers to take Hydra down.

Jessica then looks down, ashamed and feeling trapped.

“Wow, says Connelly, “That is good news. And you earned your life for yet another day.”

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man, Sentry, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman I, Wolverine (Avengers)

Ms. Marvel

Connelly

“Aunt” May Parker
Mary Jane Watson-Parker
Jarvis
Jessica Jones

J. Jonah Jameson
Joseph Roberts
Kat Farrell

Various citizens of New York City

Story Notes: 

The parts of this story that include Ms. Marvel being present are narrated as an entry on Carol’s blog. Any time the House of M is referenced in dialogue, it is crossed out in red to show that Carol removed the name from her blog as she said she did not want to let the public know too much about the affairs of other heroes.

The Sentry’s Watchtower materialized at the end of New Avengers #10. Considering that the events of the House of M, the adventure in Japan, and various guest star roles in other titles have happened in between issue 10 and this one, it is odd that reporters and civilians notice the tower just now.

The old Avengers disbanded in Avengers (1st Series) #503 and Avengers Finale.

The Avengers battled ninjas in New Avengers #11-13.

The House of M incident occurred in House of M #1-8.

Wolverine joined the team under certain conditions in flashbacks occurring in New Avengers #8, but the full details of this deal are unknown at this time to readers.

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