New Avengers #17

Issue Date: 
May 2006
Story Title: 
The Collective, part one
Staff: 

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Mike Deodata, Jr. (Penciler), Joe Pimentel (Inker) Dave Stewart (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), Kate Levin (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: 

Luke Cage leads the Avengers to Detroit, Michigan, where he wants to try something new, inspired by the mayor of New York. He calls its super-hero impact work. Basically, the Avengers, much like the police of New York, will come to bad neighborhoods and just stand there until all the criminals are too scared to ever return back. They will then move to another block after that. Cage explains this concept to the media, but the team is called away by Director Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., who informs them of a threat coming from Alaska. The team sees video footage of an immensely powerful humanoid racing at amazing speeds towards the United States. He has even killed Alpha Flight. The Avengers call Ms. Marvel and order Hill to find S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson, while Cap contacts the Sentry. Iron Man tells Spider-Man to head to S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier to figure out a way to stop the creature while he goes and tries to make contact. The humanoid reaches Cleveland, where it stops for the first time after being approached by Iron Man. Iron Man’s armor doesn’t have any matching readings for the being’s energy, which worries him. He then learns from the being that its name is Michael and that it is human after all. Unfortunately, Ms. Marvel arrives and engages the foe prematurely. The being unleashes an energy blast that lights up the entire Cleveland skyline and blows Ms. Marvel away to Toledo. When Carol recovers, she finds herself irradiating with the long lost cosmic powers of Binary.

Full Summary: 

Detroit – Highland Park:
In a rundown, ghetto part of Detroit, Michigan, the usual illegal and immoral activities that one would typically find in such an area carry on. Two young boys slowly walk to school, though by their language one could hardly imagine that they are little kids. One boy tells his friend that he is so sick of her crap. She is a liar. I know, replies the other boy. Continuing to vent, the boy tells the other that she lied to his face. The other boy wonders if he has to listen to this all day, and the first boy replies that he will. The second boy asks if they can call a time out, but suddenly his attention is diverted to the sky, as a large plane descends on the streets of Highland Park.

Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers, step out and survey the area. Luke Cage strides over to the children and asks them if they have school. Scared, the boy who was complaining asks Cage if his mom called them. Go, says Cage, sternly. As the two kids scurry away, Luke tells his teammates to spread out.

Captain America walks down a street and waves to an elderly woman at her window. A passing school bus is full of excited children, as Spider-Woman and Iron Man wave back at them. Nearby, three drug dealers walk to Luke Cage, who has their back to them and one of them mistakes Cage for a man named Russell, asking him where he has been. Cage turns to the dealers and tells them that Russell isn’t here anymore. He orders them to stop hustling and dealing or he will beat it out of them. Pissed off, one of the hustlers asks Cage who he thinks he is talking to, but his companion stops him, as he recognizes who Cage is. The third then points to the side, where he sees Captain America and Spider-Woman standing, and Spider-Man, in his new red and gold costume designed by Iron Man, helping an elderly man into his car. Cage tells the three men to be gone, and they also scurry away.

Suddenly, a news van comes to halt and a female news reporter leaps out at the sight of the Avengers. She tells her cameraman to get the camera and that if he turns it off for even a second she will never sleep with him again. The man reminds her that she doesn’t sleep with him now. “Life’s not over,” says the woman.

The two then run over to Captain America, who smiles and greets them. The reporter introduces herself from CBS, channel sixty-two, and mentions that they couldn’t help but notice that the Avengers were just standing here. Yes, says Cap, with a smile, and his arms folded across his chest. Is it really you, asks the reporter. Yes, replies Cap once again. As Spider-Man startles her by swinging close overhead, the reporter asks what is going on. Cap then tells the woman that he would like to direct her questions to Luke Cage, who is standing over there.

The reporter rushes over to Cage and introduces herself as Nicolette James from channel sixty-two. Can he tell them what the Avengers are doing in Detroit, just standing there? Cage shoots Cap a dirty look for sending the obnoxious reporter his way, but Cap simply smiles and shrugs his shoulders.

Cage tells the reporter that she can thank the mayor of New York City for the idea. He has this idea called impact police work. The mayor will take a bunch of police and send them all to an area of a really bad neighborhood. No offense to the locals, but if they have bars on their windows and a car on fire in the street, then it’s a bad neighborhood. The mayor takes cops and has them fan out across a two-block area. All the people selling drugs or prostituting would run way instead of being arrested – giving the people in the area an opportunity to raised their kids and live their lives.

After two weeks or so the mayor would move the police to another area, with the same result. The important thing, though, is that even after the police leave the crime rate stays down, as the criminals are too worried to come back. When Captain America was nice enough to ask him to join the Avengers, Cage told him he wanted to do things differently, and this is one of those things. This is impact super-hero work. Instead of waiting for the next alien invasion, this is what they will do on their days off. They are coming to someone’s neighborhood, and they will just stand there.

However, they aren’t just going to harass drug pushers and prostitutes. They are going to point out social problems like the elementary school across the street next to a crack house! They will ask the guys in charge how something like that is allowed to happen and they will embarrass the politicians enough so they change. If that doesn’t work, Cage will return and beat them up.

To the side, Iron Man tells Cap that Cage is good at this. Cap smiles and tells Iron Man that Cage doesn’t even know it.

Nicolette asks Cage if this is a warning. A warning to those that need to be warned, says Cage. This is also a heads-up to everyone else – help is on the way.

Suddenly, Iron Man receives an alarm and tells the Avengers to assemble. The team rushes back to the Quinjet, and Nicolette asks them where they are going, but no one responds as the cameraman videotapes the jet flying out of Detroit.

Aboard the jet, the Avengers are greeted by an image of Director Maria Hill, of S.H.I.E.L.D. Iron Man reintroduces the team to her, and then asks Hill to tell the team what she just told him. Director Hill tells the Avengers that they have a code white threat heading towards the United States. It will be at the border in fourteen minutes. It is a male humanoid of unknown origin and power level. They have no intelligence on it other than it touched down and destroyed a small town in Alaska. Spider-Woman interrupts Hill, and repeats that the foe touched down. Like it landed here, asks Spider-Man. We don’t know, replies Hill.

What they do know is that it is on foot heading through Canada and destroying everything in its path – including civilians, military hardware, and S.H.I.E.L.D. officers. Hill then tells the team that the following footage they will see is classified information from the Canadian government. It isn’t pretty.

The video plays a horrific sight. Spider-Woman is almost speechless, and a disturbed Wolverine asks if that is really Alpha Flight.

It was, says Hill. In the video, the mysterious energy being that crash-landed in Alaska snares Sasquatch in its grip using energy, while coursing more energy through Guardian. The original Puck is thrown deep into the snow, while Shaman lies motionless. Major Mapleleaf rushes to help the female Puck as she is apparently disintegrated. Only Guardian is left to charge at the mysterious monster.

The video ends, and Wolverine buries his face in his hands with sadness at the fate of the people who gave him a new life. Hill tells the team that the Fantastic Four are not in this dimension. They need the Avengers. Captain America tells Director Hill that he needs a battalion backup and a civilian evacuation crew. Hill then tells Cap that she and the president are reluctant to put more non-powered personnel in the field until there is a better plan. That thing went right through everything thrown at it; as for as evacuation goes, they have already alerted the authorities – but it is too late.

Too late, questions Spider-Woman. It is moving fast, replies Hill. It is already there. There where, demands Spider-Woman.

Cleveland, Ohio:
It is a beautiful day on the shores of Lake Erie, as many tourists visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame center in Cleveland. As the people go about their busy lives, a purple energy signature is seen in the horizon of the lake. In less than a second the signature becomes larger, with a burning red center. The purple and red flame streaks closer and, in less than another second, it is so close that the shape of a man can be seen in the center.

It is too late for the citizens of Cleveland. The monstrosity that walks like a man arrives at Cleveland, rippling with energy and shining a golden fire.

Quinjet:
Aboard the jet that streaks towards Cleveland, Iron Man gets on the communications link and calls Carol Danvers. He is patched through to his old friend and tells Carol – better known as Ms. Marvel – that they need her.

Wolverine – still visibly shaken by the fall of Alpha Flight - tells the team that the X-Men are not answering. Not answering, asks Spider-Man. What if it is like… an emergency? A bit snappy, Wolverine tells Spider-Man that after the House of M incident most mutants that still had powers stopped picking up the phone.

Cap calls Director Hill and tells her that they are calling in reinforcements but they need more high-level power. Whatever you need, Captain, replies Hill. I want S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson. No, says Hill, firmly. Captain America stares Hill down and grits his teeth, reminding Hill about the civilians in Cleveland. Knowing she has no time to argue, Hill simply tells Cap that she will get Daisy to him.

Spider-Woman asks Cap who Daisy is, and Cap replies that Agent Johnson is a Nick Fury loyalist, and a pretty powerful one. Never heard of her, says Jessica. Captain America explains that Nick found and trained Daisy himself. She has been on the outs with S.H.I.E.L.D. since Fury left. Wolverine asks Cap if that is the lady from the Secret War. Yes, says Cap. He then calls Lindy Reynolds back at Avengers Tower and asks how Bob is doing today. Wolverine states that he will slice off Daisy’s nose the second he sees her.

You’ll do nothing, says an agitated Captain America. He then addresses Lindy again.

Avengers Tower:
Inside the Watchtower of the Sentry, Lindy speaks with Captain America on the phone, as she watches her husband lies in a fetal position in bed, with his eyes wide open. She reminds Cap that Bob has his good and bad days. This isn’t a good day. Cap tells Lindy that he must speak with Bob. Is it ok if he speaks to him? Lindy puts Cap on a video monitor and then tells Bob that Captain America is on the phone. Bob, who holds his blanket tightly, with his back to Lindy and Cap, does not respond.

Quinjet:
Spider-Man sits in his chair, a bit overwhelmed. If Alpha Flight had their butts handed to them, he is worried that this is going to be one of those fights where his new Iron Spidey uniform won’t be all that useful. You are not going to the fight, says Iron Man. Shocked, Spider-Man jumps forward in his chair and hurriedly explains to Iron Man that he didn’t mean that he wanted to be benched. He can still help. You are leading team two, replies Iron Man.

Iron Man tells everyone to hold on to something as he opens the side hatch to the Quinjet. He tells Spider-Man that team two is going to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier. Peter is going to sit there and he will use that science-brain that he abuses by not using to find a way to shut down the attacker with no casualties among civilians.

Iron Man then flies away. Ok, says Spider-Man, nervously. Captain America continues to try and get Bob’s attention and tells his colleague that he needs him.

Avengers Tower:
Bob sits up in bed and looks at the video monitor. Captain America tells him that the Avengers need him and it looks like thousands of innocents needs him. Captain America needs the Sentry. Bob pulls his knees close to his chest and tells Cap that the Void spoke to him again. Fed up, Cap yells at Bob and tells him that they need him. Get up!

Cleveland:
The mysterious being approaches the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and patches into S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. He confirms visual of the suspect and he is doing a full readings scan. He has no idea what he is looking at.

Hill tells Iron Man that S.H.I.E.L.D. has no reference match either. Tony tells Hill that, though he doesn’t want to alarm her much, he has an extensive catalogue of otherworldly energies and entities – it is pretty exhaustive. He also has his work combined with that of Reed Richards. Not being able to get a reading is terrifying. He is going to try and make peaceful contact. Director Hill advises Iron Man not to do that. Peaceful contact is what Alpha Flight was supposed to do. As Iron Man raises his shields to the max, he tells Director Hill that there are too many civilians around to risk fighting. He then asks his armor for fuller than full shields. Obviously not getting the joke, the armor asks Tony to repeat his command. “Just… full shields,” says Iron Man.

Hundreds flee the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the mysterious being’s purple fire engulfs most of the surrounding area, destroying everything in its path, and oddly enough – throwing around vehicles into the air.

Iron Man descends and greets the humanoid. Suddenly, the being stops in its tracks. Iron Man introduces himself as Iron Man of the Avengers. He believes that the Avengers have a bit of a reputation on other worlds as well as on Earth. Has this creature heard of the Avengers?

The mysterious man does not respond.

Director Hill contacts Iron Man and warns him to be careful. This is the first time the creature has stopped moving since landing on Earth.

Iron Man asks the creature if he knows how to speak – or perhaps communicate in any way so his universal translator can understand him. The being does not respond.

Iron Man tells Hill that these readings are insane. Hill asks him to send her what he has, and Tony complies. He then asks the humanoid who he is and what he wants.

Suddenly, the being begins to utter sounds! “Mm…” says the being.

Quinjet:
Watching the entire visual being fed from Tony’s armor via monitor, Spider-Man asks his teammates if he is nuts…or does that think seem human. Doesn’t mean anything, says Captain America.

Below in Cleveland:
“Mik…” says the humanoid, “…al…”

Hellicarrier:
Hill orders her men to run a linguistics scan, but someone points out that it sounds like the being said “Michael.”

Cleveland:
Michael, repeats Iron Man. Is his name Michael? “Ys,” replies the being.

You aren’t Korvac are you, asks the intrigued Iron Man. Michael repeats his name again firmly, so Iron Man asks him if he is human, to which Michael says yes. Iron Man then asks Michael where he is going and why is he hurting people. Michael pauses for a moment, and then is about to speak when suddenly he is blindsided from below!

Ms. Marvel arrives on the scene and uses her full force to slam into Michael, taking him with her into the air. Iron Man, horrified, chases after Carol, telling her to stop. However, it is too late. Michael unleashes a powerful blast that sends Ms. Marvel flying away.

Hill contacts Iron Man and asks what is going on. Iron Man replies that Ms. Marvel engaged the foe, but she didn’t know any better.

Ms. Marvel returns back to Michael, who is now flying, and tells him that it sucks to be him, as she absorbs all kinds of energy. She doesn’t think that he has what it takes. Suddenly, Michael literally explodes with an incalculable amount of energy, lighting up the entire Cleveland skyline! The Quinjet is rocked and slammed away, just as Iron Man is also blown away. The energy explosion is so powerful that it sends both Iron Man and the Quinjet flying across the city.

Aboard the jet, Captain America orders everyone to strap in.

Elsewhere:
Moments after the explosion above Cleveland, an object streaks across the sky and slams into the highway leading into Toledo, destroying the innocent vehicles driving through!

As fire and smoke clear in the crater left behind in the death and destruction, a figure stirs, irradiating with energy.

“Uh-oh…” says Ms. Marvel as she looks down at her body, which is seething with the long lost cosmic powers of Binary!

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man I, Sentry, Spider-Man I, Spider-Woman I, Wolverine (Avengers)
Ms. Marvel (former Avenger)

Director Maria Hill
Various S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Michael

Camera Man
Reporter Nicolette James of channel 62, CBS
Various citizens of Cleveland, Detroit and Toledo

Canadian Footage:
Michael

Guardian III, Major Mapleleaf II, Puck I, Puck II, Sasquatch I, Shaman, Vindicator III (Alpha Flight)

Story Notes: 

This issue debuts Spider-Man’s new Iron Spidey costume in the pages of New Avengers. The costume first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man (1st Series) #529, as a gift to Spider-Man from Tony Stark, though there are strings attached to this “gift.”

Michael apparently killed Alpha Flight in New Avengers #16. Technically, the Puck, Vindicator, Shaman, and Guardian depicted should be doubles from the past as the real ones are in space. However, there is only one set of Major Mapleleaf, Puck II, and Sasquatch, so if they are dead then they are truly dead.

Ms. Marvel told Captain America that the Avengers can call her at any time for help in New Avengers #15.

Daisy Johnson first appeared in Secret War #1-5. She created a localized seismic occurrence in Wolverine’s head, which is why he has such animosity against her.

Ms. Marvel lost her cosmic Binary powers totally in Avengers (3rd Series) #4.

Michael Korvac was an old, extremely powerful Avengers foe with god-like powers, including the ability to alter reality. [Avengers (1st Series) #170-177]

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