New Avengers #18

Issue Date: 
June 2006
Story Title: 
The Collective, part two
Staff: 

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

The Avengers send out a call to gather a few allies, including inactive S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Daisy Johnson and the Young Avenger, Vision. Iron Man engages Michael in Cleveland, but the being that has grown taller than a skyscraper mentally rips Tony’s armor apart. A Binary-powered Ms. Marvel swoops in and saves Tony, though Tony is more surprised by her returned powers. Ms. Marvel sees what happens when she engages Michael again since he is responsible for her returned powers, but she is restrained by him and suddenly hit by many different powers at once! Luckily, the Sentry arrives and pummels Michael into space before Ms. Marvel is killed. As the two fight in space, the other Avengers help Ms. Marvel, who no longer has her Binary powers. When Carol then tells the team about how she felt like how fifty powers were trying to kill her at once, Cap realizes one of those powers was magnetism, as he looks at Iron Man’s armor. The armor takes him to Tony, who contacts Spider-Man at S.H.I.E.L.D. Spider-Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. look at the footage of Michael crash-landing in Alaska, and notice he landed on a post office. They then find a postal employee there named Michael Pointer, who looks just like their Michael. Vision arrives to help Spider-Man and analyzes Iron Man’s energy data, coming up with over 80 confirmed matches. He then puts the data up on the screen for everyone to see – the power signatures from Michael are the same as a large group of de-powered mutants! Unfortunately, time has run out. Michael defeats Sentry in space and heads right back for Earth.

Full Summary: 

A park:
Joggers and pet-walkers carry on with their usual activities through the park on a beautiful day. One jogger in particular notices an attractive female sitting on a bench, reading a book. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, he jogs stationary next to her and greets her, also asking what she is reading. The woman looks up at the man with a smirk on her face. Suddenly, the ground in the area begins to rumble and shake, causing everyone in the area to lose their balance.

The jogging man begins to run away and tells the girl, who goes back to reading, that it is an earthquake. After all the civilians in the area are gone, the earth settles back to normal. A voice greets Agent Daisy Johnson and asks if she doesn’t count that as an abuse of her powers. No, replies Daisy, as she looks up to see S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter and a small group of other agents. Sharon introduces herself, and then tells Daisy that she needs to come back. Tough noogies, says Daisy, at the thought of S.H.I.E.L.D. wanting her back. Sharon informs Daisy that Captain America sent out the call for her, which catches Daisy’s attention.

Avengers Tower:
That’s how the Kree-Skrull War ended, asks the astonished Wiccan, as he munches away with most of his fellow Young Avengers in Manhattan. Yes, replies the gracious Jarvis, as he walks around the table offering food to the team. Wiccan finds it hard to believe that Rick Jones ended the war without powers, but Jarvis reminds Wiccan that Jones was trained by Captain America himself – so Rick is a privileged man. So he was the first Young Avenger, technically, asks Hulkling. Jarvis supposes that it is a fair statement.

Patriot asks if they can ever meet him, and Stature replies that she already has. You love saying that, teases Patriot, but Cassie is not bashful and admits that she does. Hulkling tells Cassie that her dad was an Avenger. She met everyone. I have, replies Cassie.

Suddenly, a hologram of Iron Man appears above the table, and Iron Man tells Vision that he needs him. There is an emergency and they need Vision’s internal hard drives. Hulking asks Iron Man what he wants the rest of the Young Avengers to do, but Iron Man makes it clear he wants them not to get involved. This is dangerous and, if they come near, he will make sure they are arrested and their parents notified. Iron Man then turns to Vision, who doesn’t need to be asked again – he flies out as fast as he can.

Cleveland:
The being known simply as Michael stands taller than any skyscraper in the city of Cleveland. The chaotic energy swirling around his golden-glowing body sends vehicles and even civilians flying into the air and to their deaths. Iron Man stands his ground on the streets and tells the Avengers that there is a change of plans. They need to leave. Cap contacts Tony from the Quinjet and asks Iron Man what he is going to do. Iron Man is not sure, as they have never faced a foe like this one before. However, he’d rather the rest of the team was around to say a few nice words at his funeral than you know... not.

Captain America, however, lands the Quinjet, and tells the team to stick to the original plan, even though Spider-Man comments that Michael is growing to Godzilla like proportions. Cap exits the jet with Wolverine and Luke Cage, who will do what they can on the streets. Meanwhile, Spider-Woman will take Spider-Man to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier to find a way to end this.

In the jet, Spider-Man makes a mental note to learn to fly a Quinjet. As they begin to lift off, Spider-Woman tells him that it is not different then flying a helicopter. Spider-Man informs Jessica that he doesn’t have a license. “For a helicopter?” asks Jessica, “You just need – ”

“For a car,” cuts off Spider-Man.

How, asks the puzzled Spider-Woman. Peter reminds Jessica that at fifteen he had webs and other things took up his time – like this.

On the streets, Cage asks about the fate of Ms. Marvel. Michael took her out fast and she is one of the strongest. Let’s hope for the best, says Captain America.

Iron Man flies up to Michael and tells the team that his armor is picking up some impossible energy readings. He begins to send his information to S.H.I.E.L.D., when something goes horribly wrong. Iron Man’s armor is ripped right off of him! As the armor falls away, Tony stays aloft by some unseen force caused by Michael, who turns to face Stark.

At that moment, a cosmically powered Ms. Marvel flies by and grabs Tony, telling him that he flies better with the armor. Tony looks at Carol with shock, and Carol tells him that she thinks that her new fiery appearance is a story for another day. All she knows is that she used to have cosmic powers and now suddenly after fighting Michael she has them again. Ms. Marvel drops Tony off on a roof and then heads back to fight.

Ms. Marvel then flies straight through Michael’s chest, anxious to wonder what will happen if she tussles with him again. Michael is taken aback, but quickly recoups and grabs Carol in his hand, who jokes that Michael started the fight after all. She taunts him and tells him that she is ready any time he wants to stop and talk, but suddenly she screams in pain. Michael is overcome by a serious look. Carol feels something horrible coming, and begins to tell Michael to stop, but it is too late.

Ms. Marvel experiences a horrible pain as she is suddenly attacked by various different energies and powers, all coming from Michael. She is blasted by unknown energy and winds, and then zapped with energy that courses into her body and out her mouth. She is encased in pure ice, only to be forcefully shattered out of it. Carol then screams in pain as a wave of pure energy slams into her and throws her away. However, the attack doesn’t end and Carol doesn’t make it far as she is stopped by some unknown force backed by Michael. Luckily for her, though, there is intervention.

A being traveling at inhuman speeds slams into Michael and takes him high up into the sky – freeing Ms. Marvel from Michael’s grasp. Wolverine asks what the hell that was. “Bob,” replies Captain America. The Sentry is here.

Sentry takes Michael out of Earth’s atmosphere quickly and throws him out into the vastness of outer space. Michael recuperates, but Sentry flies towards him anyway. The two collide, each being a massive force, neither giving up. Michael’s energy cascades across space, but it is not enough to blow away the Sentry.

Cleveland:
Ms. Marvel lies in the ruins outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She no longer glows with the powers of Binary, which are gone once again. Captain America, Wolverine, and Luke Cage run over to her. Cap asks her what happened, but a distraught Carol stammers that she couldn’t do it. Cap bends down next to the sick Carol, and asks if Michael communicated with her at all. He, questions Carol. It isn’t a he. It is like – getting the crap kicked out by fifty at once. She begins to stammer again, so Wolverine consoles her and holds her. He tells her to get herself together and to remember what Xavier taught her when she used to be at the mansion.

After a moment, Carol calms down and recoups herself. She then leans back, asking where she is. Cleveland, says Cage, pointing to the building behind him. Bono’s underpants are there, says Carol. She’s ok, says a smiling Luke. Getting back on task, Captain America asks Carol to repeat what she said. What happened?

Ms. Marvel closes her eyes and tells Cap that it was like fighting fifty different super powers at once. First she was hit by ice, then force fields –

Cap picks up a piece of Iron Man’s armor, and states magnetism. Carol tells the team that it is like a bunch of villains all trying to get at you at once, but getting in each other’s way. She really thought she would die. Besides that, what was with Michael unlocking her old Binary powers like that? Is that what that was, asks Cage. Never felt anything like it, admits Carol.

Cap pulls out a headpiece and puts in a vocal code, which puts the Iron Man armor back online. Cap then orders the armor to assemble and then when it is done, he asks it to find Tony Stark. When the armor scans the area and finds him, Cap asks the armor to take him to Stark. As Cap flies off with the armor, Cage wonders where Sentry took Michael. Not far enough, replies Carol.

Space:
In space, Michael and the Sentry continue their clash. Both contenders block each other’s blows, which causes even more powerful energy to crash around the two. Suddenly, Michael throws out his arms at Sentry, who suddenly finds him being pushed back and far away from Michael – into the deep reaches of space.

With the off-guard Sentry blown away, Michael wastes no time flying back to Earth, looking more determined than ever.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarrier:
Spider-Man finds himself at the main deck of the Hellicarrier, and bluntly asks if anyone knows what he is supposed to be doing. Maria Hill introduces herself to Spider-Man and shakes his hand. No eye patch, jokingly asks Spider-Man. Hill ignores the joke and tells Spider-Man that Iron Man is waiting for him on the communications.

Spider-Man is taken to a monitor where a re-armored Iron Man tells Spider-Man to send Spider-Woman back to Cleveland to pick up the rest of the Avengers. Spider-Man tells Iron Man that she already left. Iron Man then explains that the fight in Cleveland is over. Sentry took Michael into space. The battle could be over, or they could have time to figure out what Michael is. Also, Ms. Marvel just survived a hand-to-hand fight with Michael, so they know it can be done.

Hill tells Iron Man that S.H.I.E.L.D. is attempting to track Sentry. Iron Man then tells her that he is preparing his armor for space travel to see what he can do up there. Dum Dum Dugan joins the group and marvels at how Iron Man just lost his armor but he is already able to head to space. He is Iron Man, stresses Spider-Man, who turns his attention back to the golden Avenger. What is he looking for?

Iron Man uploads his armor’s energy readings to Spider-Man. He needs Spider-Man to find any and all matches on both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avenger Mansion files. They have files, asks Spider-Man. They have only been together for two weeks. No, corrects Iron Man – the old Avengers files, which should be right behind Spider-Man.

Spider-Man is confused, but turns to see the Vision. Vision greets Spider-Man and tells him that he shall process the files as quickly as possible. His hardware holds all the Avengers software files and fail-safe programs, which includes any and all research done over the years. Unimpressed, Spider-Man mentions that he had a Spider-Mobile once. Not understanding the joke, Vision asks if his web-spinners are not enough. He doesn’t have a driver’s license, replies Spider-Man.

Vision hooks up into the mainframe as another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent pulls up the Alaska footage. The best they have is an outdoor bank security camera. The footage isn’t fun.

Spider-Man then watches a video of shoppers walking past a post office, when suddenly the entire area explodes and incinerates everything around it. In the wreckage of the post office, one man stands. The agent informs Spider-Man that the location is a post office. They also have a list of men named Michael in the city of North Pole. Any of them mail men, asks Spider-Man. The agent searches, and then confirms. Michael Pointer.

Michael Pointer’s data is put on screen, and he looks amazingly like the Michael that Sentry is fighting in space. Director Hill is positive that the two Michael’s are the same. She wants to know everything he has done since bitch and she wants it now.

Meanwhile, Vision tells the group that Michael Pointer is not in any Avengers files, but he has match-read the energy signatures uploaded. A few of the clearer readings match power sources from the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. files. Power sources, questions Hill. She then asks Vision to display the matches on the screen.

Suddenly, a display of about 90 individuals’ headshots is shown on the screen, ranging from powerful terrorists to mundane street dwellers. Among the list includes Polaris, Quicksilver, Magneto, and Black Tom Cassidy. However, these people all have one very important thing in common, not just the face that they were all born as mutants…

Oh, no says Spider-Man, as he gazes upon the list of de-powered mutants – victims of M-Day.

Cleveland:
What? What is it, asks Spider-Woman, as she picks up the rest of the team.

Space:
Michael streaks back towards Earth, leaving a trail of energy behind him.

Characters Involved: 

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

Hulkling, Patriot, Stature, Vision II, Wiccan (Young Avengers)

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

Michael Pointer

Story Notes: 

Agent Daisy Johnson was introduced in Secret War #1-5.

Bono is the lead singer of the international band, U2.

Carol lost her Binary powers in Avengers (3rd Series) #4.

(The de-powered mutants shown on the video screen include)
(Row One) Abyss, Aero, Agent Zero, Angel Dust, Armena Ortega, Artie Maddicks, Arturo Falcone, Beak, Black Tom, Blind Faith, Blob, Boost, *incomplete headshot*
(Row Two) Bora, Brass, Cayman, Chamber, El Conquistador, El Aguila, Fatale, Flambe, Freakshow, Gloom, Hack, Hannah Levy, *incomplete headshot*
(Row Three) Harpoon, Hazard, Hub, Hybrid, Jon Spectre, Jubilee II, DJ, Key, King Bedlam, Kiwi Black, Lara the Illusionist, Lightning Rod, Longneck
(Row Four) Magneto, Mary Zero, Mist Mistress, Monsoon, Moonstar, Murmur III, Murmur II, Nightwind, Overrider, Callisto, Paralyzer/Shocker II, Paul Patterson, Phantazia
(Row Five) Polaris, Postman, Preview, Prodigy IV, Quicksilver, Quill IV, Radian, Radius II, Reaper, Redneck, Rictor, Scanner II, Shatter
(Row Six) Xorn II, Randall Shire, Shola Inkose, Slick, Slipstream, Specter, Spoilsport, Strobe, Stacy X, Tag, Tantra, Tarot, Tattoo
(Row Seven) Tether, Tremolo, Unus, Vague, Wicked, Wild Child, Wildside, Wind Dancer, Windshear, Wiz Kid, Wraith II, Zach, *blank screen*

An error on this list is the presence of Quill IV, a student at Xavier’s who remained powered. Possibly, his energy signature was confused with that of one of the other mutant Quills.

Thanks to UXN contributor Monolith for identifying most of the de-powered mutants on the screen. Additional thanks to UXN contributor Binaryan and UXN forum posters mydnight2000, DrawsixBD for filling in the blanks.

It should be noted that Black Tom only lost his physical mutation, but his energy based powers are still retained.

This listing confirms that Artie Maddicks did not die at Neverland, and Scanner II did not die during the assault on Genosha in New X-Men (1st Series) #115.

Last seen, Tarot hinted that she was only living thanks to King Bedlam. With him de-powered, it is unknown at this time if Tarot still lives.

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