New Avengers (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
April 2006
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Steve McNiven (Penciler), Dexter Vines (Inker), Comicraft’s Richard Starkings (Letterer), Deborah Weinstein (Production), Molly Lazer & Audrey Sitterson (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

After Director Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D. questions Tony Stark on a recent mission to Genosha with the X-Men, which, Stark claims, was a sightseeing trip, Hill reveals she has Eileen “Phantazia” Harsaw in a padded cell muttering “House of M” over and over again. A mysterious and powerful alien being crashes in Alaska, so Hill has to sort it out and sends an S.H.I.E.L.D. convoy to investigate, only for the convoy to be killed. Disturbed at how powerful this being is, S.H.I.E.L.D does not have any data on it - meaning that it is an entirely new species of alien. The being is heading for Canada, so Alpha Flight - Guardian, Heather, Sasquatch, Shaman, Major Mapleleaf and the two Pucks - are called in - and wiped out in an instant. The being just carries on for the United States, and the President suggests to Hill that she do something about it quickly - like sending in the New Avengers. But Hill is reluctant to do so, until she realizes she has no other choice, and sends out the “Avengers Assemble” signal.

Full Summary: 

It comes from space - falling fast and burning bright. It hurtles towards the top of the globe - and lands. Hard. The people of a sleepy town in Alaska didn’t know what hit them. Everything in the surrounding area is burnt to a crisp. Destroyed. Suddenly, there is life. From the wreckage - the “thing” that landed emerges - a humanoid male glowing - and so it seems, very angry.

Meanwhile, aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Director Hill is in her office when Tony Stark appears on the view screen before her. Stark asks if they can make this quick, because he has been up for two days straight. ‘Yeah, I just caught your little press conference’ Hill mutters, before remarking that the Avengers going public was quick, and sarcastically thanks him for the heads-up. Tony replies that he wasn’t aware she cares on way or another.

Hill declares that she does care that a large group of super-powered vigilantes publicly announced their intentions to police the planet. Hill points out that she runs a world peace-keeping task force of which two of the Avengers are members, so therefore she cares an awful lot what they are up to. ‘Oh, then…thanks for the call,’ Tony replies, ready to hang up on the brash woman.

‘The House of M,’ Hill states. ‘I’m sorry?’ Tony replies innocently. Ms. Hill holds up a satellite image of two jets and reminds Tony that he invented half the technology in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s surveillance satellites, even putting cameras on the moon pointed at Earth, so she doubts she has to explain how she knows that one week ago the X-Men’s Blackbird and the Avengers’ Quinjet flew to Genosha for some reason. ‘And then all of a sudden, millions of mutants weren’t mutants anymore’.

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Director remarks that all of a sudden, the mutant gene doesn’t exist in millions of people where it once had, adding that all she has is a babbling idiot named Eileen Harsaw muttering the words “House of M” over and over again in her padded cell. While Hill uses a emotion and lie detector on Stark, which comes up “blocked”, Tony tells her that he cannot help, and claims the Genosha trip was for sightseeing. ‘Really?’ Hill replies, to which Tony remarks that Spider-Man said he had never been there.

Ms. Hill tells Tony that she doesn’t need him to like her, nor does she need him to respect her, but she would have hoped that he would be man enough - hero enough, to not put his arrogance before the safety of millions of people look for answers as to what has happened to them. ‘Well, it’s good you don’t need me to like you or respect you,’ Tony replies. Hill tells him that they didn’t need to be enemies, to which Tony remarks that they are not, for he rarely ever thinks about her one way or another. With that, he bids Hill good-bye. ‘Son of a -’ begins Ms. Hill, when suddenly, the Red Alert sounds and all high staff are ordered to the situation room.

‘What the Hell is going on?’ demands the Director as she enters the situation room, which is currently displaying maps of Alaska all over the screens. An attractive young blonde woman with great hair goes over to Hill and addressing her as “Ma’am” explains that Alaska has been hit. Walking with Hill over to a monitor, the blonde woman reveals that it was a direct hit. Hill asks if it was a pipeline, to which the blonde woman replies it wasn’t, and informs her that the entire North Pole is gone, adding that the images are only two seconds old.

‘North Pole?’ Hill asks. The blonde woman is about to explain exactly where it is, when a thin man jokes ‘Maybe Santa Claus got on someone’s naughty list?’ Hill frowns and tells the man to get off her ship. ‘I’m not even joking a little,’ she declares, before asking what hit them - terrorists? A fat man sitting at the console reply that the initial energy readings and hit trajectory indicate that it was an energy source and that it came from space. ‘Space?’ asks Hill. The fat man informs her that it was directed right at the North Pole, though they are having trouble determining what kind of energy readings.

Hill asks if it is an alien attack, to which the fat man replies ‘I don’t know, sir - ma’am, the readings are inconclusive’. Hill asks what that means, to which the fat man replies that whatever hit them is something they have never had on this planet before. He explains that there is no library of data for the computers to analyze it from, so they don’t even know where to start. ‘So it was an alien attack?’ Hill asks. The fat man explains to her that at this point they have hundreds of alien energy signatures catalogued from past interactions since the 1930’s, and whatever this was - it has not been here before.

‘Wake the President!’ Hill exclaims, to which the fat man points out that it is four in the afternoon. ‘You know what I mean!’ Hill snaps back, before asking who the closest agents are to the scene and if they have a commando unit stationed in Alaska. A young man standing nearby informs Hill that there is on in Anchorage and they are en route now. ‘Get them online!’ Hill demands.

Almost immediately, an officer appears on the view screen before the S.H.I.E.L.D. staff, introducing himself as Sergeant Davis, a class five agent. Hill introduces herself and informs Davis that he is on a secure line, before asking him to state his location. Davis replies that they are following the energy trail but that it is heading towards the Canadian border. Hill asks him how many men are with him, to which he replies that there are six.

Hill asks Davis what kind of gear they have with them, as this could be a handle. Davis replies that they are fitted with Hulk Buster armor and they have the Nexus Nullifier on standby, before announcing that they have a visual. ‘There you go. Can you guys see that?’ ‘Yes…but…’ exclaims Hill as she and the others all stare in awe at what is on the view screen - the humanoid that landed in Alaska, streaking along with energy bursting behind him.

‘Is that a man?’ Hill asks, to which Davis replies that it looks human, before announcing that they are trying to do an environmental reading, but the sensors are all screwy. He adds that the being is letting off some sort of energy pattern and you can feel it from miles away, and that he is moving fast. Davis informs Hill and the others that his sensors sat the being is moving at about two hundred miles an hour, but it is hard to see with all the steam, though it seems like he is half-running, half-flying.

Davis announces that the being has just crossed the Canadian borders, and is about to point out that it makes this an international incident, when suddenly, the being stops. ‘He’s looking at us? We’re 22 miles behind him!’ Davis exclaims. Hill quickly orders him to turn around and get his men out of there, when suddenly, the image is gone, and only a shrill SCREEEEEEEE can be heard. ‘Oh my God!’ exclaims Hill. The blonde woman announces that it was the strike team, not them, before asking if they can get them back on line.

Hill orders the fat man to switch to satellite, so he does, and the image appearing before them is just of a destroyed and burning strike team of commandos. ‘Oh no…’ Hill mutters. Hill turns to the pretty blonde woman and declares that she needs to talk to the President and the Prime Minister of Canada, adding that they need to get a full battalion - the blonde woman interrupts the unsure Hill, suggesting to her that she should send in the experts on this.

‘I, yeah, okay…we have scientists to…’ Hill begins, until the blonde woman cuts her off, ‘No, ma’am, the super heroes. Call in the Avengers to -’ ‘No! No!’ Hill exclaims, turning to the fat man she tells him to get Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four online, before wondering if there is anyone closer. ‘Canada…Canada…’ the fat man then remarks, ‘Well, ma’am, there’s always…Alpha Flight’.

Soon, Alpha Flight can be seen on S.H.I.E.L.D’s view screen. ‘You guys ready?’ Walter Langkowski in his Sasquatch form asks his teammates. ‘Yeah, right,’ mutters Dr. Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen. Heather McNeil Hudson a.k.a. Vindicator points out that it is moving awful fast, to which Eugene Judd, better known as Puck declares that he will do the talking. James “Guardian” MacDonald Hudson stands ready at the front of the group, while Louis Sadler a.k.a. Major Mapleleaf and Zuzha Yu - another Puck - round off the team.

As the being speeds towards Canada’s premiere super hero team, Ms. Hill is on the phone to the Canadian Prime Minister and tells him to hold on, as his team just made it.

Sasquatch asks if it is anyone they know, before Judd remarks that it looks like he has stopped. Sasquatch shouts to the man, ‘Excuse me! Sir? We’re Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere super team! On behalf of the Canadian government, we’d like to ask you to turn your naked self around and back away!’

Suddenly, in the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarier, the Screeeee sound returns and the view screens go blank. A moment later, the satellite view kicks in, and a look of horror spreads across Hill, the blonde woman and the fat man.

Guardian…Heather…Sasquatch…Shaman…Major Mapleleaf…the two Pucks,’…. They didn’t even get the chance to put up a fight. Their blood stains the white snow. Their bodies are bruised and broken as they lie in the wake of the mysterious being from outer space.

Ms. Hill is on the phone to the President of the United States now and tells him that they have already lost an entire town, a S.H.I.E.L.D convoy, Canada’s Alpha Flight, and now, six S.H.I.E.L.D. jet fighters are missing, presumed down. Hill remarks that she is terrified to send anymore men in there until they know exactly what it is, what it wants, and where it is going. She explains to the President that every inch this thing moves puts lives in danger and she has no idea what it is.

Hill suggests that they mobilize some sort of World Army, when the President declares that he knows all about it and informs Hill that he is in the White House situation room now with the Secretary of Defense. The President informs her that the Secretary of Defense wants her to throw some super heroes at it, to give them time to mobilize the armed forces. Hill informs the President that Reed Richards isn’t answering their communications alert.

‘That’s the trouble with that brainiac, he’s always off in space or in some other dimension!’ the President exclaims. The President must make some comment about the X-Men, to which Hill points out that the X-Men are certainly in no position to be of assistance. ‘The Avengers! The new ones who were just on TV, get them over there!’ the President exclaims. Hill tells the President that she thinks this is a bad idea, to which the President tells her that he hopes she isn’t putting her own arrogance in the way of helping thousands of innocent people about to get their lives ruined by some damn alien.

Director Hill replies that she isn’t, but she feels that if the Canadian super team had no effect, then what could - ‘It’s Captain America! He’ll take this down, he always wins somehow!’, before asking where this trouble maker is headed anyway. A blond man alerts Hill to a change in the alien’s course. Hill announces that he has just turned to a Southwest coordinate - he is coming to America. The President replies that he sees it, and tells Ms. Hill that she knows what she has to do.

‘Ma’am?’ asks the blonde woman when Hill goes silent, and hangs her head. Hill suddenly slams her hand on a panel and exclaims ‘Avengers Assemble! $%#@!!’

Characters Involved: 

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

Iron Man (Avenger)

Commander Hill
Pretty Blonde Woman, Fat Man and other SHIELD staff
Sergeant Davis

Citizens of Alaska

President of the United States (over phone only)

Unidentified Being

Story Notes: 

“The House of M” occurred in House of M #1-8, among various mini series and storylines in regular Marvel Books.

It was first depicted that the majority of the mutants had lost their powers in House of M #8, and continued in House of M: The Day After one-shot, Generation M #1-5 and then the regular Marvel Books.

Eileen Harsaw is better known as the powerful and mysterious Phantazia who was a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants III led by Toad. She first appeared in X-Force (1st series) #6 and last appeared in X-Force

Phantazia was seen in the House of M briefly in House of M #6.

This marks the first appearance of Alpha Flight since Alpha Flight (3rd series): The All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight #12. However, that issue left such a mess, and Alpha Flight barely say anything this issue, so it is hard to tell what, if anything, has been cleared up from the third series. At the end of Alpha Flight (3rd series): The All-New, All-Different Alpha Flight #12, we had Guardian, Heather, Snowbird, Shaman, Puck and Earthmover in space. On Earth, there was Sasquatch and his team of Alphans - Nemesis III, Major Mapleleaf II, Puck II, Yukon Jack and Centennial. In addition, the past versions of Guardian, Heather, Snowbird, Shaman, Northstar, Aurora and Puck from circa Alpha Flight (1st series) #12 were brought to the present. The question begs, which Alpha Flight is depicted here? It is hard to tell. Obviously there is only on Sasquatch, Major Mapleleaf and Puck II. Centennial and Nemesis III are apparently dead, and Yukon Jack and the past Snowbird were married and moved to his kingdom. The team here can possibly be the past Guardian, Heather, Shaman and Puck, which brings up the question of where the past Northstar and Aurora are, and offers up a rather large continuity problem, as the past Heather circa Alpha Flight (1st series) #12 was not a costumed hero. While Heather is a smart woman, the past Heather could have quickly learned how to use a battle suit, but Heather circa Alpha Flight (2nd series) #1, found the geothermal battle suit, which she is wearing here, much more difficult to use then her previous electromagnetic one. If this is the case, it would mean that the real Guardian, Heather, Snowbird, Puck, Shaman and Earthmover are still in space.

It seems odd the Puck (Judd) would as he puts it ‘I’ll do the talking’ considering Guardian, Heather and Sasquatch have all lead Alpha Flight, he has not.

This issue comes with a bonus Untold Tales of the New Universe story featuring Kickers Inc.

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