New Avengers (1st series) #41

Issue Date: 
July 2008
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Billy Tan (artist), Justin Ponsor (color art), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Aleksi Briclot (cover artist), Joe Sabino (Production), Molly Lazer (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers have encountered a group of heroes who have emerged from a Skrull ship which has crashed in the Savage Land. As they confront each other, the teams are attacked by a huge T-Rex, which stamps on one of the Spider-Mans. The Wolverine from the craft stabs the creature and it throws off the other Spider-Man into the jungle. He discovers Ka-Zar and his crew there, and immediately believes them to be Skrulls. Ka-Zar insists that they aren’t, and explains what has happened. He informs Spidey that Shanna returned one evening after three days hunting, and they heard gun shots. They investigated and discovered S.H.I.E.L.D. agents poaching a Vibranium Mine. They were using mutates as slave labor. Shanna went undercover and overheard their leader, Contessa Valentina, say that they were doing this by themselves and not as a part of the wider scheme of things. She also mentioned that they had people inside the Avengers. After this, they discovered Shanna, who began firing at them as she ran away. When they caught her, Zabu attacked them before they could kill her, and Ka-Zar took a sniper out before making a getaway in their Jeep. Later, they gathered the people of the Savage Land for war, but as they approached the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they found a team of Avengers already there to confront them. As they attacked, a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier fired off missiles which destroyed the entire area. Only Iron Man’s force field saved the Avengers from death. In the present, Spidey is having a hard time believing Ka-Zar’s story but, before he can delve deeper, Captain America approaches them from the jungle.

Full Summary: 

(present, the Savage Land)
A Tyrannosaurus Rex attacks the assembled groups of Avengers along with the heroes who have emerged from the crash-landed Skrull craft. Its giant foot squashes one of the Spider-Men and, as the other climbs the creature’s neck, the Wolverine from the Skrull ship follows. He stabs his claws into the creature’s body to assist his ascent, but the pain causes it to throws its head back, hurling Spider-Man away into the jungle. He crash lands after hitting several branches of a tree and looks up to see himself surrounded by Ka-Zar, Shanna, Zabu and several of their allies.

Spidey instantly believes them to be Skrulls, but they try to inform him that they are not. Spidey finds it cute that the Skrulls went to all this trouble. He thought one of them posing as himself when he had the costume with the web-pits was inventive… embarrassing, though. It was like looking at himself wearing a leisure suit. But, now they’ve gone and turned themselves into a Ka-Zar and a Sheena. Shanna corrects him, but Spidey says he’s caught her out. It’s Sheena. Shanna repeats her real name. Spidey repeats Sheena. “I know my name,” replies Shanna. “Do you?” replies Spidey. Shanna asks him if he’s having a nervous breakdown.

Ka-Zar steps in and asks if he really thinks that they’re Skrulls. With several spears pointing at him, Spidey jokingly asks who chooses which one of them shape-shifts into what. Who gets to be the kitty? Shanna has had enough and asks her husband to take care of this. Ka-Zar points out that they’re not Skrulls. They are fighting for their lives. They’re under siege. Spidey pauses, before asking, “What’s happened here?”

(months ago)
It’s night time and Ka-Zar is sleeping. Shanna arrives back at their home and Ka-Zar asks where she’s been. Hunting, she tells him. “For three days?” he asks. Shanna sits down and asks where he thinks she was. Ka-Zar says he didn’t know. They hear gunfire outside and head out to see what’s going on. They arrive at a clearing and hide in the foliage. In the clearing is a large man-made series of circles, like an amphitheater. Search lights from helicopters sweep the area and temporary lights keep the area bright. The people are wearing S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms. A pair of helicopters fly past the hiding family and they see a Jeep pursuing three mutates. More gunfire rings out as they are mown down in a hail of bullets.

Zabu wants to attack, but Ka-Zar holds him back, warning him that they have many guns. He tells Shanna that they’re poaching the Vibranium Mines. Shanna is appalled. “S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Those $*%$€,” she exclaims. Ka-Zar says that Fury would never betray them like this. He owes him. Shanna points out that he has betrayed him. They’re poaching the Vibranium Mines and they’re using their people to do it. That Vibranium is used to make weapons - Tony Stark weapons. Ka-Zar turns away, trying to think around the situation.

Shanna adds that these are world-changing weapons, and they’re taking it, even though world laws have been passed to stop that from ever happening. The only question Shanna has is, what took them so long? When a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent shoots one of the mutates at point blank range, Ka-Zar decides to do something about it. He and Shanna grab a female perimeter guard and Shanna delivers a chop to her throat to keep her quiet. Unfortunately, the chop breaks her neck. Shanna is horrified. She didn’t mean to do that.

When the agent hits the ground she transforms into a Skrull. Neither Ka-Zar nor Shanna recognize it straight away, but Ka-Zar doesn’t believe that it is human. He then says that he thinks it might be a Skrull. “A what?” asks Shanna. He informs her that they’re a shape-shifting alien race. Shanna doesn’t believe him but he asks if she’s heard of the Kree/Skrull War. She replies that she’s never heard of it. Ka-Zar thinks they should get the internet. Shanna has a plan. She begins to remove her clothes and asks him to get the alien’s uniform. She’s going to figure this out.

Wearing the uniform and carrying the Skrull’s weapon, Shanna stands in her place and when someone contacts her by radio to report on her status, she replies that the left quadrant perimeter is secure. She sees mutates being treated appallingly by the agents and looks around to see who might be in charge of the operation. She spots a male and a female standing over a table and approaches gingerly. One of them is Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, though Shanna wouldn’t recognize her as such.

The Contessa informs her colleague that they need to do this job quickly. The only people that ever come to this part of the Earth are the Avengers and the X-Men. They will only come when they tell them to. Her colleague tells her that there are other humans in the area: savage humans. She asks how many. A total of five, maybe? He replies by asking for confirmation that the Avengers are no more. Valentina informs him that they have agents inside the new Avengers so he needn’t worry about that. “New Avengers?” he asks. She tells him that he has all the weapons and all the numbers he needs. For the heavy lifting, he has these things. She motions towards the mutates who mill around carrying boxes.

He asks her if the Queen knows about this part of the operation. She is about to tell him he doesn’t have to worry himself about that, when they overhear Shanna’s radio. Someone at control is asking if she has left her post. Valentina confronts Shanna and asks who she might be. Several agents also approach her, and Valentina asks what she’s doing all the way out there. Shanna doesn’t reply and, instead, opens fire on everyone. Several people are hit, including Valentina, and Shanna continues firing the weapon as she runs for cover. Watching from his hiding place, Ka-Zar whispers, “She never listens.”

Green blood drips from Valentina’s lips, as she orders her people not to change form. Shanna gets to a Jeep, still firing, and the Skrull agents close in on her. They don’t want her killed. As Shanna fires, her bullets dry up and her gun simply clicks away. They have her cornered, and Valentina changes her mind. “Forget it,” she commands. “Put her down. Now!”

Before a shot can be fired, Zabu attacks and takes down several agents in one fell swoop. A sniper takes aim at Shanna who is busy attacking one of the agents with her fists but, before the sniper can kill her, a spear in the back, courtesy of Ka-Zar, puts him down. He reverts to his Skrull form as Ka-Zar leaps into the Jeep and drives away, leaving the rogue agents to play catch up.

(hours later)
The agents discover the Jeep, upside down tangled up in vines between the trees. Ka-Zar believes they’ve managed to get away, so Shanna says they need to formulate a plan. Ka-Zar wants to contact the mainland and tell Nick Fury, but Shanna reminds him that these aliens, or whatever they are, have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and have someone inside the Avengers. They need to do this themselves. They will gather the people of the Savage Land and protect their own. They will take the skunk-haired skank and shake her until she tells them who is who, and what is going on.

Shanna and her crew are prepared for war. As they approach the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, they look below their vantage point to see a team of Avengers attacking. They are Iron Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Spider-Man and Captain America. They have no idea what the Avengers are doing there, and Shanna believes it must be a trick. As they watch, the Avengers look up and both Ka-Zar and Shanna raise their eyes to see a massive helicarrier hovering above the Savage Land. Missiles are fired from it towards the Vibranium Mine, and they strike the ground with incredible force. Iron Man erects a forcefield which saves his team, but everything around them is obliterated.

Spider-Man is still conversing with Ka-Zar, and he tells him that he was there that day. It was a squirrelly day. He didn’t see any Skrulls, though. All he knows, is, the Avengers were there looking for someone when they saw S.H.I.E.L.D agents doing what they were doing. Before they could deal with it, they were attacked by the helicarrier, and if it wasn’t for Iron Man, that would have been that. They never got any answers about that day.

Ka-Zar figures that the aliens succeeded in covering up what they found. Spidey tells him that Captain America, before he died, thought it was a rebellious faction in S.H.I.E.L.D. that was trying to kill them: that there was something rotten going on with S.H.I.E.L.D. Shanna believes they are being too trusting of Spider-Man, but Spidey informs them that Skrulls were mining Vibranium there. They then tried to kill them. He doesn’t know what Ka-Zar and Shanna are doing there, but there are pieces of their story missing. They’re lying. As Ka-Zar swears on the honor of his father that he is telling the truth, Spider-Man’s spider-sense lights up and Zabu growls. They look over to see Captain America heading towards them. “Honor? What do you know about honor?” he asks.

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Ronin, Spider-Man, Wolverine (Luke Cage’s team)

Ares, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, Spider-Woman (all Mighty Avengers)

Beast, Luke Cage, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Phoenix, Spider-Man, Vision, Wolverine, Storm, Thor, Wonder Man (from the Skrull craft)

Savage Land allies


Skrulls (as Rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. faction including Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine)
Savage Land Mutates

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

Story Notes: 

This is a Secret Invasion tie-in issue.

The Avengers were seen in the Savage Land, confronting the rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in New Avengers #4 - 6.

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: