New Avengers #23

Issue Date: 
October 2006
Story Title: 
New Avengers: Disassembled – part three
Staff: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Oliver Coipel (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Jose Villarubia (colorist), RS & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Kate Levin (production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

The current Civil War leaves Spider-Woman at a loss. As she is moping in a hotel room, she is visited by who seems to be Nick Fury, but she quickly realizes it is a LMD sent by SHIELD. The realization doesn’t save her, though, as she is taken prisoner. Aboard the Heli-Carrier, she learns that Iron Man has informed SHIELD about her triple agent status (seemingly working for both SHIELD and HYDRA while actually taking orders from Nick Fury). While the situation is being discussed, the carrier is attacked by HYDRA agents, who cause an EMP, intending to crash the carrier. As Jessica is abducted, Iron Man and SHIELD manage to save the carrier at the last moment. Later, Jessica awakes at a HYDRA base, where her contact man, Connelly, informs her that they were aware of her working for Fury. They hope she finally realizes that she can only trust in HYDRA. He hints at big plans for her, namely her replacing Viper as Madame Hydra. Jessica uses the opportunity to attack him and blow up the island. Looking for Fury, she instead chances upon Captain America’s anti-Registration heroes and begs them to take her in.

Full Summary: 

The apartment of Jessica Drew. Spider Woman lies on her bed, dressed only in her underwear, clearly dejected and not quite sober anymore. Jessica switches on the TV, where a news report is on, showing her teammate Luke Cage fighting the pro-registration forces. The commentator remarks that not since the days of the Kree-Skrull War have that many new stories from the superhero community come to them. All of the stories, of course, spawn out of the signing of the superhman registration act.

Jessica changes the channel, but can’t escape the subject as the anchorman refers to Spider-Man’s shocking revelation but right now there are some disturbing news out of Manhattan. Sources say that the Avengers have found themselves ripped down the middle. Reports say that Captain America himself, once the symbol of liberty and freedom is now considered a public menace, with many lawmakers using words like “treason” and “terrorist” to describe his –

A knock at the door shakes Jessica out of her stupor. She jumps at the wall, hangs down from the ceiling and looks to see who is at the door. Open up, asks an impatient Nick Fury. Jessica complies, asking for the password. Is she kidding him? he gruffly asks. How did he find her? she retorts. She registered under Sybil Dvorak, he replies. Cute.

Jessica asks what he is doing there. She thought he was underground for the moment. Fury explains that, due to the war, everything is different now. It’s time for her to take a side. What side does he want her on? she asks. What side does she want to be on? he retorts. It’s up to her now? she asks, shocked. Of course, it’s up to her, Fury insists. What about the plan? Jessica asks. The plan has changed, Fury replies as he turns his back on her and looks out the window.

As he continues his speech, Jessica raises her hands and focuses. When Fury asks her if she had any contact with Captain America, Jessica fires her venom blast at him, while sarcastically stating that she and Cap had their Wednesday makeout session this morning. But what about the new SHIELD commander Maria Hill? She thought Fury wants Jessica to ask her if she liked him as more than a friend. Yes, Miss Hill, Jessica says, addressing the “Fury.” She knows that it’s her controlling this A.I. unit of the Nick Fury life model decoy. It’s a pretty damn good improvement over the old ones, but they really have to work on the smell. Fury smells like Havana at low tide. This thing smells like a tire on the factory floor. If Hill wants to speak to her, then she should come in person and do that.

Hill replies via the LMD, stating she doesn’t want to speak to Jessica. She was just hoping to find some quick intel and maybe an iota of reasonable doubt. Doubt about what? asks Jessica. That she is a traitor, replies “Fury” / Hill. Before the LMD can continue that Jessica is under arrest she blasts it apart.

Jessica begins to flee, but finds herself surrounded by armed SHIELD agents everywhere. Then there is only darkness.

She awakes in an interrogation cell, her hands tied to the back of a chair. SHIELD Commander Maria Hill joins her, icily congratulating Jessica on being the very first traitor in the very first superhero war. How proud she must be. How proud her dead parents must be. Oh right. They were HYDRA agents, too.

Jessica begins to justify herself, talking about a misunderstanding. She doesn’t know what Hill has been told, but—

She trails off as she sees Iron Man enter. Hill adds that Iron Man filled her in on Spider-Woman’s triple agent status, but just so she’s clear, because the paper works on this is going to be… oh my God… Jessica is an agent of SHIELD, but really only answers to Nick Fury… even though he is no longer running this organization and Hill more or less is. But Jessica only does what he tells her to. Even though that by definition is an act of treason. But on top of that, he told her to accept an offer from HYDRA, the terrorist organization, to report on and betray SHIELD. That it?

Disgusted, Jessica asks Tony how he could do this. Stark replies that they are at war now. There is no place for Jessica and her games anymore. He only put up with this because Captain America believed in her. But clearly, things are different now. He can’t afford to have her out there as a wild card. She made her choices. She made her bed.

Jessica’s face contorts with rage. She can’t believe what she’s hearing. She sacrificed everything for them! Her rant is cut off as the lights go out and everyone is suitably confused. The Helicarrier finds itself under attack by HYDRA agents on small airships, who are out to rescue “Agent Drew.” In the process, they wound and shoot Maria Hill. Jessica shouts out “no,” but the HYDRA agents won’t hear it. Despite her protests, they take her with them.

One agent remains behind and informs the paralyzed Iron Man that he is told Stark’s armor will probably save him from the colossal impact the Helicarrier is about to make on Rhode Island. When he can finally stand up and see the horror around him, he will hopefully realize that he himself and his war profiteering are responsible. Hail HYDRA!

Debris already begins to reach the ground. The injured Commander Hill calls for the bridge to stabilize the antigrav boosters and get the carrier flying! At the very last moment, mere feet above the skyscrapers the helicarrier stabilizes.

What the hell was that? Hill asks Iron Man, who takes off his helmet and assumes it was an electro-magnetic pulse. Digging out the bullet from her wound, Hill demands a casualty report to find out where those fighter jets crashed and where those Nazis took Drew.

Jessica awakes in tropical surroundings. Welcome back to HYDRA Island, welcome home, her contact man Connelly greets her as he hands her a cup of tea. How great would it have been if that Helicarrier dropped right on Rhode Island like that, he laments. So close! That would have been something. Oh well, they got her. That’s what they came for and that’s what they got. He hopes Jessica appreciates that. That was a one-time trick they saved for a special occasion. They’ll figure out the rigged EMP thing and be ready for it next time.

Jessica interrupts his monologue. Why did they do that? Why is she here? The game’s changed again, Connelly begins and so are the players. This superhero civil war has changed everything. Time to improvise a little change in the plan: No more games, no more double-crossing for either of them. Forget Fury. Fury is not going to help her. It’s time to think of HYDRA and what its place in the fallout will be.

So he knew she was with Fury, asks Jessica. He knew she thought she was, he retorts. But now, she sees she was just being used. Why didn’t they kill her? asks Jessica. Because they were getting things out of it as well, Connelly explains. She had to see for herself that her hero friends and Fury would turn their backs on her. SHIELD is nothing but a bunch of gangsters. She understands now, right? Because, he has to be honest with her, he is running out of ways to show her.

Agitated, Jessica asks what he wants from her. One minute he wants to kill her, then he saves her. What does he want? This will shock her, he admits, but he thinks her next move is to go to the head of the table. Their table! Jessica exclaims. Madame Hydra sits at the head of their table.

Connelly looks at her calmly, before admitting that Viper is a little … unstable. And many of the higher-ups believe that the reason HYDRA has such a hard time keeping things together is that Viper as Madam Hydra sits at the head of their table. But Jessica, she was born HYDRA and that means so much to them. She’s been around the world, yet here she is. They need a new Madame Hydra, and if she can get over herself it’s her.

He whispers into her ear seductively while Jessica seems to ponder his words. She was born HYDRA, he reiterates. She’s not a recruit, she is blood. Won’t Viper be a little upset when she hears about the plan, Jessica suggests sarcastically. He’d imagine so, Connelly replies, but that’s the cost to be the boss. Things will get a little bloody.

Still appearing to be in thought, Jessica remarks that, during her many dark times, there is that thing, that one thing about HYDRA… that connection, her family being a part of all this. It’s in there, part of her soul. Connelly begins to smile triumphantly. That’s what he thought. What keeps her going, Jessica continues unexpectedly, specifically is the four or five times in her life that she’s had the honor, no, the privilege on being in a HYDRA base somewhere in the middle of nowhere just like this one and blowing it and everyone on it straight to hell.

She yanks Connelly by the tie and pushes his head into the wall. She follows up with venom blasts as she furiously pounds him. HYDRA agents enter and she directs venom blasts at them. With them down, she asks one of the men where the power generator or the fuel reserves are. Either one would be fine.

A little later, Jessica steers a boat away from the conflagration that used to be a HYDRA base.

Later still, Jessica, now dressed inconspicuously, enters the base where the anti-registration heroes led by Captain America are hiding out. Cap is surprised, asking how she knew about this place. She came here looking for Fury, she explains. He isn’t here, Cap replies. They are the resistance, right? asks Jessica. Tears in her eyes, she begs them to take her. She has nowhere else to go.

Characters Involved: 

Spider-Woman I
Iron Man (pro-Registration Avenger)
Cage, Captain America, Cloak, Dagger, Daredevil. Falcon, Statue (anti-Registration heroes)

Maria Hill (commander of SHIELD)
SHIELD agents

Connelly (Spider-Woman’s contact man from HYDRA)
HYDRA agents

LMD decoy of Nick Fury

Story Notes: 

Sybil Dvorak is the real name of Spider-Woman foe Gypsy Moth.

Spider-Woman’s double (or is that triple?) agent status is discussed in issue #14.

Jessica’s parents were revealed to be HYDRA agent in her revised origin story in the Spider-Woman LS from 2006.

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