Ultimates #8

Issue Date: 
November 2002
Story Title: 
The Experts

Mark Millar (writer), Bryan Hitch (pencils), Paul Neary (inks), Paul Mounts (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters), C.V. Cebulski & Brian Smith (assistant editors), Ralph Macchio (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president & inspiration)

Brief Description: 

Hawkeye, the Black Widow and many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents successfully destroy two office buildings that belonged to alien creatures called the Chitauri. Later, the two heroes and the surviving agents return to the Triskelion. There, Hawkeye and the Widow are introduced to the other Ultimates. Fury congratulates his new recruits, who will be upgraded into the team and introduced to the public later in the week. Fury also introduces his team to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who now work for S.H.I.E.L.D. in their Shadow Team. In exchange for their services, Fury will release political prisoners. So far, Pietro and Wanda have done what was required from them, and today saved Hawkeye and the Widow’s life on three different occasions. Later, the team is briefed about the Chitauri’s origin, so that they know what they are up against. Fury needs the whole team for this. Captain America is missing from the briefing. Fury asks his agents to locate him. They eventually trace Cap in Chicago, where he is about to have a rumble with Hank Pym.

Full Summary: 

Hawkeye and the Black Widow, clothed in full leather, walk through the city streets. Hawkeye asks her partner if she wants the office block on the left, or the one on the right. Natasha prefers the office block on the left. She asks Clint what he thinks of her cool granite sunglasses. Doesn’t he agree that the shades compliment her eyes? Hawkeye and Natasha look around and check if their backup is ready.

A man reading a newspaper reports to the Black Widow that he’s ready when she is. Hawkeye asks about the security. A construction worker reports that they are closing all access routes as soon as Clint gives the word. And word it is.

Calmly, Hawkeye steps into his office building. The receptionist asks Clint if he can help him. Clint introduces himself, and explains that he’s got a 4 PM appointment with a Mister Jones in the Accounts Department. The receptionist apologizes and tells Clint that there must be some mistake, since Accounts don’t have any appointments scheduled for today. Hawkeye asks the man if he’s sure about that, since he didn’t even check his book or anything. The man replies that he doesn’t need to, because all the appointments are up in his head. Hawkeye asks the receptionist if he’s serious. “Oh, yeah”, the man says.

Not anymore, Clint says, as he takes out his bow and shoots an arrow right into the receptionist’s head! Security guards open fire upon Hawkeye, but he dodges the bullets and shoots arrows right through the guards’ bodies. The employees try to make a run for it, but Hawkeye kills them all.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agents enter the office building. Hawkeye reports that the lobby has been secured. He commands the Alpha team to take levels two through fifteen, and the Beta team must take levels sixteen through thirty-two as planned. The troops move forward and kill all employees as they go. Hawkeye fights his way through as well, until he makes it to the elevator, which he takes up.

Helicopters appear everywhere and command teams Gamma, Delta, Epsilon and Zeta that they are clear to go. All the agents jump through the windows and land into the office and shoot their way through, killing all the employees in their wake. Hawkeye asks the Black Widow over intercom if she’s in position yet. The elevator of her office block makes it to the thirty-third floor, and Natasha reports that she’s ready.

She begins commencing pest control levels thirty-three to forty-eight as planned, but Natasha doesn’t like this at all. Guards try to attack her, but Natasha is faster and kills them first. Hawkeye, hearing the remark, asks the Widow why. Because things are going smoothly? Clint tells Natasha not to wish any tougher than it already is. He thinks that smoothly is good. In fact, he feels like they don’t get smoothly nearly enough.

Of course, Natasha says, but she expected a little more resistance. She knows how S.H.I.E.L.D. Intel said that the guys they are fighting are just the worker-bees, meaning low caste organizers with an aptitude for killing, but…

Hawkeye stops the woman from talking, because he can’t do fighting and talking at the same time. He doesn’t have all the million dollar enhancements Natasha has. Hawkeye warns his troops to watch the computers and commands not to destroy them, since there might be some useful information on their hard drives.

One of the troops asks Hawkeye to hold up for a second. He has noticed that one of the creatures they are fighting has got something weird in its hand. Hawkeye asks what it is. The trooper isn’t sure, but it looks like a… right, a time bomb!

And it goes off! The explosion can be seen by everyone walking outside on the streets.

The Black Widow hears the explosion and panics and asks Hawkeye if he’s all right. The office building collapses. The ground control reports to Hawkeye and asks if he reads him.

Hawkeye is all right. He luckily also managed to get Agent McQuillan out of time, but the rest of the six-hundred troops didn’t make it. Air-cover reports to Hawkeye that he and his agent aren’t the only one who survived the blast. Some of the sleeper-agent creatures are heading towards them right now!

The agents in the helicopters can’t take them down because the creatures are too well shielded and can’t get a clear shot from the sky. Hawkeye asks the Black Widow for help. Natasha hears the call and asks Clint what floor he’s on. He says the thirty-ninth. That floor collapses, and Clint says he’s on the thirty-eight!

Natasha asks air cover what kind of altitude they are doing. They read a hundred and twenty-eight feet. Natasha runs as fast as she can and reports that she is out of ammunition so, on her mark, the pilots must take the rifle of their sniper was using and throw it out of the helicopter. The pilot calls her insane. Natasha, while shooting some remaining creatures, commands the pilot to do as she says.

The creatures prepare to kill Hawkeye. The Black Widow jumps out of the office, and the pilot throws the rifle out. Natasha grabs it, and spectacularly jumps to Hawkeye’s office across the street and lands safely! She even manages to kill the creatures as well! Ground control is stunned.

Hawkeye can’t see what’s happening and worried asks Natasha if she’s all right. Natasha, standing in triumph, tells her comrade not to worry. The mission is over, and they are as cool as cucumber!

(Later, at the Triskelion, the headquarters of the Ultimates…)

Nick Fury has gathered the Ultimates for a meeting, and presents them the leading lights of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s black ops division: Clint Barton and Natasha Romanova. Tony Stark and Thor are present. Fury informs them that Clint and Natasha are going to be upgraded to public status once they have finished falsifying their backgrounds. Fury also introduces the group to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, who are standing at the back of the room. They are staying in the Shadow Team for obvious reasons.

Thor doesn’t know what surprises him more: The Brotherhood of Mutants working for S.H.I.E.L.D. or the fact that Fury is employing Magneto’s children. Fury informs Thor that it wouldn’t be the first time that the security service has done deals with terrorists. Likewise, he continues, the Brotherhood might be full of big talk on TV, but they aren’t above shaking hands with Homo sapiens when the price is right.

Wanda corrects Fury and says that what the general is trying to say is that she and her brother will take part in appropriate S.H.I.E.L.D. missions in exchange for the release of political prisoners.

Natasha doesn’t believe that and asks Wanda what happened to her and her brother this afternoon then. As far as Natasha recalls, Wanda and Pietro were just sitting in a coffee house and giggling away like schoolgirls together. Pietro corrects Natasha and tells her that, if she slows down the building’s security tapes, he thinks that she will find that he and his sister have saved Natasha and Clint’s lives on three separate occasions.

Natasha doesn’t believe it. Pietro tells her to check the tapes. Hawkeye stops the talking and wants to know what the story with Captain America is. Clint doesn’t want to offend any one there, but was kind of led to believe that they would be getting backup from someone with experience fighting their upcoming foes. Fury confirms, but doesn’t know where Cap is either. But he informs that they’ve got a trace on Cap the same way they’ve got on Hank Pym, but the satellite system hasn’t turned up squat so far.

Tony tells Fury to cut to the chase, because his company, Stark International, is losing a million dollars for every ten minutes he is sitting there. He wants to get the briefing started.

That’s fine by Fury, but he warns anyone who has just been promoted to Above Top Secret should probably take a seat because he is about to tell contradicts everything they ever drip-fed the common man through the media. Fury opens a video screen on which he will show his agents to clarify what he means. Fury begins.

He says that, basically, the Earth is currently home of eleven alien species at the moment, and that those just the ones S.H.I.E.L.D.’s clean-up crews are aware of. Fury explains that one of these species, the Chitauri, arrived on Earth in 1777 and has been responsible for several acts of genocide, the most notable of which being World War II.

Fury explains that the Chitauri are eight feet tall and reptilian in appearance and have the ability to assume human form, a power which they utilized to infiltrate the German political scene of the 1920’s and precipitate both the rise of National Socialism and one Adolf Hitler.

Fury says the Chitauri did that because the Nazis were closest they ever came to global domination, but by 1945 they had been driven out of Europe and the entire African continent, with Nagasaki and Hiroshima taking care of their little Japanese training camps.

Post-war, S.H.I.E.L.D. thought that the Chitauri had been completely annihilated. Until two years ago. S.H.I.E.L.D. troops found a fresh Chitauri corpse in a river near Calcutta. And last year, they had four sightings in Eastern Europe and another three in Singapore, but this New York find was S.H.I.E.L.D.’s biggest upset in decades.

Fury reveals that five hundred and twenty-eight Chitauri sleeper-agents are organizing everything from mind-control drugs in the water supply to infiltration of the national media. But even this just looks like the tip of the iceberg. From what Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to glean, these things are plotting something on a planetary scale.

Thor asks what that is. Fury says that’s what they are trying to ascertain right now. He concludes that whatever is missing from the Chitauri’s hard drives, S.H.I.E.L.D. is hoping that their Psi-Division can pick up from the Chitauri’s brain tissue.

Tony can’t believe the story and the fact that no one but him is startled by it. Natasha welcomes Tony to the world between the cracks in the sidewalk. Fury takes his troops to the Psi-Division. Along the way, Tony asks Natasha if she has ever seen one of the Chitauri creatures in the flesh. Natasha hasn’t, but she has heard that Captain America killed some in Poland during the war. And back when Natasha was KGB, they said that they had three of the Chitauri pickled in their Black Museum.

They enter the Division and Fury asks the scientists if they can have a look at the creature they are operating on. They are allowed to, but the scientists say that the Chitauri lose control of their Chameleonic hold after ninety-eight minutes, so they better be prepared for a not so beautiful sight.

Fury and the rest take a closer look, and find a Chitauri out of control. Fury walks away and wonders how Captain America is going to take it when he finds out that the case that almost finished him has just reopened itself.

S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Satellite Division reports to Fury that they’ve traced Captain America. Cap is currently heading to downtown Chicago and he claims to be acting under his jurisdiction. Fury says that’s not true. The director of the division tells Fury that Cap told the troops he took that Fury authorized him to supervise Hank Pym’s arrest on the spousal abuse charges against the Wasp.

Meanwhile, Cap jumps out of a helicopter without a parachute, and lands safely in Chicago outside of the Red Lion bar.

Fury orders his Squadron Leader to tell Captain America that he is not to injure Pym under any circumstances. He informs the agents that they are on the brink of a massive extra-terrestrial assault and all post-human personnel is required!

Giant-Man sits in bar and asks for another drink.

The pilot of Cap’s helicopter apologizes to Fury and reports that they airdropped Cap four minutes ago.

Captain America walks into the bar and walks over to a drinking Hank Pym. Cap touches his shoulder, and asks Pym for a word in his ear.

Characters Involved: 

Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor (all The Ultimates)

Giant-Man/Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym

General Nick Fury

Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Shadow Team & Brotherhood leaders)

McQuillan and various other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

Chitauri creature in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

First full appearance of ultimate Hawkeye, as he was only briefly seen in the background of Ultimates (1st series) #7. The Black Widow earlier appeared in a story with Spider-Man in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #14.

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch took over leadership of the Brotherhood after their father, Magneto, “died,” as revealed in Ultimate X-Men #15. This issue marks their first appearance after said issue in the Ultimates team. They only have one other brief appearance in the series, and that’s in issue #13.

Hank Pym fought and badly injured his wife the Wasp after he thought she was having an affair with Captain America, as seen in the Ultimates (1st series) #6. Janet is currently recovering from her wounds in a hospital.

After an interview with writer Mark Millar, he informed the fans that the Chitauri are called the Skrulls in the real Marvel Universe. This gets later on also briefly mentioned throughout the story itself.

Issue Information: 
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