Uncanny Avengers Annual (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
June 2014
Story Title: 

Rick Remender (writer), Paul Renaud (artist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Steve McNiven & Dave McArthur Adams (cover artist), Paul Reynaud (variant cover artist), Tom Brevoort & Daniel Ketchum (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

On Mojoworld, the executives of Mojoverse Inc meet with Mojo to discuss ideas for new television shows to keep the denizens of Mojoworld captivated. They talk about all the different sorts of trends and fads within current television, before Mojo proposes his newest idea - Avengers of the Supernatural. And so, the story begins, with the Avengers Unity Squad having a pool party. The Wasp and Rogue gossip, while Thor and Wolverine get drunk. There is a rumbling, and they are attacked by Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance. The Avengers of the Supernatural - Dr Strange, Satana, Blade, Man-Thing and Manphibian appear, and a battle ensues. But, the Avengers of the Supernatural manage to capture the Avengers Unity Squad, and place devices on their heads which make them submit. The heroes find themselves students at a high school, playing clichéd characters with the usual teen angst and drama, while Mojo oversees production of the show. Thor, Captain America, the Wasp and the Scarlet Witch are the popular kids, while Wolverine, Sunfire, Havok and Rogue are the outcasts. Wonder Man has a scriptwriter role and remains with Mojo. The Scarlet Witch goes to visit Dr Strange and his companions who are even more outcasts than the mutants. There, she reveals that loves Johnny Blaze. Dr Strange urgers the Scarlet Witch to stay away from Blaze, but the Scarlet Witch meets up with him and informs him that she is pregnant. This causes the Spirit of Vengeance to be released, announcing that he will risk no offspring, least of all with the Scarlet Witch. The Avengers - Unity and Supernatural - are broken free from Mojo’s hold, and find themselves in the studio. They attack Mojo, before going out into Mojoworld after the Spirit of Vengeance, not wanting the citizens of Mojoworld to suffer for Mojo’s ignorance. The Spirit of Vengeance starts to release his wrath on the citizens of Mojoworld, before the two teams of Avengers confront him. They battle for some time, until eventually, Rogue touches Ghost Rider, absorbing the Spirit of Vengeance into her. Johnny Blaze is reluctant to take it back now that he is free of it, but realizes that the curse is his, so he takes the Spirit back from Rogue. The Mojoverse Inc executives talk to Mojo about the programme, unsure of whether it was any good, the suggest they leave that interpretation to the critics, while the heroes are all returned to Earth.

Full Summary: 

Mojoworld, where the citizens of the bizarre dimension go about their entertainment-obsessed lives. In one of the top floors of a very tall, brightly lit building, a meeting is taking place. ‘First off, Mojo, we love you here. We’re all of us huge fans. Really. Heck, it was my idea to bring you back to work for us here at Mojoverse Inc. I campaigned for you - I’m your friend. I believe in you, believe you can rekindle that old Mojo magic. We want to be in the Mojo business…’ a man who appears to be one of the Spineless Ones remarks as he and four others sit at one end of a meeting room table. A woman stands nearby with some refreshments, and at the other end of the table is the grotesque Mojo, his aide next to him. ‘But…’ Mojo remarks. ‘But your latest show… you’re not putting up the numbers we were hoping for’ the Spineless One, dressed in a suit, points out.

Mojo replies that “Devil Dinosaur’s Power Pack Force Antique Roadshow” was not exactly what he originally pitched. ‘That Frankenstein was created in this room based on your team’s notes’ he adds. The official tells him not to blame them, and assures him that they are here to help him.

He continues, telling Mojo that if he wants to make art, then he should take a watercolor class, as this is a business maximizing brand loyalty. ‘A task you are currently failing at’ he points out. A skinny man clears his throat and smiles at Mojo, assuring him that they hear his concerns, and respect him, but that marketing research shows that right now, arty and indecipherable is a good way to go. A woman holds up a holographic chart and reports that it seems structured character arcs, foundation and stories with “something to say” are endeavors that take longer and cost more. She adds that marketing numbers clearly show the easiest way to gain a loyal viewership is to confound the masses, spinning an endless web of strange mysteries that keep their feeble-minded viewers lost and guessing. A third man reveals that reviewers won’t want to admit to not understanding it, even when there is nothing to understand. ‘The glowing first reviews will ensure the majority of brain-deads follow suit. And as the choir of support rises, more and more will join in -’

The first man, the humanoid Spineless One, interrupts and declares that marketing research shows that dumb people only love what they think is ridicule safe, that they follow “heat” because they secretly long for acceptance above all else.

Mojo’s hands are pressed together and he frowns: ‘You say you want Mojo, but when I pitch you Mojo, you change it and then blame Mojo. Your notes removed anything that came from my vision. It had no Mojo zest left in it -’. ‘ZEST?’ the first man shouts, knocking his cut of coffee off the table. ‘When I want zest, I have six stunning women in a gold-plated rumpus dungeon. Are you six, attractive young ladies, Mr Mojo? Is this my rumpus dungeon?’ he asks, annoyed. He informs Mojo that the good news is they have decided to give him one last chance at keeping his job. ‘So let’s hear your new pitch. You came with a pitch, yes?’

Mojo boasts that he has the pitch to end all pitches, ‘Avengers of the Supernatural!’ he shouts, as holograms appear behind him of these Avengers of the Supernatural - Dr Strange! Manphibian! Ghost Rider! Man-Thing! Blade! Satana! Mojo explains that it is time for monsters to hit a revival cycle, as they are cool, deadly, gritty, and one of them has a flaming skull-head. ‘Instant hit!’ he declares. ‘A team of slavers, the best of my crew, have already acquired and begun augmenting them in my Body Shoppe’.

The Mojoverse Inc officials seem intrigued. ‘Can you get Wolverine in there?’ one of them enquires. ‘Can you work in some actual Avengers? They’re trending very popular’ another remarks. ‘Maybe add zombies?’ someone suggests, while another asks as to whether they are relatable - ‘Maybe high school kids? Jocks, geeks and rockers…’ and another asks if Mojo can aim for a sci-fi, horror, super hero mash-up, as that is all very hot now. ‘Of course he can’ the senior member at the table declares. ‘Mojo understands that if he fails us again… I’ll release the critics on him’, adding that there are Chinese hells more pleasant.

‘Fine, okay. So taking your “notes” into account, here is how I see it…’ Mojo begins. ‘Open on the exterior of Avengers Mansion, backyard, a perfect sunny day. Rogue and Wasp are sunbathing, sharing gossip, and catching viewers up on back-story. An afternoon of bonding, endearing them to the viewers while eliciting a warm feeling from the capering…’

‘So Wanda went camping with Simon! I think she’s leading him on!’ Janet Van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp remarks. ‘Well, that’s what Wanda does, isn’t it? She loves to play with her prey before she devours it’ Rogue replies, before asking if Simon is still in pursuit. ‘It’s definitely not platonic because of him. He is smitten. Poor boy -’ Janet begins, when suddenly Alex “Havok” Summers exclaims, ‘Death to gossips!’ as he dive-bombs into the swimming pool. A splash of water rises into the air. ‘Alex!’ Jan complains, putting her hands up to avoid any water that splashes towards her. Alex starts to climb out of the pool and tells the ladies that it seemed like they could use the bath after digging in that dirt. ‘Like men don’t gossip? How’s the temperature up there on your high horse?’ Jan asks. Smirking, she tells Alex that perhaps he is worried she will dish on his love life. As Alex reaches for his towel, Jan pushes him back in the pool. ‘You hear about him and Lorna?’ Jan asks Rogue. ‘You been holding out on me?’ Rogue replies. ‘It’ll turn the rest of your hair white, sister’ Jan smiles.

‘Cut to interior of Scarlet Witch’s sanctum. Wanda is deep in a trance, practicing her spells, chanting a complex incantation…’ Mojo continues.

Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch hovers in a trance. Energies swirl around her as she speaks in a language unknown. Candles light the room, when suddenly, a shirtless Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man enters, ‘Everyone’s having a nice soiree thing and -’ he begins. Wanda picks up a candle and turns to her dear friend. ‘Ah… sorry, did I interrupt?’ Simon asks. ‘Seven hours of casting’ Wanda replies. Simon apologizes, and adds that he figured if Wanda was doing anything important she would have locked the door. ‘I didn’t know I had to, Simon’ Wanda points out. ‘Listen to us. We argue like an old married couple. Makes you rethink us not being together, right?’ Simon asks. ‘Another reason for us not to be together’ Wanda suggests. ‘Wow… joking. Just a joke’ Simon remarks. He turns from Wanda and add that it sounded better in his head.

Mojo points out that everyone knows that the Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man should be together - Simon is the prototype of Wanda’s ex-husband, the Vision. ‘But we keep the viewer hoping. Waiting. Very “Sam and Diane”’ he adds, before stating that they cut to the interior mansion poolroom, where a sober and irritated Steve Rogers prepares to make a shot, while a very inebriated Thor and Wolverine continue a daylong drinking competition.

‘Drinking during the day now?’ Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America asks his teammates. Thor is sprawled out over the sofa, while Wolverine a.k.a. Logan stands behind him. Empty beer bottles are scattered about them. Shiro “Sunfire” Yoshida is readying to take his shot at the pool table and remarks that he said the same thing, but that Logan just murmured something about pool parties having different societal regulations. ‘I don’t make the rules, Shiro’ Logan slurs. ‘And I am merely attempting to acclimate to you mortals’ mores’ Thor claims.

Steve prepares to take his shot and remarks that he doesn’t know when binge drinking became publicly acceptable - even at a party - as in his day, it was frowned upon. ‘Explains prohibition’ Logan points out. ‘We knew how to restrain ourselves’ Steve replies. ‘In my day, we called that being a buzz kill’ Wolverine jokes, as he nudges Steve, causing him to miss the shot, and the pool cue rips up the table.

‘You dare sully the dignity of Captain America, troll!’ Thor booms as he strides towards Wolverine. ‘Please, hold this, young lady’ he asks Sunfire as he shoves his large glass of beer towards him. ‘Excuse me?’ Shiro replies, taking the drink. As Thor grabs Wolverine by his shirt, he asks the God of Thunder if they have to tussle every time he gets loaded. ‘Aye!’ Thor exclaims as he shoves Wolverine’s head through the ceiling above them.

Thor turns to Sunfire: ‘Thank you, bar wench, for holding my mead whilst I trounced your hirsute companion’. ‘My pleasure…’ Shiro mutters as he hands the drink back to Thor, adding that he thinks it might have gotten warm. Indeed, Shiro used his power to heat up the drink, and Thor immediately spits it out after taking a large gulp. ‘Yearch - c’mon!’ Cap exclaims as some of the drink splashes against him.

Suddenly, there is a loud rumbling. ‘What was that?’ Cap asks. ‘That smell… doth remind me of Hela’s pit’ Thor announces. ‘Brimstone’ Wolverine declares as he falls from the ceiling above.

Mojo declares that here is where it gets good: ‘Smash cut to… classic Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze! Enraged and in pursuit of souls to punish!’

‘Your inequity draws forth vengeance, Avengers!’ Ghost Rider exclaims as he roars into the room on his flaming motorcycle. ‘Self-appointed guardians of man - suffer for your hubris!’ Ghost Rider calls out as he starts to swing his chain, wrapping it around Wolverine’s neck. Wolverine struggles to pull it free, as Thor struggles to move forward: ‘The mead must deceive my eyes…’ he begins, before Ghost Rider speeds towards him, shoving him out of the room on the wheel of the motorcycle, dragging Wolverine behind him. ‘Holy!’ Rogue gasps as she looks up. ‘Your eyes see true, false god!’ Ghost Rider tells Thor, while the Wasp mutters that just once she would like to have a party that doesn’t end in disaster. ‘Your punishment beckons’ Ghost Rider tells Thor, as he touches his forehead, the Thunder God then vanishes.

Mojo remarks that the unexpected intruder begins his work, first applying a slaver strip to Thor who vanishes in a heartbeat. ‘I’m already tired of this “vengeance” spiel, Mojo’ the official declares. ‘Yeah, we’ll fix it in post’ Mojo replies.

‘Not even a god can escape my retribution!’ Ghost Rider boasts as he swings around, ready to attack the other Avengers, while Wolverine flails about, the chain still around his neck, he cannot pull it off him. ‘Your souls will crumple under the weight of your sins! Ghost Rider exclaims.

‘Okay, um - Avengers Assemble!’ the shirtless Havok calls out as he releases a wave of plasma energy. ‘We’re sort of already assembled, Alex. Maybe you should be focused on the human missile about to -’ the Wasp begins, as Wolverine slams into Alex and Rogue, knocking them aside, as the Wasp shrinks down and flies away. ‘Well, I tried’ she mutters. ‘Fortunately we are not inebriated and can deal with this attacker!’ Sunfire declares. Cap tells him that there is no time for self-congratulations, as Ghost-Rider is an a-level threat. He starts to tell Shiro to grab Ghost Rider and get him out of the city, when suddenly a voice calls out ‘Sweeping us away - the typical mortal solution to the supernatural -’ a voice calls out.

A portal opens in the sky above, and from it Dr Strange emerges along with Man-Thing, Blade, Satana and Manphibian. ‘The Avengers of the Supernatural will be hidden no more!’ Dr Strange calls out. The Avengers of the Supernatural drop to the ground, ‘You have bitten off more than you can chew, monster!’ Sunfire tells Satana who leaps towards him and explains that she is a succubus, so she doesn’t bite - she takes. ‘Stealing your soul one piece at a time!’ she declares, while Sunfire cries out in pain as she touches him and his soul is torn from his body. ‘I’m the one who bites!’ Blade exclaims, revealing his vampiric teeth as he drops down beside Captain America, who slams his shield into Blade: ‘Bite this!’ Cap exclaims, before tossing his shield skyward and asking ‘What the hell is this, Strange?’ while his shield slams into the Manphibian, Dr Strange replies that they have suffered in the darkness long enough. ‘You devote yourselves to the salvation of men while innocent monsters are hunted and slaughtered!’ Strange casts a spell, as Cap finds himself floating, surrounded by a strange cloud. ‘Welcome to the realm of mortal’s insanity! It is your own mind you battle here, Captain. The weight of your own convictions!’ Dr Strange explains, adding that he will find punching does little against nightmares. ‘Mother…it’s cold, mother’ Cap utters.

‘You’ve fought Ghost Rider in the past - how did you stop him?’ the Wasp asks Wolverine as she flies over to him. Now free from the chain, Wolverine’s claws are popped and he lashes out at his foe. ‘Didn’t’ Wolverine tells the Wasp.

‘Orders, boss?’ Rogue asks Alex as she helps him up. ‘Don’t let Ghost Rider hit you with Wolverine’ Alex replies. ‘Sure, sound advice a minute ago - any ideas moving forward?’ Rogue remarks, her bare skin touching Alex’s, so that when Blade rushes up behind them, Rogue spins around, ‘How about we cosmic blast the half-vampire, beau?’ Rogue declares as she unleashes the power she absorbed from Alex, although Blade turns into a bat, ‘Only if you can hit him’ he calls back as he dodges the energy.

Mojo reports that one by one the monsters promptly take down the unprepared heroes, all the while making broad proclamations of melodramatic recrimination and monster rage. He adds that they will sell that these supernatural misunderstood have a cause - they fight for something bigger than themselves.

‘NO!’ Rogue shouts as she and Havok are both touched by Blade in his bat form, and they vanish. ‘Falling apart fast, Wasp! Go - gather up reinforcements before -’ Wolverine begins as he strikes Ghost Rider once more - but before the Wasp can fly away, Man-Thing grabs her with some tentacles. He does the same to Wolverine, placing slaver strips on both of their foreheads, they vanish. Stuck in a pool of mystic bonds, Captain America tells Strange that he has always helped anyone in need. ‘You know that, Strange’ Cap calls out. ‘When have you ever stood for those born from darkness? The gravity if your misdeeds crushing in on you! Magic does not lie, Captain’ Dr Strange declares. ‘But it does cloud the mind - which it has clearly done to you’ the Scarlet Witch calls out as she and Wonder Man arrive on scene.

Wanda wraps Strange in mystical bonds and tells him that hi speech is stilted and unnatural, as if poorly scripted by some unseen force. ‘I am - I am here to defend the honor of the monsters, the outcasts - to help them find their place -’ Strange begins as he struggles to free himself from Wanda’s energies. ‘How does attacking us earn you that?’ Wanda enquires. Suddenly - ‘Wha -?’ Wonder Man utters as Satana appears over him and places a slaver band on his head. ‘Careful, Witch - if you pull too hard - the plot threads unravel’ Satana declares as she places a slaver band on Wanda, who the vanishes.

The Avengers of the Supernatural all gather around Captain America, ‘Easy with the pretty one. Boss wants him pristine for the premiere’ Satana announces. ‘This will leave no mark’ Strange reports as he casts a spell, creating a slaver band around Cap’s head. ‘Welcome to the show, Steve Rogers’ someone remarks, as the living legend then vanishes.

Mojo declares that the inciting incident ends with the heroes rounded up by the monsters - and now the show really starts. ‘Fade to black, opening credits start to roll!’

Mojo / Plan M Productions presents: Martian Transylvania Super Hero Mutant Monster Hunter High School! Starring: Captain America, Dr Strange, Rogue, Havok, Sunfire, Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, Manphibian, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Blade, Wolverine, Wasp, Thor and featuring Satana as “The Succubus”. There is canned applause, and then, a gothic / futuristic hybrid facility  is seen, under the glow of two moons in the sky above.

‘So, c’mon, Janet. What’s up with you? You’re being totally lame’ Thor remarks as he, Steve, Janet and Wanda walk across the campus. Janet and Wanda are wearing cheerleader outfits with large a large “A” on them, and Steve and Thor wear football jerseys. ‘Ugh. Everything is, like, fine, Thor’ Janet replies. ‘Whatever’ Thor remarks, explaining that after Wanda broke up with Steve, he guesses he is a little punchy. ‘That was, like, totally mutual, Thor’ Wanda declares. Steve tells everybody that is not how he remembers it, adding that he got the impression Wanda was, like, seeing someone else, right around the time they hazed those monster nerds.

Someone approaches Janet with a bunch of roses, but she puts her hand up, declining them, while Thor tells Janet that something is up, as he totally noticed she is not looking at him on the field anymore. ‘And you’re literally the only girl not looking’ he adds.

‘Are you, like, not into me anymore or - hey! Are you looking at that turd-freak, Summers? Is that it?’ Thor snaps at Janet, who is looking over to where leather-clad Alex, Rogue, Logan and Shiro are leaning against a wall. ‘The hell, bro? The hell are you looking at my girl for?’ Thor asks Alex. ‘She’s pretty. Caught my eye’ Alex replies calmly. Thor warns Alex to stay away from her if he knows what is good for him. ‘Or what? Can’t punch away that the girl’s attracted to me’ Alex remarks. ’No, Thor’s the type who tries to impress the ladies with how indie he is’ Shiro points out. ‘Plays against type’ Logan remarks. ‘Yeah, I see it. Okay, let me guess, you showed her how thoughtful you were by making out to a Decemberists album? Grizzly Bear? Iron and Wine?’ Alex suggests, before asking if he is getting close. ‘The Decemberists’ Janet confirms. Thor is annoyed with her, before he turns to Alex and asks him what he knows: ‘You’re wearing a tank top’ he points out. ‘So desperate to stand out from the crowd you bought a tank top!’

Cut to Mojoworld, where Mojo stands with the enslaved Wonder Man. ‘Audience identification is high. Your scripts are a hit, Simon’ Mojo tells him. Holding the scripts, Wonder Man points out that most people have encountered a rude alpha male sports player or an elitist outsider type - low hanging fruit. ‘We might just pull this potluck off!’ Mojo declares. The slaver band around his forehead glows, as Wonder Man explains ‘It’s all about the relationships and heart. Most writers overlook that so often -’ but Mojo interrupts, telling him not to go overboard. ‘You wrote a love triangle, not exactly -’ he begins, before a voice calls out ‘Mojo?’ and the grotesque creature turns to a floating monitor bubble, which has the image of the senior executive ‘How happy are you right now? Happy, right?’ Mojo asks ‘We need to be 24% happier. The room wants Ghost Rider turned evil’ the official announces, adding that they want to have Wanda forced to kill him, the man she loves. Mojo points out that they haven’t even established they are an item yet. ‘Lot of young directors down here who would be happy to take your job if -’ the official begins. ‘Fine, fine… I’ll make it work’. Mojo mutters, asking the official to bear with him, as the third ac is a bit tricky.

The exterior is the Sanctum Sanctorum on a rainy night, where a troubled Wanda seeks advice about her freaky new love interest…from the antiquated stereotype geek brigade. Wanda strides into a library, where Dr Strange, Manphibian, Blade and Satana are seated. Man-Thing is slumped over in a corner. ‘Hey! Look who’s graced our sanatorium with a visit!’ Dr Strange jokes. ‘Please don’t call the library that, Stephen’ Manphibian asks. ‘C’mon, Glavin this is an open game’ Blade declares. Telling Wanda that they are not exclusionary, he suggests they roll her up a character. ‘I’d recommend someone with super-confusing powers and motivations’ Satana calls out. ’Roll the twenty-sided die for your dexterity!’ Blade tells Wanda, offering her the die. ‘How many do I roll to get a social life?’ Wanda asks. ‘Uncool, Wanda. And a bit dated. Geek is chic’ Blade remarks. Wanda tells Blade that she is sorry, and announces that she is not here to play, but she has to ask Stephen a question: ‘The biker, Johnny Blaze… do you know anything about him?’ she enquires.

‘Blaze? My heavens, Wanda! He’s possessed by a demon!’ Stephen declares. ‘Holy Glavin! Stay clear of that one, Red’ Blade remarks, while Manphibian announces that he is a bad stock tattoo come to life. Stephen warns Wanda not to fall in love with Blaze, as he is a living curse. ‘His story is already written. Do not be its victim’ he urges her. ‘But…I…I love him’ Wanda reveals, hanging her head. Despondent and confused, the young woman in love flees into the rain-soaked night, her heart breaking in her chest. But as she continues on into the night, Johnny Blaze appears before her on his motorcycle. ‘They tell you the truth about me, babe?’ he asks her. ‘It’s true, you know. We come from two different worlds. I’m a loner, Wanda. A rebel with a demon in his soul’ Johnny tells her, admitting that not even a demon can hide the feelings he has for her.

Johnny smiles as Wanda throws her arms around him, ‘Oh, Johnny! It’s been so hard! The pretending. The hiding! But… it’s more than all that. I’m… I’m pregnant!’ Wanda reveals. Johnny looks surprised: ‘No - it’s not possible. Do you have any idea what this means? What will happen?’ he asks her.

Mojo frowns, and realizes that Blaze is going off script. ‘Why’s this moron going off script?’ he calls out. Wonder Man replies that he has no idea, but that if it is an improvisation, it is an amazing performance. ‘No, something else is happening… he’s actually upset’ Mojo realizes.

Johnny gets off his motorcycle and energy starts to flow around him. ‘You don’t get it - if I got you pregnant - you of all people - the demon - the demon we would create - I will risk no offspring!’ he announces as he transforms into the flaming-skulled Ghost Rider. ‘Least of all with you, Witch!’ Ghost Rider declares. ‘He’s broken out of the set!’ Wonder Man calls out as the set before he and Mojo collapses. ‘You cannot imprison vengeance!’ Ghost Rider roars on his motorcycle. ‘Gha - unexpected change of direction! We went too far out of character!’ The Avengers and the Supernatural Avengers appear back as their regular selves. ‘What is this place? How -’ Dr Strange begins. ‘Where…?’ Cap asks, examining his surroundings. ‘The stench of this place! I will deliver vengeance to this slovenly den!’ Ghost Rider boasts as he speeds round on his motorcycle.

‘Cut! Cut!’ Mojo calls out. ‘Wanda?’ Simon asks, pulling the slaver band off his head. ‘Mojo! You grotesque fool! Do you know what you’ve done?’ the Scarlet Witch asks as she approaches Mojo. ‘By tampering with his mind, you have shut down Johnny’s Blaze’s influence! You’ve made the Spirit of Vengeance think it created an offspring! Driven it mad and released it upon your world!’ Wanda explains, creating a spell she casts it towards Mojo, who remarks that reality television can still pull big ratings. Blade warns Mojo that he will have no reality left to film, for without a human conscience to temper and direct it, Ghost Rider will seek vengeance on all life. Satana explains that all life is a sin through the eyes of the Spirit of Vengeance, and the human host alone offers temperance. ‘Johnny Blaze’s influence is gone - Heaven help you all’ Manphibian declares.

Wolverine leans over Mojo and tells him that if he didn’t catch any of that, they are saying what he has done is real bad. ‘Oh, shut up. This is just the insurmountable wall we needed at the end of the second act!’ Mojo declares. Dr Strange informs Mojo that he can deal with act three on his own, as they are leaving - this is no concern of theirs. He opens a portal and everyone moves towards it, ‘No-no-no. You’re the heroes! You have to help!’ Mojo calls out. ‘Buncha spineless squibs. No big loss by my estimation’ Wolverine remarks, and the Wasp agrees. ‘Tourists! Mojowold is the number one vacation destination in the universe! Then there are the slaves…so many innocent slaves. You won’t leave innocents to suffer for my sins, will you?’ Mojo calls out, appealing to Captain America and Havok who look down at him.

At that moment, Ghost Rider bursts out of the side of the Mojo Film Studios building, and roars off into Mojoworld proper. ‘Centuries of gluttony saturate the air’ he thinks to himself. Mojo narrates that, unleashed and unchained, the Ghost Rider is free to wreak havoc on this world governed by convenience and indulgence. Without the heroes’ selfless aid, an entire world will pay for the evil director’s desperate bid for ratings and external validation. Focused solely on vengeance, the demon rides up, up to the artificial moon over the world of fat entertainment addicts. His powers of indignation building inside him. ‘This city - a monument to their greed’ Ghost Rider tells himself, deciding that these creatures born of sloth and pride and lust - the world is a temple built to their sin. ‘There will be vengeance’ he declares as he looks down over Mojoworld. ‘It is time the worshippers of self paid! This fetid pit will feel the stare of penance!’ he exclaims.

Cut to an advert for Lowrider magazine, a special collectors issue featuring the All New Ghost Rider, on sale at newsstands everywhere, or, to purchase a copy of this collectors issue go to marvel.lowridermagonline.com.

Countless souls are bent backwards, a parade of consumers reliving their every misdeed - their every evil thought - all at once. ‘Oh, God, the pool boy…forgive me!’ one citizen of Mojoworld calls out. ‘Ate my depression away -’ another admits, while a third exclaims ‘-cheated on her with her sister!’ and another reveals to lying to them and manipulating them. ‘Had someone else raise my kids while I was self-obsessed’ another remarks. ‘Killed Mom3 for the inheritance -’ someone states. ’Suffer for your sins!’ Ghost Rider bellows, releasing his energy. 

Suddenly: ‘What do we do?’ Captain America asks as he, the Avengers Unity Squad and the supernatural beings return. ‘Supernatural problems require supernatural solutions, Captain’ Dr Strange explains, revealing that he can protect them from Ghost Rider’s penance stare, but not for long. Suddenly, the Scarlet Witch alerts Strange to the fact that Man-Thing is now ablaze. Strange explains that the Man-Thing is an empath and he absorbs fear into himself. ‘Even I cannot protect him from this tsunami of agony!’ Strange admits, before turning to Satana and tells her that she is their only hope, that they must separate the Spirit of Vengeance from Johnny Blaze, resetting the curse. Strange points out that Satana is a succubus of the pit, so she can pry on the Spirit of Vengeance from its host and temper it. Satana asks Strange if he is sure Blaze will take the spirit back. ‘Because I’m fairly certain I don’t want to be the next Ghost Rider…’ Satana replies.

‘Let’s hope so’ Strange declares as he looks up and sees Ghost Rider speeding towards them. Mojo announces that they enter the spectacular climax, as the heroes have a plan, but, naturally, it must fail, only to be replaced by another at the last second. He states that here the unwitting heroes enable their listless and ham-fisted writers to sprinkle about bits of meta commentary on the entertainment industry, disguising this as something more than it is, while giving them the mindless battle they need to make a solid trailer. The heroes power up and leap towards Ghost Rider. ‘Heard you listing the deadliest sins, Rider. But you forgot one, a personal favorite of mine. Goes by the name of wrath’ Wolverine calls out. ‘Please do not encourage it to further ranting’ the Scarlet Witch remarks. ‘Right? Man, that spiel gets old fast’ the Wasp mutters.

The heroes move in for the attack, with Wolverine lashing out at Ghost Rider with his claws. Sunfire blasts him with flame, while the Wasp uses his wasp’s sting, and Havok releases his energy blast Thor’s hammer is thrown towards the Ghost Rider, who declares ‘your bravado does not hide your fear, little heroes!’

One of the executives tells the chief executive that if Mojoworld is actually destroyed, they will lose their entire demographic. ‘These insects were never our target audience. We are syndicated across the entire Multiverse!’ the chief executive responds. He adds that, as far as the damage goes, they are well-insured, as the contract itself was drafted by an endless legion of lawyers. ‘And luckily…it pays out triple on literal acts of gods’.

Thor grabs his hammer and flies towards Ghost Rider, ‘You will be stopped from this wanton destruction, vile evil!’ he booms. ‘A quiver of uncertainty in the Thunder God’s voice?’ Ghost Rider asks. ‘Nay, merely still drunk from breakfast’ Thor replies as he collides with Ghost Rider, resulting in an explosion. Thor starts to emerge from the flames and smoke. ‘I do not hear the chattering of your skull any longer, Spirit of Vengeance! Humbled at the power of a true god of -’ Thor begins, when suddenly, Thor sees that Ghost Rider has tripled in size, and looms over him. ’By Odin’s blood!’ Thor gasps. ‘It is your blood I desire, godling. The might of a god pales before the truth strength of the demon…’ Ghost Rider declares.

Thor doesn’t hesitate - he springs forward and strikes Ghost Rider’s skull with his hammer, telling him that his increased size does not give him an edge. ‘I have destroyed giants far mightier than you while twice as inebriated!’ Thor boasts. ‘You brag of the monsters you have killed. Pride in the blood on your hands!’ He then breathes fire over Thor, knocking the Asgardian backwards. ‘Such hubris only serves to fuel the flames of retribution!’ Ghost Rider exclaims, while Strange hovers over him, he calls out to Satana: ‘Now, Satana! While Thor has him distracted!’ Sunfire drops Satana down towards their foe, ‘I hope you’re right, Doc’ Satana mutters, before uttering ‘Father, give me strength’.

But, as Satana makes contact with Ghost Rider, she screams, and Ghost Rider declares ‘Blood of devils burns brightest. For it holds all the sins of mankind, succubus!’ Dr Strange, Rogue and the Scarlet Witch go wide-eyed, ‘No…’ Strange utters, while Wanda points out that Satana is not moving. Ghost Rider looms over Satana and Thor who lie before him, ‘You are the least guilty on this world - I will not have my time wasted. I will burn this putrid abyss down to Hell!’ Ghost Rider exclaims. Sunfire flies overhead, and as large vines start to rise up and wrap around Ghost Rider, Sunfire asks him ‘Do you know fear? And if so - can you burn?’ Man-Thing has completely entangled himself around Ghost Rider now, and the Spirit of Vengeance screams. ‘Man-Thing is consuming the Rider. Looking for the source of its anguish!’ Dr Strange explains. ‘Can it actually do that?’ Sunfire enquires.

‘Not for long’ Strange announces, and, as if on cue, the Spirit of Vengeance tears through Man-Thing. He is back to his regular size, and turns his attention to the Scarlet Witch. ‘Direct your rage at me, demon! It was my lie that broke you free, that left Johnny Blaze shattered and lost within you thirst for vengeance’ she points out. ‘And you will, pay, witch!’ Ghost Rider declares as he leaps towards Wanda. ‘Not likely…your single-minded obsession is simple to exploit’ Wanda replies, before calling out to Rogue: ‘Now!’ she shouts. Rogue has removed one of her gloves, and reaches out to Ghost Rider, telling him that he will do better to quit spewing vengeful phrases and just pay back. As she puts her hands on his flaming skull, and he screams, while Rogue tells him to just let go. ‘Let go and…let me…take - VENGEANCE!’ Rogue roars as she absorbs the Spirit of Vengeance from Ghost Rider.

Rogue’s face has been replaced by the flaming skull, and Johnny Blaze, in his human form, stares up at her. ‘Take it back! Call it back to you - oh, God, I can’t - purge the corrupt - please take it-’ Rogue pleads as the Spirit of Vengeance tries to take control. ‘Or I could be free of this eternal sacrifice’ Johnny replies. Rogue tells him that it burns, and that it taking her, creeping into her mind. ‘Please!’ she exclaims. Johnny hangs his head, before admitting that the curse is his. He reaches out to Rogue and takes her hand, transferring the Spirit back into his body. ‘Thank you…’ Rogue utters as she kneels before him with the others gathered around.

‘Wait, so - is that it? Is it over?’ the executive asks, telling the chief executive that he doesn’t understand any of this. ‘A bunch of heroes fought each other, then teamed up to fight a greater threat, and then they defeated the threat and…it just ends?’ He points out that audiences want a story that has consequences - the old world changed in a new, exciting and lasting way. ‘This soul Mojo cooked up, it feels totally unimportant. Was there any point at all? Is it a story about how a committee can overly complicate things?’ the executive asks. The chief executive looks at the monitors and replies ‘No, it left that thread behind in the first act. It’s merely sloppy and derivative’. He adds that, in the end, what Mojo gave them is nothing more than a colourful distraction, and although that sounds like a classic excuse for directionless writing by a pious blowhard, it, conversely, follows a tight, structured foundation and can feel formulaic, so at least Mojo’s new sow doesn’t feel unoriginal, not on the surface, perhaps.

Thanks to a teleportation spell courtesy of Dr Strange, the Avengers Unity Squad and the supernatural heroes return to Avengers Mansion, by the pool. ‘Well, that was…something’ Havok remarks, while Johnny Blaze announces that the curse of the Rider weighs on him again - the dark road he must blaze is once again his alone to endure. ‘The sad nights of -’ he begins ,before the Wasp exclaims ‘Enough with the brooding, young mardy ass!’ and shoves him into the pool. The Avengers all look at each other, before they leap into the swimming pool after Blaze, who pulls himself up to the edge of the pool and rests his head in one of his hands.

The Mojocorp Inc official suggests that perhaps they shouldn’t look too closely, for good or bad, poignant or meandering, one way or another, it is done now, to which the executive replies: ‘Yes. Well, get on the horn and call in the critics…we’ll leave it to them to decipher’.

Characters Involved: 

Captain America, Havok, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Sunfire, Thor, Wasp, Wolverine, Wonder Man (all Uncanny Avengers)

Blade, Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, Manphibian, Satana (all Avengers of the Supernatural)

Mojoverse Inc officials
Citizens of Mojoworld

Story Notes: 

Mojo’s comment about Wanda and Simon being very “Sam and Diane” is a reference to the characters from the sitcom “Cheers”.

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