Vengeance #4

Issue Date: 
December 2011
Story Title: 
Drive All Night

Joe Casey (writer), Nick Dragott (artist), Brad Simpson (colorist), Rus Wooton (letterer), Gabriele Dell’Otto (cover), Rachel Pinnela Executioner warns him not to call the place a clubhouse again. Angelo asks who the others are. Egghead, Radioactive Kid, Black Knight and Mako (assistant editor), Tom Brennan (editor), Tom Brevoort (executive editor),Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

In the 1945, with the defeat of the Third Reich looming, the Red Skull prepares his secret camp for the future. In the present, after saving the Black Knight from Doctor Octopus’ goons, Ultimate Nullifier gets his ass kicked (and face burned) by the other Young Masters, until Miss America saves him. Later on, the Young Masters argue among themselves, with Black Knight having clearly become disenchanted with her teammates. The team receives intel from their mystery employer about a prospective new member and they all (sans Black Knight) go to look him up. Black Knight visits a club and hooks up with Ultimate Nullifier. The prospective new member the Young Masters are after is Kid Loki, who is currently visiting an exhibition in the Met. While amused, Loki isn’t really interested in joining them, though when Miss America intervenes he is not above banishing her to another dimension. Elsewhere, the young In-Betweener vanishes as well and Barnell and Angel wonder what to do. In a bar, Agent Truman tells Kyle Richmond and the new Nighthawk the complicated story how he ended up in the body of another former SHIELD agent and why he is brokering information to diverse groups.

Full Summary: 

New Jack City:
Radioactive Kid of the Young Masters has just burned parts of Ultimate Nullifier’s face with his touch and gloats he’s gonna remember him next time he looks into a mirror. His fellow Young Master Executioner warns him Ultimate Nullifier could still be dangerous.

This proves correct, as Nullifier fires one of his guns at Radioactive Kid, while Beak calls Ms. America for help. America arrives and flies down at Executioner a moment before he can shoot Ultimate Nullifier.

Executioner begins to realize these guys aren’t Doc Ock’s foot soldiers. Radioactive Kid in the meantime has become normal and powerless, thanks to Ultimate Nullifier’s gun.

A little later, the Young Masters gather in their headquarters and come to the conclusion that, without Mako, they might be lacking the muscle they need. Radioactive Kid is relieved that his depowering turns out to be only temporary.

When Black Knight arrives, the other two blame her for not being with them during the battle, while Egghead enjoys the bickering. Black Knight shoots back she doesn’t see Otto’s head hanging anywhere around here, so she guesses they totally botched their part of the mission. So what, he’s gonna try execute her, fearless leader? she mocks. Executioner bristles. Unimpressed, she tells him to back off and boasts about laying out the Rhino.

Executioner mocks her attempt to fight as cute. He never asked where she got her Ebony Blade. She’ll never tell, she retorts, as she sheathes her blade. She’s had enough fighting for one day. Who were the guys in Ock’s crew? Wild cards, Egghead mutters.

Black Knight hopes their failure isn’t going to be held against them. Executioner replies, apparently not. They just got an info dump that will push them to the next level. Big words, she points out. He remarks she will fall in line when Loki will be sitting at the table with them. Aiming kind of high, she muses. Executioner asks if she has seen Loki lately. He is just a kid. Wistfully, Radioactive Kid wishes he was still a chick. She was hot!

Executioner continues that their mysterious backer is still looking out for them. Aside from some boring historical intel he believes relates to their profession, he knows exactly where Loki’s gonna be and when. So maybe the kid will pick a side. Having a bonafide god on the roster wouldn’t suck.


The Red Skull looks over his private camp. He gets word that Hitler wants him back in Berlin. The Allies are closing in. Red Skull figures that includes Captain America and is intrigued. If Berlin falls, Operation Der Tag must be put into effect and only he can do that. Clearly, he is the future of the Third Reich, what he has done here proves that. But his work is done. The next war awaits.

Kyle Richmond, the new Nighthawk, and former agent Jack Truman (aka Larry) sit in a bar. The two Defenders want to know why Truman pilfered the black files from various SHIELD sources. He guesses he couldn’t just go quietly into that good night. Of course, he didn’t retire the normal way. Richmond agrees. He is the mind of one agent that exists in the body of another. How’s that work?

Long story, Truman replies evasively. Let’s just say he saved a few lives as the prime SHIELD Manhunter. Designated Agent 18. He was sexy as hell and no one could touch him. Until he was tapped to bring in the rogue mutant Cable, a telekinetic who gave as good as he got. Their encounter landed him half dead in the “extechop division,” where they transplanted what was left of him into a cybernetic death machine they thought they could control. Wasn’t the best fit for him, so he used an old Tibetan technique to switch places with good old Larry Young. Only problem with that body… It’s obvious. He refers to the fact is isn’t very young. Unfazed, Richmond muses he’s been through a brainswitch himself. It’s an occupational hazard, Truman agrees and Pennyworth wonders if this is something he has to look forward to. Kyle tells him not to worry. He provides medical, remember?

Still trying to get the whole story, he continues that the mind of the real agent Young is now in the cyborg’s body? Is that safe? Truman doesn‘t think there is much to worry about. Last he heard, he couldn’t keep his hands on the wheel. Apparently, state of the art cybernetics and Luxco’s finest don’t exactly mix. And without the Extechop boys around to provide proper maintenance, he won’t last long. He doubts Young is upright, much less a threat to anyone.

Pennyworth aggressively asks if reckless behavior is just in his nature. So he is providing intel to God knows who. He does what he can, Nighthawk, Truman replies mockingly. There’s a lot out there that gets missed and someone’s got to clean up the mess. Kyle promises they’ll get to that and suggests a toast to cleaning up the world’s mess.

Pacha, NYC, a club:
Ultimate Nullifier gets in there to find Black Knight. America accuses him via text message of having a crush. He finds her on the dance floor. He assures America she will join them. Any particular reason he thinks that? she asks. Because he is so pretty, he replies.

Black Knight looks up to see Nullifier’s bandaged face. She carefully touches his face and they dance closely.

A little later, Nullifier accompanies her to her team’s secret HQ. Classy digs, he mocks. He can’t understand why they don’t hang here all the time. She replies she doesn’t pay for it. Finances come from someone behind the scenes. He guesses they’d have to, Nullifier muses. Her team isn’t exactly playing to get rich. Getting at their fellow baddies to establish their rep. He can dig it. It’s looking pretty old and tired out there. She doesn’t care about that stuff, she retorts sharply. She has her own problems.

She begins removing his bandages. She wants to see what they did to him. What does she think? he retorts sharply, as she reveal the burns. Still, beauty’s only skin deep. They are about to kiss.

In the meantime, Black Knight’s teammates are at the Met in New York. They have no idea why he’d be holed up here but they have to trust their intel, right? Radioactive Kid worries what if he is not into the idea. Are they ready to rumble? Executioner sharply tells him the three of them can handle his. If the Black Knight thinks she has something better to do…

As they exit the van, Radioactive Kid complains she is starting to piss him off. Executioner replies, if this works out, they won’t even need her. So be cool in there, they don’t want to spook him. Egghead opines he has Young Masters written all over him. Time to ragnarok and roll! They stand in front of the building. This is one of those defining moments, isn’t it? Radioactive Kid wonders and then spoils the moment by announcing he has to pee.

Inside, Kid Loki is taking in an exhibition about Viking culture and finds himself displeased to see he is no longer alone. Executioner marvels that he is really a kid then quickly assures Loki they are not here to cause trouble. Someone who prefers to remain anonymous tipped them off he’d be here. They’ve got a proposition for him.

A proposition for him? Loki repeats unimpressed. Poor Ikol, what does he see in these children? he asks his raven adviser, who replies he sees evil. Loki agrees. And he doesn’t find it quite as refreshing as Ikol probably does. He knows he is supposed to be a god or whatever. Executioner stumbles, then asks is he here to party or what?

The ground rumbles as Egghead notes, courtesy of Miss America crashing in through the roof. So much for a quiet evening on Midgard, Kid Loki observes. No wonder his brother spends so much time here.

Executioner fires his weapon at her. Bullets bounce off an unimpressed America. Radioactive Kid too wants to go in for the kill. America stomps the ground, making them both lose their footing.

She turns to Loki, announcing, she’s here to make sure they don’t… Loki interrupts he has little interest in her motives. But, seeing she has come here to play, he might as well provide something substantial for her to play with. A giant monstrous goat appears and glares at her, before it attacks a pissed off America who groans it wasn’t supposed to go down like this.

The young In-Betweener tells America, Angel and Barnell the young god exists between the extremes of order and chaos. As such, he doesn’t believe Loki poses much of a threat.

Loki remarks she must forgive Toothgnasher, if he comes across as too aggressive. Of the two of them, he is the more temperamental. In the meantime, he has another surprise. He holds up a small, metal golem and explains that this realm is full of magical trinkets. He collects them.You never know when they might come in useful.

America swears in panic as she kicks Toothgnasher. This is humiliating! Loki awakens the Screaming Idol and America is sent away screaming. Now where were they? Loki asks. The Young Master gush and Egghead wants to hire him on the spot. Loki assumes the girl was not with them. Executioner explains they were hoping he’s a kindred spirit. They are the next generation; the future. It’s not just the heroes out there. It’s their own kind. They are old and tired and don’t know what they are doing. They’ve got a mandate, Egghead adds, to burn it all down and dance in the ashes. They ask Loki to join them.

Not exactly subtle, are they? Loki mocks gently. But he thinks his involvement with them would send the wrong message. And they are welcome for his disposing of the intruder. She has gone far from here. He knows it is difficult for their mortal kind to think in several dimensions. It takes a leap of faith. And she has just taken a big leap.

America gets her bearings and stares into an alien sun.

Elsewhere, Angel and Barnell panic as their systems have lost contact with America. They turn to the In-Betweener, who just announces the Balance is precarious. Permanent damage is imminent. Angel isn’t having it and announces they must take action. The In-Betweener agrees, then fades away. Angel and Barnell hug as they wonder if they are all that’s left and what they can do.

Characters Involved: 

Angel Salvadore, Barnell Bohusk, Miss America Chavez, Ultimate Nullifier (Teen Brigade)

Kyle Richmond (former Nighthawk)
Nighthawk IV
Jack Truman

Black Knight V, Egghead II, Executioner II,Radioactive Kid, (Young Masters)
Kid Loki

In 1945:
Red Skull

Story Notes: 

Parts of Truman’s story occurred in Cable (1st series) #53.

Written By: