‘Simon - it’s me. It’s Iron Man. Do you know what you’re doing?’ Tony “Iron Man” Stark calls out to Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man, as the enraged ionic Avenger soars towards his armor-clad teammate as the moon shines down over the darkening night. ‘Yeah, I know exactly what I’m doing…I’m doing this!’ Simon exclaims as he punches Iron Man, sending the founding Avenger reeling back through the air. ‘How about you, Avengers? You know you’re protecting my enemies?’ Wonder Man calls out. Down below, standing on the veranda of a large house, a woman with short blonde hair mutters ‘“Enemies” he means me?’, to which Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter calls her Ms Flores, and tells her to stay down and keep cool.
‘Simon…remember who you are’ Iron Man calls out as he releases a repulser ray at Wonder Man, knocking his teammate back. ‘You want me to keep cool…when they’re about to destroy my house?’ Ms Flores asks, while Simon lunges forward and shouts ‘Oh, I remember, Can-Head. I’m Wonder Man, right?’, to which Iron Man replies ‘Right, and you -’, but Simon interrupts, ‘And I’m stronger than you - right!’ he shouts, when suddenly, an arrow is fired towards Simon, who smiles: ‘Now what is -’ he begins, before the arrow detonates a loud sonic wave, causing Wonder Man to reel backwards in pain, clutching his ears. On the rooftop, Clint “Hakweye” Barton remarks that Simon has to be out of his head to get suckered by a sonic arrow like that. John Walker a.k.a. the handsome USAgent is also on the rooftop and tells Hawkeye not to pat himself on the back until they see if Iron Man’s sound-filter did its job.
As Iron Man punches Wonder Man to the ground, one of the men remarks ‘Guess it did’. Ms Flores looks at Spider-Woman in shock: ‘My lawn!’ she gasps. ‘Roto-Till it, Ms Flores’ Julia replies, smiling, as the impact of Simon’s body forced against the ground creates al large crater. ‘But I’m only renting!’ Ms Flores explains, while Simon shouts ‘Enemies - everyone! Everyone but…but…’, while USAgent urges Hawkeye to “nail” Wonder Man now. ‘Listen, Agent…we’ve got to do this job…we don’t have to enjoy it’, as he fires an electro-arrow at Simon, who receives a massive shock through his body. Simon looks up: ‘Hawkeye - USAgent - old chums…haven’t seen you for a while…well I see you now!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he shrugs off the effects of the arrow and flies towards Clint and Johnny.
Standing nearby, shadowed by the night, a figure whispers ‘Yes…yes, the signs are there…’, while Iron Man flies in front of Wonder Man before he can reach Clint and Johnny. ‘No you don’t Simon. I hate doing this…’ Iron Man begins, before punching Simon hard in the face, telling him that he has to keep him addled. At the level the men are flying at, they are close to a tree, and their tussel causes a large branch to snap and fall towards the figure standing in the shadows below. ‘Oh, my’ she utters, as the Scarlet Witch steps into the light, casting a spell which alters the probably path of the branch, hoping that Simon doesn’t notice. The branch falls away from the Scarlet Witch, who decides that she has to tell the others what she suspects, before it is too late.
‘Now -’ Wonder Man begins as he punches Iron Man back, when suddenly, a cloud-like form appears next to Simon, and a woman’s face can be seen in the cloud. ‘No, darling, I’m sorry…’ she begins. ‘But I’m protecting you from -’ Simon begins, while the enigmatic form tells him that he is calling attention to what they are doing, too early. Wonder Man, along with the mysterious cloud, then vanishes. ‘Can’t take much more of this. Have to find a way to…to…’ Iron Man calls out as he regains composure and flies back down towards the ground, only to see that Simon has vanished. ‘Where did he go?’ Tony asks his friends. Wanda stands near Spider-Woman and Ms Flores, as she explains that he vanished, and that from her studies of magic, she thinks she can say her intuition was right - Simon is in the grip of the supernatural.
‘Supernatural?’ Ms Flores asks. ‘Listen, uh…Scarlet witch…I think you’d better explain some things to me’. Spider-Woman smiles and points out that Ms Flores called them: ‘That means you’re it. Explanations start with you’ Julia declares, before asking her how she met Simon. Ms Flores reveals that she is a screenwriter, and was doing a quickie-rewrite of this two-bit war movie, until she suddenly got canned by some new “associate producer” named Helen Eve, who turned out to be the producer’s main squeeze. ‘Considering I hadn’t turned in page one, I couldn’t figure why I’d been booted…’ Ms Flores begins as she tells her story:
Flashback, takes place before the beginning of this issue, narrated by Alex Flores:
‘…until I met her. And believe me, I knew all about Eve. Her type, anyway’ Ms Flores explains, adding that she could smell the testosterone surging from a mile away. ‘Need some coffee, Helen?’ ‘I was just on my way to get some, Helen’ extras on the set called out as they swarmed around her. ‘I know where they serve real coffee, Helen’ another exclaimed. Ms Flores informs the Avengers West Coast that she knew there was no room on that set for any woman without major facial deformities. ‘War films need a more…masculine touch, Ms Flores’ Helen Eve announced. ‘I’m sure you know all about the masculine touch, Ms Eve’ Ms Flores replied, only to learn of a new actor that Helen Eve had brought on set, ‘A typical dumb hunk of beef…at least that’s what I figured’ she tells the heroes.
‘Finally - somebody believes I can act!’ Simon Williams exclaimed as he walked on set, only to fall like a dead tree for Helen Eve - just like the other men, only harder. ‘Uh’ Simon uttered. ‘You’ll find we treat our people well, Simon’ Helen smiled at him, while Ms Flores noticed that Simon began acting weird. ‘You have my loyalty, Helen. I will stand with you…’ Simon uttered. ‘…and against my enemies?’ Helen asked, quietly. ‘And against…your enemies’ Simon told her. Ms Flores decided that she had to follow up on that - writer’s instinct. ‘Yo, Simon Williams, right?’ she called out to Wonder Man, who seemed to snap back to reality, telling him that he sounds lost in a fog. Ms Flores went over to Simon and introduced herself as Alex - ‘Uncredited script assist. If you’ve got any questions…’ she began.
Simon just replied that Helen told him to ho home and study his part. ‘Do you know when the studio shuttle comes back?’ Simon asked. ‘You don’t mean…you don’t have a car? How do you survive in LA without a car?’ Alex asked, motioning to her car, she joked that her jaguar was in the garage, mainly because she doesn’t have enough money to buy it. ‘But if you don’t mind being seen in the only sensible car in Hollywood’ she remarked, adding ‘And don’t tell me you’re surprised to see a chick with a nose ring driving that’ she added. ‘Like I tell everybody, fashion is fashion and mileage is mileage’.
Alex admits to the Avengers West Coast that she was nattering with Simon, but at least she brought him out of his fog. As they drove off, they remained unaware that Helen Eve was watching them. ‘Flores, huh? Not related to Tom Flores, I guess? He used to coach the Raiders’ Simon enquired. ‘I know. And I’m not’ Alex told him, asking if Simon is related to Jamie Williams, the best run-blocking tight end in the NFL? ‘Holy jeez. A woman who knows football! LA is the promised land!’ Simon exclaimed as they continued driving. Alex tells the Avengers that she must have been in a fog herself, not to figure that they were being watched.
In the car, Alex managed to twist the conversation to where she wanted, asking Simon if he thought that it was a little odd that the guys aren’t a little excessively taken with Helen Eve? ‘What are you talking about? What do you know about…about…oh no. could it be…no…NO! How can you even think that?’ Simon shouted at Alex, before slapping his head and telling her that he was sorry. ‘I don’t know what I’m…or do I? If it’s…but it isn’t…’ he babbled, before writing on a notepad, ‘It isn’t! But if it is…gotta set something up…gotta…make myself…’ he exclaimed, while Alex wondered if this ride wasn’t such a good idea. ‘NO!’ Simone shouted at her, before holding up the piece of paper he wrote on, telling her to take it from him before he destroyed it. ‘If anything happens…if you’re in danger…call this phone number. Tell them…Wonder Man is out of control!’ Simon exclaimed. ‘Wonder Man…?’ Alex whispered.
Alex supposes that she isn’t up on her super heroes, and that the number Simon gave her was for the Avengers West Coast. ‘And that’s how I came to call you’ she concludes, adding that Simon didn’t say anything after that, even when she dropped him off, adding that it was like he was fighting something inside him. ‘I just pegged him as another crackpot actor and thanked all the Gods in Heaven that I didn’t tell him where I lived!’ Alex exclaims, adding that, just after dark, she had this incredible feeling of being watched, that eyes were on her - hateful eyes. ‘And then I saw his face at the window…and it was twisted…’ Alex reveals. Wanda tells her that it is okay, and that the Avengers West Coast are glad she called them. ‘And glad ol’ Simon had the self-control not to wade into you before we got here!’ Clint smiles, while hoping that second arrow does its duty.
At that moment, inside a dark car, ‘Well, I suppose we’re far enough now…pity your partners in the Avengers had to intrude…but you passed your test at least, didn’t you, naughty boy? Now come to mama, do’ Helen exclaims in the backseat of the car, clicking her fingers, Wonder Man suddenly materializes next to her. ‘Hey! What - where -?’ Simon exclaims, before realizing that there is nobody in the front seat. ‘Who’s driving this -’ he begins, but Helen Eve just smiles and tells Simon to hush. ‘Just wait. If a star can’t trust his associate producer…who can he trust?’ she asks him.
Soon, inside a living room, Helen holds up a glass of wine, ’Just relax, sweetness’ she tells Wonder Man, assuring him that they are alone, high in the Hollywood Hills, where no one can disturb them. ‘But…where was I? I was in some place…with no up or down, no…’ Wonder Man begins, rubbing his head. ‘Oh, that was Limbo, darling. I retreat there myself when things get a bit too…stressful’ she explains, before stroking Simon’s chest and asking him if it would shock him if she slipped into something more comfortable. She doesn’t give him time to answer and there is a crack of energy, as Helen Eve vanishes - and the Enchantress reveals herself! ‘Mmm. Much better’ the Asgardian witch mutters.
‘Oh, no. Part of me knew…but you kept me from seeing it…again! Kept me from realizing…you’re the Enchantress!’ Simon exclaims. The Enchantress smiles and puts a finger to Simon’s lips, telling him that there is no need for self-recrimination. ‘You’re only as blind as I want you to be’ she explains. ‘Only as blind as love’ she adds. ‘Oh…Lord…’ Simon thinks to himself, sweating, he gets the same feeling as he got at the shoot this morning. ‘Got to fight it…got to remember who she is. What she did last time…’ Simon tells himself. ‘Oh. Now you’re thinking! There!’ the Enchantress exclaims as she forces Simon down onto the couch. The Enchantress tells Simon that a man in love should never think. ‘Don’t you ever watch the movies?’ she asks him.
The Enchantress smirks as she tells Simon that he must be in love with her, because he is going to be with her, forever, as protector, as consort. ‘And believe me - not like last time! I still can’t believe how silly I was…enchanting you so sweetly just so I could strike at those pompous Avengers! Then making a God of you so you could join me as an equal. Only to have the heightened awareness of godhood enable you to break my little spell’ the Enchantress recalls. The Asgardian’s lips move closer to Simon’s, and she points out that he is not enlightened no, quite the opposite, she would say. ‘Now you’re simply…mine’ the Enchantress declares. ‘Yours’ Simon utters. ‘All yours. Except one little sliver of my mind that can’t do anything…except watch the rest of me being yours’ Simon thinks to himself, before the Enchantress kisses him.
The Enchantress pulls away and declares that there is no time for that now. ‘Deferred gratification is one of those virtues I’ll have to learn…if I’m not to make little girlish mistakes like last time…if I’m to take advantage of the trouble in Asgard’ the Enchantress declares. She holds up a fiery illusion of her fellow Asgardians and announces that Heimdall is on a clean-up campaign lately, after banishing Thor for killing his brother, Loki. She clenches her fist and mutters that the mood in Asgard is rather threatening. ‘And since I’m quite the Asgardian girl scout…I have to wonder what might befall me’ the Enchantress declares as she leans into Wonder Man and strokes his face. ‘Which is why I need to develop a base of power on Earth. Power such as Hollywood might provide’ the Enchantress reveals.
The Enchantress boasts that she can bewitch men, eliminate influential women and take over whole studios. ‘I love…the touch of her hands. I want her…’ Simon thinks to himself as the Enchantress runs her hand across his well-defined chest. The Enchantress exclaims that she can make herself the star of her own movies and fill them with “subliminal suggestions”. ‘And then, dear heart, I can make every man in the world fall in love with me’ the Enchantress exclaims. ‘It’s a kind of worship, you know…’ she remarks. ‘I…can’t…want her’ Simon thinks to himself. ‘Can’t…let myself…want her…I can’t’ he tells himself again, his hand shaking as he tries to raise to the Enchantress, who is now straddling Simon and exclaims ‘Fan worship. And through worship, we Asgardians increase our power’.
The Enchantress continues, stating that all of this will make enemies, of course, and she won’t be able to use her power to fight them, lest dreary old Odin should notice. ‘That’s where I need you, darling. Big and strong…and very mort-’ the Enchantress begins, only for Simon to reach up and grab her by her wrists, pulling her back. ‘WHAT?’ the Enchantress gasps. ‘If you want someone…to fight your enemies…’ Simon begins. ‘Yes?’ the Enchantress asks. ‘…shouldn’t we get started?’ Wonder Man enquires. The Enchantress just smirks.
Soon, at the movie studio set, ‘Here, sweetness. An over budgeted dinosaur movie backed by a female investor…with criminal ties and fiercely loyal men, scheming to take over the studio...and force your pretty Enchantress out’ the Enchantress declares, examining the dinosaur set. ‘But if an accident happens, if these metal beasts should explode…then her insurance rates will jump halfway to Asgard. That would put her film on the shelf, and that would leave her vulnerable…to me’ the Enchantress schemes. ‘Why do you need me for this?’ Simon asks her. ‘You were once a munitions maker, weren’t you, lover? I don’t understand these sill mortal devices…but with your knowledge and your…ionic power, isn’t it? You can make a nice accident. Now do it…for love!’ the Enchantress exclaims, stroking Simon’s bicep.
‘For love…’ Simon utters as he takes flight towards the large robotic T-Rex. He tells himself that he has to break inside and mangle its wiring, slaming a fist against the face of the robot. Suddenly, a security guard appears. ‘All right! I heard that! Come down off there, you rotten - kids?’ he calls out, stopping himself as he sees Simon standing on the dinosaur’s head. The Enchantress exclaims that no one must know they were here, and orders Simon to still the guard’s tongue - forever. ‘no’ Simon replies. ‘He is the enemy!’ the Enchantress declares. ‘Enemy…’ Simon mutters. ‘Kill him!’ the Enchantress shrieks. ‘Kill him. Kill him. Kill him…’ Simon says as he flies towards the security guard, who begins firing his gun at Simon, although the bullets bounce off him - a large, powerful repulser ray, however, sends Simon falling to the studio floor.
Iron Man drops down and apologizes to Simon for the repulser ray. ‘But I can’t let you go around flattening people!’ Iron Man declares. The security guard sees Iron Man and realizes that on the floor is Wonder Man. ‘I think…I should leave now’ he utters. Simon looks up, and tells Iron Man that is fine. ‘It’s important that you do a good deed…in the last moment of your life!’ he shouts as he flies towards Iron Man. Standing behind a wall nearby, the Enchantress looks worried, and tells herself that this is no coincidence. ‘How have they found us? He couldn’t have told them…not under my spell!’ the Enchantress tells herself. ‘Simon…please’ Iron Man pleads as Wonder Man wraps his powerful hands around Iron Man’s neck. ‘No. I don’t hear you’ Simon replies, only for Iron Man to kick Simon backwards, releasing a repulser ray from his foot. ‘Then why’d you loosen your grip?’ Tony asks his teammate.
Nearby, Hawkeye realizes that Wonder Man is fighting it. ‘Now’s the time, Agent’ he tells USAgent, who radios to Wanda, asking her if she is ready. ‘As ready as I will ever be’ Wanda whispers, while watching Simon and Iron Man fight in the air above her. ‘You will not confuse me - you are my enemy!’ Simon shouts, before suddenly he is dowsed in the Scarlet Witch’s hex power. Wanda concentrates hard as the power surges from her, she thinks to herself that she doesn’t even know if she can do this, changing the probabilities of Simon’s neural synapses, giving his suppressed personality a chance to take command of his brain. Simon reels backwards, while Iron Man flies towards him: ‘Okay, Simon…this one’s the test!’ Tony tells his friend as he punches him hard in the face.
Down below, the Enchantment knows something is wrong. ‘He took that blow, as if…as if…can my enchantment be…’ she tells herself, while Wonder Man punches Iron Man hard. ‘The Enchantress smirks, while wondering if she could have doubted her power. ‘You could’ve pulled your punch a little, you know’ Tony whispers to Simon. ‘We’re playing for a tough audience, She--Head. We’ve got to make this convincing!’ Simon whispers back as he slams Iron Man to the ground. Tony lies there, the ground shattered around him. ‘Now…it’s time to end this!’ Wonder Man shouts as he turns his attention to USAgent and Hawkeye. ‘Well, wouldja look at that? I missed!’ Hawkeye exclaims as Simon dodges an arrow.
Both Hawkeye and Walker leap to safety, while Wonder Man soars past them. ‘Puny gnats! I have defeated your champion - you are nothing!’ he exclaims. ‘“Puny gnats”, yet’ Hawkeye mutters, before calling out to Spider-Woman: ‘Now it’s all yours, Web-Chest!’ he tells her. But the Enchantress stands over Spider-Woman, ‘Dear, oh, dear…see the little heroes run. And who is this little one?’ she grins. ‘No, Simon - please! Please, don’t!’ Julia calls out to Wonder Man as he flies down towards her. Hands on hips, the Enchantress asks whether she should deal with this coward. ‘I imagine you prefer not to hit a woman, hmmm?’ she enquires. Simon smiles, and replies ‘Well, that’s very considerate of you, honey. But as far as hitting women goes…I can make an exception!’, and with that, Simon punches the Enchantress, sending her reeling backwards.
The Enchantress lands against a wall, shattering it. She looks up at Simon, ‘This is - impossible! No man can do this to…to…’ she utters, while Simon, Tony, Clint, Johnny, Julia and Wanda gather together, and stand over the fallen Asgardian. ‘You blew it, baby’ Simon tells her. ‘You tried to make a “god” out of me last time. It didn’t work. But things like that don’t just wear off. There’s a little corner of my mind you can never take over’ Simon exclaims. ‘That’s the corner that figured the Avengers would know what to do if I gave Alex their number. That’s the corner that knew what Hawkeye had stuck on me with his arrow…that knew it was a tracer device…I forced myself to leave it there’ Simon announces, holding up the small tracer.
‘The toughest part was keeping you from taking my clothes off!’ Simon tells the Enchantress, who scowls, and asks ‘Who do you think you are playing with? Some over-endowed imbecile like Goliath? Some mortal thug with powers too good for him?’ she asks, before laughing, and asking ‘Will you fight me with your little arrows? With fists? Or how about webs, hmmmm?’, only to scowl again and clench her fists, boasting that she is an Asgardian, that no man can escape her and no woman can survive her. ‘I am an immortal! I am a goddess! I can do with one gesture what you cannot do with your combined might!’
‘Yeah? So gesture away, lady!’ USAgent tells her. ‘Oh, please…’ Hawkeye mutters, while Wonder Man tells the Enchantress to do her best, to blast away. ‘And I hope Odin notices!’ he tells her. ‘O…din?’ the Enchantress whispers. ‘I shouldn’t have told you! Why - why must I always boast! Oh, how I’d love to reduce you all to hot fat, bubbling over your super hero boots! But you are right, curse you! Such a display of Asgardian power might drawn Heimdall’s all-seeing attentions…and that would undo my entire plan!’ The Enchantress tells Simon not to breathe easy yet, and points out that he has done what she has allowed no man to do - reject her. ‘And I will find a way to make you regret it!’ she warns him, before vanishing.
‘Oh, boy. Do what do we do now?’ Simon asks his teammates. ‘“We”?’ the Scarlet Witch asks, smiling, before telling Simon that she is proud of the way he fought the Enchantress’ spell. ‘Somehow I’ve…uh…I’ve thought you were the sort of man who was easily…’ Wanda’s voice trails off. ‘Uh-uh, Wanda. It takes one heck of a woman to make me fall’ Simon replies, smiling at his dear friend. ‘I’m…glad’ Wanda replies. ‘As long as it isn’t too difficult for you to…climb back up’ she adds. Simon smiles and suggests that perhaps he should find Alex Flores, and that hr probably owes her an apology for nearly getting her killed.
‘Forget it! These days screenwriters are killing for new twists on action scenes…and this one I’ve never seen. Not in a movie, anyway!’ Alex smiles. ‘You’re telling me…you followed us?’ Simon asks her as she approaches him, before telling Alex that she is pretty gutsy, for a writer. ‘Yeah? Well, you’re pretty smart…for a hunk of beef’ Alex replies, before asking Simon for a life home on his jet pack. ‘You want me to fly behind you and be what?’ Iron Man asks his friend. ‘A chaperone, bud. Women in Hollywood…they’re a dangerous breed!’ Simon replies.