X-Men vs. the Avengers #1

Issue Date: 
April 1987
Story Title: 
Justice For All

Roger Stern (Writer), Marc Silvestri (Penciler), Josef Rubinstein (Inker), Christie Scheele (Colorist), Joe Rosen (Letterer), Mark Gruenwald & Ann Nocenti (Editor), Jim Shooter (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

After averting a meteor disaster, the Avengers discover that the meteor fragments are actually from Magneto’s former base, Asteroid M. In the Soviet Union, Darkstar and the Soviet Super Soldiers pick up the pieces of a train wreck, which was caused by the highly electromagnetic asteroid passing over Soviet airspace. When confronted by the Crimson Dynamo, a super being who still works for the Soviet State, the People’s Heroes join with him to bring Magneto to justice for the crimes he committed against the Soviet. The Avengers discuss Magneto’s criminal past and learn that the Soviets may have formed an ambush against Magneto as they want revenge for activities he did, such as murdering many Soviet citizens, and decide that Magneto should be brought before the World Court. Vacationing, with the X-Men, Magneto learns of the fallen meteors and wonder if indeed they are from his former headquarters. He leaves the X-Men without a word, and travels to Kampuchea, where a second asteroid is to have fallen. There, he is confronted by the Avengers, who arrest him. Magneto is prepared to fight back, as he wants to learn about the asteroid, when Dr. Druid hypnotizes him. The X-Men soon arrive after tracking Magneto and are ready to fight the Avengers on Magneto’s behalf, when the Soviet Super Soldiers and Crimson Dynamo arrive. While Darkstar is quite ready to side with the Avengers, her male companions do not think the Avengers can be trusted, and inform the Avengers and X-Men that if they side with Magneto then they will be arrested for harbouring a mass-murderer. Wolverine and She-Hulk lead the attack on the Super Soldiers for their respective teams, but the Soviets want revenge, and are prepared to bring justice to the people for the death of Magneto.

Full Summary: 

Mansfield, Ohio, where at a busy shopping mall, a Quinjet belonging to North America’s finest super heroes, the Mighty Avengers, roars up over the mall, and from it, Captain America a.k.a. Steve Rogers and Dr. Anthony Ludgate Druid suddenly drop from it. America’s symbol of justice rushes to a uniformed mall security officer and asks him who is in charge. The nervous guard replies that he is. Sensing something troubling the officer, Cap tells him to get a hold of himself, before revealing that they have an emergency situation, and that the stores and parking love must be evacuated at once.

Walking into the large mall, Druid sees just how busy the shopping center is, but despite it being full of weekend shoppers, he knows that the Avengers will have to move them from harms way without starting a panic. Back outside, Cap steps in front of a bus, the driver managing to break just in time, before Cap tells him that he needs to commandeer this and any other buses that are in the area. Seeing he is being spoken to by Captain America, the driver replies ‘Yes, sir!’

Back in the mall, Druid uses his telepathic powers to tap into the mall intercom, where he asks the shoppers and employees to look at the man at the front of the store, and to watch him closely. Everyone turns to Druid, and fall under his mental thrall, where he telepathically orders them to leave quickly and quietly. Druid thinks to himself that while mass hypnosis is not normally so easy, it must be because shoppers tend to be very receptive. He is glad that his mental powers can be of some use down here, for they would not be of any use to the Avengers who are up in the firing line.

Monica Rambeau, also known as the second Captain Marvel, darts swiftly through an oncoming meteor storm, thinking to herself that the Black Knight’s calculations were correct, that it does look like the meteor shower to end them all. She knows that the small meteors will burn up in the lower atmosphere, but the big ones will slam into a heavily populated area, unless they are cut down to size in time. Monica shifts part of her living energy into radiant heat and slags several of the hurtling meteors, before she flies up to a larger fragment, and she momentarily turns physical, releasing her energy as a devastating blast of concussive force.

Captain Marvel thinks that there is not an end to the meteors, for even if she lets up for a moment, more come along. Just then, the Norse God Thor cries ‘Never fear, milady!’ and his hammer flies through a large meteor, shattering it. Riding on a meteor, Thor announces he has answered the cry “Avengers Assemble” and that by his hammer, if the meteors pose a threat to the people of Midgard then they shall be know more. Using his awesome powers, he summons forth a storm, whereby the lightening strikes the meteors.

A few hundred yards away also in airspace, the Avengers Quinjet has joined the battle against the meteors, piloted by the handsome Dane Whitman a.k.a. the Black Knight and attorney Jennifer Walters, better known as the She-Hulk. They agree that by the way the storm rolled up, Thor must have beaten them up here. Dane deploys a powerful pulse from the Quinjet, firing at the meteors. Jen tells him that he is a real whiz with the targeting computer, to which Dane tells her she sounds less than thrilled.

She-Hulk replies that this is just one mission where her strength is not much use, and wishes she could get out and bash the meteors herself. She adds that she doesn’t mind playing fighter pilot, but that she would rather be involved in something more exciting. ‘Me and my big mouth’ she exclaims as the Quinjet is struck by a meteor fragment. Captain Marvel and Thor witness the damage to the Quinjet, and Monica points out that the Avengers inside it are losing altitude fast, so asks Thor to do what he can to help them, while she flies on ahead to clear the way. Dane exclaims that they have lost all electronics and that the emergency backups are down too. She-Hulk jokes that without power, the Quinjet flies about as well as a brick.

Landing down in the mall parking area, Monica declares that they have to clear the area now, as Captain America informs her the last bus load of people is almost ready to leave. Marvel tells Steve that “almost” is not good enough, as fifteen tons of Quinjet may hit them any second.

Back in the air, Thor sees that the Quinjet has been slowed, but not nearly enough. As he lands on the ground, he tells the Avengers beside him to stand clear, as he twirls his mighty hammer, while thinking that there is only one hope. The spinning hammer creates hurricane winds that cushion the Quinjet’s descent, yet Thor knows that he must exert extreme control, for the winds may do the ship more damage, and with the injuries he has sustained of late, he cannot maintain such control for long.

Eventually, the Quinjet lands very loudly, and She-Hulk emerges first from the ship, thanking Thor for the air breaks and telling him that while it wasn’t the best landing, if one can walk away from it, then it is okay. ‘I wouldn’t go quite that far’ mumbles the dizzy Black Knight as he exit’s the ship.

Later, A crowd of onlookers has gathered behind the Avengers who stand before their Quinjet, looking at the She-Hulk, they wonder what she is doing. Grabbing at the meteor that has lodged itself on the Quinjet, Jennifer thinks something is odd, as she should be able to lift the rock easy, only it doesn’t want to move, as if it is glued to the Quinjet. She uses all her might, and after all, they do not call her the She-Hulk for nothing, as eventually she manages to lift the meteor up above her head. Jen is told where to put it on the ground, as a group suit-wearing men push past the Avengers and tell them that they are going to take it from here, as they are from the National Security Council, and the rock is now National property.

One of the NSC members tells the Avengers that they may inspect it for the time being, before turning to Monica and asking if it was her who alerted Washington about it. Captain Marvel replies that it was, adding that the Black Knight had detected two large asteroid fragments falling to Earth, one of which would break over a populated area. The NSC member turns to Dane and asks him if he is certain that the other fragment, the larger one, will hit in Kampuchea, informing him that they have already alerted the Soviets and the Chinese, as the U.S does not want to look stupid on this.

Dane tells the official to relax, and points out that it should impact miles from any inhabited area, but looking at the meteor that has landed, he discovers something peculiar. The NSC member asks Dane what he means by peculiar, and the handsome Avenger points out that the meteor is unusually magnetic. He demonstrates this by slicing a small chunk off with his powerful Ebony Blade - a chunk which then flies across the parking lot and attaches itself to the Avengers Quinjet. The NSC member takes note of this as Captain America points out something else interesting - something on one side of the meteor that looks like tooled steel. This surprises the NSC member who quickly goes to it, touching it he smiles and instantly knows what it is. He laughs before telling the puzzled Avengers that they have done their nation a great service, and that he cannot wait to tell their Russian friends about this, before laughing some more.

A few hours later, in the heart of the Soviet Union, a great rail yard’s automatic switching system malfunctions with devastating effects - one train derails and is sent hurtling towards another. But at that very moment, a burst of ebon energy flares, and from the energy, which is actually the dimension known as the Darkforce, four super beings emerge - Darkstar! Vanguard! Ursa Major! The Titanium Man! - together, known as the Soviet Super Soldiers.

The brash mutant Nicolai Krylenko, better known as Vanguard, rushes forward, boasting to his comrades to stand aside, while he shows them that he is more powerful than a mere locomotive. Using his hammer and sickle as a focus, Vanguard calls on his mutant power to repel energy, sending the train’s kinetic energy rippling back upon itself - with less than ideal results, as the entire train crashes to the ground, gasoline begins to spill from one tanker.

The Titanium Man alerts his teammates to the danger, so the beautiful Laynia Petrovna, a.k.a. Darkstar flies towards it, exclaiming that her Darkforce is more than enough to contain the exploding tanker. But she doesn’t quite cover all of the spill, and the Titanium Man calls her careless, as the uncontained spill ignited, and endangered the workers he carries to safety. As the armoured Titanium Man shoots a water tower, enabling the flooding waters to dowse the fire, he tells Darkstar that he has resigned himself to such sloppiness from her brother Vanguard, but that he expects better from her.

Back along the rail tracks, the mutant strength of the man-bear Ursa Major is sorely taxed as he picks up all the upturned train carriages and puts them right. Suddenly, someone cries ‘Allow me to assist!’ and to Ursa’s surprise, the Crimson Dynamo is helping him lift a train carriage. Dynamo tells Ursus that he is pleased he recognizes his new armour, to which the Major tosses the train aside and tells Dynamo that he is no “comrade” of theirs, for he is KGB.

As Darkstar and Vanguard gather around, the Crimson Dynamo starts to explain that he still works for the state security, but his sentence is not finished as he is surprised to see the Titanium Man land beside Darkstar, he declares that he thought the Titanium Man was dead. Suddenly, a small large-headed man bursts from the chest piece of the green armour, holding a gun towards the Crimson Dynamo, he declares that it is reassuring to find that the KGB does not know everything.

‘Gremlin!’ gasps the Crimson Dynamo, before the Gremlin informs him that the new Titanium Man is his creation, just like the armour-piercing shells in the pistol. Gremlin reveals to the Crimson Dynamo that they anticipated this disaster when his instruments detected an electromagnetic pulse in the upper stratosphere, before asking Dynamo what he knows of that.

The Crimson Dynamo declares he knows that the pulse disrupted the rail yard’s computerized systems, and that it was caused by an asteroid fragment passing through Soviet airspace. Dynamo adds that the fragment may also give the five of them an opportunity to right a great wrong done to the Mother Land. He reveals he had hoped the Super Soldiers would come here, and asks them to forgive their differences, and appeals to them as a citizen - ‘Help me to avenge the Soviet people!’ he declares. The Super Soldiers whisper among themselves, Vanguard of course thinks it is a KGB trick, while Major Ursus thinks Dynamo seems sincere. Gremlin is unsure, and tells Dynamo to reveal more.

Meanwhile, at an isolated cove along the Atlantic shore, five unique individuals are taking a much needed rest. They are mutants, outcasts of society, feared and hated by the world at large - they call themselves…the X-Men! A television is playing a Lionel Ritchie song, and a blonde woman, Alison Blaire also known as the Dazzler sings along, declaring that Ritchie’s music makes her want to dance the night away, before Magneto, if he doesn’t just love it. The older man replies that while the tune is an engaging one, he prefers the classics. ‘You mean…like Buddy Holly?’ the oft-clueless Dazzler replies.

On the edge of the dock sits the rugged Logan, a.k.a. “Wolverine”, and the southern belle Rogue, who takes to the air, asking Logan if he is going to go swimming. From underneath his cowboy hat, Logan replies that the sun feels good so he will get wet later. ‘That’s what you think!’ jokes Rogue as she plunges into the water, splashing Logan. Looking up, the annoyed Canadian X-Man tells Rogue not to do that again, for he does not like being annoyed on holiday - by anyone, or anything he adds after popping a claw and frightening the fly that was buzzing around him.

Down the beach, a sixth member of the unlikely crew tries to lose himself, without success. The handsome Alex “Havok” Summers thinks that no longer is it the X-Men that Charles Xavier organized all those years ago, and he cannot get over the way the other X-Men have accepted Magneto, for he was once the X-Men’s greatest enemy, but now he is treated like some sort of senior adviser. Alex remembers that his brother Scott used to be leader, but somehow thinks he would feel out of place now - Alex even feels out of place. He wishes that Scot was here - or Lorna. ‘Lord, how I miss her!’ Suddenly, Alex gets angry and unleashes the ambient cosmic energy that has been building up inside him for the past few days. In this moment of frustration, his awesome power smashes a large boulder into small rocks.

Back on the dock, Dazzler turns to Storm and asks her if it was thunder, but the X-Men’s leader, Ororo Munroe replies that it was more like an explosion. Sipping his drink, Logan tells the ladies that it is Havok letting off a little steam, and nothing to worry about. Flying out of the water, Rogue exclaims that it is too bad Psylocke and Longshot stayed behind, as they are missing out on some marvelous swimming. ‘And so are y’all! Come on in!’ adds Rogue. Dazzler takes a dive off the dock, exclaiming that there is nothing on the television but news now.

Storm turns to the small portable screen and watches the newsreader report that disaster was averted in Ohio when the Avengers ended a threat from space almost before it began. An image of Thor appears on the screen, and Ororo watches him, thinking how easy it is that he bends the tempests to his will so easily. She recalls that such power was once hers, the wind, rain and lightening, all hers to command. She dives into the water, wishing that her mutant powers would return, so then they might see whom the elements better obeyed.

Magneto continues to watch the television, where it is reported that experts at the Australian Science Institute agree that a large asteroid with unusual electromagnetic properties may have already landed in Southeast Asia. Magneto thinks to himself that this is extraordinary, thinking he may know what it is, even though he had thought it to be destroyed. Yet if a fragment of any size has survived, then he must know. Magneto rushes to the X-Men’s Blackbird jet, and inside it reads the on-board computer analysis of telemetry from the Geosat Orbital Satellite System, which shows him a better than 95% certainty that the meteor is from what he thinks it to be.

Magneto believes that the fragment would have come down in Kampuchea, which could mean trouble. He decides to not involve the X-Men in this, for he believes they would disapprove of him looking for something from his criminal past. Moments later, Magneto has donned his costume and forming a protective magnetic field around himself, he streaks away into the early evening skies - watched by Wolverine, who does not try to stop him, he just lights up a cigarette.

Storm, Dazzler and Rogue hear the Blackbird’s warning siren and joined by Havok, they race to their jet. Alex asks Wolverine what is up, and as Logan puts on his costume he tells his teammates that they better put their clothes on too, as it may be trouble. Rogue asks Logan where Magneto is, to which he replies ‘Gone. That’s the problem’. Logan reveals that after Magneto left, he checked and found what Erik had run through the computer, and what it seems is that part of Asteroid M has fallen to Earth. Logan believes that Magneto has gone to find it.

Rogue tells her teammates that she thought Magneto’s old orbital fortress was smashed to bits, but Logan tells her that it seems not all of it was, for the readings Magneto took indicate a good sized chunk has crashed in what used to be Cambodia - a piece big enough to maybe still be carrying some of his old equipment. Rogue asks why there is reason to worry, to which Logan reminds her that when Magneto operated out of Asteroid M, he was set out to rule the world, and suggests that if he got his hands on that kind of equipment again - who knows what he may do with it?

Later, at the Avengers Hydrobase Headquarters, the six Avengers sit to discuss the recent events. Monica asks Captain America what he has learned, to which Cap replies that he has learned enough to turn his stomach, and informs the Avengers that his contacts in the intelligence community say that the NSC thinks the fragments which fell to Earth were part of an orbital base once used by Magneto. At the head of the table, Cap continues, revealing that the CIA has shared this discovery with the KGB, and just enough information has been leaked to the media.

Cap declares that there has been a high-level decision in the Kremlin to terminate Magneto, and that people in the United States government are helping to bait a trap. Dane asks Cap if what he is saying is that U.S. Intelligence is playing footsie with the Soviets to plot an assassination. Jen points out that it is not beyond some agencies, and that there are far too many bureaus that operate outside of the law. She announces that she can understand the desire to be rid of a world-class menace like Magneto.

Thor reminds his teammates that there have been many crimes by Magneto, but declares there is no honor in such an ambush. Doctor Druid states that he is woefully ignorant of Magneto’s record, and asks if the others have met him. Captain Marvel tells him that at one time or another they have, adding that they have not been pleasant experiences, as Magneto has had quite an infamous history.

Monica begins Magneto’s history with his take over of the Cape Citadel missile base, where not long after that he overthrew the government of Santo Marco, setting himself up as absolute ruler. Thor continues, revealing he first encountered Magneto in New York harbor. Thor explains that when Magneto found his powers sorely tested by his strength, he attempted to slay the Thunder God with a thermo-nuclear bomb. Thor points out that had the bomb exploded, everyone in the city would have perished.

Captain America tells Thor that it was not the first time Magneto tried to use a nuke, for according to Avengers records, Magneto set a trap for the original X-Men in Santo Marco with a bomb which would have left that nation a wasteland. In Captain America’s opinion, those crimes should have put Magneto away for life. She-Hulk points out that Magneto would have been put away for life, except the World Court decided to strike all charges arising from acts committed before Magneto was reduced to infancy, for in the eyes of the court, Magneto was “reborn” as a new man.

Captain America declares that it is shocking that any court could make such a decision, for he saw Magneto in action after his “rebirth”, where Magneto attacked him without provocation, and destroyed a research facility and abducted and tortured another mutant. Cap continues, revealing that some weeks later, Magneto’s true colors displayed themselves again when he sacked a series of aerospace installations in Australia and New Zealand. It was also around this time that he also imprisoned the X-Men and tortured them.

The Black Knight exclaims that if none of those incidents were enough to convict Magneto, then what he did to the Russians should have been. Druid recalls hearing about this, and asks if it was when Magneto wrecked a submarine. Dane declares that Magneto didn’t just wreck it, but he sank it, killing everyone aboard - before using his magnetic powers to create a volcano in the middle of Varykino, and destroyed the entire city. Dane concludes by saying that the way Magneto skipped out on his trial, he can see why the Soviets would be out for blood.

Captain America agrees, stating that the Soviets are very serious about this, and his sources say that the Super-Soldier team may be enlisted to get Magneto. Dane asks the others what it is that they should do now, to which Jen declares she gets the feeling that their spy-boys would rather they do nothing. She suggests that they sit tight and let the Soviets take him out. Monica immediately exclaims that that would be wrong, pointing out that with the whole world in the grip of anti-mutant hysteria, an assassination would make things worse. Captain America agrees with Monica, and reminds his team that the entire world was cheated out of bringing Adolf Hitler to justice, so they must not be stopped from bringing Magneto to trial. ‘Every individual deserves a fair trial…humanity deserves it’.

In Kampuchea, where the Ancient Khmer people are slowly disintegrating under the onslaught of nature and changing ideologies. Now, the world’s most notorious mutant has come searching for something out of his past. He flies across the exotic landscape, thinking to himself that he is getting closer, as he can feel the field effect emanating from the asteroid fragment, less than fifty kilometers distant. He thinks that in a few more minutes he will have a more definite fix, that is if he can avoid any roving patrols of military men, he should be able to locate the target before nightfall.

But suddenly, ‘Don’t go any further, Magneto!’ cries Captain Marvel as she appears in an electromagnetic blast, temporarily blinding Magneto. Monica stands before him and states that on behalf of the United Nations, she is placing him under arrest. She tells him to surrender and there will be no reason to use force. Magneto tells Monica that she leaves him one choice, as his mission is too important to waste time with her, so he uses his powers to rip a chunk of iron from the ground up and hurls it at her. Only to discover, that Captain Marvel approached him in hologram form, as she knew it would be safer to approach him that way.

Suddenly, lightening strikes the Master of Magnetism, who is knocked backwards by Thor who declares that Magneto was given the chance to come peaceably, but peaceably or not, he shall be the Avengers’ prisoner. Magneto asks the two powerful Avengers if he is right in assuming they are not alone, to which Captain America tells Magneto he is ‘right as rain’, and that it was no trouble for them in tracking him down, and now that they have found him they are taking him back before the World Court.

With the Black Knight and She-Hulk, the five Avengers surround Magneto, who tells the Avengers that he has no argument with them, and asks them to leave him alone. Cap tells Magneto that they cannot do that, as there is a matter of justice to be settled. Magneto calls the Avengers ‘self-righteous fools’ and is about to do something to them when Doctor Druid steps up behind him and tells him to ‘relax’. Druid tells the Avengers that although it took him considerable effort to mask his presence from Magneto, he has subdued him, but as Magneto has a strong mind, he will not be able to keep him enthralled for long.

The Black Knight tells Druid that he will not have to, and steps up to Magneto with a set of degaussing manacles that he created, which will keep him and his magnetic powers under control. But before Dane can place the manacles on Magneto, they are shattered by a beam of light - from Dazzler, who has arrived with the other Avengers. Logan tells the Avengers that if they have a problem with Magneto then they have a problem with all the X-Men. He tells them to let him go, but Monica informs the X-Men that Magneto is in their custody - protective custody.

Captain America puts a hand out towards the X-Men and warns Wolverine to back off, telling him not to do anything stupid. Claws unsheathed, Logan grins and exclaims that the only stupid moves are made by folks who cross him. ’Care to try your luck?’ he asks before turning his attention to another direction. Storm tells Wolverine that this is not the time, but Logan sniffs the air and declares that they are getting more company. Druid backs this up, by declaring that he senses five minds approaching from the North.

Swiftly, the Super Soldiers and the Crimson Dynamo drop down into Kampuchea, as the Gremlin addresses everyone as intruders and tells them not to attempt to escape, for they have come for Magneto. He tells the Avengers and X-Men to deliver Magneto to them and no one need be harmed. Annoyed, Monica steps up to the Russians and declares she will repeat this one last time - ’Magneto is in Avengers custody, we intend to see that he is tried for his crimes’.

The always reasonable Darkstar is quite prepared to side with the Avengers, but her dominating brother tells her that they must make certain Magneto pays for the crimes against his people. Captain America tries to reasonable with the ruthless male members of the Super Soldiers and tells them that as their country has serious grievances against Magneto they should side with the Avengers in brining him before the World Court. The Crimson Dynamo steps forward and tells Captain America that they will not, before ordering him to turn Magneto over to them at once, or they shall arrest them all for harboring a mass-murderer.

‘I don’t like your tone, bub’ exclaims Wolverine, but She-Hulk pushes in front of Logan and says ‘Can it, Shorty! We’ll handle this!’ Vanguard takes She-Hulks approach as an attack, and orders his teammates to retaliate. As the Super Soldiers power up, the Crimson Dynamo shouts ‘Justice for the people! Death to Magneto!’

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Havok, Magneto, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Black Knight III, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Dr. Druid, She-Hulk, Thor (all Avengers)
Darkstar, Titanium Man II, Ursa Major, Vanguard (all Soviet Super Soldiers)

Crimson Dynamo V

Members of the National Security Council

Mall Security Guard

Bus Driver

Rail yard workers

In Flashbacks


Captain America, Thor

Story Notes: 

This story takes place between Uncanny X-Men #219 - 220, and Avengers (first series) #285 - 286.

Darkstar and the other Soviet Super Soldiers last appeared in Rom #45 - 46, where they became super heroes independent of the state.

The Lorna that Havok refers to is of course Lorna “Polaris” Dane.
Storm lost her powers after being shot by Forge’s neutralizer gun. [Uncanny X-Men #185]

Asteroid M was destroyed when Warlock crashed into it as he was coming to Earth. [New Mutants (first series) #21]

Magneto took over Cape Citadel in X-Men (1st series) #1, before overthrowing the government of Santo Marco in X-Men (1st series) #4. He took on Thor in Journey Into Mystery #109. Magneto was reduced to infancy in Defenders (first series) #16. Captain America fought Magneto in Captain America (first series) Annual #4, and Magneto imprisoned the X-Men in X-Men (1st series) #112 - 113. The devastating incident in Russia took place in Uncanny X-Men #150, and Magneto’s “trial” took was supposed to be held in Uncanny X-Men #200, but was crashed by Fenris.

Nazi leader Hitler was not brought to trial because he committed suicide.

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