This week in Avengers vs. X-Men: The Avengers attack a school, Wolverine learns that the best thing he does isn't killing teenage girls, and Captain America helps the X-Men stay in the spotlight.
If you are new to the wonder that is Super Reads, here's how this works: I read a Marvel Event comic book (in this case, Avengers vs. X-Men) and then I write it all down, spoiling the hell out of it. I give you a nutshell of what happened in the comic, flesh it out a little bit more with some bullet points, and then just dive right in with a far too detailed look at how everyone in comics is a moron. It's magical.
So I read the comics and then I write about them. It's something simple and easy that I attempt to make way too complicated.
This ain't my first rodeo. I've been covering Marvel events since Secret Invasion, back when I was a wide-eyed young fanboy with hope for the future. :) You can read about it all in the massive Super Reads section on the site.
We'll get to the comics in one small moment. First, we need to talk about a couple of things.
CAPTAIN AMERICA IS RIGHT. There, I said it. Now, I'll clarify. In a past edition of Super Reads, I said Cap was a moron because his plan basically came down to saving the world by taking the bait (Hope) off-planet. This seemed like a foolhardy thing to do, because there was no proof that the Phoenix Force wouldn't just burn through the Earth before proceeding to wherever the Avengers stashed Hope.
It turns out I forgot about the Moon.
Now, I'm not saying that bringing Hope to the Moon is a great idea. That'll be revealed in AvX #5. I'm saying that taking her to the Moon, which turns out to be where Hope wanted to go, seems to be close enough to the Earth to get the Phoenix Force's attention so it's not going to go burn our home planet before finding Hope. It could very well do that AFTER finding Hope but that's what future issues will prove wrong. Or right. We've got a long way to go.
CYCLOPS IS RIGHT. There, now I've said that. I suppose you expect me to clarify. Fine.
Cyclops' big plan is to have Hope become the host for the Phoenix Force and then she can use all of her cosmic powers to restart the mutant race. This puts the entire Earth in danger but that seems to be the case anyway.
Well, it turns out the only hope for Earth to live one more day is for SOMEONE to host/dance/be a red-head when the Phoenix Force arrives. This is basically the whole point of the New Avengers storyline going on right now. The Phoenix has been to the Earth some three hundred years ago and all signs point to the Earth being saved because the then-current Iron Fist was able to host the cosmic firebird.
So if Hope DOESN'T become the Phoenix-host, the planet Earth dies. Whether this also leads to a resurgence in the world's mutant population is what future issues of AvX may or may not tell us. As I've said, we've got a ways to go.
Wolverine and the X-Men #11
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Nick Bradshaw
Inkers: Walden Wong, Nick Bradshaw, & Norman Lee
Editor: Nick Lowe
Click HERE to see Super Read Wolverine and the X-Men #10!
The issue in a nutshell:
X-Man fights Avenger all over the world to find Hope but she's hangin' out with Wolverine trying to find a spaceship. After an encounter with the Shi'ar Death Commandos, Wolverine realizes that he'll never be able to kill Hope and contacts Cap, letting the Star Spangled Hero know that Hope is heading off-world.
This issue by bullet points:
• Warbird attempts to get Kid Gladiator off of Earth before the Phoenix arrived. The kid has other ideas and ejects from the spacecraft to head back down to Earth.
• Red Hulk and a contingent of Avengers take on Iceman, Angel, and Psyloche near Wundagore Mountain. Oh, Rachel is fighting some other Avengers in Wakanda.
• Wolverine remembers how he couldn't kill the Phoenix back during the Dark Phoenix Saga. Now, he's wondering if he can kill his new partner, Hope, when the time comes.
• The Shi'ar Death Commandos destroy Hope's Blackbird. Logan and Hope both pops some claws to fight the aliens.
• Iceman, Angel, and Rachel seem to be winning their respective battles.
• Flaw guts Hope. Colony starts devouring Wolverine. AvX ends prematurely.
• No, not really. Hope gets an assist from the Phoenix (still not on Earth but close enough for Hope to do the flaming bird thing). Wolverine is freed during Hope's attack and he wonders if now's the time to kill her.
• But, no, he decides he can't do it. Instead, he calls up Captain America to tell the Avenger what's going on.
• Gladiator arrives at the school, looking for his son.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
If you read Avengers vs. X-Men #4, you probably had the same question I had: Why did Wolverine have a change of heart? I mean, Cap booted him off the Quinjet at the end of AvX #3 because Logan would NOT give up on the idea of killing Hope Summers. That runs contrary to pretty much the entirety of AvX #4 where Wolverine not only doesn't kill the potential Phoenix host, he helps get the girl off-world, and even contacts Captain America so that the Avengers can be waiting for them on the Moon.
Well, there's actually an answer to this question and it's enclosed in this very issue!
But before we get to it, we find that Hope and Wolverine aren't the only ones trying to get off of Earth. One of the students at the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters is Lord Kubark, the son of the Shi'ar Majestor, Gladiator. Most people know him as Kid Gladiator. He's a snotty kid. Anyway, the Phoenix is coming and that means any crown princes of a galactic empire that currently lives on Earth is probably going to need removing from the planet.
Accomplishing this task is Kid Gladiator's loyal bodyguard, Warbird. The Shi'ar was given orders from Gladiator himself to get his son off the planet. Without an available spaceship of her own, Warbird ends up stealing the spacecraft from the Jean Grey School. After knocking out Lord Kubark with a drug-laced meal, Warbird gets underway.
Kid Gladiator wakes up before the ship has gotten too far away from Earth. While he's been looking forward to getting off this backwards planet ever since arriving, Kubark hates the idea of running from a fight. He hits the Emergency Escape Pod to get away from the ship and then smashes it open before re-entry (I'm guessing he did this so that he wouldn't cause any permanent harm to the spacecraft and put Warbird's life in danger).
So you haven't seen the last of Kid Gladiator. I can tell you aren't surprised.
Meanwhile, Avengers vs. X-Men is happening all over the world! We leap from battlefield to battlefield in quick succession just to give readers a snapshot of what's going on. Captain America and Giant-Man battle Gambit and Magik in the Savage Land (Well, Cap does-- Pym looks like he's just posing in the background). Thing and Luke Cage fight Namor, Sunspot, and Hepzibah in Tabula Rasa. Spider-Man and Spider-Woman fight Dazzler and Colossus in Latveria. Stuff is happening, people!
Now, there are two battlefields that we're going to pay specific attention to, and that's because they both involve regular cast members of Wolverine and the X-Men. The first one is Wundagore Mountain, where Red Hulk, Hawkeye, and Dr. Strange are fighting Psylocke, Iceman, and Angel. The second one is Wakanda, which sees Black Widow, Iron Fist, and Black Panther fighting Storm, Rachel Summers, and Dr. Nemesis. The excuse for all of these fights is that the locations came up on Cerebra (the X-Men's mutant detector) as possible locations for Hope Summers. So Avengers and X-Men both converge and fight while looking for the potential host for the Phoenix Force.
Of course, Hope isn't in any of those locations. She scrambled her mutant signature, giving Cerebra a bunch of false options while keeping her real location a mystery. That allowed her to catch up with Wolverine in Antarctica and convince the Canucklehead that helping her get to the Moon would be a better option than just killing her. Why Wolverine? Because Hope wants the killing machine along just in case taking on the Phoenix turns out to be a bad idea. Logan's the only dude she can trust will kill her.
Or... CAN he? Right now, Wolverine is asking himself that very question while reliving a specific part of the original Dark Phoenix Saga. This is the part where Phoenix begged him to kill her and he couldn't do it. It was a fleeting moment and when it was over, the Dark Phoenix went back to her own crazy, murderous ways.
Regrets? Logan has a few.
But right now, it's still business as usual. The two mutants are trying to get to the Moon as another precaution against the Phoenix thing going out of control. To do that, they need a spaceship and Logan happens to know where to find one. It's at a certain AIM facility that the Avengers were planning to bust up later in the week if this AvX thing got dull. They're pretty close to it and are preparing to murder a few scientists who think the beekeeper look is going to make a comeback.
Instead, their Blackbird gets his by Krait (the bird-like guy), one of the many Shi'ar Death Commandos. The aircraft almost immediately crashes into the ground. Once the ship is on the ground, the Shi'ar Death Commandos' spokesman, Flaw (he's the War Skrull), gives the two mutants an ultimatum: if the "Phoenix Witch" gives herself over for execution, the Death Commandos promise not to kill anyone else.
You might be wondering how Hope survived the crash. Wolverine is one thing. He survives everything and has a healing factor to fix all of the damage. Hope, on the other hand, has the ability to copy any other mutant's power. For example: right now, she's copying Logan's healing factor. There. Mystery solved.
That's just a show starter. For her next trick, she copies the claws. It's time to get this party into full gear.
While Wolverine and Hope slice up some Death Commandos, we move over to the AvX fight on Wundagore Mountain. It looks like Red Hulk and Iceman have started a one on one on one on... OK, there are a lot of Icemen at the moment. They're all fighting Rulk.
We've seen the Red Hulk punch the Watcher in the face. We've seen him take on Thor. Rulk is one of the big heavies of the Marvel Universe. And he's fighting Iceman, who is not.
Except a funny thing happened to Iceman while I wasn't looking. In the pages of Wolverine and the X-Men, Bobby Drake became COMPETENT. I mean, Iceman has always been a pretty good super-hero. It's just that everyone has always told him that he wasn't using his abilities to their full potential. Even Emma Frost on day one began using Drake's powers better than he ever could. It looks like full potential has finally been reached for everyone's favorite ice-based super-hero.
Being in a cold place like Wundagore Moutain certainly helps.
Not only is Rulk getting attacked by multiple talking Icemen, one giant version of Bobby Drake slams the Red Hulk straight into the ground. As per usual, Bobby does this all while quipping about how many Hulks there are and how there's still only one Iceman. This is extra funny since there are actually a number of Icemen fighting the Red Hulk. Good times.
While Iceman is teaching Red Hulk a lesson, Dr. Strange is facing off against Magneto and Hawkeye is getting punched in the face by Angel. That covers this battle for the moment.
In Wakanda, Iron Fist and Rachel Grey/Summers get into a philosophical fight while also getting into a physical fight. The philosophical one is like every internet debate you've ever read so we're going right on in to briefly talk about the physical fight. Martial arts vs. telekinesis. I'm gonna go with the telekinetic who starts off with a very nice lead.
Somewhere near an AIM base, Wolverine and Hope fight the Shi'ar Death Commandos. This isn't an easy fight. The Death Commandos have been sent to murder a lot of potential Phoenix Hosts. There was even that one time where they were sent to kill every member of the Grey family. While that is basically just killing soft pink humans, it's also a situation that quickly involved the X-Men. So, y'know, they were strong enough to walk away from that fight even after all those deaths.
Wolverine and Hope start strong. It's STAYING strong that's the problem. The two are divided and conquered. Flaw cuts Hope through with some shapeshifted claws. Wolverine is attacked by a swarm of alien bugs called Colony. Both of the mutants are at death's door. Well, Hope is, at least. Killing Logan is next to impossible.
To save the day, here comes the Phoenix. No, the cosmic entity isn't on Earth yet. It's just close enough to lend some of its power to its potential host. Hope burns with Phoenix power, healing her wounds and giving her some extra flaming blasts to deal with these Shi'ar hitmen.
While attacking Flaw and Colony, Hope frees Wolverine. Logan, seeing Hope lash out with all of this Phoenix power with a gleeful look in her eyes, decides that now is the time to kill her, before things get worse. He pops his claws and moves in...
... and then realizes that he can't do it. He can't kill a kid. Wolverine looks over the damage that this flare-up caused (which is pretty impressive) and he still can't bring himself to kill Hope. He thinks to himself that it's not because of Jean because Hope isn't really anything LIKE Jean Grey. It's because she's just a kid.
Back at the Jean Grey School, Kitty Pryde is still trying her damndest to have class even though every student is focusing on their mobile devices and watching live coverage of the AvX event. Kitty demands that everyone turn in their tablets. There will be no more of that Avengers vs. X-Men nonsense. While the class settles into some textbook reading, Kitty takes a glance at the battles. She's got some friends out there, after all.
In Wakanda, Rachel has Iron Fist on the ropes and delivers a blast to the Black Panther when T'challa tries to interfere. On Wundagore Mountain, Red Hulk's fight with Iceman is interrupted by Kid Gladiator, who promptly gives Rulk a punch to the face.
In the Savage Land, Captain America punches Gambit into submission just in time to recieve that phone call from Wolverine. Logan's made his choice. It turns out this call didn't happen while Hope slept on the Blackbird, as Wolverine originally described. After placing the call, Wolverine rejoins Hope for a trek to that nearby AIM base.
One more time back at the Jean Grey School. It looks like our poor students won't be reading much out of their books. That's because Gladiator has arrived. Not KID Gladiator. We're talking Shi'ar Majestor, Gladiator. He's looking for his son and he's mad as hell.
X-Men Legacy #267
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
Click HERE to see Super Read X-Men Legacy #266!
The issue in a nutshell:
Avengers fight X-Men around the Jean Grey School. Thanks mostly to Rogue, the Avengers are defeated. Cyclops' X-Men have found some new recruits.
This issue by bullet points:
• Iron Man fights Rogue over the Jean Grey School.
• Avengers vs. X-Men all over the JGS.
• More fighting.
• Still more fighting.
• Rogue decides to use the more damaging version of her powers, touching Avengers and rendering them unconscious. This kind of backfires when she absorbs Moon Knight's schizophrenic personality.
• Kitty Pryde phases through Iron Man, trying to destroy his mechanical components. This somehow fails. Pryde learns that Tony Stark isn't occupying the armor.
• Rogue demands a moment of clarity in her mind and then tears Iron Man's armor to shreds.
• Which is pretty awesome.
• With all of the Avengers defeated, Rogue and some other X-Men decide to join the big fight.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
Oh man, this fight escalated quickly! After X-Men Legacy #266, the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters has become yet another battle ground in the AvX conflict. Don't expect anyone to try to talk this out. It's too late for reasonable solutions. The Avengers have called in heavy hitter, Iron Man, and he's here to kick ass and chew bubble gum.
He's not out of bubble gum. Iron Man can do at least two things at the same time.
Our main character, Rogue, remembers her first fight with Shellhead back in Avengers Annual #10. Since she couldn't steal his powers (no exposed flesh), Rogue ended up rabbiting. This time, things'll be different.
This time, Iron Man will blast Rogue into the ground.
And now, it's Avengers vs. X-Men time. Moon Knight, She-Hulk, the Falcon, and Iron Man against Gambit, Rogue, Mimic, and Cannonball. Falcon, the most reasonable Avengers on the scene and the dude who called in Iron Man, still thinks they can talk this down from crazy but Iron Man doesn't think so. It's Mutie versus Hero and no one gets to sit on the sideline. Being the biggest hitter in the room (OK, they're actually outside), Iron Man is the dude to beat. In ten seconds, he's already taken out Cannonball with a sonic attack.
After smacking down She-Hulk, Rogue decides that the only way she's going to beat Iron Man is to use her powers in the old school way. If you haven't kept an eye on X-Men Legacy, you may not be aware that Rogue has pretty much full control over her abilities now. She can touch people and NOT absorb their powers, personality, etc, she can touch them and DO any of that while not causing any loss of consiousness to her "victim," or she can use them in the older, more damaging way. That's when she absorbs everything and knocks the affected person out, possibly into a coma. Whatever option she goes with, Rogue can also "release" these abilities at will.
The first Avenger to taste old school Rogue power is poor Falcon. He's just in the middle of a fight with Mimic when Rogue grabs him by the arms. Powers, personality and all that gained. Falcon: unconscious.
So what's Falcon's power? Talking to birds! Iron Man is surrounded by a flock of nondescript birds. Probably pidgeons. While he's dealing with feathers, Rogue flies up and kicks Iron Man to the ground. She tells Mimic to handle the Golden Avenger while she faces She-Hulk one last time.
And that means Shulkie is the next victim of Rogue's mutant touch. Rogue absorbed She-Hulk's abilities earlier but left the personality alone. Now, that personality is just another thing she'll have to deal with as Jennifer Walters passes out.
That personality proves difficult to get under wraps. This is why her first target turns out to be fellow mutant, Frenzy. It's a good thing Cargill is super durable.
While all that awesome action is going on, Chamber and Husk bring in the students that played a hand in sparking this whole fiasco. Glob Herman, Match, and Hellion ran out into what they THOUGHT was a fight at the end of last issue. Match lit Glob Herman on fire and the image freaked She-Hulk out so badly that the Avenger ended up punching the mutant student right into Hellion. While Glob and Match appear to be alright, Hellion's ears are bleeding and Husk theorizes that an eardrum probably ruptured. The injured student is brought to the Med-Bay.
Co-Headmistress, Kitty Pryde, listens to Paige and Jono's report about the fight and the kids and phases out of the School (it's been locked up tight) to join the action.
Mimic's held Iron Man at bay for just a little longer than we all expected him to last. Rogue finally tags into that fight but wonders if she can keep it together long enough to end this battle.
On the ground, Remy faces off against Moon Knight. MK is just playing with Gambit long enough for the mutant thief to expose some of the vigilante's skin with some kinetically charged cards. With that done, Moon Knight leaps away from this encounter and right at Rogue. Spector is offering her his powers... and his psyche.
Rogue doesn't even think twice. She should have. Moon Knight is an insane schizophrenic who has a lot of other super-hero personalities running around his brain. Now, so does Rogue and that's ADDING to She-Hulk and Falcon. She drops to her knees with the commotion going on in her mind.
And that leaves Iron Man and Gambit. We all know how that fight's going to end but it's amazing that Remy is able to move faster than Iron Man's armor can register. Stark switches to his unibeam, giving Gambit no room to dodge.
So that's over, right? Nah. Rogue hasn't pulled herself together yet but seeing Lebeau downed gives her a big reason to want to punch Iron Man. Unfortunately, her mind is still divided on HOW to fight Shellhead so after one punch her indecision gets her on the receiving end of a couple repulsor blasts.
In another section of the school grounds, Kitty Pryde is catching up with Frenzy, who's just waking up after Rogue's earlier attack. Frenzy tells Pryde to go back inside the school and leave the fighting to those with more obvious combat powers. Kitty mentions that she's got a pretty good chance of taking Iron Man out since her phasing ability has the added bonus of disrupting electronics when she passes through them. One Fastball Special later and the Co-Headmistress is soaring right through the Golden Avenger.
It doesn't work.
In fact, it seems to have done more harm to Kitty than Iron Man. What it ALSO did was get Pryde a first hand look at the dude inside the suit. It's not Tony. It's not anyone. The armor is empty. Stark is piloting it by remote... or it's running on an Artificial Intelligence. That means that Rogue doesn't have to worry about killing anyone when tearing the armor to shreds.
That's good because while Kitty explains this to Rogue, Shellhead has been busy putting Frenzy right on the ropes.
Those voices are still running through Rogue's brain so she yells at them all to shut up. Before Iron Man can punch Frenzy into oblivion, Rogue punches straight through the armor. She follows this up with some tearing, shredding, and general smashing. The point is, the armor is beaten.
Gambit runs up to make sure that Rogue is alright... and mostly to make certain that Rogue is ROGUE. The Avengers are loaded back into their Quinjet and the ship is sent back to Avengers Tower on autopilot. Kitty starts telling the staff what the implications are for forcibly ejecting their Avenger chaperones but Rogue tells her not to bother. They were never neutral. They just wanted to believe neutrality was possible.
I guess it wasn't. Rogue and some of the other X-Men are now fully involved in this whole confrontation. Gambit reminds Rogue that the REAL Iron Man wouldn't have been defeated quite as easily as this empty armored suit but she seems nonplussed. The armor was, after all, just a warm up to the main event. And all those powers? Rogue's keeping them for now. She'll need them for the road ahead.
So, after this fight, Gambit heads right into Avengers vs. X-Men #4 so he can lose a fight with Captain America. I guess we'll have to see where Rogue shows up.
Captain America and the Falcon #172
Writers: Steve Englehart & Mike Friedrich
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Vince Colletta
Editor: Roy Thomas
The issue in a nutshell:
After escaping from Moonstone and the Sanitation Squad, Captain America and the Falcon head to Nashville, Tennessee to look for the group that is trying to ruin Cap's good name. Instead, they run into Banshee and the X-Men.
The issue by bullet points:
• Moonstone has defeated Captain America and the Falcon but before he can murderize them, his boss, Quentin Harderman, tells him why that would be a bad idea and then orders him to take the unconscious bodies off so he can turn them in to the authorities in front of the media.
• While Moonstone is contacting the news teams, Cap and Falcon wake up and escape.
• Realizing that they have a tenuous reason to go to Nashville, Tennessee, Steve and Sam go hitchhiking.
• When they finally reach Nashville, the two heroes inadvertently get into a fight with Banshee.
• Cap and Falc are on the ropes when their rescue comes from Cyclops. Banshee's scream incapacitates Scott Summers and the Irish Mutant flies away.
• Steve and Sam are telekinetically lifted by Marvel Girl straight to Professor Xavier, who explains that they share a common foe and it's a good idea to team up against them.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
We've move ahead to April 1974. The X-Men's book was still caught in reprint mode but that didn't prevent the X-Men from making appearances in OTHER books. This one, for example. Notice the writer up there? Yeah, it seems like Steve Englehart was pretty much the steward of the X-Men while they languished in reprints. It makes sense. Englehart had left a lot of dangling plots from his run on Beast's solo book and last year's Avengers story and he had to try his best to close them.
Captain America was going through some crazy problems of his own. The Sentinel of Liberty was a wanted man. Lies had been spread about Cap through the media and we all know that Steve Rogers has a blind spot when it comes to defending himself to the public. It all lead to his arrest on some trumped up charges after he had been captured by pretend good guy, Moonstone. To further run Cap's good name through the mud, the invisible bad guys arranged for Captain America to be violently removed from the prison (Cap was knocked unconscious during the fight in order to break the Sentinel of Liberty out of prison). When Steve came to, he freed himself from the bad guys (they called themselves the Sanitation Unit and they did too much talking when they thought Rogers was still unconcsious). Instead of dutifully returning to his incarceration, Cap used the opportunity to free himself, eventually teaming up with his partner, Falcon, to investigate a lead.
That lead ended up bring Moonstone back into the picture and the pretend hero defeated both Cap and the Falcon with ease.
And now you're kind of caught up except if you think Moonstone is the current hero/villain Karla Sofen. It's not. Moonstone is a man, for one thing. Sofen ended up stealing this guy's power source later on down the line.
Revelling over the defeat of Captain America and the Falcon, Moonstone is just about ready to kill the heroes when his boss, Quentin Harderman tells him that this is a monumentally stupid thing to consider. While Cap is on the outs with the public, murder would probably sway opinion back in Cap's favor and ruin the bad guys' long standing plans. Instead of death, it looks like another stay in prison is in Captain America's future (and Falcon, too!). But not here. Moonstone drags the heroes away and is ordered to get a hold of some sympathetic newsmen to be on hand to witness Captain America and the Falcon's defeat.
Moonstone somehow manages to get the two unconscious heroes all the way to Central Park without gathering any attention. Greeting him there are the members of the Sanitation Squad who are to guard the heroes until Moonstone can return with the press. I'll give you a hint: Cap and Falcon aren't going to remain idle for too long and the Sanitation Squad SUCK at keeping the heroes under "guard."
Was that too vague of a clue?
When Moonstone returns, he's just in time to be bowled over by the escaping heroes. Moonstone is too afraid of publicly losing to Captain America to chase the heroes down for another encounter so he's gonna have to come up with an excuse as to why he's not bringing in a Star Spangled Avenger when the media arrives. He decides that... he lost a fight to Captain America. But it's cool because Cap totally attacked him from behind. To prove it, Moonstone has one of the Sanitation Squad hit him on the back of his head. They'll totally see the bump through his headgear.
Anyway, Steve has used this time to analyze all the evidence he has to find out where he should head next. He remembers that Moonstone uses random country music lines in his dialogue and claims to have gotten "laser power" from a "museum moon rock." Clearly, they need to go to Nashville, Tennessee. The city apparently has a moon rock in a museum. Oh, and country music.
Captain America is dead wrong on this lead but it doesn't stop him and Sam taking off their masks, putting trenchcoats over their costumes, and hitching a ride all the way to Nashville. The poor truck driver that picks them up is cheerful at first but facing Steve's somber and unspeaking demeanor really wigs him out. It's a long and rainy trip to Nashville.
After arriving in Nashville, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson walk the streets of the capital of country music, having no real plan now that they've gotten here. They aren't the only costumed adventurers running around with a hasty coat pulled over their outfits. Sean Cassidy is also in town. The Irish mutant is in hiding, spending his days and nights at country music concerts. When he accidentally bumps into Captain America, part of Steve's costume is revealed. Sean immediately thinks that Cap, a wanted criminal, is after him.
So it's fight time.
Watch as Sean makes Captain America and Falcon look like rank amateurs! No, really, Banshee's sonic scream turns out to be an irrepressible force that downs both heroes.
To the rescue: Cyclops! Scott Summers fires off a warning optic blast but he makes it clear that he'd rather be working WITH Banshee than against him. Well, that's just too bad because Sean's sonic scream works just as well on X-Men as it does on Avengers. After forcing Cyclops to his knees with a high pitched scream, Banshee flies off.
Captain America and the Falcon finally recover from Banshee's scream and find themselves lifted high into the air. This is the work of Marvel Girl who is bringing the two adventurers in for a private chat with X-Men mentor, Professor Charles Xavier.
Professor X explains that mutants are disappearing and that he requires Captain America's help to solve this mystery. Since Steve is in the middle of his own headache, he tries to graciously decline the offer for a team-up. That's when Xavier mentions that they share a common enemy. The secret group that is capturing mutants is also trying to destroy Captain America.
That settles it. Team-up!
Captain America and the Falcon #173
Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Vince Colletta
Editor: Roy Thomas
The issue in a nutshell:
Namor, Hepzibah, and Sunspot are sent to Tabula Rasa to find Hope. Instead, they find a big fight with Luke Cage, Thing, and She-Hulk. Namor and Thing's rematch makes the locals think the two are getting ready to mate.
The issue by bullet points:
• Cyclops sends the X-Men out to find Hope.
• The Tabula Rasa team is comprised of Namor, Hepzibah, and Sunspot.
• Namor and Hepzibah decide to have sex after all the fighting.
• Luke Cage crashes his Quinjet in Tabula Rasa after something slimy flies into the jet intake.
• Oh. Someone forgot that She-Hulk is also on stake-out duty at the Jean Grey School.
• We're all surprised when the X-Men attack the Avengers! I know! Shocking.
• Namor handily beats Luke Cage and then starts up against Thing for a little rematch action.
• The fight is interrupted when a local scientist thing tells Namor and Thing that it wants to watch their mating ritual to its conclusion.
• Magik arrives to collect Namor (but leaves Hepzibah and Sunspot). There's a battle on the Moon that requires the Sub-Mariner's attention.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
OK, a couple things before we get any further into this issue. One: Cyclops and Marvel Girl are back in their school uniforms. Two: Captain America and the Falcon hitchhiked their way to NASHVILLE. It's in Tennessee. That'll be important in a few pages. Three: Cap and the Falcon have just officially teamed-up with the X-Men. Four: The X-Men are down to two members and one mentor. Only Cyclops and Marvel Girl are present. The whereabouts of Iceman and Angel will be told in time. Actually, so will Beast but he's not part of the team at this point so it didn't NEED to be explained.
Five: before Xavier can explain anything, Nick Fury, SHIELD, and the police show up to arrest Cap for his horrible crimes.
Fury isn't here SPECIFICALLY to arrest Captain America. He and SHIELD are here for other reasons that might be revealed in the future. Cap's flight over Nashville via Marvel Girl's telekinesis was just hard to ignore.
It also gives us a good fight to start off our issue. That's always fun.
Unfortunately, the numbers are against them. Sooner or later, they'll get captured and that's not good for a team-up. To prevent this, Xavier tells Cyclops to direct his optic blasts at ground level. This... this causes a fire somehow... and by "somehow," I mean that someone forgot that Cyclops' optic beams don't generate heat. Maybe their were matches on the ground and his concussive beam basically "struck" them all? You can try your own version of a No-Prize.
Whatever. The fire separates our heroes from the law. The X-Men and their allies escape, leaving Nick Fury to wonder if Captain America is ACTUALLY guilty. He also admits to himself that he doesn't LIKE Cap.
Finding a deserted mine tunnel, Xavier and company head on inside so that Professor X can catch us all up to speed on what's going on.
Nutshell: after the X-Men's last adventure with the Avengers in Avengers #110 and 111, the X-Men were still missing one specific X-Man: Angel. Before searching for Warren Worthington III, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, and Iceman head to the American Southwest to pick up quasi-X-Men, Lorna Dane and Havok. Searching Alex's cabin, the X-Men find the place long abandoned. In response to THIS, Xavier split up his remaining X-Men up like they were in a bad horror movie. They went looking for other mutants and couldn't find them. Iceman disappeared. The Professor brought his remaining two X-Men back together in order to attempt recruiting Banshee but that obviously didn't work out.
Mutants are being captured. That much is clear. How this connects to Captain America is a little less clear. Xavier sums it up pretty well. The few clues he's managed to put together have revealed that their enemies, the Secret Empire, have also been attempting to ruin Captain America's reputation. The Secret Empire is known for using advertising and propaganda in its play for world domination. The company that puts these campaigns together is... Quentin Harderman.
Harderman's the guy who's led the smear effort against Cap so it all fits together nicely. Captain America again pledges himself the the X-Men's cause.
Luckily, Xavier's better at gathering clues than Steve Rogers. Remember Linda Donaldson from Beast's solo adventures? We saw her when we covered Beast's fight with Iron Man. She was Hank McCoy's girlfriend but also an evil agent for the Secret Empire. Xavier only suspects the lady's involvement but his intuition is usually pretty good.
We move over to Dallas, Texas. Linda Donaldson transferred to this Brand Corporation facility after masterminding the capture of the Beast by the Secret Empire (off panel). She still doesn't suspect that Hank McCoy is the Beast, and just thinks that her boyfriend was just terrified by all of the goings on at the Long Island Brand Corp. Facility and disappeared. At the Dallas branch, Linda plays the same game she did with Hank McCoy but with THREE men instead of just the one.
And now you're caught up on what she's been up to since we last saw her. She drives from the Dallas facility to a pre-ordained location in order to contact her superiors in the Secret Empire. The SE has ordered her to steal a particular device from the Brand Corp plant, the Electron-Gyro, but she's so far been unable to procure it. To make up for this failure, Donaldson tells her masters about two other mutants, Cyclops and Banshee, who were seen "downtown" earlier in the day.
Because Nashville, Tennessee is the same place as Dallas, Texas. A quick Google map search tells me that these two cities are 662 miles apart. I'm just sayin'.
It seems like Linda's superiors are equally unimpressed with Donaldson's geographic failure. They tell her that they are aware of Banshee and Cyclops' recent appearance and that it doesn't make up for her failure to acquire the Electron-Gyro.
Linda returns to her apartment complex and is confronted by dangerous mutant, Cyclops! Don't worry for the poor human, though. There are two upstanding citizens in the area to help free her. It's actually just Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson wearing some hobo disguises. After fending off Cyclops' attacks and scaring the dirty mutie away, Steve and Sam check on Linda, making sure to work in that they're unemployed. They also seem uninterested in WHY Cyclops was attacking her. These are both qualities that Linda appreciates in her minions.
That's why an offer for work comes Steve and Sam's way later on that night in a nearby Dallas slum. They are met by the Secret Empire's Number 13 who offers them ten thousand dollars to steal the Electron-Gyro at Brand Corporation. Five thousand straight up. After getting details on security at the complex, Steve and Sam head off to do a little breaking and entering.
And just to make things more stupid, they decide to steal the Electron-Gyro in their super-hero costumes. Everyone, collectively facepalm. Rogers' reasoning is that someone in there might still respect him and might let them getaway... or, y'know, LOSE that respect. Plus, when security eventually CATCHES THEM IN THE ACT, it basically blows their entire game.
So Captain America and the Falcon break into Brand Corporation and steal the Electron-Gyro. Unfortunately, they accidentally trip an alarm and have to fight their way through Brand Security to escape the building. When they've fought their way out, it's only Factory Boss, Mr. Black, that prevents this from hitting the evening news and the police radio. It turns out... Captain America left a NOTE.
Are you still facepalming? Good. I didn't want to be the only one.
Mr. Black claims to believe in Captain America's innocence and orders the security team to let him go, and not to report this incident. The guards don't like their orders, but they DO listen.
After Steve and Sam bring the Electron-Gyro to Number 13, the Secret Empire agent brings them by way of a hidden scout craft to the Secret Empire's secret base. Following them are the remaining X-Men. While waiting for Steve and Sam to make their move, Professor Xavier seems doubtful about the heroes' chances for success.
We'll cover the rest of this adventure in the next article. For now, let's call this one done. Next week brings up the next installment in the mammoth AvX event so you'll want to tune in your internets to get caught up!
Until then: Have a good week!
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