Hi and welcome back to today's mutant versus hero extravaganza!
Here is what I do. 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 Captain America duking it out with Wolverine.
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.
Before we get to the comics, you need to know a couple things.
Utopia is not the only home for the world's remaining mutant population. On the other side of the country is the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning located right on the spot that used to be home to the Xavier School for Higher Learning. It is here that Wolverine and company set up shop after the Mutant Schism.
The difference between Utopia and the Jean Grey school comes down to what to do with the remaining mutant kids. On Utopia, the children are trained for survival and play an active part in defending themselves and their world from... well, everybody. At the Jean Grey School, the children are still taught survival stuff but are not allowed on any battlefields.
This does not mean that they don't fight. The school is entirely a Danger Room. Even the bathrooms. You can face a surprise test for your very survival right in mid-stream.
Most of the adults that live and work as faculty at Wolverine's school are there because they believe in the philosophy that kids should not be involved in combat situations. Some of them are here because they can't stand Cyclops. One or two are just here because they were asked to come.
It's about time to see some loyalties tested.
Wolverine and the X-Men #10
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inkers: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Al Vey, Victor Olazaba
Editor: Nick Lowe
Click HERE to see Super Read Wolverine and the X-Men #9!
The issue in a nutshell:
Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magik visit the Jean Grey School to talk it out with Wolverine. While Scott and Logan can't reach a compromise, the talk spurs some other X-Men to join the cause.
This issue by bullet points:
• Wolverine thinks back on how he fought against his fellow mutants on Utopia just a couple hours ago.
• Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Illyana Rasputin teleport in to talk.
• Everybody fight!
• OK, not really. Cyclops keeps shouting "White Flag" until even Wolverine listens to him.
• Angel tries to reach Heaven. When that doesn't work out very well, Warren is plucked from the sky by Genesis.
• Cyclops and Wolverine's talk reaches its five minute conclusion. Both are still dedicated to their particular side.
• It turns out some of the other X-Men at the Jean Grey School aren't so convinced that the Avengers are right. They openly declare their side.
• The Shi'ar Death Commandos land on Earth and get ready to kill Hope and anyone else who interferes with their mission.
This issue in EXTREME detail:
This issue is really hard to place in continuity. It kinda sorta happens right in the middle of Avengers vs. X-Men #3 in some wierd moment where Logan is able to slip away from the Avengers and get some rest... and alcohol... from his school. It also happens BEFORE Captain America turns on the Canucklehead and kicks him off the Quinjet over the Antarctic.
To start things off, Wolverine remembers back a few hours ago when he was popping his claws in battle against his former comrades on Utopia. Even though he's stalwart in his decision to support the Avengers (and his attempt to kill Hope), Wolverine still has some emotions about his fight against his "family."
This is why we see him back at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, drinking. Good times.
After Logan laments over his involvement in Avengers vs. X-Men to Kitty Pryde, both of them are shocked to find Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magik teleporting onto their doorstep. Wolverine and Shadowcat hit the lawn with Logan ready for a fight.
It's also interesting to see that Cyclops and crew have obviously had a chance to change into fresh, non-battle damaged costumes while Wolverine is still covered in blood and wearing a torn suit.
In another part of the school, Iceman and Rachel Grey-Summers are watching the news and getting a headache. The news is ALL about Avengers vs. X-Men and you can imagine why. If something like this was going down in the real world, you can BET it would be all any news station was talking about. Bobby and Rachel wish they could be involved but Iceman doesn't even want to try and figure out what side he should be on.
In a subject change, Rachel decides to talk about Angel. Recent events in Uncanny X-Force have left Warren Worthington III a complete blank slate. In essence, Warren has died but his body has kept on going with a brand new person piloting it. This guy looks like Angel but that's about the only similarity. It's a brand new personality and it's developing at an incredible rate, showing skills that Warren never had.
Oh, and he thinks he's an actual angel.
This conversation is interrupted when Bobby and Rachel realize that Cyclops and company are on school grounds.
Cyclops isn't here for a fight but that doesn't mean he can avoid one. Wolverine sics... Krakoa on the invading X-Men. That's right, the school grounds are actually Krakoa. While Scott tries to avoid being swallowed, he continues to shout "Truce, dude!" Logan ain't listening so Emma turns to diamond and knocks him to the ground with a nicely placed punch.
Things are about to escalate to the edge of out of control. Iceman and Rachel hit the front lawn looking ready to fight, but it turns out Bobby is just trying to calm down the situation. Before that can happen, Magik uses a spell to burn Iceman... which proves to be painful.
Scott blasts his way out of Krakoa and again yells "White flag!" Eventually, Logan relents and gives Cyclops five minutes to talk it out.
For the rest of the issue, we'll see Scott and Logan walk around the Jean Grey School talking about their differing philosophies. It's a lot like an internet argument because neither of these two is going to change their point of view. Here's the jist for those who haven't been paying attention to AvX:
Cyclops: The Phoenix is coming and it will change the world, restoring the mutant race. Even if it's here to destroy, there's nothing anyone can do about it. Killing Hope? It won't stop the Phoenix from coming. It'll just make the Phoenix mad. Paradise is on the way and Scott is helping it along. He might not make it himself but he wants others to get there.
Wolverine: Grah. Slash. Drink. Snikt. Kill Hope. I forgot that the original Phoenix wasn't really Jean Grey. Cap's gonna kick me out of a plane.
You can tell that this is a very intellectual conversation.
OK, no seriously. Wolverine... isn't the best representative of the Avengers' position because it's not HIS position. Logan wants to kill Hope because she's potentially dangerous. It's like killing an innocent before they do anything bad. At least I can respect Cap for WANTING to save everyone even if his plan is completely terrible. Wolverine? Nah. This guy is absolutely wrong and isn't working well with others.
Meanwhile, Angel is trying to prove he's a real angel by flying up into outer space in an attempt to reach Heaven. Since he's actually a mutant that needs to breathe, that doesn't work out so well.
Back on campus, Genesis is looking up Apocalypse in the Super Villain Database. For those not in the know, Genesis IS Apocalypse but similar to the way that Angel was mindwiped and rebooted, Genesis was deaged and given false memories that resemble that of... well, Superman. So Genesis wants to be a good guy and stands for truth, justice, and the American Way. He sees the physical resemblence between himself and Apocolypse but can't imagine that he could ever be that evil. No, he's obviously NOT Apocalypse...
In one of those special moments, Genesis is the only guy walking outside when an unconscious Angel plummets back to the ground. After using his powers to perform a spectacular save, Genesis checks on Warren. Angel seems to have finally come to grips with the fact that he's NOT a real Angel even though he still SEES himself as one. When Genesis asks what Angel sees when looking at the child Apocalypse, we see what Warren sees: the REAL Apocalypse.
Instead of telling Genesis the truth, Angel goes with a comfortable lie: Goodness. It's all good.
Five minutes have just passed and Wolverine has still not been swayed to Cyclops' way of life. Logan figures Cyclops KNEW he was wasting his time here and wonders why Scott really came to the Jean Grey School. Scott's not gonna admit that Wolverine wasn't his major goal but he DOES suggest that maybe he was also here to recruit some OTHER X-Men. The Uncanny mutants teleport out.
Logan asks Rachel if she was listening in and she admits that, yes, she was. Wolverine doesn't mind. Now everyone knows just what kind of crazy they're up against. He just doesn't know that some of his faculty believe the crazy is HIM.
Specifically: Rachel, Iceman, Gambit, and Chamber are ready to jump ship.
Rachel and Iceman have some very sweet reasons. Marvel Girl is a former Phoenix host and got through the whole experience without blowing up any planets. She's going to go find Hope and help the girl through this ordeal. Iceman still believes in Scott Summers. Bobby didn't come with Wolverine because of any animosity with his former leader. He came because Logan NEEDED him. When this is all over, Drake wants to return and hopes he'll be allowed but right now, Cyclops needs him.
Gambit has a really stupid reason (no southern Avengers) and Chamber is worried about his friends on Utopia.
Wolverine storms off.
This all raises questions for Rachel. It turns out she was a not-so-secret supported of Cyclops since she basically tells Wolverine right here that she's going to work with her dad. I don't know if that alters how she appeared in AvX #3 but it definitely makes me think that Wolverine shouldn't have trusted the intel she gave him in that issue.
Before Iceman can take off, Angel joins him. While Warren is a student at the Jean Grey School, he's also an adult and capable of doing whatever he wants. He has no clue what this battle is about but he desires to help other mutants.
Before Wolverine takes off, he has a talk with Idie Okonkwo which has GOT to be difficult for him. Idie knows that all of this is about Hope and she asks Logan to "make sure nothing happens to her." Before Wolverine can tell her that he tried to kill Hope, his Avengers alarm goes off and he heads off to live out the rest of Avengers vs. X-Men #3.
To end this issue, we see that the Shi'ar Death Commandos have arrived on Earth. They go over their mission.
1. Find and kill the Phoenix Host.
2. Kill any X-Man that gets in the way.
3. Kill whatever else gets in the way.
4. Kill other stuff. Pretend it got in the way.
Sounds like fun for the future!
X-Men Legacy #266
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Rafa Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Editor: Daniel Ketchum
The issue in a nutshell:
The faculty of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning decides whether to stay or go. After Rachel, Angel, and Iceman depart, the Avengers show up to make sure no one else gets involved in the event. This leads to fighting and the appearance of Iron Man.
The issue by bullet points:
• The Jean Grey School faculty meet to decide if they want to get involved in the AvX action or not. Rachel and Iceman decide to go but the rest of the teachers stay at the school at least long enough to get the kids settled.
• During classes, Rogue ends up telling the students why she didn't go off to fight the Avengers...
• Just as a group of Avengers arrives to make sure that no one ELSE joins the hostilities.
• The heroes agree to stay away from campus grounds and out of sight of the students.
• The Avengers begin their stakeout. Frenzy begins her "trying to make an Avenger hit her first."
• And the winning Avenger is... Moon Knight!
• After attacking Frenzy, Moon Knight is smacked into the ground. Rogue runs out to try and stop the fight but some students follow her.
• She-Hulk mistakes one flaming student for a monster and attacks.
• MISTAKE. Rogue finds a reason to haul off on She-Hulk.
• The Avengers call in for back-up: The Iron Man.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
This issue follows up on some decisions made in Wolverine and the X-Men #10 (right above). In that issue, Iceman, Rachel, Gambit, and Angel decided to join Cyclops' fight against the Avengers. This issue starts in the wiggly room right after that one with a faculty meeting at the Jean Grey School. Rachel reiterates why she's going off to war. So does Iceman. Gambit... seems to have changed his mind, opting to stay at the school and try to keep the student body under control.
He's not alone. Most of the other instructors decide to stay at the school. Most want to keep the students calm but some just don't care about the Phoenix or, in Kitty Pryde's case, know just what the Phoenix can do at its worst. Some (Cannonball) leave the option open to join the fight after the kids are all settled.
It looks like only Rachel and Bobby are heading right off into the battlezone but they REALLY try to make Rogue join them. It makes sense. Rogue has FOUGHT the Avengers and won. Alone. Her powers really give her an edge when fighting Avengers. Still, that battle also marked a change in her lifepath. She ended up absorbing all of Ms. Marvel's powers and memories which screwed her up royally for a good twenty years (our time). She has more than enough reasons to not fight that battle again.
After Iceman and Marvel Girl leave for the fight, classes resume. Rogue is teaching History or Social Studies but her students are FAR more interested in this Avengers vs. X-Men broohaha that's going on. In particular, they're wondering why Rogue isn't out there, fighting for the mutant race. In the middle of explaining something like I just did above, another interruption his the Jean Grey School.
The Avengers arrived!
These aren't the main Avengers. In fact, these guys don't serve on any of the twenty Avengers teams. Falcon, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight are all reservists at the moment.
Rogue races out to confront the heroes, ordering her class to stay in the room.
Get ready to basically give up on the Avengers being the good guys in this event. Falcon is actually trying to be reasonable and I can't say that the Avengers don't have a POINT but it's just poor etiquette all around. They are here because some of the faculty has joined the AvX conflict on Cyclops' side. Kitty explains that the teachers are not acting as part of the school but as "independent individuals." In that case, the Avengers are here to prevent any other teacher from going independent.
Again, it all seems perfectly reasonable but it shows a complete lack of trust in the mutant race. These are people that (mostly) planned to sit out the rest of the event and they are still being watched by government sanctioned super-heroes. Tensions are about as high as possible and these three heroes are WAY out of their league here.
To the rescue? Rogue. She calms down the situation and suggests that everyone play nicely. Kitty begrudgingly allows the Avengers to remain but only if they stay one hundred feet away from the facilities, out of sight of the students. Them's the deals and Falcon accepts.
There are still angry people on both sides. Frenzy and Moon Knight, in particular. Moon Knight doesn't trust the mutants. Frenzy is justifiably feeling oppressed and doesn't like this compromise thing, prefering to punch her way through her problems.
The Avengers sit down in their Quinjet, drinking coffee and playing cards. To them, this is a stakeout and that means they just wait until trouble happens. Some of them are better at that than others. She-Hulk is wishing she was more on the front lines. Moon Knight tells her that the frontline might move this way (Hope might come to the school) and if that happens, these three Avengers might find themselves fighting a whole school of super-powered combatants. When that happens, they will definitely need their "secret weapon."
Frenzy walks up to the Quinjet. Falcon and the Avengers walk out to find out why. It turns out the mutant is done teaching for the day and has set herself up to watch the Avengers and maybe pick a fight. Drawing a line in the ground, she pretty much dares one of the heroes to cross the line. Falcon is too smart to fall for this crap and heads back to the Quinjet.
Inside the Jean Grey School, Gambit is trying to figure out a strategy just in case they end up fighting the Avengers outside. He asks Mimic about taking on She-Hulk but learns that a previous encounter with the Hulk nearly ended with Mimic's death from Gamma Radiation poisoning.
Rogue talks to Remy about his "sudden" change. It seems like Gambit is revving for a fight. Remy explains that he doesn't really WANT to fight but that doesn't mean that one isn't gonna happen. He also tells Rogue that her bout of pacifism is pretty admirable and completely understandable but sometimes there are fights that are just going to happen no matter if you want them to or not.
That's when they notice that the kids are all looking out the windows, watching Frenzy pick a fight with the Avengers. To the mutant kids, Frenzy is doing just what THEY want to do: Fight the Power.
Falcon and She-Hulk are both walking back to the Quinjet but Moon Knight isn't as smart. For one, Frenzy is a known criminal and terrorist. Spector would love to arrest her but now is definitely not the time.
Frenzy does a damn good job getting under Moon Knight's skin and it turns out to be REALLY easy. All she has to do is call him crazy and he leaps at her. Uh oh.
Our mutant teacher has been WAITING for this. She sends Moon Knight smashing into the ground with one hell of a punch. She-Hulk jumps to Spector's defense. Rogue races out to try her best to calm this situation down. Some of the students follow her, believing that she's joining in on the fight and wanting to support her. Rogue steals away Frenzy's powers while Falcon pulls She-Hulk away from the fight.
Messing things up is the mutant student, Glob Herman running in on fire, shouting "Mutant Power!!"
She-Hulk freaks out and claps her hands together, putting out Glob's fire and also sending the young mutant reeling backwards into another kid, Hellion. Rogue checks on Hellion who is not moving and covered in blood. She-Hulk tries to explain herself but it just manages to make Rogue more pissed off. Falcon is still trying to calm things down but it's too late for that.
Now, it's time for Rogue to bring the fight right to She-Hulk and Moon Knight. With his teammates under attack, Falcon orders his bird, Redwing, to activate the special device on board the Quinjet. The art isn't superclear here but I believe the device transforms into a teleporter gate?
Whatever the case, out of it comes Iron Man. He's busy working on some sort of Phoenix defense at Stark Tower but in case of emergency, the Avengers were to call him in. Stark isn't here to ask questions, he's here to sort things out. With repulsors.
The New Avengers #26
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Click HERE to see Super Read The New Avengers #25!
The issue in a nutshell:
The Jean Grey Iron Fist is trained in K'un Lun. Leonardo da Vinci shows up and builds a giant telescope thing to get readings off of the Phoenix Force. The Phoenix gets closer to Earth... in the past.
The issue by bullet points:
• Leonardo da Vinci is recruited into Yu Ti's Phoenix Quest... thing.
• The redheaded potential Iron Fist begins her training in K'un Lun.
• Da Vinci arrives in the Immortal City of K'un Lun.
• During training, the redhead lights up with Phoenix powers just like Hope did in AvX #1.
• Da Vinci builds a device that will track and record the Phoenix Force's arrival.
• The redheaded girl becomes the new Iron Fist and speaks words of thanks.
• The Phoenix Force arrives.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
After going through all those bullet points without naming her, I suppose I SHOULD. The redheaded girl that is training to become the Iron Fist and avert the catastrophe of the Phoenix is Fongji. She isn't the Iron Fist YET but is going to be soon... except this has all already happened.
This... is the past. So, no, Danny Rand hasn't been replaced as the Iron Fist but since he's not the first Iron Fist from K'un Lun, this is one of the past holders of the title. Last issue we learned that one of the many Yu Ti's that ruled over the Immortal City of K'un Lun had a vision of the future where the Phoenix Force tried to destroy our planet and the only thing that stood in its way was a redheaded Iron Fist that was able to channel the power of the cosmic firebird. After multiple dreams and several walks through the city, Yu Ti finally found a mute redheaded girl that matched the description from his dreams. She was moved to the temple to begin her training as the new Iron Fist.
So, good times.
We start out this issue with a messenger from K'un Lun, Chan Kong-Sang, recruiting another person to help avert the future visitation of the Phoenix. The person is heavily shadowed but you get ten points if you guessed that this is Marvel's Leonardo da Vinci before turning the page for the big reveal.
Yes, I got ten points.
Leonardo da Vinci starred in Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Nguyen's SHIELD book and is basically played as a super scientist. After hearing about Yu Ti's vision and hearing what's happened so far, da Vinci agrees to take a trip to Tibet to help against the thread of the Phoenix Force.
Let's travel ahead of them to see how Fongji's training is going. She stands before Yu Ti and Lei Kung the Thunderer in the Temple of the Dragon of K'un Lun. Yu Ti tries to get her to speak but, failing that, tells her to attack him. Do SOMETHING. When Fongji hesitates, the August Personage in Jade resorts to some cheap insults to get the redhead riled up. Fongji lunges at the ruler of K'un Lun but a simple side-step maneuver and the future Iron Fist ends up hitting to ground with her face. Some of the other trainees begin to laugh but Lei Kung quiets them and orders Fongji removed from the temple.
In response, she snatches up the Thunderer's knife, gives him a split kick to the head, and makes another attempt at attacking Yu Ti. Even armed, Fongji is nowhere skilled enough to even HIT Yu Ti. The August Personage in Jade grabs her hand and forces her to relinquish the knife.
Yu Ti tells Fongji that she will be trained and will learn to deal with her anger issues. There will be balance within her... but if she really wants her arm broken, it's really up to her. Fongji submits and her training begins.
Meanwhile, Leonardo da Vinci, Chan Kong-Sang, and a few other K'un Lun travellers arrive in the Immortal City.
Leonardo meets with Yu Ti and they both watch over Fongji's training. Are you paying attention? Because if you are, you'll notice that this particular training session mirrors the one seen in Avengers vs. X-Men #1 between Hope and Cyclops. It seems nothing Fongji does will please the Thunderer.
She is understandably frustrated so this ends just like Hope and Cyclops' training did: with a burst of Phoenix fire.
Looks like Yu Ti DID find the right girl.
After that blast of energy, Fongji passes out. Yu Ti confirms that this is the first time she's ever manifested a power signature like this. Leonard da Vinci is intrigued. He asks that some of the other trainees help him build one of his magnificent inventions.
Super science! da Vinci's invention is a highly advanced telescope-like thing. We can imagine some more time has past for it to get to this stage of completion. This device was made to find the cosmic firebird before it arrives on Earth. Leonardo is pretty pumped by this whole thing. Sure, there may be death for the entire planet but da Vinci believes that Yu Ti's vision will come true and that Fongji will be able to channel the Phoenix's powers and save everyone.
We can guess how this turns out. Clearly, the world didn't end hundreds of years ago so Fongji was probably successful. Now, apply that to the current event. It seems the only way you don't get a burnt out Earth is if Hope is there to take on the powers of the Phoenix. Maybe someone like Rachel Grey could do the same. Time will tell.
At some point, Yu Ti brings Fongji to the Scrying Vessel of Bo-Ling. He tells her to clear her thoughts so that the pool can tell her if she's ready. She does that and a ball of water lifts from the pool. Within the orb, a vision of the cosmic battle between the Phoenix and the Dragon of K'un Lun takes place.
Yu Ti believes it's time for Fongji to face... the DRAGON.
This is how a potential Iron Fist's training ends. They face the Dragon of K'un Lun, Shou-Lao the Undying, in battle. If Fongji lives, she will be branded with the mark of the dragon and become the new Iron Fist. Leonardo da Vinci, Yu Ti, and Lei Kung all journey with Fongji to the lair of the dragon and then they wait for her to emerge victorious. Leonardo is a bit taken back by the fact that an actual DRAGON is inside the nearby cave. I guess cosmic firebirds are more believable than dragons?
It takes two days for Fongji to return from her trial. Yu Ti looks like he hasn't moved an inch but the other two are resting when the redhead comes out of the cave. She's wearing her version of the Iron Fist costume and is able to turn her fist into a thing like iron. Before the trio of men, Fongji finally speaks words of thanks to the August Personage in Jade.
So, yeah, not mute. She just doesn't talk.
Nightfall has Leonardo manning his invention and talking to Chan Kong-Sang about what he witnessed on the mountain. Chan is most surprised that Fongji spoke. While trying to express this surprise, Chan is interrupted when Leonardo gets the warning that the cosmic firebird is getting close. It's time to wake everyone and save a planet.
The Avengers #60
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema
Editor: Stan Lee
The issue in a nutshell:
Janet Van Dyne gets married to a mentally unbalanced Hank Pym. That means a gathering of heroes! It also means some villains crash the wedding: the Circus of Crime!
The issue by bullet points:
• Captain America decides to attend Wasp and Yellowjacket's wedding to figure out what the hell is going on.
• Wedding arrangements are made quick-like since this is a REALLY short engagement.
• The Circus of Crime infiltrate Avengers Mansion under the guise of a catering service.
• The heroes of the Marvel Universe are gathered.
• Janet and Yellowjacket tie the knot.
• When Janet cuts into the cake, Princess Python's snake attacks. After it's beaten up, the Avengers send their guests away so they can deal with the rest of the Circus.
• During the fight, Yellowjacket is revealed to be Hank Pym. After the fight is over, Hank explains that he inhaled a bunch of strange chemicals (accidentally) and ended up developing schizophrenia.
• Janet figured this out but decided to take advantage of the situation and marry the man of her dreams.
• Sometimes, the Marvel Universe is REALLY messed up.
The issue in EXTREME detail:
If there's one reason for the whole Marvel Universe to gather, it's at the wedding of two super-heroes. It happened at Reed and Sue's wedding and it happens again at the wedding of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne.
Hank and Jan's wedding is a lot more complicated because only one person knows that Jan is marrying Hank Pym. That would be Janet. Even Hank doesn't know.
Confused? In the previous issue, a brand new hero hit the scene: Yellowjacket. He was a cocky bastard and even though he claimed to be a good guy, he also claimed to have started his career by killing Hank Pym. He even gave details. And then Jan agreed to marry him.
Even more awesome? She doesn't explain herself to any of the Avengers. They're griping but Jan doesn't give them ANYTHING. The reason should be obvious. If she tells them that Yellowjacket is Hank but crazy, they'll try to get him some professional help and there probably won't be a wedding in her immediate future.
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?
Yeah, this isn't Janet's most shining moment.
This is one of those rush weddings before Hank's bout with insanity comes to an end so everything is put together as quickly as possible. That's gonna lead to some problems but nothing the Avengers won't be able to handle.
The active Avengers roster isn't the only one who's surprised by Jan's actions, though. Captain America gets an invitation to the wedding and is startled to see that Janet isn't marrying Hank. Word hasn't got out that Yellowjacket has claimed to kill Pym and even if it had, YJ did it in such an ingenious way that they wouldn't be able to find Goliath's body. When Cap joins the Avengers, they explain it all to him but they are frustrated by the fact that they have no evidence to nail Yellowjacket with the death of Hank Pym. Right now, it's just words and one missing, normally gigantic super-scientist.
After explaining the backstory to the star-spangled Avenger, Hawkeye, Black Panther and Vision welcome the happy bride and groom to Avengers Mansion. Yellowjacket is cocky as ever but the fighting is called off for now to allow Jan a happy wedding day.
In another part of the Mansion, Jarvis is welcoming the minister for the proceedings. After getting the religious man settled, the Avengers' butler runs off to answer the doorbell and let in the caterers. Unfortunately, things are running so last minute that the catering crew has been secretly replaced by... the Circus of Crime!
Yeah, it's a lame villain team for this type of occasion but it seems that every other villain doesn't really give a flying fig that the Wasp is marrying a brand new hero. Even the Circus of Crime isn't that interested in Janet or Yellowjacket. All they know is that events like this seem to attract every other hero in the Marvel Universe and they're looking for some payback on everyone's favorite thunder god, Thor. It seems the god of thunder was that last hero to beat the tar out of the CoC which means he's the last dude on the Circus's hit list.
What's funny is that Thor is just about the only guy who DOESN'T show up for this wedding. Good job, Circus of Crime.
Anyway, the Circus start things off by tying up poor Jarvis and hooking him to the ceiling of the kitchen. Everyone else is so busy, they don't notice that their butler is missing.
And what are they busy with? Well, Janet is getting her wedding dress on with a little help from Sue Richards, and the newest member of the Fantastic Four, the Inhuman, Crystal. While they get her all prettied up for the occasion, Crystal asks the million dollar question: what happened to her love for Hank Pym? Janet confidently answers this question but inside, she's not so certain that her scheming is the right course of action.
Before the ceremony, the rest of the guests gather together and chat. Besides the aforementioned Avengers, we have the rest of the Fantastic Four (Thing, the Human Torch, and Mr. Fantastic), Spider-Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Black Knight, and the reason I'm covering this comic: The X-Men. That makes this an official Avengers/ X-Men get-together! If you notice, in the lower righthand corner, Captain America is chatting it up with Cyclops. Ah... simpler times when those two weren't at each other's throats...
Without any further ado, Janet Van Dyne weds Yellowjacket.
Yeah... Marvel heroes don't know what you're actually supposed to WEAR at a wedding. The ladies are dressed properly but all the dudes are in full costume. It's bizarre. The fact that Yellowjacket can't even unmask and reveal his real identity makes it all the weirder. I suppose there have been stranger weddings and all but it's still one crazy occasion.
When Yellowjacket and the Wasp are officially married, Hawkeye can't stand to be in the same room with the smarmy groom. Clint decides to go into the kitchen to check on the wedding cake. He runs right into the Circus of Crime. Before Barton can sound the alarm, the Circus... beat him soundly.
It's a sad moment for everyone's favorite archer when circus freaks can take him down. If you pay attention to future issues, this was probably leading up to Clint getting rid of his Hawkeye persona in favor of the size changing Goliath one that he would adopt in just two issues. Even this early on, Marvel had trouble justifying an archer in a modern comic book and wanted to move Hawkeye into a more accepted super-hero role. Which I guess would be a giant one? I can't say that's a step in the right direction...
After tying Hawkeye up and hooking him to the ceiling right alongside Jarvis, the Circus of Crime deliver a very special wedding cake to the bride and groom.
Don't worry. It's not poisonous. That would be too fiendish and would actually lead to a death or two. No, they Circus just put Princess Python's gigantic snake inside the cake so that when Janet cuts into it, everyone gets a serpent surprise.
The problem with this is that the whole room is filled with super-heroes. The snake is a threat for about ten seconds and then the Avenger's powers overwhelm the poor reptile. The visiting heroes offer their help in taking down the Circus of Crime (because everyone knows that they're behind this and hiding somewhere in the Mansion) but the Avengers send them all away so that they can take care of business without an audience.
Our heroes don't even have to search out the villains. As soon as the guests leave, the Circus of Crime decides to waltz into the room and attack. Princess Python even scolds them for kicking the crap out of her snake. You know. The one she put in the cake to attack them.
I'll be honest. Every member of the Circus is a mort. Even on their best days. They aren't winning this fight and I'm not going to play-by-play their defeat. What is notable about the battle is that Janet is captured by Princess Python's serpent and Yellowjacket finds himself powerless in freeing his new wife. This causes him to shudder in his impotence and...
Grow. Breaking out of his Yellowjacket suit, the cocky hero is revealed to really be Hank Pym! It's such a surprise!
The rest of the fight is pretty much a cake walk. Hawkeye ends up freeing himself mostly by accident but arrives on the scene after the battle has ended.
And now, there's just enough time to explain what the hell is going on. Hank explains himself. It turns out that he was thinking about Janet and the many reasons why he could never marry her when his carelessness made him drop a bunch of "untested gas" containers on the ground. After breathing them all in, Pym developed a brand new personality who decided that if Hank couldn't marry the Wasp, then someone else would. That dude was Yellowjacket.
Janet figured this out in the previous issue when Yellowjacket kissed her and totally took advantage of Hank's temporary insanity. She's even looked it up and found out that their marriage is totally legal. Somehow. Whatever, they were married. It was weird.
And that's about all I have to say today!
Until next time: Have a good week!