Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

The Mighty Avengers #448 "Reunited" -- An Others Tie-In

Expand Messages
  • ____
    Avengers #448 Reunited Writer: Josh Greer Editor: JM Webmaster: Liam Gibbs Man In Charge: Tawmis Logue Another time and place: Asteroid M I...I don t
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 2, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Avengers #448
      "Reunited"


      Writer: Josh Greer
      Editor: JM
      Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
      Man In Charge: Tawmis Logue


      Another time and place: Asteroid M


      "I...I don't understand this..." Magneto muttered, still shocked by
      the sudden appearance of the Juggernaut. The Juggernaut he'd known
      all these years had once been a friend, an ally. But then, Charles
      Xavier had discovered the crimson gem belonging to the magical
      entity called Cytorrak, and everything had changed. Xavier's crusade
      took on a new shape, now that he had the unlimited power of the
      Juggernaut as his body.

      He used his telepathy to figure out ways to "cure" the world's
      superhumans of their unique abilities. He reverted the Fantastic
      Four to their normal, human qualities. Destroyed the burden of the
      Hulk, which Bruce Banner carried in his psyche. Restored Daredevil's
      sight and robbed him of his radar sense. And from there, it got even
      worse.

      Charles organized an army of mutants. His "X-Men". A force loyal to
      him and the warped, lustful vision of power that had become his
      dream. No more would he envision a world where man and mutant lived
      together in peace. Instead, he created a world where man and mutant
      lived together in fear. Where mutant militia squads patrolled the
      streets, allowing mutants to do as they pleased, while punishing
      humankind for any slight transgressions against Homo-Superior.

      Magneto didn't hold his friend accountable, though. Not entirely.
      Were he in Charles place, he knew that he'd have most likely taken
      the same road. But he also knew that that didn't make it the right
      road. No, what Charles had done with his power was wrong, and he
      needed to be stopped. And that was why Magneto had created Asteroid
      M. A satellite research facility, to find a way to stop the
      unstoppable, and restore the natural equilibrium that had once kept
      the Earth in order.

      Yet, now the Juggernaut stood before him. And it wasn't the
      Juggernaut he knew. This man was none other than his ally, Xavier's
      step-brother, Cain Marko. A man who, not moments before, had been
      ordinary in every way, save his seething anger towards his kin. A
      man that Erik Lensherr counted as a friend. Needless to say, the
      Cain Magneto knew and the Cain before him now were not one and the
      same.

      The Cain Marko that stood before Magneto now was from another world
      entirely. A world where, in their infinite "wisdom", the United
      States government had finally captured him for his criminal past,
      and forced him into the crime-fighting organization, the Avengers. A
      world where the megalomaniacal Magneto had conquered and ruled the
      nation of Genosha, leading it's mutants and mutates against humanity
      in a war to purify the world of humankind. A world where Charles
      Xavier was a crippled telepath, and he was the unstoppable
      Juggernaut.

      "Me neither," Cain replied. "Now yer gonna figure out how ta' send
      me back where I came from, or I'm gonna start takin' this rock apart
      bit by bit." he continued, a sinister grin coming across his face.


      ******


      Yet another time and place: Avengers Mansion


      "Plato, prep the medical bay! Quasar, we need to get him there,
      now!" Otto Octavius, the man known as Doctor Octopus shouted to his
      fellow Avengers.

      "The Medi-bay is ready, Doctor." Plato's wire-framed, holographic
      image confirmed. Flash Thompson--Quasar--was already halfway to the
      sub-basement facility by then, Jarvis not far behind, floating in a
      cocoon of pure, golden light.

      "Sidewinder, get Wong back to his home." the Captain said
      quickly. "Felicia, Harpy....sit tight."

      "Flag-man think Harpy do something else?" the Harpy replied, her
      claws clicking against the cool metal floor, while the Black Cat
      simply sat down, shaking her head. "Cat angry with Flag-man?"

      "No...no, I just...I've got a bad feeling about this, Betty...a
      really bad feeling."

      "So do I." the Harpy replied, her voice taking on a distinctly
      different tone.


      ******


      Back to our world: Avengers Mansion


      "So lemme get this straight, Jarv..." the Grim Reaper began, still
      surprised by what he was hearing. "The Harpy and Doc Ock are
      Avengers, but me...I don't even rate a super-team?"

      "I don't mean to offend you, Eric, I'm simply telling you how my
      world is--"

      "Don't let him give you too hard of a time, Jarvis." the Wasp chimed
      in. "Eric's still new to the team-game here, too. At least, on this
      side of it."

      "Yeah, yeah...pick on the new guy, I see how it is...."

      "Should've seen what we did to Agent when he first joined up." Simon
      replied with a chuckle. "Or Miguel..."

      "I'm sure it was most--" Jarvis began, his sentence stopping short.

      "--uhhhhhhh...." the voice continued. They all noticed it
      immediately. The hollowness, the mechanical whirring that echoed in
      Jarvis' voice was gone.

      "--gonna....now what?" the Juggernaut's voice boomed a split second
      later, as he appeared next to the Grim Reaper, who was on his way to
      the groaning Jarvis' side. Was, until Cain returned. The Reaper's
      face slapped off the armored chest of the newest Avenger, and he
      landed on his butt, staring up at the behemoth. "I know I been
      missin' a while...but I never thought you wuz the huggin' type."
      Cain chuckled, until he noticed the agonizing groan behind him.

      Turn around, Cain saw Jarvis. The butler was half-concious, and
      writhing in pain on the parlor floor, aged hands gripping wildly at
      his chest as though he were trying to pull away some invisible
      force. The symptoms immediately struck a chord in Cain's mind.
      Something he'd seen his uncle go through, just before moving into
      the Xavier Estates. Jarvis was having a heart attack.

      "Move." the Juggernaut roared as Wonder Man knelt next to Jarvis'
      body, shoving him away violently and sending the ionic hero into the
      bookshelves on the other side of the room. Turning his head, Cain
      looked at the Wasp and Eric, pulling away his helmet and revealing
      his orange-red hair. "Wasp, get McCoy."

      "What are you--"

      "Now, dammit!" Cain bellowed again. Jan didn't hesitate, this time,
      shrinking down to size and wisping off towards the labs. Locking
      eyes with the Reaper, Cain grabbed Eric's bio-mechanical hand. "Hold
      his arms down. Tight. Don't cut off the blood, but don't let him
      move."

      "What're you doi--"

      "If I have to repeat myself, you're gonna be takin' your meals
      through a straw. Clear?"

      "Crystal." the Reaper responded, gripping Jarvis' hands tightly, and
      prying them to his sides. Seconds later, the Englishman stopped
      moving. Putting his large index finger to Jarvis' neck, Marko felt
      for a pulse. He pressed lightly, and waited. And waited. And found
      nothing. "What's happening...what're you--"

      "Shut up." Marko replied, placing his head on Jarvis' chest,
      watching the man's stomach and torso, waiting for the rises and
      falls of breath. He saw them, but they were fading quickly. Sitting
      back up, Cain made a circle with his thumb and finger, reminding
      Eric of kids playing with marbles when he was a kid. Then, he
      flicked Jarvis' chest.

      While the motion, for most people, was nothing and had no power to
      it, in the hands of the Juggernaut it was something else. Jarvis'
      entire body jumped with the motion, and again Cain placed his head
      to Jarvis' chest, and checked for a pulse.

      Still nothing.

      Again, Cain flicked at Jarvis' chest, but afterwards, he simply
      waited.

      "What are you doing? He's dying!"

      "Not today, he ain't." Juggernaut replied, flicking Jarvis' chest
      again. He made out a deep breath, watching Jarvis' chest rise
      deeply, but only one, as the breaths became shallow again.

      "I feel something. Barely..but it's there." the Reaper said,
      readjusting his grip on Jarvis' wrist.

      "C'mon McCoy...the buildin' ain't that damn big...." Juggernaut
      muttered, again flicking Jarvis in the chest, trying desperately to
      keep the man's blood flowing as much as he could. Glancing up, he
      saw Wonder Man watching him, shock overcoming his features.

      "Look out!" The Beast declared, leaping into the room, a large
      needle gripped tightly in his right hand. Bounding over the
      Juggernaut's head, the Beast landed directly across from Marko, and
      plunged the needle into Jarvis' chest.

      "What's--"

      "Adrenaline." Hank replied, cutting Simon off before he could finish
      the question. "Get him to the medical lab, ASAP," he continued,
      standing and looking at the Juggernaut awkwardly. Cain just nodded.


      *****


      Later: The kitchen


      "Do you think he'll--"

      "Don't even say it." Wonder Man replied, cutting his brother off mid-
      sentence. As much as he understood the reasons, Eric was getting a
      little frustrated with not being able to finish a sentence all day.

      "He had a heart attack, Simon." Eric said calmly, looking his
      brother squarely in the eye. "He's old. He was nearly beaten to
      death by Mister Hyde. He's been sent to other worlds. He was nearly
      eaten by a car. He might not--" (1)

      "Don't you think I know that?" Simon snapped. "I....I've died twice
      now, Eric. I know what it's like....I..."

      "You don't want him ta' have ta' deal with it too." Juggernaut said,
      his heavy boots echoing on the tile floors as he walked into the
      large kitchen. He didn't acknowledge the Williams' as he walked past
      them, digging the giant sub from the fridge that Jarvis had prepared
      for him the day before. Turning around, he stood by the extra chair
      at the table. "You mind?"

      "Go ahead." Simon said. He didn't like Cain Marko. He didn't trust
      him either. But he couldn't help but be thankful the Juggernaut was
      there now. After what he'd done...he just couldn't help
      it. "And...look, I know I haven't exactly been supportive of--"

      "Don't sweat it." Marko said, cutting him off.

      "No. I need to say this." Simon said, in such a manner that the
      Juggernaut's head snapped to the side, Wonder Man's voice grabbing
      his full attention. "You saved his life today. That was...it wasn't
      something I'd have expected you to do. As far as I'm concerned, we
      owe you. Big."

      "No ya don't." Cain answered, setting his sandwich down and turning
      slightly. "I don't like bein' here anymore than you two--an'
      everyone else for that matter--do, but I'm here anyhow. Like it or
      not, I'm an Avenger. An'...well...that's what we're supposed to do,
      ain't it?"

      The Grim Reaper couldn't help but crack a grin. "Well...now this
      day's just been full of--"

      "Yes, yes it has." Simon replied, while his brother grumbled about
      being cut off yet again.


      *****


      Outside the Medical Labs


      "Well?" Janet Van Dyne asked, as the Beast and Henry stepped out of
      the lab doors.

      "His heart suffered some damage." Henry said, his voice very
      calm...comforting. "Nothing that's going to hinder him at all, but
      he'll need to take it easy for a few days, and watch his diet."

      "But he's going to be okay?"

      "Yes, honey....he'll be fine." Pym replied, hugging his ex-wife.

      "An enchanted moment," the Beast chimed in with his best Val Kilmer
      impression. "But I'm still a bit worried."

      "About?"

      "Think about everything the poor man's been through, Henry." McCoy
      said, his voice coming out a bit more anxious than usual. "Hyde,
      Inferno, Ultron, now this? Haven't you ever thought....maybe we ask
      a bit too much of him?"

      "He wouldn't do it if he didn't want to, Hank," Jan answered. "We've
      given him plenty of opportunities to retire..."(2)

      "Jarvis' sense of duty wouldn't let him retire, even if we agreed to
      pay him anyhow." Hank answered. "I just can't help but wonder if
      maybe it's time that we took the choice out of his hands."

      "You want to FIRE Jarvis?" Goliath replied, his eyes growing as
      large as quarters.

      "No...but something needs to be done. Maybe if we rehired the
      support staff?"

      "I'm not so sure that's a good idea, after what happened with
      Marilla...." Jan said, not wanting to relive the experience again.
      (3)

      "Maybe Fabian, at least. His armor would be helpful in the labs, and
      he's more than capable of protecting himself..." (4)

      "We'll talk to Jarvis," Goliath said after a moment. "When he's
      ready, we'll talk to him...see where he stands. Then we'll decide."

      "I just hope he makes the right decision," the Beast replied. "I
      don't know if he can take too much more...."


      [To Be Continued...as always]


      Footnotes:
      1. During the Masters of Evil seige on Avengers Mansion, the last
      two issues, and Avengers #298, respectively.
      2. RMU's Avengers 280, for example.
      3. Marilla was killed during the Crossing.
      4. Fabian Sankowitz, the Mechano Marauder, ex-Avengers Support Staff
      member.
    • Flint
      Avengers #449 Patriotic Acts Writer: Josh Greer Editor:JM Webmaster: Liam Gibbs Not only the President, but a Client: Tawmis Logue Avengers Mansion You
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 1, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Avengers #449
        "Patriotic Acts"


        Writer: Josh Greer
        Editor:JM
        Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
        Not only the President, but a Client: Tawmis Logue


        Avengers Mansion


        "You really don't have to do this, Madame...I'm quite capable of--"

        "And I appreciated it, Jarvis, I really do," Trish began, smiling at
        the butler as he leaned upon the cane in his left hand. "But you're
        still a bit weaker than you'll admit, I think."

        "I certainly--"

        "I've been watching people too long, Jarvis, you're not gonna fool
        me that easily," she repeated, and Jarvis only nodded, taking a
        seat.

        "I only want to be of some help for your and Master Hank's
        services," he said, his voice expressing his more than obvious
        frustration. It'd been a week since his heart attack (1), but the
        weakness that followed hadn't passed. Pym had told him it might take
        a while, but with next week's ceremony planned, he'd hoped that that
        while would only last a few days.

        "I'm sure they understand, Jarv," the Juggernaut grumbled, hauling a
        large stone statue through the park. "Look at it this way, ya
        could've got stuck with my job. Where ya want this thing, lady?" he
        bellowed, glancing towards Trish. The statue was of the late Patsy
        Walker, known to the Avengers--and many others--as Hellcat. She'd
        joined the team at almost the same time as Hank, and they'd gotten
        to know one another well then, and later as Defenders. As such, the
        Beast thought it was only fitting to have her at the wedding, in one
        way or another.

        "Over here will be fine." Trish replied, gesturing to the end of the
        area they'd set aside for the catering tables. Avenger or not, Trish
        Tilby found it difficult to accept the aid of Cain Marko. She knew
        all too well everything the man had done as the Juggernaut, and
        found his transition with the team to be a little too easy going.
        Nonetheless, he'd volunteered to do the heavy lifting, and Hank
        thought it'd be a good idea.

        "It looks splendid." Jarvis said, admiring the likeness that had,
        unfortunately, fallen to quite a ruin following Onslaught's storm of
        New York.

        "Agreed. You've done quite the job fixing them up," the Wasp
        concurred, entering the park. (2) "I'm sure they all appreciate it."
        The Juggernaut only nodded. Then, glancing at the statues that
        surrounded him, cracked a grin.

        "How long 'till ya think they add mine?" he chuckled, walking past
        she and Trish, and heading to the kitchen for a sandwhich or three.

        Jan had actually been thinking the same thought as she entered
        Avengers Park. Originally, the Park had been set on the lands once
        occupied by Avengers Mansion. (3) But when the Watcher that Proctor
        and his Gatherers captured restored the Mansion to the grounds, (4)
        they'd found that all the statues...the whole park, in fact, had
        been maneuvered to the empty lot just behind the Mansion itself.
        Since then, a few changes had been made, of course. The additions of
        Deathcry, Masque, Swordsman II, Magdelene, Shatterstar, Strong Guy,
        and others. The gated section of statues and plaques to those
        Avengers that'd fallen. But now, she supposed, it was time they
        added a statue for their newest members: The Juggernaut and the Grim
        Reaper.

        "Maybe I should give Alicia a call, while I'm thinking about it..."
        Jan muttered, fluttering back indoors. (5)


        *****


        Not too far away, near the UN Building


        "Yeah...uh-huh. Who's he got me scheduled against?" Dennis Dunphy
        grumbled into the cellular phone as he walked down the street. He
        hated the gadget. No, hate wasn't a strong enough word. He despised
        it. But as long as he was in the custody of the UCWF, he had to
        carry it. (6) Mr. Trueno would let him leave the building, but he
        was effectively on-call. And he didn't care much for that
        either. "Who? Leatherbound? Who the heck is that?" he questioned his
        new boss--Coach Cady--trying to fathom the new name. "All
        right...I'll be there. Right. Friday. Seven. Got it." he finished,
        clicking the phone shut.

        Taking a deep breath, Dennis tried to keep his venting in check, but
        he desperately wanted to scream right now. It wasn't like he was
        going to run out on the company. He was legally bound to it, for a
        while at least. And he walked around practically in costume all the
        time anyhow, (though, normally with at least his beat-up old coat on
        over it). The sight he saw in front of him when he looked up didn't
        help that any.

        "The UN is an abomination! The existence of the very organization is
        proof that the foreigners want to take what's rightfully ours!" a
        man shouted into a megaphone on the plaza's staircase. He, as well
        as the thirty men and women before him, were all garbed in the same
        red, white, and blue Watchdog-style armor. It was armor Dennis had
        read about in the Daily Bugle not long ago. The armor worn by the
        terrorist group, the New Patriots. (7)

        "Ah, crap." D-Man said, reaching into his pocket and withdrawing a
        very special card. His Avengers Identification Card. Pressing a
        button quickly, he shouted into the small speaker hidden within the
        Avengers logo. "This is D-Man at the UN building! I could use a hand
        here, if anyone's in the area! And hurry up!"

        Placing the card back in his pocket, and cracking his knuckles, D-
        Man marched forward, ready to vent his frustrations.


        *****


        Just this side of Queens


        Christopher Powell, in the deep, midnight blue armor of the
        Darkhawk, glided quietly over the buildings, keeping an eye out for
        trouble. He had to admit, life had been rather dull lately. Since
        his time out west with the Avengers years ago (8), and even
        afterwards, with the New Warriors, super-villain activity in his
        part of New York had seemingly died out. But, he was a hero, it was
        his job to make sure everything was right in the world...even if it
        was something as small as getting a cat out of a tree.

        At least, that's what he tried to tell himself, to keep from flying
        head on into a building in order to cure his unending boredom.

        Chris actually had his eye on one building in particular when the
        beeping started. He hadn't heard it in so long, it'd taken him a few
        minutes to figure out exactly what the sound was. But then it dawned
        on him.

        Pulling the card from it's place in his gauntlet, Darkhawk depressed
        a button, and found a recorded message: "This is D-Man at the UN
        building! I could use a hand here, if anyone's in the area! And
        hurry up!"

        "Finally," Chris sighed, leaping off the roof and heading towards
        the UN. "Its about time..."


        *****


        Central Park


        "Glad you enjoyed it." Dane said, shaking the Swordsman's hand. "And
        I'm glad you're feeling better, Maggie."

        "That makes two of us," Magdalene replied, relieved to be over her
        bronchitis. She'd missed most of their vacation in England because
        of the illness...but at least she was better now. (8)

        "Three...and I'm sure the Beast and Ms. Tilby are pleased. It's bad
        luck to have sick guests at a wedding." The Swordsman replied, his
        arm tightly wrapped around Magdalene's shoulders. He opened his
        mouth to say something else, but a sudden beeping cut him off. All
        three of them quickly reached in their pockets and began the same
        recording.

        "This is D-Man at the UN building! I could use a hand here, if
        anyone's in the area! And hurry up!"

        "Let's go." they said in unision, heading in that direction.


        *****


        Manhattan


        "You...Hank...Henry...Beast....buddy...please God tell me this is a
        joke..." Simon Williams stammered, stepping out of the fitting room,
        wearing a pastel blue tuxedo that was so bright, he'd have sworn it
        would glow in the dark. Henry Pym, Eric Williams, and the Beast,
        tried to maintain for as long as they could, but it was a losing
        effort, and they all knew it. Eric was the first to lose control.

        "HAhahahahahahahaha...you...haha...oh wow...hahaha..." he sputtered,
        trying to say something, but completely unable to. Wonder Man,
        catching on, blushed.

        "I'm gonna get you, McCoy..." he grumbled, taking the black tux the
        Beast had handed him between fits of laughter, and stepped back into
        the dressing room.

        "Should've given him the red one next..." Pym said, gasping for air
        and wiping the tears from his face.

        "No...heh...I'm saving that one for Bobby." the Beast replied,
        starting a whole new burst of laughter amongst the trio. (9)


        *****


        The UN Building


        "Just give up!" D-Man shouted, grabbing one of the Patriots' arms
        and flinging him across the staircase, slamming him into their
        apparent leader. The man had tried to ward of the blow with a shout
        into the megaphone, but that hadn't worked very well. "The Avengers
        are coming, you're not gonna win, you idiots!"

        "Listen to the man, he knows what he's talking about." a garbled
        voice said from above him, as a blast of pure Darkforce slammed down
        around D-Man, giving him some room to breath amidst the swarming New
        Patriots.

        "Who're you?" D-Man said, looking up, surprised not to recognize the
        man that'd helped him.

        "Oh yeah...forgot, we hadn't met before." Darkhawk replied, bowing
        in mid-air. "Name's Darkhawk."

        "D-Man. West Coaster?" D-Man said, clocking another New Patriot,
        shattering one of the star-covered goggles in his helmet.

        "Used to be. You?" Darkhawk replied with another blast of Darkforce,
        while hooking another New Patriot with his grappling hook and
        whipping the young man through the crowd of his peers.

        "Cap recruited me back when the team shut-down for a while." (10)

        "Now that we're all aquainted," the Black Knight said, jogging
        through the sea of New Patriots, batting them aside with the flat of
        his sword. The Swordsman, and Magdelene weren't far behind.

        "You wanna do it?" D-Man said, eyebrow raised.

        "You made the call, be my guest." The Black Knight replied, elbowing
        a New Patriot that came up behind him.

        "Okay....Avengers Assemble!"


        *****


        Ten Minutes Later


        "Well...that was fairly easy." the Swordsman chuckled, as the New
        Patriots were loaded into the Code: Blue paddywagons.

        "Yup." D-Man agreed. "We should do this more often. I could use the
        workouts."

        "I hear Beast suped up the workout room at the Mansion," Dane
        said. "Maybe a quick run before the wedding next week. You're all
        going, right?"

        "Of course," Magdalene said, along with the Swordsman.

        "Yup." D-Man nodded.

        "I...um...I haven't gotten an invitation yet..." Darkhawk said, his
        eyes--or what passed for them with his helmet on--downcast.

        "Well, we'll have to change that, now won't we?"


        *****


        Avengers Park


        "Well, what do you think?" Trish beamed, as she lead her fiance and
        the others into the garden.

        "Oh my stars and garters..." the Beast whispered, taking in the
        beauty of the scene before him. It wasn't finished yet, of course,
        but it wouldn't take too much more work.

        "What he said," Eric agreed, awed by the sight before him. The
        flowers...the statues...it was all very..

        "Serene." Simon said, smiling at the landscape, while Goliath and
        the Wasp stood behind them, both picturing their own wedding, all
        those years ago.

        "This is going to be a day to remember." Jarvis smiled. "Quite the
        day indeed."


        Next Issue: We at AltMarvel cordially invite you to join us for the
        wedding of the year! Well...one of 'em anyhow! So join all of
        Earth's Mightiest (and some extra special guests!) in 30 for all the
        fun & festivities in our 450th issue event!



        Footnotes:
        1. See last issue!
        2. Cain's been doing some repair work here & there, since his
        arrival in issue 443.
        3. Following the mansion's move to Hydrobase I back in the late
        200's of the RMU series.
        4. RMU's Avengers #375, quite the good issue, imo.
        5. Alicia Masters, who hand made every statue in Avengers Park.
        6. D-Man was placed in UCWF custody after inadvertantly killing a
        man in AMP #??
        7. The New Patriots first popped up in ATU #11, attacking the
        Wakandan Embassy.
        8. See ATU Annual #1 for the details!
        9. Bobby Drake, the Iceman!
        10. Between RMU Avengers 297 & 300!
      • Flint
        Avengers #450 Something Old, Something New... New York City Ha, ha! the man cackled in his trademark fashion, flinging a pencil at the cameras before him.
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 4, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          Avengers #450
          "Something Old, Something New..."


          New York City


          "Ha, ha!" the man cackled in his trademark fashion, flinging a
          pencil at the cameras before him. Calming down after the somewhat
          lame joke, he took on a air of lighthearted seriousness, and looked
          back at the camera before him. "In all serious now, folks...we uh,
          here at the Late Show want to offer our congratulations to an old
          friend of ours here. Isn't that right Paul?"

          "Yeah, oh yeah, Dave." Paul Schaffer chimed in on cue, his head
          wabbling gently as he spoke, a broad grin on his face the whole time.

          "For those who remember our time on the other network, you know,
          over there at NBC...you'll remember we were lucky enough to have
          several members of the Avengers on the show," Letterman began, still
          grinning. (1) "And as we understand it, one of 'em is getting
          married this weekend, so we wanted to be the first to congratulate
          the Beast and his lovely bride-to-be, Trish Tilby on their, uh,
          well..on the upcoming wedding."

          "Of course." Paul again chimed in.

          "And we thought, just as a special treat, we'd go ahead tonight,
          and, uh, do an extra special Top Ten list tonight, so here we go.
          The Top Ten Places for an Avenger to go on his Honeymoon....number
          ten...Anywhere with a surplus of Liquid Plumber."

          "Hahahaha." Paul jumped in, with a rather monotone laugh.

          "'Cause, ya know, Paul, that blue fur can be problematic...."


          *****


          Avengers Mansion: The Playroom


          "Okay...three teams, the game is tag." the Black Knight
          started. "Darkhawk, D-Man, Phil and Maggie on my team. Clint, you've
          got Jen, Herk, Agent, and Rhodey. Simon, you've got the Tigra,
          T'Challa, Battlestar & Micromax."

          "And the Reaper's running the S.C.O.U.T. (2) We've got it." Clint
          said. "C'mon...we've gotta start gettin' ready soon, you know."

          "Okay then.....go!" Dane shouted, as the Playroom's obstacle course
          swung into high gear, battle droids and various other deathtraps
          springing to action. But, as Dane said, the game was Tag. And that's
          all any of the Avengers, and Battlestar's new partner, Micromax, had
          to do....tag their opponents. The last man, or woman, standing would
          win for their team.

          "Whoa." Micromax said, ducking under a flying robot, which had been
          firing dummy bullets in his direction. "Lemarr...we have got to get
          one of these." Lemarr would've responded, but at that moment, he was
          busy ducking the shield of his old friend and partner, John
          Walker...the USAgent.

          "You should know better by now, Johnny," Battlestar replied, raising
          his own shield and deflecting the Agent's ricocheting disc. "All
          that time we worked together, it's not gonna be that easy." he
          continued, knocking the shield into the leg of War Machine, who'd
          been dodging the grappling hook of Darkhawk.

          "Tagged," the Reaper announced from the overhead booth, punching in
          the sequence for the S.C.O.U.T. to detain War Machine. Buzzing
          through the air and easily avoiding the obstacles, and heroes, in
          its path, the droid quickly arrived before War Machine, placing a
          small, golden disc on the man's shoulder, signifying that he'd
          been "captured". Landing, Rhodey removed his helmet and walked out
          of the Playroom, joining the Grim Reaper in the booth.

          "Well..that sucked."

          "'Least you got to play...I'm stuck jockyin' the computer," the
          Reaper replied with a sarcastic grin before yelling "Tagged!" again.
          This time directing the droid toward Micromax, who'd been clipped by
          She-Hulk.

          The game continued on, until only five were left. Of course, the
          five remaining were possibly the biggest surprises of the bunch.
          Hawkeye was the last representative for the Wackos. Dane's team
          still had the Knight himself, as well as Darkhawk and D-Man, while
          only Battlestar remained for Team Simon.

          "As the saying goes....who'da thunk it?" Simon admitted, looking at
          the group below him, one of Clint's suction cup arrows stick stuck
          to his shoulder.

          "I'm not too surprised," the Swordsman said. "Dane was quite capable
          when he lead the team."

          "Agreed." T'Challa nodded from his chair at the front of the now-
          crowded booth.

          "Tagged!" the Reaper announced, sending the S.C.O.U.T. to confirm
          Hawkeye's elimination, while Darkhawk retrieved his claw-cable.

          "Crud." Battlestar mumbled, having hoped that he and Clint could
          take down the Black Knight's numbers at least. Sadly, that hadn't
          happened. Battlestar turned to duck behind the small wall that'd
          sprung from the floor at the beginning of the exercise, only to find
          that someone had already taken that spot.

          "Yer it, big guy." Dennis Dunphy chuckled, tapping his former fellow
          UCWF'er, Battlestar, on the shoulder.

          "Game over." the Grim Reaper announced. "Winners: Black Knight,
          Darkhawk, and D-Man," he grinned. Glancing at the readout on the
          training mission, he was surprised to see one stat in
          particular. "Most eliminations: Darkhawk."

          "Well I'll be..." Clint whistled, glancing at the printout. "Not bad
          for a part-timer....not bad at all...."


          *****


          Avengers Mansion: The Trophy Room


          "Brings back memories, doesn't it?" Walter Newell said to his wife,
          as he glanced at the paintings adorning the walls of the large room.
          Photos, momentos, portraits, and more decorated the room,
          commemorating some of the greatest enemies, allies, and members the
          team had ever had. Spotting a photograph, and a small jar of sand,
          from the original Hydrobase amongst them, Walt smiled.

          "You have no idea..." Rick Jones agreed, entering the room with his
          wife, Marlo.

          "It's good to see you again, Rick." Dianne said, giving him a warm
          hug.

          "You guys too." Rick said, returning the embrace. "Sorry I couldn't
          make the party, Walt." (3)

          "Don't worry about it." Walt replied. "We knew you'd have come if
          you had the chance."

          "Be thankful ya' missed it, kid...trust me." Ben Grimm's gravelly
          voice echoed as he was lead into the room by Jarvis.

          "You're just sore you didn't take out more Doombots than I did."
          Walt joked, shaking Ben's rocky hand.

          "Yeah, yeah....so where's Little Boy Blue...I need ta know where ta'
          put his gift."

          "I'll take care of that, Master Ben." Jarvis replied.

          "Not unless ya been doin' some serious weight training ya won't."
          Ben answered, thumbing towards the window. Outside, a large,
          giftwrapped crate sat on the front lawn. "Willie Lumpkin sez it's
          from Alicia, used a forklift to tow it to the Plaza. Guess it's
          somethin' extra-special, for Hank's eyes only, an' all that."

          "Guess that's my job then, eh, Jarv?" Cain Marko replied, surprising
          everyone. Not because of his presence at the Mansion, most of the
          team's former members had been notified about the Juggernaut
          already, just in case. But because of his appearance. After all, it
          wasn't everyday a person saw the unstoppable Juggernaut out of his
          armor, let alone in a smooth, black tuxedo. "Wut?" he said, thrown
          off by the looks he was receiving from the six men and women before
          him.

          "Lemme give ya a hand...don't want ya gettin' uppity and breakin'
          the blasted thing..." the Thing said, just shaking his head. The
          Juggernaut. An Avenger. What in the name of Pete was the world
          coming to?


          *****


          Avengers Park


          "It looks wonderful, Trish," Jean Grey smiled, glancing at the
          special decor the Park had been given for the festivities. At her
          side, Cyclops whistled.

          "I'm glad I'm able to see it. I mean really see it." he said. This
          was definitley one of those times in recent memory that Scott was
          glad to be rid of the Ruby-quartz visor he'd worn for so many years.
          (4) The flowers...the Park itself...everything was just
          breathtaking. He couldn't imagine trying to see it in the shades of
          red everything had been shaded with before.

          "Thank Storm," Trish replied, smiling at the surroundings. "If it
          weren't for her powers, it wouldn't be anywhere near this nice."

          "I'm glad I could help." Ororo replied graciously.

          "And we certainly appreciate it, Ororo." the Beast interrupted,
          entering the Park with more guests in tow. Seeing how tense his
          friends got at the sight of the two newest arrivals, Hank waved in
          dismissal. "Whirlwind's here as a guest." he smiled. "Everything's
          perfectly fine, I assure you."

          "Uhm...hello." David tried to spit out, his date, Emily, hanging
          from his arm. Almost literally.

          "They're still adjusting to your change of heart. As I'm sure many
          of the other guests will be doing today," the Angel responded,
          landing gracefully on the green grasses of the Park. "In any case,
          it's good to see you again, Dave."

          "You too." Whirlwind replied, shaking his fellow Guard member's
          hand. "How are things in Genosha?"

          "Coming along, albeit slowly..." the Angel began, as the pair walked
          off into the Park, Emily not far behind.

          "It's going to be an interesting day." Forge muttered, as they
          headed back inside.

          "Ye can say that again," Moira MacTaggert nodded in agreement.


          *****


          Several minutes--and comments from the X-Folk about Juggernaut--
          Later: The Lobby


          "Ben, Peter! Good to see you both, glad you could make it!" the
          Beast said happily, bounding back into the Mansion's lobby in time
          to see Jarvis showing his friends in. (5) When he invited Peter
          Parker and Ben Reilly, he wasn't sure they'd make it, but here they
          were, and the Beast couldn't be more pleased.

          "Wouldn't miss it for the world, Hank." Ben said, shaking his
          friend's furry, blue hand.

          "Hope you don't mind that I brought an extra guest," Peter said, as
          Mary Jane followed him into the Mansion, May cradled in her arms,
          smiling brightly.

          "Not at all, not at all," the Beast replied, grinning over May's
          overjoyed face. Glancing back and forth from Peter to MJ, he
          squinted a bit. "She looks a lot like you." he said to Peter.

          "As long as it doesn't stay that way," Peter chucked, raising his
          camera. "Mind if I get a few before shots?"

          "No problem, Jarvis can show you guys to the back."

          The foursome moved to follow Jarvis, when Pete and Ben stopped cold.
          The buzzing in their heads went off suddenly, and they quickly began
          glancing around, wondering what could be setting off their Spider-
          Senses. Then they spotted him.

          "Congrats, McCoy." the gravelly voice of the Sandman said, as his
          body suddenly appeared at the front door. "Sorry for the surprise,"
          he noted, seeing the shocked look on Hank's face. "Didn't figure ya
          wanted the reporters catching me comin' in. What with all the bad
          press lately." (6)

          "Nonsense," the Beast replied. "I invited the whole team...and
          you're a part of that, regardless of your recent....situations.
          Though, I will admit, I'd wondered about that..."

          "Guy's gotta make a living." the Sandman replied, his eyes drifting
          low, avoiding the Beast's own. "Not the best way t'do things, but
          the inactive stipend I get from you guys don't really cover the
          bills, and nobody got hurt."

          "Yes, well..." the Beast began, but then he stopped short. To be
          honest, he wasn't sure just what to say. While the Sandman had
          guessed correctly, and he didn't approve of William's recent goings
          on, he couldn't blame the man entirely either. He did have to make a
          living, and with his history --pardon or no-- a nine-to-five job
          would be rather hard for him to find. And besides, it wasn't the
          time or place for a lecture. Instead, he just smiled. "We all have
          our difficulties...I'm sure yours will work themselves out." he
          said, ushering the man in. "Perhaps Whirlwind could lend a hand..."


          *****


          The Park


          "Is that Patsy's--"

          "It is, indeed." Namor nodded, as he and Iron Man looked over the
          area that had been decorated for the festivities. They weren't the
          first to notice the stone visage of Patsy Walker settled off to the
          side, as though the late Hellcat were standing guard.

          "It's a shame we never met...I've heard nothing but good things."
          Living Lightning jumped in.

          "She was something else," the Black Widow agreed.

          "Man...would you look at this place?" Jubilee inadvertantly blurted,
          shaking the Avengers from their reverie, as she and Skin entered the
          Park, where guests were being seated.

          "Yeah, an' here ah thought the school was big..." Cannonball agreed,
          his sister Paige and former teammate Karma not far behind.

          "Right this way," Bobby Drake motioned, leading them to their
          seats. "I think we're gonna get started soon..."


          *****


          Several minutes later: The Beast's Room


          "You're sure about this?" Simon asked, half-joking, as he
          straightened his old friend's tie.

          "Undoubtedly."

          "Positive?"

          "I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's usually the groom with
          cold feet, not the best man," Goliath chuckled, fiddling with his
          own bowtie on the other side of the room.

          "Well...I wouldn't want him to walk out there and belch when it's
          time for the 'I do's," Simon replied with a grin.

          "I'm absolutely sure." Hank replied, grinning like a kid at
          Christmas. "Is everyone here?"

          "I dost think we art the last to arrive." a voice boomed from the
          doorway, grabbing the trio's attention. The three Avengers turned
          and smiled, as Thor and Captain America entered the room.

          "Glad you both could make it," Hank said, shaking hands with them
          both.

          "We wouldn't miss it for the world, Hank. Congratulations."

          "Don't go congratulating yet, Cap...you'll put a hex on the whole
          thing," Logan grinned as he came in. "Woulda been here sooner, but
          Chuck had some problems with the wheelchair and the steps." he said,
          rolling Professor X into the quickly crowding room.

          "Any last words of advice, Charles?" Hank said, smiling at his old
          friend and mentor.

          "Do you love her?"

          "Yes."

          "Then you're doing just fine on your own," the Professor smiled.


          *****


          The Park


          The sun shone warmly upon the seated crowd of guests, their faces
          all filled with smiles as they looked up at the front of the altar.
          The Beast stood proudly, Wonder Man at his side, as well as Iceman,
          all three clad in solid black tuxedos and smiling--if it was
          possible--even more brilliantly than those in the crowd. Across the
          aisle stood Jean Grey-Summers and Ororo Monroe, both smiling just as
          much. And as the organ began to play, the sea of smiling faces
          turned, awaiting the last arrival.

          Trish's own smiling face appeared as she stepped slowly down the
          aisle. Her white gown practically glowed between her own beaming
          happiness and the sunlight that struck it. Pleasant sighs and gasps
          were heard in the crowd as she continued her march towards the
          front, flashes from cameras snapping brightly. Her eyes wandered
          over the crowd returning smiles and slight nods to her friends and
          family, as well as the other friends she'd made since meeting the
          man she was about to marry. Avengers. X-Men. Defenders. And a host
          of other heroes sat, bearing witness to the happiest day of her
          life. And that was precisely what this was, there was no question
          about that.

          As she reached the front, and her father took his seat, she clasped
          Hank's hand tightly. They smiled to one another, barely hearing the
          priest's words as he began the ceremony, too lost in one another's
          gaze. They followed enough of it to breath a sigh of relief when no
          one spoke to object, and when to reach for the rings Simon and Jean
          handed to them. They paid enough attention to the words to proclaim
          their respective 'I do's. But they both knew the words themselves
          weren't important. The guests, the sunlight, the decoration....they
          were all nice enough to have, but none of it was necessary. The
          Professor's words to Hank had been right. They loved one another,
          and that was more than enough. And before they knew it, the
          announcement was made.

          "...by God and the state of New York, I now pronounce you, man and
          wife. You may kiss the bride," the priest said, a happy grin of his
          own having grown across his face.

          As they kissed, the crowded sea of faces that had been smiling
          brightly only moments before erupted with applause. Tears filled the
          eyes of many of their closest friends, proud smiles crossed the
          faces of others. And for others, it was a mixture of both. Even old
          rivals and enemies, like the Juggernaut and the Grim Reaper, had to
          break down and smile at that moment. The happiness of the occassion
          was simply too infectious. As Henry and Trish McCoy turned to their
          guests, that pleasant feeling didn't end.

          "Ladies and gentlemen, I now present, Doctor and Mrs. Henry McCoy."

          Smiling still, Hank leanded toward his new bride and
          whispered. "Now, my dear....let's party."


          *****


          Avengers Park: The Reception


          "Congratulations to you both," Susan Richards said, dabbing a tissue
          at the corners of her eyes, as Reed and Johnny took their turns
          shaking Hank's outstretched hand.

          "Thank you so much for coming," Trish replied, giving Sue a quick
          hug.

          "We had to come...Benjy's got a soft spot for weddings," the Torch
          chuckled, shaking Trish's hand and offering his own congrats.

          "Watch it, Matchstick," Ben grinned, elbowing the Torch in the
          side. "Hey...you gonna open this thing before ya head off ta'
          whereever yer goin'? I'm kinda wonderin' what's inside."

          "I've been wondering that, myself," the Beast said, eyeing the
          crate. "Shall we, my dear?"

          "I don't see why not." Trish replied, pulling the ribbon
          loose. "Anyone have a crowbar handy?" she laughed, seeing the crate
          nailed shut.

          "Allow me," Polaris said, stepping forward and raising her hands.
          One by one, the nails popped loose, floating to the palm of her
          hand. Trish and Hank slowly pulled down the hinged front of the
          crate, revealing its contents to the gathered guests. They all let
          loose a gasp as they saw the sculpture within.

          The large, marble statue was simple and stunning at the same time.
          Two oversized hands, one male, the other obviously female, clasped
          together on a pedestal, on which a bronze plaque was centered.
          Leaning close, Trish read the inscription aloud.

          "A reminder of the best of days. Even after great tragedies and
          sorrow, comes a greater happiness and joy," she choked, as tears
          filled her eyes.

          "Let this remind you more of the joy you recieved today, than of the
          moments of pain that come and go along the way." Hank finished,
          smiling as tears welled in his eyes as well.

          "Hear, hear." the Banshee said, his own irish accent choked up at
          the words. And the crowd applauded once more.


          *****


          Later: Still the reception


          "Never figured I'd have ended up seein' this," Eric Williams said,
          seated at a table, the Juggernaut next to him, and the Sandman and
          Whirlwind across from them.

          "None of us did," Sandman replied with a nod. "And three of us are
          members of the team," he added with a chuckle

          "Who'd've figured...four ex-bad guys at an Avenger's wedding."
          Whirlwind agreed, shaking his head a little. "What's next, Doom
          throwing a birthday party for the FF?"

          "Speak for yerself, Whirly..." Juggernaut said, quickly following it
          up with a chuckle.

          "Even you can't play hard ass today, Juggs--"

          "I'm sure he can play as rough as anyone..." Emily interrupted,
          smiling coyly at the behemoth and causing Whirlwind to blush
          slightly.

          "Heh...think you got yerself a winner there, bullet-head...."
          Juggernaut laughed. Sandman and Reaper just smiled and shook their
          heads.


          *****


          "I just didn't feel right with the other sword. That, and I got
          tired of all the Luke Skywalker wisecracks," Dane said, holding up
          his new blade.

          "What's it forged from?" Jim Hammond asked, eyeing the sword
          carefully. "I can't imagine you'd go with basic steel..."

          "T'Challa helped me out with that. Vibranium, mostly...Titanium
          alloy for the hilt. It's a little lighter than what I'm used to, but
          it serves its purpose."

          "It looks nice, but does it work?" Deathcry grinned, whipping the
          blade around quickly.

          "Hey, hey!" Corsair blurted. "Don't start pointing it at me...you'll
          give me flashbacks..." he chuckled. (7)

          *****


          "Oh...wow." Trish said, taken back by the framed portrait before
          her. Colossus and Kitty just grinned.

          "Peter...this is breathtaking..." the Beast concurred, looking at
          the potrait. It was an excellent likeness of Henry and Trish,
          standing here in the Park in autumn.

          "I'm glad you like it." Peter said humbly. "It was a bit
          rushed....but it came out much better than I expected it to." (8)


          *****


          "Good for you," a man whispered, glancing at the party from behind
          the statues of Avengers Park. He wanted to get closer, to
          congratulate his friend personally, but thought better of it. He
          knew that not everyone here would be pleased with his sudden
          appearance. Even fewer would care to see his alter-ego arrive. But
          that was the curse of being Bruce Banner. "Good luck, Hank...I
          really do hope you two are happy," he said, before fading off into
          the shadows again, and turning towards home.


          *****


          "I'm glad you could make it, Stephen." the Beast said shaking his
          old friend's hand. "All of you."

          "We wouldn't dream of missing such a day for one of our own,
          Doctor," Gargoyle replied, bowing slightly before shaking Trish's
          hand.

          "I have a gift to bestow upon thee," Valkyrie said, stepping towards
          Trish and holding out a shimmering golden necklace. She handed a
          similar chain to the Beast as well. "A symbol of your union." she
          said, draping the chains over their heads and smiling. "May the All-
          father smile upon you both."

          "Th..thank you." Trish said, admiring the locket. Opening it, she
          smiled brighter still, as she saw the picture of she and Hank within
          it.


          *****


          "...but the Juggernaut? Even you aren't that dumb, Val," Havok said,
          shaking his head.

          "He's got a point, ya know," Guido agreed. "I mean, sticking me here
          was one thing...but you opened up a whole other can of worms here."

          "It'll be fine, trust me." Valerie Cooper said flatly. "Look
          around...do you really think he's going to be able to cause much
          trouble with this bunch just waiting for him to do something?"


          *****


          Later that evening


          "You're sure you'll be all right without me for a few days?" the
          Beast said, hauling suitcases towards the front door. "We can
          postpone if you need us to, really."

          "We'll be fine, Hank." Goliath said smiling. "Darkhawk's agreed to
          fill in while you're away."

          "God bless you, son," Hank winked in Darkhawk's direction, getting a
          heartfelt laugh from his blushing bride in the process.

          "Get goin', Furby," Juggernaut said with a laugh of his own, Simon
          joining him.

          "Okay, okay..." the Beast said, waving to his teammates. "See you in
          a week!" he finished closing the door behind him. Looking at Trish,
          he smiled. "Aruba...here we come!"


          [The End]


          Footnotes:
          1. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in RMU's Avengers #239!
          2. Superhuman COntainment Unit for Training, and invention of my own
          design. Wouldn't Reed Richards be proud?
          3. Back in Stingray #1 & 2!
          4. The brain damage that forced Scott to wear the visor was repaired-
          -so to speak--in AMU's X-Factor #13!
          5. Hank & Ben worked together as teachers in Generation X, and Hank
          & Peter know each other from their studying/teaching/researching at
          Empire State University!
          6. See ASM #452, and Blue Cyclone #10 for details.
          7. See AMU's Starjammers #6 for the dtails!
          8. Peter's been busy over in UXM, after all. And recently had
          another portrait to paint for a less pleasant occassion.
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.