The Mighty Avengers #282 "Solo Flight"
- [Previously, in Avengers:
Several months ago, the fledgling hero group, the Hero Society, was
wiped out in a massive strike by a random grouping of villains
participating in the Assassin's Game. A few weeks ago, their
counterpart team, the Hero Society South, was taken out in similar
fashion. The second team, however, had two survivors -- Styra & the
Ketchup Stalker -- who went to the Avengers for aid. In the battle
that followed, the Ketchup Stalker sacrificed his life to save
Darkhawk's, a sacrifice the former New Warrior swore to avenge, no
matter how long it took.
With the group of young heroes gathered by Tony Stark's A-1
Protocol at their side, the Avengers confronted the disturbed energy
manipulator, Anomaly in Greenland. After winning the hard fought
battle, the new heroes -- now calling themselves Protocol -- went on
their way, leaving the team to unwind. Darkhawk, though, has his
thoughts focused on the promise he made that day....]
[The rooftops of Manhattan]
There were certain advantages to being a superhero in New York.
Good media exposure, quickly formed alliances and an innumerable
amount of colleagues, not to mention the plethora of high rooftops
with which one could scout the surrounding areas. For some heroes,
like Darkhawk, the words "underworld contacts" also came to mind when
composing such a list of benefits.
In his earliest days as Darkhawk, Christopher Powell found himself
at odds with a mid-level crime lord named Enrique Bazin. (1) In those
clashes with Bazin, Darkhawk found that there was no shortage of
criminal figures that wouldn't feed a little information for the
right amount of dead presidents. On more than one occasion, he found
himself forking over a twenty, fifty, even a hundred on the rare
instances he could afford it, in exchange for some choice tips or
information on Bazin -- or someone else's -- latest projects.
This morning, Darkhawk was perched on the steeply roofed abode of
one Donnie the Grinder, a noted ex-leg breaker for Bazin and one of
Darkhawk's old secret-feeders. He had been waiting all night, and
when he saw the Grinder's car wheel sloppily into the drive -- its
operator obviously drunk -- it was all he could do not to leave his
perch. But he had learned long ago that patience paid in these
matters, so he sat quietly, and waited.
The Grinder looked horrible. His once-thinning hair had reached the
Bad-Comb-Over stage of baldness. The stubble on his face had grown to
a length where it wasn't quite a beard, but it was too thick to be
stubble and resembled some sort of brown moss or dried mud. His
clothes were haggard and dingy, an unbuttoned flannel sitting open
and lopsided on his shoulders; pants held up by a threadbare,
polyester belt with a mock-Indian tribal design on it. He was thin
and bony, and looked nothing like anyone nicknamed "the Grinder"
should. He looked more like Donnie the Ground.
As he stumbled from his car, fumbling clumsily with his keys on his
way to a front door that was probably sprouting a twin behind his rum-
infected eyes, Darkhawk decided he had waited long enough. The claw-
cable sprung from his right forearm quickly and without even a whiz
of sound, grasping the back of the Grinder's shirt and yanking him
off his feet. His keys spiraled out toward the street in a copper and
silver flash, and landed with a clink before he even realized what
"Hey, Donnie. How's tricks?"
"Oh God, oh man, oh dude, oh Hell..." the Grinder babbled as the
blood rushed through the alchohol and allowed his synapses to fire as
they should. His eyes instantly cleared and while his stomach kept
trying to tell him that whatever was in it wanted out, he held the
reflex to vomit in check. "I don't know nothin', Hawk," he grunted,
trying to refrain from gagging. "I gone straight, I don't do nothin'
no more! I'm clean man, I swear it!"
"Real clean," Darkhawk mocked, turning his head as Donnie belched
and nearly threw up. He couldn't smell anything in his armored form --
the price of having a helmet with no nose -- but Donnie did not know
"Bazin found out, man! I coulda got killed!"
"But you didn't," Darkhawk answered. "Bazin is the least of your
worries, Donnie." He released the cable line quick, dropping Donnie
about two feet before jerking him to a halt right before the
Grinder's head hit the pavement. "I'm fishing for a bigger catch
"What, man? What do you want?!"
"The old man? He's gone, dude! Silvermane died or somethin'! He
"Wait. You...you ain't lookin' for Blackwing, man. Please tell me
"No way, dude. Not gonna happen. Blackwing's out for blood now,
man. He ain't like he used to be. Everything's personal with him
now...it ain't business no more..."
"Why do you think I'm looking?"
Hawkeye, Thor, Masque, Le Peregrine, Darkhawk, Firebird, and the
Beast. Seven diverse and gifted individuals. Seven daring heroes.
Seven members of one of the world's most elite super teams. They are
Earth's Mightiest Heroes, standing united against threats no singular
hero may stand against. They are the Avengers!
The Mighty Avengers #482
Writer: Josh Greer
Webmasters: Liam Gibbs, JM, Kenn Beck
Head Cheese: Liam Gibbs
"Doth something bother thee, fair Bonita?" Thor asked. He had just
come from the kitchen and was carrying his mead. It was strange for
Firebird to see someone like Thor enjoying the rare downtime their
lives afforded them. It made him seem almost...normal.
"Nothing important," she answered, flipping through her magazine.
She couldn't even begin to explain how tired she was of hearing about
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but it was better than the year that
rumors were bandied about that she and her former Rangers teammate,
the Texas Twister, were having an illicit affair.
"If it affects thee enough to put such a sour look upon thine face,
I believe thou underestimate its importance," Thor said thoughtfully,
taking a seat in a fine, straight-backed chair. She glanced around as
he did, realizing for the first time that the Avengers' trophies
hadn't been limited to the Mansion's Trophy Room. There were little
things everywhere, like the scrapbook of headlines that floated
around the room. Each page depicting headlines and photographs that
related to the team and its members.
"There always seems to be something, doesn't there?"
"Always," Thor nodded.
"I mean, if it isn't enemies, it's someone's powers behaving
differently, or someone getting married, or someone coming or someone
going...it doesn't leave much time."
"What wouldst though do with the time thou art missing?"
"Missions work, I guess," Firebird answered after a moment of
thought. Therein lay the rub. She hadn't wanted to discuss religion
with her teammates. She knew how uncomfortable religious talk made
some people. They all knew of her beliefs, and she made no effort to
hide them, but she didn't throw them at people or flaunt them. If
someone wanted to know something or talk about such things, she made
a point of sending the message that her door was always open.
Of course, out of all her teammates, the one she least wanted to
have this talk with was Thor. It wasn't as though she did not like
Thor, or didn't trust him. She did, very much so. She admired him for
the things he had done to protect the world, and took great pride in
the fact that -- even at a distance -- she could claim a similar post
to him as an Avenger. That pride had swelled a bit recently, having
had the opportunity to work side-by-side with him. But there was a
simple, irrefutable fact that caused a deeply painful and intricate
problem for Bonita Juarez.
Thor believed he was a god. Firebird did not, and she wasn't sure
she had ever been clear about that. She didn't know what Thor thought
of her doubting his claim, and she wasn't sure she wanted to press
the matter and find out. So instead, she had left it alone and hoped
she wouldn't be confronted with it. Sadly, that confrontation -- of a
sort -- had come at last.
"Bonita?" Thor asked, and Firebird realized she had been silent a
moment too long. "Wouldst thou like me to leave thou to thine
"No, no...it's just...I'm not sure how to talk to you about what I
need to talk about."
"I have mine doubts that thou can offend me," Thor offered,
surprised at his teammate's worry. While Firebird did not have the
confidence that the Beast, or Hawkeye, or even Le Peregrine had on
the battlefield, Thor saw within her an inner light that kept her
going. A fire that he likened to the lust for valor his own Asgardian
kin held so dear. The thought that she was worried about saying
something that might bother him was, in no uncertain terms, a mystery
"I wouldn't be so certain," Bonita muttered, but Thor didn't hear
her. "It's just...what do you know about my faith?"
"Ah," Thor nodded knowingly, a slight smile on his face. It was a
smile that told Bonita he had known this conversation was coming. A
smile that said he understood her turmoil, and thought he knew how to
Setting his stein down on the oak table before him, Thor fixed his
blue eyes on Bonita and she saw in them just that; understanding,
friendship, the desire to help. It was a softer side to the Thunder
God than she had been privy to in the past. It warmed her heart and
made her feel comfortable talking with him about any topic,
especially one as important to her as this. When he spoke, his words
conveyed a similar idea.
"We are teammates and friends, Bonita. Not simply the two of us,
but all who have the honor of calling themselves Avengers. Like any
camaraderie, we are likely to find that we cannot agree on all
things. That thine eyes and my own shalt see things differently from
one time to the next. Do not wrestle overmuch with such things,
though. To do so would be to drive a wedge between yourself and thine
friends and allies, and such things are not worth losing those thou
art close to."
"But I am close to the one I call God as well, isn't that important
"Verily," Thor nodded. "But when thou dost try to reconcile my
being with thine God's, think on this; Would thine God frown upon the
works I do, regardless of my mantle? Would not thine God be happy
that His people have garnered such stalwart allies and protectors as
mineself and noble Hercules or Leir or Horus? I do not speak against
the teachings of your churches or announce that I've not met the one
many mortals call God."
"No...but you claim to be gods, Thor," Bonita said. She knew it
wasn't Thor's intention, but his words seemed to have the side-effect
of challenging her faith. "The Bible claims that there can be no
other gods but the Lord, and any who claim it are liars. How can both
of you be right?"
"God means different things to different people," Thor answered
simply. "Ask a child what God is to them, and they look to their
parents. Ask a drunkard and they look to the vine. In the times when
men first gave name to my people, they used the word god to describe
our immortality and mastery of our domains. Why cannot thine God
continue to be what thou believe Him to be, while I continue to be
what I am? Neither must be wrong."
As Bonita sat and considered this, Thor smiled once more. He rose
to leave the room and rested a hand on her shoulder for a
moment. "Thine young life has shown you a great many things that thou
would not have believed once. Now those things doth test thine faith.
Realize, though, that these things will continue to be whether your
faith remains strong or weak, Bonita. Just because thine Bible has
not explained something or how it came to be that way, does not mean
it cannot be at all."
Bonita realized his meaning clearly enough and nodded. She followed
her faith, followed God's word, and she was happy with it. Thor's
claims of godhood did not change that, and she decided then and there
that if something needed to change, then God would show her just
that. Until then, though, she would continue to live her life.
[Upstate New York; The Edges of the Silvermane Manse Grounds]
He glided down to the hedge-lined brick barrier with more grace
than anyone who knew him in his civilian guise would have guessed
possible. Of course, those that knew Chris Powell -- or even
Darkhawk -- had rarely, if ever, seen him quite so focused and
determined. The brick and ivy may have hidden the Silvermane Manse
from gawkers and surveillance agents, but it did little to cover the
trail of a hunting Avenger. He hadn't had to lay a finger on Donnie
the Grinder to learn its location, but he would not have shied away
from the option, had it presented itself.
Now that he was there, Darkhawk gazed through the helmet's thin
visor at the grounds, trying to figure the best route to the would-be
crimelord within. There were guards everywhere, though, and it was
only a matter of--
"Hey..hey! We got compan--"
The guard's voice was cut off quickly with a minimal level blast of
Darkforce. His shields rose almost out of reflex as the first shots
were fired, bending itself to ensure that the bullets were deflected
back at those firing them. He was determined, but Darkhawk knew to be
careful enough to prevent any civilian casualties.
Five guards in all had spotted him and/or fired. Only one remained
conscious a few minutes later. As Darkhawk peered downward at him, he
quietly wished he had the good luck to share his colleagues' state of
"Blackwing. Where is he, and who do I have to go through on the way
[Avengers Mansion: The Playroom]
A year ago, he would have hated this. It would have seemed to him
as an exercise in immaturity, an amateur's necessity, at best. Of
course, Alaine Racine knew and understood the need for training, but
the sort of games played in the Avengers' Playroom would have seemed
beneath him. He was, after all, Le Peregrine, the proud and noble
champion of France! He had no need for such parlor games in his
Now, the purple-winged hero saw things a little different. Now he
had grown accustomed to working in groups, on teams. After the events
of the Assassin's Game (2) and his joining the Avengers, Le Peregrine
understood how crucial it was to mix a little pleasure with his
business. Everyone needed a moment to unwind, especially with a
schedule like the one kept by the Avengers.
Avenger. It was a title that he had never thought much of, really.
True to the stereotype he had often heard of his people, Alaine was
what some might call cocky or brash. He saw it as confidence, while
others saw it as overconfidence. But working with the team these last
few months had sobered him to the reality of things. He saw now that
there was more to consider in the life of a costumed adventurer than
what he had been seeing. Dangers on a greater scope, and a level of
responsibility he hadn't fully understood before. Cyclone had helped
him see that, (3) and taking Hawkeye's offer to join the team had
sent that message home.
As he ducked a photon blast and narrowly avoided an arrow from
Hawkeye, Le Peregrine considered how quietly the change had come over
him. He was always proud, but mostly of himself. Now he was proud of
all of them. His teammates, his sense of loyalty to them, his feeling
that he was really contributing something here. Not even his jobs
with Silver Sable had given him such a sense of belonging. Now that
it was there, he was surprised to find himself worried about losing
That wasn't all that he considered, though. As he tagged the last
sensor in the Playroom and brought the game to a close, his eyes
followed Masque's partially bared legs as they stretched and pushed
her through the obstacles. He wasn't quite as lecherous as French
stereotypes would have him be, but that did not mean that Le
Peregrine was above admiring the female form. With the game over,
though, his admiration would have quickly passed to ogling, and that
brought him slowly gliding to the floor.
"Nice work there, wings," Hawkeye said, congratulating his
teammate. The game had been a simple one. The first one to tag all
the targets would win the game. It had been close between the archer
and the Frenchman, but Le Peregrine had taken charge.
"Thank you," Alaine replied with a nod.
"It could have been closer," said Masque, stepping in and rubbing
what was apparently a sore spot on her thigh. Alaine chanced another
glance at her legs and wasn't upset at what he saw. "Charlie got me
about five minutes in."
"I think she means Charlie Horse," Hawkeye chuckled. "Masque.
Joking. Next you'll tell me Thor's taken up pinball..." He turned
away to hit the showers, but Alaine and Masque stayed behind. Alaine
liked to make sure everything went as it was supposed to at the end
of their Playroom sessions. The drones that cleaned things up were
bound to malfunction sooner or later, and if they did, he wanted to
have a chance to see if he could fix them.
"So, like what you saw?" Masque asked, her bronze face flashing to
a paler image for a moment, red in the cheeks, before turning back to
its normal appearance.
"It was a good workout," he nodded, but the sly smirk on Masque's
face told him that she hadn't been asking about the workout.
"I thought so," was all she said before grasping a towel and
flinging it over her shoulder on the way to the ladies showers. Le
Peregrine tried not to stare as she left the room.
Like a fire fueled by a newly added log, the small flicker in the
cavern grew brighter and crackled to life suddenly. There was no
cause, yet energy burst forth there all the same, and consciousness
"The Avengers," she muttered, her voice echoing a hollow tone,
despite the rage she felt. "They tried...tried to kill me..."
With no other word, she was gone. A faint glow of energy was left
in her wake, and the stone around her quivered with a modest anger
for only a moment. Then they returned to normal as the magic wore
off. Within ten minutes, it was as though the Spell had never been
there at all.
[A Very Discreet New York Dining Establishment]
"You're certain that this is where you want to have this chat
you've got planned?" Hank asked. With his unusual appearance -- not
to mention the shedding -- the blue-furred Avenger had already noted
a handful of admirers amidst the restaurant's cliental. In addition,
there were another handful of unsavory types that, if his lip-reading
abilities held true, were less that happy with the idea of a
beautiful human female marrying someone of "his kind". Either hand
provided troubles if the bouncing Beast and his blushing bride were
to have any sort of a personal conversation.
"You're an Avenger, a noted scientist, and a recognized figurehead
in the mutant civil rights movement, Hank. If you can name me a more
private place that serves good food, don't let me stop you."
"The Mansion's kitchen does have it's fine points."
"Right up until PLATO walks through the wall or a priority alarm
"Either could happen here as well, my dear."
"But neither are very likely, and you know it. What is it you're
trying to avoid talking to me about, Hank?"
She had him, and he knew it. His eyes flinched and looked away,
hoping to catch the eyes of the waitress and push off the
conversation for a few minutes more. That hope died when Trish
realized just what he was trying to do and waved the young lady off.
She wasn't going to let this go on another second if she could avoid
"Henry McCoy," she whispered through her teeth. "I am your wife. I
love you. I stuck by you when half the mutants in the world were
trying to kill mankind and my own species would've had my head on a
plate given the chance. I stuck by you as an X-Man, as a Defender,
and now as an Avenger. During the Legacy Virus, during the Grim
Reaper's trial, during every little thing that keeps coming up and
holding us apart. There shouldn't be any secrets between us. There's
something bothering you and I want to know, right now, what in God's
name it is. Do you understand me?"
"Can I take you folks' order, or do you need a little more time?"
chimed Yvette, the waitress, oblivious to the tirade she had just
"We'll both have the spaghetti," Trish said, trying to reign in her
frustration. Yvette got the picture immediately and was gone in a
Hank understood his wife's frustration. He even sympathized with
it. But he could not confront it, not now. How could he possibly
explain to her the vision the Spell had given him? The fear that his
status as an Avenger, a scientist, and all the other things she had
just mentioned him being would be the undoing of their marriage? How
could he tell her that he was terrified that one of his enemies would
take their vengeance by lashing out at her, rather than him?
"Tell me, Hank," Trish insisted again. He looked into her eyes. All
he saw there was worry, heartache...pain. His silence had caused her
pain. That realization was enough.
"The Spell," he began.
"What about her?"
"She made us see our worst fears. Things that we -- I -- refused to
acknowledge even in my nightmares. Things we prayed we would forget.
"What did you see?"
"I saw you," Hank said, gulping down some of his iced tea. "I saw
the Mansion under attack, and all of us -- not just the current
roster, but every Avenger -- fending off the attack until someone
slipped through. Then I saw you running out to me and....and..." he
couldn't bear the thought any longer. It suffocated him, as though
someone had placed a plastic bag over his head. The words were there,
but they would not come out.
"They killed me," Trish guessed, stunned by the revelation. She
knew Hank worried. She had always known, in a way. But she had no
idea just how much he worried, how badly it ate at him, until just
now. Knowing that made her recall her own conversations with Jarvis,
"Oh, Hank....we really do need to talk..."
It had taken a little more restraint than he cared for, but
Darkhawk was finally inside. He had promised himself that he would do
this, that he would end this. Now, as he glided soundlessly into the
study, the very room in which his quarry sat, Darkhawk had to
mentally calm himself. He could not afford to fly off the handle now,
when he was so close. He couldn't afford to have this go any other
way than the way he planned.
"Silvermane," he nearly growled, his boots touching the hardwood
floor with a metallic click. The static that laced his voice was
thicker in his anger, and he could almost feel the chill it sent down
Blackwing's spine when he heard it.
He had to give Silvermane credit, though. When the villain turned,
there was no fear, no shock, no surprise in his eyes. He was calm,
collected. He reacted like a man that had every base covered. Little
did he know, Darkhawk had rounded those same bases, and scored the
winning run. That was indicated plainly enough as Blackwing pressed a
small red button and ran, the signal beep sounding from Darkhawk's
"They're not available right now." he said, tossing the pager-like
device at Blackwing. It struck him in the shoulder with such force
that it nearly sent him sprawling, but Blackwing managed his balance
and kept running, ducking through the secret passage that lead to his
lair. Smiling to himself, Darkhawk gave chase.
The ring at the door was insistent, but faded after a few moments.
PLATO had been scanning news reels and international footage,
scouting possible mission concepts for the team's next official
meeting when the bell sounded, and it took him a moment to recognize
it. He floated toward the door as quickly as he could manage, but by
the time he arrived, the visitor had already let herself in.
"Wanda," PLATO said, the pleasant tones of his voice clear. He
smiled at her and moved in close before ushering her toward the
library. "How lovely to see you."
"You too," answered the Scarlet Witch as she took a seat in her
favorite leather recliner at the corner of the room. In all her years
working with him, that chair was the only thing she had ever argued
with Captain America about. It was a favorite of his as well. "Is
"Hawkeye, Thor, Le Peregrine, Firebird, and Masque are all in the
Mansion at this time. Mr. and Mrs. McCoy are enjoying an evening out,
and Darkhawk is out as well. I can contact them if you would like."
"That won't be necessary," Wanda assured him. Seeing PLATO was a
pleasant surprise, as she had forgotten about Jarvis' extended leave.
(4) It reminded her of her time as a member and leader of Force
Works. She remembered some of those times fondly, working with Agent
and Julia and Century. Of course, there were low points there as
well, but the bulk of her time was enjoyable all the same. "Do you
still hear from any of them?"
"Of course," PLATO said, as though there had been no doubt. "Iron
Man keeps in touch through e-mails on occasion. Fisher was just here
the other day, in uniform."
"Oh, yes. Fisher has taken up the mantle of the new Two-Gun Kid."
"Not at all."
"Well, you see..."
[Silvermane Manse - Blackwing's Lair]
"Tell me," said Blackwing, ducking and rolling under another blast
of Darkforce. "Why exactly are you here?"
"You killed them," Darkhawk snarled. He triggered his claw-cable,
hoping to grasp Blackwing's ankle, but received a shot with some sort
of bat-shaped weapon for his troubles. The blade glanced off his
helmet, knocking him off balance enough for Blackwing to find cover
in the shadows of the cave.
"Whom? As I'm sure you're aware, many people attribute their deaths
"The Hero Society." Taking to the air, Darkhawk swooped this way
and that, trying to find his prey. It had all gone so well up to this
point. He had located the mansion, tracked down Blackwing himself,
but Blackwing's sudden escape to the caverns beneath his home had
thrown off Darkhawk's game plan. Now he was fighting on Blackwing's
terms. And while Silvermane was no match for Darkhawk's power, he was
still dangerous enough.
"Ah, them," Blackwing said with contempt before swinging downward
from the stalactites and leveling a kick at the armored Avenger. "A
simple job, really. Champion paid us well enough for it, I suppose. I
prefer more challenge in my plots, though."
"Raaaaaaaaaaaah!" Darkhawk vented in fury, unleashing a Darkforce
blast that would have shamed even one of Hawkeye's blast arrows.
Blackwing was ready, though, and was already gone by the time
Darkhawk had fired.
"Temper, temper. Really, you should have been better prepared if
you were going to come after me, Avenger. I would have thought better
of one of herodom's supposed elite."
Another kick. Then a series of jabs. Then some sort of throwing
Blackwing was keeping Darkhawk on the move, not allowing the
Avenger to get his bearings. Darkhawk knew it was a sound strategy
and that he would have to do something about it, but what was he to
do? Blackwing was utilizing the home court, taking advantage of the
shadows. There had to be a way to beat him, though. He refused to
come all this way, to work so hard, only to be turned back the moment
he was about to avenge his fallen comrade's sacrifice.
[Avengers Mansion - Assembly Room]
"I know this isn't your cup o'tea, Goldilocks, but I appreciate the
help," Clint said as he paused to sip his coffee. Membership files
littered the enormous A at the assembly table's center, and while he
took one end of the table, Thor sat at the other.
"'Tis a pleasure to help thee in thine duties," Thor nodded,
glancing over Hercules' file. "Yon Hercules could be of help with
foes from the higher planes."
"Gods and the like, you mean?"
It was a painstaking job, really. One of those things most people
don't even think about when the words "Avengers Chairman" come up in
conversation. It was, however, a job both Thor and Hawkeye knew well,
each having led a gathering of Earth's Mightiest at some time or
another. They were trying to figure out just what to do with the
inactive members. When they should call in whom; which members were
best suited to what foes and environments; What members wouldn't be
able to work with others and why. Painstaking, tedious, and downright
redundant were the terms Hawkeye would have used to describe most of
it. Half the members' status hadn't changed in years. Really, how
many different criteria did the original Two-Gun Kid have? But,
everything had to be updated, and as Thor and PLATO had both pointed
out, it fell to Hawkeye's shoulders to do it.
"What happened to PLATO, anyhow? He said he'd give us a hand with
"Oh, he was busy greeting a visitor," said a third voice as its
owner slipped into the room. Hawkeye looked up, slackjawed, and
Thor's head whirled at the sound. Both got to their feet quickly,
smiling warm and inviting smiles as they reached to embrace their old
"Fairest Wanda, it hath been far too long since mine eyes have laid
upon thee!" proclaimed Thor, hugging Wanda and squeezing her a bit
"And that goes double for me," said Clint, pulling back the cowl
and greeting Wanda himself. "So let me guess: you've finally decided
to ditch Xavier and come back home, right?" (5)
"Not quite," Wanda laughed. "I had some time off, though, so I
thought I'd come and see who was around. I really wasn't expecting
you all to be home, just Trish."
"Yeah...if you'd have come yesterday--"
"I heard. Fisher's really being Two-Gun?"
"Aye. And a fine one, at that. Matthew wouldst be most proud,
"Let's hit the kitchen," Hawkeye suggested. "I think Bonita's up
there, and I could use a sandwich. Give us a chance to catch up."
"That sounds wonderful," Wanda agreed, taking Clint's offered arm.
[Silvermane Manse - Blackwing's Lair]
Things were not going well. Darkhawk could feel, rather than see,
the welts Blackwing's stick and move tactics had raised. They weren't
doing any serious damage, but they were making him very, very angry.
Darkhawk had seen what anger could do to a combatant more than once.
Night Thrasher was known to go into fits of blind rage. (7) He had
read about times when Thor and Hercules had gotten too caught up in
the heat of battle. Not to mention things that the Beast had told him
about the X-Man Wolverine's anger issues.
Darkhawk had not yet figured out how to flush Blackwing out, but he
had learned to be patient and anticipate the enemy's attacks. Already
he had succeeded in ducking the last two or three blows. Now he just
had to find a way to--
"Argh." Blackwing had crashed into him hard with some sort of
shield. Or was that his cape? Either way, it had hurt, and he didn't
want another charge with it coming at him from the darkness.
Darkness. That was it. Blacking wanted to hide in the shadows, that
was fine with him. He was Darkhawk, after all. A little darkness
never bothered him. A lot, however, might cause Blackwing a problem
Concentrating very carefully, Darkhawk attempted something he had
never done before. His amulet worked as a conduit of sorts. Not only
for his transformation, but as a channeling point for Darkforce
energies. He had used it to form shields, force blasts, and even to
repel attacks from other users of Darkforce. Now, he was trying to
use the energies in the Darkforce Dimension a different way; as a fog.
Something Darkhawk had learned in his time with the New Warriors --
particularly Darkling's takeover of Manhattan -- was that his visor
could see through Darkforce. It wasn't even like night-vision, he
could just see through it. Blackwing, barring some sort of high-tech
goggles hidden in the cave somewhere, could not. So if he could draw
enough Darkforce in, spread it around loosely, he could trap
Blackwing in the shadows of his own cave and seek him out slowly.
Looking around, Darkhawk could feel the Darkforce flowing out of
him. It rolled across the cavern walls like the London Fog, slipping
into every groove, every nook. As he glided this way and that,
allowing the Darkforce to do its job, Darkhawk spotted his prey,
confused and searching for a way out of the black. In the span of a
heartbeat all his rage bubbled to the surface. He reclaimed the
Darkforce he had let out, honing it into a single blast.
The Darkforce hit Blackwing like a cannonball in the chest, sending
him flailing, rag dollish, across the cave. Darkhawk was in hot
pursuit, claw cable already extended and catching Blackwing before he
became a bloody smear on the far wall. Drawing him close, Darkhawk
raged directly at his enemy, fists clenched in madness and anger.
"Oh no, don't pass out yet," Darkhawk hissed, his fury so great
that screams no longer served it. "You have a lot of pain to pay for
[Avengers Mansion - Main Dining Room -- Twenty Minutes Later]
"Wow," whistled the Scarlet Witch as Thor, Bonita, Clint, Masque,
and Alaine finished their versions and parts of the battle with
Anomaly. "Protocol...it's a good name."
"Indeed," Le Peregrine agreed. "Very catching."
"And it's good to see you back," Wanda continued, looking toward
Masque. "I never got to thank you, what with Jarvis' heart attack--"
"Yes. When you gave yourself up to Benedict. You saved my brother
and my sister-in-law and I. Thank you."
Masque's face altered for just the slightest of moments, but none
present recognized the gracious beauty that replaced it. In another
world, Wanda might have come to call her mother, but in this one
Magda Lensherr was a woman the world had never truly known. She
blushed at the Scarlet Witch's thanks and only nodded a response.
Before she could speak, the door flew wide, and Darkhawk stalked in
from the night. The bloodied form of a half-conscious, barely alive
Blackwing was in his arms.
"Darkhawk? What--Dear Lord!" cried Bonita, rushing toward Darkhawk.
Alaine was already there, taking Blackwing from him and ordering
PLATO to call CODE: Blue and an ambulance. "What happened?!"
Darkhawk was silent, though, sidling into the next room and setting
his eyes on the wide-brimmed hat that lay there. After a moment, he
nodded, and turned to Hawkeye.
"I have to leave for a while," he said, his voice barely a
whisper. "I kept my promise..but what I did tonight..." A deep
breath. "I just have to leave for a while."
Hawkeye understood. In fact, all of them did. Sometimes their lives
just get to be too much, and when a super-hero loses his temper, they
often do things they regret. All of them had felt it at some time or
another, and their hearts went out to Darkhawk now that he was
"We'll be here when you get back, DH," Hawkeye said, stepping
forward and patting him on the shoulder. "You know where to find us
if you need anything."
"Thanks," he said, glancing at the others. His eyes focused on Thor
for a moment, then he noticed Wanda. She nodded to him, and he
returned the gesture. Then he opened the door, and left.
[Next Issue: A not-so-old enemy returns...and she ain't the only one!
See you in thirty for "Counterspell"!]
1. See the early issues of Darkhawk's RMU ongoing!
2. Check out Alternate Marvel Presents #15-21 for the full details!
3. See the AMP story: Le Peregrine - Unholy Alliances Tour for the
4. The result of a heart attack in issue 475! Don't worry though,
he'll be back....
5. Yessir, ol' Wanda's running around over in the pages of Uncanny X-
6. Yes, continuity buffs, Thor & Two-Gun I met briefly during that
old Collector/Michael storyline in RMU's Avengers vol 1! Go check it
out if you can find 'em!
7. Thrash & Darkhawk were teammates back in Hawk's New Warriors days.