The West Coast Avengers Vol. 3 #23 (September, 2003)
- To combat those threats against which no hero can face
alone, Earth's Mightiest Heroes forged a covenant to
unite in battle to protect all mankind. Due to the
actions of an unstoppable menace, the team's second
charter has been reborn! These are the new
adventures of the West Coast Avengers!
Team Roster: Photon--Mistress of Energy!
Tigra--Feline Huntress! U.S.Agent--Soldier
Extraordinaire! Dr. Cecelia Reyes--Forcefield
Projector! Giant Man--Growing Goliath! She-Hulk--
Gamma-Spawned Beauty! Hercules--Prince of Power!
The West Coast Avengers vol. 3#23
Dark Tide Part One
"Children of the Sea"
By Daniel D. Gordon
Bonita Juarez was a confused woman. She had been
praying for hours and was no closer to the answers she
sought than she was when she began. She wanted God to
reveal the true nature of her powers to her. Every
time she thought about the fateful night she was
struck by a falling fireball from the sky, she
believed that He blessed her with special powers so
she could better serve Him. Later, she learned her
fire-inducing powers were a by-product of a discarded
alien experiment. (1) That did not explain the new
powers she manifested recently.
During the Devil's Night fiasco, she believed she drew
power from God Himself to battle the demon D'spayre.
(2) Her powers have always been "sensitive" when the
presence of evil was near, but never had she felt
closer to God than on that night. Was it because the
world was under a demonic invasion and God used her to
be his hand of judgment? Ever since she had tried to
tap into the angelic energy she wielded, but nothing
happened. Would she need to be in mortal danger in
order to use it again?
She tried not to repeat the same questions during her
meditation, but it troubled her that she did not have
full mastery of the gifts God gave her. She knew
divine intervention played a role in her receiving her
powers. There had to be a reason why she was running
across the desert that night and was chosen to become
Firebird and not someone who would have used the
powers from Heaven in ways immoral and unimaginable.
Bonita's thoughts were rudely interrupted by the
blaring sirens of the West Coast Avengers mountain
base. The pattern of the alarm suggested that
something or someone was approaching the base at a
high rate of speed. She headed for the conference
room to learn what was going on. Whatever was coming
wasn't evil. If it was she would have sensed it. At
least she prayed that she would have.
The uncertainity caused her to remember the last time
she thought she felt the presence of something
sinister. It was only for a brief moment. She had a
feeling that something or someone besides the West
Coast Avengers was living in the base. Whatever she
had sensed wasn't entirely evil, but it wasn't
entirely good either. She wished she had time to
determine who or what it was, but she hadn't sensed
any trace of it for a few days. (3)
The doors of the conference room opened when she
reached them. Inside were the West Coast Avengers
along with Doc Samson, the leader of the West Coast
reservists. Firebird took her seat and noticed
someone was missing.
"She'll be here in a second," She-Hulk answered.
On cue, the conference doors slid open and Photon
entered the room. Accompanying her was the reason the
proximity alarms were tripped. They detected Namor
the Sub-Mariner, king of Atlantis, approaching in
search of allies for his cause.
"Avengers, we have a potential international crisis on
our hands," Photon started. "And if we don't act now,
the world may be on the brink of war."
***Somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean***
For as long as they could remember, they had roamed
the seas. Driven by a primal urge to find the one
that gave them life, Cornelius and Coral searched for
their mother. Their search had brought them nothing
but misery. The death of their sister resulted from
one of the attacks against them. (4) Everywhere they
travelled, they were hunted by those who feared them.
What had they done to deserve this? All they wanted
was to find their mother. Was that so wrong?
Their present journey brought them to Wake Island. At
the bottom of the ocean floor under the small naval
outpost nested one of the most amazing
extraterrestrial finds in recent history. Ruins of a
cacoon pod were scattered across the floor, signalling
the rebirth of a hero long thought dead. (5)
"Look, Coral!" the blue-skinned amphibious Cornelius
shouted. "She was here!"
Coral, whose bulky copper skin was covered with bony
rocklike appendages, stared at the watery remains.
"She is not here NOW! I grow tired of wandering this
planet. We must find her."
"I know, Coral," Cornelius sighed, looking for any
clue to their mother's whereabouts. He examined the
immediate vacinity of the cacoon, hoping to find
anything that could led them to the one who gave them
birth. Just when he was about to give up, a series of
sparkles gave him new hope.
"Coral, look!" Cornelius pointed to a barely-visible
trail. "Does that look familiar to you?"
Coral followed the pattern with his eyes. "It does.
It seems to be the ion exhaust trail from a Plodex
ship. How would I know that?"
"It is obvious our mother's bio-rhythms are triggering
knowledge previously hidden from us," Cornelius
hypothesized. "We can not reach the next stage of our
evolution without her."
"Then we must find her quickly," Coral urged. "Let us
leave this place at once."
"You are not going anywhere!" a stern voice ordered
Coral and Cornelius turned around and saw a squadron
of United States Navy Seals pointing high tech
weaponry at them.
"You are trespassing on United States property and are
hereby under arrest," the squad commander informed.
"Surrender peacefully or we will open fire!"
***The West Coast Avengers Mountain Base***
Namor paced the conference room. His anger roared
inside him as if they were the pounding waves that
brushed against the mountain base. He came to the
Avengers for help, but all they did was talk about the
ramifications of any action they would take. Hearing
the debate caused Namor's blood to boil with
"I came to you for assistance, Avengers. Not to sit
and chatter. If need be, I will continue my quest
"Namor, please calm down," Photon said with the hope
of relaxing him. "We didn't say we wouldn't help, but
we have to be cafeful not to do anything that would
strain the already unstable relationship between your
kingdom and the rest of the world."
"I will deal with that when the time comes," Namor
"I want to make your dealings as smooth as possible,"
Photon reassured. "I know the clock is ticking."
"Then what are we waiting for?" U.S.Agent asked. He
was glad Namor arrived with a mission for the team.
"Prep a Quinjet for departure, Agent," Photon ordered.
"Doc Samson, I would like you to contact Secretary
Powell and ask him to delay the naval fleet. If he
gives you any problems, transfer the call to me on the
"You got it," Doc Samson responded.
"Leonard, I would also like you to contact the
reservists. We may need some extra firepower if
things get out of control. Alert the East Coast team
of our whereabouts also."
"On it," Doc Samson said, starting the tasks asked of
Photon continued to give orders. "Tigra, I want you
to use the sonar tracking system for any increased
oceanic activity and relay the information to the
"Yes, ma'am," Tigra sounded off, leaping to the radar
Photon addressed the reservists present in the room.
"Our ranks are a bit low and I would appreciate it if
the three of you would join us on this mission."
Giant-Man, who was glad Photon didn't kick him off the
team, accepted her offer. "I will do anything I can
to make up for my mistakes." (6)
"Thanks, Bill," Photon smiled. Her smile faded when
she saw a look of certainity on Dr. Cecelia Reyes's
face. "Cece, I know you dislike going on missions
with us, but I could use your medical expertise in
case things go wrong."
"Alright," the Puerto Rican mutant huffed. "I'm only
tagging along as a doctor, not a superhero."
"Agreed," Photon reinforced. "What about you,
"Huh?" Firebird asked, her mind wondering in a daze.
Photon wondered what was on her mind. "I know your
powers are fire-based, but I would still like you go
come along with us."
"I would like to, but I have something I must do
here," Firebird declined. "But I will be ready to
join you if you call the other reservists to action."
"Very well," Photon said.
"Photon, I found something," Tigra yelled across the
room. "There's a lot of activity at Wake Island."
"That's not to far from here," She-Hulk added. "But I
thought it was just a base used in case of emergency
refueling for oversea flights."
"You're right," Photon continued. "From what I
remember from working with the Harbor Patrol, there's
only about two hundred people stationed there and
their primary job is maintenance."
"There's something going on and they aren't replacing
light bulbs," Tigra relayed. "According to a
S.H.I.E.L.D. transmission, the naval fleet is headed
"I have a feeling my children are there," Namor said
with a parental instinct.
"Then let us be off," Hercules boasted.
"Let's go, Avengers," Photon headed to the door. "We
can't allow anything to happen to them!"
Attuma tightened his grip on his warstaff. He
impatiently oversaw the installation of Altantean
technology which would allow the sea-damaged machinery
he recently acquired to function. Some time ago, he
found an island which was raised to the surface by an
insane surface dweller. A short time later it was
returned to its home on the ocean floor. Rumors
spread claiming the rise and fall of the island was
due to the demon that was thought to have lived there.
The Altanteans even named the island "Demonica" in
reference to the evil believed to dwell there. (7) It
was the perfect place for Attuma to plot when he did
not want prying eyes watching his every move.
"How soon will the laboratory be operational?" Attuma
"A couple of hours, my lord," the chief technican
answered, praying his answer did not cost him his
"Good," Attuma answered. He heard footsteps in the
distance and turned to see who entered the room.
A blue skinned Atlantean wearing a red outfit with a
large, yellow, anvil-like symbol walked toward Attuma.
He had a large muscular frame which rivaled that of
Attuma's. The main characteristic that stood out on
the man was the burn scars on his scalp and the left
side of his face. It was obvious he had been
disfigured in some way. (8)
"Deathcharge," Attuma called out. "What news do you
have to report?"
"Krang's diversion has worked as planned," he started.
"Orka is in route and will be here shortly." (9)
"Excellent," Attuma approved.
"I also know something you might be interested in."
"What?" Attuma growled. "I have no time for games."
Deathcharge gave a wicked smile. "The surface
dwellers are in pursuit of the heirs to the throne."
"The half breeds have returned?" Attuma asked.
"Yes," Deathcharge confirmed. "And their father is
bringing those Avengers into the mix as well."
"We cannot have them ruining my plans before they
begin," Attuma blared. "But I cannot pass this
opportunity to attack the surface dwellers. Prepare a
warhost to intercept the land lovers"
"But what of the heirs?" Deathcharge wondered.
"I have no love for them," Attuma snarled. "They have
no true Atlantean heritage." He paused for a moment.
"However, if they were to die as a result of the
surface dwellers's pursuit, we would have no choice
but to declare war in an attempt to avenge them." He
finished with thoughts with a grin. "On behalf of our
king, of course."
"Of course," Deathcharge repeated with an evil smile.
***The West Coast Avengers Mountain Base***
Firebird stood in front of Sub-Basement 5-C. She
didn't want to tell the others the reason she stayed
behind was because she had to find out what was hiding
inside this room. She was unsure if she was about to
meet an hostile force and prayed to God for his
protection and strength. If she was overwhelmed by
what was inside, she hoped she would find a way to
contact Doc Samson since he was the only other person
in the base for the moment.
She placed her right hand against the door's locking
mechanism so it could be scanned. Once it verified
her identity, the doors opened. She placed her hand
over her mouth to prevent inhaling the dust that flew
toward her. She could tell that it had been years
since anyone had been inside. With her free hand she
waved more dust out of her face so she could make out
the contents of the room.
The room was filled with hundreds of storage crates.
Some crates were labeled and stacked in an orderly
fashion while others were scattered across the room.
In a far corner she saw what appeared to be a man,
except it look more like a robot.
She cautiously peered behind a stack of crates and
upon further examination discovered that what she saw
were actually robot parts. She wondered if someone
was trying to build a construct or if this was a
casualty from a S.H.I.E.L.D. battle.
"There's nothing here," Firebird said to herself and
headed for the door. She turned to leave in
disappointment. She wished she had found what she was
looking for. Or did she? Was she going crazy? She
was thankful she hadn't told the others what she
thought was going on. Photon would have probably
recommended for her have a therapy session with Doc
Samson or take some time away from the team.
Firebird struggled with her thoughts and feelings as
she reached the door. She knew something was going on
here. She stopped and looked around one more time.
She saw nothing out of the ordinary. Was there danger
inside one of the boxes? There was no way for her to
tell. She shouldn't have came by herself. She could
have used some help going through the crates to
determine if they contained dangerous materials.
"I'll come back later with someone," she decided,
heading for the door. As she was about to place her
hand on the locking mechanism to exit, a transparent
arm phased through a nearby crate. The owner did not
intend for Firebird to leave until the time was right.
To Be Continued
NEXT ISSUE: The fight for Coral and Cornelius rages
as the West Coast Avengers try to rescue them! Will
things escalate into an all-out war between the
Atlanteans and the surface world? How will Firebird
escape her captor in the sub-basement? Find out in
the next chapter of Dark Tide when the West Coast
Avengers take a "Deep Descent"! Oh, and look out for
cameo from a certain member of Alpha Flight as well!
***WCA 23 Footnotes***
1. This was revealed in Marvel's Avengers Spotlight
2. Check out Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers #18 to
see what happened!
3. To find out more on what Firebird "sensed", check
out Altmarvel's West Coast Avengers #19.
4. See Marvel's Quasar #8 for this tragic act.
5. See Altmarvel's Alpha Flight vol. 2 #4 for this
6. See last issue for more details.
7. This is the same "Demonica Island" used by Dr.
Demonicus! It was raised to the surface in Marvel's
Avengers West Coast #70 and sunk in Avengers West
8. Check out the back-up story in Marvel's Namor
Annual #4 to witness the actions which caused the
9. What diversion? The one that took place in
Altmarvel's Defenders #22!
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