Marvel Comics (December, 1997)
THUNDERBOLTS SEQUENCE: Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, & Vince Russell
FLASHBACK SEQUENCE: Roger Stern, Ron Frenz, Blyberg & Milgrom (for some reason the last two have “Wally”, with quotation marks, as their first name)
COLORIST: Joe Rosas
LETTERER: Dave Lanphear
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
MACH-1 and a more confident Songbird take on a monster in the streets of New York. As they leave him to the authorities they are met by the Black Widow. Instead of fighting them (although she suspects something is wrong about them and may even suspect Citizen V is really Baron Zemo), she tells a story from after Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver–all formerly villains–were introduced as the new Avengers alongside Captain America. Due to their pasts and the anti-mutant ramblings against Wanda and Pietro (not helped by the leaking of them alongside Magneto but now when they turned against him and switched sided to the good guys), they are not received well by the public. The Radioactive Man uses this opportunity to trap Captain America to lead the “real” Avengers into a trap. However, Giant-Man and Iron Man are pursuing other events while Thor was on some special mission. Thus it’s up to the three newbies to save him and stop Radioactive Man. This won them a few supporters but there were still those who turned against them. Natasha’s point in telling MACH-1 and Songbird this tale? She has a feeling they like playing hero and warns them to become heroes for real and stop their boss…before they go down with them!
What they got right: I like this story not only because it’s a good adventure for the three former villains but for how well it plays for the character arcs of Songbird and MACH-1, characters who seem to be on the crossroads of joining the good guys. I kind of wish Atlas had been there since he’s on a similar path but he’s still loyal enough to Zemo that he might tell him about the encounter. Because Songbird and MACH-1 are a couple, and given the reason they became villains in the first place, they’re probably the most reachable and might not say anything to that “boss”. Plus we get to see how much more confident Songbird is after her ordeal last issue.
What they got wrong: Was it explained in some other title what this Ogur monster was doing in New York instead of his usual haunts? The editor note says he hasn’t been seen since Thor #138, and that was back in 1967. Yay for continuity I guess but what’s he doing here? Even he doesn’t know.
Recommendation: Not necessarily a must-own to follow the plot of the series, but still a good story worth looking into and there is some teasing as to what is coming. Although I wonder what would have happened had Heroes Reborn not happened at this point.