To read Avengerous Tales 2.38, go here!
One, I know this is supposed to be Hellcat’s big badass debut, but it just looks like she’s falling on her butt. Two, I was really surprised to find out Hellcat was a ‘70s invention. The name just sounds so ‘90s xxxtreme.
After Vision fills us in on the events of the past couple of issues/scolds Patsy Walker for being a dimbulb, the Avengers wander around Brand Corp. for a while in search of their attackers. But, as you may have guessed by now, our heroes are being watched via a security camera, and Jones (CEO of Roxxon, which owns Brand) sends them a friendly hello by way of some guided missiles. I’m sure setting off rockets inside a building won’t have any negative consequences whatsoever.
But that only took care of one missile. What about the other?
Iron Man destroys the missile’s guidance system, but immediately after he’s thrown from the rocket and crashes through the platform the Avengers have been standing on this whole time. The Avengers are all sent flying, but fortunately enough of them actually CAN fly that no one goes kersplat.
Cap, Iron Man and Patsy all make a break for it, taking refuge in a nearby storage room where they find an old superhero costume (sans a superhero) that used to belong to a heroine known as the Cat. Iron Man elucidates:
Looking at the abandoned costume, Iron Man and Cap simultaneously get the idea for Patsy to put on the costume... only for Cap to change his mind three seconds later. Patsy’s not about to put up with that, though, and puts on the costume anyway.
One minor alteration to the name that the costume goes with and we have the debut of Hellcat, our newest would-be Avenger. I’m sure the new codename and skintight cat suit will magically make her 100% more competent than she was before. (Spoiler alert: this was intended to be sarcasm but it’s actually true.)
But enough of that. In case you forgot, we still have a few Avengers stuck in 1873 Tombstone. Not STUCK stuck—you’d think they would be, since Immortus was their ride home and he just went poof, but he conveniently left a time sphere behind, so everything’s cool on that front. However, there might be more passengers aboard than you thought.
And the surprises don’t end there—Hawkeye announces that as soon as they get back to 1975, he’ll be quitting the Avengers. Again.
Back at Brand Corp., Jones gets some bad news: the police are banging on his door (you can’t launch rockets without attracting some undue attention, after all), and rather than risk the cops discovering what’s going on, he somehow zaps the Avengers and the Squadron Supreme to the Squadron’s world to continue their battle there.
And unfortunately I’m going to have to leave you on that cliffhanger for a couple of issues. Remember when I mentioned how Marvel used to deal with missed deadlines by printing completely unrelated stories to give their creators more time to finish their work? Well, Issues 145 and 146 are just such issues.
They don’t even have the same creative team—instead of Englehart writing we have Tony Isabella and Scott Edelman, and instead of George Pérez on art we have Avengers veteran Don Heck. (Hi, Don!). Furthermore, this story is set some time before the current ongoing storylines. In other words, Thor and Hawkeye are still around instead of in the past, and Moondragon and Hellcat are nowhere to be found (or if they are somewhere to be found, it is not in this book).
Issue 145 begins with a mysterious hooded figure watching video of the Avengers beating up various baddies and trying to figure out how he’ll defeat them. The Avengers, that is, not the baddies.
So apparently an unspecified group of the Avengers’ enemies have pooled their money and offered it to the hooded man, named the Assassin, if he will just get rid of those meddling superheroes once and for all. The Assassin accepts the offer, but he’ll need a year to prep.
Cut to one year later, when Captain America is fighting a bunch of thieves all wearing Captain America masks.
One of the robbers takes off and, since all the others are unconscious, Captain America decides he can spare a moment to give chase. Unfortunately for him...
The Assassin shoots Cap with some fancy gun (because of course he has to overcomplicate things and not just kill his targets right away), and an old woman witnesses the crime and reports it to the police. She’s not being a nice person though—she’s been struggling financially and was offered $1000 by the Assassin to make this particular call at this particular time.
If you’re fearing for the old lady’s safety, you should. Her payment is covered in poison. I sure hope she doesn’t spend any of that money or else a whole lot of other people are going to get poisoned too. I’m sure a spate of mysterious poisonings isn’t going to attract undue attention at all. Good plan, Ass-assin.
So Cap is, of course, taken to the hospital, where the doctors give him little chance of survival. Hawkeye races to the hospital to visit his fellow Avenger only to run afoul of some weird-looking dudes in the hallway.
The baddies ultimately flee, and Hawkeye meets Vision, Scarlet Witch and Beast outside Cap’s room (Thor and Iron Man are off plotting plotty things). He tells Wanda and Hank to go get some sleep and tries to reassure them that everything will be okay. Hawkeye then spends half a page reminiscing about how awesome Captain America is.
Anyway, the issue ends with the Assassin spying on the Vision and thinking about how he’s going to murder them all. This isn’t actually a bad issue (though it does feel kind of rushed—who is the Assassin? Who’s hired him? Why do they have so much faith in this apparently legendary assassin when we’ve never heard of him and are not provided with any examples of his past successes?). It’s just out of place in the current storyline. Fortunately, we’ll be able to both wrap up the Assassin’s plans and get back to our regularly scheduled avenging in the next Avengerous Tale.
To read Avengerous Tales 2.40, go here!
Images from Avengers #144 and Avengers #145