Avengers #26
(March 2000)

Title: ...Under Cover of Night!
Story: Kurt Busiek
Art:Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger

Summary: Carol Danvers sits before a special panel of federal officials and boldly reveals that she is the super-heroine called Warbird and that she is an alcoholic! She goes on to take full responsibility for the near crashing of Championair Flight 619 during her drunken battle against Iron Man. As the tribunal considers her admission, a note arrives addressed to Warbird.

Responding to the summons later that night, Warbird is met by Silverclaw and Ant-Man. All three heroes apparently received an unexpected summons from Captain America who arrives shortly. Cap announces that he has quit the Avengers in order to strike at the Triune Understanding and chose each of them for their skill at stealth missions. Just as Cap's latest Kooky Quartet are about to embark on their mission, they are joined by the new Captain Marvel! Together this unusual combination of non-Avengers make their way to the Triune's new multi-million dollar headquarters.

Upon entry, the group finds a huge device which Cap proclaims is the Triune's secret weapon, a will-suppressing device which turns their followers into mindless slaves. Cap insists that the machine be destroyed! Carol, Ant-Man and company question this order, which seems out of character and illogical. Silverclaw is the first to realize that this is NOT Capt. America! His ruse uncovered, the impostor orders an attack by his Split-Second Squad and reveals himself to be the Taskmaster!!!

The four non-Avengers fight valiantly, but their efforts are disorganized compared to the Taskmaster's highly-trained goons. The non-Avengers are on the ropes until Carol takes charge! Barking orders and encouragement, Carol brings the four heroes together and manages to turn the tide of battle! The Taskmaster returns to gloat about the explosives he has just set throughout the complex. The non-Avengers battle Taskmaster who match them move for move until Captain Marvel transforms into Rick Jones mid-leap and kayoes the photo-reflexive villain. No sooner is the Taskmaster down than the non-Avengers are blind-sided and knocked unconscious by Lord Templar.

The defeated heroes awake in the ruins of the Triunes' headquarters surrounded by the press, authorities and members of the Triune Understanding. They quickly realize that they have been framed for the destruction by the Triune as part of their ongoing campaign to publically undermine the Avengers. As things start to heat up, the press announces that Avengers Mansion is the latest hot scoop, where almost the entire team has quit!!!

Comments: The events of this issue set the stage for the next big Avengers line-up change in Avengers #27!!! Given the groundwork laid for Carol with the government knowing her secret identity and holding her accountable for the near crash of Flight 619, smart money says that Busiek has further plans for our heroine! In addition, the cornerbox of this issue features a Perez drawn Warbird...a mere coincidence? Here's hoping Carol makes the new line-up!


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