(May 2000) Title: The Death-Song of Kulan Gath - Part 1
Story: Kurt Busiek
Art:George Perez/Al Vey/Tom Smith
Summary: The story opens with a prologue look at the jungle of Costa Verde where the ages-old wizard, Kulan Gath awakens from his slumbers. He is attended by his servants and prepared for the day. As he looks out over his realm with a sense of satisfied calm, his reverie is interrupted by the passing of a commercial airliner. This reminds Kulan Gath that his influence stretches only so far, a situation which demands his immediate attention.
Meanwhile the new team of Avengers is making its public debut! The team has volunteered to assist the city of Mephis in demolishing some crime-infested wherehouses. With great panache the deed is accomplished and the press and fans are thrilled. However, the tension within the team caused by their newest member Triathlon is apparent in his attitude and comments. The Avengers continue to wow the masses as it is announced that tthey will all appear at a benefit dinner the proceeds of which will go towards a new Stark Foundation Community Center.
Edwin Jarvis looks on with pride at his team of heroes, noting that the protests have died down in recent days. He can't help but wonder if the Triune Understanding is benefitting from this somehow, as well. Much to his surprise, Silverclaw arrives in his ketchen with desperate news! Something terrible is happening in her village. When the Avengers return, they join Silverclaw in investigating the menace! En route to the Kamekeri village in Costa Verde, Lupe recounts her origin to the team.
She tells of ancient gods whose prominence in her homeland faded with the advent of the Catholic missionaries. Of these former deities only Peliali, the volcano goddess, remained. Lupe's father was a scholar who studied the old ways of their people. He claimed that he had found Peliali, but no one belived his stories. For many months he visited Peliali's hill, until one day he returned with a baby girl, who he claimed was his daughter by Peliali. Even as an infant, Lupe's abilities were apparent and branded her as an outcast. Lupe's father passed on his knowledge of the myths and heritage that the rest of their village had abandoned. But whenever he would take the young Silverclaw to see her mother, they found nothing but empty caves. This devestated the young Lupe who began to doubt the truth of her parentage. When Lupe's father died, she was taken to a Catholic orphanage. It was there that she became the ward of Edwin Jarvis through the ChildCare organization. He was assigned to Lupe specifically because the orphanage knew of her special abilities and hoped that Jarvis' connections to the Avengers might someday prove of value to the young superhuman. Lupe stayed in close contact with Jarvis and through him strived to become modern and current. Eventually, she came to Aemrica for college and brought with her the ceremonial garb of the Silverclaw that her father had given her. She then tells the Avengers of the prophecy foretelling a threat from long past which only she could overcome.
As the Avengers arrive in Costa Verde they discover that Silverclaw's village is gone! The government has no record of it! When they investigate, they find the village transformed into an ancient city and are attacked by riders on giant hawks! Warbird & Iron Man quickly dispath the aerial foes and the Avengers land to investigate. The Scarlet Witch senses a powerful magickal field around the city. As Warbird, Goliath and She-Hulk enter the city, they are transformed into ancient warriors. Surprisingly, Hank Pym's persona is reminscent of Yellowjacket! The other Avengers quickly pull their comrades out of the city. They are immediately threatened by Kulan Gath's astral image to turn back or face his wrath! The team set up camp for the night. While gethering water & kindling, Iron Man tries to make peace with the tempestuous Triathlon but to no avail. Warbird watches the scene unbeknownst to her two teammates. Meanwhile, Hank & jan begin to discuss the impact of his transfromation buit are interrupted by a cry from Silverclaw! She has awakened from a nightmare during which she was contacted by Kulan Gath's true target...her mother!
Comments: This issue features Carol rather prominently and shows her to be a capable and insightful addition to the team. When transformed by Kulan Gath's magicks, Carol sports a Xena-like costume and claims to be a wing-warrior similar to those who initially attacked the team.