Title: The High Ground
Story: Kurt Busiek
Art: Alan Davis/Mark Farmer/Tom Smith
Summary: In orbit, Kang and the Scarlet Centurion review their plans to conquer Earth while completely cloaked from our unsuspecting heroes. In the wake of the battle against Diablo's Hulk-creature, the Avengers regroup and reflect. For Warbird, this means a session in the team's Combat Simulation Room to further assess her new power levels. She is observed by the "replacement" Hank Pym, who continues to suffer from some strange malady. Other quiet moments are shared by the rest of the team. Wanda & Wonder Man re-examine their relationship and find it surprisingly easy to let go of. The Wasp questions Tony Stark on the recent decisions he has made in his personal life and wonders how it will affect the team. Warbird, overhears Triathlon questioning his place in the team and sharing his unhappiness with his role with Jarvis. And in Siberia, Cap, Thor and Quicksilver join Firebird and Black Knight to investigate the strange radiation emissions and how they may be linked to the Winter Guard!
The team's downtime is interrupted by the arrival of the Scarlet Centurion at the UN. The Centurion has arrived to announce the arrival of Kang to Earth's leaders. The Avengers arrive and the battle is quickly engaged. The Centurion has the team on the ropes as he anticipates the team's every move. He is finally caught off-guard by Warbird, who wrests control of the energies being generated by his staff. The Centurion is immediately awed by her defiance and beauty. As he tells her this, she recognizes the voice! Her horror is side-lined when Triathlon attacks the Centurion and the rest of the team piles on. At this moment, Kang arrives to put a stop to hostilities and demonstrate his power. Using his Kerby-remote, Kang activates his ship's death ray and deastorys the UN building. The team is horrified by the devestation until Kang reveals that he has also safe-guarded those within! This demonstration of sheer power convinces the team that they are in hot water!
NOTE: Warbird's training session confirms that her normal strength levels are in the 45 ton range. It is also made clear that her strength, flight and energy generation powers can be boosted by absorbing other forms of energy. Once boosted, Carol's strength level is shown jumping into the 90 ton range. There is also a mention of her long-lost Seventh Sense power...which may or may not account for her nagging feelings about some threat looming in the team's future.