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Quote1 Ms Marvel, what I was going to say was that perhaps we should have gone after the Wasp because we're... her friends. Quote2
-- Wonder Man

Appearing in "Assault on a Mind Cage!"

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Synopsis for "Assault on a Mind Cage!"

Continued from last issue...

The Avengers, accompanied by Yellowjacket and Jocasta, huddle in the snowy woods just outside the Solomon Institute for the Criminally Insane. They are in search of the Wasp who went MIA after a patient from the institute, a disturbed man named Selbe, showed up at the mansion hysterically claiming that he was in danger. (The Wasp was the only Avenger to believe his claim.)

Since the team cannot enter without a search warrant, Cap has brought in Yellowjacket to do covert reconnaissance. He apologizes for having to send Hank in alone, but Yellowjacket informs him he brought his own back-up: YJ introduces the team to the new Ant-Man.

The pair of miniature heroes infiltrate the compound and are baffled by what they find: military-style barracks in place of patient beds, combat training with high-tech weaponry in place of therapy sessions, and an administration department that discusses “recruits” (mentioning that one candidate is an ideal prospect given his low I.Q. scores and violent disposition.)

When one administers remarks about filling an order for Dr. Octopus, Yellowjacket realizes what’s truly going on: the institute is a front for a training academy for the type of low-level flunkies that supervillains tend to employ.

Searching further, the two heroes find the Wasp being held under sedation. They knock out her guards and revive her, and she relates how she trailed the car transporting Selbe back to the institute. She overheard guards talk about preparing Selbe for some sort of operation, but she was knocked out by a gas attack before she could rescue him. Wasp is still dazed and Yellowjacket is just relieved she’s OK, but Ant-Man realizes that if Selbe’s prison cell was being monitored, then the Wasp’s cell is probably as well. It turns out to be a correct assumption as the trio are confronted by Dr. Solomon (who looks distinctly like an older version of Selbe), head of the institute, and more armed guards.

The three are taken to Solomon’s office. He relates that he has a terminal heart condition but also a rare blood type that makes getting a transplant difficult. Solomon had his lab techs create and force grow a clone of him (Selbe) in order to harvest his heart!

Disgusted by Solomon’s callousness, Yellowjacket and Ant-Man attack the guards. Although Solomon attempts to seize the Wasp to use her as a hostage, she easily decks him. The three set out to locate and free Selbe.

Outside, Wonder Man wonders aloud why they can’t just charge in, stating that, after all, they are… To which Ms. Marvel jumps to the conclusion that he intended to say “men” and then launches into a tirade about his sexist standards to him. Wonder Man then finishes his sentence saying he meant to say, “We are… her friends.” Ms. Marvel is left chastened.

As the team are waiting, they observe a unique hover-plane approach and land at the Solomon Institute. The man in charge has arrived!

Inside, Yellowjacket, Wasp and Ant-Man knock out the guards outside Selbe’s cell. Wasp enters and tells him that they’re there to rescue him. But the Wasp is then surprised by the entrance of the Taskmaster, who has already subdued Yellowjacket and Ant-Man.

Notes

  • Yellowjacket introduces the new Ant-Man to the Avengers, most of whom are surprised to learn that someone else has taken over the role. What none of the team realize (except, perhaps, Pym) is that this new hero has already interacted with several of them when, in his civilian identity as Scott Lang, he installed the new security systems in the mansion.
  • Ms. Marvel's tirade is a weird non-sequitur. Why she jumps to the conclusion that Wonder Man was going to make a sexist remark is inexplicable and not really consistent with her characterization in the last issue where she flirting with both Tony Stark and Captain America. in general, writer Michelenie has never really settled on a characterization or point of view for this character (except to act as a feminist scold). It's no surprise really that the character would be dumped from the team a few months down the line.
  • The final page of this story introduces the Taskmaster, a B-level villain who has nevertheless been a fan favorite character ever since. (A version of the character is set to appear in the upcoming "Black Widow" solo movie in the MCU franchise.)

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