- Read my lips, Hawkeye! No! N-O! Never in a million years! Nix! Negatory! Not in your life! Thanks but no thanks an' BYE!
Appearing in "Master Pandemonium!"
Races and Species:
- Hawkeye's Sky-Cycle
- Thing's Motorcycle
Synopsis for "Master Pandemonium!"
Ben Grimm, the Thing, has showed up at Avengers Compound, after his motorbike broke down nearby. Hawkeye has offered him the position as the sixth member of the West Coast Avengers, but the Thing has just quit the Fantastic Four and has no desire to join up with another group! But Hawkeye won't take no for an answer...
The Thing explains to Hawkeye that he's given up being a superhero and has taken a new job as a professional wrestler and, after offering the other Avengers tickets to his next match, walks out before Hawkeye can say the next word. Outside, he remembers the reason he came to the Avengers Compound in the first place - his motorcycle had broke down - but instead of going back in he just picks up the cycle and starts walking down the road. He doesn't get far before he spots a flaming figure falling out of the sky. Believing it to be the Human Torch, he drops his bike and rushes over to catch him. But when he does, he realizes that it's a woman.
The Thing returns to the Compound with the unconscious woman in his arms. No one recognizes her, and Mockingbird begins to treat her wounds. Not wanting to stick around, the Thing tells Hawkeye to give him a call when the woman wakes up. He returns to his bike, only to find it smashed and bent from when he had to drop it to catch the woman. Iron Man offers to help him fix it. Meanwhile, Hank receives another phone call, only to find no one on the other end just like last time. Hawkeye is convinced that he can talk the Thing into joining the team, excited with the idea of having the strongman from the fabled Fantastic Four alongside them.
Elsewhere in the Compound, Tigra sneaks up on Wonder Man, who has been pacing the corridors deep in thought. She invites him down to the beach, but he tells her he has an appointment he has to keep. Tigra then says that she's become really attached to him since they've opened up to one another, and wants to be more than friends. She kisses him, and Simon rushes off uncomfortably. Hawkeye then calls all Avengers to the front room. The woman has awoken, and identifies herself as Bonita Juarez, aka Firebird. She explains to them how she came about her power, having once during a stroll in the desert fire fell from the heavens. She found that she was immune to its effects. Bathed in its extraterrestrial radiation, Juarez soon discovered that she had acquired vast amount of energy-wielding powers. She had joined with other heroes of the western states - the Night Rider, Shooting Star, Texas Twister, and Red Wolf - and fought against the Hulk. But this morning, she was awoken when a giant bird crashed through her bedroom window and attacked her. She was then attacked by a being calling himself Master Pandemonium, believing her to be "one of the five". He summoned demons from his body to attack her. She had only one hope, to contact the Avengers for help. They agree to help her.
Shortly after, Hank receives yet another telephone call. But this time there is a voice on the other end - Ultron-12. The robot taunts his "father", saying that he will never leave him alone. The robot hangs up before Hank can say anything, and the man is worried that if the Avengers find out about Ultron, they'll throw him out.
That afternoon, Wonder Man appears for the taping of the Johnny Carson Show. He has decided to use the show to make an important announcement, and air all of his dirty laundry out in public. He tells the television public about the embezzlement, and how his brother Eric had taken the blame for it when it was discovered that he was the Grim Reaper. Simon wants to put the facts straight, that it was he that had embezzled the money from the company and allowed the blame to fall on Eric. Now he wants the public to make the decision if he should remain an Avengers. Johnny Carson thanks him for his appearance, telling Simon that he's a brave man to confess out in the open like this. Wonder Man is relieved to have his guilt off his chest.
After the show, Simon walks over to the Coliseum nearby, where the Thing is practicing for the big wrestling match that evening. Simon wants to talk to him, but before he has a chance to Master Pandemonium appears and attacks the Thing. He wants to know if Ben is "one of the five", since Firebird had flew to him after they fought. Wonder Man contacts the rest of the Avengers, but in the meantime both he and Ben Grimm will keep Master Pandemonium occupied. That proves to be harder than it seems when the villain reaches out, his arms suddenly transforming into two terrifying demons. They detach themselves from Master Pandemonium and attack the two heroes. During the fight, Pandemonium realizes that the Thing can't be who he is looking for, but before he can escape the rest of the Avengers arrive to join the fight. Master Pandemonium peels back his tunic to release dozens of demons from within his body. In the commotion, the villain tries to escape, but Hawkeye shoots a tear gas arrow in his direction. As Pandemonium falls back to the street, Iron Man and the Thing move in for the attack. He tries to hold back Iron Man with demon fire, but the Avenger pushes towards him and slams his armored fist right through Master Pandemonium's stomach. He recalls his demons, which swarm over Iron Man before reentering Pandemonium's body. With Iron Man disoriented, Master Pandemonium takes the chance to escape. The Avengers regather, uncertain of what just happened there. One this is certain, though... the Thing is NOT joining the Avengers!
Later, as Master Pandemonium returns to his mansion, he sits with his faithful demon bird Azmodeum contemplating the fate of his soul. As he looks down at the gaping hole on his stomach, he realizes that whatever the fate of his body, he has to stop...
- The Thing quit the Fantastic Four for good after returning from Battleworld in both Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #277 and Thing #23.
- A footnote says Firebird's only previous appearance was in Incredible Hulk #265, but in fact she also had brief cameos in Incredible Hulk #278 and #279.
- This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for info.
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- Images from West Coast Avengers Vol 2 4
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