Thunderbolts
Songbird In Thunderbolts #3: The Thunderbolts and Redeemers united to face Graviton. Thanks to the intervention of Nomad, Graviton was defeated. During that battle, Citizen V and Dallas Riordan faced HYDRA and freed Atlas who used helped stop HYDRA. Meanwhile, the being known as HS-1 was released from his containment tube and began his quest for world domination.

Marvel: Revolution Presents...

Justice Like Lightning!

THE THUNDERBOLTS

#4

#54

"In His Own Image"

(Shattered Reality Part One)

By Tony Thornley

Edited by Joe Wagner


Songbird followed Captain Marvel over the forests of Washington State. Genis had challenged her to race to a group of mountains in the Cascade mountain range, just outside of Seattle, and the Thunderbolts' newest base.

The team had each taken their own sort of relief time away from saving the world. Clint and Karla had taken the day off in Seattle, exploring their new home, and taking in everything. Abe had stayed at the base, tinkering with the team's new equipment, trying to make the best use of it he possibly could. That left Mel to choose between spending the day with Genis or sitting with Abe, who was worse than a small child at Christmas when exposed to new tech. Melissa chose Genis.

Genis's energy wake arced downward and Melissa followed him to a clearing in the heavily forested area. There Melissa was shocked to find a picnic setting for two people ready to be eaten.

"Genis, is this for me?"

"No it's for Marv's other crush."

"Rick!" Genis whispered harshly. "Yeah Mel. I've... well... Lately I've kinda..."

"Spit it out Marv!"

"Melissa, I think I've fallen for you." Songbird's jaw dropped slightly, then snapped back shut. It was the most honest revelation she had ever heard. And then Melissa realized something.

"Genis, I think... I think..."

"You've stunned her speechless Marv. This was worth sitting here in the Microverse to watch."

"Yes?" Genis said, ignoring Rick.

"I think the feeling is mutual." Captain Marvel smiled, walked over to Melissa and kissed her lightly on the lips. He pulled back, smiled again, took her in his arms and kissed her passionately.

"Woo-hoo! Marv finally got some from someone other than my wife!!!"

"Quiet Rick."


Abe Jenkins laid underneath a bank of computer, a soldering iron in hand. He took apart the console and touched the soldering iron to several wires, and was greeted by a jolt of electricity.

"Ow, dammit!!!" Abe slid out from under the console and ran into a pair of booted feet. He looked up the owner of the feet and jumped up to a standing position.

"ERIK!" he yelled, greeting his teammate with a bear hug. "You're alive!!! Where the Hell have you been hiding?! How did you find us?!"

Atlas held up his hand with a smile. "Good to see you too. Iím alive. HYDRA's been holding me captive for the past several weeks and I was helped to find you by... her."

Abe looked to where Erik pointed and saw Citizen V and after several seconds realized who it was.

"Dallas?"

"Yep," Dallas returned. "Watkins took us to Charteris, where Fixer had traced your location through a transmission to Hawkeye. Bing, bang, we're here."

"That's great!" Abe exclaimed. "Erik, it's so good to see you!"

"I feel the same," Atlas laughed.

Suddenly the team's communications system came online. "Thunderbolts, this is Hawkeye. Come to downtown Seattle. We have a situation."

Abe looked at Atlas and grinned. "You up to it?"

"Oh yeah," Erik laughed.


Several minutes earlier

Clint Barton watched Karla carefully. He had fallen for her as bad as he had fallen for Bobbi. They were so similar, with the exception being Bobbi never was a criminal. Karla had that same fierce determination, that fire behind her eyes. She was so beautiful. He didn't want to lose her like he had Bobbi.

"Clint, this was a great idea," she said, taking Hawkeye's hand. "I mean, this is such a great city. I'm glad SHIELD sent us here."

"It was a decommissioned base that Bridge was somehow able to get signed over to my name. Nothing to it."

"Sure Clint. Sure."

"Whatever Ms. Sofen," Clint said, grabbing her by the waist and spinning her around to face him. He smiled at her and drew her closer to her. "You're beautiful, you know."

"Yes, of course I do," Karla laughed. Clint kissed her and she returned the embrace. They stood there for several seconds, ignoring the rest of the world. Suddenly, an explosion shook the two out of the moment. They looked into the sky of Seattle and saw something they hadn't expected in Seattle so soon.

"The Masters of Evil," Karla muttered.

"Just freaking wonderful," Clint said. "Time to call in the troops. Who is it?"

"The Cowl, Klaw, Flying Tiger, Man-Shark, and Mankiller." An explosion behind her caught Karla's attention and she gasped. "And the Wrecking Crew. Just freaking wonderful."

"Thunderbolts, this is Hawkeye. Come to downtown Seattle. We have a situation."


The Highlord Superior stood at one of the late Ogre's monitors, looking at the SHIELD agents who inhabited Mount Charteris. He remembered when his Factor Three were the rulers of the base. Then his position was usurped and he was put into stasis. He was curious of whatever happened to the Factor Three. No matter.

"Computer, open tesseract," the Highlord ordered. A large portal opened into the bowels of Charteris.

It was time to recreate the world.


Melissa held Genis tightly as he kissed her along the line of her chin. The picnic had long been forgotten. All they cared about was holding each other. A persistent beeping came from her sonic harness, which had been long ago shed. Melissa kissed Genis on the cheek then broke from the embrace to check on the beeping. She tapped her communicator, turning it on.

"Songbird here."

"Mel, this is Karla. Get to Seattle ASAP!"

"What is it?"

"The Masters have come back."

Melissa cursed. "We'll be right there." She turned back to Genis, straightening her costume. "We'll have to continue this later."

Genis smiled. "We will." Captain Marvel's cosmic awareness suddenly flared on. "Let's rock." Melissa put on her sonic harness and soared into the air, Genis not far behind.


A plume of smoke rose from the Seattle waterfront as Songbird and Captain Marvel neared the city. The two heroes headed there. Wherever there's smoke, there's fire and if there's superhumans present, they're usually the cause.

Captain Marvel was stunned as the member of the Wrecking Crew called Bulldozer came flying at him. Genis summoned a blast of energy from his nega bands, knocking Bulldozer back towards the ground.

"None of us have the strength to throw anyone at that speed!" Songbird yelled at Genis. "Except-" Atlas suddenly grew out of the harbor, catching Bulldozer and tossing him back into the air. "-Atlas!"

"Hey Songbird," Erik said with a smile. "Good to see you too. Now if you'll excuse me..." Atlas reeled his arm back and threw Bulldozer towards the bay. The man made a huge splash as he hit the water. Wrecker lept towards Erik but was met by a giant backhand.

Songbird smiled. "Good to have you back Erik!" Melissa and Genis swooped down to the street, where Hawkeye, MACH-2 and Moonstone were in deep hand-to-hand combat with the Masters of Evil. Karla matched the Mankiller blow for blow, while Clint tried to keep Man-Shark back. Abe faced Thunderball and Piledriver. Melissa glanced around, knowing Klaw was near.

A sonic construct struck her, knocking Mel from the sky. Klaw stood over her, smiling.

"Expecting me?" he said with a laugh. "It's good to see my tech being put to good use."

"Hey buddy!" Captain Marvel called. Klaw directed his attention to the Kree hero. "Rule #1 of super villainy: never gloat over defeating a member of a team!" Genis dived at Klaw, knocking him to the ground. Melissa stood, a determined look on her face.

"Thanks Gen, I can take it from here." Melissa directed a blast of sonic energy at Klaw, pinning him to the ground. Genis directed his attention to Piledriver, leaving Thunderball to MACH-2. He plowed into the thug gifted with Asgardian powers at full speed. Piledriver was caught completely unaware and Genis used that to his advantage, raining blows down on the villain.

"Hawkeye!" Songbird yelled between attacks on Klaw, "where's the Cowl?!"

"Being taken care of!" Hawkeye replied, striking Man-Shark in the shoulder with an adhesive arrow, trapping the creature in a web of glue.

Melissa looked around and saw the Cowl combating a familiar red, white and blue clad figure.

"Citizen V?"

"Yep!" Hawkeye said, slamming a tranquilizer into Man-Shark's neck.

Citizen V swung her sword at the Crimson Cowl, who intersected the blade with her cloak. Dallas spun around, swinging the sword at the Cowl's legs. The Cowl jumped over the blade, but Dallas anticipated that, and swung the sword in an upwards arc, slicing into the Cowl's shoulder. The woman screamed in pain.

"Hey lady, you deserved it for pretending to be me!" Dallas kicked the Cowl, knocking her to the ground. Dallas reached down to unmask the villain but was knocked backwards by the Cowl's cloak. The Cowl pulled a communicator from her cloak and turned it on.

"Cyclone, this is the Crimson Cowl. Pick us up immediately!" The Thunderbolts heard the hum of engines and a craft swooped in from nowhere, opening up for the Masters of Evil to get inside. The Cowl boarded last and looked back at the Thunderbolts, but didn't say anything. The hatch closed and the small aircraft rocketed away.

"Well, that was interesting," Hawkeye said.

"Definitely," Moonstone agreed, staring after the ship.


The Thunderbolts gathered in the War Room of their new base. Melissa glared at Dallas, still suspicious of her motives, even though she had seen Dallas fighting the Cowl. Captain Marvel stood to the side of the room, mumbling to himself again. The others listened to Erik tell about the HYDRA base and his captivity. Suddenly a klaxon went off. Abe smiled and stood from his seat.

"My alert monitor works," he said gleefully. He hit a sequence of keys and an image of a man floating through the city of Denver appeared.

"This is bad," Abe continued, reading a small readout near the screen.

"Seems this guy is a reality distorter called the Highlord Superior, and he's determined to transform the world into his own image."

"That's Denver," Moonstone said. "Why don't the Redeemers take care of it?" Abe looked at her, a look of terror on his face.

"The Redeemers are dead."

Hawkeye cursed. "Get ready team. It seems that we're it."


In Thunderbolts #5: The Thunderbolts face the Highlord alone in a battle they can't help but lose, and at a great cost to one of their own. Can the team defeat a being more powerful than anything they've ever faced, or are they destined for the same fate as their counterparts the Redeemers! Are the Redeemers really dead? Are the Masters of Evil going to give up as easily as they did? Come back in thirty days to find out the answers to all these questions and more!


Story © 2001 Tony Thornley, and may not be reproduced without permission.

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