March 2001

Avengers League Month
Giant-Size Debut Issue!
Avengers League
"And the Call Goes Out . . . "
by Chip Caroon and Black Condor

He sat in the shadows watching. He knew that the Martain could sense him. It didn't bother him. Instead, he watched as Henry Peter Gyrich and Senator Kelly met with "Martain Manhunter," clad in his blue-grey outfit with his blue harness and cape. His gold colored boots were noticeable against the carpeting of Gyrich's office.

Gyrich sat behind the desk. Senator Kelly and the Martain Manhunter sat in the chairs in front of the desk. Gyrich was looking over some files. The manila folders, papers, and photographs were scattered across his desk.

"Mr. Manhunter," Gyrich said.

"Please," Martain Manhunter interjected. "Call me J'Onn. Or Mr. J'Onzz."

"Very well, then, Mr. J'Onzz," Gyrich said, correcting himself. "I'm sure you have already ascertained why you are here."

"Yes, sir," J'Onn replied. "You wish to reform the Avengers League."

"Correct," Gyrich replied. "It was such a tragedy when they - I mean, you - disbanded.* The void hasn't quite been filled."

*(Legends of the Avengers League #5)

"I agree. It was not my decision to disband. I was forced to go along with it. However, that does not answer my question. Why do you want the Avengers League reformed?"

"To the public, it will be for two reasons," Gyrich explained. "First, you shall be the premier superteam, saving the world from all sorts of threats, and such. However, the government could hardly care about that. Our reason is the secondary reason which the public will see. The Avengers League will be the team that fights the mutant menace."

"Mutant menace?" J'Onn asked.

"We believe that mutants should be eradicated," Senator Kelly answered.

"Eradicated?" J'Onn was slightly confused. "I've seen the news. Yes, some mutants are out of control. But to eradicate a whole portion of a species?"

"Senator Kelly spoke too soon," Gyrich replied. "Sometimes he gets wrapped up in his work too much and goes overboard. What he means it that we wish to register mutants, so they will not become such a menace."

"I see . . . "

"Your job is to gather a team," Gyrich continued. "I'm sure that you will be gathering the best of your former teammates. However, we have gathered some information on a few other . . . superheroes which we think will provide a great asset to your team." He handed a file to J'Onn.

J'Onn looked at the photo of a woman clad in red, white, and blue. Reading the name, he asked, "Wonder Woman? Wasn't she a member of the JSA?"

Gyrich nodded. "However, we think that this is a new Wonder Woman. She has recently surfaced in Atlanta.* We strongly urge you to investigate." He handed over another file. Inside was a picture of a male with close cut white hair and goggles. He was wearing a blue and grey suit. The picture looked distorted. "This is the Flash. He is another second - or in this case, third - generation hero. Again, not much is known about him. We are not even sure where to find him."

*(see Wonder Woman #1-2 for more details!)

"How did you get the picture?" the Manhunter asked.

"Random luck. One of our . . . agents happened to be out and taking a picture when the Flash ran by."

"Interesting . . . "

Gyrich handed J'Onn a stack of files. "These are mostly of your former teammates. You probably know most of the information. This should give you the most updated information. I doubt that even you have been able to keep tabs on all of them over the past five or so years."

J'Onn took the stack and stood up. "Thank you, Mr. Gyrich." He turned to the Senator. "Senator Kelly," he acknowledged. "I will contact you once I have gathered the team."

"We can't wait to hear from you," Gyrich replied.

Martain Manhunter left the room. A man walked out of the shadows.

"Well?" Gyrich asked. "What do you think, Luthor?"

Luthor had a blank look on his face. "He knew I was here. I could feel him inside my head."

"He's a telepath?" Kelly asked.

"Of course," Gyrich replied. "You didn't know that?"

"I don't exactly pay much attention to those costumed freaks."

Gyrich turned to Luthor. "You think he suspected anything?"

"He's a Martain. I suspect he's paranoid by nature."

J'Onn hovered in the sky over Washington, DC. No one below could see him as he admired the wonderful architecture of the city.

But that wasn't his only reason for stopping. He wanted to glance over the files and determine the best route to take. Looking at the dossiers, he noticed a lot of the heroes were stationed in New York City. He decided that that would be the best place to start.

The Super-Unit Police had just captured Man-Bull, who had gone on a rampage near Rockefeller Center. While Powerman held the villain down, Trapster attached a powerful pair of strength-dampening handcuffs to him. Together, Powerman and Doc Samson escorted Man-Bull to the SUP-Wagon, the high-tech Super Unit Police hovercraft.

Photon was writing a report of the battle on a card-sized PDA. When the Martian Manhunter approached her, she was so surprised she nearly dropped her stylus on the ground.


"Martian Manhunter, Photon." J'Onn tried to keep to the shadows of the alleyway that he was near. He did not want the other Super-Unit Police to know that he was recruiting from their ranks.

Photon scratched her helmet, and then remembered something. "Oh. Oh yes, I've heard about you before."

"Then you must know about the Avengers League, as well." J'Onn stepped forward. "We're reforming the group, and we could use someone with your powers and with your experience with the law."

Photon fixed J'Onn with a look that had been directed at the worst supervillain offenders New York City could offer. "Two things, Manhunter. One, I appreciate the offer, Martian Manhunter, but the Super-Unit Police is a good-paying job, believe it or not."

"And the second thing?"

"Two, don't do any vigilante-type stuff in my town . . . you know we're the only legal superheroes in New York City . . . "

"We'll see about that, Photon."

Martian Manhunter took off into the Manhattan sky, and the passersby below marveled at the flying green superhero.

Spider-Man stood in the street, looking around him at the six or so gang members that were surrounding them.

Hmm . . . the wallcrawler thought. Maybe trying to take on Intergang without The Shadow covering my back wasn't a good idea. Then again, it's not like I asked for this. I was just webslinging, minding my own business, when I see these freaks coming out of the convience store.

Just then, the biggest guy leapt at Spider-Man, and the other five followed. Fortunately, Spidey was prepared, and used his spider strength to jump up and attach himself to the front of the store, allowing the gang members to ram their heads together.

"Hey, guys!" Spidey exclaimed as he began webbing them up. "I guess six heads are better than one! They certainly make it more fun to move out of the way of!"

One gang member hadn't gotten webbed yet. He jumpped up. "I'll get you, Spider-Man!" he yelled.

"No, you won't," a deep voice said, as the man fell to the ground.

Spider-Man finished webbing up the rest, and then jumpped down as he saw the green skinned man in a light grey-blue outfit.

"Thanks," he said, offering his hand. "But I probably could have taken him."

Martain Manhunter shook Spidey's hand. "I know. I just wanted to speed things up. I'm Martain Manhunter."

"Manhunter, huh?" Spidey asked. "What'd you do to him?"

"A quick mind-blast, and rendered him unconscious."

"Sure. Now, since you obviously didn't come just to help--otherwise, you'd of helped me before--why are you here?"

"Have you ever heard of the Avengers League?"

"Uh, weren't they a big superhero team a few years back?"

J'Onn nodded. "I was a member. We . . . broke up. . . . Creative differences. Anyway, the government is looking to reform the group, and they have asked me to seek new members. Are you interested?"

Spider-Man thought for a moment. "To tell you the truth, I am. However, I just don't have the time right now. I'm busy with tons of my own stuff, and I don't think that I can spare enough time to make myself useful to the team."

"That is unfortunate," Manhunter replied.

"But, if you ever need any help, just call."

"We'll do that," J'Onn said, floating in the air. "Now, I must go. There are several other heroes I must contact. I have much work to do."

"See you later!"

Martian Manhunter came to the offices of Stark Enterprises in the guise of John Jones, but in nicer clothes than he usually wore. He had often visited Tony Stark in a human guise back during their former days in the Avengers League, so the receptionist recognized him.

"Keith Kirby, here, to see Tony Stark."

The receptionist recognized the name. "Oh, yes, Mr. Kirby! It's been a while since we've seen you here. How have you been?"

"Oh, fine, Miss O'Herlihy, just fine."

"Mr. Stark will see you now."

J'Onn walked into the plush office of Tony Stark. It was hard to notice the plushness of the office because papers, clothes, and various office devices were strewn everywhere.

Tony was in the middle of a phone call, which he hung up on the moment that he saw J'Onn change into the Martian Elite Police form in which other heroes had become accustomed to seeing him.

"J'Onn! This is certainly unexpected."

"It's a pleasure to meet with you again, Mr. Stark."

Tony drew a huge breath and blew it into the bangs of his hair. "I have been so busy lately, trying to keep this company out of hot water."

"Yes, I know. I know about the . . . disaster,* and about the recent connections between Stark Enterprises and terrorist groups.**"

*(The CleanJet tragedy in Batman #2)
**(As seen in recent issues of Iron Man)

"Yes, I'm working on getting to the bottom of that now myself."

"I've come here to ask y- to ask Iron Man, if he would consider joining a new version of the Avengers League."

Tony had a befuddled look on his face. "Iron Man has been really busy lately . . . "

J'Onn was ready for another rejection, and began to move toward the door. But he was stopped by Stark, who had gotten up from his desk and put his hand on J'Onn's arm.

"Wait, J'Onn," Stark said. "Under normal circumstances, I would remind you of how busy I am with this and that, and how I need Iron Man around, and how I don't have time for the Avengers League." Stark's brow furrowed. "But you know what's going on, as far as my company is concerned, in the public eye. I need some good publicity to keep my company open. So if you need Iron Man to go around saving the world, then this is a darn good time for him to do it."

Martian Manhunter left Tony Stark a communicator to use when Iron Man was ready to attend the first meeting of the Avengers League.

At the City University of New York's College of Criminal Justice, Jennifer Walters sat in a study carrel in the Law Library. It was getting to be early evening, and she was still researching an unsolved case that Harvey Dent had assigned her.

A tall man with brown hair approached her desk. He stood at the side of the desk, and cleared his throat.

Jennifer was tired of people trying to pick her up while she was working. She didn't even look at the stranger. "Whoever you are, I'm not interested, I know I look good in glasses, and get out of my face before I flatten you."

"I should hope you wouldn't have to do that. I'm John Jones, and I've come to you because of your adventures as She-Hulk."

Jennifer blew a lock of hair from in front of her face. "Oh, a She-Hulk fan . . . " She sighed. "No autographs, mister. Can't you see I'm busy?"

"I don't want an autograph. I'm here to offer you membership in the newly reforming Avengers League."

She-Hulk's expression changed immediately from exasperation to surprise, and she sat up from her slouching position.

"You know the Avengers League?" she asked.

"Yes, quite well. Would you like to join them?"

The look on She-Hulk's face made it obvious to J'Onn that there was a lot of conflict within her about whether or not to accept.

"Wow. I am flattered that I actually did stuff back when I was She-Hulk that would warrant you offering me membership in the Avengers League." She looked at the pile of books that was in front of her. "This," she said, holding up a burgundy-colored tome, "is my life now, not superheroing. After this internship, I'll be almost done with the work for my law degree. Once I get it, I intend to put it to use. Besides, I'm learning a lot from my boss, District Attorney Dent."

"If law is the career you choose to pursue, I can't stop you," J'Onn remarked wistfully. "Feel free to contact us if you change your mind."

As John Jones walked away from Jennifer's study carrel, she had the strong desire to abandon all of her books and chase after him. But the moment she stood up, and looked at the pile of books that had formed around her, she remembered that she had other responsibilities. The Avengers League would have to do without her.

For now, anyway.

On the second floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, Janet Van Dyne was shopping for a new outfit. Her personal assistant, Maggie, was busy pulling outfits from the racks and handing the ones that Janet rejected back to the patient saleswoman.

"I think I like this one . . . do you like this one, Maggie?"

"It's lovely, Miss Van Dyne." There was the slightest undertone of impatience in her voice.

"No, tell me what you really think, Maggie. You must have an opinion. You have an opinion about everything else."

At that moment, they were interrupted by the presence of a well-dressed, tall blonde man.

"Hel-lo," Maggie said, eyeing the stranger.

Janet recognized the stranger as John Jones, one of Martian Manhunter's cover identities.

"Maggie, I think I need to speak to this man alone."

"Oh sure," Maggie said, more than a little jealously. "I'll wait right here while you talk to the handsome hunk."

"I almost didn't recognize you in your disguise, J'Onn. How can I help you?" Janet asked as Maggie walked away.

"We're reforming the Avengers League, and I wanted to invite you to rejoin."

Jan's brow furrowed. "Oh, are you sure that you want me back? If you remember the way we broke up, I was instrumental in it.*"

*(Legends of the Avengers League #5)

"That was Malice's influence, Jan."

"Maybe . . . maybe it was me a little bit, too. These years away from Hank have given me a lot of time to build myself up, and to figure out what I can do, and what I can invent. I'm not dependent on Hank anymore . . . "

"You never were. If you remember, it was your money that funded a lot of his research."

"Have you spoken to him lately?"

John thought for a moment. "No. I know he's been working on various things. He's not an official member of this new grouping of the Avengers League."

"Well, then, maybe I'll join you guys. I hate to brag, but I've developed quite a mind for business, and public relations. I've had some work done on the power-level of my Wasp stings . . . I'll need some combat training to refresh, though." Jan giggled. "Not too many supervillains to fight in Saks Fifth Avenue, or in the corporate boardroom, you know."

"Don't worry about that, Jan. We'll get you up to combat-ready status."

J'Onn discreetly left her an Avengers League signal device, which he and Jan agreed he would use to contact her for the first meeting of the new Avengers League. Jan went back to her shopping, but now she had something real to work on, and she was happy.

J'Onn J'Onzz, still in his John Jones guise, knocked on the door of the office of Otherworldly Investigations, Inc. in Greenwich Village.

"Come in," an exotic voice called out.

J'Onn stepped into the room to see an incredibly beautiful woman with dark flowing hair tied into a bun sitting behind a desk. She wore a fashionable blue blouse that contrasted with some of the ancient and arcane artifacts that decorated the office.

"How can I help you?"

"You are Zatanna, is that correct?"

"I've used that name before, but mostly when I was doing stage shows more frequently. This is a private detective office, so don't expect me to be pulling any rabbits out of hats for you or anything."

"No, I haven't come for that. Zatanna, the career of your father, Zatara, speaks for itself."

John changed into his Martian Elite Police form, the one that the public recognized from his former adventures with the Avengers League.

"Oh! The Martian Manhunter!"

Zatanna was more awestruck than she wanted to admit.

"Yes. I'm helping to reform the Avengers League, and I'd like to offer you a place on the team."

"Well," Zatanna said, "I haven't done too much superheroing of my own...I've always been too busy doing my act, and lately, I've been getting into supernatural investigations . . . "

"You could learn from the older heroes on the team."

Zatanna shook her head. "I haven't used my powers against anyone too much. I'm sorry, but I think that the presence of lots of other heroes would affect my concentration."

"I understand. I have had to learn how to operate in a group myself . . . my mental powers make it hard to block their thoughts out, especially during times of stress."

Zatanna handed J'Onn her card. "If you come up against something magical that you can't handle, you know how to get in touch with me."

J'Onn changed back into his John Jones form and walked out of the office, closing the door gently behind him.

Zatanna went back to studying the paperwork on a bizarre series of supernatural murders that had been taking place in the worst areas of the Bronx.

At the Hudson Planetarium in New York City, people were lined up outside the door of one of the viewing rooms.

A colorfully-dressed young man was giving a speech on the podium, while J'Onn J'Onzz, in his John Jones form, was watching, along with many children and some adults, listened.

"And that's how the quantum bands convert cosmic energy into power blasts, or light forms, or whatever I want to do with them."

There was applause, especially from the children who made up most of the audience.

Quasar had to answer a few questions from skeptical adults who wondered about the legality of his superhero-like activities, but he ended the presentation on a high note by constructing a mini solar system out of light.

J'Onn waited for the young hero after the others in the audience had left.

"Quasar . . . is that the name?"

"Yes, sir." Quasar had a quizzical look on his face. Who was this stranger who was so interested in him?

"I saw a report on television on how you handled that attack from Vartox all by yourself."

"Yeah, he was a tough character, that's for sure. May I ask your name?"

"I'm John Jones. I represent a group called the Avengers League. Do you know who they are?"

Quasar nearly choked. "Do I? They were only the most powerful group of superheroes around, the last time they were together."

"Well, they are getting together, and they'd like to ask you to join."

Quasar did not know what to say. "Yeah! Yeah, I think I would like to join. I don't know if I'll be as good as some of the other heroes, but I'll do my best."

"There are a number of people with scientific expertise on the team already. They could help you expand your knowledge of your powers."

J'Onn handed Quasar a signal device.

"We'll be meeting in a few days. I'll signal you with this device, so you can come meet with us."

"Thanks!" Quasar shouted as J'Onn walked away.

J'Onn J'Onzz stood on the dingy rooftop in the borough of Gotham. He kept his telepathic senses sharp; even for aliens, this was a bad section of town.

He pulled a long-unused item from his belt: a bat-shaped signal device. He wondered if the long period of unuse had extinguished the battery life on the unit; but it was worth a try just the same.

J'Onn pushed the center of the device and waited.

A few moments later, a slick long black sports car zoomed into view. The driver door whooshed open and a figure clambered out. As he dashed forward, the car armored up automatically. The caped figure fired a line from a gun-like device and ascended to the rooftop where J'Onn was standing.

"J'Onn J'Onzz!"

"Hello, Batman."

"It's been a while. Is there something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong. The signal was the only way I knew how to get in touch with you. We're reforming the Avengers League, and I'd like you to join."

J'Onzz could feel the conflict within Batman about the decision.

"I don't know, J'Onn . . . as we've talked about before, I'm not one for big groups."

"Yes, I know."

"But some of the things I've found out recently . . . about some of the forces behind the chaos and terrorism in the world . . . have convinced me that I can't work totally on my own anymore. I wouldn't mind contributing to a team that was going to work in this vein, when I'm available. Sometimes, I might not be able to show up, though."

"We would be honored by your presence, Batman."

Martian Manhunter gave him one of the Avengers League signal devices. "This is for you, so you can send the signal next time. I'll let you know when the new Avengers League has its first meeting."

"I'll keep in touch," Batman said, as he swung off the rooftop and disappeared into Gotham's encroaching night.

Martain Manhunter flew from New York City, having found all of the heroes he could there. Mentally reviewing the files, he decided that it would be most effecient to travel first to Fawcett City, where he would find Captain Marvel. Nearing the city, he saw a red and gold streak cross his path.

Captain Marvel slowed down as he saw Martain Manhunter come near. "Hail, Manhunter!" he greeted.

J'Onn offered his hand, which Captain Marvel shook. "Captain Marvel, it's good to see you. I need to talk."

"What is on your mind?"

"The Avengers League is being reformed, and I was wondering if -- "

Captain Marvel put up his hands and began floating back. "No need to say more. I would love to join the team, but right now, I have some . . . issues to deal with. Joining the team isn't in my best interest. I'm sorry."

"Would your consider being a reserve?"

Captain Marvel stroked his chin. "Possibly. I'll let you know in a few days."

"Fair enough," Martain Manhunter said, beginning to fly away. "Good day, Captain!"

Looking down as he flew to Atlanta, J'Onn saw a small blue streak flash by on the ground at a very rapid rate.

This must be Flash, he thought. He began to descend and tried to land where he could stop the Flash to talk to him.

He landed in the middle of a road, and waited for a few seconds. Finally, the blue streak approached, and slowed down, right in front of Martain Manhunter.

"Hey, dude!" Flash shouted. "You're in my way! You're lucky I didn't run through you, else you'd blow up!"

"I knew you would stop," J'Onn replied with a smile.

"Oh, yeah? How?"

"Because I told your brain to."

"You're one of them telepaths, aren't you?"

J'Onn stood out his hand. "Martain Manhunter. You must be Flash."

Flash shook the Martain's hand. "Yup. I think I've heard of you. Weren't you part of some big super group a few years back?"

J"Onn nodded. "I was a member of the Avengers League, a team that broke up. But now, it is being reformed, and I was hoping that you'd want to join."

"Would I?" Flash exclaimed. "I'd love to! Running around and saving the world by myself is kinda hard, y'know."

"I know," Martain Manhunter replied, handing his new teammate an Avengers League communicator. "We'll call you for the first meeting soon using this."

Flash put it in his pocket. "Gotcha! See ya later!"

Martain Manhunter waved as Flash ran off.

J'Onn continued his journey. He only had three more places to go, and all of them were nearly in a straight line. His next stop would be Atlanta, where Wonder Woman had seemingly resurfaced. He was unsure of how to find her, so he performed a mental scan of the city.

He was able to find the princess in her mortal guise, walking along with her new found friend. J'Onn learned that her name was Callista. He flew down, and landed in a hidden area just a block away, and changed into his John Jones guise. John stepped out and approached the two females.

"Excuse me, Diana," he said, using Wonder Woman's real name, which he had lifted from her mind. "I have to talk to you."

"Hey, who do you think you are?" Callista exclaimed.

"I am John Jones, and I must talk to Diana in private. It might help her with . . . her plans."

"Callista," Diana said, "could you leave us alone for a moment?"

"Sure," Callista said, walking off.

John tilted his head, pointing to an alley. "If we could talk over there."

Once they were out of visual range of everyone, John morphed back into his Martain Manhunter form. "Diana, I know you are Wonder Woman. Have you ever heard of a group called the Avengers League?"

Diana thought for a moment. "I don't recall right now. But my mother has often told me tales of her time with a Justice Society."

"Ah, yes. Well, the Avengers League is very much similar to that. The team broke up a few years ago, but is reforming. Some people have taken notice to your actions down here, so I was hoping that you would like to join."

"Of course I would," Diana replied.

J'Onn handed her an Avengers League signal device. "Take this. It will alert you to the next meeting."

"Thank you," Diana said, pocketing the device. She walked out of the alley, and found Callista. Together, they returned home.

J'Onn flew off towards his next stop, Atlantis.

"I'm sorry, J'Onn," Namor said. "But I am quite busy down here, and I have no interest in being in another superhero society or league."

"I understand, Namor," J'Onn replied. "I was hoping because you were a member of the JSA . . . "

"This is my life now," Namor said, spreading his arms out, trying to show off the underwater kingdom that surrounded him. "My duty is in Atlantis. I have no time for your land dwelling teams and whatnot. Now, get out before I have you thrown out!"

"Yes, Namor," J'Onn said as he flew up.

After coming out of the water, he could see the European coastline ahead. It was on that continent that he would find the last member of the Avengers League -- the member that would bring it all together. However, this same member was the one who was most distraught over the team's break up over a few years before.

This member was Captain America.

Continued next issue! Will Captain America join? What will be the first order of business for the new Avengers League? And, will the general public accept them? Plus, find out what the team thinks of their new purpose!
Credit Where Credit is Due:
Black Condor wrote the following scenes: Photon, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Wasp, Zatanna, Quasar, and Batman.
Chip Caroon wrote the following scenes: beginning, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Flash, Wonder Woman, and Namor.