|West Coast Avengers (2nd series) # 40|| || |
Issue Date: January 1989
Story Title: And Now the… Night Shift!
Staff: Mark Gruenwald (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Mike Gustovich (inker), Paul Beatcon (colorist), Rick Parker (letterer), Howard Mackie (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
Mockingbird discovers the villain called Digger burying some crime lords. She engages him in combat, and takes him and the crime lords into jail, where the police inform Mockingbird that Digger is a member of Night Shift. The Night Shift are gathered for a meeting when Gypsy Moth informs them of Digger’s capture by Mockingbird. Assuming she is still a member of the West Coast Avengers, the team agrees, in the Shroud’s absence, to attack the West Coast Avengers. Shortly, in the middle of the night, they arrive at the Palos Verdes Compound, and as they attack the staff the West Coast Avengers are alerted to the intruders - however only Hawkeye and the Vision go to investigate, as the Scarlet Witch remains with her infant children, and Wonder Man is out for the night. Hawkeye and the Vision find themselves greatly outnumbered by the unusual team of criminals, who work effectively in attacking the heroes. Meanwhile, Mockingbird and the rest of the ex-West Coast Avengers - Tigra and Moon Knight - travel to the Night Shift’s headquarters, deciding that it is time to learn whose side the Shroud is on, given his ambiguous dealings with Hawkeye. Exploring the Shroud’s castle and dodging several traps, they soon come across the Night Shift’s meeting room, and find a note from the Night Shift to the Shroud, explaining that they have gone to visit the West Coast Avengers, however Mockingbird, angry at Hawkeye, decides not to intervene. Back at the Palos Verdes Compound, the Scarlet Witch has entered the battle, proving a much needed distraction against the Night Shift - and yet, the Night Shift still manage to capture all three heroes. Luckily, Wonder Man returns to the compound, and is able to rescue his teammates. The battle continues, with the West Coast Avengers gaining the upper hand. However, the Shroud returns to his castle, and finds Mockingbird and the others there. They have just discovered an itemized list of money and other items the Night Shift have “liberated” from various criminals. The Shroud makes his presence known, before going to the Palos Verdes Compound, where he frees the Night Shift, and later, meets Hawkeye. They throw some words around, and Hawkeye learns that Mockingbird was involved in this misadventure, before parting with the peace between them maintained.
The streets of Los Angeles are mean this autumn night, a fact that is not lost on the ex-Avenger called Mockingbird, also known as Barbara Morse Barton. She stands on a building rooftop, and watches a man on the street below, who has buried three people up to their necks. ‘Either I need to have my contact lenses replaced or there’s a seven-foot-tall freak in a hair-shirt burying three guys in the street!’ Deciding that since her optometrist will not open for business for another eight hours, she thinks she should go down there and ask Mr Shovel what the story is.
Down below on the street, the large man narrates ‘And now, my captive audience, your favourite graveyard ghoul would like to tell you a bad-time story…just a little something to idle away the time before a car comes along!’
Her staff extended, Bobbi uses it to propel herself from the rooftop, ‘This is what I live for…throwing myself into a situation where the slightest misstep means disability or death’ she thinks to herself, adding that she gambles her all is enough to handle whatever she is up against. ‘Okay, tall, dark and gruesome - what’s the low-down here, offense intended’ Mockingbird calls out. The strange man turns to her, ‘You dare interrupt my tale?’ he asks, turning to her, swinging his shovel, which Mockingbird blocks with her staff. ‘Don’t tell me - a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, right?’ Mockingbird asks. ‘You mock me, woman!’ the strange man snarls.
The strange man slams the shovel to the ground, in between the faces of his captives, Bobbi leaps out of harm’s way. ‘You got it, doglick. I’m not called Mockingbird because I eat birdseed!’ Bobbi quips, realizing that her foe is strong, although she supposes he has to be to break up cement. ‘Cripes!’ one of the men trapped in the road exclaims. Mockingbird calls her foe “Frankie-boy” and tells him that when it comes to combat, she has gone up against practice bags with better moves than he. ‘My shovel!’ the villain calls out when Mockingbird knocks it out of his hand. He reaches for her staff, but Mockingbird tells him ‘Uh-huh, this is my battle-stave. It telescopes a bit - here, I’ll show you!’ Mockingbird exclaims as she shoves it against his face. ‘Oh, you dropped your shovel’ Mockingbird points out, before standing on the end of it, causing the handle to fling up into his face. ‘I’ll get it’ Mockingbird remarks.
Half an hour later, Mockingbird shepherds her foe, and his three captives, into a police station. ‘Hello, Mr Desk Sergeant. I caught these lads playing in the street. And I do mean in the street’ Mockingbird jokes. ‘Huh? Who?’ the police officer gasps, while another smiles and realizes ‘Hey, you’re Mockingbird, that Avenger married to Hawkeye!’ Mockingbird tells him that he is two thirds correct. Motioning to her tall foe, Mockingbird asks the police if they have any idea who he is. The desk sergeant reveals that he is Roderick Krupp, alias Digger, one of the weirdos in the Night Shift gang. ‘I’m going to need a full statement from you, Ms Bird’ he adds. Mockingbird tells the officer that he can call her “Mock”, while she wonders where she has heard the name “Night Shift” before.
Somewhere outside of Los Angeles, in a towering mansion, the moon glows down upon it, and someone calls out ‘Come on, Tick-Tock. When are Digger and the Moth gonna show?’ The dumpy Tick-Tock looks at his watch and announces that in two of the four time frames he can perceive, the Gypsy Moth will arrive within the next ten seconds. ‘I asked you about Digger, too, ya four-eyed tub of lard!’ the deformed Misfit exclaims as he sits around at a table with his teammates in the Night Shift, who are all watching Dansen Macabre as she dances on the table. ‘Oh, yes, that you did’ Tick-Tock mumbles, before stating that he doesn’t see Digger in any of the immediate futures that it is his fortune to peer into. ‘Ah, what do we need those two for, anyway? Let’s get this show on the road. The Night Shift ain’t getting any younger, you know’ Misfit grumbles.
One of the Brothers Grimm asks Dansen Macabre is she would mind doing her dirty dancing somewhere else, as her twirling scarves are giving him a headache. ‘You have no appreciation for the arts’ Dansen complains, while Needle, Tatterdemalion and Werewolf by Night remain silent as they continue to watch Dansen Macabre. ‘Three seconds to Gypsy’s arrival - two - one’ Tick-Tock calls out, as Gypsy Moth flies into the meeting room from above. One of the Brothers Grimm tells her that just because the Shroud isn’t here to boss them around, is no reason she should make them sit around waiting for her to make her grand entrance. ‘Stifle yourself, Grimm! I’ve learned bad news!’ Gypsy Moth exclaims, revealing that the word on the street is that Digger was busted shaking down the Calamari Brothers earlier this evening - busted by one of the Avengers, Mockingbird.
‘What? He let some cheeky skirt take him in?’ Misfit protests, while one of the Brothers Grimm asks ‘What’re we waiting for? Let’s find out which precinct the heat’s holding him in and break him out!’, but the other Brother disagrees, reminding everyone that the Shroud has always said anything involving the police is his baliwick. ‘Yeah, but the Shroud ain’t here right now, he’s up in San Francisco again doing who knows what’ the first Brother points out. Tatterdemalion suggests they forget the cops and instead nail the Avengers. ‘We were here first - they’re the ones who muscled in on our turf’ he points out, while asking where the Shroud gets off telling them to stay clear of those candy-masks all the time. ‘Those clowns want to start something, I say we finish it!’ he adds. Dansen Macabre announces that she agrees with Tatterdemalion and points out that as she is deputy leader in the Shroud’s absence she believes it is high time they taught those daylight glory-grabbers the lesson that all of the Los Angeles underworld has learned - not to mess with the Night Shift.
Forty-five minutes later, two hearses pull up to the service entrance of the West Coast Avengers’ sprawling seaside estate, in Palos Verdes. One of the Night Shift members asks Tick-Tock what they can expect as far as security, and Tick-Tock announces that ten seconds beyond the gate are some sort of snare coils. The doors to the hearses open, and the members of Night Shift exit the vehicles, as the Brothers Grimm tell Tick-Tock not to steam up his stopwatch, as they have the perfect anti-coil remedy. Tick-Tock suggests that they engage their fog-banks, as there are video cameras, so the Brothers Grimm do so, and fly upwards on the fog-banks, while one of them throws some “magic beans” to the ground, and instantly, a large beanstalk sprouts, which the defense coils tangle themselves up in. ‘That’ll give their snare-coils something to do, old bean’ one of the Brothers jokes.
Hovering overhead, Gypsy Moth decides that her mutant mastery over all things fibrous will make a glorious mess of their monitors’ fiber optics systems, and indeed, she telekinetically tears the fiber optics apart. ‘Enough of this sneaky stuff - I’m going in already!’ Misfit booms as he tears the gate open. ‘This hovel is their headquarters?’ Dansen Macabre asks, surprised, as the Night Shift approach the first building. Gypsy Moth reports that the main building lies beyond, and this first building is apparently someone’s living quarters, she suggests it might be servants.
Shortly, Misfit, Needle and one of the Brothers Grimm enters a bedroom, ‘You one of the Avengers or just some hired help?’ Misfit demands, while the shocked servant sits up in bed, scared. ‘Give this dim bulb yer evil eye, Needle!’ someone suggests, so Needle releases a blast of energy from his eye, and the servant is frozen in place.
Upstairs, a woman is in bed reading, when she hears a sound, like something heavy dropped, or someone just broke in. She then hears shouting, and leans over to her beside table, where she hit’s the alarm button, ‘Senor Hawkeye and his friends have many enemies’ she reminds herself, before Werewolf by Night bursts through the door into her room, and she screams. ‘Sorry about the door, lady’ he remarks, before asking her not to scream, as he promises not to hurt her. ‘You have my word as a gentleman and a werewolf’, while he wonders to himself what he is doing here, as he joined the Shroud’s monster club to prey on criminals, not frightened women.
In the main complex, Hawkeye a.k.a. Clint Barton is asleep on the sofa, still in his uniform, when he hears the intruder alarm. He rushes into the communications room and sounds an alarm, announcing over the intercom that there is trouble in the servants’ bungalow. ‘Avengers Assemble!’ he shouts. At that moment, the Vision and Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch sit up in their bed, and the Vision gets his uniform, telling Wanda to remain here with the boys, while he answers Hawkeye’s summons. Wanda tells her husband to be careful, while looking at their twin sons. Wanda hopes that this turns out to be a false alarm, as Mockingbird, Tigra and Moon Knight have quit and formed their own team, and Dr Pym and Mantis away on their own, only she, Hawkeye, the Vision and Wonder Man remain, although Wanda is not even sure if Wonder Man is in tonight, or away at some Hollywood social function. Indeed, Wonder Man’s darkened quarters are empty.
Seconds later, ‘Where’s the Scarlet Witch?’ Hawkeye calls out to the Vision who flies overhead. The Vision replies that she is in their bungalow, looking after their sons, and as he runs across the ground, Hawkeye replies that he hates to say it, but it is just the two of them. ‘Man, is my team ever in sad shape’ Clint thinks to himself. Inside the complex, Tick-Tock realizes that the Vision approaches, and that in two of the four time frames, he vanquishes the Brothers Grimm. He decides that he should tell the Brothers Grimm not to use the funny foam of the exploding eggs, and via communicator, instructs them to use the twinkie-dust. ‘Identify yourselves’ the Vision calls out, but the Brothers Grimm use the dust on him, and he falls to the ground. ‘Grimm’s the name!’ one of the Brothers exclaims. ‘Mine’s the same!’ the other adds, while the Vision wonders how that spray made his intangible form suddenly solidify.
‘Hey, bro - what do you know?’ one of the Brothers Grimm asks, ‘That goofy grape man’s got a bow!’ the other declares as Hawkeye aims his bow and arrow towards the Brothers Grimm. Clint tells himself that it is hard to see out here in the dark, and decides that a couple of flare-arrows should do the trick. However, Gypsy Moth hovers over him and telekinetically snaps his bowstring. Hawkeye goes over to the Vision and helps him up, asking him if he is okay. ‘You’d better be, cause we’re seriously outnumbered’ Hawkeye points out, as the Night Shift team gathers around them, and Needle holds the female staff member hostage. The Vision replies that he will be fine, before alerting Hawkeye to the fact that one of their staff has been taken captive. The Vision adds that he thinks her name is Yolanda.
Hawkeye tells the Vision that he doesn’t know what these weirdos want, but that he recognizes them from the Avengers’ files, as the Night Shift. Hawkeye suddenly spins around as Gypsy Moth flies towards him from behind, and he throws an arrow towards her: ‘Thought you’d sneak up behind me, huh, Moth Lady? Well, there’s more than one way to sling an arrow!’ he points out, while Gypsy Moth maintains her height in the air as some sort of adhesive splatters from the arrowhead against her wings. The Vision notices the Wolf-Man, as he calls him, loping towards him, and yet the Vision has not regained his intangibility. ‘The fool - thinking I need to flap my wings in order to fly! Perhaps a demonstration of how I can levitate fabric is in order’ Gypsy Moth thinks to herself, before she hoists Hawkeye into the air by his costume. ‘Yiiipes!’ Hawkeye exclaims as he is pulled towards Gypsy Moth.
Werewolf by Night and Tatterdemalion both attack the Vision, who is struck by Tatterdemalion’s weighted scarf while Werewolf by Night grabs the Vision’s throat, and the Vision is still functionally impaired. In the air above, the Brothers Grimm float towards Hawkeye, ‘Grape Man’s dropped by for tea’ one of the Brothers exclaims, while Clint wonders if it is the two of them who are making him float. ‘T as in trouble, my dear doppelganger. Allow me!’ the other Brother remarks, before they are struck by the solar beam emitted from the Vision’s forehead, which evaporates their clouds. ‘Our magic clouds!’ one of the Brothers exclaims, as they fall to the ground. Suddenly, Misfit wraps his arms around the Vision, and exclaims ‘Let’s see you break outta this!’. Hawkeye sees the Vision cannot turn intangible still, and as he continues to flat away, he grabs an explosive-tip arrow and throws it towards Misfit, where it explodes against him and causes him to release the Vision.
Even while Hawkeye drifts high and higher into the night sky, his estranged wife Mockingbird heads heavenward of her own volition, climbing up the ladder to Moon Knight’s ship. She calls up the ladder, telling Moon Knight to hold it steady, and that she will be up in a few shakes. As she makes it into the ship, Bobbi greets Marc Spector the Moon Knight and Greer Grant Nelson a.k.a. Tigra, who asks ‘Who did you say you hauled off to the cop-shop?’ and Bobbi explains that it was a fellow who goes by the alias Digger, and is apparently a member of a gang of crooks called the Night Shift, led by the Shroud. ‘The Shroud huh? Never could figure that guy out’ Mockingbird remarks, telling her friends that Hawkeye offered him membership in the you-know-what, but that from most reports, the guy is as crooked as a broken finger.
Mockingbird explains that she was always after Hawkeye to either bust the Shroud, or help clear his rep, whichever the case might be, but he was never interested. Suddenly, Moon Knight changes direction of the ship, and Bobbi asks him why. Moon Knight reports that he knows where to find the Night Shift, as he tracked the Shroud down to his lair once. ‘That is, my human host, Marc Spector did’ Moon Knight thinks to himself, while telling the others that the Shroud even offered to let him take over the leadership of the group. ‘I was suspicious of his offer then as I am now’ Moon Knight adds, before suggesting that three of them can learn once and for all which side the Shroud and his team are really on.
Back at the West Coast Avengers Compound, ‘Tired of flying, Archer? How about I let go of you, now that we’re a hundred feet off the ground?’ Gypsy Moth asks as she hovers over Hawkeye, who tells her not to do him any favors. Below, Dansen Macabre twirls before the Vision, telling him that no man can resist her hypnotic gyrations. ‘Gaze upon me and become my devotee!’ she exclaims, but the Vision replies that he is an artificial man, and tells Dansen that he cannot be affected by her mental manipulations. ‘Or can I? I feel strange…’ the Vision thinks to himself. Suddenly, Gypsy Moth begins to plummet towards the ground, while Hawkeye floats down gently, as a voice exclaims ‘Sure would be improbable if gravity went wild - and one person were suddenly pulled to Earth at great speed…while another floated down like a leaf!’
The Scarlet Witch then steps towards Dansen Macabre and declares that improbabilities become realities when she is around. Wanda tells the Vision not to worry about their sons, as she has Jorge looking after them. The Brothers Grimm come to Dansen’s aid and tell her to step aside, while they one exclaims ‘The Scarlet Wench may do the improbable, but the Brothers Grimm do the impossible!’ they toss some jumping beans towards Wanda, who knows that whatever they have thrown reeks of magick. She casts a hex, despite it being dangerous to use her hexes on real magick, but the alternative, she decides, is being battered. However, the beans turn into cotton balls, and they surround the Scarlet Witch, trapping her in a giant ball of cotton. She can’t gesture her hands and make a hex, while Gypsy Moth stands nearby, ‘My doing’ she thinks to herself, while Hawkeye rushes towards Wanda and tells her to hang on.
Suddenly, ‘HAWKEYE!’ screams Yolanda as he races past her, and sees that Needle is still holding her hostage. ‘Aw, shoot! I almost forgot Yolanda I was so intent upon repaying the Witch -’ Clint thinks to himself, before suddenly discovering that he cannot move. Dansen Macabre tells the Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and the Vision that they have been defeated. ‘Now gaze upon me and listen’ she begins, explaining that the Night Shift wish to negotiate the release of their teammate Digger, and see that all charges are dropped against him, and, in turn, they will free the scullery maid. Hawkeye doesn’t understand though, he wonders who Digger is, and what he has to do with the Avengers. One of the Brothers Grimm suggests to Werewolf by Night that they go sniff out some more Avengers, as these three jokers can’t be the whole lot of them.
And, as the Night Shift prepare to leave the West Coast Avengers’ Compound, three ex members prepare to enter the Night Shift’s headquarters. Moon Knight’s jet hovers by one of the towers, and Mockingbird asks Moon Knight if he is sure that his chopper will keep until they get back. Moon Knight assures her that it will, provided no one tampers with the auto-pilot. The three enter the tower, and Moon Knight tells them to use caution, as the Tower of Shadows, as the Shroud refers to it as, is equipped to deal with intruders. ‘Now you tell us!’ Tigra exclaims, as the trio are captured in a net. ‘Oh, well, steel mesh may deal with most intruders - but not a tiger-woman and an Egyptian God in a man’s bod, hmm?’ Tigra remarks casually as she and Moon Knight easily tear the mesh net apart.
Moon Knight states that the Shroud has changed his defenses since his last visit, and, after several other such intruder detainment systems, the three heroes make their way down a spiralling staircase. Tigra asks the others if they get the idea that nobody is home, as she hasn’t seen hide nor hair of anyone, nor has she picked up a scent that is fresher than two hours. ‘Did you really expect them to be? A group called Night Shift is bound to be out working at this hour’ Mockingbird points out. Examining the décor, Tigra declares that this place is a hoot, and wonders why she didn’t think to have her bungalow furnished in early Addams Family.
Finally, the trio enter a chamber, and on the table is piles of cash and gold. Moon Knight suggests that this must be the Night Shift’s main meeting chamber. ‘Holy smoke - look at all that loot!’ Tigra gasps as she looks at the money and gold. Mockingbird points out that it is probably stolen, and adds that it makes her mad that Hawkeye didn’t have them go after these jokers long ago. Tigra spies a note on the table, and holding it up, it sees that it is from Dansen Macabre, to the Shroud, informing him that the Night Shift has gone to pay a visit on the Avengers to negotiate Digger’s release. ‘Well, now we know where they are at least. So what do we do about it? Go to the Compound? Call up Hawkeye and warn him?’ Tigra asks.
But Mockingbird announces that they will wait here, pointing out that there is no telling when the Night Shift left, so they may miss them in transit. She adds that she didn’t spot a phone anywhere in this place, so there is no way to warn Hawkeye, either. Arms folded, Mockingbird declares that if Hawkeye can’t handle the Night Shifters’ raid, then it serves him right for playing patty-cake with them all this time.
Back at the Compound, ‘These rejects from the Twilight Zone are about to leave and I still don’t know what their beef is’ Hawkeye thinks to himself, deciding that he has to try and speak, even though his vocal cords are as paralyzed as the rest of his body. ‘Don’t…know…what…talking…about…Digger?’ Hawkeye manages to utter. Dansen just smiles and tells Hawkeye that she has no idea what he is croaking about, and nor does she care. She tells her teammates that they will take their leave, and suggests to Hawkeye that he be sure to tell his wife to mind her own business in the future. ‘My wife? Bobbi!’ Clint think to himself, suddenly realizing that Bobbi must have busted Digger, and since he and Mockingbird have not made it public how she and the others quit the team, the Night Shift must think Mockingbird is still operating as a member of the West Coast Avengers. ‘Blast her anyway!’ Clint frowns.
Just then, the members of Night Shift are all knocked aide as Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man swoops down and bowls them over. He tells his teammates that he is sorry he is late to the Halloween party, and jokes that it looks like they saved him some punch. ‘Senor Williams!’ Yolanda gasps as Wonder Man grabs her away from Needle. Wonder Man tells Dansen that he is sorry he was looking in the wrong direction. ‘Fool!’ Dansen exclaims. Wonder Man sets Yolanda down on the ground and tells her to take a powder, so she runs away, while Simon and the Vision tear apart the cotton that Wanda is trapped in. ‘Okay, pretty boy! I seen yer last picture and it stunk! Here’s five thumbs down!’ Misfit exclaims as he grabs Wonder Man, who looks at Misfit and decides that this is no special effect.
Hawkeye is still as stiff as a statue, but is able to move his arms enough to grab a couple of smoke arrows, and he does, then throws them at Werewolf by Night and Tick-Tock. ‘Couldn’t see where the smoke came from -’ Tick-Tock mutters. ‘Thanks to Wonder Man’s timely arrival, we may yet prevail!’ the Vision exclaims as he breaks Needle’s weapon and pushes Tatterdemalion to one side. Dansen realizes that in the chaos brought on by Wonder Man’s arrival, she has let the Avengers slip out of her control. ‘I must get it back’ she decides, and calls out to the Vision with urgency as he looms over Tatterdemalion: ‘Vision! Look out!’ and the Vision turns to her, only to fall under her mesmerizing power once more.
With her hands free, Wanda is able to counter anything that the trickster Brothers Grimm can throw at her, and she casts a hex, which causes the straw that they are spinning into gold to be blown back towards them, and tangles the both of them up with Gypsy Moth. ‘You’re a strong one, fella - but there’s less than a handful of guys on this planet who are stronger than me!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he pushes Misfit off of him. The Scarlet Witch rushes over to Dansen Macabre and elbows her in the face, telling her that if anyone does an exotic dance for her husband, it will be she. ‘Wanda!’ the Vision exclaims.
Back at the Tower of Shadows, ‘Uh-oh’ the Shroud remarks as he returns to his home. ‘Intruders. I feel their presence’ he tells himself, although he is not close enough to determine who they are. He decides that they must be quite accomplished to have made it through his security devices. ‘but they have yet to reckon with the Shroud!’ he tells himself, before teleporting away into the dungeon conference room. Standing in the shadows, the Shroud sees Tigra, Mockingbird and Moon Knight and wonders what the three West Coast Avengers are doing here. Sitting on the table amongst the gold and money, Tigra holds up a piece of paper which she announces is an itemized list of where it all came from. She remarks that judging by the names on the list, she thinks this loot was scored from other criminals. ‘Swell, so when is this mob of monsters with MBA’s going to show up?’ Mockingbird mutters.
Suddenly, Tigra reports that she smells somebody. ‘You have violated the inner sanctum of the Shroud. Speak your business at once!’ the Shroud calls out from the darkness. ‘That voice - it’s him! But where is he? He’s supposed to be able to hide in any shadow!’ Mockingbird thinks to herself, before shouting ‘Show yourself, buster - we don’t talk to folks we can’t see!’ The Shroud tells Mockingbird that she will be having conversations with herself then, and tells her that she can wait here forever if she wishes, as the Night Shift will simply move to one of their many other hideouts. Shroud was able to sense a note on the table from Dansen, and understands that his teammates are the West Coast Avengers’ estate. He decides that he best hurry, and races off.
At that moment, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man and the Vision sorrund the Night Shift, who are all seated on some chairs, and Hawkeye tells them whatever Mockingbird did, she didn’t do it as an avengers. ‘You fright-nighters have no quarrel with us’ the Vision tells them, while Wonder Man reminds Hawkeye that these guys are crooks. ‘We’ve got a quarrel with them, right?’ he exclaims. ‘Oh my, in three out of four timeframes -’ Tick-Tock thinks to himself, leaping up from his seat he tells the Avengers that they have no right to keep them here. ‘I demand we be turned over to the proper authorities at once!’ he exclaims. ‘Sit down, chubs. You’ll get you - what?’ Wonder Man exclaims, as the room is plunged into darkness. ‘The lights! Who turned off the -’ the Vision begins, while Tick-Tock smiles and shouts ‘He’s here!’.
Hawkeye frowns, ‘Three guesses and the first two don’t count!’ he thinks to himself, as he turns up his high-tech hearing aid so he can pinpoint the Master of Darkness. ‘Hey everybody - clam up so I can -’ Clint calls out, while Wanda tries to hex the lights back on, and tells the Vision to use his jewel. The Night Shift members all grin, ‘The boss! Awwright!’ one of the Brothers Grimm exclaims, while Misfit tells Wonder Man that now they have their cavalry. ‘Night Shift! Evacuation pattern seven!’ the Shroud calls out, and instantly, the Night Shift members leap up and scatter. ‘Good ol Shroudy!’ Werewolf by Night thinks to himself, while Hawkeye prepares his bow and arrow, ‘Dad-blast that Shroud, anyway! Somehow he must be making the darkness surround us, but not his goons’ Clint think to himself, supposing that the Shroud must still be lurking about.
‘Hey, Whackos! Hit the floor - now!’ Hawkeye calls out, and decides that whoever he doesn’t hear ducking will assume is the Shroud. An arrow lands against the Shroud and Hawkeye walks over to him, ‘Okay, Night-Stalker. Let’s talk’ Clint frowns. ‘Not here. The usual place. Ten minutes’ the Shroud tells him. The lights suddenly turn on, and Wonder Man exclaims that the darkness is lifting. ‘Come on, people. They can’t have gotten far’ Simon suggests, but Hawkeye instructs his team to let the Night Shift go. ‘What?’ Simon asks, surprised. ‘Trust me, Simon. I know what I’m doing’ Clint announces. ‘That line sounds familiar’ Wonder Man mutters.
Ten minutes later, on the edge of a cliff, ‘That bozo better show’ Clint thinks to himself, knowing that he is going to have a hard enough time explaining this to his team as it is. Suddenly, the Shroud materializes from the darkness, and greets Hawkeye, before explaining that none of this was his idea, and that he was in San Francisco when his teammates acted without his authorization. Hawkeye tells the Shroud that he knows they have a deal, but suggests that if he can’t keep his team in line when he is out of town, then perhaps he is losing his touch and needs to pack it in. ‘Don’t give me that, Hawkeye. I hear that under your sterling leadership, half your team quite on you - including your own wife!’ the Shroud exclaims. Hawkeye looks surprised, and asks the Shroud if he talked to Mockingbird. ‘How is she? I mean, how’d you happen to -?’ Hawkeye begins.
The Shroud reveals that Mockingbird’s group raided his main headquarters earlier this evening, and that she is probably still there. The Shroud suggests to Hawkeye that he talks to his wife, calls her off, and offers to give him the phone number. ‘Great. You don’t know how eager I am to have to talk with her’ Hawkeye mutters, before telling the Shroud that his criminal façade is getting pretty shop-worn. ‘I take it you’re still not letting your gang know your true colors’ Hawkeye adds. ‘Most of them. I still find my cover useful’ the Shroud explains. ‘You fight evil your way. I’ll fight it mine. Agreed?’ the Shroud declares. Hawkeye tells the Shroud that he is going to have to lert his own team know the truth about the Shroud and his operation, though. The men shake hands as the Shroud tells Hawkeye that he trusts his judgment. With that, the Shroud vanishes from the darkness whence he came. ‘Man, I hate guys who make more dramatic exits than me!’ Hawkeye tells himself.
Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Wonder Man (all West Coast Avengers)
Mockingbird, Moon Knight, Tigra (all ex members of the West Coast Avengers)
Thomas & William Maximoff
Brothers Grimm, Dansen Macabre, Digger, Gypsy Moth, Misfit, Needle, Shroud, Tatterdemalion, Tick-Tock, Werewolf by Night (all Night Shift)
Yolanda and another unidentified staff member
The Calamari Brothers
The Night Shift made their team debut in Captain America (1st series) #330-331, were then seen in Solo Avengers #3 and are next seen in Avengers West Coast #76-79.
Hawkeye offered the Shroud membership in the West Coast Avengers in West Coast Avengers (1st series) #1.
Moon Knight tracked the Shroud down in his lair in Solo Avengers #3.
“A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” is a famous line from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth.
Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)