In addition to its regular line Marvel produces several "specialty" comics over the course of the year. This is one of those comics that have Marvel and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) working together on this particular comic. The comic itself was only distributed on U.S. Military bases.
Spider-Man does not appear in this particular issue, but this is still a New Avengers comic, and Spidey is a member, plus he has in three of the previous four, so here we go:
This comic takes place in continuity and shortly after the death of Captain America. As it opens up, Tony Stark is sitting in Avenger's Tower, watching a pre-taped video from Cap. At the same time, over in the X-Mansion, Wolverine is also watching a slightly different tapped message. The message is about Cap's concern for a Private First Class Matthews (who is overseas) and the National Guardsman's Brother, who is working on some sophisticated communications equipment in LA. Cap asks Iron Man to look into the LA issue, while he requests that Wolverine check in on Private Matthews.
Iron Man, along with fellow Mighty Avengers Wonder Man and the Black Widow head to LA while Wolverine and fellow X-Man Cyclops climb aboard their Blackbird and head overseas. In LA, Wonder Man and Natasha meet up with Private Matthews who indicates that he feels that someone is trying to kill him, then he reveals that he doesn't have a brother. Which is our cue to cut to:
The X-Men Wolverine and Cyclops parachuting into a firefight between a U.S. Military patrol and some local insurgents. Once the two heroes help the convoy beat back the insurgents, one of the soldiers reveals themselves to be Private Matthews. Nope, this isn't a trick, a double, or even a clone, this is the LA Private Matthews sister. Turns out she is also in the Guard.
Back in LA, Iron Man is attempting to learn more about what is going on with the CommCenter when he is attacked by a bunch of AIM goons. As the melee crashes through the wall into where Private Matthews is, Iron Man's fellow Avengers join in the fray and proceed to make short work of the AIM felons. Matthews himself manages to take out the AIM mole that infiltrated the base in the first place. Back overseas, the Insurgents have regained their courage and are attacking the convoy en masse. This prompts Logan to leap directly into their midst and slip into one of his trademarked berserker furies. It is thus that he realizes that he is going up against robots, not actual insurgents, and that he's when he really goes to town. In the ensuing firefight Private Matthews leaps aboard a vehicle and lays down some cover fire for Wolverine. During this exchange, she takes a shot to the leg.
Once things are settled in both hemispheres, the heroes arrange for the siblings to finally talk to each other. The story closes out with Stark listening to the conclusion of Cap's stirring call to arms, and the X-Men heading home.
In spite of the absence of Spidey, this was a very nice read. It was obvious from the expression on his face that Stark regrets the loss of his good friend Steve Rogers, and in spite of their differences, that he is still bound by honort and friendship to carry out Steve's last wishes. It was also nice to see the interplay between Logan and his old teammate Scott Summers as they took on an enemy under true battlefield conditions. All of that plus the bravery of the National Guardsmen themselves made for an inspiring story.
It is good to see these types of stories that are developed for a specific audience, especially considering the sacrifice that is currently being endured by those in our military striving to protect our security both here and abroad.
This comic was produced especially for the U.S. Military, and is only sold on Military bases, but can be acquired easily enough off any of the auction sites, and makes a very nice addition to a serious collector's library.