Avengers #368-369, West Coast Avengers #101, X-Men #26, and Uncanny X-Men #307 (November-December 1993)

These five comics comprise the “Bloodties” storyline, a crossover event that commemorated the 30th anniversary of both the Avengers and the X-Men. The huge cast of this story necessarily minimizes Captain America’s role (other than many impressive heroic poses), but a central theme of the Avengers aspect of the story deals with the obligations under its United Nations charter to stay out of domestic affairs of individual states, which Cap and the Avengers find very difficult to do (as they did in the film Captain America: Civil War without respect to the Sokovia Accords).

In fact, this theme is upfront as Avengers #369 begins, with ’90s Action Figure Nick Fury and super-bureaucrat Henry Gyrich telling the combined membership of the two Avengers teams to stay out of the conflict in the island state of Genosha between the humans and their mutant slaves (the “mutates”).

Nick reminds Hercules that the Avengers Charter supports their decision, which (ostensibly) protects nation-states from superhuman meddling, but Hawkeye counters that this means they have to ignore injustice and massacre. (Cap calms him down, but does not necessarily disagree, being famous for refusing to stand by when things go south.)

Elsewhere, Gyrich and USAgent recruit Professor Xavier to go with them to Genosha, after which he reveals he’s of one mind with Hawkeye (if much more eloquent).

When Crystal learns the mutates have kidnapped her child Luna—daughter of Quicksilver, niece of the Scarlet Witch, and granddaughter of Magneto (at least as understood at the time)—the Avengers assemble to get her back, and Nick urges Cap to stand down… or else.

Nick wasn’t bluffing: The Avengers find the combined forces of SHIELD and the UN Security Council are waiting outside the mansion to stop them. Their battle begins in X-Men #26, during which Crystal and Wanda make a plan to take a Quinjet to rescue Luna, and when Nick tells Cap to stop them, Cap supports his team (and asks Nick why this should come as a surprise).

The Black Knight stabs Nick with his “neuroblade,” leading Cap to ask if he killed him (which is entirely reasonable, given Dane’s words in recent Avengers issues regarding the need to go farther than Cap is willing to). When Dane gets ready to go with Crystal and Wanda, Cap asks if it’s the “smart thing to be doing,” but after Dane reminds him of the difference between the smart (prudent) thing and the right thing, Cap decides to go too. (Cap is naturally wary of disobeying official restrictions, so we can’t blame him for needing a little push to remind him that some things are more important.)

When a group of Avengers (now including Sersi and War Machine as well) arrive in Genosha, they find widespread fighting between humans and mutates, against which Cap makes a firm statement on behalf of the Avengers.

Unfortunately, the powerful mutant Exodus arrives soon afterwards, killing a large number of humans and declaring his intention to wipe out the rest.

In West Coast Avengers #101, War Machine engages with Exodus in the air, and the rest of the heroes watch as the battle on the ground resumes, and Wanda is forced to make their irrelevance clear to the Sentinel of Liberty…

…which he comes to realize even more viscerally as they try in vain to stop the violence.

Meanwhile, a second group of Avengers appeals to the UN Security Council to protest the restrictions that (try to) keep them from interfering in Genosha, with Hawkeye arguing the sentiment expressed by many others in this storyline, with the addition of threatening to break away from the UN altogether if they continue to prevent the Avengers from saving lives.

In Uncanny X-Men #307, while Sersi takes her turn fighting Exodus, Black Widow makes the team’s case in front of the UN General Assembly…

…arguing that staying out of Genosha is not only an immoral position to take, but is also no less a political decision than intervention is.

She goes on to remind the assembled delegates what heroes do, regardless of what politicians think they should do, and that from this point on they will be heroes, first and foremost.

I think Cap would really like the part about having courage and strength—which is why I included these panels, despite his absence—and we see below that Clint is happy about it too.

The double-sized Avengers #369 sees the Avengers and the X-Men come together at last, although the former look a bit hostile when they arrive below. (I hope they’re just tired.)

While Cyclops passive-aggressively criticizes the Avengers for not joining in the last dust-up on Genosha, Cap stays above it, emphasizing that the current situation is everyone’s concern. (Hawkeye would have simply barked, “Well, we’re here now, aren’t we?”)

To show he’s sincere, Cap stands back while Storm takes charge, and reiterates that everyone’s on the same side.

But I guess Cyclops didn’t hear him, because he has to say it again.

The new battle cry should be: “Avengers… Grit Your Teeth!”

The joint team rescues Professor Xavier, USAgent, and hundreds of enslaved mutates, in conditions USAgent previously described as a concentration camp—a comparison that hits the Living Legend of World War II particularly hard, spurring him on to fight even harder.

When Exodus finally appears, Cap and Storm lead the heroes in a menacing stance…

… while the powerful mutant, holding baby Luna in his arms, demands that all humans be eradicated from Genosha in Magneto’s name.

Soon, the civil war starts anew, but Cap suggests a way to stop it once and for all.

You can read for yourself how the Avengers and X-Men work together to defeat Exodus, but we will skip to a rare scene of tranquility between Cap and Xavier (a pairing all too rare in itself).

The tranquility is interrupted by Jenny Ransome, a mutate activist, who asks the professor how he claims to support mutantkind while passing as a human—a choice that he defends at the same time that he questions its continued validity. Appropriate for someone who must constantly use judgment to make hard choices, Cap speaks profoundly regarding the difficulty of having confidence in such choices when the outcome never seems to improve.


ISSUE DETAILS

Avengers (vol. 1) #368, November 1993: Bob Harras (writer), Steve Epting (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks and colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

X-Men (vol. 2) #26 (November 1993): Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (pencils), Matt Ryan (inks), Joe Rosas (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

West Coast Avengers (vol. 2) #101 (December 1993): Roy Thomas (writer), David Ross (pencils), Tim Dzon (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Steve Dutro (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Uncanny X-Men (vol. 1) #307 (December 1993): Scott Lobdell (writer), John Romita, Jr. (pencils), Dan Green (inks), Steve Buccellato and Kevin Somers (colors), Chris Eliopoulos (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Avengers (vol. 1) #369, December 1993: Bob Harras (writer), Steve Epting and Jan Duursema (pencils), Tom Palmer and Don Hudson (inks), Mike Rockwitz, Joe Andreani, Chris Matthys, and Pat Garrahy (colors), Bill Oakley (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Avengers/X-Men: Bloodties and Avengers: The Gathering Omnibus (and eventually in Avengers Epic Collection: The Gathering).


PREVIOUS ISSUES: Avengers #364-367 and Sensational She-Hulk #55 (July-October 1993)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #421 and Nomad #19 (November 1993), Infinity Crusade #6 and Web of Spider-Man #106 (November 1993), Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #3-4 (November-December 1993), and Captain America #422 (December 1993)

NEXT ISSUES: Avengers #370-371, Captain Marvel #2, Marvels #2, Thunderstrike #4, and Plasmer #3-4 (January-February 1994)

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