But the Major had been fighting crime and evil on all five continents for almost 20 years, first during the Second World War, and then, later, after his frozen body had been retrieved from the sea off Tierra del Fuego and he'd decided to bring together a group of superheroes to fight criminals and evils no one hero could overcome alone. And he knew evil. More importantly, he knew good, and he knew what good men looked like, and how they acted. So when he and the other Avengers drew close to the M'krann, and saw the group of costumed men and women being pressed back, and on the verge of defeat, at the hands and claws of the three monsters, he'd ignored Wanda's urgent calls and looked - looked hard - at the costumed men and women. And what he'd seen had convinced him that they were heroes, not villains.
For a moment the Major was undecided; he knew that he should think in a utilitarian fashion, as Wanda had told him and the other Avengers to do during their briefing. He knew should weigh the billions of lives, not just of his own planet but of all planets everywhere, as being more important than those of the hundred or so heroes he saw in front of him. He knew that, once he and the other Avengers gained control of the M'krann, he could save the lives of those heroes, and defeat the monsters fighting them. He knew that he had to be hard and not give in to sentiment.
And yet he knew that if he did that, he would not deserve to carry The
Shield, and so a second later he barked out orders, and the other Avengers
went into action.
On Earth-573 the Spanish adventurer Hernando Cortez led his troops from Hispaniola on to the continental mainland in 1519. After subjugating the native kingdom of Tabasco and establishing an alliance with the Totonac people, he led an invasion of Central Mexico, eventually capturing the Mixtec Emperor Montezuma and marching into the Mixtec capital Tenochtitlan, where he and his lieutenant Pedra de Alvarado began issuing orders in Montezuma's name, eventually acting so brutally that they created an enormous amount of ill-will, which broke out into a revolt by the Mixtecs.
Cortes attempted to withdraw from Tenochtitlan, retreating west across Lake Texcoco via a narrow causeway, but the Mixtecs spotted them, and in the battle that followed the Spanish, unable to bring their cavalry or superior firepower to bear on the Indians because of the narrowness of the causeway, were slaughtered to a man, along with their numerous native allies.
The Spanish had brought disease with them, and this ravaged the Mixtec
empire, slaughtering tens of thousands. But the Spanish on Hispaniola heard
tell of the deaths of Cortes and his men, and were hesitant to risk further
troops on an invasion of Mixtec lands without sufficient reinforcements
from Spain. They staged one or two further minor incursions, but they were
destroyed, the local tribes having been forcibly reminded that allying
against the Mixtecs was a bad idea.
And so by the time the Spanish made another attempt at conquest, this time with ships and cannon and an army from Spain, a new generation of Mixtecs had grown up: immune to European diseases, filled with hate towards white intruders, aware of the strange (to the Mixtec) tactics of the white soldiers, and aware of how to use not just cavalry (for Cortes' houses had not been slain in the final battle on the causeway) but also cannon, and with a militaristic leadership determined to expand to the lands beyond the horizon and to provide enough sacrifices to make the gods truly happy.
The Spanish army was crushed, and its ships captured, and with them
and the new technology and learning they provided the Mixtec empire spread
both north and south, conquering everything before it, funneling tens of
thousands of men and women back to Tenochtitlan to be sacrificed. Further
attempts by Europeans to land on America were destroyed, and soon enough
the Europeans, concerned with their own affairs, gave up on the Americas
as simply being not worth the trouble.
After almost a century the Mixtec empire collapsed, both from internal revolt and due to the senescence that inevitably sets in on expansionist and bloodthirsty empires. But the Mixtec culture had spread across the Americas, so that, decades later, when the whites finally did make a concerted effort to explore and conquer the Americas, they found equals, not slaves.
Five hundred years later, in the mighty city of New Aztlan, a group of super-powered humans - the mixed-blood descendants of Mixtec, Apache, Iroquois, Spaniards, and various Europeans - decided that the world was in need of their abilities. Although the United States of Mexico was the world's foremost superpower, many countries were not so fortunate or prosperous or clean, nor were many of the cities in both the northern and southern continents of the United States of Mexico completely safe. These humans, seeing this, vowed to avenge the evils done to the poor, both the current ones and the historical ones. Together, they are...the Avengers!
Author's Note: The overthrow of the Mixtec Empire by Cortes on Earth-Prime was assured when Cortes made good his escape over the causeway, rather than being killed by the Mixtecs as he was on Earth-573.
Go back to Liberators #25