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Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub (writers), Sean Izaakse (artist), Marcio Menyz (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Yasmine Putri (cover artist), Phil Noto (variant cover artist), Carlos Lao (graphic designer), Alanna Smith (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Nyx family designs by Joshua James Shaw
Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Nyx recounts her origin, how she was cast aside when Zeus came to be, and was forced to languish in the shadows while the other Olympians were glorified and ruled, carving up the darkness. She became jealous when Zeus had children, and wanted children of her own – so Hypnos was born, and trained by Ares, he formed armies to guard the night from enemies. Eventually, night and dark were banished along with everything that humans feared, and Nyx became forgotten as mortals told stories of the epic adventures of the gods. The Olympians began to reject Nyx even more, and after her betrayal she bore two twins, Apate and Dolos. These twins of deceit and trickery came into conflict with Zeus' own children. A battle took place as Nyx tried to fight against the gods – darkness against light, her truth against their lives – but she and her children lost, and Zeus shattered her soul into three – the Night that Was, the Night that Is and the Night that Yet May Be. Nyx and her children were then chained and thrown into a tomb, where a slither of sunlight would constantly shine down on them. The defeated Nyx gave birth there to her fourth child, Oizys – Misery, and began to pray for revenge. So, to her encouragement, when two cosmic beings played a game with the Earth, the Earth was stolden, and her spell of imprisonment was broken – she escaped and slaughtered the Olympians, ushering in a new darkness. Today, in Omnipotence City, Hercules has fallen to Dolos and Apate's control and he battles the Vision, while the twins hold the High Lord Librarian prisoner. Spectrum urges the Scarlet Witch to find the librarian, while she tries to snap Hercules out of the mind control, unfortunately, Spectrum also falls under the twins' control. The Scarley Witch is able to see the twins due to the strange connection she has to Nyx, and fires a hex bolt at them, freeing the librarian and releasing Hercules and Spectrum from their control. Unfortunately, trouble isn't over for the Avengers as Nyx arrives with her daughter Oizys, who is holding Voyager prisoner. Nyx imprisons Hercules and the Scarlet Witch in bonds of darkness, and takes the shard of her missing soul from the Lord High Librarian. Meanwhile, in Nightmare's realm, Hypnos leads a sleeping army to break into Nightmare's citadel, but as he prepares to enter it, he is confronted by Nightmare himself, and his new allies – Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon and the Immortal Hulk!
In the beginning, there was darkness. A silent dream. And in such stillness, she was born. Nyx. Before the light. The emptiness was pure. Its potential was endless – but it would not last. The light began to grow, it was harsh and unyielding. The light was Zeus – God of the Sky and Lightning and son of the galactic Titans. He was loud and bright and could not stand to be alone with Nyx. And thus came Olympus, and with it, many Olympians – like Athena, Hermes and Hephaistos. The gods were abundant and they carved up the darkness to make their kingdom glitter and their stories shine – stories of heroism and stories of heartbreak. And while the people of this kingdom worshipped Zeus and the gods, Nyx decided that this was a petty pageantry to while away the centuries, while she clung to the shadows, away from the festivities.
Nyx watched as the gods had children, she saw how it made them happy – and wondered if she could ever feel such joy. So, she dreamt of darkness once more, the stillness of slumber, and her firstborn arrived three nights hence. She called him Hypnos, the God of Sleep. As time passed, Hypnos tried to find his place in the light but, like his mother, he found its countenance a poor fit for his desires. Nyx would watch as her son would be trained by Ares in sword combat. Her son was loyal and stoic, he would gather an army of sleepers to guard the night from enemies – and to watch over her dreams.
Hypnos grew into a warrior, as he led his army of sleep towards Nightmare's fortress, deep within Nightmare's realm. He planned to take the fortress in his mother's name. 'Dreamless – fall back! Imaginators forward! Siege machines – ready!' Hypnos called out. But, as the mortals knew sleep, so they knew dreams of their own, as several of them moving a catapult towards the fortress wondered if they were in a movie, while another feared that they were late to class. 'For Nyx! And for her vengeance! Fire!' Hypnos called out, as the civilians launched catapults forward, as visions lit by the spark of imagination, propelled into reality, the boulders from the catapult crashed into Nightmare's fortress.
And on Earth, the age of fire began, humankind's own light – lit at their command. Night and dark were banished to the outer side with all the unknowns humanity feared. Several prehistoric cavepeople gathered in a cave, as one of them admitted they were afraid of the night, as the Tiger God hunts. 'No night or tiger in here. Hearken to teller now. Teller has tellings...' one of them uttered, and, as before, with the light came the stories – mortal magicians using their magic words to dispel the night's terrors. This continued into a more civilized time period, as a muscular man asked an old man to tell of the Night-Witch and of the God-King who ended her darkness. 'Would you now more, my chief' the story teller replied, before beginning his tale “Once upon a time”, as in other times, people attempted to cage the night's mysteries, as an old man hailed the children of Zeus, asking them to grand lovely song and celebrate the holy race of the deathless gods.
Lines were drawn, good and evil were defined – their words and symbols shaped Zeus and his children – ever more, ever growing – into heroes. So what did that make Nyx and her children? With each new legion of followers the Olympians pulled into their bright halls, Nyx felt her rage grow. They never wanted her among them, as they feared the power of darkness. She argued with Hera, and later, Nyx's twins came thusly – Apate and Dolos – Deceit and Trickery. They were echoes of Nyx's frustrations, and they would never believe the lies of Olympus. Dolos, the boy, would play tricks on Dionysus, while Apate would torment Artemis. Conflict became inevitable – and Nyx's children were bred for it... as weapons of war!
Omnipotence City, 'Hercules, wait! The twins are corrupting your mind! We must not -' the android Avenger known as the Vision calls out, too late, as Hercules, possessed by Apate, slams his fist into the Vision's face. 'Vision!' Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch, currently blinded, calls out to her ex-husband, before asking Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum what is happening. In an energy form Spectrum hovers behind Wanda and tells her that it is nothing good, adding that it sounds like Vision's systems are glitching again, and she can’t cut through this fog. Spectrum then wonders where the Lord High Librarian is, unaware that he is very close, Apate holding him by the neck as she points a dagger at his face, 'Not a word' she utters. Hercules continues his assault against the Vision, slamming him up against a bookcase, he exclaims that it if wasn't for the mortals' whining and mewling, always begging for his help, he would have been on Olympus, and would have saved his family. Vision tries to tell Hercules that they are his family, but as his systems begin to fail, his words stutter.
Suddenly, in her electromagnetic form, Spectrum darts through the fog and tells Wanda to find the Librarian, while she tries to snap Hercules out of the spell. 'Oh? You're certainly welcome to try' Dolos utters as he appears seemingly from nowhere and blows a powder in Spectrum's face. 'After all – he'll be after you next' Dolos points out as Spectrum turns and sees five Hercules moving towards her. Dolos goes over to Apate and tells her that this group is not much of a challenge. 'Humans. What did you expect?' Apate replies before telling her brother to hold the Librarian while she begins to carve. Suddenly, through the darkness, Wanda sees the twins. 'Let him be' she declares, firing a hex blast towards the twins, knocking them back and freeing the Librarian from theirv grasp. 'Surprise. Since we're all linked to your mother's power, you aren't hidden to me' Wanda tells the twins, before calling out to Spectrum, informing her that she has the twins, she asks her if she can shock Hercules out of it. 'Now that there's only one of him, sure' Spectrum responds as she finds the right strobe frequency, and releases it against the now lone Hercules, knocking him back.
'My mind... what have I done? Forgive me, my frie-' Hercules begins, rubbing his head, before hev falls silent, as the Vision and Spectrum follow his gaze, they look up and see the Queen of Night herself, Nyx, standing over them, with her child Oizys lurking behind her, her strange form wrapped around the cosmic Avenger known as Voyager, who struggles to break free. 'There you are' Nyx utters.
And then, at last, they fought. Darkness against light. Nyx's truth against the lies of the Olympians. Apate fought Artemis, while Dolos challenged Hermes, and Hypnos fought Athena, their swords clashing. Poseidon created a massive wave that swept over Hypnos' sleeping army, as Nyx and Zeus confronted each other. The Olympians, squabblers and meddlers for eternity, somehow managed to find common ground in their hatred of Nyx. The night was crushed under their heels, as Hypnos, Apate and Dolos were defeated by Athena, Artemis and Hermes, and Poseidon held Nyx to the ground, his trident poised at her neck. But defeat was just the beginning of their torment, as Zeus strode towards Nyx, he plunged his fist into her soul, his word driving into her brain like a searing brand: “The night is no longer yours” he declared. “I shall break it thrice and cast the shards beyond your reach. Never again shall you possess them”. He pulled Nyx's dark soul from her body and broke it into three. The Night That Was. The Night That Is. The Night That Yet May Be. Her soul was laid bare and taken from her – her name forbidden and forgotten.
And then came the tomb, shackled and chained, Apate, Dolos and Hypnos were thrown from a cliff into the darkness below. Nyx clung to the edge of the cliff, chains pulling her down, while Zeus stood over her. ‘The darkness you craved is now your prison. As long as the sun shines upon the Earth, for you there shall be no road home' Zeus told Nyx as she fell from the cliff, into the darkness, landing among her chained children. The silence and stillness was now a pit of howling despair – no more dreams, only nightmares. And from those nightmares, Nyx's fourth and most powerful child was birthed – Oizys – the Misery. Oizys was Nyx's hatred manifested. These reflections of Nyx's dark existence bound with her, trapped for all time – lost in their sorrow, they had only each other, as Oizys wrapped around her chained mother and siblings. Nyx knew that most would have prayed for Madness to release them – she prayed for Revenge.
And, where go gods and cosmic beings, nothing is impossible. For a brief time, the Earth was stolen from its favored spot beneath the sun's illumination, and thus, the spell of imprisonment was broken – and Nyx and her children were set free. Free to regain all that was taken – and so much more, as she struck down and destroyed Zeus himself. The Olympians, the mortals, the universe itself – after an eternity of mistreatment, they have all been spoiled. Nyx's only hope now is a return to the silence, an end to the light – which she will make limitless. Empty. Pure. In the beginning, there shall be darkness again.
'No threat. No threat at all' Nyx utters as she traps the Scarlet Witch and Hercules in bonds of darkness. She walks over to the Librarian who is held by Apate and Dolos. Spectrum and Vision are nearby, also trapped in bonds of darkness. 'When the story of this moment is written in your books, Librarian, make sure it says this:' Nyx begins, before plunging her hand into the Lord High Librarian's chest, causing him to scream as her hand reaches through him, and pulls from it one of the shards of her soul. 'The Queen of Night found The Night That Was... and she barely broke a sweat' Nyx smiles.
Inside Nightmare's realm, Hypnos turns and calls out 'I hear you, mother. You have The Night That Was...and soon I will have The Night That May Yet Be' Hypnos smirks as his sleeping army make progress on Nightmare's fortress, breaking through its walls. 'Do you hear me, Nightmare? Come out! Face your better!' Hypnos calls out, raising his sword. 'Your castle is fallen! And your night will be mine -' Hypnos boasts, when suddenly, he is interrupted by someone who calls out 'Not yet'. Hypnos turns slowly, 'What?' he asks, narrowing his eyes. 'See, that's my castle now. And the night...the night is my time!' calls out the Immortal Hulk, who holds a large sword, while riding on the steed called Dreamstalker, as Hawkeye and Rocket stand positioned nearby, their weapons at the ready, as Nightmare himself hovers with them, smirking....
Hawkeye, Hercules, Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, Scarlet Witch, Spectrum, Vision, Voyager
Apate, Dolos, Hypnos, Oizys
Lord High Librarian
Army of slumber
in Rocket's nightmare:
in flashback images:
Ares, Athena, Artemis, Dionysus, Hephauestus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, Zeus (all Gods of Olympus)
This issue has the legacy numbering of Avengers (1st series) #711.
Nyx refers to the Earth being stolen for a period, this took place in Avengers (1st series) #675-690, the 'Avengers No Surrender” storyline.