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Mark Waid, Al Ewing & Jim Zub (writers), Carlos Barberi (artist), Jesus Aburtov (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Sabino (letterer), Yasmine Putri (cover artist), Matteo Scalera & Rain Berredo (variant cover artists), Carlos Lao (graphic designer), Shannon Andrews (assistant editor), 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
For Conan Properties International: Fred Malmberg (president), Jay Zetterberg (executive vice president), Steve Booth (chief operation officer)
Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
In Shadizar, Hercules, Wanda, Spectrum and the Vision find themselves watching Conan, under the influence of Oizys as he battles the ghost of his dead love, Belis. Hercles intervenes and starts to fight Belis, enabling Conan to battle Oizys directly. Belis suddenly explodes into dozens of spears which are hurled into the Avengers, causing them to each suffer a nightmare – Wanda is confronted by a zombie version of Doctor Voodoo, while Spectrum wonders what will happen to her in a million years' time, and the Vision mourns his dead daughter. Hercules is plagued by his family's death, there is only a wasteland inside him. He is tired, and Oizys starts to overwhelm him, until he hears someone crying. It's Voyager. He goes over to help her, as Voyager blames herself for being so weak and letting all of this happen. Oizys intensifies her attack on Hercules and Voyager, so Hercules protects Voyager, and comes to see Oizys as she actually is – a tiny weak insect – which Hercules promptly kills by squashing her with his boot. The Avengers and Conan regroup, and Voyager thinks that she still has a limited connection to Nyx, and hopes that she can open a portal to her location. On the planet Euphoria, the Hulk, Hawkeye and Rocket come face to face with Nyx. The Hulk knew she would come here, as they both want the same thing – Hulk and Nyx both have a shard of Nyx's soul each, and have come here to find the final shard. The Hulk tells Hawkeye and Rocket to leave, but Hawkeye is not one to run from a fight, and creates a makeshift bow to use in battle – the fate of the universe may depend on it. The Hulk confronts Nyx physically, and hurls her across the planet. Hawkeye tries to find the vial of Pym Particles he had on him, but is unable to locate it. Nyx then returns and buries the Hulk, Hawkeye and Rocket under a mountain of rubble. The Hulk emerges from it and prepares to confront Nyx once more, only for her to snap her fingers and cause Hulk to revert to Bruce Banner, and Nyx is able to steal the shard from him. Nyx prepares to use the second shard to lead her to the third, when she notices the strange house floating by her again. Distracted, she isn't quick enough to get to the third shard, as the Avengers and Conan arrive through a portal – but to the heroes' dismay, Nyx uses her powers to turn out all the stars in the sky above.
In the Hyborian Age, at the location called Shadizar, Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Spectrum, the android Vision, Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch and the mighty Hercules, four of the most powerful Avengers look on in horror at what plays out before them on the streets of Shadizar. 'Conan!' Wanda shouts out to her newfound companion, while the heroic Hercules remembers when he was only a year old, how he slew assassins sent by the Queen of the Gods, his stepmother – they were the first lives he took. To his shame, he reminds himself that they were not the last. Hercules admits to knowing rage in his time, and that he has sought revenge and found tragedy. In this long life of his, he has known dark days. He is Hercules Panhellenios, the Prince of Power, and this day is perhaps the darkest of all.
Meanwhile, on the planet Euphoria, where Bruce Banner the Immortal Hulk, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye and Rocket Raccoon have just been transported to. Hulk clenches his fists and thinks to himself that he is the strongest there is, that people won't like him when he is angry, or when he isn't. He is called the Hulk, and the night is his time. 'Hulk – did you know she was going to be here?' Hawkeye calls out in shock. 'This was supposed to be a vacation, dammit!' Rocket complains. 'Promises were made!' he calls out, as the three stare up at Nyx, Goddess of the Night, who hovers above them on this darkened planet with strange rock formations that leak waterfalls, and what appears to be several moons floating at low orbit around them. 'So let me handle it. I've got a plan' the Hulk declares, while looking up at Nyx, he thinks that they both want the same thing – a crystal shard with a third of her full power in it. The Hulk already has one shard, he used it to find its brother, somewhere on this planet. Hulk supposes that Nyx did the same thing, and realizes that whoever gets this one, the last shard of the night, gets to be the one to end the world!
Back in the Hyborian Age: 'Drink it in, Barbarian...' Oizys, the daughter of Nyx and also known as the Goddess of Misery, remarks as she slithers around Conan's muscular body, '... a wine fermented from your deepest sorrows' Oizys utters, as Conan stares up at the ghost of his beloved Belit, who has stabbed a dagger into his chest. 'My love...' Conan utters as blood pools around the dagger. 'Dark with the stain of death. Dark with the scars of regret. The Queen of Night and her foul children are stealing away the light in the universe and the light within our very souls...' Hercules thinks to himself. He knows that a life of violence digs wells of anguish deeper than they can admit to themselves – a searing pain they do not know how to confront. 'We sailed on azure waters and bit deep into the fruit of the world. The Queen of the Black Coast and her faithful lion' Belis exclaims, leaning in to Conan's face. 'Yes...' Conan utters, trying to turn from Belis, who is suddenly knocked off of Conan by a blast fired at her from the Vision. 'Stop – Oizys' the Vision calls out, his voice distorted.
Hercules and Wanda rush forward, 'Hold on, Conan!' Wanda calls out to her friend, as Oizys continues to latch onto Conan. Hercules doesn't know who this warrior is, but his expression tells him much about the life Conan has led. Hercules has been that barbarian – he has felt the frenzy of endless anger – each battle builds the callus around one's heart. 'You... YOU!' Conan shouts as he bites down onto Oizys' face. 'Taste my blade, dog!' Belis exclaims as she leaps in front of Hercules and slashes her blade across his side. 'Each death breeds a self-fulfilling prophecy' Hercules knows, as Conan slams Oizys into a nearby wall.
On Euphoria: 'Ah, geez. This ain't my idea of paradise, boys' Rocket mutters, as Nyx looks down at them. 'My. More lost lambs. You have something that is mine. I don't much care for that' Nyx tells them. 'A good fight is paradise. You want your own, go find it' Hulk tells Rocket. 'Run?' Hawkeye asks. 'Live' the hulk replies, remarking that he doesn't want the raccoon skinned, and that Barton is just useless, so he should go. 'He has a point' Rocket tells Hawkeye. 'Shup up and help me make a bow' Hawkeye tells Rocket as he snaps a branch from a nearby tree and starts to form it into a bow. Hawkeye declares that he has never run from a fight in his life, and that he can provide the names and numbers of two dozen doctors and surgeons who can back that up. Hawkeye reminds Rocket that this woman has snuffed out every sun in the universe – at best, there are entire planets who think that their gods have abandoned them, like an alien race on a faraway planet, and at worst, it is just a matter of time before everything they have ever known freezes to death, like on Earth, where civilians run in panic. 'Let's go! It's “Avengers assemble” not “Avengers take five”!' Hawkeye exclaims as Rocket helps him form a bow from the tree branch. How about that. Not so puny after all' the Hulk smirks.
In the Hyborian Age, Hercules notices that Conan refuses to succumb to his wounds, as he continues to pin Oizys against the wall, telling her that her magic does not impress him. He suggests to her that she heal him, and then he will grant her the mercy of a swift end. 'Poor you' Oizys responds, urging Conan to feed her with his despair so that she may weaponize it. Darkness suddenly wraps around Belis. The Avengers look at her, 'What's happening? She looks like she's about to -' Spectrum begins, before Belit explodes, sending shards of darkness hurling towards the Avengers, who do what they can to block the shards from harming them – but it's no use as the shards poke into the Avengers. Wanda looks up, and sees her lover, Doctor Voodoo lurching towards her as some decayed, zombie form. 'JERICHO!' Wanda screams. Spectrum looks at her glowing hands, and wonders what is left, after a thousand years, a million years – what is left of everything she knows? What will be left of her? The vision's body appears to be skewered on a large spike, as he looks at the grave of his daughter, Vivian Vision, marked “Loving Daughter Taken Too Soon”. 'No no no no no' the Vision utters.
On Euphoria, Hawkeye fires the makeshift bow, releasing two arrows that Rocket created for him. 'What's in these arrows, anyway?' Hawkeye asks. Rocket informs him that one is carrying an antimatter charge capable of blowing a hole in a Kree star crusier, and the other is just real sharp.
'Duck!' Rocket exclaims as the arrows streak towards Nyx. 'And what are either of them supposed to do to me?' Nyx asks as dark matter billows up around her and engulfs the arrows. 'Get your attention' Hulk declares as he appears behind her and grabs her head with his large hand, he then hurls her across the landscape, where she crashes through strange rock formations. 'Like swatting a fly. My power and hers – I've never been this strong' Hulk thinks to himself, deciding that this is way too easy.
'Nice throw. What're you looking for, Barton?' Rocket remarks, a small force field surrounding him. As Hawkeye searches through his pockets he suggests that they could use some Golaith-sized muscles, and that he is trying to find the vial of Pym Particles he had – one last dose of size-changing. Rocket asks if it works only on humans, and suggests that they could maybe shrink Nyx away. 'First answer is “no”, second answer is “I doubt it”' Clint replies, before the Hulk tells them to look out, as a surge of powerful energy blasts towards them, smashing them all backwards, and burying them under rubble. Nyx hovers overhead, and the Hulk knows she is serious. There is no more sneering, no more big talk – Nyx is hitting them with everything she has. 'Good' Hulk decides as he forces one of his fists up through the rubble.
Back in the Hyborian Age, Hercules has collapsed to his knees. Oizys' poison has entered his soul, his legs have given way – and all he feels is nothing. A wasteland inside him. The rage of his family's death kept him fighting, it was all he had left – but now it is cold, bitter, ash – what good is it? Hercules wonders what good he is, the joke, the fool, always smiling like an idiot – he wonders what he is for as Oizys grins before him. Hercules thinks that he is always so tired, and wonders if he should just let it end – let the grand tales of Hercules and his labors end here. He puts his hands to his face, then pulls then away as he hears someone crying, tears welling up in his own eyes, he looks over and sees Voyager laying on the ground nearby. Voyager laments being too weak, that she let this happen, that all the Avengers hate her, and that she is so alone, with no family and no father.
Hercules knows that Oizys sees them both, and is lashing out at them, more psychic strings, more reminders of pain, old hurts and so many hates. Hercules wants to collapse, he wants to drink – but he can't and he gets to his feet and walks over to Voyager. There is something he has to do – a labor to complete. 'Voyager...' Hercules utters. '... you are not alone. Please. If I can – I'd like to help' Hercules utters as he extends a hand to the desperate Voyager.
Back on Euphoria, the Hulk leaps through the darkness, he had a plan – to hit her. Hit Nyx as hard as he can and deliver a killing blow. 'Because if I give her one more second to think...' Hulk realizes, coming to a stop before Nyx, who tells him that he holds a portion of her power, that gives him added strength – but control is another matter. 'Hell. What I was afraid of. God giveth... and God taketh away' Hulk thinks to himself as Nyx snaps her fingers, 'For you, and for you alone – I rescind my gift of night' Nyx declares as energy glows around Hulk, whose form begins to wither and change. The Immortal Hulk is powerless to stop it, despite being the strongest there is – and Banner can't hold this power, as the Hulk vanishes, and Banner drops to the ground. 'Hell. I'm in Hell' Banner utters as a small glow of energy rises up from him and floats towards Nyx. 'The hell of daylight. Because the night is my time' Nyx smirks.
Back at Shadizar, Hercules helps Voyager to her feet, knowing that in the face of this, it is very important that they both stand. His muscular body blocks Voyager from being harmed by the dark energy spears that Oizys hurls towards them. Hercules then turns to look at Oizys, who is literally misery. He knows that she has such power over them, but sometimes, when they look at her, they can see her clearly – a tiny little insect like being. 'You are small and weak -' Oizys tries to tell Hercules, who suddenly knows what he is for – not for vengeance, not to be a creature of rage – he is stronger than that. Hercules decides that his purpose is to find the misery in this life, to find despair wherever it might hide, and as best he can – to crush it. And with that, he stomps his foot down on Oizys, crushing her into the ground, she is squashed to death. 'And then...to smile like an idiot' Hercules tells himself.
Hercules turns to Voyager and tells her he is not sure how much that helped, but that he feels much better. 'How about you?' he asks. 'She... she was in my head for so long... it's...' Voyager's voice trails off, before she looks at Hercules and tells him that she doesn't know if she feels better, not right away, but that she can think now – and she can fight. 'Aye. My one regrets is that I didn't put the lizard to the sword myself' Conan calls out, announcing that instead, he will take his vengeance out on she who bore the beast – if they will have him at their side. The Vision, Spectrum and Wanda gather around, as Conan holds his axe up and adds that perhaps once the Queen of Night lies dead, Belit's ghost will rest in his head. Hercules tells Conan that vengeance will not cure that pain, he knows that. 'But you can help us stop the night-goddess before she hurts anyone else'. Hercules turns to Voyager and asks her if she can see where Nyx went. Voyager concentrate, and replies that even with Oizys dead there is enough connection to divine her location – but they need to hurry.
'Much better' Nyx proclaims as she holds the fragment of her soul in her hand. 'That's the beauty of these fragments. They're not addictive – they're exponential. I feel -' Nyx begins, when suddenly, she is distracted, and turns to the large house that floats nearby. 'That house again. What is it? Where is it? And how can it have light?' Nyx wonders as she sees something glowing through the front door's keyhole. 'Lead me' Nyx tells the darkness around her – but before she can be transported to the house, a portal opens, 'HOLD!' a voice booms. 'NYX! HALT!' Hercules shouts as he steps through the portal with Voyager, who collapses to the ground 'Across the universe...planet called Euphoria...it took...all my strength...' she utters. Hercules realizes that they are too late to stop Nyx. He rushes forward with Wanda, the Vision, Spectrum and Conan at his side – they see that Nyx has the second fragment – the next move is hers. 'Mortals. Despite your best efforts, I've been able to defeat you in your realm. Imagine what I'll be able to do to you in mine' Nyx points out, as darkness engulfs the heroes – and more – 'The stars... all the billions of stars...' Voyager utters. Hercules looks up in horror, 'Ouranos' eyes. They're... they're going out!' he gasps as the stars above suddenly vanish!
Hawkeye, Hercules, Hulk, Rocket Raccoon, Scarlet Witch, Spectrum, Vision, Voyager
This issue has the legacy numbering of Avengers (1st series) #715.