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Rick Remender (writer), Adam Kubert (artist), Laura Martin & Matt Milla (color artists), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor (cover artists), Idette Winecoor (production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort with Daniel Ketchum and Will Moss (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
A squad of Avengers arrives in Los Angeles, which they find under attack by the villain Plantman. As they battle him, they find themselves under a strange influence, forcing Avenger against Avenger. Iron Man is able to release a psi-blocking device, which stops the foreign influence from effecting the heroes. Steve Rogers communicates with Iron Man, informing him that hate riots have erupted all over the Earth. Havok is in bed with the Wasp, their daughter sleeping between them - until he wakes, realizing that he is actually on the ground at Genosha, rain pouring down, the Red Skull has transformed into the Red Onslaught, the cause of the hate riots, he boasts about tearing this world down and creating the Reich Eternal. The Scarlet Witch, Rogue and Magneto are battling the Red Onslaught the best they can - until Red Onslaught puts the Scarlet Witch and Rogue under his command. Havok joins the battle - but he attacks Magneto, blaming him for the emergence of the Red Onslaught. One of his energy blasts sends Magneto careening into one of the prison buildings, where he finds Cyclops, Quentin Quire and Genesis being held prisoner. Magneto frees them, and Havok rushes in, attacking his brother for killing Xavier. Genesis disrupts their battle - before Ahab shoves a harpoon through the young mutant. At Avengers Tower, several Avengers are gathered to discuss the hate riots, before the Wasp reveals she thinks something has happened to Havok. She leaves the group, and tells Iron Man about the child she and Havok had, while wondering why they carry on this fight when it costs them so much. The Red Onslaught uses his newfound telepathy to influence the Scarlet Witch, forcing her to warp reality in his vision - but Rogue sees through it, and guided by Xavier, she is able to rescue the Scarlet Witch from the Red Onslaught, freeing her from his control. Cyclops, Havok and Magneto battle Ahab, who has also taken out Quentin Quire, while Rogue gives the Scarlet Witch some encouragement, before the Red Onslaught is about to attack them again - however several Avengers arrive and engage the Red Onslaught in battle. As Ahab is about to shove a harpoon into Cyclops, several X-Men appear and start to fight him. Cyclops and Havok call a truce, and over a dozen more Avengers, X-Men and other heroes arrive in the prison camp to assist with the battle. The situation intensifies even further when The Red Onslaught reveals he had a hand in Iron Man’s creation of the psi-blocking devices, before two adamantium Stark Sentinels descend over the heroes.
Los Angeles: ‘Man, they’ve really let LA go. Permitting one’s lawn to get this overgrown in man-eating vegetation is really breaking a social contract’ Tony “Iron Man” Stark remarks as he flies through the skies above Los Angeles alongside several other Avengers including Thor, the Vision, Shiro “Sunfire” Yoshida, Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, and Sam Wilson, formerly the Falcon, now the new Captain America. ‘Bit of an improvement, actually’ Captain America remarks, while the Vision reports that he is detecting sentience and rage from all plants in the region. ‘Assume anything green is your enemy, Avengers’ the Vision states. ‘Even kale?’ the Wasp enquires. ‘Especially kale’ Captain America remarks. ‘What of Doc Green?’ Thor asks as he lands on the Quinjet, which, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow and Dr Bruce Banner a.k.a. the Hulk are flying in.
‘I’m a carnivore - just green on the outside - I don’t even acknowledge vegetables’ the Hulk responds to Thor’s comment. ‘This is going to wreak havoc on the current season of “Real Housewives”’ the Black Widow mutters. ‘So, Black Widow votes to leave things as they are’ Hawkeye jokes.
As the Avengers descend, Captain America asks Iron Man if they have any idea who did this. Plants and foliage cover buildings and the ground, as Iron Man replies ‘Well, geez, let’s see, Cap… an abundance of plant life consuming the world of man, probably in some sort of symbolic bid at revenge…’ Iron Man adds that he is guessing this is the work of Pollution Man or Johnny Tree-Hater. ‘Yeah, or maybe Ivan the Industrialist. You know, somebody who really hates plants’ Iron Man adds. The Vision tells Iron Man that he appreciates the thought he has put into unravelling this mystery, but believes he might be a smidgen off base.
Iron Man tells the android Avenger that he is all ears. ‘And no one says “smidgen” anymore’ Iron Man adds. ‘Yes, well, perhaps the individual behind this doesn’t hate trees at all, but is quite partial to them. Potentially someone such as -’ the Vision begins, as a voice shouts ‘PLANTMAN!’ and the leafy villain leaps towards the Avengers, with vines reaching out to grab them, Plantman exclaims that he will suffer mankind’s putrid corruption no longer. ‘Oh, right - duh. Cancel my appearance on “Jeopardy”’ Iron Man jokes. ‘Witness the price of your decadence, Tony Stark - the great polluter!’ Plantman calls out as Iron Man steadies himself mid-air before the Plantman. ‘Fact-check Friday - I have an exemplary clean energy record. Not that I need to explain myself to you - but my PR guy Chip isn’t here and he likes me to maintain a certain image’ Iron Man jokes. ‘While the world rots, the great Iron Man fixates on his vanity!’ Plantman exclaims. ‘Wow, that was Chip’s exact advice’ Iron Man jokes as he fires a repulsor ray at Plantman.
One of the vines snaps away at Captain America, who hovers over it, shield ready, before he calls out to the Wasp, telling her to ear-blast the Plantman, as a destroyed equilibrium is their best chance to shut down Seymour’s little shop of horrors. He then tells Thor that there are people in the buildings nearby, so he needs to hack the plants off before the buildings collapse. ‘Thor will not clean weeds while there is battle to be had! If you desire gardening done - do it yourself, little bird’ Thor responds, as he clutches the axe Jarnbjorn in one hand. Captain America replies that he recognizes Thor isn’t smart enough to understand his tactics, but that is why Thor doesn’t lead the Avengers. ‘Thor punches big stuff and does as he’s instructed -’ Captain America begins, before he is knocked back through the air when Thor tosses the axe at him. ‘Right on one count’ Thor remarks, as he hears a voice inside his mind: ‘He doesn’t respect you’.
Iron Man, the Wasp and Vision look on, confused. ‘Okay - what?’ Iron Man asks. The Vision frowns as he hears a voice in his head - ‘He imperils you all to placate his pride’. ‘Egotistical fool’ the Vision mutters. ‘I have had enough’ he declares as he flies to the Quinjet, as Thor’s axe finds it way back to him. ‘Bah! I fear you not, Hollow Man made of tin -’ Thor begins before the Vision drops down on him, forcing him through the wing of the Quinjet, ‘You have forgotten whom you are speaking to’ the Vision remarks, as they fall to the ground.
A fire spreads in the Quinjet, ‘Was that Thor?’ Hawkeye shouts. ‘Are you blind and deaf?’ the Hulk asks. ‘Idiot - we’re going down! Eject - so I can kill you with my own hands!’ the Black Widow exclaims. Nearby, Sunfire hears ‘You’ve betrayed yourself long enough!’ in his mind and he fires a blast of flame at the Wasp. ‘I will suffer you fascists no longer!’ he shouts, as Captain America hears ‘He usurps your authority’ and throws his shield towards the Vision, declaring that he doesn’t need a robot doing his fighting.
‘Are you people insane? While you primates fight each other, I’ve called forth a tsunami of sweet green!’ Plantman calls out, as vines extend around the Vision and Captain America, he boasts that he will overwhelm the squalid cities of men, saving the unsullied plant life. ‘Man, I hate to do this right in the middle - but I’m going to have to raincheck the shrubbery rant’ Iron Man jokes as he flies towards Plantman and fires several close-range blasts at him, causing the Plantman’s vines that are suspending him in the air to break, and the Plantman plummets towards the ground - until Iron Man catches him. ‘Okay, bad guy’s down ad hopeless so is whatever rage pheromone he’s been emitting, because, frankly, I’m a little tired of all the hero-on-hero action around here. Whadda ya say, Avengers? I trust everyone is feeling a smidgen more Assemble-y?’ Iron Man asks, when suddenly, he notices the Hulk barreling towards him. ‘Oh. I’ve made a huge mistake’ Iron Man realizes.
‘YOU DID THIS TO ME!’ the Hulk shouts as he stomps Iron Man into the ground. ‘You know the truth now - he’s the one who cursed you to this existence’ the voice inside the Hulk’s mind calls out. Iron Man’s systems tell him that armor integrity has been compromised. Tony realizes that with the Hulk still very angry, it cannot be Plantman’s pheromones, and it is not affecting him, which leaves telepathy. Suddenly, Iron Man is very glad for those nightmares that led to him installing a telepathic inhibitor. ‘You think I’m going to forget what you did?’ the Hulk asks as he holds Iron Man up by his head. ‘Just one sec, Hulk… okay, duplicate telepathic frequency, invert, and we should have a -’ Iron Man begins, before his system tells him that the armor integrity has been compromised. ‘Everything, all of my pain - this is your fault, Stark!’ the Hulk roars as he starts to squash Iron Man’s armor.
Iron Man tells himself to ignore the rage monster and find the perfect inverted frequency. ‘Collapse is -’ Iron Man’s system tells him, as Iron Man adds ‘-save the day’ and a large burst of energy spills out over the area, along with a blinding flash of energy. ‘How we feeling, buddy? A smidgen less irritated? I mean, I know it’s relative…’ Iron Man asks the Hulk, who looks slightly confused, ‘I… I’m…’ he begins, still holding Iron Man up by his head, before dropping him to the ground, and telling him that he is sorry. ‘Wow. Sorry even? Okay, my brilliant telepathic inverter definitely worked’ Iron Man points out as the other Avengers all gather around him. ‘For telepathy to affect me, it would have to be incredibly powerful’ the Vision points out.
‘Tony, you there?’ a voice asks over the communication system. ‘Yeah, Steve, I’m here. Boy, you really missed some fun’ Iron Man responds. ‘Downside of being a senior citizen, I’m afraid. But, hey, look on the upside - cheap bus fare’ Tony adds, before Steve tells him to listen. ‘We’re dealing with -’ he begins, as Tony replies ‘A telepathic broadcast, I know’. He adds that he is already planting a disruptor to blanket the area until they find its source. ‘Not, it’s not just Los Angeles…’ Steve replies from Avengers Mansion where he and his adopted son Ian “Nomad“ Rogers, stand before a series of monitors, each depicting events of violence throughout the world. ‘What?’ Tony asks. Steve informs him that one minute ago, every city on Earth erupted in hate riots. ‘The only time I’ve seen telepathy remotely this powerful…’ he begins, before uttering ‘Dear God…’ and his voice trails off. ‘What? Who is the mystery contestant, Steve?’ Tony asks. ‘The one person with this much hate and the power to spread it… get back here as soon as you can.
Alex “Havok” Summers is not face down in the mud of a Genoshan re-education camp. His face has been restored. He is in bed with Janet. Their daughter, Katie, snuck in during the night. ‘Rascal’ he thinks to himself, how Katie always kicks the covers off and wakes him up. ‘Magnus - what did you do?’ Katie utters. Alex looks over to her, between he and Janet, and tells her ‘Nothing, angel - you’re dreaming. We’re not there. Magneto isn’t our problem’. But a voice calls out ‘He was my problem, Havok… another thing left unfinished’. ‘PROFESSOR X!’ Havok gasps at seeing the Professor’s ghost, the top of his head removed. ‘Rise, Alex. You are needed’ the Professor declares. ‘Do not allow his hatred to be my legacy, please…’ he adds. ‘Katie -?’ Havok shouts, spinning around, to find his daughter gone. ‘She never existed’ the Wasp remarks without turning around. But suddenly, she looks up - only it is the Red Skull’s face that Havok sees on her body. ‘The monsters took her from you. But I’ll stop them - and you’ll help me. I see in your heart you welcome the cleansing’ the Red Skull declares.
‘Open your eyes’ the Red Skull’s thoughts order, as reality snaps back like steel cable - no bed, no Janet, no Katie - Genosha - the Red Skull’s re-education camps. A fire rages through several of the buildings in the camp, and rain beats down. Havok’s injured body lies in a pool of mud, he knows that the Red Skull is turning the mutants here into an army, wiping their minds. ‘A war you never wanted any part of. What did you give up to protect these cattle?’ the Red Skull asks. Havok is fighting to unite two sides that didn’t want to be united - and he gave up everything to protect them. ‘what will be the cost next time?’ the Red Skull asks. ‘I’ve let them exploit me for too long, but now I know -’ Havok thinks to himself. ‘The Red Skull is right’ is the thought projected into his mind. ‘Only one way through it… let the hate set me free’ Havok decides.
Havok knows that he failed to stop the Red Skull from taking Xavier’s gifts, failed to unite the Avengers and the X-Men in time to hunt him down - failed to stop Magneto from killing the Red Skull - and now it is up to him - he has to kill them both.
At that moment, the Red Skull - now the Red Onslaught, his massive form stands over the prison. Tentacles connected to his back thrash about. Horns extend from his head and he fires optic blasts at Rogue, who dodges them mid-air. Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch levitates up towards the Red Onslaught and casts a hex sphere, while Erik Lensherr a.k.a. Magneto raises dozens of metal pillars in an attempt to use them against the massive Red Onslaught. ‘Behold the legacy of your bloodlust, Magneto! In killing me, you have released all that stirred within me - such glorious liberation!’ The Red Onslaught boasts that he will finally see his world achieved - the new master face that will tear down this world and draw forth the Reich Eternal.
‘Now! Strike with everything you have! I know this animal well and if we do not kill Red Onslaught right now -’ Magneto begins, while the Red Onslaught turns his optic blasts towards Wanda, who deflects them with a hex sphere. ‘Such luminous things - so concerned for the world! So concerned for the poor, helpless humans!’ the Red Onslaught declares.
Rogue flies towards Wanda and tells her that if she is so damned almighty, then she should do something. ‘Useless cow!’ Rogue adds. ‘You’re letting his hate take you, Rogue - you have to fight it!’ Wanda urges. ‘It is not my hate that you feel - it is that within Rogue set free’ the Red Onslaught points out. ‘Aim it all at him! Attack!’ Wanda calls out as she and Rogue, imbued with the energies of Wonder Man, prepare to strike Red Onslaught - but they come to a halt just before his face as the Red Onslaught asks ’Tell me, Wanda, before your father crushed my skull - what were you thinking? You could have stopped him - but you didn’t’ he points out, before calling out ‘Open your mind’ into their thoughts. ‘The harsh lessons of your life have created a calloused pragmatist. Lost children, divorce, madness - yet here you are, fighting the same fight, expecting different results’ the Red Onslaught remarks.
‘Let me in’ he urges Wanda, remarking that she sees mankind as her responsibility, and tells her that if she truly cared for them, she should help him create a better word. ‘One without this ceaseless superhuman conflict’ he suggests. ’Give yourself freely’ he urges both Wanda and Rogue, extending a hypnotic gaze out over them, both heroes reply ’I give myself to you’. Suddenly, the Red Onslaught cries out in agony, as several of the large metal beams are shoved into his chest. ‘You Nazis spewed the same filth during your last war - and this one will end no differently’ Magneto points out as he hovers nearby. ‘You - you damn murdering hypocrite!’ Havok exclaims as he rushes towards Magneto. ‘You’re just like him, Magneto! I’ve seen firsthand what you do with power’ Havok adds, reminding Magneto that he hunted his family like dogs.
Havok releases a surge of energy that knocks Magneto out of the air and into one of the buildings. ‘My God… the world has gone mad’ Magneto utters as he looks at someone in the room. ‘God’s got nothing to go with this. Or anything, really. Because, you know, he’s not real. Which I know because he lets this sort of thing happen’ Quentin Quire mutters as he is shackled hands and feet to a wall, alongside Scott “Cyclops” Summers and the mutant boy called Genesis. ‘Quentin Quire, Cyclops… the child Apocalypse’ Magneto utters. ‘Genesis, if you don’t mind!’ the boy protests. ‘Erik… what the hell is going on out there? Where are we?’ Cyclops demands. Magneto uses his power to free the others from the shackles and announces that they are in the Red Skull’s mutant re-education camp. ‘Xavier’s worst fears come true. But that isn’t the worst of it - the ghoulish fiend stole Charles’s corpse - used him - took his gifts’ Magneto reveals, adding that they have bonded and now they have given birth to a Red Onslaught.
‘Where is he?’ Cyclops asks. Magneto doesn’t answer, instead he tells Cyclops that there will be time for fighting once they have evacuated the captives of this God-forsaken - ‘WHERE IS RED SKULL?’ Cyclops shouts. ‘He’s dead! Didn’t Magneto tell you? He killed the Skull… JUST LIKE YOU KILLED XAVIER!’ Havok roars as he rushes into the room and blasts his older brother up through a skylight. They land on the ground outside, and Havok starts punching Cyclops. ‘This is your fault, Scott! You’re Magneto’s true disciple!’ Angrily, Havok declares that Cyclops created the perfect recipe for hate. ‘You don’t care what it costs the rest -’ he begins, before a blast of energy knocks him backwards off of his brother. The energy was fired from Genesis, who walks through the rain and tells the Summers brothers ‘If you love Xavier, if you fight for his memory - why don’t you do a single thing he taught you?’
Genesis reminds the Summers brothers that they were supposed to lead the fight for cohabitation, but all he has seen since Xavier died is lines drawn in the sand, and people screaming at each other over nothing. ‘This isn’t what he’d want - especially from you tw-’ Genesis begins, before there is a loud SHLUKK ‘Ugh -’ he gasps, before looking down to his chest, where a large harpoon has been lodged. ‘Don’t matter much what Xavier’d have wanted, boy - he’s dead -’ a voice calls out. It’s Ahab, and he readies another harpoon, declaring ‘Trust me, ol’ Ahab has hunted them throughout history - I know a thing or two. And all these two ever did was pay his “teachings” lip service. Talking’s easy, ain’t it, boys? Running your gobs!’ Ahab declares. ‘EVAN!’ Cyclops exclaims, rushing over to Genesis. Ahab prepares to throw the second harpoon, ‘The peaceful road’s just too damn hard, isn’t that right? Must be, because when push comes to shove - you pull your guns like all the rest’.
Avengers Tower: Steve Rogers stands with several of the gathered Avengers - Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, the Vision, the Wasp, the Hulk and Sunfire. He reports that he is sending Spider-Man and a team to stop the rioting here in Midtown, and that international heroes are fighting all over to hold things together, but it is a stopgap. ‘The world is crumbling’ he declares. Sam Wilson informs Steve that nearly every nuclear power on the Earth is preparing to deploy warheads. ‘We have to do something’ he urges. Iron Man announces that he is keeping the hate broadcast blocked here, but explains that it would take him days to replicate it worldwide. ‘There might not be a world in a couple of days, Tony’ Sam remarks. ‘Well, that’s a rosy appraisal, Captain Optimism’ Iron Man replies, adding that he is scouring the Earth for the source - once a big enough burst emerges, then they will have the Skull’s location, but that in the meantime, they have deployed everyone they could grab to keep the peace, so they wait here ready to move the second they find the source.
The Wasp walks away from the group, and goes to sit on a sofa. ‘Hey, Jan. You okay?’ Tony asks her as he goes over to her. Jan informs him that Alex has been missing in action for days, and she can’t help but think something terrible has happened to him. ‘Havok’s tough as nails. Bet he’s fine’ Tony replies. ‘Why do we do this? Destroy our own lives in this endless battle?’ Jan asks. ‘Saving Earth, mostly. I like having a place to live. Been to outer space. Didn’t love it’ Iron Man replies, before asking Janet why she has the horrible introspection now. ‘It’s… we haven’t really told anyone… Alex and I had a daughter… in the future. Katie. After his mother’ Jan reveals. ‘Had…?’ Tony replies. Jan begins to cry as she reveals that Katie was erased, taken by Kang, so they could save everyone else’s children. ‘My God, Janet’ Tony utters. ‘Why keep doing this… when it costs us so much?’ Jan asks.
Back on Genosha: ‘There they are - the incantations inside of you, sweet Wanda! The equations of reality etched into your subconscious!’ the Red Onslaught exclaims, telepathically instructing Wanda to open herself to him. ‘I am yours, my love - my truth’ Wanda replies. ‘Submit to me’ the Red Onslaught tells her. ‘I have’ Wanda assures him. ‘We are one’ the Red Onslaught declares, as energy seeps from Wanda’s hands. ‘Your loathing is mine’ Wanda announces. She narrows her eyes, which glow with energy and the Red Onslaught tells her to fulfil his desires, to peel away the flimsy parchment of this false world. ‘Yes… an onslaught against this waking lie!’ Wanda shouts as a wave of crimson energy pours fort from her, engulfing everything in front of her.
Rogue find herself in a new reality - a Nazi nightmare - the end of everything she loves. She hears his cackling laugh in her head. ‘He wants me to - I was right to fear her’ Rogue decides, referring to Wanda. ‘Watch her do it again. She is dangerous - you let this happen’ the Red Onslaught tells Rogue as she hovers over the Nazi facility beneath her. ‘NO!’ Rogue shouts, as the Red Onslaught tells her that she will lose, that history will be rewritten She realizes that his mind is everywhere and there is only one way out. ‘All that will be remembered of the X-Men and the Avengers - is they failed to prevent it from happening’ the Red Onslaught declares. ‘Unless we do’ Rogue tells him as she flies over and punches him in the face, striking hard with the ionic energy she now controls. ‘Imbecile! What are you -?’ the Red Onslaught calls out. ‘Just making a little contact - using mah god-given mutant abilities to absorb the psyche of whoever I touch’ Rogue replies.
There is blackness for a million miles, an eternity of anguish - screams - cherished memories of thousands of victims - and the brightest star she has ever seen - a gentle soul fighting the Skull’s legacy of brutality. ‘There isn’t much time left for me’ a psychic voice calls out. Rogue sees the one man in the world who ever inspired her - gave her hope. ‘And this cannot be my legacy’ Professor Charles Xavier tells Rogue. ‘Sir, all I’ve wanted is for you to see the world the way you dreamed it… I tried to hard…’ her voice trails off, as Charles tells Rogue that she alone must face the most dangerous enemy mankind has ever known. He explains that Onslaught is not a living creature, but the embodiment of pure hatred given form. ‘Do not hesitate - whatever must be done - this nightmare must be ended’ Charles announces, apologizing to Rogue for it falling to her. ‘Sorry I couldn’t stop him. The task seems impossible, but of all my students…I cannot imagine one more capable’ Charles concludes.
Reality shifts back, and Rogue is still hovering near the Red Onslaught. ‘His evil permeates’ she thinks to herself, as the Red Onslaught psychically announces that together, they will enslave these wretches, the mutants and their ilk will serve their masters. Rogue falters, her skin slightly changes after touching the Red Skull, who tells her ‘You will not take her from me! You will not stand in the way of the Reich Eternal!’ Rogue tries to encourage herself, ‘C’mon, girl, Charles gave you some small piece of himself - use it - block Red Skull’s mind - and get her away from him!’ she tells herself, as the Red Onslaught shouts ‘Now, Witch - finish it!’ the Scarlet Witch appears to be in agony as she attempts to conjure the rest of the spell - but suddenly, ‘You dare?’ the Red Onslaught asks as Rogue swoops down and grabs Wanda, pulling her away from the Red Onslaught. ‘Fraid so!’ Rogue calls back, before she and Wanda land in the mud.
Nearby: ‘What a sad mess for you, Alex - such pain! Did he tell you all that he sacrificed his own daughter? Not too different from you, eh, Magnus?’ Ahab asks as he blocks one of Cyclops’s optic blasts. ‘Silence this cur!’ Magneto exclaims, before Ahab strikes Cyclops in the face with one of the harpoons, knocking Scott back. ‘How it must haunt you, Alex - wondering if Kang has Katie still. Is she safe?’ Ahab remarks. ‘Did she disappear with the rest of Planet X?’ Ahab asks. ‘Ahab, you son of a bitch! I’ll kill you!’ Havok shouts as he starts to release energy towards Ahab, who reveals that the part that makes him happiest, is seeing Havok go to his grave never knowing the truth. He throws a harpoon towards Havok, ‘ALEX!’ Cyclops shouts as he leaps between Alex and the harpoon, which strikes him in the shoulder. Quentin Quire lies in a pool of blood, and Genesis’s body lies motionless with the harpoon lodged in it still, as Magneto stands over Havok and Cyclops. Ahab looms towards them, another harpoon ready, ‘Ah, you had to mess with the perfect stage I’d set. It doesn’t matter. They know what you’ve done, Alex -’ Ahab begins, while Cyclops cries thanks to the pain of the harpoon lodged in his shoulder. ‘And those kind of sins cast long shadows’ Ahab points out.
Sheltered behind a brick wall, Rogue and Wanda are slumped over in the rain. ‘C’mon, we have to go - have to take him down -’ Rogue tells Wanda, who replies that she can’t do this anymore. ‘All I ever wanted was to raise my children in a world that felt secure and promising. And now I have neither. My family shattered… I’ve only ever created chaos’ Wanda declares, covering her eyes as she begins to cry. Rogue tells Wanda to stop, and assures her that none of it was her doing, that she has suffered more hatred than Rogue has seen anyone endure. ‘But the persecution never brought you down’ Rogue points out. She reminds Wanda that she pushed through it, fought to show people who she truly is. ‘I’ve seen who you truly are. I know that with you by my side - we can take this bastard down’ Rogue declares. ‘Yeah?’ Wanda smiles softly.
Suddenly: ‘Let’s put it to the test, you trash!’ the Red Onslaught exclaims as he appears above the building Wanda and Rogue seek shelter behind. ‘Move!’ Rogue shouts, before a loud noise can be heard in the air above, and a voice calls out ‘Did those two forget to show you their Avengers ID cards?’ It is Iron Man, who adds ‘Entitles the holder to an army of Earth’s Mightiest in moments of dread’. He flies towards the Red Onslaught, through the rain and over the flaming buildings, with Thor, Captain America, the Vision and Hawkeye on a sky-cycle flying behind him. ‘Complimentary on birthdays’ Hawkeye jokes, while Captain America remarks that he guesses giant, omnipotent Red Skulls with the power of a god can’t be bothered to read the small print. ‘What do we do to people who don’t read the small time, Odinson? Hawkeye asks Thor. ‘They pay a penalty!’ Thor declares as he flies towards the Red Onslaught, axe at the ready - he slices off one of the Red Onslaught’s horns. ‘To be fair, I don’t think it’s either lady’s birthday’ Captain America remarks, to which Hawkeye announces that he is willing to bend the rules for his ol’ pal, the Red Skull. ‘Guess I’m feeling sassy’ Hawkeye jokes as he fires an arrow, which explodes in front of the Red Skull’s face.
Back on the ground, Havok looks on as Ahab stands over Cyclops, harpoon in hand, ready to shove it into Cyclops’s body. ‘You know, I’ve exterminated a whole lotta mutants in my career. And it can start to get a little repetitive - but I never get tired of killing a Summers’ Ahab announces. ‘Just something about you people’ he adds. ‘Such contempt for the Summers clan - clearly you haven’t seen their Family Variety Hour Special, Ahab. It’s quite heart-warming’ Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner exclaims as he teleports in along with Ororo “Storm” Munroe and Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus. Nightcrawler kicks Ahab in the head, before Storm blasts Ahab with a bolt of lightning and jokes that Cable does a spectacular mime routine and Rachel does face painting. ‘Da, and Corsair’s spaceman spiff dance? Fabulous!’ Colossus exclaims as he slams his fists into Ahab. ‘They came’ Cyclops utters as Havok helps him up. ‘Of course we did. You’re X-Men. This isn’t work. This is family’ Nightcrawler announces, while Colossus stands over Ahab’s fallen body.
The rain continues to pour down, as Magneto gathers near the other mutants, and Storm asks ‘Can we all come together once more as X-Men? For Charles?’ Havok turns to his brother, ‘Scott?’ he asks. ‘We’re dysfunctional… but the X-Men will always come together in crisis. I’m here, Alex. No matter what’ Cyclops announces, smiling and putting a hand on Alex’s shoulder. Alex smiles back, as do Ororo, Kurt and Piotr. But Alex points up to Red Onslaught and remarks ‘That’s an awful big “what”. Even with all of us together - we’re not enough to stop that’ he declares. Storm fires a blast of lightning at the outer wall surrounding the camp, and turning to Alex she tells him ‘That was always your problem, Alex - you never had any faith that help was coming’.
And as the dust settles, members of the Avengers, X-Men and several other heroes rush through into the camp. Present and accounted for are Luke Cage, Queen Medusa of the Inhumans, Sam Alexander the new Nova, Danny “Iron Fist” Rand, the Hulk, Susan Storm-Richards a.k.a. the Invisible Woman, Kitty Pryde, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel, Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, Bobby “Iceman” Drake, Roberto “Sunspot” DaCosta, the latest Hyperion, Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, Dr Stephen Strange, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, and Jean Grey from the past. ‘X-Men and Avengers - I’d tell you to assemble but that’d be showing favoritism, so - let’s crack some SKULL!’ the Beast shouts as he leads the charge into the camp. ‘One for good measure!’ Iron Fist declares as he punches the still downed Ahab. ‘Nice’ Luke Cage tells his friend.
‘Why do I feel like I got the less exciting entrance?’ Iceman asks as he slides past Storm and the others on an ice-sled. ‘Yours was just fine, Bobby’ Storm assures him. ‘Says the lady who got bragging rights to saving the contrarian Summers brothers’ Iceman mutters. ‘Nice to see you too, Iceman’ Havok calls out. The Red Onslaught looks down, ‘Ah, the mighty Avengers slumming it with filthy mutants…’ he calls out. ‘Man, that’s some classic Nazi racism business. I’ve never stormed a beach or beaten a big Nazi - ‘ Captain America remarks as he hovers before the Red Onslaught, the Vision and Iron Man alongside him. ‘Every Captain America should do at least one’ Iron Man tells the former Falcon, before asking the Red Skull if he is having trouble with the mind-zapping. ‘Uncle Stark’s wacky blue explosion put a sad face on things’ Iron Man tells him. ‘Sadder anyway’ Captain America points out. ‘Telepathy is a real neat power if it works’ Iron Man adds, explaining that it is all just frequencies. ‘Broadcast the counter-frequency and, well… no more telepathy. There’s a technological solution for everything’ Iron Man announces.
‘Indeed there is, Herr Stark’ the Red Onslaught responds, before asking him if he ever stopped to wonder why he would create such a device - some part of him, deeply afraid of something he had done? ‘Those amazing Civil War files you gathered on all of your companions’ vulnerabilities - every power, every weakness. All laid bare before me’ the Red Onslaught announces, while Iron Man’s helmet peels back, and Tony looks forlorn. ‘Ah, a flicker of recollection - you erased them from your mind. But, interestingly, some part of you chose to keep the information hidden deep down’ Red Onslaught reveals. ‘That’s a lie. That data…’ Iron Man begins, as the Red Onslaught’s tentacles thrash about, and he raises his fists, lightning crackles in the sky, ‘Was given to me!’ he shouts. ‘It troubled you that they didn’t know your true greatness. What you could do to them if you wanted - should they forget their place!’ the Red Onslaught calls out, while the heroes stand and hover around him.
The Red Onslaught’s huge face looms over Iron Man, ‘Poor Tony - so afraid of being seen as average. Such a deep thirst for acknowledgement - entitlement to his rightful place in this world. Working late into the night, it took little telepathic influence to get you to build your machines for me - so eager to display your brilliance’ the Red Onslaught announces. He asks Tony if he remembers, overjoyed weaponize his dirty little secrets for him. ‘No!’ Iron Man exclaims, as memories floor his mind. The Red Onslaught tells Iron Man that now the world will see the fruit of his labours. ‘Egotist!’ he calls him. ‘See the true hatred within you given form - two adamantium Stark Sentinels. Programmed by your close friend - TO KILL YOU ALL!’ the Red Onslaught shouts as the two new variety of Sentinel descend through the rain and loom over the heroes….
Havok, Rogue, Scarlet Witch, Sunfire, Thor, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Black Widow, Cannonball, Captain America VIII, Dr Strange, Hawkeye, Hulk, Hyperion IV, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Sunspot, Vision (all Avengers)
Angel, Beast, Colossus, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Storm (all X-Men based at the Jean Grey School)
Cyclops & Kitty Pryde (both renegade X-Men)
Marvel Girl (from the past)
Genesis II & Kid Omega (both students at the Jean Grey School)
Invisible Woman, Iron Fist, Medusa, Nomad V, Nova III
In Havok’s dream
Havok & Wasp
In Red Skull’s psyche
This issue comes with a bonus gallery of variant covers for Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #1.
It was revealed in Original Sin that Iron Man is partially to blame for the creation of the Hulk.
Katie is the daughter that Havok and the Wasp had during the “Planet X” timeline. She was taken into the Time Stream by Kang in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #19.
Magneto killed the Red Skull in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #25.
The story follows Uncanny Avengers (1st series)# 24-25 as well as Magneto (3rd series) #9-10