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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Dave McCaig (color art), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Brad Johansen (production), Molly Lazer & Aubrey Sitterson (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
Having rescued Maya Lopez from the clutches of the Hand, the Avengers have to get her somewhere safe. Maya is struggling from the effects of having been worked on by the Hand’s mystics. After Spider-Woman suggests the Silver Samurai’s place in Osaka, Strange teleports the team there, where they surprise the Silver Samurai watching Mean Girls on television. He is furious that they have invaded his home - especially Wolverine who recently sliced part of his arm off. He is really angry, and asks how they even managed to get out of their own country. Luke explains that he stopped a store robbery, only to be confronted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Capekillers. He managed to evade them and return to Strange’s Sanctum, where his wife and the others were waiting. Spider-Woman then arrived and informed them that Carol Danvers had told her that Captain America was still alive and on the Raft. Dr. Strange traveled there in his astral form and determined that it wasn’t a trap. He teleported the Avengers there, only to discover the Mighty Avengers waiting for them. In the present, Maya writhes in pain as she fights the effects of the Hand’s drugs. The Silver Samurai tells them that the Hand will find them there. He explains how Japan has gone all to hell since Elektra took over the Hand. Everyone is working for them now. After a brief fracas, during which time the Samurai tries to remove Logan’s head with his sword, Spider-Man’s spider-sense goes off, and the fortress is overrun by Elektra and the Hand’s ninjas.
(Tokyo, present)Dr. Strange teleports the Avengers and the rescued Maya Lopez to central Tokyo. He knows that they aren’t safe from Elektra and the Hand just yet, so he asks Spider-Man, Wolverine and Spider-Woman to take a rooftop each and keep a lookout. He then turns his attentions to Maya, asking if she can hear him. He explains that he’s a friend of Matt Murdock’s and asks what they gave to her.
Maya struggles to speak coherently, but replies that they killed her and then brought her back. She mentions a blue demon and a blue pill. Iron Fist figures they were trying to brainwash her. Very old school. Strange asks if it’s too late. Iron Fist says no, but they need to get her somewhere safe.
They wonder where they can go. A hospital is out of the question. If the Hand follow them, they’ll carve through everyone there to get to them. Jessica Drew has an idea.
(Yashida Clan Fortress, Osaka, Japan)A full moon highlights the impressive traditional fortress high on a hillside overlooking Osaka. Inside, the Silver Samurai is watching Mean Girls on television when the Avengers sneak up behind him. Kenuichio almost drops his meal when Spider-Man speaks. He stands up immediately, asking if they’re out of their minds. Wolverine tells him that he owes him. Kenuichio asks how he can come into his father’s home after what he did to him. Logan reminds the Samurai that he stabbed him in the chest and sliced his heart in half. “Uh, yikes,” remarks Spider-Man. The two men square up, and Luke Cage says that he didn’t know the two men had a thing.
Kenuichio once again asks why they are in his house and Wolverine points to Maya who is being cared for by Dr. Strange. Kenuichio asks who it is. “Ronin,” Logan replies. “Ronin was a girl?” asks Kenuichio, incredulously. “That little woman is the scourge of the Japanese underworld? Then who is this?” The Samurai looks at whoever is in the Ronin costume. Ronin looks back at him and says hi.
Kenuichio is angry that they are in his house. He tells them that they’re not the Avengers anymore. He knows what’s happening in America. They’re the ones in trouble - a lot of trouble. He asks how they even got out of their country. Luke replies that it’s a whole thing.
(Harlem, yesterday)Luke Cage is shopping for milk in a local convenience store when an armed robber tries to hold the place up. Luke casually smacks him on the side of the head with some Milko, only to notice a police officer enter the store and call dispatch to inform them that he thinks he has Luke in his sights. Luke tries to explain that he’s only buying milk, but the officer is panicking a little. He calls dispatch once more, and Luke asks the shopkeeper if it’s okay that he pays next time. The cop tells him that he’s under arrest, but Luke replies that he ain’t. He informs the officer that he’s going to leave the shop and take the milk to his baby. The cop can then arrest the doof at Luke’s feet for trying to rob the store. They can then pretend that this never happened. They can pretend that they live in a world where cops arrest criminals.
The officer shoots Luke; the bullet hitting him just under the collar. “Damn,” exclaims Luke. “I can’t have anything nice.” The officer still tries to arrest him, but Luke ignores him and leaves the store, only to find a fully-armed squad of S.H.I.E.L.D Capekillers waiting for him. They tell Luke that he’s under arrest for disobeying the Superhuman Registration Act. Luke leaps at one of the nearby floating crafts, knocking the pilot from their seat. He grabs the controls and takes off with the Capekillers in pursuit. They follow him through the streets as Luke flies between apartment blocks. One of the agents asks Director Stark to be informed.
Somehow, Luke manages to evade his pursuers, and he makes his way to Dr. Strange’s house in Greenwich Village. To all intents and purposes, the house looks like it’s waiting to be converted into another Starbucks, but Luke walks up to the door. He’s forgotten the password but, as he is recognized, Dr. Strange whispers a spell, which reveals the house’s true appearance. His wife, Jessica Jones, first asks if he’s got the milk, but then notices the bullet hole in his jacket. He assures her that he’s fine.
Dr. Strange asks him to let Wong do the shopping in future. It’s not worth the risk. Luke says he’s just trying to provide for his family and stay sane. He asks Strange if he’s sure no one can see them there. Strange replies that he’d explain the incantations and spell-conjuring involved in making it appear to the world as though he has sold his home to a large, faceless corporation which is determined to turn every inch of the city into the largest strip mall ever made and moved to Europe… but it would bore him. Luke agrees.
Also in the room, tucking into some of Wong’s mulagatoni, is Wolverine. Seated nearby are Iron Fist and Spider-Man. Luke and Wolverine have a little tiff, but Iron Fist puts a stop to their bickering. Luke asks if there’s been any news of Sam Wilson, to which Danny replies that there’s been no word since Captain America died. He doesn’t know Sam that well and doesn’t know where to look for him. When Luke then asks about Jessica Drew, Logan tells him that he heard she’d been spotted in L.A.
With another whispered incantation, Jessica Drew appears before them in her Spider-Woman costume. She tells them it’s great to see them, and asks if this is everybody. “Guess so,” replies Luke. She then informs them that Captain America isn’t dead. He’s alive. They got him on ice and are holding him. Jessica doesn’t believe her, and Luke asks who told her. “Carol Danvers,” she replies.
Luke thinks that Carol lied to her, but Jessica doesn’t think so. They have a history. Danny is a little skeptical, saying they all had histories, but that was before the war. Everything’s different now. Jessica tells them that the Avengers want her to go back to them. They’ve decided that she is of value again. She doesn’t think Carol said what she did on purpose. It was more of a slip. Iron Fist thinks that’s exactly how a person lying to you would say something like that. Jessica explains that she’s a trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. She knows when someone’s lying. Logan asks where he is then. Where are they keeping him?
Jessica says that Cap is on the Raft. It’s where they all first got together. They were using it as a recon post during the war, but now it’s where they’re keeping him. “It’s a trap,” exclaims Logan. Jessica asks him what difference it makes. If the roles were reversed, Cap would dive in headfirst to save them. Trap or no trap, he would go get them. Luke admits that she is right.
(The Raft, Ryker’s Maximum-Maximum Security Installation)A helicopter carrying S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill lands on the island. She tells the guards there that she wants to see him. Dr. Strange is also there, but in his astral form he cannot be seen. He follows Hill and her security detail into the facility, where she asks Agent Jones how he is. Jones evasively replies that he is how he is. When she asks what that means, Jones replies that they’re ill-equipped to read his charts, and they don’t have the proper medical staff for his unique… genotype. Hill is shown into a room where Captain America is lying unconscious on a bed, strapped down tightly in case he wakes up.
Dr. Strange has seen enough. He returns to his Sanctum and informs the others that it’s not a trap. Spider-Man figures that if they get Captain America back, they can call themselves the Avengers again. “We are the Avengers,” replies Luke Cage, looking as0 determined as ever.
Moments later, Strange teleports the team to the Raft and they go in hard, taking out numerous guards quickly. Logan grabs one guard and politely asks him to open the door. The guard isn’t stupid. He does as he is told. They make their way into the room where Cap is being held. Jessica tells them to grab him so they can go, but Logan sniffs Cap’s body. “Wait… it ain’t him.”
The Mighty Avengers then appear, with Iron Man apologizing for their dirty trick, but he explains that they’ve created this situation and brought it down to this level. They are under arrest.
(present, Osaka)Maya screams and Dr. Strange rushes to her aid. He thinks she is desperately trying to fight off the effects of the drugs that she’s been given. She’s having intense hallucinations. He asks Danny to hold her so she doesn’t hurt herself. He then uses his magic to try and stabilize Maya through a series of homeopathic enchantment spells. Kenuichio asks what happened to her. Jessica tells him that the Hand got her. “And you brought her here?” he complains. Logan says that he figured, what with their recent history, this is the last place they’ll look.
Kenuichio isn’t happy about this. He informs them that since Elektra Natchios took over, the Hand works for no one. While they were off having their civil war, all hell broke loose in Japan. The word went out two weeks ago. Everyone in the Yakuza syndicates is working for them. If they refuse they lose a head. The fathers are frozen in fear, he adds. Santahori was found in his bed, without his head. And this isn’t just Japan.
Logan asks what he was doing about it. Sitting here watching TV? Kenuichio snarls that he was protecting his ancestral home. Suddenly, Logan sniffs something but, before he can speak, the Samurai pulls his sword out and strikes him on the side of his neck. Spider-Woman retaliates first, followed by Spider-Man, Ronin and Luke Cage. Kenuichio is soon on the floor, winded from Luke’s punch. Luke explains that they didn’t come looking for a tussle. Spider-Man’s spider-sense then goes off big time as he senses something outside. “Uh, guys…”
Outside, Elektra and dozens of Hand ninja begin to swarm the fortress.
Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Ronin, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Silver Samurai/Kenuichio Harada
ElektraThe Hand ninjas
(in flashback)Luke CageConvenience store robber and ownerPolice OfficerS.H.I.E.L.D. Capekillers
Dr. Strange and WongIron FistJessica Jones and childSpider-ManSpider-WomanWolverine
Maria HillS.H.I.E.L.D. staff including Agent JonesRyker’s staffFake Captain America
Ares, Black Widow, Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Sentry, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Mighty Avengers)
Mean Girls is a 2004 movie starring Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. The conversation shown on the television is between Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) and Regina (Rachel McAdams).
Wolverine sliced the Silver Samurai’s right arm off in Wolverine: Origins #2. Wolverine says the Silver Samurai owes him. This is for Logan not killing him, and only taking his arm.
Sam Wilson is Captain America’s old ally, the Falcon. Captain America ‘died’ in Captain America (6th series) #25.
Ms. Marvel told Spider-Woman that Captain America was still alive and on the Raft in Civil War: The Initiative #1.