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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodata and Howard Chaykin (artists), Rain Beredo and Edgar Delgado (color artists), VCfs Joe Caramagna (letters and production), Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo (cover artists), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer) with special thanks to Stuart Vandal, Michael Hoskin, Ronald Byrd and Kevin Garcia
Back in 1959, Furyfs team heads to Sweden to go after the Red Skull. They infiltrate his castle and engage the Nazi soldiers in a firefight. Unfortunately, the Red Skull manages to escape, leaving behind someone who looks suspiciously like Captain America. In the present, Mockingbird is in real trouble. She is whisked to hospital where doctors try to save her life. Over in Barrington, the remaining Avengers see Superiafs crew taken away and they are joined by the Avengers coming back from the hospital. Questions are then asked about why they are there, who sent them and why. Therefs only one person Spider-Man blames for this - Victoria Hand. Meanwhile, Victoria meets with Steve Rogers and explains that she was approached by H.A.M.M.E.R. to join them, but instead she sent the Avengers in. Now Mockingbird is injured and some of them will blame her. Hawkeye then appears and is informed of Bobbifs predicament. He heads off immediately to the hospital.
(Barrington, Rhode Island, now)Having survived an attack by Superia, the Avengers accompany Mockingbird to the hospital. She is gravely injured and being treated by doctors. They ask Ben Grimm questions as they whiz her through to the operating room. They donft really know Mockingbird and wonder what the Avengers are doing in Rhode Island. Ben isnft sure if Bobbi is a mutant or not, but one of the doctors has heard that she doesnft have super powers like the rest. His colleague asks in that case, what the hell shefs doing in this line of work? They hook her up to an ECG machine but it flatlines, forcing the doctors to go code blue. Spider-Man asks Doctor Strange what they can do, but he says therefs nothing they can do. Ben reckons they should call her ex-husband. The doctors check Bobbifs ventilation and get no readable pulse from her. They charge up the paddles and prepare to shock her back to life.
(Helsingborg, Sweden, 1959)Nick Fury and his makeshift team retire to a bar. He reckons that, since the big war, he hates giving out intel he hasnft gathered himself. He likens intel to a lady. The more hands that touch it, the worse it gets. Victor asks why they are there. If theyfre fighting Nazis, then they should be where the Nazis are. They should be in Germany or South Americac Fury informs him that the Red Skull was in Germany and he was in South America. Now hefs in Sweden. Hefs been there twice in the last year. His brand spankinf new Reich was infiltrated by United States secret agents. Both times, those agents were discovered and dealt with harshly. This information came at a cost.
Ernst asks which one of them is going to infiltrate. Everyone volunteers, but Fury states that itfs going to be none of them. Dugan asks if someonefs already inside, but Fury says no. The reason this team was picked was not to infiltrate. They are a fighting battalion of the highest order. Hunters, warriors. They are going to fight. gYou have gifts. You are Avengers now.h
Ernst, peeling an apple, tells Fury that he keeps saying that, but what does it mean? Fury explains that it means they have been picked to speak for every lost life and soul ripped down by the nightmare of the Third Reich. Theyfre serving every dead soldier and each one of them is demanding that they stand up and rip down whatever it is the Red Skull is building.
Fury takes a slice of the apple and adds that he knows some of them have done some questionable things in their life. They all have. Hefs giving them a chance to make good with God. Theyfll be able to look back and say, on that day at least, they did the right thing. Creed grins, not really caring about Furyfs rhetoric. All he wants to know is the plan.
(Barrington, Rhode Island, now)Wolverine, meanwhile, recovers slowly from the explosion, only to find a gun in his face courtesy of the cops. Jessica warns the cop that Logan is an Avenger and he seriously does not want to point that at him. A couple of H.A.M.M.E.R. goons are led to a police van. One of them shouts that this isnft over. They are H.A.M.M.E.R.! Cage shouts back that at the very least they should know when theyfre done. Wolverine tells Iron Fist that they got their asses kicked good. Danny reckons they gave as good as they got, but Ms. Marvel might not agree. Logan asks if shefs okay. Carol says she isnft. They just got their asses handed to them by Superia. Superia! Shefs going to repeat that until it sinks in. Shefs not even sure she knows who the hell that is.
One of the detainees calls over and informs Carol that Superia is the face of the future. Shefs the face of their fail. gH.A.M.M.E.R. is the nowc we will not be denied by you or by anych His speech is interrupted by having Luke Cagefs fist shoved into his mouth. gQuiet,h he orders. gGrown-ups talking.h
Wolverine asks where the rest of the team are. Iron Fist informs him that Mockingbird got hit and the others followed her to the hospital. When he asks how bad, his reply comes from Doctor Strange, who teleports in with Spider-Man and the Thing. He advises him that itfs not looking good. Things are dire and Bobbi has suffered a terrible blow. He informs them that shefs in surgery and all they can do is hope and pray.
Jessica would like to get them to Furyfs doctors, but Strange explains that they canft move her. Danny reckons they should tell Steve Rogers whatfs happened. Spider-Man thinks that should include the fact that they were set up. He points out that that Victoria Hand, Norman Osbornfs ex-right-hand lady, was one of the co-creators of H.A.M.M.E.R. who is responsible for this. She sent them there and this happened. He might be being paranoid, but what part of being set up do they not understand?
(Helsingborg, Sweden, 1959)Soon, the team is on a stakeout. Fury, looking through a pair of binoculars, asks how itfs going. Kraven tells him therefs nothing yet and Dominic Fortune replies that hefs very bored. Sabretooth, however, sees something. He confirms that a Nazi truck is headed right for him so Fury gives him the go ahead. The truck driver munches on a bar of chocolate and is more than surprised to see Creed crossing the road right in front of him. The truck collides with him and sends him flailing to the ground. The driver gets out to check on Creed, but Creedfs only playing dead. He reaches up and rips half the guyfs face off without a thought and informs Fury that they have the truck.
Fury tells Silver Sable that hefs up. Ernst drives the truck to a check point where he is stopped by some Nazi soldiers. One of them asks him where Charlie is. Ernst replies that Charles fell ill. Terrible sight. He was throwing up all night. He says that he thought they called ahead. No? The soldier orders him out of the truck and he is told to open up the back. He plays along, knowing whatfs coming next. Once the doors fly open, Fury, Kraven, Sabretooth, Dominic Fortune and Ulysses Bloodstone leap from it shooting. They charge the soldiers, around twenty of them (which Ernst cunningly informed his team about whilst opening the doors) with Fury suggesting they keep their circle tight and watch each otherfs backs. Fortune admits that he didnft expect to enjoy it so much. Itfs like riding a bike.
The soldiers shoot back and Creed gets caught in a hail of bullets. Fury takes out one who fires on them from above. One of the Nazis informs Red Skull that they are under attack. He turns slightly and asks who would dare. gAmerikan?h Meanwhile, Fury blasts away, asking someone to tell Herr Skull that hefs there and has something to say. Kraven readies a grenade and asks if itfs time yet. Almost, replies Fury. He tosses the grenade at a group of soldiers but fears they may be outnumbered. Fortune reckons itfs time and Fury now agrees. He asks Namora to show them what God looks like. Everyone else, he adds, can fan out. A moment later, Namora crashes over the wall, riding a Sperm Whale, crushing many soldiers beneath it.
(Avengers Tower, New York City, today)Steve Rogers asks Victoria Hand to explain what just happened. She informs him that, as he knows, she was Norman Osbornfs right hand when he created H.A.M.M.E.R. H.A.M.M.E.R. was populated by disgruntled and extreme-thinking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents plus ex-Hydra and A.I.M. Just because Norman Osborn was put down and jailed doesnft mean that a good number of his believers stopped believing in the dream. Hawkeye appears and asks what dream. Victoria replies that thatfs not the point. She warned Commander Rogers that H.A.M.M.E.R. would rise again, and itfs started.
She explains that she was invited, through back channels, to join up with the new H.A.M.M.E.R. They were setting up slow in Rhode Island and if she wanted in theyfd love to have had her. She sent the Avengers to take care of it - to knock it down before they got it up and running. Unfortunately, she adds, the mission was only half successful. Their leader, Superia, got away and there was a casualty. Hawkeye asks who. gMockingbird,h she replies. Clintfs eyes widen when he hears the name.
Steve Rogers informs him that Jessica Drew is ready to transport him to the hospital. gGo.h Hawkeye wastes no time and runs for his transport. Victoria rubs her forehead and sighs, gThat was hard.h Steve reckons itfs part of the job. Victoria asks if he can see her problems now. Steve replies that H.A.M.M.E.R. will know it was her who put the Avengers on them. Victoria says they will, and some of the Avengers will think she sent them into the lionfs den. Steve feels only Wolverine will think that, but Victoria reckons most of them will. If Mockingbird dies, theyfll need someone to blame and itfll be her.
(Helsingborg Castle, 1959)Furyfs team swarm through the castle, guns blazing. They encounter resistance but nothing they canft handle. Sabretooth gets his hands on a soldier and squeezes him by the neck. He demands to know where the Red Skull is. He tries to speak but Creedfs grip is too tight. He asks again, but the soldier is too far gone to respond. An explosion rocks the area, and Fury realizes the Red Skull is gone. He reckons they should fan out and try to stop his escape. The fire takes hold and Fortune says hefd like to leave. Namora agrees. She canft be there without moisture. Fury accepts that theyfre done and asks Bloodstone to lead the way. He figures the Red Skull will try to leave by boat. As he speaks, however, they all turn to see someone dressed as Captain America emerge from the smoke.
Ulysses Bloodstone, Dominic Fortune, Kraven, Namora, Sabretooth, Silver Sable
Red SkullNazi soldiersCaptain America doppelganger
Bar customers(present)Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Power Woman, Spider-Man, Thing, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Doctors and nurses
This issue contains chapter 16 of the Avengers Assemble, the Oral History of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
A.I.M. stands for Advanced idea Mechanics.