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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Paul Mounts (color artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters and production), Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo (cover artists), John Denning (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
At Avengers Mansion, Power Woman encounters a disgruntled crowd which has turned on the Avengers and ends up having to flee the scene. The team, meanwhile, have been engaged by Ragnarok, a powerful clone of Thor under Norman Osborn’s control. Wolverine is savagely beaten by Ragnarok but manages to keep him occupied until Luke Cage and then Iron Fist can take him down. Watching the fight from afar, Norman Osborn feels his job is done. Plenty of people saw the Avengers attack his team, seemingly for trying to help the world. There’s no point carrying on this fight. The Avengers realize this too and, after dropping the defeated Ragnarok at Osborn’s feet, they teleport back to the mansion, only to find government agents arriving to arrest them.
A crowd is gathered outside Avengers Mansion. Inside the gates, all is quiet. The people are restless and demand to know what’s going on. They want Captain America to be held accountable for his participation in a world gone completely mad. A woman with a megaphone explains that her apartment was destroyed when a Nazi robot crashed into it. She wants to know why. Who is going to put her life back the way it was? Another man offers his two cents. He knows that the Avengers think they’re here to protect them, but he wonders if they actually cause more chaos than they save them from. Another guy says he wants accountability. He wants every hero to get out of the city. He wants to go to work without having to worry about one of them blowing up his car.
The door to the mansion opens and out steps Power Woman. She is carrying her daughter and is flanked by her nanny, Squirrel Girl. They walk through the gates and into the crowd with a polite excuse me. Mistaking Squirrel Girl for Starfox, they wonder who Jessica is and if she’s one of them. She replies that she is ‘one of them’ and she was pretty angry too before her baby came along. Misplaced anger? She gets that too and that’s what this is. She understands that they are angry and that the world is a mess, but are they really angry with Captain America? Focusing their anger on a bunch of guys who would fight to the death for any one of them isn’t the right thing to do.
As she speaks, some lowlife throws a bottle which hits her on the top of the head. A melee ensues as Jessica clutches Danielle and runs. Spider-Woman shoves someone out of the way and other members of the crowd attack each other. Squirrel Girl then calls on her furry friends to protect them and dozens of squirrels emerge from the woods to slow down their pursuers. She knows she’ll get into trouble for that. “Not from me you won’t,” replies Jessica.
(meanwhile)The rest of the New Avengers face off against Ragnarok, a powerful clone of Thor. Daredevil exclaims that the wind is sending his radar out of whack. Ragnarok stands before them, his fake Mjolnir crackling with energy. He prepares to use a lightning strike against the Avengers so Wolverine launches himself at him. The strike, however, still hits home, scattering the team as the top of the building they are on explodes. Wolverine manages to thrust his claws deep into Ragnarok’s chest. As the Avengers fall, Spider-Man uses his webbing to save those who can’t fly, especially Dr. Strange who is out cold. Ragnarok smashes Wolverine in the face and cries out as Wolverine then follows it by raking Ragnarok’s arm. Enraged, Ragnarok zaps Logan with another electric charge.
Spider-Man catches Luke Cage in a web and Luke asks him to throw him back up there. “Up to the crazy Thor thing?” he asks, incredulously. Luke tells him to go and Spidey obliges. Meanwhile, Wolverine is grimly determined to stick with the fight, even though he knows he is hopelessly outmatched. He holds on until Luke appears and smashes Ragnarok in a two-fisted assault straight through the wall and into the battered building. Spidey catches Wolverine as he falls and sees how bad he looks, but has to let go due to the heat coming from his body. Luke follows Ragnarok inside and grabs him by his cloak. He wants him to tell Osborn something for him, at which point he then delivers a crushing right hook. Unfortunately, Ragnarok is a clone of Thor and he responds in kind, smashing Luke through the window.
Ragnarok flies at Spider-Man but he manages to use his flexibility to avoid contact. Daredevil catches Luke and Spidey catches both of them in a web. Spidey wonders who would win between Spider-Man and a fake Thor. Before he can find out, he figures out a new plan. He spins a web and grabs a confused Iron Fist who is still on the ground. He flicks him skywards and shouts, “Fist him!” Danny hates it when people say that but, as he ascends, he channels his chi into his left fist and connects with Ragnarok’s face.
Watching from a distance, Norman Osborn and his motley crew see the energy glow coming from the battle. Trickshot wishes to finish the job, but Norman tells him they’re done. Gorgon is surprised but Norman wants to clean up the pier and make sure the civilians that need help get help. Trickshot asks him what he’s talking about. They can finish the job! Norman asks Skaar to explain why they can’t murder them. The big guy states that, if they defeat the Avengers in battle after they attacked them in public, it’s a fair score. But, if they hunt and kill them, they will look like monsters and the Avengers will be made martyrs. “See,” adds Norman. “Smart.”
He says that fifty people there recorded the Avengers showing up and beating on them for helping the world. That’s enough for today. Trickshot readies an arrow and says he wants a kill, but Norman grabs his arm and asks him to settle down. Trickshot is surprised how strong he is. Norman tells him he made a promise to him. If he holds to his order they will make out beautifully. Do they understand each other? Before Barney replies, Superia sees the Avengers minicarrier starting up.
Bobbi tells the Avengers that they’re getting out of there and Spidey, for one, agrees with her. Daredevil can’t believe they got played by Osborn. He set them up. Matt realizes that Osborn has made the Avengers appear to have beaten on him for being heroic. The team climbs into the minicarrier and it takes off. It turns towards Osborn and approaches him and his squad. Osborn asks the Dark Avengers to get ready but, when the ship is overhead, Ragnarok’s limp body is tossed to the ground as the ship teleports away. Osborn simply smiles.
The team returns to Avengers Mansion and find the crowd outside. Spidey wishes to call Captain America and figure out their next step, but Cage reckons they need a word with Victoria Hand. As they close in on their home, they see a large group of armed government agents below. Their commander orders them to step out of their vehicle. They are all to be detained for questioning. “Avengers Mansion is being seized by the Federal Government.”
Luke Cage, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Power Woman, Spider-Man and Wolverine (all Avengers)
Danielle CageSquirrel Girl
Crowd & company employees
Ai, Aipec, Gorgon, Norman Osborn, Ragnarok, Skaar, Superior, Toxie Doxie, Trickshot (all Dark Avengers)
Nazi robots decimated parts of America in the Fear Itself crossover.