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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodato & Will Conrad (artists), Rain Beredo (color art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters & production), Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo (cover artists), John Denning (assistant editor), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
A month ago, Norman Osborn arrived in the Savage Land in order to recruit Skaar. After calling Captain America for advice, Skaar joined the Dark Avengers as an undercover agent. Now, having heard from Gorgon that they have Captain America captive, he strikes. He holds his own against the villains and is then joined by the New Avengers, who, with a little teamwork, manage to take down the team. Only Luke Cage is absent, as he searches for his wife and infant daughter.
(the Savage Land, one month ago)Norman Osborn, sporting a bullet-proof vest, arrives in the Savage Land with three bodyguards. Skaar stands over a fallen dinosaur and watches them approach. Osborn tells him that he has a proposal for him. He’s putting a team together to keep the world safe. He’s offering Skaar a way back to civilization; a purpose. Skaar asks why him. Osborn asks why not. He is a Hulk, a warrior. He is magnificent. Skaar says he’ll think about it, but Osborn asks him to think about it on the way back. Skaar replies that he will think about it and asks him to come back tomorrow.
As soon as Osborn and his crew are back aboard their ship, Skaar grabs his cellphone and calls the Avengers, asking to speak to Captain America. After a little effort, he manages to get put through to him on the secure line. He informs Cap that he just had a visit from Norman Osborn. He was surprised about that and wonders what Cap needs him to do with this. He can name anything.
(H.A.M.M.E.R. Headquarters, now)Skaar is in attack mode and tearing through the Dark Avengers. As they are scattered, they call Skaar a traitor and ask why he’s doing this. Trickshot says he didn’t see this coming but Skaar says sure he did. Barton fires a couple of arrows at him but Skaar catches them in his massive fist.
Superia zaps him in the face, but he simply replies that the two of them could have been something… if she knows what he means. The Toxie Doxie breathes poisons at him and asks, sarcastically, what they’re going to do when her poisons get a hold of him. Skaar evades another few arrows and grabs hold of her before hurling her at Superia, knocking them both to the ground. Gorgon and Ai-Aipec attack Skaar but he is simply too large and powerful for them. He grabs Trickshot by each ankle and uses him as a baseball bat, smashing Gorgon and Ai Aipec before picking Gorgon up and throwing him at their ship, which explodes.
Skaar dashes inside and encounters two A.I.M. operatives. One of them enquires as to what happened and asks if everyone’s okay. Skaar asks the guy where Captain America is. He pauses a moment and, for this, he is punched by Skaar. “Captain America,” he says to the second. Luckily, he isn’t stupid and asks Skaar to follow him. Moments later, they enter Cap’s cell and Skaar knocks the guard unconscious. He removes Cap’s shackles and informs him that he’s taken the initiative to blow his own cover so they have to go. Cap struggles to speak but manages to explain that they need to get hold of Victoria Hand. She’s out in the open and in danger. They also need the New Avengers.
Not far away, the Dark Avengers pick themselves up. They hate the fact that they’ve been screwed and Ai Aipec particularly is annoyed that they didn’t sign up for this. He forgoes his Spider-Man identity and reverts to his natural form, saying this isn’t what Osborn sold them. This will not go unpunished. Superia tells them that they need to stick together, but then she looks up. “Oh, come on,” she gasps as she sees the New Avengers gathered before them. The Thing asks them to guess what time it is. “It’s Clobbering Time!” He leaps down into the room through a gap where the roof used to be which causes a shockwave. Dr. Strange uses the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak to entwine the Toxie Doxie and he then slams her into Gorgon, taking them both out. He then turns with more than a touch of dramatic flair and says, “Next!”
Spider-Man and Daredevil double team Ai-Aipec with Daredevil striking with his fists and Spidey using banter and webbing to slow their opponent down. Ai-Aipec, however, is no slouch and he manages to smack Daredevil down and grab Spidey by the throat. Ms. Marvel confronts her nemesis Superia, who informs her that she must know there’s no way she’s getting out of there alive. Carol punches her in the face and asks her to shush. Mockingbird uses her agility to keep clear of Trickshot’s arrows but he swears to God to his sister-in-law that this will all be worth it if he gets to send one arrow through her @$*% skull. She turns towards him and runs. He fires a couple of arrows at her but she holds her staff out and deflects them both. Barney is clearly shocked. “Wait. You don’t do that!” he cries as she leaps at him and delivers a punishing kick to his villainous chin.
Elsewhere, a group of A.I.M. soldiers approach but Ben Grimm claps his hand and forces them all back with the shockwave. Gorgon orders Iron Fist to surrender. “Okay,” he replies. Gorgon doesn’t appreciate his dry humor and the pair of them begin to fight. They lunge and parry, block and counter until Iron Fist finally asks Gorgon not to look behind him. “Oh, please…” he replies. A moment later, he finds Daredevil’s foot in his face. Danny thanks him and Matt replies that it was his pleasure on every conceivable level. Behind them, Spider-Man is struggling against Ai-Aipec but Captain America’s shield comes to his rescue as it connects with Ai-Aipec’s face.
Cap then congratulates his team. Spidey says he doesn’t mean to alarm him but he has a hairy Hulk behind him. Cap asks Skaar to meet the New Avengers and for them to meet Skaar. “Do we have to?” quips Ben. Cap explains that, if it wasn’t for Skaar, things would have gone a whole lot differently today. Matt asks where Osborn is. Cap tells him the Avengers are on it. They’re going to meet them now. They still have their hands full. As Spidey webs up Ai-Aipec, Mockingbird sighs that this never ends. Cap looks up at their ship and salutes, telling Victoria Hand, if she’s up there, well done. Victoria sees the salute and reciprocates. Ms. Marvel delivers a few finishing blows to Superia’s jaw and asks what they’re going to do with these &$^&*. Cap replies that they’ll go to prison; a pretty bad prison. Skaar asks for a hammer and five minutes, but Cap ignores him and asks where Luke Cage is.
(New York City)Luke arrives at Alias Investigations and puts his head against the glass to see if he can hear anyone. There is only silence so he pulls off the door handle and enters the office. He finds no one there but he does find a photograph of Jessica in her Jewel costume, flanked by Iron Fist and himself. He picks it up and touches her image.
Luke Cage, Captain America, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Ai Aipec, Norman Osborn, Gorgon, Skaar, Superia, Toxie Doxie, Trickshot (all Dark Avengers)
Norman Osborn was captured by the Avengers in Avengers (4th series) #24.