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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike Deodato (artist), Rain Beredo (color art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters & production), Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo (cover artists), John Denning & Jake Thomas (assistant editors), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Spider-Woman, Luke Cage and Hawkeye have been captured and placed in the X-brig on Utopia. Not wishing to remain there, they each attempt to escape. Hawkeye takes out Magma and Spider-Woman knocks out Phoebe Cuckoo as they bring them food. They make their way to Luke’s cell and destroy the cell door’s locks. With the three of them free, they quickly take out Velocidad and make their way outside. Unfortunately, they are confronted by Colossus and several X-Men. Luke attacks Colossus, which allows the other two to attempt an escape. They dash for a boat but, as they leap into it, followed closely by Luke, they wake up to find themselves captives of Danger. She explains that they are living in virtual realities created by her until permanent accommodation is provided. Clint damns her before Danger places them back where they started, unaware that their impending escape attempt will be an illusion.
(Utopia, island home to the X-Men; the X-brig, lowest level of Utopia)in a large empty cell all alone is Spider-Woman who cuts a forlorn figure following her capture. As she sits, head bowed, a plate of food is shoved under the cell doors. Jessica doesn’t even look up, so Phoebe, one of the Stepford Cuckoos, asks her if she isn’t going to eat it. Jessica replies that she’s drugging it to keep their powers dampened. Phoebe corrects her, in that it’s her keeping their minds from accessing her powers. Jessica asks her what she dreamed of doing when she was a little girl. Phoebe thinks for a moment but doesn’t respond. Instead, she leaves the brig.
Elsewhere, Warpath brings some food to Luke Cage’s cell. As he arrives, he asks Luke to wake up. Out of the darkness, Luke quickly reaches out and tries to grab Warpath, who drops the tray in surprise. Warpath thanks him for that. Luke asks if he can have some food that he didn’t drop on the floor. James replies that he should have thought before he Hulked out on him. Luke asks him to cut him some slack. Can he borrow his phone or get some scores. Can he find out who the Knicks are playing? He slumps against the cell door and asks if James can tell his daughter he loves her.
Somewhere else in the brig, Magma takes food to Hawkeye. His cell has solid doors so she informs him that his food has arrived. “No silverware?” he asks. She reminds him that they say he can turn anything into a weapon. So, no utensils. No nothing. “Not a spoon?” he asks. Magma asks him to use his fingers. Hawkeye takes the food but then curses, exclaiming that there is glass in the potatoes. Magma replies that there isn’t, but Hawkeye insists there is. He’s sliced his finger straight down. Magma peers inside and tells him, with a modicum of uncertainly, that it’s not true. Hawkeye asks if he can have a band-aid or some gauze. Isn’t there a healing mutant out there? As she looks inside, the silver tray comes flying out at high speed, hitting her in the throat. She coughs and Hawkeye reaches out, grabs her arm and pulls it through the gap.
Magma screams as Hawkeye tells her that if she opens the door she can have it back. It’s her call because he has literally nothing else to lose. As Phoebe and Warpath come rushing to her assistance, she tells them that he won’t let go. He’s breaking her arm. Warpath manages to remove Clint’s hand from Magma’s arm and he shoves Hawkeye hard, hurling him backwards into his cell. Phoebe tells Magma that she’ll take her to the infirmary. Magma snarls to Hawkeye that she hopes he starves. Hawkeye sits down and replies that, unless one of them has the mutant power to create an In ‘N Out Burger, then they can all go to hell. He could really go for an In ‘N Out Burger.
Later, Phoebe returns to Spider-Woman’s cell, bringing her a bowl of warm water with which to wash herself. Jessica thanks her. She’s never smelled this bad in her life. She removes her top and begins washing, asking Phoebe what’s going on in the real world out there. She informs Jessica that they just captured Thor. “And they brought him here?” she asks. Phoebe admits that she hasn’t seen him, but the gossip is such. Jessica reckons that if they have Thor then it’s pretty much it for ‘us humans,’ If the Phoenix Five can take down Thor, what hope do the rest of them have?
Phoebe asks her to wait and see. Scott Summers has a vision for them all. Jessica dries herself off, telling Phoebe that she knows that she thinks she does, and Scott thinks he does, but it’s not going to work. Phoebe replies that the whole world will be free. It will be as it is supposed to be. The whole world will be as beautiful as Utopia. “Unless you’re down here, with us,” replies Jessica. Phoebe says she will see, once the fighting is over. Jessica asks if she can have another favor. Could she have a paper and a pen, just a couple of pieces? She just wants to make out a will and to write her mom. Emma Frost said she would be executing her. She knows she lost and that’s the cost, but she wants to tell her mom she loves her and she wants to get her affairs in order.
Phoebe walks away to get them and soon returns. Jessica walks toward her to take them from her, but instead she quickly grabs Phoebe’s arm and pulls her hard towards the cell door. She takes the pen and holds it to Phoebe’s throat, warning her that if she screams she will kill her. She then orders her to open the door. Phoebe replies, scared, that she was nice to her. “Nice to me?” replies Jessica. I’m in jail, you @$&*%! Open the door and I’ll let you live.” Phoebe has little option than to swipe her access card, opening the cell door. Spider-Woman steps out and thanks her. She was nice. Phoebe asks how far she thinks she will get. Jessica punches her lights out, replying that she won’t get far with her blocking her powers. As she walks away, her powers return.
As she makes her way down a long corridor, she comes across Warpath. As he wonders what she’s doing there, she doesn’t hesitate to leap into the air and venom blast him. Warpath retaliates by punching at her, but she uses her agility to leap backwards, making him punch the wall instead. She kicks him in the face and venom blasts him a second time, on this occasion putting him down for the count.
She then makes her way to a cell and says hello. As she stands there, the door opens from the inside and, although Hawkeye sees her, he doesn’t believe it’s really Jessica. He tells her that he lived through the Kree/Skrull War and the Skrull invasion. It’ll take a lot more than a mutant with a killer rack to fool him. He kicks out at her but she moves sideways and tells him that she knows how he got that thing on his butt. Does he want her to say it out loud? Clint chills out, believing that she is the real deal. Jessica says she wants points for rescuing him. Clint replies that he was just about to rescue her. They banter about who had the toughest escape whilst running towards the cell where Luke Cage is being held.
When they arrive they say hi but Luke asks if they have a key. “Nice to see you too,” replies Hawkeye. Jessica asks how long it’s going to take. “I got it,” replies Hawkeye. Jessica is a little more impatient. She blasts the lock which breaks open, allowing Luke to walk out. “I loosened it,” quips Hawkeye. As they start running, Luke reminds them that they still have a long way to go before they get off the island. Spider-Woman informs him that Thor is there. If they can get him they can get off the island. They discover Velocidad in one of the corridors but Luke takes him out from behind before he can send an alarm. They then make their way to an exit but once outside they find themselves face-to-face with Colossus, Psylocke, Gambit, Havok and Polaris. “Don’t,” warns Colossus, but Luke reacts instinctively, charging at him and taking the fight to him.
Colossus tells him he is insane, but Luke asks if ‘you mutants’ ever get tired of not thinking for yourselves. Hawkeye makes a run for it, but Jessica says they can’t leave Luke. “The man said go!” replies Hawkeye. As Luke punches Colossus as hard as he possibly can, slowly getting the better of him, the two Avengers dash across a bridge with the X-Men in pursuit. Unfortunately, when they reach the other side, they find Emma Frost and Cyclops in their path. “Barton,” says Scott, reaching for his visor. Clint drops to the floor and manages to kick Scott, unbalancing him. His blast connects with Emma Frost instead and Spider-Woman follows that up with a venom blast of her own. Luke punches Cyclops and the three Avengers leap into a small craft parked at the end of the jetty. As they jump, unfortunately for them, the simulation ends.
(reality)Luke Cage, Jessica Drew and Clint Barton awake to find themselves in clear capsules, with wires leading from their limbs to the top of the capsules. “But… but we… we escaped,” gasps Jessica. Standing before them, monitoring their status is Danger. She informs them that they are imprisoned under the authority of Scott Summers. Jessica tries to get her head around it, but Danger tells her that she never left her cell. Barton growls that he’s gonna sell Danger for parts. Jessica asks why she’s doing this. Danger informs her that this is her punishment. She is to live in her virtual realities until such time as permanent accommodation for her is completed. Luke says she can’t make them believe, but Danger replies that she provides the environment they desire to escape, but that escape never comes.
Jessica asks her to stop it. Can’t she just let them sit in jail? Danger tells her she should have thought about that before she attacked the mutant race. “Program is restarting.” Clint screams as Danger enacts the virtual reality once again.
(Utopia, island home to the X-Men; the X-brig, lowest level of Utopia. Virtual Reality)Sitting in a large empty cell all alone is Spider-Woman who cuts a forlorn figure following her capture. As she sits, head bowed, a plate of food is shoved under the cell doors. Jessica doesn’t even look up, so Phoebe, one of the Stepford Cuckoos, asks her if she isn’t going to eat it.
Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman (all Avengers)
(in Virtual Reality) Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman (all Avengers)
Colossus, Cyclops, Danger, Emma Frost, Gambit, Havok, Polaris, Psylocke (all X-Men)MagmaPhoebe CuckooWarpath
This is part of the AVX crossover.
Jessica wishing to write her mom is pure bluff, as she died at the hands of Gregor Russoff in New Mutants Annual #3.