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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Michael Avon Oeming (artist), Rain Beredo (color artist), Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo (cover art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters & production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
In New Orleans, after receiving an anonymous tip off, Maria Hill and three agents appear in New Orleans to arrest Dr. Strange for the murder of Daimon Hellstrom. He protests his innocence whilst trying to ascertain whether Daniel Drumm, the real murderer, is in the room with them. Meanwhile, in New York, Avengers Mansion is under siege by the FBI who have a murder scene on their hands after Victoria Hand was seemingly killed by Dr. Strange earlier. Before things get too out of hand, Luke Cage and Jessica leave with their baby to the London Hotel. In New Orleans, as Maria Hill quizzes Dr. Strange, Daniel Drumm makes his move, possesses one of her agents and shoots Maria dead. In New York, the real Maria contacts Dr. Strange and informs him that what he’s seeing is a Life Model Decoy. She realized something odd was going on and therefore didn’t take the risk of going there in person. Daniel taunts Dr. Strange before transferring possession to the mansion, taking over the Thing. Ben takes out Daredevil and Spider-Man and a whole-scale battle takes place involving not just the New Avengers but many others as well as Daniel switches control from person to person. With little option, Dr. Strange returns to New York and challenges Daniel to a duel to the death!
(New Orleans - recap)Dr. Strange arrives in New Orleans and finds Daimon Hellstrom’s dead body at his apartment. Four S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive to arrest him, one of which is Maria Hill, who Dr. Strange knows is supposed to be in New York City.
(Avengers Mansion)Over a dozen FBI trucks and police cars are congregated outside the gates. Agent Sanchez contacts his superiors and informs them that they have a hostile environment. They have attempted to breach the mansion as ordered but were met with hostile resistance. The Avengers are not cooperating. They have an FBI agent down from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and they need backup. They need Captain America.
Down in the tunnels underneath the mansion, Luke and Jessica Cage are running with their baby, backed up by Captain Marvel. Jessica can’t believe this. They were so close to leaving. They had their bags packed and were loading them on to a U-Haul. That is how close they were to not living there anymore. Carol informs them that they’ve come to the end of the old Quinjet tunnels. This will take them right out on the other side of the park. When Jessica asks what she will do, Carol replies that she has to go back and try to calm things down. She’ll call them when and if. Luke says her that there ain’t no way that Dr. Strange killed Victoria Hand. Carol knows that, but this is news to Jessica. “Victoria Hand is dead?” she asks. She knows that Dr. Strange would kill himself before he would do anything like that. There’s no way!
(New Orleans)Maria aims her pistol at Dr. Strange and warns him not to run. He asks her how she even knew to look for him there. “Anonymous tip,” she replies. He believes that it’s a little convenient, doesn’t she think? She asks him to step away from Hellstrom’s body as Agent Quincy asks a colleague to call it in. Strange asks how she got to New Orleans from Avengers Mansion so quickly. She tells him he’s not the only one with a trick up their sleeves. “Is that you, Daniel?” he asks. “Daniel who?” replies Maria. Dr. Strange tells her it’s Daniel Drumm. She has a S.H.I.E.L.D. file on him of some sort. He’s sure they do. He is the brother, or was the brother, of Brother Voodoo. Quincy brings up the file on a holo-display projected from his wrist and informs her that it says he died ten years ago.
Maria tells Dr. Strange that he’s gonna have to do better than that. He asks if she really believes he would murder someone. She tells him that it doesn’t matter what she believes. It matters what she can prove. He informs her that, although he knows this all sounds like a bit much if one is not familiar with the mystic arts, but Daniel Drumm lives on the spirit plane. He’s vowed to exact revenge on him and the Avengers for the death of his brother. Maria says she thought his brother died saving them from some magical hoo-ha last year. Dr. Strange replies that Daniel doesn’t see it that way. “Isn’t that right?” he asks, tying to elicit a response from Daniel, who he believes is right there.
Maria asks if he’s saying that Daniel murdered Victoria Hand. Dr. Strange says he did, right in front of him. Maria tells him that she was there too and all she saw was him. Strange admits that, but she didn’t see him kill anyone. She asks if he thinks that Drumm is hiding in the room right now, because she doesn’t see him. Strange explains that it would seem that Daniel is murdering all the high-level sorcerers so they won’t get in his way as he exacts his revenge on him and his friends. Maria tells him this is all pretty hard to believe. Strange once again tries to reach out to Daniel but he doesn’t respond. Maria tells him that she really wants to believe that he isn’t entirely cuckoo for lucky charms.
Strange turns to one of the agents and asks if it’s him. Maria informs Strange that, without magic hand waving or any kind of struggle, he is going to go with them. Dr. Strange bows his head and replies that this is what he wants.
(Avengers Mansion)Captain Marvel returns and informs the rest that Luke and Jessica are safe. “Great,” replies Spider-Man. “Now what about us?” Ben reckons he can handle this, but Mockingbird steps up and says that she has this. She emerges through the front entrance and informs the assembled law enforcement that her name is Barbara Morse and she is a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent level VI and an Avenger. She explains that things momentarily got out of hand but they are willing to cooperate in any way they can.
Inside, Spidey is wanting a quick exit the same way as Jessica and Luke as he has plenty going on in his personal life. Daredevil asks him to wait. It’s too late for that. If he leaves he will become a suspect. “We’re all suspects,” replies Spidey. Daredevil says they aren’t yet. They are ‘persons of interest.’ Iron Fist agrees with Matt, and Matt adds that there is substantial evidence to suggest that they had nothing to do with Victoria Hand’s murder. Outside, Mockingbird asks if they can get Captain America there and figure out what the proper protocol is. “Funny you should say that,” says Maria. “Already called him.”
(New Orleans)Dr. Strange tells Daniel that he will not possess anyone without their permission. Maria asks why he thinks she is Daniel. He tells her that it’s because he can possess her. “Not me,” she replies. “Even you,” says Strange. Maria then notices that one of her agents has moved his gun and aimed it at her. Before Dr. Strange can complete a protective spell, the agent shoots Maria in the head, killing her instantly. Dr. Strange uses the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak to grab hold of all the agents and orders Daniel to release the man he’s possessed. “What are you going to do about it Strange,” he replies. “Daniel…” says Strange. The guy replies that his name is Gary. He’s no idea what’s going on.
(over in New York)“Damn it,” sighs Maria Hill. She then contacts Dr. Strange and informs him that she is still at Avengers Mansion. What he’s looking at is a Life Model Decoy with a bullet in its head. She asks if he’s familiar with the technology. Strange is still quite shocked at seeing her body fall to the ground, even though he now knows it’s not real. Maria admits that, although she didn’t know what was going on, she knew there was something screwy in magic town. She was controlling the LMD from the mansion. She needs him to release the other agents and come in. She believes what he’s been saying now. He needs to come in so they can work this out.
Mockingbird asks Maria what’s happening now. She ignores her as she’s still in contact through her LMD with Dr. Strange. The doctor tells her that because of what she’s just seen is exactly why he can’t come to her. Daniel is everywhere. He can be anywhere he wants. Maria informs him that Captain America and the team are on their way, but Strange warns her that it’s the absolute worst thing that could happen. As he speaks, Maria looks up to see Cap and the Avengers descend towards them. “Oh, no,” she sighs. Captain America asks what the hell is going on.
Inside the mansion, Daredevil is still speaking with Spider-Man, assuring him that, if he runs away, it will change the way they look at him during the course of a very serious murder investigation. Spidey remarks that it’s good news then that they don’t really know who he is. Daredevil points out that Captain America does, but Spidey reckons that’s between he and Cap. Ben Grimm then tells them that he has an idea. Why don’t they take this conversation outside? He grabs the two heroes and charges outside with them. Carol has no idea what is happening.
Seeing the two heroes fly past her, Maria tells Cap to forget everything she said and to get his team out of there. The team thinks that the Thing has gone crazy and when they smash him down and grab him, Daniel releases his possession leaving Ben wondering what’s going on. It transfers to Captain Marvel again and she smashes a wall into smithereens. Cap wants to know what’s going on. Daredevil tells him that there’s something wrong. There’s an aura. Maria informs them that they have a rogue violent spirit on the loose. Before Daniel releases control over Carol, he uses her power to blast the Avengers. Daniel then takes over Ben again and he and Red Hulk trade blows before the Vision intervenes. He phases his arm through Ben’s chest and warns him that, if he chooses, he can solidify his arm until his heart stops. He should stop this madness and explain himself.
Cap realizes what’s going on but, as he does so, he is taken under Daniel’s control. He smashes Maria with his shield before being jumped on by Mockingbird, Spider-Man and Iron Fist. It doesn’t really help as Daniel switches rapidly between Cap, Spider-Woman and Red Hulk with ease, causing mayhem with each switch.
(The London Hotel, 54th Street)Squirrel Girl greets Luke and Jessica as they head to the hotel to check in. She can’t believe what’s happened. She goes to class for one hour… Jessica assures her that it’s fine and not her fault. She’s still the best nanny on the planet. She explains that they’ve decided to hole up there until they know what’s what. The receptionist greets them and Luke tells him he made a reservation under the name Carl Lucas. He replies that he looks very familiar and asks if he’s a basketball player. He asks if they can just have the room. On television, they are showing live footage of the bedlam at the mansion. The reporter says that it seems the Avengers have turned on each other. There are already rumors circulating of another super hero Civil War!
Jessica looks at Luke and gives him a hug. “Go,” she says. Luke tells her that he made his choice, but she tells him to go help their friends and then come back, preferably in one piece. He looks at his wife and then at his daughter. He then looks at the screen and sees the Red Hulk attacking someone with a tree. Luke turns and heads back to the mansion; a man on a mission.
(Avengers Mansion)Thor has been possessed and he smashes Captain America’s shield, taking the Vision and a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent with it. “You can’t stop me,” cries Daniel. He tells them they don’t even know which one of them he is. If they hurt someone, they are just hurting their brother. Iron Man knows that he has a point. Cap asks what he wants exactly. He transfers to the Thing and says that this, what they are doing, is fine. Dr. Strange realizes that this is going nowhere and he shouts for everyone to stop. He then levitates above everyone so he can be seen and tells Daniel that, if he wants to ruin him and take everything he has, then he should just do it. “I challenge you, Daniel,” he states. In front of the Avengers and in front of the world, sorcerer to sorcerer, he challenges him to the death!”
Black Widow, Luke Cage, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Iron Man, Mockingbird, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Thing, Thor, Vision (all Avengers)
Son of SatanJessica and Danielle CageSquirrel Girl
Maria HillFBI agents including Agent SanchezMaria Hill LMD and three S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Agent Quincy and GaryLondon Hotel check-in supervisor and guests
(as image)Brother Voodoo
(on television)Iron Fist, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor (all Avengers)S.H.I.E.L.D. agent
Wolverine does not appear in this issue.
The London NYC hotel is at 151 West 54th Street in Manhattan, a few blocks from Central Park.