New Avengers (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
December 2010
Story Title: 

Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade Von Growbadger (inker), Laura Martin (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letters & production), Lauren Sankovitch (associate editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Years ago, a man named Rasputin tries to recruit a group of ninjas from the Hand to steal the Eye of Agamotto for him. Dr. Strange and his faithful assistant, Wong, make short work of them in the Eye’s defense. In the present, Daniel Drumm, the brother of Brother Voodoo, Jericho Drumm, finds himself in the Light Dimension. He wonders if he has died and he calls out for his brother’s help. His cries attract his brother’s attention and give him a clue as to his brother’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, over at Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye calls by only to say he’s leaving, and Iron Fist and Dr. Strange manage to settle their differences. They discuss who might be behind all this and an off-the-cuff remark from Spider-Man has them believe it might just be Agamotto himself. Right on cue, Agamotto, the ancient sorcerer, appears before them in order to take the Eye. As he attacks the Avengers, Brother Voodoo appears and helps the team, forcing him to depart. They then discuss the situation and Brother Voodoo calls out a challenge to Agamotto. He quickly accepts Voodoo’s challenge. The sorcerers then decide how to go about this and figure out that, with a little rule-bending, they can combine their powers and place them into one vessel. Wolverine offers to be that vessel and they soon agree that this is the best chance for victory. Voodoo creates a spell which places their combined powers into Wolverine’s body and he comes out the other side energized and raring to go.

Full Summary: 

(Years ago)
A hooded man named Rasputin holds up a photograph of Dr. Strange and Spider-Man to a ninja, who is surrounded by several more dangerous-looking ninjas. He explains that the man in the photograph’s name is Dr. Strange and he knows that the ninja has heard of him. He
is the unchallenged and uncontested master of the mystic arts and he wants their help in killing him. The ninja says he means he wants them to do it for him. Rasputin says he will pay. He has the money. The ninja replies that he knows. To even get an audience with the Hand means that they know who he is and that he can pay. But, he adds, the question is, what has Dr. Strange done to him? Rasputin says it’s not about that. It’s about the Eye of Agamotto. He points to it in the photograph, hanging from Dr. Strange’s neck. He explains that it means nothing to them but it means everything to him. He wants it, but he can’t get it whilst Dr. Strange lives.

The ninja asks what it does. “For you, nothing,” replies Rasputin. He’d have to train for years to even hold it. The ninja asks who Agamotto is. Rasputin says that no one is even sure. “That’s not entirely true,” says a voice nearby. The two men turn to see Dr. Strange’s manservant Wong standing there, bowing politely. He explains that Agamotto is one of the three eternal Vishanti. This, by definition, makes him one of the most powerful mystical entities in the universe. Some say he was the first sorcerer supreme on Earth, and this was back when magic was more than the occult. It was currency.

Surrounded by ninjas holding their swords in readiness, Wong continues to point out that the Eye of Agamotto is a gift to this dimension. It is passed down from generation to generation of sorcerers supreme who have earned it by meditation and study. The all-seeing Eye is a
conduit of knowledge and power only for those who are chosen, and it is the Eye that chooses. You simply cannot have it by killing and stealing. Many have tried and all have failed.

The head ninja asks Rasputin who the man is. Rasputin tells him that it’s Wong and he then asks Wong how he found them. How did he know they were there and just appear? Wong replies that if he doesn’t know that then he certainly doesn’t deserve the Eye and that is what he came to tell them. Rasputin asks if Dr. Strange couldn’t face him himself. He pulls out a pistol and aims it at Wong. “Big mistake. Big, big mistake. Because now we have something to barter with,” he replies. Dr. Strange appears behind Wong and he tells his boss that he was right again. Rasputin completely missed the point. He and Dr. Strange immediately go on the offensive against the Hand ninjas. “At least we tried to educate them,” quips Dr. Strange.

The environment is one of almost perfect whiteness. Daniel Drumm wanders through the bright landscape asking if anyone is there. He introduces himself and then calls out for his brother, Jericho. He asks if he can hear him. He doesn’t know where he is; where the demons have taken him. He looks around, frightened. “I think… maybe… I have finally passed on.”

In New York City, the place is a mess following an attack by demons through an interdimensional tear. Hawkeye manages to push a taxi cab off him and he heads back to the mansion past a smoldering body in the grounds - a demon killed during the invasion. As he approaches the house, the other Avengers come out to greet him. Mockingbird, more
than any, is happy he’s there and she leaps at him, planting a kiss on his lips. She asks what happened to him. His lip is swollen. He is more interested in what happened there! Did someone try to burn her hair? “Little bit,” she replies, keeping hold of him. He asks what’s
going on. She replies that it’s magic stuff. He missed round one.

Clint pauses a moment and then tells her he has to leave. He just got an Avengers priority emergency call. They have this, right? “World’s coming to an end, man,” replies Wolverine. Clint replies that he was coming to tell them he was no longer on the team anyhow. With that, he departs leaving the Avengers to wonder what could be more important that’s going on there. Spider-Man says he was supposed to be on that team, too. How come he didn’t get an Avengers priority emergency call? Bobbi asks if he has that thing that sends out the signal. Spidey admits that he didn’t know there was one. “Well there you go,” she replies. Wolverine asks him not to worry about it. They have their hands full there.

(Brother Voodoo’s Sanctum Sanctorum, New Orleans)
Jericho Drumm is alone in his home. He leafs through several books trying to figure out what caused the current mess and becomes frustrated when he finds himself unable to. He is shocked when his brother’s face appears before him. “Jericho!” he screams. Though startled, he recognizes his brother’s image and, as it dissipates, he calls out Daniel’s name. With Daniel’s mysterious appearance and subsequent disappearance, this leave Jericho more frustrated than ever, but at least he now has a clue where he might be.

(Avengers Mansion)
Dr. Strange tells his fellow Avengers that he’s sorry that they have to go through this due to his failure as sorcerer supreme. Luke assures him that no one is blaming him for this. Strange adds that he knew there would be people who would challenge him and Doctor Voodoo. However, he didn’t think it would be this bad. Daimon Hellstrom says that no one did, but Strange replies that he did. “Well, that’s just me,” replies Hellstrom. “But I certainly didn’t think it would get this bad so quickly.” Iron Fist doesn’t think that Strange is telling them the whole story. Strange asks him to believe him when he says that he knows he saw some strange things in the other dimension, but they are nothing compared to the frustration he has with himself. He tells Iron Fist that the problem is that the image of the Ancient One coming to him and trying to get him to hand over the Eye of Agamotto feels false. “I know what I saw,” replies Danny. Strange says he doesn’t deny that the image appeared before him, but it is illogical. Daimon Hellstrom concurs.

Strange continues to say that if his master were to return from whatever spiritual place he has chosen to reside and if, for whatever reason, he came back to challenge them for the Eye of Agamotto, then no one understands the rituals involved more than he. The Ancient One is the man who bequeathed the Eye to him in the first place, as he then bequeathed it to Jericho Drumm. He feels that whoever is trying to get hold of the Eye needs to do so to free them from wherever they are trapped. “Or…” says Hellstrom. “Or they need this to properly take over this dimension,” replies Strange. He feels that they failed at every attempt and now he is trying base trickery to get Iron Fist to attack him; to weaken him and buckle his spirit. He is trying everything he can to get his hands on the eye because he simply cannot do it himself. Danny tells Strange that the Ancient One told him Strange put a series of spells on the Eye to keep him from getting his hands on it again. Strange replies that it’s just not true. Danny now feels a little awkward and apologizes for punching him.

Dr. Strange holds out the Eye which glows with mystical energies. He reckons that it’s not actually a bad idea. He uses the Yoovies Spell of Itemized Protection from the Book of Vishanti. It’s the best he can do. Hellstrom doesn’t feel that it’s going to stop a force this
strong, but Dr. Strange doesn’t think it’ll hurt. He places his hand on Danny’s shoulder and informs him that he was forced to travel to a dimension that no human being has the capacity to even understand exists. The fact that he is still alive is a testament to his own spirituality and training.

The team chats among themselves. Wolverine asks, in that case, who wants the Eye and why do they want it. Ms. Marvel asks if it’s worth letting them tear the world apart to get it. Jessica wonders how much time they have before this %&*@%$ unleashes the hounds of hell or whatever that was again. Luke Cage wonders where Brother Voodoo actually is. Victoria Hand asks if there’s a list of suspects. Dr. Strange replies that it’s the Eye of Agamotto. Anyone who knows of its existence, by definition, wants it. Spider-Man says, without even thinking about it, that maybe this Agamotto dude just wants his Eye back. Dr. Strange looks at him and then glances at Daimon Hellstrom. Spidey notes their body language and says he was joking. He asks if there actually is an Agamotto and is it his actual eye. “Yes,” replies Dr. Strange. “Son of a…” adds Hellstrom.

Jessica suggests that, if it’s his, then why not just give it back to him? Ben Grimm tells her you never give the bad guy what he wants. Jessica asks how they even know he’s the bad guy. Ben replies that his rule is, he is the good guy. If there’s someone hitting him then they’re
the bad guy. Ms. Marvel asks who it is they’re talking about. Dr. Strange explains that it’s very hard to describe but Hellstrom informs her that he was the first sorcerer supreme. Ben asks if this is one of those things where the guy is a billion years old and transcended the Earthly plane and now thinks he may know better than all of them. “That’s exactly what it is,” replies Hellstrom. Ben smugly replies that he knows a thing or two about a thing or two.
At that moment, Spidey notices something unusual. Everyone turns to see a mystical tiger approaching through the doorway. “By the Vishanti,” sighs the tiger. “Mortals love to talk. The Eye please.” Immediately, Daimon Hellstrom and Dr. Strange create defensive spells and Strange orders it to reveal its true form. The tiger turns into a human/tiger hybrid and stands up, asking if he really wants to go to war with the forces of Agamotto and the hordes of the Light Dimension. “The Light Dimension?” asks Strange. Hellstrom replies that it kind of feels like they’re at war already. Agamotto tells them to surrender or they are going to force him to make them cease to exist. If they end their struggle now they can make this all go away. They should give him back what he wants, but give the Eye of their own free will. Strange tells him that if he truly is the mighty Agamotto then he knows it’s not his to give. It belongs to Jericho Drumm, Brother Voodoo, sorcerer supreme. So, his answer is still no.

Agamotto replies that once again he has chosen poorly. He transforms into an energy form and then infects Dr. Strange’s fellow Avengers: Thing, Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel and Wolverine. He tells Strange, through their mouths, that the Vishanti are no more. He needs the Eye and all his power. This dimension means nothing to him. It means nothing to the power balance of all that is. If he hasn’t made himself perfectly clear, Strange should know that he will take this as far as it needs to go. Strange defends himself against Ms. Marvel and replies that it’s a lie that the Vishanti are no more. How would he not know that? Agamoto replies that these matters are far above the level of study that he deals in. With Ms. Marvel’s powered-up fist and Wolverine’s claws near Strange’s eyes, he tells Strange to respect him.

With great timing, Brother Voodoo appears and he uses his staff to attack Agamotto with Corelli’s Exorcism Reversal Battle Attack. He is caught by surprise and releases his hold over the Avengers. Brother Voodoo takes the Eye from Dr. Strange and thanks him for protecting it, but it’s his responsibility now. Wolverine asks them how they want to bring this home. They should tell them what to do. Voodoo holds up the Eye which glows brightly. He says he knows exactly what to do. “Agamotto,” he says. “I challenge you!” A bright burst of mystical energy envelopes them and Agamotto replies, “I accept.”
Daimon Hellstrom asks Jericho what the hell he just did. He turns and informs them that since this began he’s been wondering why whoever was behind this did not reveal themselves directly, and now that they know who it is, he knows exactly why. He explains that the reason Agamotto did not reveal himself is because he didn’t want them to take this challenge. Dr. Strange tells them that the sorcerer’s challenge is a death match. Spidey asks if they do that a lot. “Not as a habit,” replies Strange. Ms. Marvel asks what happens now. Jericho replies that he finds him and does battle.

Hellstrom asks if he’s out of his mind. He tells him he’s a nice guy but he’s in no way capable of doing mystical battle with an immortal transcended sorcerer supreme. When Dr. Strange adds that he doesn’t even know where he is, Voodoo conjures up the Acallonmy’s spell of image imagining and produces an image of his brother, Daniel. He says he does. His brother, possibly with his dying breath, contacted him and showed him exactly where they are. It’s a dimension of light; a dimension uncharted by them. If the Vishanti are no more, then that explains a great deal. The mystic power of the universe is in flux and Agamotto is not the creature he once was. They will find out shortly.

Mockingbird asks if they can help. Jericho proceeds to explain that using the Macoldine spell of binding, they could gather all the powers of the Avengers into one vessel. It’s not against the rules exactly, but it certainly bends them. With nobody in disagreement, Jericho performs the Colognener’s preparation spell from the Book of Vishanti. Spidey asks if it’ll hurt, and if so, for how long? Jericho replies that it’s never been accomplished on the mortal plane. “Oooooh, good,” sighs Spidey.

In character, Wolverine puts himself forward to be the vessel. He can do what needs to be done in a way that Jericho can’t. Ben quips that he thinks it’s a compliment. Jericho replies that it’s his challenge and it should be him. Dr. Strange turns to Daimon Hellstrom and both agree that it’s not actually a bad idea. It’s a smarter move and not what Agamotto will be expecting. It might be the edge they need. Jericho reluctantly accepts the decision and asks the assembled Avengers if anyone is walking away. “In my mind I am,” quips Spidey. Luke asks what he needs them to do.

Jericho asks them to form a circle and for Logan to sit in the middle. They do as requested and sit down holding hands while Wolverine remains standing at the center. Jericho then uses the Mage Sorcerer’s fortification chant from the Book of Magii to create the spell and Wolverine begins to writhe in agony. With the combined powers at his disposal, Brother Voodoo’s essence then leaves his body and transfers to Logan, who takes on their myriad powers. Once the transfer is complete, Jericho collapses from the exertion and Spidey asks if that’s it. Ben looks over to Logan and asks if he’s okay. Logan, standing with both sets of claws extended and with both Hellstrom’s star and Iron Fist’s dragon emblazoned on his chest. “Better than okay,” he snarls. “Point me!”

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Jewel, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Thing,
Wolverine (all Avengers)

Brother Voodoo
Daniel Drumm
Daimon Hellstrom

(in flashback)
Dr. Strange and Wong
Hand ninja

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