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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade Von Growbadger (inker), Laura Martin with Rain Beredo (colorists), 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)
Wolverine has volunteered to act on Brother Voodoo’s behalf and take on Agamotto for the existence of the entire dimension. He is whisked away to the spirit plane where he faces Agamotto in a mystical battle. Changing forms as he fights, Agamotto taunts Wolverine but he retains his focus and keeps the pressure on. During the battle, Daniel Drumm, Brother Voodoo’s deceased brother, joins the fray on Wolverine’s side and Agamotto ups his game. Jericho sees the danger to his brother and decides to intervene, much to the concern of Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom. Agamotto manages to overcome Daniel and Wolverine but Brother Voodoo is energized, pointing out that, if the Vishanti cast Agamotto out, then his powers will not be what they were. They go at it hard, with mystical energies so powerful they can be even felt by the Avengers on Earth. Wolverine and Daniel see the battle but are unable to intervene and Jericho sends Wolverine back to Earth. He then pours everything he has onto Agamotto in order to destroy him. This time, it is enough and Agamotto explodes, only it kills Jericho too. Daniel Drumm is shocked and the Avengers hold their heads in grief. The danger is over for now and the skies return to normal. However, Daniel is furious and he possesses Luke Cage and has a real go at Dr. Strange, blaming him for everything. He attacks Strange but the Thing manages to stop him from doing any physical damage. He warns him he will suffer for this before releasing his hold over Luke. Daimon Hellstrom then heads outside and tells the people gathered that their world is safe for one more day, thanks to the Avengers.
The Avengers surround Wolverine with concerned looks on their faces. Wolverine has been provided with their combined powers in order to do battle with Agamotto. Daimon Hellstrom, Brother Voodoo and Dr. Strange, three of the most powerful sorcerers on Earth have enhanced those powers with every spell set they know. They believe Logan is as ready as he will ever be to fight for the future of not only Earth, but the entire dimension.
When he arrives in the spirit plane, Agamotto, in the form of a female Loki, is there waiting for him. Strange creatures move around as the two men confront one another. Using Mordo’s spell of false visualization to create the Loki form, Agamotto tell him that he finds the fact that his sorcerer supreme used a messenger to fight his battle disappointing. “Shape-shifting?” replies Wolverine. He’s seen parlor tricks like this before. Agamotto changes form with each blow and attacks Wolverine with spell after spell. Plucking memories from Wolverine’s mind, Agamotto changes into Mystique’s form and informs him that this is a battle of spiritual integrity; a battle of dimension. Everything counts. Every slight, every hurt, every intention. He changes into Daken’s form and Wolverine manages to plunge his claws into Agamotto’s chest. He changes into Jean Grey and Wolverine tells him that’s good to know. He asks how he’s doing.
(the physical plane)The Avengers look on with Spider-Man, impressed that they have a visualization of what is going on in the spirit plane. Hellstrom reminds him to stay focused, though being Spider-Man he finds it difficult to do that. Iron Fist asks the two doctors what they do next. Dr. Strange says they should support Wolverine, though Ben Grimm asks how they do that, exactly. Brother Voodoo remarks that he is the sorcerer supreme and it should be him fighting this fight. Strange asks him to stay the course. Jessica states that they really are in way over their heads, a fact that Luke agrees with. Mockingbird watches the fight progress and doesn’t think that Logan is doing so well. Hellstrom doesn’t respond, but his eyes indicate that he concurs.
(the spiritual plane)Wolverine taunts Agamotto by telling him that for all his “fancy witchin’ this ain’t nothing more than a power grab.” He’s nothing but a street punk. Agamotto replies that he is not familiar with all his modern figurative speech but he believes that Logan is trying to belittle him. He changes into the form of the Hulk and asks him to pretend he’s better than that. They should pretend that this is a fight for his entire life and the lives of everyone he knows. He will pretend that this is a fight for the entirety of his own existence and all he needs to be real and true. Only then will either one of them feel good about what they need to do there. Agamotto blasts Logan once again with an attack spell and admits that he is a noble warrior and he promises that, once he has folded this dimension, no one will ever remember that it even existed. They will just cease to be.
(the physical plane)The assembled Avengers can feel the battle. Brother Voodoo informs them that they’re sharing spirit. Spidey point out that, even though they’re not even in this battle, they’re getting beaten up. Daimon Hellstrom tells him he’s in the fight in every way. Meanwhile, Victoria Hand emerges from Dr. Strange’s sanctum sanctorum carrying a hefty-looking weapon. She sees the crowd of people gathered silently at the gates and then looks up to the sky to see a small interdimensional tear forming once again.
(the spirit plane)Wolverine may possess many abilities but Agamotto is still powerful and he continuously blasts Logan with spell after spell. He tells Logan that he hasn’t faced a battle like this for two thousand years. Even on the physical plane, the power is enough to cause concern to the Avengers watching. They can actually feel the energy. As Agamotto pummels Wolverine, he doesn’t see another contender approaching from his blind side. Daniel Drumm’s spirit heads to the fight, and on Earthhis brother Jericho is shocked to see him. Drumm grabs one of the strange demons that are in the vicinity and channels himself through it.
Agitated, Jericho wonders what his brother is doing but Hellstrom asks him to settle down. “He is going to get himself killed!” cries Voodoo. Hellstrom reminds him that Daniel has been dead for years. He must settle down. Dr. Strange tells him that he is the anchor. On the spirit plane, Wolverine attacks Agamotto with ferocity and Daniel then zaps him with a mystic bolt, causing Agamotto extreme pain. Wolverine plunges his claws into Agamotto’s chest once more as Agamotto fights back against Daniel. Agamotto complains that the terms of the challenge are being abused, but Daniel replies that he agreed to no such conditions. Agamotto blasts him hard and uses torture spells on both his antagonists causing them great agony.
On Earth, Jericho Drumm stands up as he sees Agamotto increase the strength of his attacks. Dr. Strange asks him to sit down but he is too far gone. Jericho holds out the Eye of Agamotto and prepares for action. He charges onto the spirit plane quickly; so quickly that Daimon Hellstrom is unable to prevent it. Dr. Strange is horrified as he knows the possible nightmarish outcome of such a venture. Outside the sanctum, Victoria looks up helplessly as the interdimensional tear is joined by many more. An unnaturally orange/white light shines down on Earth from each one.
Jericho Drumm appears in the spirit plane to see Agamotto in the form of the tiger he adopted once before. Jericho orders him to surrender. With Wolverine and Daniel both seemingly unconscious, Agamotto replies that surrender seems unlikely. Jericho tells him that he knows why he came for the Eye. It’s because, without the Vishanti in place, it’s the only thing that could defeat him. He figures that, if the Vishanti cast him out, most of his power must have been stripped from him. Agamotto attacks and Jericho responds with a powerful mystical attack of his own. The energies are incredible and Dr. Strange understands how this is going to play out. A tear forms in the corner of his eye as he sees the two sorcerers give everything they’ve got.
“I cast you out for all time!” cries Brother Voodoo. Both Wolverine and Daniel wake up and see what’s going on. However, they are unable to assist. Voodoo uses the Gorgorell Transportation Spell from the Book of Vishanti to send Wolverine back to here he came from and he arrives in a heap against the wall. “I end you,” says Jericho as energies flare up around he and Agamotto. Daniel calls out his brother’s name as Agamotto explodes, ripping Brother Voodoo apart as he does so. The Avengers look on with great sadness and Daniel is shocked at losing his brother once again.
Victoria Hand looks up to see the interdimensional tears close up and the sky begin to go back to normal. Daniel remains trapped in the spirit plane as the Avengers hold their heads in grief. “Did we win?” asks Wolverine, smoke rising from his back. When Dr. Strange asks himself why Jericho did that, Iron Fist tells him he saved the world. Strange points out that now they have no sorcerer supreme and the Eye of Agamotto is gone. “And that is only the beginning of how you’ll suffer,” says Luke.
They all turn to see him, his eyes lit up. Strange realizes that it’s Daniel who is in control now. He tells Dr. Strange, through Luke, that he is to blame for all this. He asks him to tell him why his brother had to die for this. To tell him how he set him up to fail. Dr. Strange assures him that he didn’t want this. He told him not to…
Before Dr. Strange can finish his sentence, Luke leaps at him crying, “You killed him!” Fortunately, before he can reach Strange, the Thing intervenes and he grabs Luke, wrestling him to the ground. Daniel cries out that he killed his brother and he will pay. He will suffer. He can promise him that. He will pay for what he has done to his family. As Ben holds him down, the possession ends and Luke opens his eyes and asks what’s going on. Hellstrom heads for the door and says he hates to tell them that he told them so. He guesses he’ll now go and tell everyone else.
He walks outside to where Victoria is standing and looks at the people gathered there. He says that he hopes the ‘dregs and slackers,’ as he calls them, appreciate what the Avengers have done for them today. They saved their lives. They saved the world and he doesn’t mean metaphorically and they’re not even going to come out and take a bow. He asks if they understand. The world gets to turn one more day because of them. So, they’d better go do something a hell of a lot more meaningful than watching reality TV and fighting over their seat on the bus. They’d better appreciate it. With that off his chest, he heads back inside.
Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jewel, Mockingbird, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man, Thing, Wolverine (all Avengers)Dr. Strange
Daimon HellstromBrother Voodoo and Daniel DrummAgamotto
Victoria HandNew Yorkers
Daniel’s story continues in New Avengers (2nd series) #31.