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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Dave McCaig (color art), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Anthony Dial (production), Molly Lazer (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
With Doctor Strange severely injured by Maya’s attack, he uses the Orb of Agamotto to contact his assistant, Wong, back in New York City. He asks him to get a book called the Karkuthi in order to free his astral form. In Japan, the Avengers struggle against overwhelming numbers of ninja that continue to pour into the Silver Samurai’s estate. Wolverine is all too aware of the need to kill them, as if they don’t, they will all die. As Luke Cage engages Elektra in combat, she manages to get him on his back and set him on fire. Unfortunately for her, Luke Cage can’t be hurt this way. Wong and Strange manage to use the Karkuthi to free his astral form, and he immediately puts some of the ninjas to sleep. He then proceeds to use an incantation to free Maya Lopez of her Hand programming. She gasps as her own mind is restored, and her eyes open wide. She then decides to kill Elektra, and proceeds to thrust her sword into Elektra’s chest. Once she falls, the ninja lose interest in the fight and retreat. Wolverine smells something awful coming from Elektra. Both he and his fellow Avengers are then shocked when Elektra is revealed not to be her after all, but a Skrull! Back in New York, Jessica feeds her baby daughter, and her eyes pop wide open in a similar way to how Maya looked when her programming was broken.
(New York City, now)Jessica Jones is feeding her baby daughter when a mystical golden swirl appears in the room beside them. Jessica is surprised and asks Wong what it is. He replies that it’s the Orb of Agamotto. He doesn’t know why it’s there. Doctor Strange’s image then appears, with the dagger Maya plunged into his chest clearly in view. Jessica asks if this is happening right now, and Wong confirms that it is. The Orb is showing them what the master wants them to see. He reaches high into a bookcase and removes a tome. Jessica then becomes concerned for her husband, Luke, as she sees how badly hurt the doctor appears to be.
(Japan)“Wow. Worst slumber party ever!” quips Spider-Man, as he tumbles through a crowd of ninjas. His fellow Avengers are engaged in a fight to the death with Elektra’s Hand ninjas, and the odds seem stacked against them. With Maya now lost to the other side, Iron Fist tries his best to get through to her. Wolverine reminds his teammates to kill, or they’re not getting out of there. Ronin isn’t too happy about doing that, but Spider-Woman tells him that the ninja are doing their best to kill them. As the fight rages inside, hordes of ninja close in on the estate.
Luke Cage manages to get close enough to Elektra to grab her by the hair and toss her into a group of ninjas. Spider-Man avoids being pierced by dozen of blades being thrown at him, but manages to end up outside the building as he leaps to safety. He is surrounded, but aid arrives in the form of Ronin. The two men start bantering back and forth as they defend their position, and Spidey quickly realizes that he has some competition when it comes to verbal distractions.
Meanwhile, Luke Cage continues to try and take Elektra down, but ends up on his back. Elektra takes a box of matches, strikes a few and sets Luke on fire. He sits up suddenly as Elektra makes a quick getaway. Spider-Woman uses her bioelectric blasts to keep the ninjas at bay, whilst Wolverine continues to slash with both sets of claws. Jessica wants to make a break for it, but Wolverine replies that they’ll follow them. “All the way back to America?” she asks. Logan knows that’s exactly what they’ll do.
Doctor Strange speaks with Wong via the Orb and tells him to get the Karkuthi. Back in New York City at Strange’s hidden Sanctum, Jessica asks if they can see the rest of the Avengers, but Wong asks her to be quiet while his master is speaking with him. He informs Strange that he has opened the Karkuthi. Strange informs him that his astral form has been trapped by the Hand’s dark magic. Wong extends his arms over the book and begins to read from it. Strange responds to his incantations and, between them, they manage to free his astral form.
As soon as he is able, Doctor Strange makes many of the ninja surrounding the Silver Samurai fall asleep. He then continues to fight in his astral form. Meanwhile, Iron Fist tries to work on May Lopez. He wants her to fight her conditioning as they trade blows. He tells her that, if she’s this good a fighter, then she has been trained to fight what they’ve done to her. As they tussle, Strange appears and says, “Guranti hurantatai.” Maya’s eyes pop wide open and she screams. She then stops fighting altogether and tries to catch her breath.
The battle continues unabated, and Strange asks Danny if he can speak Japanese. When Danny replies that he can speak a little, Strange asks him to tell the ninja to stand down. They cannot win. Danny hopes that this isn’t his entire plan. Spider-Man and Ronin continue to plough through the opposition, and one of them states that the fighting will only stop when Elektra says stop. Maya, meanwhile, decides to take action.
She moves over to where Luke and Elektra are engaged in their own private battle, stabbing a ninja that gets a little too close to her. Luke tells Elektra that she can’t burn him or cut him, so she should stop trying. Maya evades a few thrown shuriken and closes in on the fight. Elektra sees the danger too late, and Maya thrusts her sword into Elektra’s stomach - the blade coming out of her back.
She falls, and Maya makes sure Elektra doesn’t live to strike back. With Elektra down, the ninjas stop fighting and look on. Wolverine’s enhanced senses receive a strong smell emanating from Elektra’s body. “The hell is that?” he asks. One of the ninjas orders his men to retreat, and they head for the exits. Spider-Woman manages to get one more strike in as they run.
Spider-Man is pleased that everyone is still alive. “Say what you will about the Hand,” he adds. “They either run away or disappear with a poof of stinky smoke. They never leave… a… body…” The Avengers look down at Elektra and realize that it isn’t her at all. Wearing her costume is a dead Skrull! They are shocked at this turn of events, and Iron Fist asks what this means.
(New York City)The Orb of Agamotto’s image dissipates and Jessica continues to feed her baby. She asks if her husband is okay. Wong thinks so. They’re alive. Jessica is thankful for that. As the baby takes a drink of milk, her eyes pop wide open.
Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Ronin, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Wolverine (all Avengers)
Echo/Maya LopezThe Silver Samurai
Elektra/SkrullThe Hand ninjas
Jessica Jones and the babyWong