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Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Leinil Yu (artist), Dave McCaig (color art), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne (letterer), Rich Ginter (production), Molly Lazer (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
The Hood’s crew is faced with a far superior number of heroes and begins to panic a little. It’s not until the Wrecker tries to hit Mr. Fantastic that they realize that some of the heroes aren’t real, but simply illusions created by Doctor Strange. Luke Cage smashes a car into the Wrecker, which promptly puts him out of action, and his friends don’t fare too well without him. When Doctor Strange forces the Hood to disappear, the New Avengers have the battle well and truly won. It doesn’t take them long to take down the villains and discover John King with a bag full of money. Spidey leaves him for the cops and the team splits. The villains are delivered into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, and Maria Hill interrogates the Wrecker. He gives nothing away, and is pleased not to have done so when the Hood later breaks him out. They then head off to release the others and prepare for retaliation against the rogue Avengers.
(present)Dirk Garthwaite, aka the Wrecker, is in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and answering questions put to him by Maria Hill. He explains that he and his crew were ambushed by a bunch of super heroes, all of whom are as wanted as he is. When confronted by a score of heroes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, he dove into the fight like a man, only to find out he was being tricked - set up. Maria asks what he was set up for. “A sucker punch,” replies the Wrecker.
(flashback)Heroes including the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the Sentry and the Sub-Mariner, look on as the Wrecker grapples with Luke Cage. When the Wrecker puts Luke down and attempts to smack Mr. Fantastic, he finds his arm going right through him. He isn’t even there. This confuses Garthwaite, and he looks around, just in time to find Luke Cage right in his face with a garbage bin. He smashes the Wrecker with it, and then shoves a small car in his face.
(present)Garthwaite explains that Doctor Strange was doing some kind of magic. Maria Hill asks him what his partners in crime were doing while he was getting his @#$ kicked. He replies that he wasn’t getting his @#$ kicked. He was sucker punched. There’s no way a guy like Cage could get the drop on him otherwise.
(in flashback)The Hood orders his men to leave the fight. They don’t really understand why, but the Hood tells them to split up and make a run for it. He’ll find them later. The Wrecker’s cohorts in the Wrecking Crew don’t want to leave him behind. When Spider-Man attacks, John King, carrying a bag of money, tells the Hood that he doesn’t have powers. He can’t be there. The Hood tells him to run and keep running. King asks how they found them, but the Hood simply repeats his orders. He uses a pistol to hold the heroes off, whilst ushering John to the door. Unfortunately, King gets hit by a piece of flying furniture before he reaches the door.
Madame Masque looks at all the heroes assembled and feels it’s a trick. Doctor Strange confirms that is the case as he casts a spell that explodes the Wizard’s techno. Piledriver figures it’s time to leave and he punches the ground, opening up a large hole. Many of the heroes and villains fall through the hole and into the basement. Wolverine punches Piledriver hard as they land. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange confronts the Hood and asks him if he even knows the name of the demon whose powers he possesses. “@#$% you,” replies the Hood, as he opens fire. Strange stops the bullets with a spell, and repeats his question.
Nearby, Madame Masque wastes bullets on an imaginary Iron Man, whilst Spider-Man makes Wolverine laugh and enjoys the fact that he has managed to do so. The fight is up-close and personal, with the villains trying to figure out who is real and who isn’t. Madame Masque soon finds a real opponent in the form of Maya Lopez.
Doctor Strange tells the Hood that he doesn’t know how he got his powers, but he does know that he hasn’t got the training or the knowledge to be doing what he is doing. He warns the Hood that the power is eventually going to kill him and eat out his insides. He’s seen this kind of thing before, and it doesn’t end well. “Does he whisper to you?” he asks. “Does he tell you to do things you don’t want to…”
The Hood blasts away at Strange, telling him to go to hell. Strange says that he’s not hiding from him. The Eye of Agamotto sees all. He casts another spell and the Hood’s demonic form is brought to the fore. Strange is shocked by the size and ferociousness of it, which catches him a little by surprise.
As they stand-off, the other battle is still going strong in the basement. The Wizard has trouble in catching Spider-Man who doesn’t stay still for a second. Maya Lopez manages to gain the upper hand in her fight with Madame Masque and Iron Fist shoves a chair into Thunderball’s face.
Up above, Strange tells the Hood that he cannot live in this world. He cannot be there. Luke Cage appears and smashes the Hood over the head which only appears to enrage him further. He screams and roars, as a green glow surrounds him. He then begins to disappear and finally vanishes right before the eyes of everyone. The fight carries on without him, with the villains knowing they’re on to a loser.
After both groups get in a few shots in their opponents, Spidey sees an opening and figures he’s the man to end this fight. He uses his webbing to slow the villains down and Wolverine follows his lead. He shoves his claws into Bulldozer and Luke Cage takes out Piledriver. Iron Fist puts Bulldozer down and Maya finishes Madame Masque off with a solid punch to the face. Ronin slices Chemistro’s pistol in two, and Spider-Man delivers a painful kick to the Wizard’s face. He is the last of the Hood’s crew to fall. “Wow. I really needed that,” remarks Ronin. He’s pleased that no one has turned into a Skrull. Luke mentions that the cops are coming and they should bail.
Spidey asks Doctor Strange who the Hood was. He replies that he was a very dangerous man with dangerous power. Spidey quips that he should change his name to Doctor Vague. As they look around the room they notice the partially hidden John King who is terrified.
(soon)The cops show up and burst in to the building. Inside they find John King with his arms webbed to the wall and a note pinned to his chest saying ‘From your friendly neighborhood Avengers.’ The cops also find the Wrecker still pinned against the wall by the car that Cage smashed him with.
(present)Maria Hill asks Dirk Garthwaite who the man with the hood was. He replies that he’d like a lawyer or something. Hill apologizes, but explains that he’s being held by S.H.I.E.L.D. for crimes against mankind and for illegal use of powers. No lawyers. Garthwaite doesn’t feel that this is fair, but Hill tells him that he should have thought of that before he used his powers to kill, rob and terrorize. She again asks who the man in the hood was. Did he bring them together? The Wrecker says nothing.
She informs him that they have satellite footage of his stunning display. They have him and his cronies dead to rights on the robbery. He’s going away for a verrrrry long time. If he wants magazines or candy bars, or ever wants to feel like a person again, he will cooperate. “Who is the man in the hood?” Again, Garthwaite gives her nothing. She leaves with her assistant and is told by one of the guards that none of the others are talking either. “They’ll talk. They always talk,” she replies.
(later)As two guards man their posts, they are each taken down by one shot from the Hood’s guns. The Wrecker sees him appear at his door. “Dude,” he says with a grin. The Hood blasts his shackles and reminds him that he told him that things are different. His guys don’t sit in jail. Garthwaite tells him that he’s glad he didn’t drop the dime on him. Robbins replies that if he did, their conversation would be going a whole lot differently. Garthwaite asks about the rest of the group. The Hood tells him that everyone sleeps in their own bed tonight.
With this reassurance, the Wrecker helps the Hood storm the guards. The Hood blasts away and tells the Wrecker that he told him - new rules. It’s over when he says it’s over. They took a financial hit tonight, but he says they’ll take it right back to those damn ‘Avengers’ and show them how they feel about it.
Maria HillS.H.I.E.L.D. guards and staff member
The WreckerThe Hood
(in flashback)Luke Cage, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Ronin, Spider-Man, Wolverine (all New Avengers)Maya Lopez
The HoodJohn KingChemistro, Madame Masque, the Wizard, the Wrecking Crew
(as illusions)Heroes including Beast, Black Bolt, Black Widow, Captain America, Cyclops, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Hawkeye, (Young Avengers), Hulk, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Punisher, Sasquatch, Sentry, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents, Spider-Woman, Sub-Mariner, Thing, Thor, Valkyrie and Professor Charles Xavier
The story is continued in New Avengers Annual #2.