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Al Ewing(writer), Gerardo Sandoval (artist), Dono Sanchez Almara (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Billi Sienkiewicz, Simon Bisley (variant covers), Alanna Smith(assistant editor), Tom Brevoort with Wil Smith (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
The Maker aka evil Reed Richards has called up the dead souls of Evald Skorpion, downloading him in a new body. And since then, Evald has infected others with his state of Life Minus. Another thing Richards inadvertently called up is Mor-I-Dun, an evil cosmic being from a previous iteration of reality. In the meantime, the New Avengers are busy battling the creatures the Maker created with his experiment, a situation made harder by the fact that their foes include the super-powered Evald, as well as transformed SHIELD agents with gamma-enhancements. While Songbird defends her teammates with a sonic shield, Roberto tells his science team to get to work and they soon figure out that the transformation has to do with a higher dimensional frequency. With the help of Power Man’s chi powers, Songbird is able to perceive the frequency and can create a counter frequency, transforming everyone back to normal. Dugan tells Roberto they have proved they are Avengers and they celebrate. In the meantime, Mor-I-Dun has disappeared and the Maker figures it went back to its own time.
WHISPER HQ:The Maker (an alternate Reed Richards gone bad) is busy with some bloody piece of surgery and talks to (or rather at) his patient. He recounts that biocentrism dictates that the laws of physics are a byproduct of consciousness. Expanding one’s mind is expanding reality. That is what WHISPER is all about. A world headquarters for international scientific / philosophical research and experimentation. Studying the nature of reality to build a better one.
He orders the victim to hold still; this is going to sting. When the victim screams in agony a moment later, the Maker chides him for being a baby. He told him; anesthetics interfere with the process.
Anyway. Another theory by the biocentrist movement is that consciousness survives in some form after death. For want of a better term, the soul. Imagine countless of souls released by mortality to emerge within the universe. Like beautiful diamonds gleaming within the landscape of spacetime. The ultimate historical artifact. Waiting to be… excavated.
He may feel a tearing sensation, he informs his patient, only to lift out his brains moments later.
He continues. So he dug one up. Evald Skorpion, a mad scientist, who died unusually. It made him easy to find.
He downloaded him into a new form, a perfect higher-dimensional crystal. A neohedron. A new form of life -- “life minus.” And what is life, if it can’t reproduce? So he grafted Evald on a body created from scorpion and gorilla genes and set him to work. Converting the living. Excavating the dead. Digging deeper.
They are done, by the way. Conversion complete. Welcome to post-humanity and his inner circle. How does he feel? Reborn and at his service, replies his victim, now in a monstrous body. Other post-humans applaud. The Maker thanks them and asks for someone to patch him through to Evald. He thinks it’s time to kill the New Avengers.
In Paris, said New Avengers defend themselves against several monstrous and heavily armed crystal-heads, who used to be SHIELD agents. They fire at the civilians and Songbird orders Wiccan to intercede. Gunsintobirds gunsintobirds he keeps on chanting and succeeds. Songbird asks via comm if Roberto is getting this.
Avengers Island:Roberto DaCosta, who is accompanied by ‘Dum-Dum’ Dugan, Hawkeye and Pod, replies they just entered Mission Control. He asks Dugan if those were the SHIELD enhanciles. They were, he replies, apart from the Scorpion guy. He adds that they don’t need guns. Roberto needs to get his people out now. Why? What kind of enhancements do they have? The worst, Dugan replies grimly. Gamma.
Paris:The enhanciles press buttons on their wrists and hulk out.
Avengers Island:Who thought that was a good idea? Hawkeye wonders. Not him, Dugan replies. They are not Hulk strength – who is – but while those wristbands supply gamma charge they can take anyone. Except Pod, Pod remarks.
Paris:White Tiger grimly points out that Pod isn’t here. She orders Squirrel Girl with her and together they quickly destroy the wristbands.
Power Man, White Tiger’s ex, shouts a warning. Behind them, Evald comes up, rays come from his tail, transforming Squirrel Girl and White Tiger into crystalheads.
Please change back! Wiccan chants, to no avail as his boyfriend points out. They tell mission control that they know how the contagion is spreading. Frustrated, Songbird uses her sonic scream against her former friends who are attacking.
Even the Maker admits there is a certain poetry to that as Songbird’s scream is blocking Neohedron’s conversion ray.
Suddenly, the screen turns off. A dark cloud calls him “man-of-now” and demands why he called it from the dark. Just to see if he could, the Maker shrugs. They are in a new universe. A reborn universe. Universes existed before those. And before those. Better ones maybe. So he’s been excavating. Finding old ghosts. Then using them for triangulation… to find older ghosts. And so on. Older and older. Further and further back. Mapping those previous universes. He laughs. It’s funny, really. He should have expected an old ghost to find him.
The being agrees and introduces itself as Mor-I-Dun of the fifth cosmos, the dark cosmos… space and time of deep magic. This is the eighth. So fresh and bright. So new and possible. He would stay. One of the Maker’s new humans informs him they can’t turn on the lights.
Elsewhere, Hulkling asks how long Songbird can keep up the shield. Does she have to keep screaming? Not constantly, she replies. Though she wants to. She asks Mission control if they got something. Tell her they can fix this.
Roberto stammers. He okay? Dugan asks. Roberto swallows then addresses the whole island. This is the supreme leader speaking and, believe him, he is in supreme leader mood. If they can hear him, they already have the data. He wants advanced ideas. He wants Avengers ideas. He wants his team’s heads back. First person to dazzle him gets a Lexus. He orders Max Brashear and Toni Ho to take the lead and be fabulous.
Max Brashear tells Toni Ho to imagine some dude in a magazine. You paste a sticker over his head. The head’s still there but all you see is the sticker. He thinks this is a higher-dimensional version of that. So the victims are still alive, Toni muses, but their heads are shunted into some kind of… tesseract space. While the crystals animate the bodies. So how do they peel off the stickers? She asks the people from engineering particularly time machine division. A Dr. O’Connor pipes up: Scorpion-Gorilla–Man’s raygun can’t penetrate Songbird’s shield, correct? Because she’s thinking that means there’s a vibrational component. Some kind of higher dimensional frequency. And if these are the souls of the dead – if Power Man’s right… She bets he could find that frequency. That’s what he does right? See ghosts?
It’s Mandy, right? Robert asks. Enjoy the Lexus. He thanks the team. He asks the field team if they got that. They did, Songbird replies and asks Wiccan for a telepathic bridge. Linkminds linkmindslink minds Wiccan chants.
Songbird explains she needs Power Mans Chi-vision to see what he sees and hear what he hears. Chi-hearing, he replies, the secret song in everything. Hear it? Some wrong notes in the mix, Songbird decides. But every frequency has its counter frequency. She drops the shield and orders mission control to record the high fidelity broadcast through Avenger One’s speakers. Play it loud! She orders the others to cover their ears and begins to emit the counter frequency. And soon all inflicted Parisians have been restored to normalcy.
Ten minutes dance party, everyone, Roberto orders on Avengers Island and tells the champagne robot to take charge.
Grinning, Roberto asks Dugan how the SHIELD inspection is going. Dugan admits he was worried for a second there. And Roberto will understand him leaving Hawkeye here, but… good work, son, he admits. Seconded, Hawkeye adds. They want to be the New Avengers… they earned that name today. With a grin, Roberto welcomes him to the team and promises him he hasn’t seen anything yet.
In the Maker’s lair, he muses that, from a scientific standpoint, this was wildly successful. Admittedly, from a calling-up-dangerous-creature-from-before-time standpoint, it was a little too successful. He orders a henchman to recover Neohedron’s clone body. It might still have its uses. The rest they draw a line under.
The henchman nervously wonders where the creature went. Back to its time before the past, right? A safe assumption, the Maker agrees. It did vanish when DaCosta’s people disrupted the Life Minus frequency. Besides, where else would it go?
Hulkling, Pod, Power Man III, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, Sunspot, White Tiger V (all New Avengers)Tippy Toe‘Dum-Dum’ Dugan, Hawkeye (agents of SHIELD)Dr. Max Brashear, Dr. Toni Ho, Dr. Mandy Connor (supporting staff)Unnamed AIM members
SHIELD’s enhancile team
Evald Sorpion died in Mighty Avengers #4.