Jump to navigation
Gerry Duggan (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist) David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten & David Curiel (cover artists), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Breevort & Daniel Ketchum (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 Avengers quickly get the resurrected Hulk away from the nuclear power plant, before Synapse and Elektra both blind him, and the Human Torch bombards him in flames. This just angers the Hulk though, and he lashes out at the former Unity Squad members. Doctor Voodoo reports that he is ready for the Hulk, and through a portal, the Hulk and the Avengers fall onto the island where Doctor Voodoo has a pentagram set up. Synapse pushes the Hulk onto the Pentagram, and Voodoo traps the Hulk there, before he enters his mind, where he finds Banner, a prisoner of the Hand. A strange demon-like creature talks to Voodoo, unhappy that he is starting to free Banner from their control. Outside the mystic dome, the others see that it looks like the Hulk is getting smaller, while Voodoo is defiant against the Hand's demon, who warns him that if he takes Banner, they will take his brother. Voodoo has no problem with that, and the demon warns him that he has made a powerful enemy. Banner is freed, and Voodoo returns to reality with Banner's body. The others ask if this is the last mission, but Rogue wants the team to continue, they still have work to do. Everyone remains with the team, and the Wasp officially joins the Unity Squad. Elektra tells Voodoo that if she meets his brother she will give him a swift death, before she kisses the Human Torch, finally discovering what “handsome idiot” tastes like. Rogue thinks about Wonder Man who is still trapped inside her head, before the team teleports back to the United States, and meet up with Captain America and give him Banner's body. Once Rogue returns to the theater, she fears that the worst is yet to come, unaware that the Red Skull is communicating with Quicksilver.
Japan, where a recently resurrected Hulk is rampaging at a nuclear power point. A fire has broken out, and the plant workers are running in fear. Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp flies near the Hulk, who is wearing traditional Japanese warrior armor. 'Hey, Bruce. It's me, Janet. Your old friend. Right? I know this was your worst feat. That the monster would win. I promise I won't let that happen...sorry for this next part' Jan utters, before shouting 'This way, big guy!' as she grabs the Hulk's attention. The Hulk reaches out to try and punc her, she dodges his fist. 'I need you focusing on my – so you don't see Rogue!' the Wasp exclaims as Rogue flies through the air and slams her fist into the Hulk, knocking him into the nearby water and creating a mighty splash. Rogue drops down onto the shore and Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool rushes over to help her up. 'Nice job getting him away from the nuke plant' Deadpool tells Rogue, informing her that he left a message for Sunfire and made reservations at Jiro's for them when they win. 'Now get back in there, kid. I got money on this fight' Deadpool jokes. But Rogue's voice is shaky, and she tells Deadpool that she isn't right – that she thinks there is some Terrigen in the air.
'Change of plans. I'm pulling Rogue back!' Deadpool calls out as Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable, Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse, the ninja Elektra and Johnny Storm the Human Torch arrive on scene. 'Somebody else do something amazing. Any one of you with actual super powers want to jump in here?' Deadpool asks. Synapse announces that she is stressing the Hulk's optic nerve, which means he will have trouble seeing. 'Nice trick. Here's the version I was taught' Elektra declares as she races through the shallow waters to where the Hulk is on his knees, clutching at his eyes – a moment later, Elektra leaps onto the Hulk and stabs her blades into his eyes. 'Now that's – how you blind an enemy!' Elektra remarks as she flips backwards off the Hulk and lands next to Synapse, who shrugs and remarks 'I blinded him first. Not that it's a contest'.
'It's now or never, Torch! Burn it!' Cable calls out to the Human Torch, who exclaims 'FLAME ON!' as he flies towards the Hulk, and hovering over him, unleashes a powerful stream of flaming energy, which washes over the Hulk. 'Time to go nova!' the Torch declares. He tells the others that he hates this – first Pym and now Banner. 'This better be the last time we're facing old friends!' The flaming energy around the Hulk increases, and the Torch urgently warns everyone to get back. 'Nothing can survive this!' he shouts. But when the flames and smoke clears – 'Uh-oh...' the Torch utters as he falls back onto the beach, and the Hulk, his scorched body lumbering back towards the shore, furiously roars at the heroes.
'Run!' Rogue exclaims. 'Oh, fudge. It's nude! Play dead?' Deadpool suggests, while Cable calls out to Quicksilver. 'Where are -' he begins, before Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver speeds onto the shore, sighing, he jokes that most times when he leaves to grab a bite, no one ever notices. He speeds in front of the Hulk, who is about to grab the Torch, but Quicksilver picks the Torch up first, and throws him over his shoulder as he races away from the Hulk. 'I know I cut this one close...but I burn more calories than all of you combined' Quicksilver boasts, as Cable finishes calling out to him, '- you!?' Quicksilver comes to a stop and drops the Torch next to Cable, telling him not to get his pouches in a knot – it is handled. 'I was on lunch. I have to keep ewating if you want me to keep running' Quicksilver explains, as he shoves some food in his mouth. Doctor Voodoo's voice is heard over the communicators, reporting that his soul trap is ready.
On an abandoned island nearby, Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo hovers above a pentagram, '... where are you? You promised me a monster two minutes ago' Voodoo remarks to the others. 'Careful what you wish for, Doc!' Deadpool remarks as he is thrown through a portal by the Hulk – whose large hand can be seen emerging through the portal, chasing the Wasp, who shouts 'YOW! COMING THROUGH!' and an instant later, the rest of the heroes and the Hulk fall through the portal as well. 'Is this a wrestling move?' Rogue exclaims as she sits on the Hulk's shoulders and pulls back on his face. 'The only guy who would know is Deadpool, and I think Hulk kicked him to sleep for a while' the Torch remarks as he darts about. Elektra and Quicksilver grab onto one of the Hulk's arms, while Synapse stands behind Cable, who opens fire at the Hulk.
'I need him within the pentagram!' Voodoo calls out. 'What if I move your art project to him?' Quicksilver offers, but Voodoo tells him that the pentagram is a dooeway, it can't be moved – only opened. Rogue screams as the Hulk grabs her head, while Cable reports that his telekinesis isn't budging the Hulk. Voodoo warns the heroes to hurry and get the Hulk into the pentagram before the doorway closes. 'Hey, man, you try moving a truck!' the Torch exclaims. Synapse narrows her eyes and concentrates hard, 'You want Hulk moved – he's gotta do it himself!' Synapse exclaims as she uses her powers to force Hulk to fall backwards onto the pentagram and informs the others that she is blocking the signal from Hulk's inner ear to his brain. An energy dome appears around the Hulk, preventing him from moving or even standing up. 'Attagirl. You just shifted a mountain' Cable tells Synapse, putting a hand on her shoulder. 'I feel like it, too' Synapse replies, remarking that affecting Hulk's nervous system feels like grabbing a power line.
The heroes gather around and watch, while the Wasp asks 'What do we do now?' Voodoo tells her that now they can wish him luck. He moves towards the glowing dome and remarks that if he fails, they may need to find a way to repeat the Icarus Protocol. 'I alone must cleanse Banner's spirit of the Hand's corruption' Voodoo reports. As he stands in front of the trapped Hulk, he suggests that it might be wise to summon the rest of the Avengers – just in case. 'Forgive me, Dr Banner. The Hand's magic is deep in you... this will hurt' Voodoo remarks in some sort of astral plane as he approaches the naked form of Bruce Banner, who has dozens of glowing green arrows stuck in his back. Voodoo then reaches down and pulls out one of the arrows, some blood sprays around him. 'STOP' a voice calls out. Voodoo and Banner look up, and Voodoo instructs Banner not to speak, as he is in great jeopardy.
A strange demon-like creature with several arms, wings, long hair and a mask with a long red nose looms over Banner, and tells Voodoo that if he takes the Hulk from the Hand, then he will claim his brother. 'This is a small gesture. It need not be overt. You could return to your friends and say we bested you. They need never know' the creature remarks. 'A friend...for a brother? It's an easy choice, is it not?' the creature asks. Voodoo replies by stating that he chooses his brother – Bruce Banner – a man who has risked everything time and time again – an Avenger. He removes more arrows from Bruce's back and tells the demon that Banner is his brother, not Daniel, and that Daniel has damned himself. The creature grins wickedly and tells Voodoo that he will share his words with their new slave, before warning him that he has made a powerful enemy this day. 'So have you' Doctor Voodoo replies, as the demon vanishes.
Back outside the supernatural force field, the heroes watch the field, and Synapse asks if the Hulk is getting smaller. 'Good. I'm running out of Enya' Deadpool jokes, while playing a piano. 'What if whatever Voodoo is doing doesn't work?' Rogue asks. 'Well, at least we saw Deadpool play the piano before we died' Wasp mutters.
Inside the supernatural field, Voodoo has removed all of the arrows from Banner's back, and tells him that he is free. 'Walk in peace to the light' Voodoo tells him, adding that he is sorry they abused him. Tears stream down Banner's face.
A moment later, the mystical force field begins to fade away, and Doctor Voodoo emerges, carrying Banner's lifeless body. 'It's over. Bruce is done' Voodoo reports, as the others look over to him. They gather around as Voodoo lays Banner on the ground. 'So is the Hand's magic' he adds. 'Finally. I can be of use' Deadpool remarks as he holds up a bodybag. 'You walk around with a bodybag?' the Torch asks, surprised. Deadpool wraps it around Banner's body and tells the Torch that it is so much more than just a bag for bodies, before Quicksilver asks if this was their last Avengers mission. 'The hell it is' Rogue declares, while Deadpool reminds everyone that they have unfinished business with the Red Skull. Rogue tells the others that she isn't standing down until Professor Xavier's brain is out of that madman. 'Unless you all got somewhere else to be?' Rogue asks.
'I can be in two places at once' Quicksilver reports. 'In' the Wasp confirms. Cable reports that he has restored his ability to bodyslide, and that he is close to undoing the tachyon armor that is keeping him from time-traveling – but he isn't going anywhere until the Skull is neutralized. Synapse points out that Voodoo's brother is still out there, and Doctor Voodoo declares that Daniel is his responsibility – if he survives what the Hand will do to him. 'If I meet your brother, I will give him a merciful death' Elektra offers, spinning one of her sai blades. 'Well, I think we found who will be replacing Steve Rogers as the team's optimist' the Torch smirks as he looks at Elektra. Elektra bursts into laughter and grabs the Torch bis his collar. 'Your poor, sweet dummy. I've killed people for less than the insult you just casually hurled at me' Elektra declares – before she places her lips on the now wide-eyed Johnny's. 'So that's what handsome idiot tastes like. Join the Avengers?' Elektra exclaims, before walking away, laughing.
'Poor Bruce. I feel sick' Quicksilver remarks, before Deadpool asks who they trust with Banner's body. Cable tells the team that there is only one option, and instructs his AI, Belle, to bodyslide back to New York. As a portal opens, Rogue watches as the others walk through it. She realizes that sometimes she gets caught up in the tragedies that have struck the X-Men – all the diseases and deaths, it's easy to mope. But she remembers the cost the Avengers have paid – Hank Pym is worse than death. She thinks of Iron Man, Thor and Wonder Man and reminds herself that Thor is missing, and Wonder Man is lost somewhere in her screwed up head, while Stark is down and out – and now they are delivering the body of Bruce Banner back to Steve Rogers. 'We all deserve better... but that ain't what we got coming' Rogue tells herself.
A short time later, Captain America hangs his head as he carries the lifeless body of Bruce Banner, and Rogue, Cable, Wasp, Quicksilver, th Human Torch, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo and Synapse look on in silence.
Later, the reformed Unity Squad returns to the theater that they operate out of. Rogue thinks that it feels like all of them – every Avenger and ever X-Man is just grinding against fate until their number comes up. 'We save the world. But never each other' she thinks to herself. She looks across to Deadpool, who starts to remove his mask – but when he sees Rogue, he closes the door between them. Rogue can't shake the feeling of dread in her gut that the worst is yet to come.
And in his quarters, Quicksilver is curled up on his bed, speaking to the Red Skull on the phone, as the Red Skull tells him that he doesn't want to punish him again, that he wants to reward him, and it is the right thing to do. Pietro asks him to get out of his head and leave him alone, but the Red Skull tells him that he must bring him the Avengers!
Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
The Hulk / Bruce Banner
The Hand demon
Nuclear plant workers
in Rogue's thoughts:
Iron Man, Thor, Wonder Man
Wonder Man has been trapped in Rogue's head since Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #21.