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Gerry Duggan (writer), Pepe Larraz & Rodrigo Zayas (artists) Dono Sanchez Almara (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
Deadpool continues to elude Quicksilver, as he chases Deadpool across the city, while Deadpool tries to phone for help, but is not having any luck. At the former Avengers Mansion which he now calls home, the Red Skull discusses the situation with Sin, his daughter, who wants to go after Deadpool, but he tells her no. He then uses his mastery over Xavier's telepathic abilities to appear before Synapse as her grandfather, Ivan, while Synapse is trapped inside an illusion. He torments Doctor Voodoo while pretending to be his brother, Daniel, and then tortures the Wasp while appearing to her as Hank Pym, before the Human Torch burns the Fantastic Four when he is reunited with them in his illusion. The Red Skull is happy with the chaos he is causing for his prisoners, before checking in on Cable. Cable is able to fight back against the Red Skull for some time, but the Red Skull has mastered Xavier's power – so Cable does the only thing he can and erases his own consciousness so that the Red Skull can no longer attack. The Red Skull gathers his other captives and instructs them to go kill as many humans as they can. Deadpool finally arrives at Dr Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, but the Sorcerer Supreme is nowhere in sight. Wong is apprehensive about helping Deadpool, before Spider-Man arrives on scene.
The Empire State Building glows under the Manhattan night sky, as Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool leaps from rooftop to rooftop, holding his cellphone to his ear, he is told to leave a message. 'Why does everyone let me go to voicemail?' Deadpool exclaims, before he leaves his message: 'Hey, it's me! Red Skull's used Xavier's brain to trick the entire team, and uh – Quicksilver's beating me to death. So that's where we're at'. Deadpool asks the person he is calling to call him back or just meet him on Bleecker Street. 'If I don't meet you, knock on the door and -' Deadpool doesn’t finish his sentence, as a vortex rushes up around him trapping him inside its force – thanks to Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver, who punches the cellphone out of Deadpool's hand, and then sends Deadpool careening off the rooftop. 'CRAP!' Deadpool shouts, while the Red Skull telepathically contacts Quicksilver and tells him that he hopes he is not pulling his punches. 'I sent you to eliminate Deadpool. Do it now. I would hate to punish you again' the Red Skull warns him.
Quicksilver reaches out and grabs Deadpool's cellphone, crushing it, while Deadpool has landed in an alleyway below. He crawls to a covering which he has opened and starts to make his way down into the sewer underneath. 'I like you, Quicksilver, and I know the Red Skull has his hooks in you deep, but stop chasing me... 'cause I will kill you to save Rogue and the others' Deadpool warns his possessed teammate. Quicksilver follows Deadpool down into the sewer and reports that he has cornered Deadpool. He calls Red Skull “Professor Skull” and tells him that he has no way out. 'Excellent, Pietro...I'm just going to be entertaining my guests back at the Schmidt Mansion' the Red Skull replies from within the former Avengers Mansion.
Reclining on a couch nearby, Sin, the Red Skull's daughter asks her father to let her go after Deadpool, but the Skull tells his daughter that Deadpool is only one man, and that Quicksilver will run him down. The Skull looks over to where Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse is in a corner, boxing. The Red Skull states that gaining mastery of Xavier's mental powers has been one of his most difficult challenges, but it was worth it. He boasts that they will use the Unity Squad to take down everyone who has ever been an Avenger, and then he will bring America to its knees – humanity will beg Hydra to save them from the Avengers. Red Skull then projects himself as an elderly man, 'Let's see how my Inhuman is holding up' he suggests.
'Nice left, Emily! Or should I just call you Synapse, now?' the old man asks as he enters a boxing gym, where Synapse is in the middle of the ring, practising her moves. 'Cut it out, old man!' Synapse calls back to the old man, who is her grandfather. 'How about “Gramps” or at least “Ivan”?' her grandfather suggests to her, before asking her how long she is going to hide in the gym. 'Until I know what to do' Synapse replies, glancing back at her grandfather.
A short time later, Emily and her “grandfather” are in a grocery store, as Emily tells her grandfather that she doesn't know how Steve Rogers figured out that she was Synapse, but he knew, and he wants her on his Unity Squad. Emily reaches for some milk as she remarks that messing with the brains of street criminals and punching out muggers is one thing, but she doesn't know if she is ready to join the Avengers. 'You're ready to take the next step into greatness' Ivan tells her.
Later, Emily and Ivan are in a kitchen, preparing a meal. Ivan tells Emily that she and her team will accomplish great things, she just needs the proper guidance. As she washes something in the kitchen sink, Emily tells her grandfather that she is glad he believes in her, but that she feels like whatever happened during Terrigenesis really messed up her head. 'The problem isn't inside your mind, Emily' Ivan replies, holding up a large knife. 'It's in your hand' he tells her as he hands the knife to Emily. 'Be a dear and finish cutting for me' Ivan asks.
The Red Skull suddenly reverts back to his true appearance as he sniffs something, and enters another room, deciding that it is time for the bargain-rate Sorcerer Supreme. 'Daniel, is that you? Help me, brother! The Hand has captured me!' Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo calls out from where he lays on a table, surrounded by candles and assorted mystical objects. 'Yes, brother. It's me' the Red Skull replies. Standing over the table, the Red Skull remarks 'I cannot help you until you see me for who I truly am – I am Daniel Drumm...I AM DOCTOR VOODOO!' the Red Skull calls out as he projects himself as Voodoo's brother. The room transforms into a rancid swamp, and Jericho is trapped in a coffin that floats in the scummy water. 'No! That's impossible! How did this happen? I can't move. I can't feel my body!' Jericho calls out. Daniel looms over his brother and tells him to hush, to save his strength, as all is well. 'What's happened?' Jericho asks. 'You failed and you died, brother' Daniel replies, offering to give Jericho some more time to remember – as he forces the coffin down into the water, which spills into the coffin and Jericho begins to drown.
'I know this is a dream... or a nightmare. But I... I can't seem to wake up, Hank' Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp calls out as she looks out over a sprawling nighttime city, glowing with the lights from high rises. 'You lied to everyone, Janet. You lied to yourself' the Red Skull, posing as Hank Pym, who looks like Ultron, replies as he steps down a staircase and moves towards the Wasp. He tells her that she lied when she told him that she loved him, lied when she said she went looking for him. 'I love you, so I forgive you' Hank adds, before asking Jan if she wants to feel better – as he can bring her back to reality – she only needs ask. The Wasp hangs her head and tells Hank that she needs to get out from under this darkness. 'Then I will free you' Hank tells her, touching her chin and holding her head up. 'I only need to make a few simple adjustments...after all, we're all just electricity' Hank points out as suddenly, Jan's face opens – she appears to be a robot! 'WHAT AM I!' Jan screams.
Elsewhere, 'This is the happiest day of my life!' Johnny Storm the Human Torch exclaims as he flies past a building where he sees the Fantastic Four. 'Reed! Sue! Y-you're alive! I can't believe it!' Johnny calls out to them. He drops down to the rooftop and puts his arms around Reed and Sue, while several feet away, the Thing watches them, carrying Valeria and Franklin on his shoulders. 'Johnny, knock it off! When will you learn!?' Reed exclaims, trying to back away from Johnny. 'You have to be more careful. This keeps happening and happening!' the Invisible Woman snaps. 'What's happening?' Johnny asks, suddenly going wide-eyed as his powers flare up, and begin to burn the Invisible Woman. 'You keep burning us!' Mr Fantastic shouts as the flames spread across the rooftop 'No, please!' the Torch cries out, while his burning sister screams.
Back to reality, and the Red Skull walks out into a corridor within the former Avengers Mansion and tells Sin that the “Human” Torch is ready. 'What did you say to the Inhuman? She's nearly chopped off her hand' Sin remarks while carrying a first-aid kit. Red Skull laughs and tells Sin to try and keep her on her feet for a few hours. 'I don't appreciate cleaning up your messes' Sin frowns. The Red Skull telepathically tells her to never speak to him like that, before turning his attention back to business, 'Where was I? Ah yes, the other mutant on the team. I'm hoping he may present a challenge' the Red Skull remarks, when suddenly, 'Careful what you wish for, Schmidt' Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable calls out as he appears before the Red Skull and begins to strangle him. 'You think you can step inside my mind, Skull? Think again!' Cable exclaims as he punches the Red Skull backwards, sending him careening out of the Mansion.
Cable follows the Red Skull out to the back courtyard and announces that while the Skull has been pulling the wings off the Wasp and torturing the others, he has been solidifying his telepathic resistance. 'I knew you'd get around to me eventually' Cable adds. Cable admits that he doesn't know much about brain surgery, but asks how hard it can be to remove Xavier's brain from the Red Skull really be?' Cable pulls a blade out of one of his pouches and suddenly plunges it into the Red Skull's head. The Red Skull collapses to the ground, and Cable remarks 'Looks like that did it' before instructing his AI, Belle, to scan the Mansion for their teammates. Belle reports that, crazy as it sounds, all she can detect is multiple avatars of the Red Skull. Suddenly, 'Wait, he's still here, Nate!' Belle exclaims, as the Red Skull, blade in his head, stands up. 'I underestimated your telepathic abilities, Cable' the Red Skull remarks, before pulling the blade from his head and declares that he won't make the same mistake again.
Suddenly, a huge projection of the Red Skull bursts up from the ground and knocks Cable into the air, and back into the Mansion. The Red Skull follows Cable, who he finds crawling across the floor and remarks that he thought Rogue was the most powerful of Steve Rogers' propaganda team, but breaking her has proved less troublesome than this. 'You have no idea how pleasant I find it when I make a miscalculation. It happens so infrequently since I “expanded” my mind' the Red Skull laughs. Cable makes his way down a flight of stairs, but turns around as he hears the Red Skull call out to him, telling him that if he opens his mind to see things his way, he will spare his life. 'I think you will agree that changing your philosophy and living is preferable to dying' the Red Skull adds. 'Forget it. I'll die before I serve you' Cable responds, to which Red Skull tells him that he shall die.
Cable tells Belle that this maniac cannot be allowed to corrupt them. Belle replies that she understands, and that she is ready. Cable then smashes the lightbulb that is glowing overhead, plunging the stairwell into darkness. Cable instructs Belle to erase herself and initiate 'Lifeboat Protocol” now. Belle tells Nate that she is sorry, to which Cable replies 'Yeah...' and suddenly, the illusion vanishes, and the Red Skull is seen in a stark dungeon-like room, where Cable is shackled to a chair that is chained to two of the walls. 'Wha- what have you done?' the Red Skull exclaims. Cable's expressionless body says nothing, as the Red Skull mutters that he can't find him. 'I can't feel his mind' the red Skull mutters. He sniffs Cable's head and asks him where he has gone. The Red Skull pulls Cable's head back, and opens his eyelids – 'Mein Gott! He – he's erased his own consciousness!' the Red Skull exclaims.
The Red Skull lets Cable's head fall forward, 'Fascinating! Ha! So much for “Homo Superior”!' the Red Skull exclaims. 'An Omega-Level mutant falls to me'. The Red Skull whipes his gloves, then pulls the chain connected to the lightbulb overhead, turning the light out as he leaves the motionless Cable strapped to the chair. 'Too bad he's going to miss all the fun' the Red Skull remarks.
The Red Skull walks outside the Mansion, where the controlled Quicksilver, Human Torch, Wasp, Doctor Voodoo and Synapse are waiting. He calls out to them: 'Go forth! Our kind is threatened from within and without! Crush the traitor Deadpool, and then carve your way through this decripit city, kill as many of the humans as you can! They are your sworn enemy, and only by killing them will you ever be safe. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!' the Red Skull shouts. 'We hear you, Professor' the Human Torch responds. 'We obey' Doctor Voodoo assures him.
Elsewhere, 'Knock knock! Hello, I'm selling chocolates as a school fundraiser for Hogwarts Academy!' Deadpool calls out as he stands at the front door of Dr Strange'sSanctum Sanctorum on Bleecker Street. 'Please be home' Deadpool exclaims as he bangs on the front door. 'Hello? Is the super secret New York City magician home?' he asks. Inside, Wong moves towards the front door, 'Deadpool again! This place is warded against evil – how is it that you can even see it?' Wong asks as he opens the door. 'By the many-faced god!' Wong gasps as Deadpool falls into the foyer, his blood-drenched body beginning to crawl along the floor, he asks Wong to let him rest a moment. 'Is your roommate home?' Deadpool enquires. Wong drops down net to Deadpool and informs him that Doctor Strange is away on an important mission. Deadpool bursts into laughter and declares that they are all going to die.
Deadpool then sits up, 'Okay, then. Back to work' he tells Wong. 'Good chat'. Deadpool moves to the door to leave, and turns to see that Wong is not coming with him. 'Wait – what are you doing right now? You gonna make me save the world by myself?' Deadpool asks. Wong looks horrified, and utters 'Uh, I'm supposed to do my hair tonight'. 'Uh...' Deadpool begins, to which Wong pulls a machine gun and an umbrella out of a nearby stand. 'But I guess you can explain on the way. And you're wrong about one thing. We're not alone' Wong tells Deadpool, as suddnely, Spider-Man drops down from above. 'Got your message. Who else did you call, Wade? Power Pack? Mobius? Is Man-Thing coming?' Spider-Man asks. 'Points!' Deadpool exclaims, before Spider-Man adds that he is still not rejoining the team.
Cable, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Invisible Woman, Mr Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)
Franklin & Valeria Richards
Rogue appears on the cover to this issue, but not in the issue itself.
Synapse's Terrigenesis occurred in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #1, her first appearance.
The Red Skull refers to Cable as an Omega-Level mutant this issue, however more recently in the “Dawn of X” Cable is no longer referred to as Omega-Level.