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Gerry Duggan (writer), Ryan Stegman (artist), Richard Isanove (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Ryan Stegman & Richard Isanove (cover artists), Oscar Jimenez (variant cover artist), 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
Tony Stark becomes aware of a situation in Boston and contacts Steve Rogers, who is at the Avenges Unity Squad's headquarters. He offers to help, but Steve tells him that the Unity Squad can handle this – and if they can't, he will fold the team. In Boston, Rogue is having a hard time maintaining order as Quicksilver, the Human Torch and Deadpool basically do their own thing as the team battles the strange dog-like creatures and large bees. During the battle, Synapse confronts Rogue about her hostility towards her, as Rogue thinks Synapse is holding something back. When a woman with a baby who has been transformed by the strange goings-on appears, Synapse uses her power to help calm and restore the baby, before Quicksilver takes them to a hospital. Doctor Voodoo finds a man who has seemingly had roots dug into him, as if he was the soil. The Human Torch is distracted, and remembers Reed trying to teach him some science, but he shrugged Reed off, thinking that Reed would always be around for science problems, so the Torch finds a civilian who had been transformed and flies off to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, hoping the nerds there can help figure out what has been going on. Quicksilver returns and Rogue continues to struggle to keep him under control, as the he leads the team to a horde of the savage dog-like creatures, while the Mayor holds a press conference, only to be confronted by the mysterious Shredded Man who boasts that he will humble humanity. A large mass of vines bursts up through a building, the stalk on which the new world will grow. Quicksilver arrives on scene and attacks the Shredded Man, who captures Quicksilver, and decides that even though he isn't a mutant, should feed him to his stalk, and places Quicksilver inside a strange pod. In 2087, Cable and his strange talking tattoo bombshell called Belle survey Boston. Cable is curious as to why only a few Inhumans remain on Earth, and after encountering one of the dog-like creatures, he locates a newspaper which indicates the Avengers, including Deadpool, were here in 2016. Cable is concerned that the Avengers must have been desperate to invite Deadpool to join them, and decides to travel back to 2016!
Schaefers Theater, the old run-down building is now home to the Avengers Unity Squad. Up on the rooftop, Commander Rogers tunes into a radio announcement which states that the crisis in Boston is developing fast, as the Back Bay is evacuating and the Avengers are on scene.
An old mobile phone suddenly vibrates, and Rogers picks answers it: 'I was just wondering how long before you'd call, Stark' Rogers remarks. Tony Stark is observing the situation on monitors and asks if he needs to suit up for the Boston thing. 'What is the Boston thing, by the way?' Stark adds. Rogers suggests to Stark that they give the team a chance, and adds that if they need to be bailed out, then he might need to fold the Unity Squad. 'Got it' Stark replies, adding 'My metal tux is cleaned and pressed if you need -'.
'HELP!' Johnny Storm a.k.a. the Human Torch cries in Boston as he darts about the undergrowth of strange large trees that have grown over the city, where he drops strange dog-like creatures in water that he has set on fire. 'You missed another!' Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver shouts. Rogue flies nearby, while Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo shoves his staff into a tree and reports that the stalks are growing at an impossible rate. 'Tango down. Nobody tell P.E.T.A.' Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool jokes as he fires a gun into the fray. Rogue punches one of the large bees and tells her Inhuman teammate, Emily Guerrero that now is her chance to reach into their brains and start unplugging things. Despite concentrating hard, Synapse replies that she can't. Synapse explains that it is like they don't have an animal brain structure for her to sneak into. 'You sure? Cause they look like animals to me!' Rogue replies as she slams one into the ground, destroying it, and spraying a green substance over herself and Synapse.
'WHY DON'T YOU TRUST ME, ROGUE? I'M NOT HOLDING BACK!' Synapse shouts. As she and Rogue are suddenly confronted by a woman pushing a pram, Rogue asks Synapse to help her understand what she is bringing to the table. 'You can communicate with the team telepathically, you can tweak our nervous systems, but you can't do anything to these creatures?' Rogue asks. Synapse explains that she can't feel the electricity in their heads. 'I'm telling you, I don't think they have -' Synapse begins, before the woman pushing the pram asks them if they can help her. The woman has green blotches on her face and she tells the heroes that she was trying to get her daughter to the hospital, but the way is blocked by those things. 'Oh my God!' Synapse gasps as she looks into the pram and sees the baby – leaves growing from her green skin, blotches covering her face, she screams. 'May I?' Synapse asks as she picks the baby up.
'Oof. I hope Spidey comes back soon' Deadpool jokes, while Synapse takes the baby in her arms, and, eyes-wide, remarks that she has to be careful not to overdo it, as she releases her mental powers on the infant, whose skin reverts to its regular shade, and she stops screaming. Synapse explains that she is buffing the child's immune system, but can only do this once, as it is putting a big strain on her tiny body. Synapse hands the baby back to her mother, who thanks her. Quicksilver speeds over announces that Beacon Hill seems to be the epi-center, and that it is spreading – fast. Rogue instructs Quicksilver to get the mother and her baby to a hospital. 'Done' Quicksilver replies as he speeds away.
'What about having Torch nuke this place from above?' Deadpool suggests, but Rogue tells him that is not a good idea, as there are still too many civilians around. 'Life is too late for this man' Doctor Voodoo calls out as he sits beside a man who has been dug into the soil by tree roots, as though he was the soil. Doctor Voodoo adds that they need to understand the mechanics of this attack. Nearby, the Torch gazes out over the chaos around him, and becomes lost in his thoughts:
In Human Torch's memory:
'Do you understand? Johnny! Pay attention!' Reed Richards calls out. 'Believe it or not, there may come a day when you need to know about science!' Reed exclaims as Johnny sits nearby, playing on his mobile phone. 'Pfft. You kidding?' Johnny retorts. He smiles and exclaims 'That's why we got you, Reed!'
'Once again, you were right' Johnny whispers to himself, hanging his head, before declaring that he may not have a big brain, but he knows where to find some around here. 'Flame on!' Johnny shouts as he switches to his flame form and takes flight, carrying one of the civilians who have been affected by the strange goings-on, he tells his teammates that he is going for help and will be back soon, 'Where are you going?' Rogue shouts. Johnny reports back that he will ping Synapse ina a few minutes. 'Dammit, Johnny. One of us should have quite this group' Rogue mutters, 'Well, I -' Synapse begins, but she is interrupted by Quicksilver who speeds back in and tells the others that he is sorry to interrupt, but that he saw somebody they should all go meet. '“M-E-A-T” hopefully?' Deadpool asks, adding that his trigger muscles are atrophying. 'Follow me!' Quicksilver tells the others as he speeds off, calling back that he will leave them a trail. 'Pietro! Wait! STAY WITH THE TEAM!' Rogue shouts, but gets no response.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, several scientists have gathered outside the building and are looking through binoculars across the city. 'What do you think's happening across the river?' one of them asks. 'It looks like possibly a -' one of them begins, before the Torch drops down amongst them: 'Nerds assemble!' he calls out to them. 'It's the Human Torch!' one of them shouts. 'I have so many questions -' another begins, while the Torch tells him that he gets the same ones all the time, but the nerd continues: '- about Dr Richards' he asks, enquiring whether there will be any posthumous publications of his scientific endeavors. Johnny smiles, and tells the scientists that Reed is not around to help them anymore, but that he would want them to help him help this city. With the injured civilian in his arms, Johnny tells the nerds that the Avengers are doing damage control, but that they are going to find out what is causing this reaction and stop it. He assures the nerds that if they help him out, he will tell them all the Reed stories he can think of. 'Is that guy dead?' one of the nerds asks. 'Yes. But I didn't do it' the Torch declares, adding that this poor fella is going to help them figure out what is happening.
Back across the river, Rogue, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo and Synapse are set upon by a huge group of the strange dog creatures. Doctor Voodoo knocks one back with his staff, while Deadpool uses his sword to cut a swathe through them, and Rogue slams her fist into one of them. 'First Johnny flies away, and then Quicksilver runs off. Rogers asked me to quarterback this squad. Would they treat him like that?' she asks, wondering if it is because she is a woman. 'Let's not jump to any conclusions. Maybe it's because you're a mutant?' Deadpool suggests. Rogue kicks one of the dogs, but it bites down on her foot. 'Not helping, Deadpool!' Doctor Voodoo calls out as he slams a fist into one of the dog creatures. 'That's my mutant power – not helping' Deadpool replies. Synapse use her psychic abilities to contact Pietro and tells him to return to their last position, but gets no response.
At that moment, the Mayor is with some police officers, holding a press conference, she reports that they have state, local and federal teams mobilized and on the way. She adds that they have set up a cordon and that the situation is contained for the moment. 'It is anything but, Madame Mayor' a voice calls out, as the mysterious being called the Shredded Man moves towards the Mayor. 'Your entire species is out of balance. Abandon your cities. Humans that return to nature will have the best chance of survival!' the Shredded Man declares, two of the hound creatures at his side, and police officers walking alongside him, under his control. The officers attack other policemen, as the Shredded Man tells the Mayor that every ounce of the bloody red meat that falls out of factory farms requires hundreds of gallons of water to produce, but that this planet only has so much to give – so tonight, finally – humans are the cattle. He then grabs the Mayor by her face, and the top of a nearby building is suddenly blown open.
The Shredded Man looks up at the building and declares that this planet has never endured a more disruptive or disgusting civilization, and announces that he shall humble it. The entire building is then blown open as large mass of swirling tentacle-like vines writhe upwards, and the Shredded Man boasts that this is the first stalk from which a new world will grow. Droplets form on the vines, and within them, strange creatures can be seen. 'Come dawn, the seeds of rebirth will be carried on the winds' the Shredded Man announces. 'MURDERER!' someone suddenly shouts. This gets the Shredded Man's attention, and he turns around, only to be met with a fist in his face – Quicksilver's!
The Shredded Man is thrown back several feet, as Quicksilver asks him who he is with – Hydra, or someone new? But then he remarks that he promised himself that after he discovered Magneto was not his father he would stop concerning himself with the ideologies of murderous zealots, as all lunatics are simply here for him to take his aggression out on. 'I don't care what you stand for!' Quicksilver exclaims. The Shredded Man gets back to his feet and replies that is so true – none of them cared and now it is too late. He adds that in less than a century this city will be underwater, and not long after, human civilization will be extinct by its own hand. 'I offer a mercy killing' the Shredded Man remarks. 'Listen here, loon. I'm -' Quicksilver begins, before the controlled police officers come up behind him and the two narrow vines are lowered towards him by the huge mass of vines that rise above them. The vines lash out at Quicksilver, who tells the Shredded Man that he is only conscious because he is giving him one last chance to stop this madness.
Quicksilver continues, suggesting to the Shredded Man that he cooperate, as it will go a long way towards leniency in his sentencing. But suddenly, Quicksilver is thrown by the vines towards the Shredded Man who tells the Avenger that he is thinking too small, and boasts that he has already won. He adds that there will be no one left to judge what he has done, anyway. Quicksilver feel strange, his eyes roll back and he asks the Shredded Man what has happened to him. 'Today, I am remaking but one city...tomorrow my work will be global' the Shredded Man boasts as he touches a pod connected to the mass of vines and pushes Quicksilver towards the pod. 'You're a mutant?' he asks. 'No' the weak Quicksilver responds. 'No matter. I try not to feed my darlings junk food... but just one bit of gene trash can't hurt' the Shredded Man decides. As the pod begins to close in around him, Quicksilver goes eyes-wide with fear. 'The Avengers will stop you' Quicksilver gasps. The Shredded Man tells Quicksilver to hush, as that is just the hallucinogens talking. 'You're already dead' the Shredded Man calls out, but the pod has completely closed on Quicksilver, encasing him in darkness.
'Shouldn't the Avengers have nipped this in the bud. Like, maybe – 50 years ago?' a strange robotic voice calls out. Another voice addresses the robotic voice as Belle and tells her not to be too judgmental, suggesting that the Avengers were perhaps too busy beating up the X-Men. He then asks her to break down what they know. Belle reports that it is 2087 and they have arrived in Boston, the first city to be quarantined – and the first to be destroyed. Belle is revealed to be a small “bombshell” type tattoo on a large robotic arm as she adds that there is not a single artificial transmission in the air, so they will have to snoop the hard way. She then suggests to the person she is connected to that if he is going dumpster diving, perhaps he can reach in with his other arm this time. 'You know having a spectrometer means I can practically taste the rubbish' she adds.
As the mysterious figure makes his way through the overgrown forest, passking the skeletal remains of strange dog-like creatures, Belle asks him if he thinks that whatever caused this is related to the M-Pox. 'Perhaps' the mysterious figure replies, adding that it doesn’t feel right. He finds a mass of cables leading to a pod and tells Belle that this feels like a terrible mistake. He wonders why the Kree would transform the Earth but not claim it – why destroy all intelligent life and leave only a handful of Inhumans? Belle points out that the Inhumans seem as baffled as to what happened as they do. The mysterious figure moves the cables back, and a large pod falls to the ground, it splatters open and a dog-like creature appears, growling.
Belle remarks that the creature's scans are like all the rest – a plant-animal chimera with a single-lobed pod for a brain. The mysterious figure raises a large gun and asks Belle if she knows what disturbs him the most, before opening fire at the creature, which explodes, spraying green gunk everywhere. 'They don't seem to feel pain' the mystery man remarks. 'Yuck. You really know how to show a girl a good time' Belle mutters. 'Well, you did say you wanted a closer look at the insides of these things' the mystery man tells her, before Belle reports that there is elevated Terrigen in the air. The large mystery man tells her that he has the mask ready and suggests they hunker down back in the subway tunnel until it passes.
He makes his way into a deserted building, a flash of energy can be seen glowing from his left eye as he picks up a newspaper. 'Huh. Wade' he remarks as he looks at the newspaper, the headline of the Boston Globe reads “Avengers in Boston” and shows a photo of Deadpool, Rogue and Quicksilver. The mystery man decides that whatever happened, the Avengers must have been decimated to add Deadpool to the roster. He tells Belle that he knows it is hundreds of miles to the south, but that they should check the Dead Drop, as maybe Wade managed to pass a message before he died. He gets up and tosses the newspaper aside, and Belle notes that they have a year and a date. 'But don't forget we've got problems of our own, CABLE!' she exclaims as Cable steps outside. Nathan Dayspring Summers a.k.a. Cable tells Belle that Stryfe will have to wait as they are going back to 2016 to fix what went wrong with the Avengers! 'Oh, goodie!' Belle mutters, announcing that she will pack her sunscreen and start synthesizing some M-Pox shots as Cable is confronted by a horde of the dog-creatures.
Commander Rogers, Deadpool, Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse II (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Human Torch II & Mr Fantastic
Quicksilver discovered that Magneto was not his father in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #7.
It was revealed during the adventure that took place in Uncanny Avengers (2nd series) that Quicksilver was not a mutant.