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Jim Zub (writer), Kim Jacinto (artist) Tamara Bonvillain (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), RB Silva & Jesus Aburtov (cover artists), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)Avengers created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Rogue, the Human Torch, Synapse, Doctor Voodoo and the Wasp are all trapped inside the Darkforce dome that has covered New York City. They are cut off from the rest of the world, and tensions are rising between Rogue and the Wasp over the best way to handle the situation. The heroes try to break through the dome, to no avail, and before long they realize that they aren't alone, as horrid creatures begin emerging from the shadows. The heroes set about trying to defeat the monsters while also protecting the civilians trapped inside the dome that has cut Manhattan off. Synapse rescues some children from a burning building, before the Torch absorbs the flames and puts the fire out. Rogue and the Wasp continue to argue, so Rogue takes flight, realizing she probably shouldn't have just flown away, before she discovers Scorpia and Shocker attempting to rob a bank. They attack Rogue, before the trio fall through the floor and into the tunnels beneath the bank, where they are surrounded by several of the monsters. The Wasp, Torch, Synapse and Doctor Voodoo are continuing to fight monsters when suddenly, Doctor Voodoo is possessed by a demonic being, adding to their troubles! Outside the dome, Quicksilver arrives at Manhattan and discovers that he can't get in. He soon receives an emergency distress call that requests his assistance in Washington DC, and he speeds off.
'One minute we're kicking butt against an army of bad guys, now this... Avengers, we've been set up!' Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp calls out to her teammates in the Avengers Unity Squad as they hover amongst seemingly endless darkness. Rogue calls out to Jericho Drumm a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo and asks him what they are up against here. His eyes glowing with magical energy, Doctor Voodoo announces that this is clearly unnatural, but that he will need to take a closer look to determine its origin. Johnny Storm the Human Torch creatures some light thanks to his flame powers as he hovers alongside the others, carrying Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse in his arms. Synapse reports that she feels confusion and pain in all directions, and that people are terrified. 'Can you blame 'em?' the Torch asks.
Darkness fell over New York City eight minutes ago, as the heroes continue to try and make sense of their surroundings, the Torch exclaims that it is pitch-black outside in the middle of the day! Synapse pulls her phone out of a pouch on her belt and reports that power is out below, and she has no cell signal to call Quicksilver. 'We're completely cut off from the outside' she declares. 'Not for long if Ah have anything ta say about it!' Rogue exclaims as she flies forward – and then slams into a forcefield that surrounds the darkness, knocking her back. The Wasp flies over to Rogue and asks her if she is okay. Rogue rubs her head and tells her that the only thing wounded is her pride. The Wasp points out that not every problem gets solved with a punch. Rogue narrows her eyes as she tells Janet to speak for herself, as punching has done her pretty good over the years.
The team regroups, and Johnny tells the others that he knows it is a long shot, but he wants to see if his fire has any effect. Rogue tells him that it is a good idea as she takes Synapse from him. 'Wait, let's -' the Wasp calls out, but too late, as the Torch fires a burst of flaming energy towards the barrier – and flames somehow pass through the darkness. 'That's not good' the Torch utters through gritted teeth. The Wasp asks the others if they can please slow down and figure out what is going on. Doctor Voodoo reports that there is mystical energy emanating from the darkness, but that the source is not immediately apparent. 'That said, it's clearly meant to keep us in' he remarks, while wondering where the power comes from. He concentrates hard, and discovers that the power comes from a man, but he does not recognize him. 'Wait, there' something else...' Voodoo begins, before a large hairy hand with claws suddenly grabs him. 'A creature!' Voodoo calls out, while a huge, monstrous creature emerges from the shadows, making a horrid screeching sound.
The Torch calls out to Voodoo, while telling the others that the creature just stepped out of the darkness. 'Well, he shoulda stayed there if he knew what was good for him!' Rogue exclaims as she drops Synapse, who begins to plummet to the street below, while she flies towards the creature – and flies right through the beast's face. This causes the creature to release Voodoo from its grasp, while Rogue swoops back around towards the street, 'Don't worry, Synapse. Ah gotcha' she assures her teammate as she flies back towards the others. 'Please never do that again...' Synapse utters. 'Uh, guys...' the Torch calls out, as gunk begins to drip from the creature's destroyed face. Voodoo reports that he understands now, and informs his teammates that these creatures are from the Darkforce Dimension. The drips begin to form into smaller creatures, while Voodoo explains that the sky above has been transformed into a conduit between this world and the creatures'.
'Then we're all that stands between those critters and innocent folks below! Let's get to it, Avengers!' Rogue calls out, as the heroes drop down to the ground, where the creatures are beginning to land. Rogue instructs Synapse to reach out with her powers and search for any wounded. 'You got it' Synapse replies, while Rogue asks Voodoo if he has any idea whether they can push these uglies back. Voodoo states that he will consult with the spirits, when suddenly, a huge creature lands on a rooftop, and explosions begin to occur as other creatures hit several buildings. 'You do that while Janet, Johnny and me take care of business!' Rogue exclaims. Synapse wishes everyone good luck, 'You, too' Voodoo tells her, before he utters 'Phantoms within the darkness, answer my call...' as he tries to find out more about the creatures.
On the rooftop: 'I'll keep it distracted!' the Wasp exclaims as the gape-jawed creature begins to case her. 'Roger that!' Johnny exclaims as he fires a blast of flame at another creature, and Rogue stands near some civilians, ready to protect them. The Torch passes one of the creatures and burns it with his flame. 'Ahhh, yes, that disgusting burning monster smell...' the Torch smiles. '... like wet dog mixed with Hulk farts'. At that moment, Rogue carries a slab of concrete with several civilians lying on top of it. 'Ah!' one of them exclaims. 'Hey!' another calls out. 'Quit shoving!' a third mutters, while Rogue tells herself that she can't believe she is saying this – but she misses Quicksilver right now!
Meanwhile, outside the dome, in Manhattan, Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver speeds across water, muttering that he can't leave the city for a minute without something ridiculous happening – now, some kind of force field is covering the island. He tries to punch the force field at several locations, darting about, he discovers that there is no gaps in the surface, when suddenly, an announcement over the communicator from the Tony Stark AI announces to any and all Avengers that are remaining, their services are required immediately. 'We are under attack. This is threat level red, defcon infinity stuff here, people – we need you to get to Washington DC!' Quicksilver stands on the edge of a boat that is on the water near the force field. He looks back out towards the force field, then turns and speeds away from it, answering Stark's call.
Back inside the dome, twelve minutes after darkness now, Synapse feels fear everywhere. She tells herself to focus, and when an explosion occurs in an apartment nearby, she detects that there are two trapped inside. 'Okay, Emily, you can do this' Synapse tells herself, leaping through a window, she reminds herself that it is just a burning building, and jumps up some broken stairs, 'I know you're afraid, but stay where you are! I'm coming to get you!' Synapse calls out to those trapped inside. She then kicks a door down and enters a burning room, where two young children are huddled in a corner. Synapse goes over to them and helps them up, she holds the young boy in her arms, and takes the girl's hand. She tells the children that she needs them to stay calm and follow her. 'Okay...' the girl utters, when suddenly, as they leave the room, the ceiling in front of them collapses. 'Looks like our exit's gone up in smoke...' Synapse utters, while the children begin to cough.
Outside, Rogue is punching one of the creatures in the face, when she receives a psychic cry from Synapse, who tells her that she hopes she can hear her, and to zero in on her location. Rogue turns from the creature, and flies towards the building where Synapse and the children are trapped – just as Synapse leaps from a window with the children in her arms. 'Hold on tight!' she tells the children, while Synapse calls out to Rogue 'Okay, I lied. You can catch me any time' as she and the children fall towards Rogue. Moments later, Rogue has placed Synapse and the children on the ground, and the Wasp flies down to Rogue, telling her that she is concerned they are spreading themselves too thin. Rogue tells Janet that can't be helped. 'In case ya hadn't noticed, the whole city's under attack'. 'Thank you, ninja-lady' one of the children utters. 'You're welcome' Synapse replies.
Janet narrows her eyes and tells Rogue that she knows, but that scattering in all directions is not going to solve this. 'Neither is arguing about strategy' Rogue retorts. 'That's the problem. There is no strategy!' Jan exclaims, while above them, the Torch is absorbing fires from around the city. Rogue glances back at Janet and tells her that if she is looking for someone to give orders, then she is on the wrong team. 'Just save lives and don't get killed' Rogue declares as she flies off. 'See how I absorbed that fire into my body? Pretty sweet, right' Johnny remarks as he drops down towards Synapse and the Wasp. 'You guys weren't even looking, were you?' Johnny asks, while the Wasp just sighs.
At that moment, Rogue drops down amongst some rubble and thinks to herself 'Well, that was mighty mature. Janet calls you out and you just bolt...'. She decides that she was honest with Janet, though, admitting to herself that she doesn't know how to take charge or inspire people to work together. 'Ah'm not Steve Rogers... and Ah never will be' Rogue tells herself, before she comes across a hole in a building and realizes that it wasn't made by any critters – meaning somebody's taking advantage of this mess to make a withdrawal. Rogue looks into the darkness and hears a voice utter 'Hurry up, Herman!' to which the response snaps 'I'm going, I'm going!' Inside, are Herman Schultz a.k.a. the Schocker, a criminal outfitted with “vibro-smashers” which he uses to shake and destroy anything that gets in his way. He slams his fist into the ground, breaking it up 'Nice one! Now it's my turn!' a woman in a green costume with a large scorpion-like tail exclaims. Her name is Elaine Coll a.k.a. Scorpia, a criminal who wears this high-tech scorpion battle suit.
A wall before them opens up and Shocker tells Scorpia that the Feds store part of the gold reserve here for the international banks. 'Holy moly!' Scorpia exclaims. 'No power, no security, so we are laughing!' Shocker tells her – when suddenly, Rogue begins to laugh, and the criminals turn to her. 'A bad-guy cackle full of impotent evil...something like that, right?' Rogue asks. 'Oh crap, it's the X-Men!' Scorpia calls out as she leaps into the air. 'Nope. Just li'l ol' me' Rogue declares as she dodges Scorpia's tail and slams the Shocker into a nearby pillar. Scorpia fires a blast of energy from her gauntlet and tells Rogue not to fight them. 'The government doesn't need all this gold! We... we could split it!' she suggests as the blast slams into Rogue, who tells Scorpia that she has been where she is at, so she is sympathetic – but she still has a job to do.
The Shocker addresses Scorpia by her true name, Elaine, and tells her not to try and negotiate with Rogue, as she has “hero brain” and thinks she is better than them. 'Just kick her ass!' Shocker exclaims as he slams his fists into the ground, creating a seismic shock that tears across the floor – and straight through it, causing the floor to collapse, and sending himself, Scorpia and Rogue plummeting into the tunnel below, where they land with a large splash in the water beneath the building. 'What the %#&! did you do that for?' Scorpia snaps at Shocker, who apologizes as he explains that he was trying to knock Rogue down, but these new vibro-smashers have a lot more kick than his old ones. Rogue glares at the criminals and tells them to shut up – as they have bigger fish to fry. Scorpia and Shocker move over and back up against Rogue, as creatures move out of the darkness and surround the trio, while making horrid chattering noises.
Back outside, the Wasp knocks a creature back with her wasp's sting, while the Torch tells her that they need to find Rogue – but Jan tells him that they can't worry about her right now – their priority is stopping these creatures any way they can. The Torch looks over to Synapse and asks her if she is all right. Synapse looks like she is in agony, her hands against her head as she closes her eyes and tells Johnny that there are so many people afraid, so much despair, it is hard to block it all out. The Wasp encourages Emily to hold on as best she can. 'We'll get through this rough patch and then -' the Wasp begins, before she notices Voodoo appear above them. She calls out to him, asking him if he has had any luck – 'Oh, NO!' the Wasp exclaims as Voodoo turns to her, clearly possessed, energy darts around him as a horrid voice exclaims 'Do not disturb us... we are feeding!'
Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Quicksilver, Rogue, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)Tony Stark AI
This issue ties into the “Secret Empire” event, and takes place after Secret Empire #0.
Jim Zub takes over as writer of Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) for the remainder of the series.