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Jim Zub (writer), Kim Jacinto, Jahnoy Lindsay & Julian Ramierz (artists) Tamara Bonvillain & Rachelle Rosenberg (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), RB Silva & Jesus Aburtov (cover artists), Jim Lee, Chris Sotomayor & Michael Kelleher (X-Men Trading Card variant cover), 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
Trapped in the tunnels under a bank in New York City which is currently cut off from the rest of the world by a Darkforce dome, Rogue finds herself working alongside criminals Scorpia and Shocker as they are attacked by creatures that have emerged from the Darkforce. Scorpia resists Rogue's leadership, but Rogue takes control of the situation, and the trio find themselves working together to survive. Elsewhere in the city, the Human Torch, Synapse and Wasp find themselves confronted by their teammate Doctor Voodoo who has been possessed by a creature from within the Darkforce dimension. The trio do what they can to keep creatures that the possessed Voodoo throws at them at bay, before Synapse finds herself communicating with Doctor Voodoo's astral form, as he asks her if he can share her body as they battle the demon. Rogue and her uneasy allies soon find themselves confronted by an enormous, hideous creature, so Rogue grabs Scorpia and Shocker and flies them out of the tunnel, drawing the creature to the surface. The Wasp and the Torch find encouragement from civilians trapped in the Darkforce dome as they continue to battle the creatures, while Synapse and Voodoo who is sharing her body still, continue to battle the creature possessing his body. Rogue then flies Shocker and Scorpia into the large creature and they attack it from within, eventually causing it to explode. Scorpia and Shocker are pleased with their efforts, before Rogue rejoins her teammates, taking on the possessed Voodoo, she is able to expel the demon possessing him which results in a wave that washes across the imprisoned New York City, destroying all of the Darkforce creatures, at least temporarily. Voodoo is fine after his possession, while the Wasp suggests they need to sort out who is in charge on this team, and Rogue agrees, although she suggests they park that discussion until they can be free of the Darkforce dome.
'Don't freak out!' Rogue order´s criminals Shocker and Scorpia as chattering creatures surround the trio. The Shocker goes wide-eyed and swears, while Scorpia screams. 'Stay close and let 'em have it!' Rogue shouts as she punches one of the horrible creatures that emerges from the shadows. Shocker releases one of his vibro-smashers against a creature, knocking it to the ground, as Scorpia leaps into the air and fires a blast from her battlesuit's tail, striking another creature. But as they fight, in the sewers beneath New York City, more creatures slip out from the shadows and into view, ready to fight Rogue and the two criminals.
'I'm a super-villain, lady! You're not the boss of me!' Scorpia snaps back to Rogue, unaware that a creature is swooping down towards her. 'Watch your head, Scorpia!' Rogue responds as she pushes Scorpia back and grabs the creature, shoving it into the ground. 'Hey!' Scorpia shouts. 'If you push me again I'll blast your face off!' Rogue doesn't respond, as Shocker glances over to them and suggests they concentrate on the monsters here. The trio back up and regroup, with Rogue remarking that they don't have time to argue – the only way they are getting out of this alive is if they work together. Shocker tells Rogue that she is the leader until someone better comes along.
“Til someone better comes along” Rogue thinks to herself. 'Ain't that the sad truth. She decides that ever since Steve Rogers disbanded the Unity Squad, she has felt like that is all she can do – pretend she is in charge until someone qualified takes the reins, keeping the team stumbling from crisis to crisis. Rogue decides that she can't handle it, that she doesn't know how to be the leader that they need, recalling how when Janet tried to get her to take charge – she simply flew away and left them high and dry. Scorpia blasts another creature, while Rogue punches one in the face, she spins around just as a creature rises up above her, and she takes her frustrations out on the creature, punching it hard.
At that moment, above ground but trapped within the force field that surrounds Manhattan, Jan van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, Johnny Storm the Human Torch and Emily Guerrero a.k.a. Synapse stare up at their teammate, Jericho Drum a.k.a. Doctor Voodoo, who hovers above them, possessed. 'Jericho!' the Wasp calls out. 'Oh my God!' Synapse gasps, while the shadow parasite within Voodoo appears to take over Voodoo's image, boasting that this body is a conduit for mystic energy, and that it likes the body. 'Whatever you are, release Doctor Voodoo, now!' the Wasp shouts as she flies towards the parasite and blasts it with her wasp's sting – until a surge of mystic energy washes over the Wasp and knocks her backwards. 'No. We will keep it' the horrird parasite boats, turning its attention to the Torch and Synapse, it announces that they were invited to take this place and everything inside, so they accepted. 'We're not going down without a fight, pal!' the Torch declares, before Synapse warns him not to blast him, as he could hurt Voodoo. Johnny tells Synapse that he knows – but what else is he supposed to do?
'You cannot stop us!' the parasite possessing Voodoo boasts. 'This body is ours. This city is ours' it exclaims, as chattering creatures start to surround Synapse and the Torch. Synapse tells the Torch that the waves of fear and pain around them are brutal, but she will try to contact Jericho's subconscious mind and force out that monster. Johnny creates some flames around his body and tells Synapse that that sounds good. He encourages her to hold on, while he keeps these critters off her. The Wasp recovers at this moment and Synapse helps her to her feet, while Synapse asks if they have a backup plan in case this doesn't work. 'Have we ever?' the Torch asks. 'Good point' Synapse replies, and as several creatures lunge towards them, Johnny shouts 'Let's fire it up!' and he releases a powerful surge of flames that wash over the chattering creatures.
The Torch goes over to the Wasp and asks her if she is all right. Jan tells him that she is, but just a bit woozy after that hit. A moment later, the parasite possessing Voodoo calls down to the heroes: 'Burn while you can, it will not matter. Your light will die. Our darkness will take over. Every shadow is ours...and this new home is made for us...!' and a moment later, a surge of energy rises up from the ground, and from it bursts a huge creature. Synapse reports that she is pushing as hard as she can, but she can't find Jericho. 'He's...he's just not there!' Emily explains. Suddenly, Voodoo's astral projection appears before Synapse, confirming that it is true, and that his spirit has been displaced by the Darkforce creature inhabiting his body. Synapse goes wide-yed as Voodoo asks if he can share her body until they route the invader. 'Uhhh...' Synapse groans.
Back underground all of the creatures seem to have been defeated and Rogue asks Shocker and Scorpia if they are okay, to which Shocker tells her 'Yeah...that was actually kind of a rush' to which Scorpia remarks that she is amazed Shocker didn't electrocute himself with his stupid gloves. 'I told ya before, my vibro-smashers don't shoot out electricity! They vibrate the air really fast' Shocker replies. 'Okay, then why are you called “The Shocker” instead of, like...I don't know...The Vib-' Scorpia begins, to which Shocker interrupts her: 'Don't say it! Just don't!' Rogue looks over to them and tells them that they are cute, but they still have some unfinished business about them robbing that bank. 'Seriously?' Scorpia snaps. 'I thought this was the part where we team up 'cause we risked our lives for each other and stuff!' Rogue looks at Scorpia and replies 'Honey, that only happens in comic books'. Rogue starts to remind Scorpia that they were looting during a crisis, when suddenly, there is a loud rumbling, and a huge, monstrous creature roars as it bursts forth towards them. 'Oh, come on!' Rogue complains.
Outside, the Torch and the Wasp blast away at the creatures, while the Torch calls out 'If you guys could hurry this up, that would be just dandy!' Synapse concentrates hard, and Voodoo's astral form tells her to stay calm, and that she is doing well, while up above, the parasite possessing Voodoo's body calls out 'Lay waste, lay claim. It is all ours!' More creatures appear, and once Voodoo's astral form is sharing Synapse's body, he asks her how she feels. Synapse tells him that she feels weird, but good. 'Let's go' she suggests, as Voodoo takes control of her body and levitates her into the air. 'Purify the body, release the flesh' Voodoo declares, but the parasite tells him that his magic will not save him. 'Creature rampage or wizard battle?' the Torch asks Wasp. The Wasp tells him that they need to keep these people safe and hope that Synapse and Voodoo can sort out the rest.
Down below, the huge creature roars as Rogue swoops backwards, grabbing Scorpia and Shocker, who exclaims that if they get outta this alive, he promises never to rob a bank again. Scorpia and Shocker fire their respective powers towards the creature, while Rogue tells them both to hold on, as she flies upwards towards a grate above them – and bursts through it, out into the open air above ground – but a moment later, the huge roaring creature follows, breaking up the ground around it as it tries make its way above ground. Rogue turns around and hovers mid-air, holding Scorpia and Shocker as they stare back at the creature. 'Holy moly... look at that thing! Somebody better call the Avengers!' Scorpia suggests. 'Shut up, Scorpia...' Rogue mutters.
Nearby: 'Another one down, but I'm running out of firepower here, literally!' the Torch calls out as he blasts a large creature that is following him. The Wasp fires her sting at several small bat-like creatures and tells the Torch that she knows it looks grim, but they are all that stands between these goobers and over a million New Yorkers. 'Watch out!' a voice calls out, and the Wasp turns to see a dog-like creature leaping towards her – only for a woman to come to Rogue's defense, smashing a baseball bat into the creature, which falls to the ground. 'Oh no you don't!' the woman exclaims. Several other civilians rush over and start to bash the creature as well. The Wasp smiles and jokes that she thinks the neighborhood watch is on the case.
As the Torch drops down from above, the Wasp approaches the civilians and asks if everyone is okay. 'We're fine, all things considered' the woman who saved her replies. A man remarks that all the destruction, craziness and demons falling from the sky reminds him of the Inferno from back in the day. 'That was before our time, Ajusshi' someone else comments. Wasp asks the group if there is anything else they can do for them, but the woman with the baseball bat tells her not to worry about them, and to go find other people in need and help them. Suddenly, the Wasp and the Torch look up to the sky as they hear a screaming, and see Synapse attacking Voodoo's possessed body. 'That's not good...' the Torch utters.
'You're a stubborn one, aren't you?' Voodoo calls out to the parasite possessing his body as Synapse wraps a hand around Voodoo's neck, and forces Voodoo's body to the ground, where they crash into a road with a surge of energy. The parasite gets Voodoo's body up quickly, and calls out 'Go ahead, take your body back...if you can!' Through Synapse's body, Voodoo defiantly replies 'I shall'. 'Release me!' Voodoo's astral form declares as he uses Synapse's body to fire a blast of energy at his own. 'Fool!' the parasite responds, as it lashes out at Synapse, knocking her back, it tells her that she does not have the strength. 'Perhaps not, but I know someone who does' Voodoo replies through Synapse.
At that moment: 'Don't fly towards it! Get us outta here!' Shocker pleads as Rogue flies towards the huge creature, 'No can do, Shockeroo... we've gotta stop that monster before it hurts anyone else!' Rogue replies. 'We're not heroes!' Scorpia shrieks, to which Rogue explains that it isn't a matter of being heroes – they are all in this muck together.
'Oh, $#%&...' Shocker utters, as Rogue slams into the creature's face, the trio find themselves in the creature's head, where Scorpia repeats over and over 'We're gonna die' as she stings other creatures inside the larger creature's head. Shocker releases his vibrations, while Rogue punches a creature and tells Scorpia that they are not going to die, not if they have each other's backs.
The group fight on, as Rogue thinks that her talking about teammwork is a crock, as she messes up every team she is part of, and hurts those closest to her, wreck everything she touches. Shocker's gauntlets glow as he slams his fist into the side of the creature's face, and Rogue continues to punch hard and fast – and eventually, the creature, and the creatures inside it, is destroyed, its large body collapses to the ground. 'Holy $#%&! We did it!' Scorpia calls out as she and Shocker stand amongst the remains of the creatures and high-five each other. Shocker laughs and exclaims 'We rule!' while Rogue looks around, then suddenly hears a voice in her head – it's Synapse and she reports that they need her badly. Synapse explains that Voodoo has been possessed by some kind of creature, who summonsed a bunch of really big shadow monsters. 'Hey! Where are you going?' Shocker calls out. Rogue doesn't answer him, she just flies off, so Shocker turns to Scorpia and asks if this means they are X-Men now. 'You're an idiot, Herman' Scorpia mutters.
Rogue tells herself that she is a fool – after all these years, she still doesn't know how to play well with others. Synapse reports that Jericho is fighting spiritually, but the parasite's physical form is too tough her for her to handle – and they need her muscles. Rogue tells herself that she has to get her act together, and flies on.
'Run for cover, people! I'll keep it busy!' the Torch cries out as he engulfs the large creature in flames. 'Don't know how much longer we can keep this up' the Wasp calls out as she fires her sting, when suddenly, 'Oh, thank god...' the Wasp utters as she sees Rogue arrive above – and watches as she slams into Voodoo's possessed body and grabs him, holding him in place, while she calls out 'Okay, gang. Tell me what ya need'. Synapse holds Voodoo's staff, while Voodoo's astral form explains to Rogue that the shadow parasite is attached to his body, and that she must tear it out. Rogue wraps her arms around Voodoo's neck, and the shadow parasite seems to glow as part of it emerges from Voodoo's mouth. 'Are you sure? 'cause that's gonna be plenty messy and -' Rogue begins, while Voodoo shouts 'JUST DO IT!' so Rogue latches onto Voodoo's body and the shadow parasite howls 'NOOOOO' as Rogue pulls it from Voodoo's body.
This results in a surge of energy spreading from the parasite, it washes out across the city, striking the creatures and destroying them in spectacular display, while the heroes take cover from the energy. The energy washes out further and further – on a rooftop somewhere in the city, Daredevil covers his ears as a mighty BOOM echoes around him, while Luke Cage and Iron Fist watch as a creature they were fighting is destroyed. Jessica Jones stands with some children and watches the energy gather nearby, pulled upwards into the darkness that covers the city – and as the energy begins to subside, Doctor Strange takes a moment's respite and sits down.
'We... did it' Synapse utters as she collapses. 'Careful, Emily. You pushed your mind to the limit' Rogue points as she helps Synapse to stand. Rogue looks over to Doctor Voodoo and asks him if he is himself again. 'I... am' Voodoo replies. He explains that his insides feel like they have been scraped with sandpaper, but otherwise, he is whole. 'Thank you' he adds. 'That was one heck of a light show!' the Torch exclaims as he and the Wasp fly over to their teammates. Synapse glances at Rogue and tells her that she doesn't want to complain after that epic rescue, 'But you smell like poop' Synapse informs her. 'Yeah, Sugah, that's a bit of a story' Rogue replies, while Voodoo announces that they will have to wait – as the creatures have been wounded, but they will quickly recover and attack again. Synapses passes Voodoo his staff back and suggests that they can handle it if they stick together. 'Speaking of which, we need to clear the air on this whole “team” thing' the Wasp remarks.
Rogue tells Janet that she hears her, and agrees, and as the others gather together, Rogue adds 'Just as soon as we figure out how ta bring back the light'.
Doctor Voodoo, Human Torch II, Rogue, Synapse, Wasp (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Doctor StrangeLuke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones (all Defenders)
This issue ties into the “Secret Empire” event.
The Unity Squad was officially disbanded by Captain America in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #14.
New York City was indeed overrun by demons falling from the sky during the classic “Inferno” crossover.