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Gerry Duggan (writer), Carlos Paacheco (penciler), Mariano Taibo & Dave Meikis (inkers), Richard Isanove (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Ryan Stegman & Richard Isanove (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
Rogue, Deadpool, Human Torch and Cable arrive on a yacht where dozens of criminals and villains are enjoying gambling and alcohol. They have come searching information on the Red Skull. None of the villains want to give the Avengers any information, though, so the Human Torch leaves them with the three mutants, and shortly, they rejoin him on the deck, after learning that they should check out the Starnes Bank in Bagalia. With the lead on the Red Skull's whereabouts obtained, Cable plans to return to the future, but when he attempts to bodyslide, his device malfunctions and he finds himself trapped in the present day. Rogue, Deadpool and the Human Torch travel to Bagalia, where Rogue and the Torch infiltrate the bank where the Red Skull is keeping a fortune. As the explore, they come in contact with Gambit, who claims that he was going to steal the Red Skull's fortune. Things are slightly awkward between Rogue and Gambit, and when Rogue attempts to kiss him, Gambit pulls away, fearing the illness she has might be contagious. When they break into the vault, they discover it empty, so Rogue and the Torch leave, unaware that the Red Skull was in disguise as Gambit. His daughter, Sin is with him, and the Red Skull takes a mysterious box from a safety deposit box. The gold is actually in the vault, they were simply disguising all of the gold, which they take, as the Red Skull thinks they can use it to persuade those who Xavier's mind cannot. The Red Skull then reveals that he is going to use Xavier's mind to destroy every man, woman and child who has ever been an Avenger – and that Steve Rogers will feel every single death.
The sky has a reddish-purple hue to it as a helicopter moves towards a large cruise liner, the Queen Kathleen. 'It's like the Love Boat for scum' Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool explains to his fellow Unity Squad Avengers Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable, Rogue and Johnny Storm the Humn Torch. Deadpool adds that he got a tip from an informant that someone they have been looking for finally showed up tonight. Deadpool adds that the yacht is like a floating Las Vegas – a different sin on each deck. 'Whatever you do, don't go down to steerage' Deadpool warns them.
Inside, in a casino-type area, numerous criminals, villains and super-villains are dressed in civilian clothing as they go about their gambling and other activities. The door to the room suddenly opens, 'I don't want to know how you know all this' Rogue tells Deapdool, while Cable raises his voice and announces to everyone in the room that they are here to talk. 'Invite only, chumps!' one of the men exclaims, pulling a weapon from his jacket. 'Here's mine!' Deadpool exclaims as he kicks the man in the face. 'Not again!' a man remarks to another. 'This gang busted up Black Cat's game the other night. They're looking for -' the other man begins, as Rogue announces 'The Red Skull'. She walks between the tables and tells the criminals and villains that one of them knows something – one of them always knows something. 'The Skull's not one of you. He's not a hood out to make a buck. Maybe his next plot kills you, or someone you love' Rogue suggests.
A man in a white suit with a mask around his eyes puts his hands on his poker chips and remarks that he has no love for the Red Skull, as he hasn't forgotten the Nazis in France. He adds that, personal feelings aside, it is not exactly good business to be seen helping the Avengers. Human Torch leans over the table and picks up the two dice, addressing the man as the Grey Gargoyle and assuring him that it is in his best interest to help them. 'As hideouts go, this tub is pretty swanky. Imagine the damage to the boat...if our little chat heats up' the Torch suggests as he shakes the dice in his hands, which he powers up with flame, and lets the ruined dice bounce across the table, to where a man in a suit that the Torch addresses as Honest John, the Red Skull's stooge, is standing. 'Former associate of Herr Schmidt... and I cannot help you' Honest John replies as he then sips his champagne.
The Torch then thanks the criminals for cooperating, and remarks that he had to try, before turning and walking away from the table. 'Excuse me?' Honest John asks, confused. 'Ain't you taking her pals, Torch?' another man asks. Johnny turns back to them and shrugs, remarking that when they said they didn't know anything about the Red Skull, that concluded all Avengers business. 'But these unchaperoned X-Men still have some questions for you' Johnny calls back, as everyone in the room turns to Cable, Deadpool and Rogue, who standing in the center of the room. Deadpool and Cable ready their guns, while Rogue cracks her knuckles.
Thirty seconds later, Johhny is out on the deck, where Cable, Deadpool and Rogue approach him, Cable reports that Honest John gave up a name – the Starnes Bank, and Rogue adds that they got a location – Bagalia. Cable tells the Torch that he plays the “good cop” well. 'Yeah, well, it's either that, or threaten to set someone on fire, and I'm a crappy actor' Torch replies, adding that he has never heard of Bagel-ia. Deadpool throws some deck loungers into the ocean and exclaims 'Ah, sweet, romantic Bagalia. It combines the scum of Madripoor with the secrecy of Swiss banking' and offers to put the jet on standby. Cable then tells the others that this finishes his business here – find, and that if they find the Skull's money, they will find the Skull. He presses a button on his bionic arm, 'Good luck' Cable tells Rogue and the Torch – but instead of bodysliding, there is a loud screeching sound, followed by an explosion.
'Should we be pretending not to see Cable?' Deadpool asks. Smoke rises from Cable's body, and asks his AI, Belle, what just happened. Belle explains to Cable that when they last fought Stryfe in the year 2087, he attached a tachyon anchor to his nervous system. 'How could you not notice that?' Cable asks as the others walk towards the helicopter. Belle apologizes to Cable and admits that she didn't even know to look for it. She adds that Stryfe must have thought hr would be trapping them in the future when they next fought him, but he didn't count on them traveling back to 2016 first. Cable asks Nelle if she can untether them, but Belle explains that she can't without the correct protein code, and that there are trillions of combinations – so she is afraid they are stuck here for a while. Cable climbs into the chopper as it takes off and informs the others that he is returning to their headquarters, as he needs to order some special equipment from the lab. 'I trust you'll be able to do without me.. .on the trip to Bagalia'.
Later, a jet descends over a tall building, 'Green light! Go!' Deadpool exclaims as Rogue and the Torch fly out of the jet, and Deadpool drops out of it on a motorcycle. Deadpool declares that SHIELD knew the make and model of the vault installed in the Starnes bank, so it should be no problem to crack. 'Famous last words. I wish you'd quit jinxing missions' Rogue mutters, while the Torch tells the others that he will clear a landing pad. 'Why is Deadpool on a bike?' Rogue asks, to which the Torch remarks that it is weird how they don't even talk about this stuff anymore. 'Uh-oh. Maybe we should have called in more of the squad' the Torch suggests as he and Rogue land on the rooftop, and a large machine-gun type weapon turns to them – only for Deadpool's motorcycle to fall on it, destroying it. 'Very stealthy, Deadpool... but doesn't jumping out of planes on motorcycles get expensive?' the Torch asks. Deadpool has a parachute on his back and lands on the rooftop, telling the Torch not to worry about it, as it wasn't his bike. He adds that he thinks they can all agree his method of turret removal is working. 'Speaking of working, is Synapse coming back soon?' Deadpool asks, but Rogue tells him that she isn't sure.
Rogue continues, explaining that Rogers said Synapse needed some personal time. 'I think she had a death in the family' the Torch adds, and Rogue agrees. The Torch opens a door on the rooftop and reports that the elevator car is down in the lobby, so they are clear. Deadpool tells Rogue and the Torch to head down to the vault level, while he will have the first security system offline in a few moments, as he tinkers with a control panel. Rogue and the Torch drop down the elevator shaft, when Deadpool contacts them via communicator, revealing that someone else already disabled the motion detectors on the vault level – nine minutes ago. 'Copy that. We're not alone' Rogue acknowledges, while Deadpool sits down and reports that the system was bypassed at the root level, so whoever breached it knows what they are doing. Deadpool then asks the others if they want him down there with them.
Rogue forces the door open and tells Deadpool to stay on overwatch. 'Should we bail out, Rogue? If we're caught -' the Torch begins, but Rogue tells him that they will stay on the mission, and that Rogers knows thia is a Red Skull operation, and they may have to get their hands dirty. They look around, and find a large hallway, empty, save for some sets of armor lined up against the wall. The Torch is surprised, and tells Rogue that he thought Bagalia was supposed to be one of the poorest nations in the world. 'It is. Unless you're a criminal with banking needs. Then it's a paradise' Rogue replies, revealing that the entire nation is corrupt from the bottom up. She wonders what the Skull is hiding here. Rogue and the Torch make their way down a corridor, and Torch asks her what happens when they find the Red Skull. 'What do you mean?' Rogue replies. 'I mean, he has Charles Xavier's telepathic brain in his head. Are we supposed to do brain surgery?' the Torch asks. Rogue tells the Torch that she thinks if she could pick anyone to perform brain surgery on the Red Skull, it would be Deadpool.
They hear a strange beeping noise, and round a corner, both Rogue and the Human Torch go wide-eyed as they discover Gambit standing over the body of a guard, and pressing his hand to a scanner on the wall. '...it's just your old friend, Gambit. Bein' honest... I didn't take you for the thievin' life' Gambit smirks. Gambit looks at Rogue and tells her that it has been too long. 'What the hell are you doing here, Remy?' Rogue asks, pulling her hood back off her head. Gambit tells her that in exchange for a generous finder's fee, a little birdie on a yacht that she recently visited gave him a heads-up that the Red Skull might have a stash here. Gambit explains that he thought he might help himself and hurt the Skull at the same time. 'Except you knew I'd be coming' Rogue points out. 'Hold that thought' Gambit tells her, before asking if on her way in, Rogue passed by the suits of armor. 'Yeah, why?' the Torch replies, before glancing backwards as Gambit removes his trenchcoat and points out that the armor are not deocrations. 'Suddenly I wish Deadpool was here!' the Torch exclaims as he turns around and sees several sets of armor, holding swords and other weapons, standing behind him.
'FLAME ON!' the Torch shouts as he powers up and fires a surge of power towards the armors. At the same time, Rogue leaps towards one of the armors and slams her fist into the shield, while telling Gambit that they will crack their arms open, and he can take them out. But Gambit tinkers with the control panel on the vault door, and tells Rogue that as the armors are active, she and the Torch will have to watch his back, as he only has a few seconds to enter the vault room before it locks down. One of the armors lumbers towards Gambit, 'Great! Now suddenly I wish Deadpool was here' Rogue mutters as she wraps a cape around one of the knights' armors, 'Deadpool, come on down! Deadpool?' Rogue calls out as she gets no response, before she swings the armor into the one that was approaching Gambit, destroying them both.
The Torch faces off against another of the armors and admits that this is kinda fun – breaking into a bank. He then slams his flaming fist through the armor, 'No chance, knight! Better murderbots than you have tried!' the Torch jokes, before Deadpool's voice is heard over the communicator, apologizing, he explains that he was off heads. 'You guys all good down there?' he asks, before announcing that there is a whole security sub-routine hidden in the environmental controls. 'Seems like there are some automated sentries. Keep your head on a swivel for them' Deadpool suggests, while one of the armors suddenly slams their shield into the Torch, knocking him to the ground. 'Johnny!' Rogue shouts, wide-eyed, she flies over and slams into the armor, 'It's really pretyt genius' Deadpool remarks, as Rogue tells Deadpool that they handled it, and to stand by. 'It's just my pride. Ow. And my head' the Torch mutters, while Rogue slams the armor through the side of the building, 'We just lost the element of surprise' Rogue points out, as she hovers in the air and watches the armor plummet to the ground below, adding that they are on the clock now.
Gambit approaches Rogue and informs her that they are through the vibranium shell, so the rest is a cakewalk. 'Is now a good time to discuss our split?' Gambit asks. 'Our past splits never concerned you, so why should this one?' Rogue replies without looking at Gambit. She then walks towards the vault door, Gambit and the Torch follow her, and the Torch tells the others that this all feels really illegal. 'It's kind of exhilarating' he adds. 'You don't expect me to leave empty-handed, do you?' Gambit remarks. Rogue tells him that he can help himself to whatever he likes, but that there is no split where the Skull is concerned – whatever is here is property of the Avengers. Rogue uses her incredible strength to tear open the vault, 'Damn' she remarks as she looks inside the vault – it's empty.
'Looks like this ain't a heist after all' Gambit points out. Rogue tells Johnny to give her a moment, to join Deadpool and tell him to be ready for extraction. 'Got it' Johnny replies as he takes his leave. Hands on hips, Rogue remarks to Gambit that she would say this whole trip was a huge waste of time – but that would be a lie. She leans into Gambit, who leans back away from her, and puts a playing card, the Ace of Hearts, between their faces, and Gambit tells Rogue that he is sorry, but he knows she has the “cloud cancer”, which he thinks could be communicable between mutants. Rogue looks to the ground, then back at Gambit and tells him that it was her mistake. Rogue pulls her hood back over her head and Gambit tells her that he will see her soon. 'I doubt that, Remy' Rogue calls back. Gambit smirks, and looks at the Ace of Hearts, 'Ach. I never did have... much luck with women' Gambit remarks as his disguise falls away – and the Red Skull is revealed in his place!
Inside the vault, countless blocks of gold are stacked to to the stealing, as Sin leans against them and tells her father that was quick thinking to project the likeness of an ally into the feeble minds of the Avengers. The Red Skull retrieves a safety deposit box as his daughter asks him why he didn't just wipe Rogue's mind completely and be done with it. The Red Skull explains that Xavier's students were well instructed in defense against telepathic attacks, and when the time comes for them to deal with the Avengers, the “Unity Squad” will require a delicate touch. The Red Skull holds a mysterious black box that he has retrieved from the safety deposit box and announces that they have what they came for, but there is no sense in leaving the gold behind, for with it, they may persuade those that Xavier's powers cannot. Red Skull instructs Sin to have their men load the gold into the lorry. 'Of course. And what about these X-Men and Avengers that are pursuing us?' Sin asks.
As they reach the rooftop, Sin tells her father that it doesn't seem like they are ever going to stop. The Red Skull tells his daughter to trust him – they will never think to look for them at their new safe house. 'And when the time is right, every man, woman and child that has ever been an Avenger will perish at my hand' the Red Skull boasts, adding that in their last moments, he will use Xavier's brain to make Steve Rogers telepathically feel every death, for when Rogers can bear no more, he will beg him to end his miserable life. 'But I will not. I'll lock his mind away to replay the last moments of every Avenger. I will live to watch the madness take him' the Red Skull reveals.
And at that moment, Commander Steve Rogers leans over a map of the world, and examines a particular region, while looking very pensive.
Commander Rogers, Cable, Deadpool, Human Torch II, Rogue (all Avengers Unity Squad)
Asp, Black Mamba, Bullseye, Cockroach Hamilton, Commander KrakenCount Nefaria, Egghead, Grey Gargoyle, Hammerhead II, Honest John, Lascivious, Letha, Nightshade, Owl, Pink Pearl, Ringmaster, Shadow King
Fancy Dan, Montana, Ox II (all Enforcers)
Synapse discovered that her grandfather was the enemy the Unity Squad was facing off against in Uncanny Avengers (3rd series) #4.
The Red Skull fused Xavier's brain with his own in Uncanny Avengers (1st series) #2.