|New Avengers (2nd series) #32|| || |
Issue Date: January 2013
Story Title: Untitled
Staff: Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Carols Pacheo (pencils), Roger Martinez with Cam Smith and Scott Hanna (inks), Rain Bredo (color art), Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo (cover art), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters & production), Jake Thomas (assistant editor), Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch (editors), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
An unknown mystical entity has possessed Victoria Hand and she has attacked the sorceress Jennifer Kale. She ends up at Avengers Mansion where the possession transfers to Captain Marvel. Dr. Strange attempts to discover who is doing this by whisking Victoria away to the Astral Plane. There, he questions her as to what she was doing prior to being taken over. She doesn’t really know and is unable to think back to how it happened. As he works on the puzzle, on the physical plane Daredevil senses that something is wrong. Agent Colt of the FBI is outside with plenty of backup and he orders them to open their door. Maria Hill, annoyed that she already told him to step down, wishes to confront him, but the possessed Captain Marvel heads her off and steps outside to speak to Agent Colt. Once they are face to face, the possession transfers to Colt and the mystic entity makes Colt kill himself, cleverly putting the blame on the Avengers. On the Astral Plane, Dr. Strange figures out who is behind it all when they make their presence known. It’s Daniel Drumm, brother of the deceased Jericho Drumm. Blaming the Avengers for his brother’s death, he attacks Victoria Hand and rips her heart out. Dr. Strange returns to the physical plane to find Victoria dead. He then teleports away, warns Wong to hide himself and then teleports to New Orleans to speak with Daimon Hellstrom. Shockingly, he finds Hellstrom dead and four S.H.I.E.L.D. agents there to arrest him.
Victoria Hand has collapsed. Carol Danvers carries her to a guest room in Avengers Mansion where Dr. Strange tries to figure out what has happened. The other Avengers look on concerned. Strange asks for everyone to leave, but he is ignored. Mockingbird thinks they should get Captain America and Iron Man over, while Iron Fist wishes for them to carry out their own investigation into what happened to Jennifer Kale. Daredevil states that he will stay and use his heightened senses to try and find something. As they banter back and forth, Dr. Strange turns and yells, “Everybody out!” Stunned, the Avengers don’t need telling a third time and they leave Dr. Strange with Victoria.
Once he has a little peace and quiet, he stands and uses Carelli’s Forced Mortal Extraction from the Book of Fire and takes both himself and Victoria onto the Astral Plane. She is shocked and disoriented as she looks around at her unusual surroundings. Despite her panic, Dr. Strange assures her that her physical body is safe in Avengers Mansion but this is the only place he could think of where they could have this conversation. She asks if he’s literally saying she is out of her body. She then throws up (which helps) and asks what’s going on.
Dr. Strange replies that he believes that she was recently mystically abducted. Victoria holds her head and tries to remember what might have happened. She explains that she was home, then all of a sudden she was she was on the lawn at Avengers Mansion surrounded by everyone. She asks if she passed out and Dr. Strange confirms that she did. She can’t believe that she’s been on the planet thirty years and never passed out. He asks what her last memory was before she ended up at the mansion. Victoria pauses and asks why they are in this crazy place. Strange informs her that it’s because they can’t trust anyone. Not even the Avengers. He explains that if a predatory sorcerer or spirit used her body to commit crimes against other sorcerers in his dimension and then brought her to their doorstep, he has to presume that they have already infiltrated the team. They cannot trust that anyone is who they say they are. She asks who could be doing this.
(back on the physical plane)
The Avengers are standing around chatting. Iron Fist doesn’t understand why they can’t go investigate the Jennifer Kale incident, but Luke asks him to sit tight. Ben agrees. This is Dr. Strange territory. Maria Hill says that she’ll give Strange ten minutes and then she’s calling in S.H.I.E.L.D. command. Ben asks her to sit tight also and let the doctor do his thing.
Suddenly, Daredevil turns his head and states that something is wrong. Bobbi doesn’t like it when he says things like that. He says that something is off. His senses create a radar and it feels like there’s something there that doesn’t belong.
Before he can continue, Jessica walks in and asks what’s going on. Ms. Marvel, now under the possession of the unseesn mystic, asks her to get herself and the baby out of there as soon as possible. They then hear a voice coming from a loudspeaker outside. Avengers! This is your last warning!” They look outside to see agent Colt and a dozen police vehicles blocking the entrance gate. He introduces himself and insists that Maria Hill open the door. Maria can’t believe this. She outranks those FBI goons and told them to go home! Ms. Marvel tells her that she can deal with this, but Maria says she’ll do it. Carol reminds her that she has military experience. She knows how to talk to these guys. Maria holds her arms out and tells everyone that she is acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. She doesn’t want to sound all like ‘I’m up here and you are down there,’ but…
Carol warns her that she’s about to have an aneurysm and takes over. She stands in the door and greets Agent Colt by asking if there’s anything she can help him with. She stares at him and tells him that she believes Ms. Hill told him that everything was under control. The mystic’s power then transfers to Agent Colt and he finds himself unable to control himself.
(meanwhile, on the Astral Plane)
Dr. Strange peppers Victoria Hand with questions about what she was doing prior to being taken over. She remembers being online and he asks what websites she was using. She asks why that would matter but answers that she was checking her dating site profile. “So no one came into your apartment?” he asks. He explains that he’s trying to determine whether she was attacked on the physical plane or not. He asks if she remembers talking to Jennifer Kale. Victoria says she’s no idea who she is. Strange informs her that she’s a very powerful sorcerer. He’s pretty sure she was to be the next sorcerer supreme if she wanted it. Victoria replies that she doesn’t know who she is. Strange tells her that it’s how Jennifer wanted it. That makes her disappearance all the more unnerving.
Carol suddenly feels strange and asks what happened. Agent Colt, now under the mystic’s control, reaches for his pistol and tells her that she is under arrest.
(the Astral Plane)
Victoria doesn’t understand. What magician or spirit person thing would want anything to do with her? Dr. Strange assures her that it isn’t about her. He doesn’t wish to sound egocentric, but he’s sorry to say that this is about him.
Agent Colt aims his pistol at Captain Marvel and several other Avengers who emerge to see what’s going on. Carol tells him to get the gun out of her face and Danny asks if everyone is going crazy.
(the Astral Plane)
Victoria is confused, telling Strange that they barely know each other. He replies that that might be the beauty of it. It’s a plan he isn’t prepared for. Victoria asks how, in that case, they stop them?
Agent Colt states that Captain Marvel just confessed to the murder of Jennifer Kale. “What?!” exclaims Luke. Maria Hill demands that he lower his weapon. Colt then turns the pistol and aims it at his temple. “Oh, no,” he cries. “What… what are you doing to me?” Maria again orders him to put the weapon down and Luke warns him that if he doesn’t he’ll shove it where the sun don’t shine.
(the Astral Plane)
Dr. Strange informs Victoria Hand that, when somebody this powerful decides to plan your destruction, by the time you figure out who it is and what is happening to you, it’s too late.
Agent Colt says that the Avengers are controlling him and making him do this. He closes his eyes and then squeezes the trigger, killing himself instantly. The Avengers are shocked, but Colt’s agents aim their weapons at the team and call the situation in to command.
(the Astral Plane)
Victoria asks Dr. Strange if he knows who could be doing this. He replies that he has a very good idea. “If he’d just show himself I’m sure I could find a way to…” He is interrupted by a voice that asks what the American phrase is about being careful what you wish for.
Luke Cage, trying to ameliorate the situation, asks everyone to put their guns down before they hurt themselves. Maria Hill takes charge and sates that Avengers Mansion is now a live crime scene. She needs everyone to step away from each other and step away from the body.
(the Astral Plane)
“You don’t always get what you want,” replies Dr. Strange to the stranger’s question. He adds that he was just really hoping it wasn’t him. Now, sitting there in full view is Daniel Drumm, Brother Voodoo, the brother of Jericho Drumm. “Shame on you,” curses Dr. Strange.
Maria Hill contacts S.H.I.E.L.D. command by radio and explains that she has a “level five” at Avengers Mansion. She needs the entire crime scene cordoned off and a media black-out a.s.a.p. As she walks away with Agent Colt’s soldiers, she warns them not to use their powers or do anything to suggest flight. If they leave the area they will be considered fugitives from justice.
(the Astral Plane)
Dr. Strange tells Daniel Drumm that he knows he blames the Avengers for his brother Jericho’s death, but he sacrificed himself for them of his own free will. Drumm asks him not to speak his brother’s name.
Spider-Man calls after Maria Hill, pointing out that this wasn’t them and she knows it. “We don’t have psychic powers,” adds Iron Fist. Luke reckons he’ll get his baby and get out of there.
(the Astral Plane)
Dr. Strange tells Daniel that he will not let this stand. He demands to know where Jennifer Kale is. Daniel orders him to be quiet. He wants him to hear this. He wants him to hear the scream! He reaches out and plunges his hand through Victoria’s body and removes her heart, which he grips in his fingers. Victoria spits blood and collapses. “Let go of her, you monster,” says Dr. Strange as he performs a series of spells.
Maria Hill informs one of the soldiers that she doesn’t know what powers they have but S.H.I.E.L.D. psi-division will sort this out. She asks the leader to stand down or she promises that he’ll be working at Burger King tomorrow. Meanwhile, on the Astral Plane, Daniel Drumm withstands Dr. Strange’s attack and tells him that he’s not listening. The Avengers hear Victoria’s scream coming from the guest room and rush inside. On the Astral Plane, Drumm grabs Dr. Strange around the neck and tells him that if he could dream he would have dreamt of this moment.
Spider-Man flings open the door and sees Victoria lying on the bed with Dr. Strange gasping from the exertion of coming back to the physical plane. “What did you do?” asks Iron Fist. Daredevil rushes to the bed and holds Victoria. “She’s dead,” he sighs. Maria Hill pulls out her pistol and informs them that this is a crime scene and they need to back out of there, right now! Luke grabs her weapon and crushes it in his fingers. Carol asks Luke to get Jessica and the baby out of there, and Daredevil suggests they use the basement tunnels. Dr. Strange tells everyone to stop. He didn’t do this, he explains. They are under attack! Maria Hill says that no one leaves the house and warns Luke Cage that, if he doesn’t get his hands off her, he’ll be sitting in prison till his kid graduates high school. And she means it.
Dr. Strange uses a teleportation spell to get him out of there and he appears high up in a nearby street. He then begins to fall. At the mansion, Luke, Carol and Jessica leave the rest of the group and prepare to leave only to be confronted by several armed soldiers who order them to put their hands on their heads. Captain Marvel decides enough is enough and apologizes to them, but this is out of their hands. Moments later, the soldiers run for their lives as Carol lights up the place.
Dr. Strange lands and communicates with Wong, whose image appears next to him in an alleyway. Dr. Strange warns him that he is not safe. When Wong asks where he is, Strange replies that he needs to hide himself and hide himself well. He should hide himself even from him. Wong tells him he will come to him, but Strange replies that Wong cannot trust him. He cannot trust anyone. He then teleports to New Orleans and lands there with a thump. Clutching his chest, he hopes he doesn’t have a heart attack.
He enters the home of Daimon Hellstrom and finds him seated in front of a television with his back to him. Strange apologizes for coming to him like this. On the television, a report comes through about Avengers Mansion being a crime scene with at least one death reported. Strange realizes he knows about the problem already. He tells him he would never have come but he is in trouble. They are all in trouble. He would be wrong not to come and warn him. As the reporter asks how many more public relations disasters the Avengers can survive and mentions how with Captain America’s track record they certainly won’t be hearing anything from him, Strange approaches Hellstrom. He finds Hellstrom with his eyes blackened out and his face contorted as if something horrific has happened. He definitely looks dead. Dr. Strange is shocked. Four S.H.I.E.L.D. agents then appear and place him under arrest.
Luke Cage, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Spider-Man, Thing (all Avengers)
Jessica and Danielle Cage
FBI Agent Colt and fellow agents
Issue Summary written by: Fantomex