A-Force (2nd series) #8

Issue Date: 
October 2016
Story Title: 

Kelly Thompson (writer), Paulo Siqueira (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Manny Mederos (production design), Paulo Siqueira & Rachelle Rosenberg (cover artists), Rahzzah (variant cover artist), Alanna Smith (assistant editor), Katie Kubert (editor), Tom Brevoort (executive editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

At Project Pegasus, A-Force assist in the battle against Thanos – but She-Hulk is critically injured. She is taken to the Triskelion for observation and care, and A-Force gather around her. While there, Nico meets Misty Knight, who tells Nico that she likes her bionic arm. Nico is in awe of Misty Knight, who gives the young hero some words of comfort. Nico returns to the room where She-Hulk is being kept to find Dazzler in heated debate with Captain Marvel. They argue for some time about what She-Hulk's last words were before she passed out, and whether they can use the prophecies of the Inhuman Ulysses to go about arresting people who haven't committed apparent crimes yet. Nico interrupts them, and Dazzler suggests that Captain Marvel tell her what is going on. So Carol does, informing Nico that Ulysses had a vision of Nico killing a young woman called Alice. Carol asks Nico to come with her and tells her they can then sort everything out. But Dazzler tells Nico that Carol wants to arrest her. Nico gets upset, and pushes Carol and Medusa away from her, before casting a spell which teleports her away. Carol tells Dazzler that it didn't have to be this way, but Dazzler tells Carol that if she can see the future, she should have known this would happen. Dazzler gives Carol some more advice, before she and Singularity leave to go find Nico. Medusa sides with Carol, and tells her that to be a great leader, one must make great sacrifices. They then plan to track Nico down themselves. Nico arrives in Colorado, at a safehouse from her Runaways days. There, she finds the town of Ouray under attack by large green bug-like creatures. She is prevented from using a spell against one of them by Elsa Bloodstone, who is in the town attempting to deal to the creatures. Elsa announces that she could use a sidekick on this assignment, and explains to Nico that the townsfolk aren't getting killed, but becoming those creatures. Elsa is annoyed as she should have been in the local hotsprings some time ago. Elsa and Nico make their way through the town to a house where some rescued civilians have gathered, and Elsa reveals that the woman who hired her for this job is at that house. En route, they encounter more of the giant bugs, and together, Elsa and Nico rescue some more civilians, and Nico teleports them all to the house. They are all let inside after the woman in charge, Janine, checks their eyes, to ensure they haven't been infected. Elsa argues for a bit with Janine, who is desperate for her daughter to be found. When Nico asks what has been going on here, Janine tells her that they barely know what is going on, other than that it began a week ago with the disappearance of her daughter, Alice. Nico is shocked, and at that moment, Captain Marvel and Medusa arrive on scene!

Full Summary: 

Project Pegasus, Mount Athena, New York, where several heroes are fighting the cosmic behemoth called Thanos. Among them, are the female heroes collectively known as A-Force. 'Medusa! Get Jen out of there!' shouts Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel, the self-proclaimed “boss of space”. Medusa is a queen with badass hair and an attitude to match – but even she looks worried now. 'I cannot get to her!' Medusa calls back to Captain Marvel as flames spread around them. 'Carol, watch your six!' calls out Alison “Dazzler” Blaire as she fires some of her light power into the battle. Dazzler is a mutant with some anger issues, and is leaning on that hard right now. 'Jennifer!' cries out Singularity, whose seemingly endless hope might be her most powerful weapon. She-Hulk a.k.a. Jennifer Walters is slumped on her knees, flames around her, she is stronger than just about anything, and nigh invulnerable to just about anything. 'Missile to the chest... can't stop me... what, like it's my first day?' She-Hulk mutters.

But “just about anything” isn't “literally anything” - and it doesn't mean “Thanos”. Today, not being invulnerable to Thanos matters – it matters as a great deal, as the cosmic being slams his fists into She-Hulk in spectacular display, causing her to fall back into the ground. 'Jen!' Carol calls out. The heroines gather around She-Hulk. 'Jen?' Nico Minoru calls out, but gets no response.

'Nico' someone calls out in the Triskelion Medical Bay. '...Nico, did you say something?' Dazzler asks, as the heroines are gathered around She-Hulk's bed. 'Sorry. No... it was nothing' Nico replies, before announcing that she is going to get coffee and asks the others if they want anything. Dazzler and Medusa both tell her that they don't.

'Then there's me. Nico Minoru. Witch. Useless powers that were totally unable to save my friend from a blow that might kill her' Nico thinks to herself as she leans against a vending machine in the corridor. 'I like your arm' someone remarks. 'Are you serious right n-' Nico starts to snap, turning, she stops herself mid—sentence as she sees Misty Knight standing before her. 'Oh. You're Misty Knight' she utters. 'I am' Misty replies. 'And you like my arm' Nico utters. Nico tells herself that Misty is a Hero for Hire, Captain America's partner, a Valkyrie, a Daughter of the Dragon and possessor of a robot arm. 'Basically she's a bad ass' Nico decides, as Misty tells Nico that she likes her arm, and remarks that those of them with missing limbs replaced by super hero shenanigans have to stick together. 'That makes sense' Nico smiles. Misty sips her coffee and remarks that it is terrible. 'You'd think “most advanced medical facility in the world”...they might be able to manage a good coffee. But nope' Misty declares. Nico suggests that coffee might be more art than science, and Misty laughs. 'I like that'.

Misty then asks how She-Hulk is, to which Nico informs her that they are not really sure she is going to make it, that she is hard to treat, something about Gamma stuff. 'I dunno, but they're scared... you can see it in their eyes' Nico adds. Misty tells her that she is sorry, and Nico replies that she doesn't know what to do. 'Well, you're here. Seems like you do know' Misty points out, before a voice calls out to Misty, telling her that they have to go. 'Sorry. That's me. Hang in there, Nico' Misty tells the young hero. Nico thanks Misty, who tells her 'Anytime. Us arm twins gotta stick together' Misty declares, as they clang their arms together. 'Go arm twins!' Misty calls out as she walks down the corridor. 'He. Go arm twins' Nico smiles back.

Back in the room where She-Hulk is, the rest of A-Force are in heated discussion. '- Carol, this is crazy. This has gone too far. Thanos has already killed War Machine, and now Jen is... I mean look at her!' Dazzler exclaims. 'I am looking' Carol replies. 'That's not how it feels. It feels like you're taking this Inhuman precog's predictive visions to the extreme while a friend who followed you into battle lies on what could be her death bed!' Dazzler declares. 'That's not -' Carol begins, hanging her head, she tells the others that this is what Jen wanted. 'Her last words to me before she lost consciousness were to fight, not to let Tony dictate our future' Carol announces. 'That's not actually true' Dazzler exclaims, pointing a finger at Carol, while Singularity holds her back. 'What? You weren't even there' Carol replies. Dazzler tells Carol that she was. 'Just because you and Tony Stark were too puffed up to notice anyone except for each other -' she begins, but Carol interrupts: 'I think you mean too busy grieving, Alison'.

'Fine. Whatever you want to call it. I was there, or close enough at least that I heard what Jen said' Dazzler announces. 'Good. Then you heard her say “It's our future, Carol. Not his. Fight for it”' Carol replies. Dazzler asks Carol how they know Jen was talking about Tony. 'For all we know, “His” could have meant Thanos. Hell, it's probably the last thing she remembers, getting creamed by Thanos' Dazzler points out.

Carol points at Dazzler and tells her that she is playing with semantics. 'The point is, we can't really know for sure -' Dazzler begins, but Carol interrupts her, narrows her eyes and states 'I know'. This annoys Dazzler, who tells Carol that she doesn't know for sure what Jen meant. None of them do. Dazzler adds that, personally, she has a hard time believing that Jennifer Walters, attorney at law, who surely believes in things like due process, is up for arresting people for crimes they have not even committed. Dazzler waves a finger in front of Carol: 'I get it, you're devoted to this path and you feel like you can't reverse course now, but we need to take it slow, not double down on arresting innocent people' Dazzler explains.

'She went with me to fight Thanos. She obviously -' Carol begins, but Dazzler interrupts her: 'So what? So did I! Maybe she went with you because she's your friend, because she's a super hero, because you were fighting freaking Thanos. She knew you needed help. It's why we all went. Hell, I went and I don't agree'.

Medusa speaks up, telling Carol that she agrees with her, and adds that Jen believed in this. 'Oh, of course you agree, Medusa' Dazzler snaps. 'Ulysses is your pet Inhuman. I'm sure if his next vision was that all mutants had to be wiped out for the good of the world, you'd be the first to volunteer. You'd be dropping bombs on Westchester or wherever the hell my people are these days without a second thought' Dazzler snaps. Everyone turns to Nico as she stands at the curtain around Jen's bed. 'You guys... what is going on?' Nico asks. 'Are you going to tell her, or do you want me to?' Dazzler frowns at Carol.

Carol walks over to Nico and reveals to her that the Inhuman who had the vision about Thanos attacking Project Pegasus, Ulysses, he had another vision. 'He saw that you...' Carol's voice trails off. 'What?' Nico asks. 'You're going to kill a young woman named Alice' Carol announces. Shocked, Nico declares that she doesn't even know anyone named Alice. 'Carol. You know me. I'm not going to kill anyone. I'm not a killer' Nico exclaims. Carol tells her that she knows, and that she is sure this is just a misunderstanding. Medusa suggests that perhaps it is like it was with Countess – mind control, or something. 'Exactly' Carol agrees, and points out that they have to figure out what is going on. Carol tells Nico that she has to come with her so they can get this all straightened out.

'She wants to arrest you, Nico' Dazzler points out. 'Dammit' Carol mutters, while Nico goes wide-eyed. 'What? Is this what this is?' Nico snaps at Carol, brushing her aside. Carol asks Nico to trust her. 'I'll take care of you. Nothing bad is going to happen, just come with me and we'll figure this out together' Carol assures Nico, grabbing her wrist.

'Back up' Nico declares, casting a spell with those words, which slams Carol and Medusa back into a wall. Nico reminds everyone that she is a Runaway, and points out that she didn't get that way by accident. Dazzler watches as Nico shouts at Carol and Medusa, telling them that people she has trusted have constantly tried to kill her, her friends have been hurt, sometimes killed, all at the hands of people they trusted. 'So, yeah, I don't think I'll be letting you arrest me today, Captain Marvel' Nico declares angrily. She then whispers a series of numbers, and vanishes. 'Damn. Alison, it didn't have to go this way' Carol tells Dazzler, who replies 'Of course it did. Besides, if you can really see the future, then you should have known it was going to happen this way, right?'

Ouray, Colorado, the co-ordinates of which Nico teleported herself to:
'You don't lead a team called the Runaways without getting very good at, well, running away!' Nico thinks to herself. She looks around the small cabin-like building she is in, 'And that includes having at least one safe house always on standby' Nico decides. She knows that being a runaway is not exactly a glamorous life, as such, safe houses are not glamorous, either. She remembers that often they are not even houses, sometimes they are cages. 'Yeah, we lived in a cave for a while, once upon a time'. Nico decides that this one is technically a house, though shacks feels more like it. 'Ah. Home crap home' Nico thinks to herself, knowing that she is nestled in the mountains, as far off the grid as she is willing to go these days. 'Seriously, I'm way too old to live in caves anymore' Nico tells herself, and as she opens the door, recalls that there is a perfect place here for clearing her head and figuring out her next move. 'The amazing hot springs right in the center of this – quiet town?' Nico thinks to herself as she goes wide-eyed, and sees the townspeople under attack by large green insect-like aliens.

'Well, my “safe house” is officially unsafe' Nico decides, before calling out to the civilians, asking them what is going on here. Some of them are putting up a fight against the bugs, while others are at their mercy. 'Runaway XXX monster bug coming through, darling!' someone calls out from on top of the one the flying green bugs. Nico looks up as the woman with long red hair crashes the bug into the ground, knocking Nico aside. Another large green bug moves towards Nico, who raises her staff and starts to create another spell, when the woman with the long red hair grabs her and pulls her down an alleyway. 'Leave this one to the fancy Bloodstone Hand!' the woman declares, aiming her hand at the large bug, which collapses when struck by the energy she fires at it. The woman then tells Nico that she is sorry about the tackle, but that non-fatal blasts only are allowed, and she wasn't sure what that whammy Nico was cooking up was going to do. The woman then introduces herself as Elsa Bloodstone, Monster Hunter Extraordinaire.

'Yeah, I know who you are... and I know your brother, Cullen' Nico replies. 'Of course do you do' Elsa tells her, before Nico asks her if she can get off her now. 'If you insist' Elsa replies, standing up. 'I'm -' Nico begins, while Elsa interrupts her, telling Nico that she knows who she is, a witch, one of those Runaway kids. 'Aren't you running with She-Hulk and Cap now?' Elsa asks. 'Not anymore' Nico replies, while wondering why everyone knows who she is. 'Okay then, so you're freelance, whatever, I'm glad you're here. I could use a sidekick' Elsa tells her. 'I'm not gonna... you know what, never mind' Nico starts to reply, before asking what is going on here. 'Shouldn't we get in there? People look like they're getting killed by those... things' Nico points out. Pointing to the sky where a cluster of the large bugs can be seen, Elsa explains that they are not dying, but getting infected, and turning into those bugs. Elsa adds that she is sort of hoping they can turn them back.

Elsa goes over to the bug she took down and tells Nico that since she can't do her usual thing – killing everything that moves, they regroup and come up with a plan. 'And you, Nico Minoru, are my new plan' Elsa declares. Nico leans over, 'Gah, gross. I can't believe that was a person' she replies. Examining the bug, Elsa points out that it still is, somewhere in there. 'Damn' Nico gasps, covering her mouth. 'XXXX is more like it' Elsa swears. Elsa announces that she thought this was going to be a nice, easy gig – killing a bunch of giant bug-monsters – practically a holiday. She adds that she thought she was going to finish up on day one and go to those bloody delicious-looking hot springs. 'But nooooo... no hot springs for Elsa. Why is everything in my life always complete XXXX?' Elsa asks. 'Yeah... tell me about it' Nico agrees.

Back at the Triskelion, Carol asks Singularity if she can find Nico. 'I... I...' Singularity stammers, but Dazzler tells Carol that she can't ask Singularity to do that. 'This is dirty business, Carol. You can't control the future, you can't even protect the future. Not like this, not by being the bad guy'.

But Carol tells Alison that she doesn't understand everything Ulysses has said – 'Every one of his visions has come true' Carol declares. She then sits down on a sofa and explains that this is triage, she is just trying to minimize casualties at this point. Dazzler tells Carol that she does understand, and still doesn't agree. 'A lot of us don't' she announces. Carol looks up at Dazzler and asks her if she thinks Nico is going to thank her when she has blood on her hands – when she's murdered this innocent girl. 'Don't you think she's going to wish that you'd let me stop her?' Carol asks. 'I don't know, Jen' Dazzler replies, looking over at the motionless She-Hulk. 'Do you think Jen feels like thanking you? Do you think right now maybe she wishes she hadn't trusted you?' Dazzler asks.

Dazzler then starts to leave, and tells Singularity to come with her. 'We're outta this band' Dazzler declares.

Singularity starts to follow Dazzler, but looks over to Carol and Medusa and tells them that she is sorry, that she doesn't know what to do. Carol tells her that it is all right, and asks Singularity to watch out for her. 'Oh-kay' Singularity replies as she rushes after Alison and asks her where they are going. 'Do you want to help Nico?' Carol asks. 'Yes' Singularity replies. 'That's what we're going to do' Dazzler declares, adding that those were coordinates Nico whispered, and when your entire power is to turn sound into energy, you hear very well. 'I know where she is' Dazzler reveals. 'We're gonna go help our girl'.

Medusa tells Carol that she cannot let Alison's words get to her. 'She is upset. She did not mean to strike so close to your heart' Medusa explains. 'Yes she did. And maybe she's right...' Carol replies, hanging her head. Medusa tells Carol that she can't think like that right now. 'I know you have lost much, Carol, but what might you... all of us... have lost if Ulysses' vision of Thanos had come to pass?' Medusa asks. She reminds Carol that to be a great leader, one must make great sacrifices – that is something that Alison is in the enviable position of not having to think about. 'She has the luxury of following her heart' Medusa points out, adding that the two of them do not have that luxury. 'I know' Carol replies. Medusa suggests to her that they concentrate on the problem at hand – finding Nico and stopping her before innocent lives are lost – both Nico's life and the life of this Alice person. Medusa then asks Carol how they can track Nico. Carol explains that she thinks Nico's spell might have been coordinates, but that she couldn't make them out. Suddenly, Carol looks up: 'Wait. We're thinking backwards' she tells Medusa.

Carol points out that they don't have to know where Nico would go, they only have to know where Alice is. 'We go to Alice, and if Ulysses is right, Nico will end up there no matter what'. 'Very clever' Medusa agrees, before reminding Carol that Ulysses' vision did not take place in a home, or even a town, but some abandoned silver mine of some kind. She recalls that Ulysses did say he saw a small town, and picking up a phone, Medusa tells Carol that she will make some calls. 'Good idea. I'll arrange a jet' Carol begins, before they both look at She-Hulk. 'Jen'll be alone. What if she wakes up. I... I don't want her to be alone' Carol remarks. Medusa announces that she will get someone to come sit with her. Someone Jen knows. 'Okay' Carol replies.

Back in Ouray, Colorado:
'How are you doing this in heels?' Nico asks Elsa as she follows her through a forest. 'Ages of practice' Elsa calls back. 'It's ridiculous' Nico exclaims. 'Yes, well, you're very young. Tomayto, tomahto, blah, blah, blah' Elsa replies. 'I don't think any of that even made sense' Nico remarks, when suddenly, she smashes into a branch, 'Ouch. C'mon' she tells Elsa, before asking where they are even going. Elsa announces that they are going to the safe house of the woman who hired her. She informs Nico that they are hiding people there, and she was trying to find a way of getting them out of town. 'Spoiler alert: I haven't found a way out'. 'So, how'd you get your -' Nico starts to ask. 'Fancy Bloodstone hand?' Elsa asks. 'My dad ripped off my first hand' she announces. 'You?' Elsa enquires. 'Possessed best friend ripped my arm off' Nico explains. Elsa suggests to her that they should start a club. 'We could call it badass chicks who lost appendages thanks to jerks' Nico declares. 'BCWLATJ? Catchy' Elsa replies. Nico tells her that she knows at last one member they could invite, and they both say 'Misty Knight' at the same time.

Crossing a yard, Elsa informs Nico that they are almost to the crowded bit, and asks her if she is ready. 'I guess' Nico replies. Nico declares that if Nico helps her solve this nightmare real quick, then she will still have time to get in those hotsprings. 'You know they call this place the Switzerland of America?' Elsa asks. Crossing a road, Nico tells Elsa that she does, and points out that Elsa is very obsessed with the hot spring. 'I didn't even get a damn toe in. Those XXXX bugs' Elsa mutters. 'You have a real mouth on you' Nico replies. 'You have no XXXX idea, kid' Elsa tells her. As they round a corner, Elsa sees that the street is now teaming with bugs and people, and informs Nico that it was empty before. As civilians rush past them, she tells Nico that they have gotta get through this mess without killing anyone. 'If you tell me where we're going, I can teleport us there. No need to fight through this mess' Nico explains. 'Part of me loves that plan' Elsa replies. 'And part of you can't wait for the fight' Nico remarks. 'Well, yes' Elsa admits, explaining that what she means is that they are supposed to be heroes, so instead of teleporting around the problem, they should probably try to rescue some of these idiots. 'You got any fancy magic tricks up your sleeve for the “be big damn heroes” plan?' Elsa asks.

'Gimme a second' Nico replies, when suddenly, a large bug moves towards them. 'Second's up, darling' Elsa declares. 'Crap' Nico mutters. 'Bloody bugs' Elsa exclaims as she dodges the creature as it tries to grab her. 'I wasn't even a fan in the first place. Now, ugh' Elsa remarks as she elbows the bug in its face. 'I mean, XXXX! Enough already!' Elsa shouts, when suddenly, 'Catch more bugs with honey' Nico utters, and suddenly, the bugs find themselves all stuck in honey, preventing them from catching any of the other civilians. 'I knew I liked you, Minoru' Elsa smiles. The civilians all gather together, while Nico asks Elsa for cross streets, and then she can get everyone out of here. 'Oak Street and Seventh oughta do it' Elsa replies as she smacks one of the stuck bugs in its face. An instant later, Nico teleports herself, Elsa and the remaining civilians away.

They re-appear down another street and gather out the front of a house, where Elsa is knocking on the door: 'Janine, Janine. It's Elsa. Open the XXXX door' she calls out. 'Huuuurry up' Nico urges her. The door suddenly opens and a rifle with a torch is shone in Elsa's eyes. 'Janine, kill the XXXXX lights, I can't bloody see!' Elsa declares. 'Let us see your eyes!' Janine shouts. 'Eyes?' Nico asks, shielding her own eyes. Elsa explains that the transformation begins in the eyes if you are affected, and tells Janine that they are clean and to let them in. Janine lets Elsa, Nico and the other civilians inside, and tells someone called Anna to take them into the basement with the others, get them water and blankets and to check their eyes carefully. Janine turns to Elsa and asks her 'Did you find her?' Elsa swears at Janine and tells her to give a girl a minute to get sorted. She then introduces Nico Minoru. 'She's brill. Nobody mess with her' Elsa announces. 'Good to have you, Nico' Janine remarks. 'Uh, thanks' Nico replies.

A man called Albert tells Elsa that it has gotten worse. 'Of course it's gotten bloody worse' Elsa replies. 'These things don't get better without the damn nuclear option. I told you that already' Elsa declares, to which Janine announces that they are not doing the nuclear option, as these people are innocent victims. Elsa tells her that she knows, and explains that she is just saying her life wouldd be peaches and XXXX cream if only she didn't care. 'XXXXX caring man, absolute worst' Elsa mutters, pointing out that she brought Nico. Nico looks at a photograph of Janine, Albert and a girl and asks if someone who isn't Elsa could explain to her what is going on her. Janine tells Nico that they barely know themselves, and adds that they have got as many people as they can hold in their basement. Janine reveals that they have been trying to smuggle them out of town with Elsa's help, but that more and more get infected and transform every day. 'And it all began when my daughter Alice disappeared last week' Janine adds.

Wide-eyed, Nico asks 'Wait, did you say Alice? Please tell me you did not just say “Alice”!?' to which Janine looks confused. Suddenly, Captain Marvel and Medusa enter the room: 'You know she did, Nico' Captain Marvel points out, asking Nico to come with them so they can stop all of this before it starts – before she will do something she will regret forever!

Characters Involved: 

Captain Marvel VI, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru, She-Hulk, Singularity (all A-Force)
Misty Knight
Elsa Bloodstone


Albert, Anna, Janine and other civilians

Story Notes: 

This issue ties into the Civil War II event.

She-Hulk spoke those words to Carol in Civil War II #1.

Nico knows Elsa’s brother Cullen from Avengers Arena.

Nico lost her original arm in Avengers Arena #10.


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