(New York, Autumn, 1959)
For thirty years, from the market crash, the great depression, dust bowl disasters, the Second World War and now the nuclear brink, the U.S.A. and the world has withstood the onslaught of history. Now, the men and women who brought the world to the edge of chaos are back to finish the job.
Its early evening and it’s raining New York City. Inside the bright and breezy Stork Club, Nick Fury is giving a toast in front of his new recruits: Bloodstone, Kraven, Namora, Sabretooth, Silver Sable and Dominic Fortune. He says he’s served his country for two decades; in a war, a police action and a cold war. But, in all those years, he’s never been prouder than of the time he’s spent in their company. He raises his glass. “To the Avengers.” Everyone smiles and follows suit. “The Avengers!” They down their champagne and smash their glasses on the floor.
The thousand year Reich has returned to take its second shot, but not if Colonel Fury and his Avengers have anything to say in the matter.
Sabretooth leans over to Namora and tells her it’s been great working with her. She warns him to back off as he’s playing well out of his league. Kraven then appears and reminds him that it’s Princess Namora to him. Namora puts her hand against Kraven’s arm and says that as royalty she can handle this herself. Creed tells him the little Princess can make up her own mind about him. Kraven pulls out a pistol and shoots Creed in the face. “Some other time,” he grins. Dominic Fortune asks Namora to let things just take their natural course with those two but Namora replies that she can’t because, when Victor heals, she’d prefer a live boyfriend to a dead hero.
Fury asks what the plan is. Bloodstone informs him that he and Sable are heading directly to the Savage Land. Sable adds that Bloodstone’s got him interested in hunting for some serious big game. Fury smiles and says it sounds terrific, asking them to save him a woolly mammoth steak.
(Autumn in Hassenstadt, the capital of Latveria… New York it’s not)
Her federal I.D. says she is Louise Mason, systems analyst, but on her real job she’s known as the Blonde Phantom. Her target, Obergruppenfuhrer Dieter Skul, has been one step ahead of international law them since they wiped the Reich off the map. Every intel source they had said he was long dead, so what the heck is he doing alive and well and living in Latveria? This is why she’s playing the honey trap in this Eastern European sinkhole. She has been assigned to identify and neutralize war criminals and uncover who or what was behind their sudden resurgence.
She is sneaking around his apartment in her underwear and comes across one of his small Nazi badges - a red skull on a yellow circle. He wakes up and confronts her, reminding her how much he values his privacy. She apologizes but says she didn’t want to wake him. He asks what it is she’s found. Fortunately, she’s grabbed a sexy negligee and replies she was looking for his favorite one, right? She tells him that the only thing she likes better than putting it on is him taking it off. She flashes him a beaming smile. Her work is done.
(Autumn in New York. Sometimes it’s just a drizzly mess)
And it is this evening. Nick Fury leaves Bloodstone and Sable to it and heads off. He is walking past Phil’s Pizza place when a hooker asks him if he wants to step out. He doesn’t even look back at her but tells her that this is as out as it gets for him this evening. She should call it a night and go home. She replies that a girl’s gotta eat and, if she’s not working, she’s earning.
“Oh, come on,” he sighs as he turns to see her leaping towards him with a sword in her hand.
Fury turns quickly, grabs a trash can and blocks her attack. She still manages to draw blood from his shoulder as the blade flashes past. He ducks the next swing and asks if this is personal or professional. He realizes he’s pissed off a lot of people in his time, on the job and just in day-to-day living, so really it could go either way. He reaches underneath her and lifts her onto his shoulder before slamming her down onto a police department bus stop sign with a pointed top. It plunges through her chest, killing her instantly. Fury takes a small yellow skull badge from her. “Definitely professional,” he realizes.
(Autumn in the African rainforest)
The nearly silent serenity is punctuated by the cough of sleeping lions, and by the almost inaudible hum of modernity that powers the secret empire of Wakanda.
A businessman named Mr. Sydenham is with two colleagues and is meeting with Miss N’Taka. He apologizes that they didn’t have the opportunity to meet with his highness, but they certainly respect his need for a spiritual retreat before his ordination as Emperor. N’Taka tells him they appreciate his understanding and they equally appreciate the opportunity to do business with the U.S. State Department.
“Not at all, Your Excellency,” he replies, adding that speaking for the United States in general and for state and defense in particular, he is profoundly grateful that the Empire of Wakanda has opted to share its genius with the free world in the name of international cooperation and peace. N’Taka smiles and asks him to just be certain to keep this transaction a closely guarded secret and the covert diplomatic relationship between their two nations will be mutually beneficial. He gives her his word on that.
As the three men depart in a helicopter, “Mr. Sydenham’s” colleagues asks if she bought it. “Hook, line and sinker,” he replies. He floats several yellow and red skull badges above is hand in a cocoon of energy and asks them not to forget he’s been selling refrigerators to Eskimos for years.
(the 96th Street Boat Basin, where the nautical set finds a home in the Big Apple)
Namora and Kraven are on a small boat. Namora tells him he behaved like a common thug, but he says it was only because she was flirting with Creed. “Really, now?” she replies, adding that a member of the royal court of Atlantis barely acknowledges the existence of the dry. Flirting is out of the question. Of course, she’ll make an exception in his case if stops behaving like the hoi polloi. He tells her he loves it when she talks dirty to him.
Before they can kiss, their boat is rocked when a submarine begins to surface right next to them. Namora grabs Kraven (or Sergei as she prefers to call him) and takes him into the air. She is annoyed as she was just getting royally interested. He quips that it looked to him like she had him right where he wanted her. He begins blasting with a rifle at the submarine as someone emerges from inside. As soon as the guy appears, dressed in a green body suit with the red skull badge on his head, he notices that the boat is carrying a small arsenal. Kraven’s bullets hit the target and their boat explodes in a huge fireball, destroying the submarine with it. As they land, Kraven wonders who the hell these guys are. Namora replies that they’re dead, but the skull blazon makes them seem like Nazis to her.
(New York’s Idlewild Field)
Dominic Fortune pilots his small plane away from the airfield with a pretty redhead by his side. It’s just a few minutes before they achieve a cruising altitude of 18,000 feet, he tells her. Then they can put it on autopilot and the bells will ringing just before they reach Chicago for the first leg to the west coast. She holds two champagne flutes and a bottle of bubbly, complimenting on how he thinks of everything. It’ll be the best of both worlds, he says. The intimacy of a sleeper on the Twentieth Century Limited, combined with the convenience of modern air transport.
As he speaks, he looks out the window and sees another small aircraft emblazoned with the skull insignia coming right at them and opening fire. His date asks him to do something. “Make it stop!” Fortune calmly hands her a parachute and tells her that they’re going to have to reschedule breakfast in the loop. He has some unfinished business to wrap up. The plane makes a second fly by, thumping bullets into Fortune’s craft. He tells her it’s time to go, but she asks him if he’s out of his mind. He asks her to remember to pull the thing that looks like a big eyehook and then opens the door, pushing her out.
She screams as he hits the lever to eject himself from the plane. “A terrible waste,” he sighs as his plane explodes.
(Autumn in New York, and the farther north you get, the dearier it gets)
Sabretooth is trying to hitch a lift and is pleased to see a green truck pull up to offer him a ride. The driver says nobody should be stuck with his thumb out on a night like this. Creed asks how far he’s heading. The guy replies that he’s due in Toronto. Creed smiles. “You don’t say… same here.” As Creed turns to look out the window, the driver grins. “I don’t know, seems to me like you’re not goin’ to make it to the border.” His face changes and he is revealed to be a kind of werewolf.
Creed turns just in time to see the driver lunge at him. He hits the brakes and the pair of them go crashing through the windscreen. Once outside in the rain, Sabretooth uses his claws to slash the guy’s face, but he responds by doing likewise to Creed’s face. Creed manages to kick him away and leap back through the window into the driver’s seat. He takes off before the werewolf can recover.
After spending an hour with the NYPD following the attack on him and another hour spent talking to Fortune, Namora, Kraven and Victor comparing their respective evenings, Fury is a raw nerve and in no mood for surprises. He enters an apartment and is greeted by a besuited wielding a sword.
Fury removes his own weapon which was concealed inside his umbrella and prepares to fight. The man informs him that they are needed. “Needed my ass,” replies Fury as their swords clash. “I’ve served this country for nearly twenty years. One shot at him tonight isn’t enough? As he is disarmed, the man replies that Fury has it terribly wrong. He is a friend and needs to speak to him about the Avengers!