(In Dr. Druid’s dream)
Dr Anthony Ludgate Druid wanders a strange realm, filled with bizarre landscapes, and thinks to himself that it is the dreams that disturb him. The aged Avenger tells himself that he knows he is having them, and yet when he wakens, their memory has fled. ‘Like some insubstantial phantom of the night’ he describes it, before stating that they are life or death - that much, he remembers. ‘I can feel my heart pound, even after I wake up…and the sweat…I’m soaked with it’. There is a blinding pink light, and a scantily clad blonde woman appears before Druid. He tells himself that there is some terrible thing coming that he alone must face. ‘Terrible…but beautiful…and Heaven help me…’
The scantily clad blonde woman leads Druid into some sort of palace, and they lay on some rugs and pillows on the floor. ‘I want to get back there again. I’d give anything to be able to get back there!’ he thinks to himself as he and the woman kiss. Soon, a crown is placed upon his head, and the woman kneels before Druid. ‘But where? It’s a warning - and I can’t recall of what. But I know as surely as I sleep…it’s life or death!’
Druid screams as he wakes, sitting up in his bed, he exclaims ‘Gone! Again it’s gone!’. He gets out of bed and stumbles to his desk, telling himself that he feels as though the heart has been cut out of him. He is still shaking and tells himself to be calm and breathe deeply. Suddenly, he hears a loud crunching noise, and raises his window blind, ‘What?’ he calls out, ‘Hi, Doc’ Jennifer Walters a.k.a. the She-Hulk exclaims, lifting some rubble. She-Hulk remarks that Druid is looking a little pale this morning, and suggests to him that maybe he doesn’t get enough exercise. ‘You ought to come out and toss around a few rocks with me and the Black Knight’ Jennifer suggests. ‘Help clean up the mess left by our erstwhile playmates’ she tells him.
As Dane Whitman a.k.a. the Black Knight slices through large rocks with his powerful sword, he tells Druid that this is unseemly work for a woman’s hands. After thrown some more of the rocks onto a barge which rests at the edge of the dock, She-Hulk taps Black Knight on the head and tells him that knighthood might have been in flower 800 years ago with the crusaders in Jerusalem, but if he doesn’t manage to pull himself into the 1980’s she may just pull him up by the roots.
Shortly, Druid walks along the beach, thinking to himself that his companions’ senses have not been sharpened by years of study as his have, and that in their light heartedness, they fail to detect the palpable sense of menace in the air. He wonders though whether his senses betray him, Sitting on the sand-covered ground beneath a palm tree, Druid wonders what evidence he has of the impending doom that seems to haunt his sleeping hours, and decides that a moment’s mediation will restore his calm and refresh his spirit. But as he closes his eyes, the mysterious scantily clad blonde woman appears in his mind - ‘Or it will instead restore you to that which you seek so desperately’ she exclaims. ‘Come hither to me, Doctor…and know me better!’
Back at the clean-up, Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Captain Marvel drops down beside her teammates, startling the Black Knight, who raises his sword. Monica tells him to relax, pointing out that they aren’t at battle stations this morning. ‘And watch the broadsword’ she adds, before asking how the clean-up is going. She-Hulk replies that it is going okay and that they are just lucky the Super-Adaptoid and his boys left them a place to sleep. Monica suggests that she can speed things along, and blasts one of the large rocks with her power - which annoys the She-Hulk, who sarcastically thanks Monica for that, before exclaiming that now they have to pick up hundreds of small rocks instead of a few big ones. ‘Why don’t you go play in the traffic!’ She-Hulk shouts, to which Captain Marvel quickly apologizes, before taking flight. Up in the air, Monica tells herself that she cannot believe she just said that, and thinks that ever since she became leader, everything she touches seems to go wrong, no matter what she does. ‘I’d better get out of here and clear my head’ she decides.
Suddenly, Namor the Sub-Mariner and his wife, the former Alphan known as Marrina emerge from the water next to She-Hulk and Black Knight. ‘good morning, everyone! Isn’t it a lovely day?’ Marrina asks as she and Namor embrace. Dane grumbles that such public displays of affection should be more restrained, before Marrina and Namor kiss. ‘Good morning, my love’ Namor remarks before carrying Marrina onto land, while the She-Hulk remarks that Dane isn’t called the Black Knight for nothing. ‘You must be the stuffiest good guy I know, Dane’ Jennifer adds, before pointing out that Marrina is positively glowing, and Namor is radiating a few thousand candle power, too.
Namor greets his teammates and asks them how the clean-up goes, to which the Black Knight replies that it is well and good and that the barge is fully loaded up again with the last of the rubble. Namor and Marrina return to the water and take hold of ropes attached to the barge as Namor declares that they shall indulge in an early morning swim before breakfast. ‘To cleave the waves with you, my darling, is all I could ever desire’ Marrina remarks. ‘Wow! Maybe you’re right, Dane. I think I just exhausted my tolerance for early morning romance’ She-Hulk remarks, when suddenly, she hears a mighty YAWWN!
‘Don’t look now, but I think I just heard the sound of thunder’ She-Hulk jokes, before calling out to Thor. ‘Pardon, my lady?’ the God of Thunder replies. She-Hulk informs him that the rest of them have practically finished all the jobs for the day. ‘And what, pray tell, has the God of Thunder done in the meantime?’ she asks. ‘Only the most important task of all, my lady’ Thor replies, motioning to a table on the beach, where Edwin Jarvis has served breakfast. Thor announces that he has seen to the breaking of their morning fast and has welcomed the noble Jarvis back to the service of the mighty Avengers.
‘Jarvis! You’re back!’ Dane exclaims, while She-Hulk asks him if he is all right. ‘Quite all right, Madam, thank you’ Jarvis replies. The three Avengers take seats around the table, while the Black Knight proposes a toast to the bravest Avenger of them all. ’And the one indispensable member of the team’ Jennifer adds. ‘My…friends…thank you’ Jarvis remarks, to which Thor agrees with what his fellow Avengers said.
Soon, Captain Marvel returns, dropping down beside her teammates. Dane tells her that she missed breakfast, and asks if something wrong. ‘Only if you haven’t got any party clothes’ Monica replies, revealing that she has just been over to New York City to see about improving the team’s relations with City Hall, and that they can all get out their tuxedos: ‘Because tonight, my fellow Avengers…tonight, we party!’
Later, at Lincoln Center, a reporter announces that the Center is aglow with lights and banners as the city makes ready to welcome the Avengers to this gala. She remarks to a city official standing in amongst the mass of reporters and partygoers that rumor has it that this may be the most exclusive affair the city has ever held. ‘How hard was it to get in?’ she asks. The official replies that all he can say is he is only here because he threatened to reveal the color of the Police Commissioner’s underwear. Suddenly, ‘Here they come!’ someone shouts and points to the sky as a Quinjet flies overhead.
Soon, Thor, Namor, the Black Knight and Druid - all wearing suits - and Captain Marvel, She-Hulk and Marrina - all dressed up in evening gowns - make their way through the mass of photographers, reporters and citizens. The Mayor shakes Captain Marvel’s hand and welcomes the Avengers, on behalf of the city of New York, welcomes them to Lincoln Center, and thanks them for all the work they have done protecting the innocent everywhere against malefactors. ‘Hey, Namor! Look over here!’ a photographer shouts. ‘…just a couple of questions…’ a reporter exclaims. ‘Oh dear. I didn’t know this was going to be a masked ball’ someone remarks, while Captain Marvel tells the Mayor that it is their pleasure and honored to be here. ‘I hereby declare this party…open for business!’ the Mayor exclaims.
And so it is! Soon, inside, the party is well underway: a man asks She-Hulk is she might consider some endorsements for the international federation of body builders, while someone remarks to Namor and Marrina ‘Your aquatic activity is possible in either salt or fresh water then?’, while a woman remarks to Thor that it occurs to her that property insurance rates might drop of super heroes were told to relocate to Tulsa. Someone asks Doctor Druid if he thinks mankind would be better off if there were no superheroes, but Druid’s attention is fixed on a woman with long blonde hair who has turned her back to him. ‘That hair, that walk!’ Druid thinks to himself, before excusing himself, remarking that he has just seen someone he knows. ‘Miss? Oh, miss!’ Druid calls out as he rushes past people. ‘Hey! Watch it, buster!’ someone tells him. ‘Excuse me, please!’ Druid calls out, before grabbing the woman by the shoulder. ‘Miss?’ he asks. ‘Yes? Ohhh. Aren’t you one of the Avengers?’ the rather plain looking woman with large glasses remarks, before telling Druid that his hand is trembling, and asking him if there is something she can do for him.
Nearby, a woman tells the masked Black Knight that he seems a little uncomfortable, to which Dane tugs at his collar and remarks that he rarely wears anything quite so uncomfortable as this suit, and that he should rather face a company of Saracens than meet the reporters who wait in ambush. ‘I can’t believe you’re not married, Thor’ a woman remarks, telling him that there must be a shortage of women wherever he is from. ‘Maybe you’d like a nice Earth girl to show you around?’ another woman declares. Thor tells the women that they have his gratitude, and explains that although he has no spouse, he is not without a keeper of his heart. ‘Wouldn’t you know it! Just like every other man in this town!’ one of the women exclaims.
She-Hulk is receiving more propositions, this time by a man who tells her that she would be a natural. ‘The She-Hulk in charge of the consumer affairs department: “The big green machine is on your side to save your green”!’ he jokes, telling Jennifer that she would knock them dead. She-Hulk adjusts the man’s tie as she tells him that he has no idea how close he is to being right about that.
Standing beside a large tank filled with goldfish, Marrina gazes into the tank, while someone asks Namor if perhaps he and his charming wife would consider visiting the New York Aquarium someday soon, adding that they would be grateful for a word or two concerning some of their more exotic specimens. Namor replies that he will have to think about that, explaining that he is not charmed to see so many of his “acquaintances” held captive. ‘But perhaps Marrina and I could -’ Namor begins as he turns to his wife - only to see her swallowing one of the goldfish! ‘Marrina? Marrina! What are you -?’ Namor utters quietly, before telling her that this is neither the time not the place for a display of this nature. ‘Come. Leave these small creatures to their unhappy fate’ he tells her as he leads her away from the fish tank.
Suddenly, Namor screams his wife’s name as Marrina clutches at her throat and begins to gag, while her features shift into a more savage-looking version of herself. ‘Food! Must have food!’ she screams, before using her alien strength to smash the fish tank, shattering the glass and sending water and gold fish spilling to the floor. ‘Good gracious!’ someone exclaims as numerous people gather around to watch the Honorary Avenger’s strange behavior. ‘Get back!’ someone shouts. ‘What in Heaven’s name is she doing?’ another person asks as Marrina begins picking the goldfish up and shoving them into her mouth. ‘Well, really. If she didn’t care for the hors d’oeuvres’ someone else exclaims.
Suddenly, Marrina runs out the front of the Lincoln Center, quickly pursued by Namor, who thinks that something is terribly wrong. He recalls once before seeing Marrina behave with such violence when she was drawn to her genetically encoded mate. ‘But surely he is long since dead?’ Namor thinks, before calling out to Marrina, asking her to stop. ‘My love!’ he calls out as he catches up to her and grabs her by the wrist. But Marrina spins around, her face hideously transformed, she growls, and lashes out at Namor, who shouts ‘NOOO!’, before he is knocked backwards.
In the meantime, the rest of the Avengers have become aware of what is transpiring, and make their way from the party. ‘Quickly, Avengers! We’re needed!’ Druid exclaims as the others follow him from the party. ‘Brother! You can’t take super heroes anywhere!’ someone complains. ‘I bet this wouldn’t have happened if Donald Trump had thrown the party!’ someone else remarks, while Captain Marvel exclaims ‘Oh, no! Why did something like this have to happen here of all places?’. As they rush past the party-goers, She-Hulk exclaims ’Don’t mind us, folks! Just another little emergency for the mighty Avengers to handle. You go right ahead and enjoy yourselves!’
By now, Marrina and Namor have come to a dock, and Namor cries out to his wife, who transforms before his eyes, while she begins to glow and radiate heat like she was on fire. ’There’s a smell of ozone in the air’ Namor adds, before realizing that Marrina’s form is shifting. He attempts to grab her before Marrina dives into the water - but he is too late. And as the alien Avenger swims away, she creates a massive wave which crashes into a large tanker at the dock, knocking the ship against a dock, where crewmen begin calling for help. Namor gets caught in the wave too, and realizes that her wave threatens the Manhattan shoreline. ‘I must catch her!’ he exclaims, declaring that whatever else she might be, she is the woman that he loves. He dives Into the waters like a knife, and disappears from sight.
Seconds after Namor vanishes, the Avengers arrive at the dock. ‘Namor hath pursued his love into the depths of the sea!’ Thor exclaims, while Captain Marvel alerts everyone to the container ship which continues to capsize. Thor and She-Hulk proceed to push the massive ship back to its upright position using their incredible strengths. ‘Why is it I can’t keep a dress clean for more than fifteen minutes at a stretch?’ Jennifer mutters, as slowly the groaning of tons of Swedish steel, the great ship shudders and sways until at last, she is returned to her correct position.
With the ship and its crew safe, Captain Marvel, in her electromagnetic form, takes flight, thinking that once again the leadership of the Avengers seems to slip further and further away from her without conscious effort. ‘It’s as though I seem incapable of taking command’ Monica tells herself, before diving into the water, deciding that there is still time to vindicate herself, and moving as a beam of light she begins to search the waters beyond New York’s harbor for Namor and Marrina. ‘It’s so dark and dirty down here. I can feel myself losing cohesion, diffusing through the water’ Monica tells herself, before she flies out of the water, telling herself that she has failed, before wondering what really happened, as Marrina’s genetic structure is a combination of alien and human DNA.
Flying back to her teammates, Monica reminds herself that they thought Marrina’s human side had finally submerged its alien half forever. ‘But what if we’ve been wrong?’ she wonders, before announcing to her teammates that Namor and Marrina are gone, that she lost them. Druid suggests then that they return to their Island so they can plan their next course of action. ‘That’s just what I was going to suggest’ Monica replies crossly.
Meanwhile, somewhen else, Kang the Conqueror wades through a tunnel of debris, proclaiming ‘At last! While my companions were slain, I concealed myself in the hidden corridors of time!’. He declares that the temporal displacement charge has expired, and he, the Master of Time, returns home. ‘You might have destroyed me, Immortus, but you are a fool!’ Kang declares, boasting that he still survives, while Immortus has much to fear. Suddenly, Kang’s armor’s motion sensors register a life form quite close to him. ‘Too close!’ he shouts as he just dodges an energy blast. ‘An assassin! In my own sanctorum!’ he declares.
Kang realizes that the assassin attacks from a local time dislocation that partly screens him from Kang’s sensors by using some kind of thermal lance. More energy blasts are fired and Kang exclaims that his armor is getting hotter by the second and that already some circuits have been disrupted. He remarks that although his laboratory may be destroyed, his ingenuity is without limit. He picks up his molecular sealer, and makes a minor adjustment so that it will emit a high energy quark beam across a variable time net. The blast emitted rips through time, knocking the assassin into Kang’s lab. ‘And so, the mighty shall be laid low!’ Kang declares, before walking over to the motionless assassin.
However, he is surprised to see a mirror image of himself, only smaller. ‘A child?’ he exclaims as he removes the mask of the blond haired boy, lying before him. ‘Who has dared to mock the King of Time?’ Kang snaps. Suddenly, a voice replies ‘No mockery, my lord Kang. Only an orphan of time, now an orphan no longer’. Someone else wearing a Kang armor steps towards Kang, and holding a large weapon, declares ‘But they do say the child is father to the man’. ‘Who -?’ Kang gasps, before the newcomer blasts him with the weapon, and he vanishes. ‘Or woman!’ the newcomer exclaims, smirking.
She stands over the body of the slain child, ‘You simply couldn’t wait, could you, little fool. But patience is such a rare gift among the young’ she adds, before addressing him as Kanglet and declaring that they are well rid of him. She declares that the exchange may be an excellent bargain, before looking around the chamber and declaring that it is remarkable indeed that anyone could do so much with such primitive devices, and as she teleports away, decides that Kang may make a welcome addition to the great council. ‘But we shall see’.
Back to the present, somewhere south of the canary islands, ‘Land ho!’ someone shouts on the deck of a large tanker. ‘Are you crazy, man? We’re hundreds of miles from any land!’ another crewman declares. ‘See for yourself! It’s an uncharted island!’ the first declares, before realizing that it is submerging. ‘That’s no island but some demon from the sea!’ one of the crewmen declares as they approach the large green mass. ‘Hard a-port! For the love of God! Hard a-port!’ someone shouts attempting to avoid collision. But it’s too late, as the ship rides up onto the back of the mysterious creature, shattering the ship. Crewmen scream and cry for help, and within seconds, there is only the sound of the wind and waves, as the shaken survivors pull away in a lifeboat from the spreading oil slick marking the grave of an ocean-going vessel that once plied the waters of the world, and now sinks to its watery grave.
Meanwhile, in Barbuda, a diminutive tropical paradise in the Caribbean, where each day, the dawn is filled with the promise of new delights. But today is different, today the sky grows suddenly dark as the sun is swamped by the rising of the sea. Today, the voices of children cry as their deepest fears come true. Today, paradise has become an anteroom to perdition, as a massive tsunami destroys the island.
At Avengers HQ on Hydrobase, two weeks later, Captain Marvel tells Doctor Druid that she is worried as it has been two weeks since Namor and Marrina vanished, and the reports of unexplained marine disasters are increasing. Monica announces that she has searched the globe without success, unable to find either of their allies or any cause for the reports. Monica adds that the Sub-Mariner and Marrina were their best hope for solving the ocean’s riddles and now, when they need them the most, they have vanished. Druid suggests that they will need to increase their patrols, particularly in the Atlantic where most of the reports originate.
Suddenly, a news report comes over the communications monitor, where a reporter tells viewers that in the latest in a series of bizarre occurrences, they have an unconfirmed report that the biblical Leviathan has been seen in the Bermuda Triangle. ‘Some fundamentalists are claiming that this is the first sign of the impending Judgment Day’ the reporter adds. Monica declares that this is hopeless and asks Druid how they can possibly evaluate such hogwash and separate out the truth. Druid suggests that Captain Marvel check it out, telling her that it won’t take her more than a few seconds at most to cover the area inch by inch. ‘And right now we may be better off safe than sorry’ Druid tells her. Concerned, Monica replies ‘Well…all right’, before taking off in her electromagnetic form.
Streaking across the sky, Monica tells herself that she hates it when she lets Dr Druid do her thinking for her, but that she is so tired of globe-trotting and not finding anything. Back inside, Druid thinks to himself that Captain Marvel continues to seem unsure and unable to come to grips fully with her role as the leader of the Avengers. Leaning against a counter, Druid tells himself that now, more than ever, he fears that the trouble he has foreseen approaches without warning. He thinks that the stars themselves speak of some global disaster, something so devastating than all the super beings on Earth may not be enough to forestall their total destruction.
Druid adds that if this is truly the beginning of those events, then perhaps someone else might be better suited for the Chairmanship here, when suddenly, Captain Marvel returns in a blinding light, telling Druid that he was right, and announcing that she has found the creature. ‘Condition red! Condition red! This is no drill!’ Captain Marvel exclaims over the loudspeaker. ‘Hangar one! Avengers assemble!’ she exclaims.
And with the coordination of long practice, hardly a moment is lost before the Avengers’ Quinjet catapults into the air and is speeding across the endless reaches of the Atlantic at supersonic speeds. Flying alongside the Quinjet, Monica tells her teammates that she will flash on ahead to keep the Leviathan in sight. ‘Keep the receiver tuned to our emergency frequency!’ she tells the others, adding that she will convert to radio waves every five minutes so they can home in on her. ‘See you around, Captain’ She-Hulk calls out.
A little over an hour later, the Quinjet flies over a small island and Thor remarks that it is one of the outlying islands of the Bahamas. ‘Yet I see no signs of -’ he begins but Druid, piloting the Quinjet, interrupts, declaring that it is around here somewhere, before announcing that Captain Marvel is ahead, before declaring that the sensor readings are picking up, before correcting himself: ‘In point of fact, I think we just got visual confirmation of the Leviathan’s existence!’ Indeed, at that moment, Marrina - transformed into the Leviathan - rises from the ocean with a mighty roar. ‘Hold onto your seatbelts!’ She-Hulk exclaims as they move out of the Leviathan’s way.
Soon though, Black Knight tells Druid to get closer, and points out that the Leviathan is heading to the small island up ahead. ‘How bit is that thing?’ She-Hulk asks Dane, who replies that initial long wave frequency scan indicates a total length of better than a mile, but so much of it remains submerged an exact measurement is impossible. ‘Holy!’ someone exclaims as they narrowly miss another strike from the Leviathan, who smashes right through the small island, sending earth and rubble flying into the air. ‘Fortunately the key was small and apparently uninhabited, but…I don’t think we need any further data concerning the power or nature of the beast at present’ Dane declares.
Dane continues, remarking that the mystery of the sunken ships, the swamped coastlands and the mysterious tsunami’s are solved. He declares that it is time for the Avengers to do what they do best: ‘Defend the living…and avenge the dead! Let’s ride!’ he exclaims as he mounts his mechanical steed and leaves the Quinjet. ‘I’m with you, Dane!’ Jennifer exclaims as she get onto his mechanical steed also. Thor has also taken to the skies, and declares that never before has he seen such a creature on all of Earth. ‘But the Black Knight hath spoken for us all. Leviathan or not, creature of this world or the next, it must surely perish to safeguard mankind!’
Suddenly, Namor emerges from the ocean, ‘NOOOOOOO!’ he screams as he joins his teammates in the sky. ‘He who first strikes the Leviathan does so only through me!’ he exclaims. ‘Namor!’ someone gasps. ‘What the heck is he doing here?’. Namor, Captain Marvel, Thor, Black Knight and She-Hulk hover in the air, while Thor asks what could possess the Sub-Mariner to stand between a demon of the depths and those who would become its nemesis. ‘Oh, no, Namor! Not that! Surely not that!’ Monica gasps, to which Namor replies ‘Have you not guessed, Thor? As our good Captain has?’. Black Knight exclaims ‘Of course! The Leviathan is no mere beast of the sea, but the wife of an Avenger!’. ‘What? Dane, you’ve gotta be kidding!’ She-Hulk exclaims.
But the Black Knight declares that it all adds up - the Sub-Mariner’s appearance, the timing when the attacks began. ‘Namor! Can it be true?’ Dane asks. ‘As true as our presence here’ Namor replies. ‘Metamorphosed beyond all imagining, the Leviathan is indeed my wife, Marrina!’. Namor declares that with his life or death, he will defend her, before alerting his teammates to where the Leviathan has risen from the water, and declares that if his reckoning is correct, she is on a course that will carry her directly to the heart of Florida’s tourist-filled coast!