Avengers (5th series) #4

Issue Date: 
March 2013
Story Title: 
The Death and resurrection of Major Titans

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Adam Kubert (artist), Frank D’Armata (Color artist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Dustin Weaver & Justin Ponsor (cover art), Dale Keown and Frank D’Armata (variant cover art), 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)

Brief Description: 

Years ago, Hyperion was brought up like several other ‘children’ by a man he called Father, who taught him a few basic rules which Hyperion took to heart. When his universe died, only he survived and he was pulled into our universe and to Earth by the scientific group A.I.M. Much later, he was rescued from captivity by the Avengers and eventually joined the team. In the present, with a little help, S.H.I.E.L.D. has secured five sites which have been affected by Ex Nihilo’s evolution bombs. Using his technical skills, Hyperion spots a sixth and so a team of Avengers heads out to the Savage Land to investigate. Once there, Hyperion spots an A.I.M. team six miles away, so the Avengers head over to see what’s going on. They find a group of A.I.M. scientists who have injected their intern with a combination of the virus that is causing the transformation of the land, an immuno-suppressant and a delivery system. Once injected, the guy keels over dead. When the Avengers arrive on the scene, Captain Marvel asks what they think they are doing. They explain that they were simply curious to see what would happen. As they chat, tendrils emerge from the dead intern and they grab several scientists. Fortunately, the Avengers manage to contain the situation by burning the guy’s body. In the present, the strange pods that surround them begin to open and out step small childlike creatures. They look to Hyperion as some kind of father figure. Elsewhere, more A.I.M. scientists discover a seventh site.

Full Summary: 

(Kobe, Japan)
Ex Nihilo sent several ‘evolution bombs’ to Earth before he was stopped from causing any further trouble by the Avengers. Captain America is with Maria Hill in video conference with Captain Marvel and the Black Widow. He informs them that S.H.I.E.L.D. bio-teams have successfully established a containment barrier separating the impact zone from the unaffected surrounding areas. Also, reports from the S.H.I.E.L.D. teams in Croatia and India all seem to indicate the same thing - a ten mile radius of fallout from the Garden’s bio-weapons. And inside, well, they are virtually dead zones with almost zero activity. “Almost?” replies Carol. Cap tells her that twelve hours ago the Hand managed to break the line. A full Fist made it through but orbital recon lost them one mile into the city. Since then, they’ve heard nothing. He asks them to tell him about the other locations.

Carol informs him that the Canadian government is insisting that an Omega Flight handle their site and the Australians are refusing all access to Perth, as they discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. had a Project: Pegasus facility there. Cap reckons that, regardless, that’s five sites with full containment. “Maybe,” replies Carol. She explains that they went back over the data from when the original bombs entered the atmosphere and they think there might have been a shadow… another bomb. They are running simulations of possible entry vectors now. Cap tells Natasha that S.H.I.E.L.D. assets are fully deployed and both his and Tony’s teams are at active sites. If she finds something, she and Carol need to break camp and take their team to investigate. Carol replies that they’re already packed and will let him know if they get a hit.

Nearby, Hyperion determines that, due to their computer’s limitations, the friction coefficient is all wrong. He changes a few things and recalculates the information provided. He then discovers a new landing site and asks what the Savage Land is.

On an Earth that was no more, there were two titans called Hyperion. The first was legend, a story everyone knew. They knew of Marcus’ escape from a dying world, of his journey to Earth and of the man called Father who found him and molded him into a tool to shape society. He taught him that it is a mistake to think of a community as any less an organism than the citizens it is composed of. And, if that is true, then just like they can speak to individuals, they can speak directly to groups, which is actually a more efficient way to communicate. It’s a better way to bring about change. Marcus grew and Father taught him the code: Truth without compromise. Thought without error. All things for the betterment of the whole. Then, Father and his children remade the Earth.

But, there were two Hyperions. The one the world knew and the one who hid deep inside himself - the one who could see what others could not. He could see electrons orbiting nuclei. He could see the parts that made the whole. He saw the great society that they had built, but he also saw the people. He saw them as they danced, as they looked in each other’s eyes and as they fell in love. He watched as together they made something new from their union. He saw everything, and he hid what it meant deep in his heart. There were two Hyperions.

(later, site six, Fallen Heights, the Savage Land - infected)
The already strange landscape has been transformed still further. Unusual plants cover the planes near to where the Avengers Quinjet lands. As they exit the craft, the Black Widow warns everyone not to touch anything until they do a sweep. Spider-Woman doesn’t feel it’ll be a problem. Still, she adds, it’s kind of beautiful. Natasha asks if she means it’s strange and exotic, like three boys and three girls alone in an alien jungle. What wonderful and amazing things could happen? she asks. “Right,” replies Jessica. Natasha says this is how almost every horror movie starts.

Captain Marvel says it checks out like all the other infected sites. The infected area just stops abruptly. “Any motion?” she asks. Hawkeye checks his hand-held instrumentation and informs her that he has limited range but so far he’s got nothing actually moving. There are plenty of heartbeats, however. Carol says that’s expected. It’s the cocoons. Any living thing that was in the impact zone is being biologically broken down or changed or something. She asks him to keep looking.

Elsewhere, Thor is with Hyperion. “Surtur’s sweaty orbs!” Thor exclaims. “It’s hot.” Hyperion informs him that the troposphere on this Earth is thinner at the poles. The sun is therefore less filtered. This is good, he thinks. Thor replies that what is good is the century old fimbulvinter which he holds. He and his brother stole a barrel from the Frost Giants when they were young. He asks him to drink, saying it’s like vodka but for men. Hyperion replies that he consumes neither food nor water, but light. And, he adds, alcohol should be beneath Thor. It is a weakness. Thor tells him that it’s hot, and he will quench his thirst. Hyperion asks him to wait. He looks into the distance and informs him that he can see something six miles from there… Men. What he sees are several A.I.M. scientists injecting something into one of the cocoons.

(six miles away)
There, the scientists are surrounding a large cocoon which has cables plugged into it. One of them informs Dr. Jema that they have penetrated the external shell and are preparing to extract a sample. Stuttering, Dr. Jema says he is pleased but asks him to do it quickly and carefully. They are expecting company shortly. Dr. Tanaka agrees. There is no mistaking the unique sound of Stark repulsors firing through Wakandan turbines. He’s fairly certain that it was a Quinjet they heard landing. Another agrees. A Quinjet means Avengers and Avengers mean barriers. Regardless of their papers, though, he doubts they will let them leave with in possession of their samples. They will have to field-test their theories now. He asks where their intern is.

A young intern is brought to him. He tells the doctor that he admits he doesn’t fully understand what’s happening, but he’s ready to do whatever’s needed. The doctor explains that they have fused the virus that is transforming the indigenous life here in the Savage Land with a standard delivery system, as well as an immuno-suppressant. They need to see exactly what kind of potential this, and he, has. The good news is that they have a reagent in case there is an adverse reaction. Dr. Jema asks the intern not to worry. They’re all doctors here. He injects the guy with the serum and asks if he feels anything. He holds out his hands which immediately become see-through. Veins and capillaries can be seen beneath his skin.

He explains that it feels like he’s on fire. His heartbeat has increased dramatically and his skin… it’s… The poor guy keels over and dies instantly. One of the doctors states that it appears their theories are flawed. He asks where the intern went to school. Another replies that he was in the doctorate program at Cal Tech microbiology. He had over two hundred thousand in student loans. Dr. Jema reckons he’s better off dead, then. They then look up and see both Captain Marvel and Hyperion descending towards them. “Well look here. The saviors of fallen mortals. My rescuers. My would-be masters. A.I.M,” says Hyperion.

Everything turned red the day Hyperion’s world died. A second Earth hung low in the sky. Together, the children had made a new world and they would die trying to prevent its destruction. By the time the worlds were about to touch, Hyperion was all that remained of all of them. Hyperion held the worlds apart until the worlds broke - the cascading energy collapsing two entire universes. Everything died everything except him. He floated in nothingness, lost and sick with loss until he was found and pulled into another universe... this universe, by scientist of A.I.M… this one.

Carol asks the scientists what they are doing there. One of them explains that they are from their consulate in Chile working on exploratory stuff. All standard stuff. Research. He adds that even if they were doing any illegal there is nothing they can do about it. “Is that so?” asks Hyperion. The scientist informs him that A.I.M. is now a U.N. recognized state. They have diplomatic immunity. Hyperion says they don’t have immunity from a god. They turn to see Thor slapping Mjolnir into the palm of his hand, menacingly. The scientist says there is no need to escalate this into violence. Besides, he doesn’t think there’s anything worth…

As he speaks, he is surprised when a large black tendril swings past his face. Several more appear out of the dead intern’s body and wrap themselves around the scientists. They scream as the Avengers leap into action. The Black Widow says it’s spreading and Spider-Woman begins zapping them with her venom blast. Carol snaps a tendril and points out that it’s regrowing as well. She thinks they’ll have to hit the body. Burn it. Hawkeye says he can’t do it with what he has. Thermite isn’t doing a thing. They need something stronger. Thor asks everyone to stand back and then summons a lightning strike. It hits the intern’s body and Hyperion finishes it off with his eye beams, burning off any remnants.

Carol grabs one of the scientists and lifts him above her, her right fist at the ready. She asks if he fancies explaining what just happened. He replies that they extracted base sequencing from the alien matter and introduced it into a host. Carol asks why he would do something like that! He pauses a moment before replying that they were curious. Natasha says they’ll need a full containment team. Carol tells her she will put in a call to Cap and Tony while Natasha gets on the phone with S.H.I.E.L.D. She can run it all the way to the top if she has to. Natasha realizes that this could have gone very bad. They have to ensure all these sites are locked down. There’s no telling what else is going to come of this. As they speak, Hyperion hears a popping noise emanating from the pod.

There were two Hyperions. Both were resurrected from a dead universe and kept weak beyond weak without sunlight until both were rescued. Hyperion saw Captain America, Iron Man and Thor enter his cell and ask if he thought he could walk out of his prison. The Hyperions were called to be Titans again. Titans towering above mortal men, shaping the world into something better. He remembered his father’s words. “Truth without compromise. Thought without error. All things for the betterment of the whole,” and he found fault with them. There were two Hyperions. One that lost everything and one that had everything to gain.

The pod hatches beside Hyperion and a small striped creature emerges, arms wide and speaking the universal code. Several more appear from the other pods and stand around like small, confused children. For Hyperion, death should mean something and so should being born again. He was the sun, and these are the first of his children.

As the A.I.M scientists are led away from the scene, Captain America calls Carol and says that detaining them might be a problem. Carol reckons they can tell that to The Hague. They can’t afford anything breaking containment. She reckons it’s lucky that Hyperion found the sixth and final site so quickly. She notices Dr. Jema smirking and she asks what he’s doing that for. Stuttering, he asks why he shouldn’t be happy. They saved them from the monsters and got all six sites. “Guh-guh, good job, cuh-captain,” he smiles. “Guh-good job.”

Several more A.I.M. scientists wander through the frozen landscape searching for their target. They make their way through some trees and into a clearing. They discover what they are looking for and their leader asks for a message to be sent to A.I.M. Island. Looking at what appears to be a figure encased in ice, he says they should be informed that they have found the seventh site.

Characters Involved: 

Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Hyperion, Spider-Woman, Thor (all Avengers)

Maria Hill
A.I.M. Scientists including Dr. Robert Jema and Dr. Tanaka

Hyperion’s new children

(in flashback)
Hyperion’s colleagues (the children)
Citizens of his world and police officers

A.I.M. scientists

Story Notes: 

The international criminal court, founded in 2002, is based in The Hague, the third largest city in the Netherlands.

Cal Tech is the California Institute of Technology, which is based in Pasadena.

Written By: