‘Avengers Tower is secure. No one in or out’ Cyclops orders as he and the rest of the Phoenix Five - Emma Frost, the Sub-Mariner, Colossus and Magik - communicate with each other in a blaze of cosmic fury. ‘So now then…where is Captain America? And, more importantly…where is the Scarlet Witch?’ Cyclops calls out, reminding everyone that she wiped out mutant kind with a sentence fragment, and that she shocked him on Utopia and he actually felt it. Cyclops declares that he wants the Scarlet Witch off the board - shut down and contained, she is their objective. ‘Closing down Avengers ops. Making Cap look like a fool. That’s all well and good. Wanda Maximoff is the real threat. They have her in the field right now’ Cyclops exclaims.
Emma Frost reports that Avengers Academy has been sealed off, and the Avengers’ “children” will have to hold their militarized youth rallies somewhere else now. Cyclops tells Emma not to worry, and to keep the pressure on the Avengers. ‘We’re a re-branding them as a global terrorist network. Just remember he’s not afraid to field her. And that means we are going to start getting hurt’ Cyclops warns. The Sub-Mariner announces that the Avengers’ hovel in Central Park is clear, while Magik announces that they have found them, and she, Gambit, Warpath and X-Man, along with X-Factor’s Havok and Polaris, materialize where several Avengers - Captain America, Hawkeye, the Vision, Iron First, the original Spider-Woman and of course the Scarlet Witch - are gathered.
‘We found them all!’ Magik boasts. Captain America tells his team to scramble, and throws his shield towards Polaris, who easily uses her mutant power to deflect the shield. ‘Cut off their exit’ Polaris exclaims, while Hawkeye fires several arrows, one of which explodes near Havok, knocking him backwards. ‘Lese le bon -’ Gambit begins as he throws several kinetically charged playing cards towards Iron Fist, who attempts to kick Gambit, while telling him to shut up. Spider-Woman drops down on top of Warpath and uses her venom-blasts to shock him, while telling Captain America that the mutants are moving fast. ‘Then move faster’ Cap replies as he prepares to throw his shield once more, while telling the Scarlet Witch to lay down some cover. ‘I’ll see what I can do’ Wanda replies as she stands near the Vision, who states ‘I cannot suggest any more highly how dismal a notion I find that’.
‘This isn’t easy for me, Vision. I’d appreciate you pretending to have a heart for -’ Wanda tells her ex-husband, while from a control room, Tony Stark watches numerous monitors and tells Wanda that she needs to stay focused on the data skews. ‘Can you for that for me? We need pure -’ Tony begins, papers and crushed cans lying at his feet. Pizza boxes and bottles strewn all over the desk. ‘I can try. Now stop talking…’ the Scarlet Witch exclaims as crimson energy surges around her, and she releases it towards where Magik is standing by a portal. ‘you. On behalf of mutantkind - die!’ the young mutant shouts as she points her Soulsword at the Scarlet Witch, and fiery claws race towards Wanda, who fights back with more energy, ‘Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know what I can do?’ the Scarlet Witch exclaims.
‘That’s it, that’s it, get into her head’ Iron Man tells Wanda, while nearby, the Vision is struck down by a combined attack from Polaris and Havok. ‘One down’ Polaris remarks. ‘Good start’ Havok agrees, while the Scarlet Witch sees the Vision in danger, and calls out to him, but distracted, she is knocked aside by the cosmic energy of the Phoenix. ‘Oh, hell - Wanda, you’ve got to focus right now!’ Iron Man exclaims. ‘I’m trying!’ Wanda replies as she fires several shards of crimson energy at Magik, knocking her back and causing her to scream. The young mutant lands at the portal, where Emma Frost steps from. ‘Wanda Maximoff. Murderer of the mutant race’ Emma declares as she shifts into a fiery form.
Warpath manages to grab hold of Spider-Woman, while Captain America contacts Doctor Strange, announcing that they need an emergency evacuation. ‘Two Phoenixes and Wada? That’s more than emergency…’ Hawkeye remarks, before rushing off towards the Scarlet Witch, one of his closest friends. Cap calls out after Hawkeye, while Dr Strange materializes. ‘Your egress has arrived…’ Strange declares. ‘Go!’ Hawkeye calls out ‘You!’ Emma Frost screeches as she moves towards Wanda, flaming fury surrounding her - but before she can strike Wanda, Hawkeye manages to fire an arrow, which knocks Emma to the ground. Hawkeye tells Wanda to get out of here, and kicks Emma Frost in the head. But she quickly gets to her feet, ‘How dare you?’ Emma snarls as she is once again engulfed in cosmic energy. ‘We’re trying to save the world!’ Emma declares as she casts flaming energy over Hawkeye, who screams.
Dr Strange’s teleport bubble surrounds the Avengers, and Cap holds on to the Scarlet Witch as she calls out to Hawkeye. ‘It’s too late, Wanda…it’s too late…’ Cap tells her. ‘No no no no no…’ Wanda utters, tears streaming down her face. An instant later, Dr Strange delivers Cap, Wanda, Iron Fist and the Vision to the Avengers’ safe house. ‘Too soon! You’re back too soon! I needed more data, more telemetry from the -’ Tony Stark exclaims as he goes over to them, while Wolverine, Quicksilver, the Black Widow and Black Panther stand nearby. ‘GO TO HELL!’ Wanda shouts at Tony, as she strides away. Tony looks at her, and Cap explains that they have a man down.
On Utopia, Cyclops, Emma, the Sub-Mariner, Colossus and a recovered Magik are gathered in a room. Sitting with his legs folded, as if he was meditating, Cyclops declares that they finally have the power to remake the world in their image. ‘We have to get along to do it…and not kill people that disagree with us!’ he exclaims, as Hawkeye’s charred body hovers before them, wrapped in cosmic energy. Emma replies that she didn’t kill him, and wasn’t trying to kill him, but that she just god mad. ‘And the power -’ she begins, before pointing out that Hawkeye is still alive, and they can heal him, ‘So tell me why must I be chastised so?’ she asks.
‘I say you should have killed them. You should have killed them all’ Namor the Sub-Mariner declares, to which Cyclops reminds him they are putting pressure on the Avengers on a global scale, shutting down their operations and capturing key members. ‘How does murder -’ he begins, but Namor interrupts. Shaking his fists, he exclaims ‘This is a war, Summers! Not some kind of gang brawl!’ Magik tells Cyclops that he didn’t hear the Scarlet Witch, didn’t see her. ‘She actually hurt me, and I think she enjoyed it. I don’t believe that fairy tale they’re trying to sell us - I looked at Wanda Maximoff and I saw…I saw evil, Scott. Evil than can hurt us all’ Magik claims, adding that she thinks the Phoenix came to them so they could purge that evil from Earth forever. Cyclops tells Magik that she is wrong, that Hawkeye will be allowed to heal, and then put in the X-Brig along with the rest of the prisoners. ‘This isn’t a war. It’s a rescue mission. Conduct yourselves accordingly’ he orders, while the rest of the Phoenix Five just frown.
Meanwhile, in Wakanda, Tony Stark and the Black Panther are busy working on some equipment. ‘Where are we?’ Captain America enquires as he approaches his friends. He adds that they are losing people, losing ground and starting to lose faith. ‘We need some wins and we need ‘em now!’ The Black Panther stares at Captain America, while Tony looks up from where he is welding and replies ‘And if frogs had wings, Cap -’, to which Cap tells Tony to save the smart mouth for some other end of the world. ‘Answers. Solutions. Now’ Cap declares.
The Black Panther touches a screen and reports that they have more questions than answers, and states that Stark’s analysis of Wanda during their last scrimmage provided volumes of additional data. ‘But at this point…’ the Black Panther’s voice trails off, while Tony reports that they don’t even see the whole of the equation. ‘The scale of the Phoenix Force and the catastrophic effects me…meddling…had on it…we need more data. We need more time’ Tony announces.
Cap tells them that “stall” was not the answer he was looking for. ‘Find me a better one. Fast’ Cap orders as he walks away. The Black Panther turns back to the monitors and remarks ‘If I’m parsing these plans of yours correctly…you’re transforming this armor into a colossal suicide suit’. ‘Well. Assuming we can even get these five Phoenixed-out X-Men in the same physical space as the suit? There’s a 13% chance of it actually redirecting the energy where it came from and…yeah, pretty much 100% chance of it killing the suit’s pilot either way’ Tony replies. Hanging his head, he states that this is his fault, that he was the guy who ran off half-cocked and created this problem. ‘If fixing it means a one-way ticket then I’ve earned it -’ Tony begins, until the Black Panther punches him.
Tony looks up at the Black Panther, who states ‘Science is failing us and you’re concerned with writing your own ending. That is as unacceptable as your precious little 13%’. The Black Panther points out that since has failed, Tony has failed, but that doesn’t mean he gets to kill himself to escape finding a solution. ‘Any suggestions you got, Sucker Punch, I’d love to hear ‘em’ Tony replies. The Black Panther turns back to the monitors and points out that Wakanda is the most scientifically advanced society on Earth. ‘Yet, I chew roots to consult with my ancestry’. The Black Panther states that the paradox has never escaped him, and admits that he prowls the boundary between super science and magic. ‘We need to look for solutions within the realm of the spirit’ the Black Panther states. ‘Kill me now’ Tony mutters.
Shortly, Captain America has gathered with the Avengers - Dr Strange, Daredevil, Spider-Man, the Black Widow, Giant Man, the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, the Beast, She-Hulk, Falcon, Mockingbird, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Valkyrie, Thor, as well as Sharon Carter, and Hope Summers. Cap tells them that there is bad news and worse. ‘The bad news is that the X-Man have started taking prisoners. The worse is Stark and T’Challa need more time’ he announces, explaining that they are going back out into the field and playing rope-a-dope with the X-Men a while longer. Looking down at the young mutant Hope, Cap states that she is their ace in the hole, who is as much an expert on the Phoenix, and the X-Men, as they are going to get.
Hope tells the powerful assemblage of heroes that she trained her entire life in anticipation of possessing the Phoenix, only when that time came, she flinched. ‘What I see when I look into the eyes of Scott Summers and the rest scares me - not because they’re, like, bad people, but because…they simply can’t be ready for what’s happening to them’. Hope tells the Avengers that some of them might wish to fight the X-Men, or stop the Phoenix, but that she just wants to save her friends. ‘So while you guys try to figure out how to do that, when you find the X-Men in the field…the Scarlet Witch is the only thing that will scare them. It’s the only thing they’ll respect’ Hope explains, adding that she knows the Avengers don’t want to hear it, but that it is true - the Avengers hate and blame her for so much, but that they are also afraid of her. Wanda stares straight ahead, while her brother Quicksilver frowns.
‘To that end…behold the Enchantments of Ikonn’ Dr Strange declares, as small stones appear before him. He explains that the illusions they create will make the bearer appear to be the Scarlet Witch. ‘If the X-Men continue to take prisoners, these charms should allow for safe egress when needed…’ Strange adds. He tells his teammates that they need to deploy the Enchantments of Ikonn selectively, and use them only in extreme circumstances, because once the X-Men know it is a ruse, the Avengers will be out of time. ‘It may buy us a few days. It may buy us hours’.
Soon, in New York, Cap, Sharon, Cage, Daredevil and Spider-Man are gathered. ‘Avengers! We’ve got company!’ Cap tells them all, as Colossus appears overhead, alongside Sunspot, Psylocke, Magma and Danger. ‘Comrades, shut them down!’ Colossus orders. Sunspot attacks Cage, who falls backwards through a portal, while Psylocke confronts Daredevil. ‘There’s your cue, Sharon’ Cap tells his dear friend. ‘On it…’ Sharon replies, as she uses the Enchantments of Ikonn. ‘AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!’ Captain America booms. ‘C’mon…come on…’ Sharon utters as she waits to appear as the Scarlet Witch, and it works, ‘Bozhe moi, she’s here - Maximoff is in New York’ Colossus reports, before ordering his squad to fall back.
But, in the Ukraine, Emma Frost, Boom-Boom, Warpath, Surge, Frenzy and Velocidad find themselves up against Thor, Quicksilver, Wolverine the Falcon and…the Scarlet Witch. ’How is that possible? She’s here’ Emma reports back. At the same time, in the Arctic Circle, Cyclops, Magneto, Armor and Doctor Nemesis are confronted by Giant Man, the She-Hulk, Valkyrie, the Beast and…the Scarlet Witch. ‘It’s a trick, a hologram or - magic or some Tony Stark crap. She can’t be everywhere at once’ Cyclops declares, and as he fires an optic blast at Valkyrie, knocking the warrior backwards, he orders the Phoenix Five to engage and contain.
On the Pacific Ocean, a Quinjet floats on the water, while the Sub-Mariner, Polaris and Transonic hover in the air, and Iceman slides down on an ice-sled. The Thing bobs up and down in the water, while Dr Strange, Mockingbird and…the Scarlet Witch stand on the roof of the jet ‘Then where is the real Scarlet Witch, Summers? We’ve still not lad hands on her’ the Sub-Mariner points out. ‘And you never will’ Wanda declares as she fires a blast of energy at the Sub-Mariner, knocking him backwards. ‘Forgive me’ Wanda utters. ‘Transonic’ the Sub-Mariner calls out. ‘Doing my best, Sir’ the young mutant replies as she flies down towards the Scarlet Witch. Wanda tells Dr Strange to evacuate them now, but as a cosmic claw reaches down, Namor pushes the Scarlet Witch backwards, and Transonic is caught up in Dr Strange’s teleport field, transporting himself, Mockingbird, the Thing and Transonic back to Wakanda, where the female Black Panther is waiting for them. ‘Seize the X-Man’ she orders.
‘WITCH!’ Namor booms as he releases more cosmic energy towards her. Wanda screams, but chaos energy bursts around her. ‘Namor. Go away’ Wanda declares as she touches Namor’s face, and he seemingly cracks apart before her. In reality, Namor lands on Utopia. ‘Imperius Rex’ the Sub-Mariner exclaims, furious. Magneto hovers over Utopia, while the Phoenix Five regather. A projection of the Earth floats before them, and Namor declares that this is unacceptable. ‘We’re crippling the Avengers, Namor, one broken bone at a time’ Cyclops replies, adding that they are taking prisoners, shutting down their facilities and have them on the run. ‘We’re beloved, they’re mistrusted. And not for anything?’
Cyclops adds that they are transforming this planet at a breathtaking rate, that they are winning. He tells Namor to lighten up, and that Captain America and the Scarlet Witch will come in time. ‘THIS! IS NOT! A GAME!’ the Sub-Mariner booms, before turning and walking away, telling Cyclops that he might be a fine leader, but that he is a failure as a ruler. ‘Mm. Taking it under advisement, Namor’ Cyclops replies casually.
Meanwhile, ‘I found it!’ Tony Stark declares, sitting in front of several monitors. He exclaims that when Wanda and Magik scrapped, then again with Namor, the data field splits in two, then spikes - Wanda’s field and the Phoenix Force, they both accelerate. ‘There’s a connection between them, their energies -’ Tony begins, when suddenly, a blinding light appears before he and the Black Panther, and Iron Fist calls out to Tony, as a man appears in the blinding light. Iron Fist introduces the man as Lei Kung the Thunderer, of K’un Lun, the mystical city of King Fu, where - ‘Know what? I can explain later’ Iron Fist decides, announcing that they know what to do with Hope, or rather, how to ready her.
Lei Kung states that the burning cycle falls across the plane of Earth again, unlike before. ‘The fire of the Phoenix will consume you all…and then the Celestial Cities of Gaven. The vessel must be prepared or the infinite array shall perish’. Iron Fist explains that they have to take Hope to K’un Lun, and declares that the X-Men will never find her there, and Lei Kung can train her before it is too late. Tony pauses, before asking if they can all go.
Back on Utopia, ‘You’re not wrong’ Emma tells the Sub-Mariner as she approaches him, on a balcony overlooking Utopia. ‘I am never wrong in affairs of state, Frost. What do you want?’ Namor replies. Emma points out that Cyclops used to literally be a boy scout, and suggests Namor let him chase his happy ending for a while. ‘This is not a game. He does not see. They have taken one of ours now, the girl Transonic. Caged like an animal. Makes me sick’ Namort tells Emma, who leans up next to him, and replies ‘Indeed they have. About that, Namor. I can sense her, you know. I can feel her. I know where she is’. Emma and Namor suddenly kiss, and Emma telepathically informs Namor that the Avengers are hiding Transonic in Wakanda, before whispering into his ear that she has not told Scott.
At that moment, Captain America, Black Panther, She-Hulk, Giant Man, the Beast. Spider-Man and the Black Widow father together with Iron Fist and Lei Kung, and Iron Fist reports that Hope and Wolverine are already through the portal and are in K’un Lun. Captain America announces that they will get the equipment for Stark through, and then fall back to K’un Lun to regroup and keep fighting. Cap then asks the Thunderer if hse is certain they will be able to traverse the worlds, as he is not keen on his people leaving Earth and not coming back. Lei Kung replies that he has bored a molten hole through celestial clockwork to come here, and that it will not heal quickly. ‘I’ll take that as a yes’ Cap mutters.
Suddenly, ‘T’Challa! My Lord!’ a voice calls out. ‘What news to you bring?’ the Black Panther asks a warrior who kneels beside him. ‘T’Challa - great one - the water’ the warrior begins quickly. ‘Slow down, son. What are -’ the Black Panther begins, while the warrior announces ‘The lake - twisted visions lake - it rises up and - a wall of water simply rose up -’. Cap glances upwards, and declares that Namor is here.
Indeed, Namor rides a massive, swirling wave of water, his trident raised high, he bring the water down to the Wakandan palace in spectacular display and booms ‘WAR!’