Tokyo, ‘So help me, Iron Man, if this guy bows at us one more time…’ Greer Grant Nelson, better known as Tigra, remarks to her teammate in the Avengers West Coast, about Mr. Anami, who is standing before them, bowing. Iron Man tells Tigra to be at easer and to stop acting like the “Ugly American” 1991 edition. Mr. Anami on behalf of Hasanuma Electronics, welcomes Iron Man and Tigra as representatives of the Avengers, under the auspices of the United Nations, ‘And in the case of the honorable Iron Man, as the emissary of the illustrious Anthony Stark!’ Mr. Anami adds, before asking them to excuse his very poor English.
Iron Man informs Mr. Anami that his employer sends greetings also, adding that Stark remembers the courtesy shown to him while he was here on his last trip, and tells Mr. Anami that since it is they who are in Japan, they should be the ones apologizing for speaking so little of his language. Iron Man proceeds to inform Mr. Anami that they are seeking information on Dr. Demonicus, a criminal geneticist who has founded a mysterious new group known as the Pacific Overlords. Anami remarks that is a most interesting name, to which Iron Man suggests in inspired by “Pacific Overtures” a musical play which dealt with Japanese-American relations, but that is not why they are here.
‘The reason we three came to Tokyo’ Iron Man begins, until Mr. Anami interrupts him, ’Forgive me, but you said “we three”? I see only yourself and the young lady with the, er, tail’. Suddenly, Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp reveals herself as she returns to her human size, apologizing to Mr. Anami that she got so carried away. ‘Ah, “the Wonderful Wasp”!’ Anami remarks, surprising Janet that he has heard of her. When she asks him about it, he replies that he has long been fascinated by American movie stars and super heroes, and asks the Avengers if they would like to sit down.
Tigra and the Wasp do, but Iron Man informs Mr. Anami that they must be on their way, as soon as he tells them what equipment his company sold to Demonicus, perhaps under his real name of Dr. Douglas Birely. Anami assures Iron Man that his company has no dealings with known felons, to which Iron Man holds up part of some equipment, explaining that he used advanced techniques to render the Hasanuma label visible, even though it had been sanded off, before asking Anami what the function of the machine that he cuts this fragment from was.
Rubbing his hands, Anami replies that he recognizes it now, before telling Iron Man that he cannot be expected to have at his fingertips information on everything that his company manufactures. The Wasp points out that this was clearly a high-ticket item, and asks Anami if perhaps he can tell him which of his various factories might have manufactured it. ‘Good idea!’ Iron Man remarks, and begins asking Anami if it was from the one here in Tokyo, or perhaps the Osaka factory - or the one in Kyoto? By the expression on Anami’s face, Iron Man can tell that it was the Kyoto one, when suddenly, Tigra alerts everyone to a helicopter which has just flown up beside the side of the building, which has floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
Tigra jokes that, as a diplomat, she is never going to give April Glaspie a run for her money, but that cuts have sharp ears, and she doubts that copters is here to give them the keys to the city! ‘Yakuza!’ Iron Man exclaims as he sees several men in the helicopter aim weapons into the building, while Anami calls out to the Yakuza, ‘No - please! I have told them nothing!’ he exclaims. But the Yakuza fire their weapons into the building, sending glass shattering everywhere.
Janet shifts to her wasp-size and Tigra dodges out of harms way, while Iron Man’s armor protects him from the bullets, Anami is not so fortunate, and is struck by countless bullets. ‘I don’t think they believed him’ Iron Man remarks, before ordering the Wasp and Tigra to get the secretaries out of here, while he attempts to block as much of the gunfire as he can. Wasp replies that she is on her way and jokes that there are advantages to being a small target, before flying over to the panic-stricken employees, and calls out to them to keep moving, before deciding that between her size and the language barrier, she is not making much of an impression on the terrified women, so uses her wasps-sting to keep them moving.
Iron Man checks on Anami and confirms that he is dead, while Tigra leaps out of the shattered window onto the helicopter, exclaiming that it is time to find out why these creeps wanted Anami dead, and what, if anything, they have got to do with Demonicus. ‘Not that I’m going to lean much from that one’ Greer remarks as one of the men falls from the helicopter, down to the street which is far below them. ‘Or maybe from anyone else!’ Greer exclaims as she finds a gun placed against her forehead by one of the Yakuza - until the Wasp flies onboard, ‘They can’t hit what they can’t see, Tigra!’ Janet remarks as she stings the Yakuza in the eye.
Tigra thanks Janet, before pointing out that with her inside, these refugees from “Black Rain” cannot fire without trashing their own helicopter. Tigra uses her claws to shred the Yakuza’s high-tech armor, only to discover that the men are tattooed “within an inch of their life”, and exclaims that it looks like they are still going to shoot, no matter what the costs. Suddenly, Iron Man flies alongside the flailing chopper and tells the girls that it looks like he could give them a hand, or in this case, his nice metal shoulder. Iron Man flips the chopper over and apologizes to everyone for turning them into tossed Japanese salad, before remarking that it is better than being shot at, at close range. Iron Man then tells his teammates inside the chopper to hang on, as he brings the chopper down to the ground.
Shortly, the Avengers have tied up several of their attackers and Iron Man remarks that they are certainly Yakuza, remarking that a lot of those gangsters sport shoulder-to-knee tattoos, but Iron Man points out that these men are not going to help them, and the Wasp suggests that it is time for a private strategy conference.
Soon, the three Avengers are on the rooftop of Anami’s building and Tigra asks Iron Man why he was so positive Anami knew about Demonicus, to which Iron Man replies that Stark always suspected Anami was “in bed” with the Yakuza, so why not the Pacific Overlords as well? Tigra remarks that, for a mere paid employee, Iron Man sure knows a lot about Stark’s thought-process, when suddenly, Iron Man removes his helmet, ‘Trust me on this, Tigra…nobody knows more!’ he exclaims as he reveals who he really is. ‘Tony?!’ Tigra exclaims with surprise.
The Wasp asks her fellow founding Avenger if he has been this “new” Iron Man all along, to which Tony replies that he has. Tigra exclaims that Tony must have had a real laugh when she asked “Iron Man” to put in a good word for her with his boss - a man that she used to love. ‘I…wasn’t laughing, Greer’ Tony replies, before explaining that he found it hard to tell anyone, before turning to Janet and asking her if she and Hank suspected anyway. ‘Along with Hawkeye, and most of the others who knew Iron Man the first time around’ the Wasp replies.
The Wasp reminds Tony that, recently, he even slipped up and spoke of how he “rejoined” instead of “joined”. Tony replies that he supposes his heart wasn’t really in keeping his little secret at that, and as they enter the Quinjet and take off, he exclaims that here is hoping there is something they can sink their teeth into in Kyoto.
Meanwhile, somewhere underwater, in a sprawling complex, Dr. Demonicus is watching a news report, which announces that Military personnel have declined to speculate on a possible reason for the attack this morning by the Japanese mutant Sunfire and a flying female companion at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, while the Avenger Hawkeye and little-known super-heroine Spider-Woman have apparently already taken the captive Sunfire back to California. ‘Meanwhile, in midtown Tokyo, in a possibly related story, three other Avengers overcame heavily-armed agents of the infamous Yakuza -’ ‘BLAST!’ Demonicus shouts, exclaiming that he knew he should have sent some of his Overlords to do the job.
The newsreader announces that the tattooed criminals gunfire killed Hiroshi Anami of Japan’s giant corporation, Hasanuma Electronics, to which Demonicus mutters that the Yakuza fools did one thing right, before deciding that he has learned his lesson, no more outside contacts, from now on, he does everything in-house. An invisible Kuroko approaches Demonicus and reminds him that she told him he would have been better to send her to Tokyo. ‘So you did, Kuroko’ Demonicus admits, before asking her to become visible, and telling her that perhaps Japanese theater-goers accept the convention of a “dark one” whom they pretend not to see while he or she shifts scenery about, but he prefers to talk to his agents face-to-face. ‘Then why not remove your own mask?’ Kuroko asks, suggesting that there is surely no reason he needs it here.
‘That, woman, is my decision, not yours - do you understand?!’ Demonicus snaps back. ‘Forgive me, I did not mean -’ Kuroko replies, hanging her head, to which Demonicus tells her that he is sure she didn’t, when suddenly, the Living Lightning, strapped to a contraption hanging against a wall calls out to Demonicus and tells him that he keeps his Overlords on a pretty tight chain. Kuroko exclaims that the Living Lightning must have woken while she was sleeping, and Demonicus addresses him by his real name, Miguel Santos and remarks that they had a nice chat.
‘Sure, you asked me to join your gang and I told you to shove it!’ Miguel snaps back. Demonicus replies that Miguel will change his mind if he wants to go on living, to which Miguel exclaims ‘You call this “living”, being hooked up to this gadget?’ Demonicus tells the Living Lightning to count his blessings, ‘At least you’ve never been contaminated with a massive dose of radiation - as I was, years ago!’
(Shown with flashback images)
Demonicus remarks that he is a geneticist by trade, and he had been studying the correlation between radioactivity and mutation, later using the Lifestone that fell to Earth as a meteor, he mutated huge monsters with which he hoped to take over the Aleutian Islands - until that damnable ultra-secret group called SHIELD caught him, unmasked him, and blew up what they thought was the complete Lifestone.
‘Only it wasn’t?’ Living Lightning asks. ‘Not quite’ Demonicus replies, explaining that he had the foresight to secrete a few shards of the Lifestone elsewhere, and after he broke out of prison, retrieved them…
(Shown with flashback images)
…and proceeded to concentrate their radiation, for the first time, on human beings, explaining that his initial experiment involved a weakling loser, so Demonicus was not sure precisely what the rays would do to him, but the weakling loser became the incredibly strong Jawbreaker. Demonicus admits that there were a few minor side-effects, but even Jawbreaker agreed they were a small price to pay.
Demonicus exclaims that other Pacific Overlords followed, but that his minuscule shards were swiftly being drained of radiation, so he sent Jawbreaker north to see if anything remained from the original meteor, and fortunately, Jawbreaker returned with a sizeable fragment that he located. The Living Lightning motions to the other prisoner strung up against the wall and asks who he is. ‘Taifu? He’s my sole disappointment to date…’
(Shown with flashback images)
Demonicus informs the Living Lightning that, recently, a storm in this area capsized a yacht with a young couple and their baby, and that he rescued them and transformed them into more of his super-powered servitors…
…’Even the mother and the baby?’ the Living Lightning asks in horror. ‘Space here is precious. Everyone works!’ Demonicus replies, before asking the Living Lightning if he has reconsidered his offer. Miguel replies that now he is thinking clearer, perhaps he will accept the offer, pointing out that the cops must still be after him since he fought the Human Torch over Fullerton, when suddenly Typhoon wakes, and furiously calls out to Demonicus, demanding to know where his wife and son are.
Pointing out the obvious, Kuroko alerts Demonicus to the traitorous Taifu being awake. ‘I am Toshiko Sasaki - not “Taifu” the imprisoned man exclaims, before confirming that Demonicus did rescue them, then turned his wife, Michi, into a Hawaiian “fire goddess” and transformed him into a human typhoon. ‘For which you should both be eternally grateful!’ Demonicus exclaims, before pointing out that, instead, Typhoon betrayed him, while his wife obeyed him, like Sunfire, only under hypnosis, and has now vanished. Taifu asks Demonicus what he has done with his son, Kenjiro.
Demonicus replies that the child was one of his most interesting experiments to date, and reveals that the baby now has a body-weight of two tons, and declares that he re-christened him “the Big One”, before explaining that he left the Big One at his Californian lab after instilling in him certain subliminal suggestions. A lab technician urgently informs Demonicus that Taifu is struggling so hard to overcome the power drain, when suddenly Taifu breaks free from his restraints, ‘Monster!’ he shouts at Demonicus, kicking him in the chest as he demands the return of his child.
Before Kuroko can do anything, Typhoon creates a small wind, pointing out that Kuroko willingly serves Demonicus, before smashing her against the wall on the opposite side of the lab. Suddenly, a lab technician cries out to Demonicus, announcing that they used all of the power trying to hold Taifu, now there is nothing left to keep the Living Lightning in Stasis! Typhoon turns to the Living Lightning, who calls out to Dr. Demonicus, asking what is happening to him, before he screams as his body shifts into its lightning-state, and Demonicus exclaims ‘He’s free!’
Typhoon approaches Living Lightning, ‘Whoever you are - you must help me! Together we can -’ he remarks, until he steps too close to Miguel and is struck by a blast of lightning, despite Miguel warning him to look out. Miguel stands over Typhoon’s unmoving body, ‘I…didn’t mean to…’ he says, to which Demonicus comes up behind Miguel and tells him to forget Taifu, ‘I should have killed him before now. Demonicus then remarks that Miguel’s father was in the Legion of the Living Lightning, which once rocked America to its foundations, and tells Miguel that, in his new electrical form, he will honor - surpass - his father’s memory.
Meanwhile, in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan. Iron Man, the Wasp and Tigra descend in the Quinjet, with the Wasp remarking that it is a pretty place tonight. Iron Man agrees and points out that they are lucky most factories in Kyoto are in small workshops, as it made the Hasanuma plant easier to find from the air. Shortly, standing outside the high fence, the Wasp asks Iron Man if he has got a reading on Hank’s gadget yet. Iron Man replies that he has, and confirms that they are the same kind of emanations that helped them find Demonicus’ place back in Newport Beach.
Tigra points out that the fence is electrified, and that they haven’t got time to be hassled at the main gate, when Iron Man tells her to get with the program, and picking her up, he carries her over the fence, while reminding her that she is an Avenger and pointing out that this si no time to be sulking because she has learned Tony Stark has been Iron Man, twice. The Wasp flies over behind them, while Tigra tells Iron Man not to worry, that she will do her job, but that doesn’t mean she has to take any lectures from him.
On the outside of the building now, the Wasp points out that it looks to be a likely suspect as there are no windows. Iron Man announces that the signal is the strongest at this location too, to which Tigra, addressing him as Stark, asks him what he is waiting for. ‘Nothing’ Iron Man replies as he unleashes a repulsor ray to burst a hole in the wall. ‘Nothing at all’. Janet tells Iron Man that he has a nice silencer on that laser beam, while Tigra remarks that if they are in the wrong place they are likely to create an international incident.
Iron Man replies that they are not in the wrong place, and declares that the readings is so clear, he would almost suspect they had been ‘Led around by the nose?’ Tigra asks, cutting in. ‘Is that what you were going to say?’ Greer asks, when suddenly the lights turn on. The Wasp exclaims that it is a trap, when a voice from behind them exclaims ‘”Trap” is such an unfriendly word, Avenger, I prefer to call it, simply, a “surprise”!’
The three Avengers turn quickly to see a man standing a few feet away, dressed in a robe, the newcomer offers to introduce himself, ‘I am Irezumi’ he reveals, ‘Which in your language means “Tattoo” he remarks as he takes off his robe, revealing a body covered in tattoos. ‘Oh, wonderful! Another Yakuza bozo!’ Tigra mutters, before pointing out that they mopped the floor with the ones in Tokyo and asks why Demonicus doesn’t just surrender now instead of tossing these clowns at them.
Iron Man warns Tigra to be careful, as this one seems different, to which Irezumi remarks that Iron Man is rather astute, and exclaims ‘Perhaps that is why the Doctor said to crush you first!’ Iron Man replies that if there is any crushing to be done around here, then it will be done by his repulsor rays, before he unleashes the deadly blasts, with the Wasp joining using her wasp-stings and asking Iron Man to leave a piece for her. Suddenly, tattoos of Iron Man and the Wasp appear on Irezumi’s body and he tells the Wasp not to worry, as there is more than enough of Irezumi for both of them, before unleashing powerful bursts of energy back at Iron Man and the Wasp, who are tossed across the other side of the corridor.
Irezumi explains that his tattoos capture the essence of those whom they depict at close range, and return that essence multiplied by a factor of two - or even three! Irezumi remarks that of course for some particularly formidable opponents, such as the legendary Iron Man, some sort of backup system is also required, and at that moment a large contraption, some sort of giant container clamps down, trapping Iron Man.
‘Tony!’ a shocked Tigra whispers, before Irezumi calls her stupid and asks if she really believed he was a mere Yakuza, remarking that Demonicus may contract with the Yakuza to eliminate some bumbler like Anami, but at the locations where he always intends to lure super beings such as the Avengers, nothing was good enough but he, Irezumi one of Demonicus’ own Pacific Overlords.
Tigra exclaims that she would like to claw out Irezumi’s bragging tongue, when suddenly she is surrounded by henchmen, and Irezumi points out that Tigra’s image has replaced the others upon his chest, so she should know that such an attempt would be fruitless. Irezumi informs Tigra that he will not touch her himself, as the other men will have that task, remarking that Demonicus pays them well, and so far they have had nothing to do but watch him defeat her fellow Avengers.
Tigra warns the henchmen to keep away from her, when suddenly one of them wraps a thick chain around her neck. ‘Should have grown eyes in the back of my head!’ Tigra jokes, before telling her attackers that if they had done their homework, then they would know Tigra is a stronger than the average household tabby cat, as she uses her upper body strength to toss the chain-wielder over her shoulders, then begins trying to free herself from the chain - until one of the men slices her with a large knife.
Greer kicks a man who is about to fire a weapon aside just in time, while exclaiming that if she hangs around her much longer, they are just liable to make her mad. Struggling to get the chain off, Tigra thinks to herself that the men are also liable to just kill her, before admitting that the knife wound is a lot worse than she let on. Everything inside of Tigra tells her to stay here, to fight it out, to die at Tony and Jan’s side if that is what’s in the cards - but if she does that, then Wanda’s group won’t know that they are walking into a trap too.
‘So I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do!’ Tigra thinks to herself as she rushes towards the gaping hole in the wall that Iron Man created earlier. Irezumi stands in her way though, jibing her to hurl her tiger-force against him, but instead, Tigra slides underneath him, in between his legs she darts through the broken wall, asking Irezumi how big a dope he thinks Americans are. Tigra then rushes towards the fence, though she forgot the Quinjet is on the outside of the fence, which is electric. Tigra doesn’t feel like she has the strength inside herself to clear it, but knows that if she doesn’t, then some sushi bar is going to serving “Japanese-fried pussycat”. She leaps while the henchmen fire bullets at her, and moments later, Greer lands on the other side with a loud thud, believing that she has hurt herself.
Inside the Quinjet now, Tigra steadies herself as she takes the ships controls, thankful that the bullets will not damage the Quinjet, while knowing that she has got to take off before those henchmen come around past the fence. Struggling, Tigra finally gets the Quinjet to take off, with enough strength left in herself to say ‘Sayonara suckers!’ as the continue to fire at her from the ground.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the mighty Scarlet Witch glances out the window of the Quinjet at the famous Sydney Opera House and remarks that some day, if she lives long enough, she may actually get to see inside the Opera House. Doctor Hank Pym remarks ‘Not this time, though, Wanda’ as he informs her that they are doing a fast swing by the harbor, before they land at their destination - Everard Electronics on the outskirts of the city. ‘Looks as deserted as a Hollywood set after a wrap party, Doc!’ Wonder Man a.k.a. Simon Williams remarks, to which Hank replies that he noticed.
The three long-serving Avengers leave the Quinjet and Hank reminds Wanda and Simon that Iron Man said Tony Stark would phone ahead to let Everard Electronics know they are coming. Wonder Man motions around the deserted complex and supposes that they will “scare up” somebody, unaware that around the corner watching them are two of Demonicus’ minions. ‘Think we’ll be enough for them?’ one of the Overlords asks the other. ‘Oh, I am certain they will receive more hospitality than they have bargained for…from Jawbreaker and Cybertooth!’ the deadly Cybertooth replies with his mouth full of razor-sharp metal teeth.
At that moment, in Palos Verdes, California, at the Avengers West Compound, Hawkeye a.k.a. Clint Barton tells Julia “Spider-Woman” Carpenter that they are back in Los Angeles in record time from Hawaii, and asks her what was so important that they had to race back here after the learned the Pacific Overlords have tapped tomorrow for some kind of “D-day”. ‘”D” for “Demonicus?”’ Spider-Woman asks as the Quinjet lands in the hangar. Clint replies that this Demonicus caper is big, how big, they do not know yet, before telling Julia that she did great against Sunfire and Pele, and asks why she wants to leave all of a sudden. ‘Don’t you feel any sense of responsibility?’ he asks.
‘Please, Hawkeye - I’ve already told you, I’d rather not’ Julia replies, before asking if he has a car that she can borrow, before resigning herself to Hawkeye’s questions, pointing out that he has been nosing into her life ever since she showed up here, and informs him that the sole “responsibility” she feels is to her seven year old daughter. This shocks Hawkeye, but before he can say anything, Julia explains that her ex-husband recently moved with Rachel to Newport Beach, so she wants to be close to her, and therefore had to pull up stakes back in Denver. ‘Your ex got custody?’ Clint asks. ‘Yes, and before you ask “why”, I’ll tell you!’ Julia exclaims as they make their way through the Compound.
Julia reveals that when she first got her powers, she got so swept up in the “super hero” thing, that she neglected both Larry and Rachel, adding that neither of them know she is Spider-Woman, so to them, and to the courts, she just looks like a bad wife - and mother. Spider-Woman remarks that is why if there is some disaster approaching, she intends to be near her child, not in Honolulu. Clint replies that he understands, and tells Julia that as soon as he contacts his teammates, he will scrounge up the keys to one of the Toyotas.
‘You couldn’t even buy American, could you, bow-slinger?’ shouts the handsome John Walker, better known as the USAgent as he tosses his shield, which smacks Hawkeye in the head. Standing over his former teammates motionless body, Walker remarks that Hawkeye isn’t going to do any more jawing for a while, before turning to Spider-Woman, who exclaims that she knows who USAgent is, and points out that he was an Avenger until a few days ago, so why the hostile act? ‘I’ll make it short and sweet. Clemson sent me!’ Walker replies.
Spider-Woman unleashes her psi-webs on USAgent while exclaiming that Clemson and his blasted committee have been forcing her to work for them by keeping her officially a fugitive. ‘If you’ve come to drag me back to that louse -’ Spider-Woman remarks, until Walker interrupts, breaking through her psi-webs and grabbing her wrists and declaring that if Spider-Woman thinks he is going to wait around for one of those psychic webs Clemson told him about to congeal, then she can forget it, before announcing that Clemson didn’t send him to fetch her, but to kill her!
USAgent then smacks Julia across the room, before coming in for a second blow, hard against her face. Walker stands over Julia, asking her if she hears him, ‘You’re a rogue agent, he said - a traitor - and here’s what we do to traitors!’ Walker bellows as he raises a fist high above Julia, ready to smack into her, while he holds her neck with his other powerful hand. Julia manages to utter that he is choking her, before telling him to go ahead. ‘What are you waiting for?’ she asks.
Walker grimaces, before smashing the floorboards instead and shouting ‘I can’t do it!’ He then slumps back on the couch and declares that he doesn’t care what Spider-Woman has done, or that the Avengers threw him off the team - or what kind of deal Clemson offered him. ‘I’m never going to waste anybody again, if I can help it!’ Spider-Woman gets to her feet and replies that she is glad to hear it, before asking Walker if he wants to listen to her side of the story for a minute, ‘And I’ll tell you what we’ve got to do…both of us!’