Somewhere beneath the ocean misleadingly called Pacific, two Avengers Quinjets and one equally amphibious Fantasti-car slice almost noiselessly through a dark, watery fastness. Outside, the sub-sea temperature is only two or three all-important degrees aboce freezing. Unbelievable pressures push in upon the vessels, threatening at any moment to crush them and everything inside them into a compact mass roughly the size of a child's rubber ball. None of this worries those within the trio of hurtling craft which descend deeper into the ocean, because they refuse to let it. In the first Quinjet, Tony “Iron Man” Stark telsl the android Vision that it won't be long now until they have rescued his wife. 'I know the Avengers West must think me unfeeling, Iron Man...but I think of the Scarlet Witch as my mate only because you persist in telling me that I should' the Vision responds coldly. 'Oh. Right' Iron Man remarks, to which the newest member of the Avengers, the Eternal called Sersi, declares 'We're not “Avengers West” either – just Avengers'. Janet van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp tells Sersi that labels don't matter, only reaching Ghaur's base in time to save all seven “Brides of Set”.
'Not to mention an oversize azure blue marble called the Earth!' Hank McCoy a.k.a. The Beast of X-Factor points out. Wendell Vaughan a.k.a. Quasar tells the Beast that what the Wasp means is that if they accomplish one, the other will follow. 'Well put, Quasar' Simon “Wonder Man” Williams agrees as he pilots the Quinjet. Iron Man asks the Vision if he really has no memory at all of being the original Vision, let alone of being married to the Scarlet Witch. The Vision confirms that he has none whatsoever. 'To me, she is a brave comrade, as are you all – but nothing more' the Vision states. 'Something I keep forgetting. Sorry, android' Iron Man replies. Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America tells Iron Man that the Vision is not easily offended.
In the second Quinjet, Monica Rambeau a.k.a. Captain Marvel remarks that somehow it always comes down to this – a handful of so-called super heroes standing between the Earth and some terrible fate. 'In this case, whatever future Llyra and Lord Ghaur may have up their sleeves for mankind'. Dr Hank Pym asks Captain Marvel if she isn't being a little melodramatic, and reminds her that Thor's group kicked Set back into his own dimension, and it is not likely Ghaur and Llyra can pry that door open again before this team reaches them. He adds that they have essentially got them cornered in their sub-sea headquarters. 'Or did you forget?' he asks. T'Challa a.k.a. the Black Panther points out that it is the cornered rat that is often the most dangerous. 'Or have you forgotten that?' he asks Dr Pym, while Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. The Black Widow remarks that none of them are exactly amateurs. 'That's not one thing I'm liable to claim, Black Widow... not when I'm going into action alongside an Avengers team that even includes the original Human Torch!' Dr Pym declares, turning around to look at the original Human Torch. 'Check! We're the Avengers – and we're the best there is!' Hawkeye a.k.a. Clint Barton exclaims as he stands near his estranged wife, Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird, while the Black Panther points out that only one question remains – is whether their best will prove good enough.
In the Fantasti-car:
'Piece of cake, guys!' Ben Grimm a.k.a. the Thing exclaims, but Thor tells him that he sorely underestimates the task that still lie ahead. Thor gazes out a window into the ocean and remarks that already they might well be fighting for their very lives, here beneath the sea, if not for Dr Strange's trance-spell, which allows them to approach Lord Ghaur's stronghold undetected. Reed Richards a.k.a. Mr Fantastic tells the Thing that Thor is right, before remarking that Dr Strange has always been a bit different, a sorcerer hero in a world whose heroes mostly have a technological basis. Dr Strange hovers in the middle of the heroes, while Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch and Sharon Ventura a.k.a. She-Thing stand nearby. The She-Thing announces that she doesn't understand, as she thought Dr Strange was dead and buried. Addressing her as Ms Marvel, Reed asks her 'You're not gonna make me draf out that old Mark Twain quote are you?' to which Johnny points out that it is lucky Strange is alive, since he is the one who sensed where the Serpent Crown had been moved from Magneto's island.
At the controls, the Thing exclaims 'Crown shmown! The way I see it, this is strictly a mopping-up operation – to rescue Suzie and the others'. He adds that the hero types did a blasted good job of clobbering that pervert guy called Ghaur. 'Not pervert, Deviant' the Human Torch corrects the Thing, who replies 'Whatever' and adds that the main thing is from the word “go” they snafued his little scheme to bring that Set character into their world to take it over, haven't they? The Thing continues, and starts to reference related events that have taken place recently: 'Dunno how Doc Strange knows, but he says first the Silver Surfer fought Ghaur to a Mexican stand-off out in space somewhere – and I'm willing to take his word for it'. Thing adds that the Serpent Society got hold of some mystic knick-knacks Ghaur was using. 'Big deal' he declares before admitting that the Moon Knight did not do the Punisher much good when he had to bring him down from some drugs the Viper pumped into him, and Daredevil had to rough Spider-Man up much the same way to free him from those guys who had turned into a cult of snake-headed Set-worshippers. The Thing remarks that even the New Mutant kids got into the act against Attuma's flunkies on Avengers Island, and he heard that Namor's little cousin, Namorita, got in on it too. 'Poor o'l Subby! He'd'a been proud of her – if Hydra hadn't wiped him out back in round one' the Thing adds.
The Thing tells his teammates that they took their lumps, but that from here on in, everyything is going to be clear sailing, don't ya think? Well, don't ya?' he asks, but gets no response. 'Me neither' the Thing mutters.
Inside the stronghold beneath the sea, Ghaur and Llyra look at a monitor, and Ghaur shouts 'Curse Thor and his human lackeys! Who could have foretold that the Thunder God would manage to rouse Set's old foe Demogorge – let alone that the God-Eater would succeed in dismembering the elder god, and hurling his seven heads into as many dimensions?' Ghaur asks Llyra replies 'Apparently not you, Lord Ghaur' the two looking at an image of the Demogorge on the monitor. Llyra remarks that the plan that Ghaur hatched is stillborn, at least for several millennia, until Set's heads can join anew. The Deviant Ghaur laments to Llyra that he wished he still retained the power cosmic, but that most of it was spent keeping control of his molecules when they were scattered by the Eternals' infernal Uni-Mind, and he was forced to squander the last of it in staving off the assault of the Silver Surfer. Llyra turns from Ghaur and tells him that there is little to be gained by crying over spilt blood, and motions to the mass of armed beings before them, and tells Ghaur to look on the bright side, for at least they still have their all-Lemurian army to protect them.
Llyra states that if, and when the surface-heroes attack them here, two kinds of Lemurians will fight and die for the two of them. 'Your handful, whom you could summon here from your own Lemuria because you know and control a myriad of Deviant genetic structures, and my far more numerous sea-born Lemurians'. Llyra adds that her group and their selfless, dare she say, insane, sacrifice, will buy the two of them the precious moments they will need to escape. Ghaur tells Llyra that her mention of sacrifice reminds him that they may not have to flee. He looks up to a platform where the Seven Brides of Set – Marvel Girl, Storm, the Scarlet Witch, Andromeda, She-Hulk, Dagger and the Invisible Woman - are being held prisoner, and tells Llyra that they still have the gigantic new Serpent Crown that they brought here from Magneto's island, and the Seven Brides of Set intended for each of the heads and personae of Set himself. Ghaur points out that by combining properly the power of the Crown with a bit of bride-sacrifice, they may yet be able to re-unite Set's heads at once, to the surprise of their enemies. Hands on hips, Llyra points out that Ghaur didn't mention that possibility before, and she doubts it was because he forgot.
Llyra warns Ghaur not to try and deceive her as he did those foolish Atlanteans he tricked into battling the surface world for their potential benefit. 'Now, would I do such a thing to you, my lovely Llyra?' Ghaur asks, turning away andv narrowing his eyes. 'No more readily than I would to you' Llyra responds. 'Precisely' Ghaur declares. 'But since your plan – our plan – was originally to sacrifice the entire Atlantean race to Set, to enable him to physically manifest himself on Earth – do you truly believe the ritual slaying of seven mortal females will suffice, instead?' Llyra asks. Ghaur admits that he is not totally certain, but that the alternative is to depend upon those weapon-wielding dolts they both command. 'And frankly, all things being equal...i think I prefer sacrificing those women to whom we have given the Mark of Set!' Ghaur exclaims. Llyra tells Ghaur not to expect her to get all squeamish about it, when suddenly, a robotic being appears on a monitor, 'Calling the Lady Llyra...' the guard announces. Llyra instructs him to speak, and the guard informs her that he is contacting her from the two-world chamber in whose damp atmosphere either aiir-breather or undersea man may live. 'And what do you have to report? Speak up' Llyra demands. The guard motions back to where three high-tech craft have arrived and tells Llyra that the surface dwellers have arrived in strength!
The Quinjets and Fantasticar land, and Mr Fantastic announces that he thought there would be an area like ths, since the two types of Lemurians needed someplace they could meet on common ground. The Thing reminds everyone that the Sub-Mariner used to have one in his sub-sea digs, too. Thor announces that he doesn't see Ghaur or Llyra, to which the the Human Torch tells Thor not to worry, as there are plenty of troops to go on a scavenger hunt for them. 'Course, there's a few people left on their side, too!' the Human Torch adds as he and the heroes rush towards the massive army before them. In the other chamber, Llyra hears the commotion and declares that it is time to begin the ritual. 'Guards! Do not let them near the Crown room! You must defend it with your lives – while Ghaur and I do what must be done!' Llyra orders, while looking towards the imprisoned heroines.
As the heroes do battle against the guards, the Black Panther asks Wonder Man if he shares his feeling that they are being watched. 'Why? Just because there's about a zillion subhuman cutthroats up ahead crying for our blood?' Wonder Man replies, telling the Black Panther to get serious, unware that indeed a figure lurks nearby, watching the heroes battle. The Thing throws two of the warriors overhead and warns them that he is only going to ask them once: 'Where's Suzie!?' he demands, referring to the Invisible Woman. 'She's in the chamber beyond! She has to be!' Mister Fantastic exclaims as he stretches forward, while the Black Panther leaps at an opponent and kicks him. Thor regrets that the struggle with Demogorge has sapped his strength, and flying alongside him, Dr Strange tells Thor that he knows how he feels, as he has cast so many spells today that he feels like a seasons re-runs of “Bewitched”. But, the Sorcerer Supreme reports that he thinks he might have one more in him, and he starts to cast the spell: 'May the light of Agamotto, from which no evil hides, show us to the ones we seek – Set's seven baleful brides!' before he cries out in pain, and falls to the ground. Thor approaches him, but Dr Strange assures him that he is all right, just too drained to make the spell work. 'Don't sweat it, Doc!' the younger Human Torch exclaims, flying overhead. 'Right! We non-mystics may be able to shed a bit of light on the subject ourselves' Captain Marvel remarks as she flies above, and tossing his mighty hammer, Thor boasts that his arm can hurl Mjolnir with lessened force.
The younger Human Torch tells Thor and Dr Strange that they have done more than their fair share of and suggests they sit this one out, adding that they need somebody here to guard their rear. 'There's... a lot in what he says' Dr Strange admits. 'Aye – sorely doth it vex me to admit it!' Thor agrees. 'Keep hitting 'em, heroes! We've got to get to the Seven Brides before these guys decide to blow them away!' Wonder Man exclaims, smashing his way through two of the guards, before asking who the last two brides are, anyway. Stretching past a guard, Mr Fantastic points out that Wonder Man is right. 'There's Sue, of course' he tells the others. 'And the Scarlet Witch' Captain America adds as he punches his opponent. 'There's Cloak's partner, Dagger – don't forget her!' the Black Widow calls out as she tosses her opponent aside, while Mockingbird kicks her foe, and She-Things raises two warriors overhead, adding 'Plus the She-Hulk'. The Vision fires his eye-beams and remarks that Marvel Girl makes five. 'Guess we'll find out who the other two lucky ladies are when we get them out!' Quasar exclaims as he blasts his foe with quantum bands. 'Check! That's the bottom line!' Iron Man agrees, firing a repulsor ray, while the Beast punches his opponent.
The younger Human Torch flies alongside the original, 'Hey, Torch! (Sheesh! Almost feel like I'm talking to myself!) nice fighting alongside you, instead of against you!' Johnny calls out. 'Agreed, Torch – but don't go by our old fight. That was the Mad-Thinker's doing, not mine. As you might've heard, I've been a bit out of it ever since the mid-50's!' the original Human Torch declares, while the Wasp blasts her sting at an opponent, and Thing and She-Thing fight nearby, smashing through the army. As both Torch's strike in unison at a group of soliders, Johnny tells the original that he notices it is all coming back to him. 'Can the torch song, you two! We got us some damsels in distress to rescue!' the Thing shouts, adding that at this rate, it will take them hours to reach Suzie and the others. Watching the Vision shove an intangible hand through an opponent's body, Mr Fantastic wishes that he could be as detatched about this battle as the Vision is. 'His wife's endangered, too – but he's going about his business so coldly – so mechanically' Reed thinks to himself, then wonders what he is saying, for the last thing he wants to be is like that, and decides that whatever happens, he will face it as a human being, not a soulless android!
Hawkeye, Sersi, Cap and Hank Pym battle near each other, and Sersi calls out 'Hey, Hawkeye – when are we going to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?' to which Hawkeye tells the Eternal not to be in too much of a hurry, as it might turn out to be a funeral pyre. Cap takes down his opponent and remarks that Sersi seems to be the only one enjoying herself here. Sersi attacks her foes and reminds Captain America that she has been fighting these Deviant dogs since mankind came down from the trees. Attacking another, Sersi adds that she wishes her power of transformation extended to doing more of them at one time. 'There sure are a lot of them though, aren't there?' Sersi remarks, as she transforms her foes into dogs.
In the other chamber, 'Spin bride-wheel – faster! Faster!' Ghaur exclaims as he and Llyra watch as the Seven Brides of Set spin on their platform atop the Serpent Crown. 'This is the way you intend to call Set's heads back together before it's too late?' Llyra enquires. 'By whirling those seven fools like some cheap surface carnival ride?' she asks, before telling Ghaur that she wonders if their current state of siege has not snapped his mind. 'You are – you were a Queen, Llyra, of Lemuria. But I was a high priest of my Deviant civilization – and as such I have learned the secrets behind mysteries which your sheltered mind could scarcely imagine'. Ghaur tells Llyra to believe him when he says that the mortal women whirl so fast their very essences are sucked into the Serpent Crown nestled beneath the bride wheel. 'SET SHALL LOVE AGAIN!' Ghaur boasts, standing before the Serpent Crown.
Back outside the first chamber, the battle continues, and Mr Fantastic observes as still more Lemurians, of both kinds, come though the door ahead of them. 'Your exo-skeleton still in shape for a light-brigade-style charge, Ben?' Reed calls out to his friend. 'Don't worry about me, Stretch!' Ben calls out as he punches another warrior back, while knowing that it is Suzie and the others that Reed is really going nuts over. They all are – but Reed is trying to cover it up.
'Only a little longer -' Ghaur exclaims, but Llyra sees the heroes on a monitor depicting the battle outside and remarks that the way the surface scum are carrying the battle ever nearer, that may well be too late. 'Unless -' she begins.
The battle continues, tossing a soldier overhead, the Thing reports that they are getting within spitting distance of the doorway. 'So it won't be long now!' he tells Reed. But, a cannon appears, and from inside the other chamber, Llyra mans the controls, and declares that a few seconds more and their infra-sonic cannon will fire automatically, and that it is a pity to sacrifice their own troops, but that they shall be given full burial honors. She hears a sound, and realizes it is coming from the rear of the chamber, 'YOU?' she gasps as she turns around to see Namor the Sub-Mariner has torn his way into the chamber. 'I have a name, sea-witch! Pince Namor – the Sub-Mariner!' Namor exclaims, while Llyra backs up against the monitor, remarking that Namor was the one man she feared might find a way past all their sub-sea defenses. 'But – they told me you were dead!' she declares, to which Namor tells her that he thought it best to let her think so for a time. 'But you seek to delay me – while your cannon prepares to sweep the outer chamber of all life – and that must not be!' Namor exclaims as he flies past Llyra towards the control panel. 'Namor – here? Stop him, Llyra!' Ghaur orders. 'I'd as soon seek to halt the great Maelstrom!' Llyra replies. 'My thanks for the compliment!' Namor calls out, as he exits the chamber, and flies up to the cannon.
Llyra declares that she can however make certain that Namor does not easily re-enter and slams the doors shut behind him. Namor starts tugging at the large cannon that points towards the heroes and the armies they battle. 'Namor? But Iron Man said -' Mr Fantastic begins as the heroes see their ally. 'He's clearly alive, Reed – and he's wrestling with that huge weapon!' Cap exclaims. Johnny flies towards the Sub-Mariner and asks him if he needs a hand, to which the Thing points out that Namor is as mite too busy to answer. Mr Fantastic announces that he doesn't think they need an answer, and extends his hand forward, wrapping it around the cannon. 'I'm with you, brother-in-law!' Johnny calls out as he starts firing intense flame at the weapon, which, as Namor continues to wrest it, starts to fire. Namor declares that it begins to wrest free from its moorings, and with that, the Thing leaps up to it, 'What say we see what difference a few hundred extra pounds makes, huh?' he suggests, and as it holds onto it, the cannon begins to break and fall. 'Ben!' She-Thing calls out, concerned, but the heroes land safely, and Reed tells Namor that he has a feeling they have to thank him for their lives. 'But I see the open door policy's come to an end' Reed adds, as they see the door ahead of them has closed.
'Lemme at it!' the Thing exclaims, moving forward to the door, he slams into it, 'I'm gonna need a new fist if I try that again!' he exclaims as he is unable to smash the door open. 'Maybe if we all -' the Human Torch suggests, but Namor declares that he has been here long enough to know that whhen they knew the heroes would come, most inner doors and walls were braced with unbreakable adamantium. 'So how'd you get inside to make yer big exit?' the Thing asks. 'From what was, in effect a closet, and thus not so heavily sealed. That was isclosed to us – but I know another!' Namor announces, and tells the Fantastic four to come with him.
And shortly, Namor swims through the crushing ocean depths, with Reed, Johnny, Thing and She-Thing following him. Namor tells them that the few special pills he possessed will enable them to exist at these crushing depths, at least very briefly. He warns them not to speak, otherwise their lungs will instantly fill with water. He declares that there is time enough to talk when they have freed the “Brides” and he has dealt at last with the hated Llyra, she who once slew hiis own bride, Dorma, his cousin Namora, and in partnership with Tiger Shark, his poor human father. Before long, the heroes arrive at the sunken fortress's soft underbelly, and Namor tugs at a access panel, adding that it is not really so soft, however Llyra knew none but he could have reached it, thus failed to reinforce it, thinking him dead. The heroes gather around Namor, who warns them to stay back. 'You will understand that I want the hand that tears open this hatch to be mine alone!' Namor declares, but he struggles to open it, as it is far thicker and more solidly imbedded than he had imagined. Namor admits that once he would have scorned the help of those who formed the Fantastic Four, but now, such false, mad pride has been burned from him in days past. 'Help me – please – my friends!' Namor pleads.
Thing and She-Thing each grab hold of the panel, and with Namor they are manage to turn it ever so slightly. 'Eternal Neptune be praised!' Namor shouts, declaring that, together, they have opened a tiny gap through which Reed Richards can now enter. Namor notices that Johnny is starting to lat away from them, and instructs She-Thing to take hold of him, as he is the first in whom the effects of his pills are fading. Mr Fantastic flattens his body and stretches his way through the tiny gap, 'Make that a two-way tie, Namor!' he thinks to himself as he gasps for breath, but Reed's body is more resilient than Johnny's, which won't do Johnny a whole lof of good if he can't pry the hinges that hold the hatch together in time. Reed tampers with the hinges, and eventually, the hatch panel falls bwackwards gushing water, Namor, and the rest of the Fantastic Four through into the chamber. 'Nice going, Stretch! Ya came through like a champ! Hey – you all right down there?' the Thing calls out. 'Just...fine...' Reed replies as he falls back. The Thing tells him that he can't be feeling too great, just using one syllable words. Water continues to pour through, as the heroes gather themselves, and Reed asks the Sub-Mariner where they will go next. Namor announces that there is a second lock at the far end, and informs the Fantastic Four that beyond it they will be in an atmosphere breathable by both types of Lemurians, and thuus by surface dwellers. Namor asks the Thing for his help to close the lock. 'Maybe you'd need me, Fish-Face – but who says I need you?' the Thing replies, as he slams the lock closed.
She-Thing tries to change the subject from the Thing's harsh comment, and asks Prince Namor which is the way to Ghaur and Llyra. Namor explains that they are in the chamber of the massive new Serpent Crown. He comments that it is strange, for when that crown was first activated, psychic shockwaves coursed through him, and doubtless through others, who, like himself, had worn the original crown since Naga of Lemuria uncovered it centuries ago. Namor flies through the corridor, while the Fantastic Four follow him and adds that far from giving him back his youth, the headpiece destroyed him. Namor is about to reveal who it next passed to, but the Thing tells him to skip the history lesson, and just point them at the bad guys fast. Crashing through a door into the chamber of the new Serpent Crown, Namor asks 'Is this fast enough for you, Grimm?' Llyra and and several guards see the intruders, 'YOU again?' Llyra shrieks. 'And this time you've ushered more intruders into our midst?' she asks. The Thing sees the spinning platform above the large Serpent Crown which Ghaur is kneeling before, and asks' Hey? Whirling around on that big turntable back there – ain't that -?' he begins, as Namor flies over the soldiers, 'Aye, Susan Richards and the others betrothed to Set!' he announces.
The Fantastic Four engage the soldiers in battle, and Johnny declares that in case nobody has clued these jokers in, the wedding day is off! 'Yeah, but I'm still gonna toss this here bridal boquet!' the Thing exclaims, when suddenly, Reed alerts the others to something happening to the women trapped on the wheel, explaining that it is if they are starting to fade away. 'We've got to stop it – before it's too late!' Reed gasps. Ghaur tells Llyra that the power of the Serpent Crown itself is now their only hope, whether or not Set is to be recalled to thiis plane. 'I know! But first – guards! SLAY THEM!' Llyra commands the soldiers, one of whom replies 'We hear and obey, Empress'. Namor flies towards the controls and instructs Thing and Sharon to attack the Lemurians while he tends to the wheel's controls. The Things start on the Lemurians, and Sharon asks if Namor has always been so domineering. 'You know his nickname, Lady - “Imperius Rex”!' the Thing replies. Namor leaps towards Llyra and tells her to stand away from the controls. 'Perhaps you can order those fools around, Sub-Mariner – but not Llyra!' the sea-witch exclaims as she blasts energy from her eyes. 'By the seven secret seas! Violent energy cascades from you-' Namor begins, before he is struck with the energy beams and falls backwards.
'I always did figure that pointy-eared pantywaist was overrated' the Thing remarks, and tells everyone to stand back. 'It's clobbering time!' he shouts as he starts to punch the platform that spins with the captive women. 'Nuts! Dramatic build—upp like that – and I only knocked a dent in this paneling over the gear that runs the wheel!' the Thing tells himself, he makes several more punches in quick succession, knowing that he has to break through quick, for Suzie's sake – for all of the girls. Suddenly, 'What in blazes is happening to me?' the Thing asks, as Ghaur attacks him with some energy. 'You will see soon enough, monstrosity!' Ghaur announces. 'You! Sharry!' the Thing calls out as he lumbers towards She-Thing, who asks him what he is going to do. 'Wadda ya think I'm gonna do, sweetie?' the Thing replies, before lunging forward and declaring that he is going to waste her. With that, he punches She-Thing in the stomach.
Namor falls backwards as Llyra strikes him with energy and he realizes that it is touching the Serpent Crown that gives her and Ghaur such power. 'Yes, the Crown partakes of the very essence of all the Serpent Crowns which once existed in many dimensions!' Llyra responds, adding that just as Ghaur did with the brides before, he can now command the Fantastic Four. 'Ben! You've got to resist Ghaur's control!' Reed calls out to his friend. 'Yer a day late and a dollar short, Slim. I can't help myself!' the Thing responds. Suddenly, 'And now – neither can I!' She-Thing declares as she punches the Thing. Reed knows that Ghaur is controlling both of them, and he stretches forward, 'I've got to -' he begins, as Ghaur calls out to him '- kill the Human Torch!' and Reed replies 'Yes! Kill the Human Torch!' Ghaur informs Johnny Storm that he shall return the favor. 'I don't want to but -' Johnny starts to reply, as Reed wraps his elastic body around Johnny, and urges him to fight back. 'Wet or dry – don't let me murder you!' Reed exclaims. Johnny warns Reed thsat he better defend himself against him, otherwise he is liable to incinerate him first!
She-Thing falls backwards, 'Look's like you're too strong for me, Ben!' she exclaims, and the Thing continues to punch her, declaring that this is crazy, for he knows good and well that the blueskin creep is pulling his strings like he was the puppet master, and there isn't a thing he can do about it. 'I'm still gonna murder the woman I love!' the Thing declares. 'And I'll kill Johnny!' Reed adds, wrapped around the Human Torch, he wishes he could stop fighting and let Johnny kill him instead. 'Don't give me that kind of opening, brother-in-law – or I'll be forced to oblige!' the Human Torch replies, 'Flame on!' he shouts as he switches to his fiery form and blasts Mr Fantastic backwards. 'You didn't think I was going to stay high and dry all day, did you, Reed?' Johnny asks, while Reed is agony, and exclaims that he feels like he is on fire. 'Once the flame gets through my heat resisten costume -' Reed begins, while Johnny tells him that this is tearing him apart, too – and only his flames keep burning away his tears. 'Ah! This is even more satisfying than commanding the human females to do my bidding!' Ghaur boasts as he continues to influence the heroes, he tells Llyra that it is a pity the Serpent Crown does not give her the same mesmerizing power.
Llyra continues to blast the Sub-Mariner and declares that she is no priest, but that the power fed her by the Crown grows greater with every moment she touches it. She adds that soon she shall be safe forever. 'The passing of eons would not make you safe from my avenging hand, woman!' the Sub-Mariner calls out as he moves closer to Llyra, 'Would it not? Why don't you stop a moment, Namor – and look behind you! Do you recognize the ones you see there?' Llyra asks. Namor stops suddenly as he sees visions of the two women he loved the most in all of the world suddenly appear before him – Dorma, his first bride, as she was the day she died at Llyra's hand, and Marrina, the alien wife he was forced to slay for the world's sake. 'You murdered Dorma, sea-witch. Why enrage me with images which can only make me kill you even more eagerly?' Namor asks. Llyra grins and tells the Sub-Mariner that they are far more than ordinary images. 'Explain yourself before I -' Namor begins, as memories flood his mind of being with both women. Llyra declares that the power she takes from the Crown is that of life and death itself. 'Mastery of all that ever is, or was, upon the face or floor of the sea lies within its province – including the ability to return to you either of your deceased brides!' Llyra reveals, adding that Namor has but to choose between them.
Namor hovers before the image that is cast of both women, and Llyra tells him to smash the image of the one not chosen, and the other shall stand before him alive, to live out her natural span. 'Smash...one' Namor replies. 'Either one – but quickly!' Llyra exclaims, informing Namor that her power of restoration will pass if he has not chosen before she removes her hand from the Crown. 'Choose, Prince Namor! CHOOSE!' Llyra shouts. Somewhat confused, Namor rubs his head, 'Yes, I shall choose...I have chosen! And my choice is...neither!' Namor exclaims as he leaps into the image, announcing that to choose either would debase the memory of both. But between the visions of Marrina and Dorma, Namor suddenly grabs hold of a third female – but one who is in the flesh! 'NAMORITA!' Namor gasps. 'Then – it was she who was the true basis of the images?' Namor wonders as he places Namorita on the ground. 'Yes, you may as well know the truth – the Deviants captured her – and with the mild hypnotic powers which is all the Crown really gives me – I hoped to make you kill your own little cousin in trying to re-possess a dead woman' Llyra explains. Namor tells Llyra that she is beneath all contempt. 'But Nita lives – as you shall not!' Namor exclaims.
Ghaur calls out to Llyra and tells her to stop mucking around with the halfbreed scum and to come give him a mental hand, as even his power no longer keeps their main foes from each other's throats. The Thing tells Llyra to conserve her energy, as her buddy has had it. 'What he said!' the Human Torch eclaims. As Mr Fantastic untangles hisself, he tells Ghaur that he may have beaten those women one at a time, and controlled their weakened wills when they awoke, 'But you're up against a Fantastic Foursome, here!' Reed boasts. She-Thing gets up and declares 'And the woman on this team is gonna make you wish you'd stayed in Lemuria!' Ghaur calls out to Llyra, asking for her help, but Llyra responds that she cannot. 'It is all I can do now – to keep the Sub-Mariner from me!' she exclaims as she releases power towards Namor, who declares 'Even that, harridan, you shall not do for long!' Ghaur stands atop the Serpent Crown and announces that he fights alone, while the Human Torch flies towards him, 'C'mon, guys! Can't quite break through his mental shield by myself – but if we all hit it -' the Human Torch calls out, the Thing announcing that he is right behind him.
Ghaur raises his hands and declares that he sees his error, realizing that the heroes all love one of the females upon the whirling bride wheel, thus they will never cease attacking until one of the other of them have perished. He states that he must delve deeper into the very essence of the Serpent Crown until its innermost secrets are laid bare and throbbing before him! 'AND LORD GHAUR CONQUERS ALL!' the madman roars, releasing energy which knocks the Human Torch back. Reed urges Ben and Sharon to keep fighting, while Namor wraps his hands around Llyra's neck and the sea-witch tells Ghaur that in doing so, he has drawn all of the Serpent Crown's power away from her. 'And so – you die!' Namor exclaims. The Thing tells Reed that they will keep fighting, but all of a sudden, he feels that they are not going to get through to Ghaur, adding thatb this new barrage makes the old one look like it was just a warm up. Brilliant energy surrounds Ghaur who exclaims 'That is precisely what it was, human – now that I have broken through to the heart of the Crown's power! A moment more, to consolidate the sheer, raw energy cascading through me – and I shall rend the four of you as easily as -' Ghaur begins, before his voice sounds scared as he gasps 'Wait – who are you? There is another presence in here with me!' he reveals, his eyes wide with fear.
'I – I begin to see it now! It – it is – Naga of Lemuria!' Ghaur exclaims as Naga begins to appear before Ghaur. 'But you died – when the Crown's rampant power destroyed your city years ago!' Ghaur declares. 'Only to be summoned back from oblivion, blue creature, when you created your massive New Serpent Crown!' Naga reveals, announcing that long he lay buried with the first crown upon his brow, and that has made him a part of it in a way Ghaur could never comprehend. 'And now – Naga has come to claim the Serpent Crown!' Naga boasts. 'No! It is mine! Now! Mine!' Ghaur shouts, firing energy at Naga, who admits that Ghaur's will is strong, but exclaims that in the end, Naga must triumph and reconstitute himself as master of the world. 'NEVER!' Ghaur retorts. 'Oh, jolly – those two are fighting it out for the championship – and the winner gets to cream us!' the Thing mutters, while Sharon points out that neither one of them is winning, instead, they are annihilating each other. Energy ripples around the two. 'And what is happening to me?' Llyra asks, but Namor has a hand firmly around her neck, and he tells herthat she will not escape his wrath again – but just then, Llyra vanishes. 'She is gone!' Namor gasps. 'All three of them are, Subby' the Thing points out. The ground opens nearby, and the Thing warns Sharon not to get too close to that new crevice.
Reed and Johnny turn to the captured women, and Reed points out that at least the wheel has stopped spinning, and adds that it looks like Sue and the others aren't too much the worse for wear. 'But boy I'll bet they're dizzy!' Johnny remarks. Reed starts to say that they better get over and help. But just then, the door to the chamber bursts open, and the Avengers all rush in. 'No need to trouble yourself, Reed!' Iron Man calls out. The Thing remarks that it must take more than two kinds of Lemurians to slow the Avengers down, and adds thatb the Fantastic Four did okay in here. The Scarlet Witch embraces the Vision, while Hawkeye helps Marvel Girl off bthe platform. She-Hulk and Dagger help each other, while Reed and Johnny hug the Invisible Woman. The Black Panther goes over to a blue-skinned woman and the Thing remarks that one of the two “unknown brides” as Andromeda, Attuma's daughter, and wonders who the seventh is. He points out that it looks like Storm of the X-Men, but everyone knows the X-Men are dead. 'Evidently' Captain America remarks, before the Thing asks the ladies if they are all okay.
'We are, Ben – thanks to you – and now that the Mark of Set has vanished from all our necks' Susan replies, while adding that the fight between Ghaur and the one called Naga didn't seem to do the floor much good, as the ground around them opens up further. The Beast peers down into the gaping crevice and reports that he can't even begin to make out the bottom. The Thing tells Mr Fantastic that if the blast didn't total the New Serpent Crown, it is probably too strong and magical for them to pulverize. 'But maybe we could just dump it down in here, y'know?' the Thing suggests. Reed begins to say that it is not a bad idea, but someone calls out 'NO!' It's the Invisible Woman, who announces 'We'll do it!' 'Right!' Jean Grey agrees, and the She-Hulk encourages the other six Brides of Set to push with her, as they use all their force to topple the New Serepent Crown off the ledge and into the crevice. There is a rumbling, and the crevice closes once more. 'There's nothing left to see but the crack!' the Beast exclaims, before asking the women how they did that, acting almost like they were one entity.
Dagger emits a glow of light and tells the Beast that they are not quite certain, adding that their minds must have meshed a bit, under Ghaur's influence, and they retained a bit of it. 'Just long enough to do what had to be done, anyway' She-Hulk points out. The Vision states that their mission, it would seem, has come to a triumphal conclusion, and the Thing tells him not to get too emotional about it, as he is liable to turn all red-faced again, and then who knows what will happen. The Thing adds that at least the Lemurians are all scattered. 'As are my Atlanteans' Namor reports as he picks up his cousin. 'Namor... that's Namorita, isn't it? How is she?' Iron Man enquires. 'Ask her yourself, Avenger' Namor replies. 'I'm always okay with my big cousin, Namor to look after me!' Namorita exclaims as the heroes gather around. Namor tells Namorita that she is too old for that school girl crush nonsense, and Namorita replies that she is just gushing because she thought he was dead, is all.
Mr Fantastic asks Namor what he and Namorita will do now that their fellow Atlanteans have fled for parts unknown. 'Probably rejoin the Avengers, right, Subbo?' the Thing suggests, but Namor replies 'No... at least not yet' and adds that he does not intend to search for his dispersed people as he has done before. He remarks that in his day he has been both Emperor of an entire race and a lone sea-wolf wandering the oceans with neither faith nor family to sustain him. 'Well, Namorita is my family now – my world – and wherever I go – whatever I do – she and I will do it...together, if that is her wish' Namor reports. Namorita tells Namor that she hopes he will come visit her at college, and the heroes start to disperse to the two Quinjets, with someone exclaiming that it is time they cleared out and left this underwater condo to the fish. Captain America adds that at least Ghaur and Llyra won't be back here for a while – if they're lucky, maybe never.
The original Human Torch goes over to Captain America and they watch Namor fly away, and remarks that it is funny, for when the three of them were fighting Nazis years ago, he never would have thought Namor would be the one of them to gturn into a family man. Cap tells the Torch that at times each of them needs a family, whether the bond is blood or not. 'You and I had Bucky and Toro, for much too short a time, way back when. Now, Namor has his Namorita...someone very much like a younger version of himself'. Namorita takes to the air after Namor, and they both wave back at the other heroes, as Cap adds that, in a way, Namor has become a man without a country yet again. 'But you know something? I...envy him!'