Lyra the She-Hulk swims through some murky water, aiming for the surface, as demon-sea creatures grab out for her, and a now two-headed Tiger Shark swims ever closer. ‘You’ve fought bravely, girl… only to be dragged beneath the waves and drowned’ Tiger Shark goads her. He tells her that it is a shame to let such a fine creature die in such a pathetic fashion. ‘Let’s give her a more deserving death!’ As the demons grab her legs, Lyra suddenly discovers that she can breathe and she punches the demons away. ‘Of course you can, Lyra. We can’t let our teammate drown. Your father would be livid’ Dr Stephen Strange remarks as he appears in bubble of mystic energy, alongside Namor the Sub-Mariner, the mutant girl Loa and the Silver Surfer who swim nearby. Lyra smiles at them.
‘NAMOR!’ roars Tiger Shark, before calling out to the demons - the Undying Ones and orders them to attack, to slaughter the heroes. ‘Namor… our kind… join us…’ the transformed Atleanteans call out as they move through the water to Namor. ‘My people… they’re… possessed’ Namor gasps. Silver Surfer blasts some cosmic energy towards the Undying Ones and tells Namor that whether they act of their own free will or not, they have outnumbered them. He asks Dr Strange if they are being controlled by the Undying Ones, whether he can exorcise them. Strange puts some of the possessed Atlanteans behind mystic barriers and announces that there are too many of them, and that there are more powerful forces, more terrible forces, at work here. Strange explains that an exorcism on this scale will require a greater connection to the demons themselves, especially if they want to spare the hot creatures. ‘We need to find the focus - the artifact or charm - used to call upon the demons!’ he declares.
Namor keeps the attacking Atlanteans at bay and reminds Strange that these are people of Atlantis, so they must find a way to help them - without hurting them. Dr Strange wraps some more Atlanteans in mystic bonds while Lyra keeps her opponents at bay, and Loa calls out ‘I don’t think they’re going to extend us the same courtesy!’ Several Atlanteans move closer to Namor, their weapons ready. ‘Our king…how could you let us be taken?’ they ask. ‘How could you let New Atlantis fall?’ one of them enquires. ‘I…I…’ Namor hesitates, and Lyra sees this, so she calls out to him, telling him that now is not the time to hold back. ‘I’m afraid, too, but my training has taught me not to let such emotions control me’ she explains, adding that she will not let their enemies overwhelm them.
‘Who do you think you are, girlie? The Hulk?’ Tiger Shark asks he swims forward and grabs Lyra, pushing her forward through the water, ‘I have bad news for you. I’ve fought the Hulk before. And you’re nowhere near his equal’ Tiger Shark declares as one of his faces bites into her shoulder, then he punches her, knocking her away from him, enabling Namor to dive down and grab her. ‘I have you!’ he assures Lyra, adding that it appears Tiger Shark is playing host to the Nameless One himself.
Nearby though, Loa cries out ‘Hey! Lemme go!’ as several of the possessed Atlanteans grab her and pull her down. ‘Loa? Where is she?’ Dr Strange calls out. ‘We’ll find her!’ the Silver Surfer exclaims, speeding off on his board, as Strange tells him to wait, as they must stay together. Dr Strange turns to Namor and tells him that they can’t win this fight here. Namor points out that New Atlantis - or what is left of it - is not far from here, and that Dr Strange must find the source of the Undying Ones’ powers, while he looks for Loa. ‘Look at what’s happened, Stephen. We’re already - separated’ Namor adds, before calling out to Loa and the Silver Surfer, only neither are anywhere to be seen.
‘Wait for us, Namor…’ a voice calls out. ‘Don’t abandon us as you did before…’ another cries. He tries to ignore the calls of his possessed people who follow him through the water, past some ruined buildings. ‘Namor…’ the Atlanteans chant. ‘Namor…’ He takes cover behind a large rock as they swim past him. ‘How can you leave us?’ ‘Do we mean so little to you?’ they ask. ‘Does Atlantis mean nothing?’ Namor of course does not respond to them, he just frowns and narrows his eyes.
The Silver Surfer searches through the ruins also, when suddenly, ‘Surfer!’ a voice calls out. The Silver Surfer looks over and sees Loa swimming towards him. She announces that she managed to lose the barbarians who were chasing her, but she thinks they are still close by. The Silver Surfer helps Loa onto his surf board and he tells her that they should make haste in finding the others. ‘We can only hide down here - among the enemy - for so long’ he points out, not seeing Loa narrow her eyes as she holds onto him. ‘You don’t know how right you are’ Loa adds, as she pulls out a sharp weapon, but before she can strike, the Silver Surfer spins around and smacks her off the board. Loa falls backwards, dropping the weapon, ‘How did you know?’ she calls out as she lands on some rubble below. ‘I possess the power cosmic. Did you really think you could disguise your true nature - Tyrak the Terrible?’ the Silver Surfer replies, shaking his fist, as Loa’s form vanishes, replaced by Tyrak.
‘Very well, Surfer… I am Lord Attuma’s greatest spy and assassin’ Tyrak responds, increasing his form he looms over the Silver Surfer, his fists ready with cosmic power, and Tyrak declares that now that Attuma has claimed the Serpent’s hammer, he wields the power of the deep. ‘Let’s measure your own gifts against mine!’ The Silver Surfer dodges Tyrak’s attack, as the assassin tells the Surfer that he means nothing to him, and boasts that he has single-handled defeated the Avengers. ‘Who hasn’t?’ the Silver Surfer replies as he blasts cosmic energy straight into Tyrak’s eye, and the behemoth cries out in agony.
Elsewhere amongst the ruins, Lyra sits, cross-legged, meditating, as Tiger Shark peers into the ruined building she sits in. He swims towards her, ‘Are you scared, girl? Did you think you could hide from me? What are you doing? Praying?’ he asks her. Lyra opens her eyes and replies that, unlike her father, she grows stronger when she is calm and more focused. ‘So no, I’m not praying. I’m focusing!’ Lyra declares as she spins around and punches tiger Shark with such force that he is sent flying back through the water, breaking more of the ruined building, as possessed Atlanteans watch.
Loa hears the might sound of Lyra’s punch from where she swims, and tells herself that the Undying Ones may be possessing natives of New Atlantis, but that they don’t seem to remember much about the lay of the land. ‘For now, at least, I think I’ve lost them -’ she begins, noticing Dr Strange nearby, in his mystic energy bubble, she calls out to him, ‘Did you feel that?’ she enquires. ‘I hope that was one of the good guys’ Loa tells Dr Strange, who replies that if they don’t stop the Undying Ones from spilling into this world, he is not sure there will be enough “good guys” to stand against them. ‘And I sense that we’re drawing close to a confluence of terrible mystic energy’ he adds. ‘Well, then…by all means, let’s head straight to the demons’ source of power’ Loa suggests, and they swim onwards through the city.
As they enter a citadel, Loa asks Dr Strange what it is they are looking for. He tells her that he doesn’t know for sure, but that he will know it when he sees it. A large jelly-fish floats nearby, ‘Okay. That’s pretty sick’ Loa remarks, before asking Strange if his magic sense is tingling. ‘No. This is a simply scrying device, nothing more’ Strange replies, before telling Loa to keep looking, as the item must be around. ‘You’re not seeking an item, Doctor’ a voice calls out. Strange and Loa turn to see Aradnea swimming towards them. ‘You’re looking for me’ she announces. She introduces herself and reveals that she was born, bred and mystically engineered to serve as the conduit for the Undying Ones. ‘Well… that makes our predicament considerably more complicated’ Strange remarks. Aradnea tells him not to worry, as he won’t live long enough to see his best efforts result in failure.
There is a crash, and a wave breaks through part of the wall, ‘Loa…Strange…I’ll h old these beasts at bar’ Namor declares as he swims over, ready to fight. ‘Do what you must to save the people of Atlantis!’ he calls out as he moves towards Aradnea. ‘A futile effort! The fear spreading through the surface world has thrown open the gates of old! Once the surface dwellers destroy themselves, we shall claim the entire world for ourselves!’ Aradnea declares, blasting Strange with emery, she tells him that his magic is feeble and that the ascendancy of the Undying Ones is written in the depths. ‘It’s not - nnnng! My magic that needs to be strong!’ Dr Strange calls out, as he tries to combat Aradnea’s spell. ‘It’s too bad that you have to die, really. You amuse me’ Aradnea declares as she overwhelms Dr Strange, forcing him to the seabed. ‘Yeah. Burned-out wizards are a hoot. Let’s see if you think this is funny!’ Loa exclaims as she picks up Namor’s trident and whacks it into Aradnea’s back. The sorceress stumbles, enabling Dr Strange to gather himself, and wrap an arm around her neck. ‘Hold still. The merging of two mystic entities will only hurt for a decade or two’ he warns her. Aradnea screams, and both she and Dr Strange say ‘Begone, blight! Begone, pestilence! In the names of Galigothiel and Baelroth, I abjure thee… begone!’
Outside, the demons that Lyra and the Silver Surfer are battling collapse, ‘Stephen did it! He’s banished the demons!’ the Silver Surfer calls out. The Undying Ones rise from the Atlanteans, dispersing. Namor turns to Strange and tells him that he may no longer hold the title of Sorcerer Supreme, but that there is certainly some life left in him. ‘Really? Because I feel as though I might pass out’ Strange replies, while Aradnea reaches for Namor’s trident. ‘I just need a moment to -’ Strange begins, while Aradnea gets to her feet and moves towards Strange, growling, she raises the trident to strike him - until Loa punches her from behind, her mutant power dissolving Aradnea’s form. ‘Wh-what did I…’ Loa calls out. ‘You did what you had to do’ Strange assures her as they watch the remains of Aradnea’s form vanish.
Silver Surfer and Lyra join the others, as the Silver Surfer announces that the people of New Atlantis are free of the demonic entities that were controlling them, and they seem only a little worse for wear. Lyra adds that the barbarians are fleeing with their tails between their legs. ‘We’ve won the day!’ she exclaims. But Namor frowns and declares that they haven’t. ‘We may have liberated the city, but New Atlantis is not safe. No place in the world is safe. Our greatest challenge still awaits…we still have to face…Attuma!’
And elsewhere in the ocean, a very angry Attuma - now known as Nerkkod - swings his mighty hammer….