In New Orleans the Mardi Gras Festival is going on. Bernard Le Branche only likes the festivities for one reason : it’s the perfect distraction for his profession. Bernard belongs to the Thieves Guild, and while examining the diamonds he stole last night, he catches the ehadline of the newspaper. “French Quarter Killer kills No. 11“ Bernard wonders if the feud will never stop, and suddenly he gets aware of somebody moving on his balcony. His fists charge up with power, as he turns towards the black clawed figure, calling it an Assasin. Bernard blasts at the figure but misses, and the dark assailant uses his claws on Bernard before pushing him from the balcony. The Assasin then laughs at the newspaper, stating that it’s now No. 12, and soon the entire Clan LeBeau will be dead; then Clan Boudreaux will finally be avenged.
In the sreets below, the Ghost Rider arrives in the city. He too learns of the serial killer through the newspaper and curses that wherever he goes, he always has to encounter blood and dewath. Thanks to the festival he can move around without gaining unwanted attention, in fact asomebidy dressed as a skelleton compliments Ghost Rider on his “costume“. Ghost Rider wonders what he is - demon ?, yet he feels human at some times and he has some glimpses of emotions. Still these feelings could be the result of a psychic link with Ghost Rider’s human host Dan Ketch. Dan had been mortally wounded and only their transformation saved thim, but for how long. Ghost Rider knows that only Johnny Blaze (the former Ghost Rider) can help them, and he has to find him here in New Orleans.
Dan Ketch finds himself in an area of blackness. He has no idea where he is, or if he is alive or dead. The wound he received in battle with Blackout (last issue) is gone and the pain is gomne too. In the distance Dan sees a light and marches towards it.
In the outskirts of New Orleans, the X-Men are driving in a rented car. Jubilee is annoyed that because of the Blackbird being in repairs she now has to sit in the backseat between Psylocke and Logan. Gambit tells Beast to drive faster, as he wants to arrive in the city before Rogue and who is flying ahead with Bella Donna, his wife. Also Gambit is concerned about the Guilds, the situation must be severe for Bella Donna to contact him. The car is being stopped by a speed patrol, but after his gun gets sliced by Logan‘s claws, being blinded by Jubilee, and their car being devasted by Gambit and Cyclops, the police have no intention to follow the X-Men.
Meanwhile Ghost Rider has made his way to a very old, almost forgotten part of the city and stops at an abandoned church to get some rest. Suddenly he hears a scream, and the dark figure bursts through a window, battling another member of the Thieves Guild. The Assasin teases him to show his special powers, as many members of the Thieves Guild apparently have one, but then slices him up. A woman jumps out of the window, screaming that the assasin has killed her husband; the Assasin’s answer is that she is pregnant, and carrying a Thieves child means that she has to die too. Ghost Rider is too late to save her and swings his chain at the Assasin who is licking the blood of his clawed fingers. Ghost Rider swears vengeance for the victims, and wonders how to punish the Assasin; he vowed to not take a human life, but the killer seems to be something different than human. The clawed figure says that appearances can be deceiving, but as the Ghiost Rider seemd to be non member of the Thieves Guild, he has no quarrel with him and runs away. He is still too human for his own taste, and wants to get a final gift from a mysterious “her“. He runs away into the church and slams the door shut, but the Ghost Rider chases after him.
Inside there is a stairway leading downwards and at the bottom, he is not only confronted with one opponent but an entire group. They all are dressed in black with black face masks and purple cloaks. The heads are covered with green hair. They sense great power in the new arrival and ask their mistress, who is still in the shadows, if she desires this one. As she give a positive feedback, the group transform into full BRood and try to restrain the Ghost Rider. He struggles and tries to fight, but in the end is overwhelmed, and held in place by many tentacles. The Brood Queen announces that she will plant an egg inside him.
In the main streets the X-men enjoy the Mardi Gras festival, as they meet with Rogue and Belle, who have compared notes on Gambit during the flight. They have already scouted the area, found that it’s too quiet – something strange is going on. Cyclops wants to take charge, but Gambit says that it’s his city, so he and Belle will take the lead. Shortly afterwards they make their way to teh church, and Gambit recognzies the two killed people as Jean Martine and Michelle of his Guild. Gambit blames himself, if he ould have been in the city to ensure the peace between the rivaling Clans, ten many deaths might have been prevented. The group storms into the church and Logan says that he is pickiong up a familiar scent. Inside they run into the Brood, Ccyclops explains that they are an alien parasitic race, as not all X-Men are familiar with them. From the looks they have taken over the Assasins Guild, and Belle is horrofied that all her Clan members are beyind salvation, since Logan says that the only way to deal with them is kill them. At first the team does well, but then Gambit gets knocked over by a powerful blast – from the Ghost Rider, who is growing Brood tentacles out of his body.