Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul
- Will Durant
Daybreak over Four Freedoms Plaza
A glum, cigar-smoking Thing welcomes his teammate, the high-flying Human Torch, as the latter finally appears and lands on the roof of the headquarters of Fantastic Four. Ben grimly remarks that it was about time Johnny showed up; he’s almost the last to show. Johnny wonders what’s this all about. Ben admits he doesn’t know: Reed is keeping his trap shut till everyone is here. “Who else is coming?” Johnny enquires. “Ain’t you heard?” the Thing exclaims. Johnny admits he hasn’t. “Just got the message from my service and came a running, or flying if you will,” he explains. Ben thinks that Johnny is not going to believe his eyes. Johnny asks him what he means.
Ben tells him to look for himself. As they enter the conference room, Johnny can’t help but exclaim “Holy cow!” The room is literally crowded with most of the Earth’s premier heroes, members of the X-Men, Avengers, X-Factor, West Coast Avengers, New Warriors and Alpha Flight, as well as solo heroes, such as Daredevil. Johnny remarks this is worse than a Shriners’ convention! “Lot noisier, too” the Thing banters.
With most of the heroes huddling up and speculating over the mysterious reason Reed Richards has summoned them, the perpetually petulant Hulk warns Mr. Fantastic that he’s getting tired of cooling his heels here. Richards reminds him what he told him before: this situation is too complicated to go into more than once. He’s determined not to start this meeting until all the guests have arrived. “Why don’t you just settle down, Hulk?” Captain America suggests. “Cap, why don’t you…?” Hulk is about to verbally abuse him when Mr. Fantastic interposes by reminding Bruce that he’s free to leave anytime he wishes. However, he’s confident that Hulk will surely regret that choice if he opts for it.
“You threatening me, pencil neck?” a raving Hulk growls upon hearing this. Reed clarifies that he’s merely stating an irrefutable fact. He has information of startling nature to share: news that will affect everyone in this room, everyone in the universe, Hulk included! Captain America asks Reed who else hasn’t shown. “Iron Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye and Spider-Man,” Reed informs him. “Lightweights!” Hulk bellyaches. He believes they should start without them!
Elsewhere, inside an aircraft, Dr. Doom and Kang the Conqueror are standing behind a complex control panel, perusing their data on a monitor. Kang admits that directly pinpointing the source of the energy emissions appears beyond even his instrumentation. Doom believes that it appears to be cloaked by mystical means. Kang agrees that so it would seem, yet they will not let that stop them. However, in truth, Kang contemplates that Doom is such a Neanderthal!
Kang suggests that they approach the problem from the opposite direction. He explains to Doom that the energies are being funneled to myriad sites throughout the heaven. “Myriad?” Doom exclaims in surprise. “Yes,” Kang replies while mentally reviling the Latverian monarch: “The pompous fool!” Nevertheless, he presents Doom with a chart of the galaxy on his monitor and asks him to observe it. He then superimposes the location of every reception point… and it becomes apparent that the chart of the galaxy and the chart pinpointing the location of the energies’ reception points are identical, as even Doom instantly realizes! Kang adds that each star’s planet also has a secondary receiver. Doom tells him that, of course, he realizes what this means. “That every moment counts,” Kang replies. If they wish to wrest power from their secret adversary, they must strike before he solidifies his operation base.
Monster Island, home of Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch
Sitting around a table together with the Infinity Watch, Thanos struggles to persuade the team that he spoke face to face with him! He tells Adam Warlock that he saw his operation and felt his might! “The Magus lives!” he dramatically announces, yet once again. Warlock, however, recalls how he once destroyed Magus’ timeline; Thanos himself saw him fade from existence. Thanos retorts that Magus nonetheless has returned and with awesome energies behind him. Power enough to alter the face of reality!
Warlock admits that he thought he had put the Magus’ evil behind him. Thanos retorts that he was obviously mistaken, which is why he has come to him. After all, this time, Magus’ plan is far too along and complex for him to disrupt alone. “And so you were forced to directly ask for my aid?” Warlock exclaims. No time for Thanos to trick him into joining forces with him against the Magus, like he did the last time? “Something like that,” Thanos admits. He argues that Magus’ defeat can now only be implemented through metaphysical means and with Warlock’s involvement. “And what if I don’t deign to become involved in this little drama?” a skeptical Warlock retorts, as he rises from his seat. “You know you have no choice,” Thanos insists. Warlock knows that Magus is part of him; his responsibility.
“If I might make a suggestion…” Moondragon interjects. Warlock tells her to go ahead. The young Titan suggests she could contact the Avengers for assistance in this matter. “That is a terrible idea” Warlock and Thanos postulate in unison. Warlock clarifies that since the Infinity Gauntlet affair, he is not overly loved by Earth’s defenders. And as for Thanos, the Avengers would attack him before Warlock and the others could explain the situation. “So lose, Thanos!” Drax the Destroyed, renowned for his unparalleled hatred of Thanos, bluntly suggests. Warlock retorts that Thanos’ unique expertise may be needed in this matter.
“I don’t trust purple-puss!” Drax grunts in response. Warlock tells him he should: the data he presented clearly shows him not to be responsible for the peril they face. Whether Drax likes it or not, for once, he and Thanos are fighting on the same side. The simplistic Drax finds himself momentarily at loss to grasp the meaning of what Warlock just said… and he finally compromises, arguing that “Okay. I smash Thanos later.” “I can live with that,” Thanos quips.
“So what’s our next move?” Gamora wonders. Thanos believes they need hard intelligence on Magus. Only then will they be able to determine his battle strategy and figure out what his end goal is. “And maybe learn what’s his favorite color?” the always brazen-faced Pip larks, as he’s about to drink booze from a case bottle.
Gamora snatches the bottle away from him, while Thanos is at loss: did Warlock really give this cretin an Infinity Gem? “Later, Thanos,” Warlock scores him off regarding Pip. Right now, he wants to hear where Thanos proposes they obtain this “hard intelligence.” Thanos replies that there is only one source he knows of to definitely harvest such esoteric information. “Tea leaves?” Pip gags. Thanos explains that the source is liquid and can only be obtained with Pip’s assistance. “You’re kidding!” Pip exclaims. Thanos solemnly apprises him that he never jests. He informs Pip that he shall use the Space Gem to transport them to Mistress Death’s palace; Thanos shall guide them. “Death’s palace?” Pip faintly mutters.
Furtively watching the discussions in Monster Island through a monitor in his abode, Magus and his servant, Thanos’ own double, are more than satisfied. Thanos’ doppelganger congratulates his master: everything went as he foresaw; he predicts his opponents’ moves with amazing accuracy! Smiling wickedly, Magus claims that all one need to do is lay out the appropriate bait and human nature does the rest. Thanos’ double admits this is a game plan he can find no fault with. “Which is why I chose you as my assistant,” Magus tells him. After all, in all galaxy, there is no greater schemer than Thanos. Still, the faux Thanos can’t help but wonder: will this elaborate weave ensnare Adam Warlock? Magus’ other self is so… unpredictable.
“Other self?” Magus mutters… and then terrifyingly erupts, stark mad, grappling his goon by the throat and savagely howling “YOU MEAN MY SHADE, DON’T YOU?!” He then releases Thanos’ doppelganger from his grip. “Yes. Your shade,” Thanos’ double submissively complies, while struggling to regain his breath. Magus sternly advises him never to forget this fact. He is confident that, despite his vaunted reputation, Warlock will also fall victim to his guile and cunning. He then asks his “assistant” what they have on the Galactus contingent.
Thanos’ double informs him that they are approaching Earth’s transferal receptor. Magus discerns that Galactus’ party is running a little ahead of schedule; it’s better to slow them up. “Engage cloaking wavelengths,” he orders his flunkey.
On the rocky, desolate island where the transferal receptor lies, Kang dismally informs his associate, Doom, that he was just breaking the system’s defensive coding when the frequency changed. Doom has something else to inform him: they have company. A spaceship he sees approaching belongs to Galactus. Kang decides to guide their ship into two dimensional planes. He suggests they disappear into cavernous depths. He senses circumstances are about to work to their advantage.
Overhead, the hatch of the ship opens and three considerably powerful beings emerge: Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer and Galactus’ herald, Nova. Remaining aboard, Galactus asks Silver Surfer and Nova to scout the area for intruders; that energy fluctuation the energy scanners picked up on their way concerns him.
Dr. Strange informs him that he’s located the reception relay within the cave of this island. Galactus asks him to investigate directly. As Strange soars inside the entrance of the cave, he asks the Surfer to follow him: he may need his power to back him up in here. Silver Surfer complies and follows, together with Nova. As the trio progresses inside the cavern, Nova notices a light nearby and remarks that it looks like what they’re hunting for is just around the next bend. Indeed, they turn around the bend… and then an astounded Strange exclaims “By the Vishanti?!”
Indeed, the trio comes across a dazzling, phantasmagorical energy configuration of immense complexity and power. Surfer wonders what its purpose is. “Indiscernible, but definitely mystical in nature,” Strange replies. He asks Galactus if he’s picking this up through his Eye of Agamotto link-up. “Of course,” Galactus replies. He believes that with Strange’s assistance, his on-boards will be able to track these emissions to their source. Strange apprehensively notices that the signal continues to vary in wavelength. Galactus retorts it does not matter. “Return immediately to the craft and let us be off,” he tells them.
As Galactus’ shuttle soon recedes in the horizon, Kang and Doom emerge from their hideaway. Satisfied, Doom notes that their cloaking shields concealed them from even the Surfer’s acute senses. He asks Kang if he was able to slap a trace beam onto Galactus’ ship. Kang’s response is affirmative. Now, they need only follow him to the source of the power broadcasts.
“Let’s get this show on the road!” an increasingly petulant Hulk exclaims at that very moment, in the headquarters of the Fantastic Four. “Shortly,” Mr. Fantastic tries to appease him and explains that he’s just received word that Iron Man and Hawkeye are on their way; he’ll begin once they arrive. Hulk moans that this better be worth waiting for or he’ll…
At that same moment, Hawkeye, riding his air-jet, comes across Spider-Man in the roofs of New York City and confesses his surprise that Spidey didn’t hear about their big get-together at the Four Freedoms Plaza. Spidey admits he was kind of out of touch lately. However, he believes that Richards might just be the gent he should talk to, considering something really weird came down last night. “Then I’ll catch you there,” Hawkeye brusquely terminates their conversation and instantly takes off. “Jerk. Wouldn’t think to offer a guy a lift, would you?” Spider-Man gripes.
The Infinity Well chambers within the palace of Mistress Death
A ghastly, corpselike guardsman stands ominously, equipped with a spear… and then, he is taken off guard by Adam Warlock, as the latter zaps him, making him collapse. Gamora wonders whether Warlock just took the guardsman’s soul into himself. Warlock explains that it’s something new he wanted to try out: karmic blast; it disrupts the anima centers.
The party gathers around a strangely twinkling surface of water. Pip wonders what this wading pool is. Thanos explains it is the Infinity Well, where all things can be learned if one gazes into its depths long enough or asks it the right questions. Turning to Moondragon, he asks her to keep an eye out for Mistress Death. Moondragon assures him that she’s already locked onto her. “You say you can speak with this well?” the still incredulous Warlock asks Thanos. “By simply stirring its waters,” Thanos professes, which he instantly does.
Indeed, an unnerving voice immediately greets Thanos. “How may I assist you?” the voice asks. Thanos asks the Well to share with him any knowledge he has concerning the Magus. “No simple request,” follows the Well’s daunting response. As images begin reflecting on n the surface, the Well narrates the entire story.
Once, a timeline existed where Adam Warlock eventually became the Magus, a dark and ominous conqueror. However, he was a Caesar with a strange twist. In order to assure his control of the future, he returned to the past to cement his base of power; his might and intimate knowledge of what had been assures his success. A thousand worlds he conquered and, on these planets, he established the Universal Church of Truth. His subjects worshipped him as an iron-fisted god.
But then, the Magus began to fear that his existence in this time frame might upset the course of his own past life. Thus, he began carefully engineering his own creation from the ashes of Adam Warlock’s destruction. It was his own fatal mistake, for Thanos became aware of his dark plans and sought to thwart them for reasons of his own. With Thanos’ aid, Warlock was able to destroy the timeline from whose loins Magus sprang. The result was that the base evil that had been the Magus faded from existence, only to be remembered by a select few.
Pip interjects and grouches that they already know that! He suggests they get on to some new stuff. “Patience, annoying one,” Thanos advises him.
Meanwhile, on the skies of New York, Hawkeye is still flying his jet, hastening to the meeting in Four Freedoms Plaza, unaware that his own distorted double, a grotesque version of himself, targets him with an arrow from afar. The monstrous Hawkeye’s arrow gets his prototype and Clint crash-lands on a roof. The abominable creature leans menacingly above the unconscious Clint, as one of his arms is transmogrified into hideous tentacles… and then Spider-Man strikes him from behind.
Peter quickly inspects the senseless Clint, just as the ersatz Hawkeye gets back on his feet and prepares to shoot him with an energy arrow. Peter acts instinctively and shoots a web that blocks his adversary’s arrow, causing it to short-circuit and blow up, leading to the fake Hawkeye’s collapse. “Good doing, Spidey,” Peter derisively congratulates himself. He knows that he is not going to get many answers from that bogus Hawkeye now.
Just then, Spider-Man’s spider-man sense goes wild, alerting him on some nearby menace… and then Iron Man appears behind him and mercilessly blasts him.
Meanwhile, the Infinity Well continues unraveling the mystery of Magus’ resurgence. The Well informs Warlock’s party that Magus was not destined to remain a faint memory. The reason was that Thanos decided to seek out the Infinity Gems and harness that awesome power. With them, the Titan gained control over all time, space, power, reality, the mind and the soul. He became what he considered omnipotence: a god. But the universe conspired against his reign and eventually prevailed. In the end, it was Adam Warlock who captured the Infinity Gems.
For a short time, Warlock was the end-all and be-all, the master of this reality. However, like Thanos, Warlock was a flawed being, not worthy of the mantle of supremacy. The jealous Eternity then called him before the Living Tribunal, the representative of the one who is above all. The Tribunal partially ruled against Warlock, forcing him to forsake his godhood. This Warlock did by dividing the Gems among those he now calls the “Infinity Watch” and one other whom Warlock wishes to remain nameless.
Pip again grizzles: “Still old news.” The voice emanating from the Well alerts them that none of them is aware of a dramatic change taking place in Warlock during his tenure as the almighty. “Change?” a perplexed Warlock wonders. The Well explains that, as god, Warlock truly strove for perfection in order to suitably carry out his activities. He subconsciously felt that only pure logic would allow him to shoulder his newfound responsibilities properly; neither good nor evil would be permitted to cloud his judgment. So, both of them – his evil, personified by a dark male figure, the Magus, and the good embodied by a bright, feminine form – were subconsciously and totally expelled from his being. However, the darkness that is Magus would not easily die.
“No good or evil within me,” Warlock repeats to himself and suddenly has an epiphany of sorts: this phrase explains so much of late.
The omniscient Well reveals that, from what it has been able to piece together, apparently the Magus reincorporated near the crossroads leading to several strange actualities; realities the Well is not certain existed before Magus’ resurrection. What occurred during his exploration of these realities, one can only speculate on. For unfathomable reasons, the Well can only occasionally gain glimpses into these realms.
“Some all-seeing entity you got here, Thanos,” comes Pip’s flip comment. Thanos ignores him and asks the Well what it can tell them about Magus’ time on those planes. “Only what he wished me to see,” the Well’s reply floors him. “Such as the fact that he acquired a mysterious and near-infinite source of power,” the Well adds, revealing that Magus wrested this might from five separate realities.
“Five?” Thanos wonders and asks the Well whether they are talking about other-dimensional Infinity Gems perhaps. The Well’s response is negative: the wave frequencies differ. “Then what?” Thanos wonders. The Well admits it cannot answer this query.
Monitoring the confrontation of Thanos and the Infinity Watch with the Well from the safety of his abode, a gleeful Magus believes that Thanos has gained enough information for the moment. “More than enough,” the servile doppelganger of Thanos agrees with his master. Magus orders his flunkey to transmit a disruptive harmonic into Thanos’ cloaking frequency. Smiling wickedly, Magus believes the time has come for Mistress Death to learn she has trespassers on the premises!
As the disruptive harmonic is transmitted, Thanos’ cloaking frequency is dissolved and the party becomes visible again. Just then, in her throne room, Mistress Death detects them in her crystal sphere and rushes to confront them.
Back at the Four Freedoms Plaza, Iron Man dismally informs everybody that Spider-Man and Hawkeye won’t be joining them: they have been unavoidably detained. Xavier believes they can brief Wolverine later themselves. Captain America notices that everyone’s getting restless and suggests they’d better get started.
Mr. Fantastic agrees and goes to the podium, asking them all to have a seat. He explains that he summoned them all there to alert them to an incident that occurred last night. He recalls how he was in the middle of a rather interesting but disturbing research when the intruder entered. In fact, Reed now believes that it was his research that prompted the attack. He reveals that his assailant was also nearly his exact double. They battled and Reed was fortunate enough to best him, unlucky enough to kill him. The body then mysteriously vanished before Reed’s very eyes, leaving no clue as to its origin.
Cap admits that he doesn’t like the sound of this one bit. Professor X asks Reed whether he was able to get any scientific readings off the intruder before he disappeared. Cyclops, in turn, asks Mr. Fantastic if he got any idea of his double’s master plan. Richards clarifies that the lab sensors automatically scanned his assailant when he entered the room. As for the purpose of his attack, Reed has come to the conclusion that his doppelganger came to take over his existence; to replace the genuine Reed Richards.
Silence falls, as everyone, perturbed by what Reed just said, exchange looks, suddenly growing suspicious of each other!
Daredevil wants to know whether the intruder was truly capable of such a feat. Reed explains that the intruder had an extremely complex yet fluid molecular structure; he could have become anyone he chose. Reed grimly enquires if anyone else has experienced anything similar to this incident of late.
“I have!” a voice comes in reply, as a visibly bedraggled Wolverine walks in and lights a cigar. The Thing is at loss: how did Logan manage to get in here without setting off a dozen alarms?! “I got my ways,” Logan assures him.
Meanwhile, the Infinity Well continues the tale of Magus’ rebirth. He tells Thanos and the Infinity Watch that the Magus wandered far down the dimensional corridor. He finally selected a barren region to call his own. There, he set up a fortress from which to execute his ultimate plan. From a nearby dimension, he gathered the soldiers of his army and then altered them in unspeakable ways.
Thanos remarks that he encountered one of his soldiers and saw how he was changed. The Well concludes its account, by revealing that, since then, the Magus has unsuccessfully sought to conceal his activities from the Well’s gaze. “Then you know what Magus’ goal is?” Thanos asks the Well. “Yes,” the Well replies.
Suddenly, Gamora argues that they’ve got to get out of here! Mistress Death, she… Before she finishes her phrase, the dire Death stands ominously on the threshold, her skeletal faced fixed on a lurid expression.
At Four Freedoms Plaza, Wolverine explains that he decided to sneak in the back door this morning; he figured it’d be better for his health. “What are you talking about?” a puzzled Cyclops exclaims. “Yes, Wolverine. I think all present would like to know,” a rather hostile Iron Man calls him forth.
Logan explains that he thought he’d best check out the players before throwing in his ante. “Are you saying...?” Scott exclaims. Wolvie explains that he wanted to hear what Richards had to say before showing his face. He thinks Richards’ spiel sounded pretty reasonable – too bad it’s a pack of lies, he exclaims, as he blows his smoke right in Iron Man’s face!
At the Well’s chambers, the always headstrong Drax inanely zaps Mistress Death, shouting that the Destroyer runs from no one! “Drax, you fool!” Moondragon tries to keep her father back. Gamora turns to Pip and pleads him to get them out of this madness! Pip complies and they are instantly teleported back to Monster Island, with Mole Man, their friend and benefactor, there to greet them!
Left all alone, Mistress Death is suddenly posed a tempting question by the Infinity Well: would she care to know what the Magus’ ultimate plan is?
Meanwhile, tension and suspicion continue to dominate the “superhero convention” in Four Freedoms Plaza. “What do you mean lies?” Iron Man confronts Wolverine. “Just that you and Richards here aren’t the real McCoys. Close, but not cigar,” Logan fiercely states. “How can you tell?” Iron Man contemptuously asks him. Logan explains it’s the old sense of smell; it never fails him. “Just what have you been putting up that nose of yours, mutie?” Iron Man affronts him. “Mutie? Divide and conquer, is that it?” Logan snarls, barely keeping himself from exploding. Iron Man remarks that it’s pretty obvious who the impostor really is around here. He asks Wolverine that he may as well give it up.
Genuinely abashed, Captain America wonders: “How can we tell?” All three of them – Reed, Logan and Tony – look and sound the same to him. Daredevil ponders that they also smell the same. He wonders: can Wolverine’s olfactory sense really be more sensitive than his?
Reed Richards angrily protests: if he’s an impostor, why would he call this meeting and alert everyone to the danger? “Good point,” Hulk remarks. “Or a very clever move,” Colossus retorts. Wolverine is firm in his claim: these two bozos are fakes. “The nose knows, huh?” Iron Man mocks him. Guardian interjects: surely there must be some kind of test they could run? Beast wonders where Dr. Strange is; he’s big in the sixth sense department. Human Torch agrees: Strange has got the Eye of Agamotto. Johnny bets this Eye could ferret out a phony. Wolverine wonders: didn’t Iron Man tell them earlier that he couldn’t locate Dr. Strange to invite him to this meeting? “He sure did. Very convenient,” Gambit allusively remarks.
Jean Grey wonders whether Professor X’s mental powers are getting anything. Xavier admits that he’s only getting the appropriate thought and brainwave patterns. If one or more of these men are impostors, he cannot detect it. He surmises that perhaps none of them is.
However, Wolverine is not determined to hold back in this face-off. “Who sent ya?” he grunts, right in Iron Man’s face. “Back off, shorty!” Iron Man warns him. Around them, the various heroes’ reactions vary from anxiety to aloofness: “I say go with Wolverine!” Gambit screams with fervor. “Major nuttiness,” a disgruntled Hulk remarks, arms crossed. She-Hulk, acting as the voice of reason, beseeches everybody to just settle down!
Struggling to distance himself from all the commotion, Daredevil concentrates… harder and harder… focusing on the task at hand… his already sharp senses further intensified… until he finally exclaims “Good Lord!”
Meanwhile, at Monster Island, Mole Man wants to talk to the Infinity Watch. A peevish Moondragon hopes that he’s not going to be one of those landlords that are always hanging around, is he? Mole Man explains that he has information that he felt they’d wish to know of immediately upon their return. He tells them that Reed Richards has called an emergency meeting of all so-called superheroes on Earth. He claims there’s a major crisis brewing; something that threatens the safety of the entire universe.
Thanos deduces that this is too much of a coincidence. Warlock agrees. At his request, Moondragon is to attend this meeting immediately. “On my way,” Moondragon enthusiastically complies and promises she will keep her mouth shut about Thanos being involved. “Precisely,” Warlock agrees. “Hey, toots. Need a lift?” Pip quips. “Yes,” Moondragon tells him but warns him that if he ever calls her “toots” again, she’ll deep-fry his gray matter! The pair instantly teleports away, thanks to Pip’s Space Gem, with Gamora jokingly wishing the two “lovebirds” to have fun!
At Four Freedoms Plaza, Daredevil alerts everybody that Richards and Iron Man are the impostors and aggressively casts his billy club against the fake Richards, while cautioning everyone to stand away from the podium!
The Iron Man impostor decides to retaliate by releasing energy beams against Wolverine. Acting swiftly, Colossus grapples the Iron Man impostor with a vice-like grip and orders him to cease his futile struggling! Piotr, however, inadvertently steps on Hulk’s foot much to the latter’s dismay. “Hey! Watch it!!” the green-skinned giant grunts, conspicuously irritated. As his instincts and temper take him over, Hulk goes berserk: “Get off my foot, you blasted idiot!” Knowing what to anticipate, Captain America intervenes, hoping to prevent Hulk’s next move. “Hulk, no!” he screams, struggling to contain him. Too late, however: Hulk immediately pummels Colossus, sending him flying across the room. “That does it!” Logan gnashes his teeth, as he darts up to Hulk, eager in engaging in fight with him!
Pandemonium ensues, as, within a few moments, the individual quarrels escalate into a mass conflict that encompasses every hero in the room. Nobody escapes the warfare; everybody runs amuck. They all clash, irrespective of whether they even know each other that well: Hulk vs. Wolverine, Quicksilver vs. Gambit, Rogue vs. Nova of the New Warriors. Amidst the commotion and thundering bustle, Daredevil tackles the counterfeit Mr. Fantastic, pummeling him while beckoning everybody to give him a hand back here! Beast, Rogue and Wolfsbane answer the call and struggle to contain the pliable body of Richards’ double… still, nobody perceives the doppelganger’s hand slyly slipping behind the podium and clicking on a button! A pinkish, rocket-shaped weapon emerges as the podium spreads apart… and then everyone comes to a standstill, as Invisible Woman clamors in horror that it’s a gamma bomb!
At the same moment, Moondragon and Pip teleport on a roof, across Four Freedoms Plaza. Pip wonders why they didn’t just pop up inside Four Freedoms Plaza. “And have everyone freak out at our sudden appearance? No thanks” Moondragon retorts. First, she’ll contact Quasar, then…
… and just then, the upper part of Four Freedoms Plaza is blown to smithereens!
“Omigod!” Moondragon gasps in horror. “So much for the idea. Back to Monster Isle?” a shocked, goggle-eyed Pip mutters. “Yes,” a similarly shocked Moondragon can barely utter.
Watching the explosion from a monitor, Thanos’ double congratulates his sire on another masterful move. Holding a gleaming, sphere-shaped object in his hand, Magus gloats that it’s one that will surprise even him when its full impact is realized. He is well aware this game is far from over. In fact, things are just beginning to get interesting!