Suzi Endo stands on the third floor of a shuddering building and looks down into the streets of Hong Kong below her. What she sees there, well, her mind refuses to accept, as the Avatars of the Mandarin - Butterfly, Lich, Q’wake, Deluge and Foundry - destroying Hong Kong. Buildings are levelled, fires spread. Destruction is everywhere.
Suzi does not know who these monsters are though, and watches as Deluge harnesses the geyser of a broken hydrant and sweeps away a fleeing crowd of civilians with a flash flood. Suzi sees the grinning, decrepit L:ich rends a maimed police force apart with his talons, and up above, Butterfly’s shadow falls over several police officers, whose guns misfire and explode. Suzi reminds herself that just an hour ago, as the attack began, she tried to raise help….
Shown with flashback images that take place in Force Works #6
Suzi remembers broadcasting on all channels from Stark Industries Hong Kong, specifically the cybernetics division. ‘Please - if anyone can hear me…we are under attack!’ she cries out, only for her call to be silenced when the Avatar called Q’wake busted into Stark Industries.
Now, Suzi stands by the smoking ruin of the communications console, wondering if anyone heard her call. When the monster attacked, Suzi fled and hid in the sub-basement, and only now has she emerged. She searches through the building and sees that it has been left for dead - and empty, burned-out husk. Suzi can hear the carnage from the street as the Avatars move on. The noise recedes, and Suzi’s mind blocks it out as she tries to come to terms with what was until ninety minutes ago also her life. The cybernetics division of Stark Enterprises Hong Kong, her place of work, he reason for getting up in the morning. Suzi reminds herself that she was the youngest person ever to head a Stark facility. ‘A prodigy, they called me’ she recalls. Suzi crouches down and picks up some computer discs in amongst the ash. ‘Six years work…so much shattered plastic’ she tells herself. ‘The product of my much-vaunted gifts reduced to fragments’.
Shown with flashback images that take place prior to Force Works #6:
Suzi remembers vividly the last occasion Anthony Stark visited the Hong Kong branch. ‘He was so brilliant, so intuitive…I was in awe’ Suzi reminds herself, recalling their encounter. Suzi remembers meekly showing Stark holo-displays of her work, and that he seemed genuinely impressed. Suzi and Tony spoke for a long time, and he congratulated her on her ideas. ‘I’d never felt so proud’ Suzi recalls.
‘And now, this -’ Suzi tells herself, before stepping towards a shattered window, where she sees, outside, a roar - a new sound piercing the cacophony of destruction. She sees four super-powered beings leap from their hovering ship to attack the Avatars below. Suzi knows who they are - the powerful Scarlet Witch, the heroic Spider-Woman, the mighty USAgent and the alien Century - collective known as Force Works, although she notes that Iron Man is not with them. Force Works drive a wedge into the monstrous assault, meeting power with power. The building shakes with renewed vigor.
Suzi sees Century demolish, with one blow, Q’wake, the one who destroyed Suzi’s building. Nearby, Suzi watches as Spider-Woman is overwhelmed by the decrepit Lich. Suzi hears Spider-Woman call out to Century for help - but, without warning - Century vanishes, without listening to her cries for help. Suzi doesn’t understand what is going on, but knows that Spider-Woman will surely be killed. Suddenly, there is a sound like thunder, as the handsome USAgent fires his phased photon weapon at Lich, blasting him aside. Suzi realizes that she is too far away to hear what USAgent has to say, but she can tell from the look on his face that Century’s departure was as unwelcome as it was unexpected.
Suzi continues to watch Force Works battle the Avatars, and sees across the street where the Scarlet Witch confounds Deluge’s flood with a flicker of eldritch flame. Deluge’s deflected waterspout strikes one of his kin, Foundry, whose white hot, furnace-like nature reacts adversely to the drenching. By Suzi’s count, three of the Avatars have fallen. She continues to watch, enthralled, while the Scarlet Witch shouts an order to Spider-Woman, who snares the flying Butterfly in a coil of energized gossamer. Butterfly screams and it is a sound that Suzi hopes she never hears again. The scream is only silenced when Butterfly is slammed into a wall, courtesy of Spider-Woman psi-web.
Suzi sees USAgent attacking the horrid Lich, never giving the creature a second chance, USAgent takes Lich down with a burst of photon-energy. Suddenly, there is a sea-change, in the monsters’ demeanor. They struggle to their feet as Butterfly barks instruction to them - and they retreat into the smoke that swirls around them. Only Lich is left behind, guarded over by USAgent, he is a prisoner of this war, and perhaps, in time, Suzi thinks, he may reveal the motive for this senseless outrage.
Suzi decides that it is a sort of victory, but looking around the destruction she tells herself that there is no rejoicing from the shattered city below. ‘The skyline is as grim and broken as my heart’ Suzi tells herself, and she fears that all she has really witnessed today is the beginning of something far worse….