(New York City)
Avengers Tower, the imposing structure that watches over New York City’s skyline, is destroyed by a massive explosion that separates the top of the tower from the rest of the impressive structure. A man named Lord Chronok watches the scene of destruction from his hovering disc, and asks his assistant how things are progressing. He replies that there are confirmed kills all over the place. Daredevil is dead, along with the Black Panther and the Fantastic Four. Thor was apparently already dead when they arrived in this time, which he feels is kind of odd. He adds that they have a squad out at Xavier’s mansion, so the X-Men should be out of the picture very soon.
Lord Chronok asks if he means all of them. They were never able to make a comprehensive list from their data. His assistant tells him that the information they compiled before the jump back indicated that the entire group was rarely at the mansion at the same time. So, coupled with the fact that they could never find a definitive roster that was accurate for more than four months, it will make the X-Men a difficult threat to neutralize.
He holds his hand to his earpiece, and informs his boss that he’s getting word that the Hulk has been destroyed. They were worried about him, though he doesn’t really know why. They had very detailed knowledge of where Banner was at this precise moment. He should have been an easy kill.
He asks Lord Chronok how successful their first strike against the Avengers has been. He replies that Wolverine was the only one strong enough to survive the explosion, and he hasn’t yet made his presence known. He’s assuming he wasn’t in the tower when it blew. He decides to investigate and see just who was there.
They descend on their hover discs and take a look through the smoking ruins. Chronok’s assistant remarks that the force of the blast probably obliterated most of them, and they’ll need a full forensics team to analyze the area for remains. Chronok knows this, but he wants to have his fun.
They spot a charred body lying against part of a wall. They figure this is probably what remains of the Sentry. His remains would likely be intact. Chronok looks around and sees what he’s looking for. He lifts Iron Man’s torso and helmet out of the debris and says he knew this would survive the blast. He then finds Captain America’s shield and wipes the dust off it. He holds it to his chest and poses. “How do I look?” he asks. He explains that he’s wanted to hold Captain America’s shield since he was six. He’s wanted to kill Captain America since he was eleven. “This is a good day,” he beams.
His assistant informs him that it might not be such a good day, as he’s receiving more information through his earpiece. He informs Lord Chronok that as their attacks gain attention, super heroes are arriving at the various scenes to engage their soldiers. Without the element of surprise, their men are being defeated at an alarming rate. Namor, the New Warriors, Ghost Rider, Ms. Marvel and Dr. Strange are all causing problems for them. Chronok replies that he knew this was going to happen. Their first strike would take out a large percentage of heroes, but now they need to send their soldiers after the ones these heroes love. They can then sit back and watch them surrender. The order is given.
Chronok says that they’ve got the Sentry, Captain America and Iron Man for sure, and based on the press conference they knew they were going to hold shortly, it’s a safe bet that Cage, Spider-Woman and Ronin were there too. Not Spider-Man, adds his assistant. Chronok asks him why he’s so sure.
(elsewhere in New York City)
Peter Parker is swinging through town in his civvies, carrying his wife in one arm. “Crap! Crap! Crap! Crap! Crap!” he repeats, as they are pursued by several of Chronok’s soldiers on flying discs. Explosions tear up the place, and Spidey is swinging for his life. He finds an alleyway and sets down. He orders Mary Jane to run as far away as she can. They’re not after her, and she’ll be safer if she runs. Mary Jane asks who they are. They attacked him out of costume. They know who he is! Peter tells her it doesn’t matter. He’ll hold them off, but she must get out of there. “Go!” he cries as he pulls on his mask. Moments later, he is in costume and swinging away from Mary Jane. He’s ready to fight back.
As soon as he leaves the alley, he is beset upon by three soldiers, and one of them blasts him with a powerful ray which sends him sprawling to the ground. With Spidey down, they wonder if they should go after the wife but decide that, as she hasn’t any powers, she’s not worth their time. One of them asks who’s next on the list. A soldier brings up a list on a hi-tech screen and replies that it’s Marc Spector, Moon Knight. He’s calling his address up now.
Speedball, like Spider-Man, is making his way through New York City, pursued by soldiers who fire at him as he bounces. He’s witnessed Night Thrasher, Nova, Namorita and Microbe being killed, and he’s next on the hit list. What’s he going to do? He knows he shouldn’t have come back to New York. He rests on a fire escape and catches his breath. He then climbs in through an open window and cowers as the soldiers search the area for him. This is out of his league.
The soldiers don’t actually recognize Speedball, as the heroes’ costumes tend to change quite a lot. They assume they’ve got most of the New Warriors, and one asks if anyone has called in with a confirmed kill on the Punisher. He’s next on their list. “Not yet,” replies his colleague.
(Henry Pym’s lab)
Henry ‘Hank’ Pym is with Janet Van Dyne, better known as the winsome Wasp. He asks her if she’s got anything on what’s causing these explosions. Janet hasn’t found anything. She’s tried the Avengers’ dedicated line but nobody is answering. It doesn’t make any sense. Hank replies that they could assume that they’re out dealing with this, but that wouldn’t ease his mind one bit. Janet hopes he’s not suggesting anything, but he says that he is. He clicks a button that opens the hatch where their costumes are stored. He figures they need to go out and see what’s going on. Suddenly, a small red sphere crashes through their window and, an instant later, the entire lab is destroyed, causing a huge fireball.
Luke Cage is getting the better of a couple of soldiers using his superior muscle power. He’s trying to get one of them to talk but, as he speaks, another two soldiers arrive on the scene. They fire lasers at him, but he informs them that he’s got unbreakable skin. One of them replies that they know that. They’ve read his file. They’re just trying to figure out how unbreakable.
He fires at Luke, but he manages to avoid the blast, asking them who they are and how they know his name. One soldier answers him by informing him that they’re from the future; his future. They know everything about him except for one thing. Is his skin unmeltable too? He is coated with a burning napalm-like liquid that begins to burn away his incredible steel-like skin. “Don’t have anything like that in this time period, do they?” gloats the assailant.
From nowhere, the young hero, Gravity, appears and kicks the soldiers into touch. Luke is in a real bad way, and he asks Gravity to help him take these guys out. He’s happy to oblige, and they make short work of the soldiers together. Unfortunately, when the dust settles, Gravity realizes that Luke hasn’t survived the experience.
A group of people are watching events unfold on television sets outside a shop. Chronok is addressing the people of the world. He informs them that he has traveled back in time with an army of unimaginable size to enslave them all. As he speaks, the heroes they have grown so dependent upon are being slaughtered. The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four… all dead. He adds that their leaders have forty-eight hours to turn control of their planet over to him, else he will wage a war that will result in unfathomable loss of civilian life. That is all. One of the bystanders is Chris Powell, and he realizes that he must warn Excelsior.
As he runs, he decides this is taking too long. He transforms himself into Darkhawk and takes to the air. He glides through Los Angeles, back to Excelsior’s headquarters. As he enters, he asks if they’ve been watching the news. Unfortunately, his teammates are a little occupied at the moment. Excel, their craft, is on fire. Turbo and Lightspeed are either dead or unconscious, and Ricochet is struggling against superior numbers of Chronok’s soldiers.
Darkhawk immediately uses his grappling hook to strangle one of the soldiers, and he asks Ricochet what’s going on. He replies that these guys knew where their hideout was, and just attacked. Darkhawk enquires about the others. “Are they all…” Ricochet replies that they are. As he throws a few disks, he is caught be a similar ray that took out Spider-Man, and Darkhawk screams his name as he sees his friend fall. “This can’t be happening!”
Darkhawk heads outside, as the squadron leader orders three of his men to follow him. One asks why they should bother. He’s not on their list. His boss explains that their orders are to kill any super hero that engages them. He knows that. He wants help finding this Rick Jones guy.
One of the soldiers wonders why they’re after him, anyway. Isn’t he just a normal guy? His colleague informs him that he has powers on and off. The database on him isn’t complete and they don’t know his exact status at the moment. So, they’re taking him down just in case. The boss doesn’t want to take any chances. His friend replies that, if that were the case, their boss would have waited and compiled a more complete database. Half these kids weren’t even on the list; just like the Asian woman who turned out to be a robot, which their associates are hunting right now. His colleague says he can complain all he wants. Their boss’ plan is working.
As he checks out the database, the other soldier remarks that they’ve been at this less than four hours and reports have them with almost 90% of the catalogued heroes out of commission. That’s almost two hours better than the projected time. He wonders how much trouble these unknowns can be if they weren’t recorded into history.
As they chat, Darkhawk is being chased by several soldiers with flight ability. He is caught from behind with a blast that causes him pain. He has little option but to crash land, and decides to get rid of his armor. He’ll probably be able to hide better as Chris Powell. He figures it’s a good thing the transformation heals all wounds, or he’d be crawling to safety. He could be the last super hero on Earth. He has to do something. He has to stop this. He sees the flying soldiers searching the area for Darkhawk, and figures he has to get to New York!