Japan’s premier superhero, Sunfire, confronts Titannus in his futuristic craft. There are no pleasantries exchanged, as Sunfire immediately informs the alien that he is trespassing on Japanese soil. He asks who the woman is, and what he has done to her. Titannus does not answer to such as he, and he warns Sunfire to leave, or face his wrath. Shiro looks at the woman, encased in some kind of stasis pod, and wonders if she’s here against her will; maybe as a prisoner of his new foe.
Shiro demands that the device be opened at once. Titannus replies that he will do no such thing. Sunfire then proceeds to try and open it himself, and this does not go down well. “Don’t touch her!” screams Titannus, before blasting Sunfire clean out of his craft and into the rocky ground outside. He follows quickly, his hands glowing as the fearsome alien pursues Sunfire.
(New York City)
Aboard a tanker docked in the harbor, electricity lights up the night sky. On board is the costumed adventurer known as Cardiac, and he has his hands full with Spider-Man. Spidey avoids an initial blast from his staff, and Cardiac quickly explains why he is there. He tells Spidey that Drugco has a shipment of Catazene Seven, a common ingredient in most prescription medicines. It’s from unregulated factories in South America, and isn’t up to the F.D.A’s standards. He thinks it’s more likely to be contaminated by any number of things. He adds that Drugco are out to save money by using this stuff. This is about increasing their profits. Does Spider-Man realize how many lives this puts at risk?
Spidey fires webbing at Cardiac’s eyes, and asks if it’s more than six; because that’s Cardiac’s tally so far tonight. Cardiac replies that they are simply unconscious. He protects people; all people - not just the ones he can see. He tells Spidey that he’s pathetic. Thinking he’s doing good by fighting him - he’s not even scratching the surface.
All Spidey can see is a man attacking people, but Cardiac tries to get it through to him that this shipment is a disaster waiting to happen. If these drugs make it into circulation, they’ll have an epidemic on their hands. “Why won’t you listen to me?” Spider-Man leaps, and his fist connects with Cardiac’s face. His short answer is, he thinks Cardiac’s crazy; in the same way he thinks the Punisher is crazy.
Spidey reaches for the staff Cardiac has dropped, but has his fingers brush it, an electric shock zips its way through Spidey’s central nervous system. He drops to the ground, and Cardiac collects the staff himself. He explains that only he can hold it. He then proceeds to destroy the shipment, before clicking a switch on the staff, which opens up to become a makeshift glider. As Cardiac soars skywards, he tells Spidey that it’s been nice working with him. Spidey watches him vanish, and figures that he may as well go home and get some sleep. Unfortunately, he turns to see the sun rising over the city, and knows he has no time for that. He has to get to work.
As the sun lights up the Phoenix statue in the courtyard of the Xavier Institute, the young woman known as X-23 watches a CCTV screen, silently. Storm wanders by and asks what she’s doing. Has she been up all night? She assures X-23 that there’s no need to watch security monitors. The alarms will sound if there is any activity on the grounds. Hank has set up a link with Cerebra that will catch any heavy mutant activity outside the grounds. She suggests getting some sleep. She leaves X-23 to it, and it’s revealed that she is simply watching Wolverine sleeping.
Sunfire recovers as Titannus lands beside him. “Do you realize what you could have done? She is my mate! My other! Had you opened the stasis pod, she would have…” Sunfire doesn’t care, and he blasts Titannus with a wall of searing flame. Titannus stares at him through the orange glow, but remains resolutely unaffected. Sunfire pours the heat on, but Titannus simply informs him that he’s succeeded only in compounding his anger.
(New York City)
At the Baxter Building, Reed Richards is pursing his normal activity - namely losing sleep. His wife, Sue, is on her way to wash some clothes, and she wonders why he does it. Reed, unshaven and sleepy, tinkers with one of his numerous devices, and informs Sue that he spoke with Nick Fury. He’s got his people on the lookout for the alternate Tony Stark. Reed is concerned that the man is as brilliant as their own Tony Stark, and he’s running around doing goodness knows what. And, he adds, there’s nothing they can do. “Then go to sleep,” Sue replies. Reed knows when not to argue. “And most people think I’m leader,” he utters, as he wanders off.
The alternate Tony Stark is soldering a control panel on a large machine he’s devised. Paul Patterson is nearby lying on the floor, but Tony knows he’s only feigning unconsciousness. He’s placed a collar on Paul which inhibits his mutant abilities, and he tells Paul that his muscle mass is laughable. He poses no threat. Tony knows Paul’s mutant powers are impressive. He houses enough solar energy to power the city for years, though he doubts that Paul had the foresight to think of that application of his powers. He thinks Paul probably stopped with energy blasts, completely happy with his abilities. “Kids today,” he remarks. “It’s the same in every dimension. No ingenuity.” Paul eyes a telephone lying on the floor nearby.
Meanwhile, Peter Parker rushes into the school building, and is caught by Ms. Bradley. After a brief flirtation on her part, Peter sets his students a quiz, before noticing the answer machine flashing away. He picks up the receiver, and listens to the message. It’s from Paul Patterson. Whispering, he says he’s in big trouble. He knows that Parker knows Spider-Man… or whatever, and wants his help. He promises not to try and kill him this time. The message ends, and Peter can’t really believe it.
Back with Paul, Tony Stark explains that he’s running some tests to see if his machines can properly harvest Paul’s energy. He has Paul strapped into a machine with his extremities locked into place. Using a remote device, he deactivates Paul’s’ inhibitor collar and asks him to try and kill him. Paul gives it his best shot, and energy pours out of him and into the machine. Stark is pleased with the results, and switches the collar back on. He believes this is going to work out.
X-23 continues to watch Wolverine, but she notices a bleep coming from a panel beside her.
Cyclops is trying on a new costume, but it’s still too tight. It doesn’t allow him enough flexibility. Emma Frost tells him it looks great, but he isn’t interested in how it looks. X-23 appears, and informs them that they had a blip. Scott replies that they have blips all night. That’s why they don’t spend all their time sitting in front of the monitors. If something big blips, they go after it. They just can’t investigate every one. He tells X-23 that he knows she wants to prove herself, and she’ll get her chance. For now, though, she should relax.
“But…” she replies. Scott asks, “But what?” Does she want to chase down every blip? That’s something Wolverine would do, and he’s not an example she wants to follow. X-23 folds her arms, and runs away - unhappy at Scott’s attitude.
Sunfire takes to the air, but is pursued by the powerful Titannus, who flies using some form of energy coming from his boots. He catches Sunfire with a blast, and Shiro’s wind is knocked from his sails. He begins to drop, but is grabbed by Titannus who warns him it’s not wise to anger him.
(the Baxter Building)
Peter Parker calls Mr. Fantastic. Reed asks, “What do you want, Spider-Man?” Peter asks him how he does that. Reed replies that their caller I.D. is a bit more advanced than what is publicly available. Peter explains that he’s in a pickle, and needs his help. Reed tells him they’re in the middle of something. Johnny just got out of hospital, and he asks if it’s Earth-shatteringly important. Peter guesses it’s not, but asks if he can trace a call that he received earlier. At least Reed can do that.
Outside Tony Stark’s temporary headquarters, X-23, dressed in the old Fang costume, scampers through the streets as she investigates the blip. She finds a skylight on the roof, and peers inside, still thinking about what she feels is Scott’s condescending attitude. Below her, Tony Stark, now dressed in the Iron Man/Doom armor, prepares to use Paul Patterson’s power to get home. He explains that Paul will be dying for a worthy cause. On the roof, X-23 suddenly sniffs the air, and instinctively snikts her four claws. She turns to see Spider-Man right behind her. “Oh, man,” remarks Spidey as he sees the claws appear. “Wolverine. Good lord! What did they do to you?!”
Sunfire isn’t ready to submit just yet, and the two titans become embroiled in a powerful struggle. Sunfire pours on the flame, and Titannus responds with physical might, as well as his own energy blasts. Their rumble soon becomes a desperate fight for survival.
(New York City)
X-23 launches herself at Spider-Man, missing him by inches. “Was it something I said?” asks Spidey. He spins some of his webbing at X-23’s wrists, but only narrowly avoids a garroting from her spiked foot. With only the occasional ‘grrrrr’ emanating from X-23’s lips, Spidey comments that he thought Wolverine’s dialogue was basic.
The pair of them crash right through the skylight and into the room below. As they land heavily, X-23 is about to continue her assault, but she turns and sees Stark standing next to her, with Paul strapped into the machine behind him. Spidey also looks up. “Uh, hi. I’m Spider-Man. I don’t believe we’ve met.”