40 years later, in space…
“Damn,” says Giant-Man while standing on a giant floating rock in outer space with his other zombie friends. “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Spider-Man asks if that’s it. There’s really nothing left to eat now? Hank explains that it’s been weeks, and he can’t think straight, or focus. The pain is unbearable, they’ve been moving through the cosmos as fast as they can. But Hank honestly believes there really is nothing left. “What now?” Luke Cage wonders.
Thanos becomes upset, believing they wouldn’t be in this situation if a certain someone, referring to the Hulk, wouldn’t eat twice as much as the rest of them. Hulk angrily defends that he only eats his fair share. And he warns Thanos to better shut up before he tries out how bad he tastes. Firelord attempts to comment, but lacks a jaw and thus the ability to speak. “Enough!” Iron Man yells to the rivals. Hulk complies… by boxing Thanos’ hears, reducing his head to a pulp. Now lifeless, Thanos floats off of the asteroid and into deep space. Now he can eat for two again, Hulk smiles, by eating all the food Thanos would eat. Problem solved.
Gladiator is starving and wants to feast from Thanos’ corpse. Hank warns Gladiator not to do that, however Gladiator doesn’t listen and tastes from Thanos anyway. Immediately afterwards, however, he spits it out again. Tony doesn’t know how many times he has to say it: they can’t eat from each other. If only they could. Hank states they’re done there. There’s nothing to eat… nothing! They can’t stay here and need to leave. Wolverine agrees, but wonders where to go. They’ve been everywhere already. Hank disagrees. They haven’t been everywhere. He now remembers there was a machine that could bring them to other dimensions. Tony remembers it as well and thinks he also remembers working on it. He wonders if he helped build it… before he was dead. Hank confirms it, and adds that Reed Richards rebuilt it and used it to escape from this dimension. That will be their ticket out of there, and that’s how they’ll get more food. They need to get back to Earth! The zombies set course to their home planet.
Along the way, Luke notices that Spider-Man isn’t saying much, which isn’t like him. He asks what’s wrong with him. Peter replies he is just thinking. It seems like the longer they go without eating, he could be imagining this, but… it seems like the pain and the hunger… Peter thinks it’s starting to fade.
New York City lies in ruins, and plants and trees have covered most of the city. A young boy named K’Shamba walks through it. He suddenly stops when he hears someone scream, asking if someone is there. Curious, the boy lifts up some rocks where he thinks the person is lying under. Once done digging, K’Shamba is shocked to discover the infected head of… Hawkeye?!
Hawkeye begs the boy to get him out of there. He literally begs for help. K’Shamba thinks about it because his grandfather told him about Hawkeye’s kind. But, he also notices that Hawkeye is nothing like “Miss Wasp.” He asks if Hawkeye will try to bite him, but Hawkeye promises he won’t. He just needs someone to talk to. K’Shamba picks Hawkeye up and makes him promise it again, which Clint does. K’Shamba tells Hawkeye he’ll take him to his home, where they’ll know what to do with him. Hawkeye noticed that K’Shamba said something about a wasp. He knew a Wasp once… he thinks.
Later, New Wakanda…
K’Shamba arrives in the middle of the village, where a huge golden palace, built in the form of a panther, has been settled. This is where he lives. Hawkeye is impressed.
Inside the palace is the now aged King T’Challa, formerly the Black Panther, sitting in his throne, and his wife, Lisa. Standing before them is Forge, who is now old as well and bulging from his X-Men uniform. Forge pleads with T’Challa, telling the king that there is far too much at stake to be so casual about this. He has to take this situation seriously. If the Acolytes take control of this community, they won’t last for another generation.
Forge tells T’Challa he knows this and asks Forge what he expects him to do. He has been telling him for years that they don’t have a large enough gene pool to reestablish humanity as any kind of a permanent basis. Do they need to banish the Acolytes? Wouldn’t that make matters only worse? Forge isn’t sure anymore. If they’re doomed to perish anyway, maybe they would be better off without the Acolytes.
Lisa can’t say she doesn’t agree with Forge. There was a time she would have given her life for the Acolytes. But now, with these children wearing the uniforms, Lisa feels they’ve lost their way. T’Challa agrees with his queen. He was elected leader… leader of them all… and not just those who agree with him. He won’t turn his back on anyone. To this, Forge makes it clear that the Acolytes are challenging T’Challa’s rule. He calls the Acolytes power-mad children, bent on establishing some stupid cult to Magneto. He calls them crazy.
T’Challa agrees the Acolytes may be crazy, but one of their arguments is that he is too old to lead. Even if that’s not true now, he believes it’s only a matter of time before they need to elect a new leader anyway. After all, he isn’t going to be here forever.
In reply, Wasp enters, announcing that it doesn’t have to be this way. Once merely the infected & decapitated head of Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp’s head now rides upon a robotic body. Accompanying her is man clad in an Acolyte uniform, and K’Shamba, under whose arm the head of Hawkeye is carried.
In reply to the Wasp, Lisa doesn’t want Janet to take what she’s about to say the wrong way, but they’re never going to do so much as consider that and asks Janet not to bring it up again. Janet is aware of Lisa’s feelings on the matter. And she understands everyone’s concerns, but something has come up. Something that proves her recovery from The Hunger is not a fluke… that she’s not an isolated case.
K’Shamba shows Hawkeye’s head to both his grandfathers, Forge and T’Challa. He thinks he’s like Wasp, as Hawkeye hasn’t even tried to bite him once. Hawkeye thinks he remembers knowing Forge and T’Challa, but isn’t sure. Startled at seeing Hawkeye, Forge asks K’Shamba to bring him to him, but warns to be careful. Eyes wide as he regards his old teammate, T’Challa is speechless.
Meanwhile, out in deep space…
The infected are all feasting from Ego, the Living Planet. While doing so, one remarks how they don’t know how they could have missed it the first time through!
Back on Earth…
Hawkeye has been given a robotic body like the Wasp has, and his head is encased in a jar, attached to the body. Reynolds explains to T’Challa that Hawkeye seems harmless, but finds it clearly that with him lying alone under rubble for nearly half a century has left him mentally scarred. At present, Hawkeye seems harmless, but Reynolds hasn’t been able to study him extensively.
T’Challa asks if the body still works. “Of course,” Reynolds answers. He built it to last. The only problem occurred when he tried to remove Hawkeye’s mask. He began screaming as if he were in pain and suddenly terrified. Reynolds thinks Hawkeye may have thought he was trying to skin off his face. Which Reynolds finds understandable. Hawkeye can’t feel pain, so he would have no idea of knowing what Reynolds was doing. And after all this time…
Though T’Challa finds this unsettling, Reynolds continues. It’s like he said: Hawkeye is not all there. After a few weeks, maybe he’ll come around. However, Reynolds recommends not leaving him alone with anyone for a while. There’s no telling of what he is capable of.
Elsewhere in New Wakanda…
The son of Fabian Cortez addresses his gathered Acolytes. He calls his father a great man, a man who had a vision. He says that Fabian would often speak to him of the vast world that lies around them, untouched and unspoiled. He believed in the potential of this society. His father believed they could establish their dominance over this planet. But his son believes they could do much more than that. He believes they can start to live instead of merely trying to survive!
He has lost faith in their “warrior king,” who has never fought in a war! He sees a man who lives in fear… fear of the past, fear of the future. He doesn’t see a king. He sees an old man, slowly rotting away to nothing, and he’s taking them all with him. Fabian’s son calls for a new direction, new ideas and new leadership! All the Acoyltes proudly cheer out: “Cortez!” “Cortez!” “Cortez!”
Later that night…
Aboard Asteroid M, the quarters of the Black Panther and his wife.
While T’Challa and Lisa lie asleep in their royal bed, Reynolds and the Wasp continue their work on Hawkeye’s body. Reynolds now only has a few more wires to add when Janet reads something on a monitor. There’s a breach inside the asteroid and asks Reynolds how often that happens. Reynolds confirms it happens from time to time. But a hatch opening isn’t such a big deal if they’re not in outer space, he jokes. He usually ignores it. But if Janet wants to, he says, she can go check it out if she’s worried. “Hmmm,” Janet replies.
A shadowed assassin wearing a green uniform sneaks towards the sleeping king and queen. Without making a noise, he takes out a knife and plunges it into T’Challa’s stomach! The king awakens with a scream, which in turn awakens Lisa. Acting quickly, T’Challa kicks the assassin backwards, calling this treason. T’Challa takes a moment to clutch his wound, which gives the assassin time to recover and slash at T’Challa once again, telling the “old man” to keep talking.
At this moment, Wasp enters the bedroom and fires an electric shock on the assassin, which knocks him out. Lisa is shocked by the display and tells Janet that T’Challa can’t die. Janet believes he will if they want to or not. There’s only one way to stop it. Though Lisa pleads with her not to do so, Janet bites T’Challa in his neck!
Recoiling, Janet is thrilled at experiencing the taste of “human blood” again. However, she reminds herself she only bit because she had to. But the taste is so good and she wants more. She can’t stop the hunger and lunges toward Lisa, intending to bite her as well. However, a recovered T’Challa grabs Janet by her hair and pushes her against a wall. Now turned into an infected as well, he warns Janet to leave his wife alone. If she has to eat, he tells her, she can eat from his would-be killer. “You’re the boss,” Janet smiles. Both T’Challa and Janet eat from the body. T’Challa warns his wife not to look at him, but she can’t keep her eyes of them.
After the body is gone, T’Challa finds he has recovered his senses and can’t believe what he has just done. Janet tells him to relax as he’ll get over it. After all, their food just tried to kill him. He’s the cause of all this. She thinks this is going to work out. While they have a little self-control, they’ll lock themselves up in the detention level. After a few weeks of detoxification, the hunger will wear off. They’ll be back to normal again and T’Challa can resume his duties as leader. She believes things can only get better from here on out. She honestly thinks the worst is now definitely behind them. She means, what else could possibly happen?!
The infected continue their trip to Earth. “Are we there yet?” an impatient Spider-Man asks. A displeased Giant-Man tells Spidey to shut up.