The helicarrier, the floating world headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping task force, is hovering 1000 feet over Langley, West Virginia. Commander Maria Hill strides into the main control room which has numerous staff members monitoring huge screens that adorn each wall. Her subordinate informs her that they have a situation. The Raft had a break-in, fifteen minutes ago. Hill replies that he means break-out. She was just there.
The faces of several super-powered criminals appear on a monitor, including those of Madame Masque, the Wizard and the Wrecking Crew. She looks at the faces and reckons it’s everyone they just picked up for the bank job in New Jersey. Who even knew they were there? The agent replies that they’re looking into it. Hill asks if any agents were hurt during the escape. He replies that there are seventeen dead. Hill says that can’t be allowed. How did they break-in past them? They have anti-cloak sensors. He replies that intel believes the cloaking was mystical in nature, which puts them at a disadvantage. Maria Hill squeezes the bridge of her nose and sighs that the magical stuff is going to be the end of her. She orders him to find them. Look where they’d least expect them to be, and then look where they wouldn’t.
Tigra is lying on her bed with the Hood pointing a pistol into her face. She is clearly scared, especially with several other super-villains surrounding her, which puts her at a distinct disadvantage. The Hood asks her to tell him where Doctor Strange and those damn New Avengers are or he will kill her mother tonight. He’ll kill her and then find her again, and he’ll cut off one of her furry, tick-ridden legs. “Boy, I’d tell him,” adds Jigsaw. Finally, Tigra replies that they’re at Strange’s house in the village. The Hood says they were there and it’s boarded up. Tigra explains that it’s an illusion. They’re in there. He asks how she knows. She informs him that everyone in the Initiative knows it - they just can’t prove it. It’s magic.
The Wrecker exclaims that he hates magic. The Hood stands up and warns Tigra that he’ll kill her if she is lying. She tells him that the only reason she told him is that when they get there, those guys will mop the @#$^* floor with them. “You and your mommy better hope they do,” replies the Hood. Jigsaw then slaps her hard across the face and they all depart, leaving Tigra sprawled on the floor.
(meanwhile, at Strange’s Sanctum in Greenwich Village)
The Night Nurse is telling Jessica a saucy tale when the team arrives back via one of Strange’s teleportations. Maya Lopez is struggling with her arm injury, and the Night Nurse offers to help. Logan is starving, but Wong warns him from entering the kitchen. It has an order to it, and every time Logan enters it all goes to pot. They then notice Doctor Strange struggling. Wong offers assistance, but he barks at his faithful assistant not to touch him. He leaves the group with his head down, clearly in some kind of pain.
Spider-Man wonders if they should do something. Ronin wonders if he got hurt, but Luke didn’t see him even get a cut. Danny wonders if maybe they should skedaddle and let him have the place to himself for once. “And go where?” asks Luke. Spidey pulls on his face mask and says he should go home anyhow. He’s not leaving because two grown men are minutes away from having a knock-down-drag-out over where the spatula goes. He has to go and figure out which one of them is a Skrull, because now he thinks that they’re all Skrulls and he’s on the weirdest reality show ever.
As he departs, Maya asks Clint what he said. He tells her that it’s nothing important and offers to fix her arm. She tells him she can fix her own arm, and brushes his hand away. “Hey!” he replies. “Nice person offering to help. Me.” Maya apologizes for offending him.
(across the street)
The Hood and his assembled team of villains are on a rooftop watching Strange’s house. It appears to be a derelict building awaiting a Starbucks restaurant. The Wrecker says that they did something like this once. The Masters of Evil trashed Avengers Mansion, and they almost won, too. “So close,” adds Piledriver. The Hood uses his demonic magic to look at the Sanctum with new eyes. They glow red as he sees what is really there. “The furry @#$ was right,” he exclaims. “They are in there.” He can see through the illusion.
Madame Masque asks if they’re going to meet the demon he stole his powers from. Does he have a name? The Hood turns to her, annoyed at the request. “I’m sorry?” Madame Masque informs him that they all saw it the other day. They appreciate his vision and the fact that he got them out of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, but he needs to come forward with exactly who he is and what they’re dealing with if this goes past tonight.
As she speaks, the Wizard points and they see Spider-Man on the side of the Sanctum. Parker’s spider-sense tingles and he sees them across the street. The Hood calls for action. He wants no goofing around, no showboating and no speeches. No one gets out.
Spider-Man enters the Sanctum and warns everyone that they’re on their way. No one appears to be interested until Spidey grabs Danielle out of Jessica’s hands and makes a run for it. Immediately, Jessica chases him, and Luke asks Danny to follow him. They’ll cut Spidey off. However, Danny sees smoke come through the window and replies that he thought there was an ancient seal of protection. The window then shatters. Outside, Chemistro is firing a weapon at the window, which has managed to change the chemical construction of the wood that held the seal. As he gloats about succeeding, he is smacked in the face with some nunchakus thrown by Ronin.
Spidey reaches the roof with Jessica in hot pursuit. “Give me back my kid!” she cries. Spidey stops and hands Danielle over to her. He apologizes but says there was no time. The baby comes first. He warns her to get out of there.
Meanwhile, the Wrecker kicks the door in and the villains pour through, the entrance having increased in size by Bulldozer charging through the wall. Danny still thinks that Doctor Strange’s spell will mean the villains can’t see or hear them but, when the villains open fire, the heroes are forced to duck for cover. The Hood goes straight for Strange himself, and enters his room opening fire with both pistols. Strange is shot several times, and both Wong and the Night Nurse are forced to find cover. Wong then attacks the Hood using his martial arts skills. Wolverine comes charging into the main room from the kitchen and the two teams begin a battle royale.
On a nearby rooftop, Jigsaw looks through the sights of a high-powered rifle. He sees Spider-Man returning to the fray and Jessica holding her baby tight. He grins as he aims the gun at Jessica’s head. However, just as he’s about to fire, his sight is webbed up and he looks up just in time to see Spidey’s fist coming at him hard. Parker apologizes, but there are no ugly jokes this time. He’ll just have to remember some of his old ones.
Inside, the battle rages on, with Wolverine taking on Piledriver, Iron Fist laying into the Griffin and Luke sparring with the powerful Wrecker. Spidey returns and webs up the Blood Brother’s face. Spidey then informs Luke that the baby’s okay. Luke says he almost killed him. Spidey repeats that the baby’s okay, and this time Luke thanks him. He then hammers the Wrecker with great force. “You can take care of yourself,” he tells Spidey. “These #$%@£*#$%$£@# came at my baby!”
Watching the events from an anonymous van across the street are a couple of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Agent Queen (passcode delta-niner-six-Gary-Oldman) reports to base that they have a satiation. The helicarrier controller asks him to describe the situation. Before he can respond, Piledriver is hurled through the hole in the window right onto the car parked next to the van. The two agents draw their weapons just in case.
Inside the Sanctum, the place is being torn apart as Crossfire blasts away and the two opposing forces continue their battle. Wolverine plunges his claws into Thunderball’s chest, as Ronin smacks the Wizard upside the head and Maya tightens her grip on Chemistro’s neck. The Hood enters the room after leaving Wong and is about to fire at Iron Fist, when Tigra leaps into the room, clawing his face. He screams with pain, as she unleashes her frustrations on him. Spidey looks over and thinks it’s cool that Tigra showed. Even a Skrull of Tigra would be okay.
As the Hood manages to shoot Tigra on the shoulder, Doctor Strange awakens with his eyes glowing bright. A look of horror is spread across his face. In the main room, Iron Fist tells Luke that this has got to stop. This is a religious place; a mystical place. Luke replies that it’s also the place where they’re getting their heads handed to them.
Meanwhile, Doctor Strange manages to stand. He growls for no one to touch him, but Wong pleads with him to determine what is happening. The Hood, seemingly speaking to no one, reckons this is where they finish it. Wolverine’s torso is sizzled as the Living Laser goes straight through him, and Luke Cage is smashed to the ground by Piledriver, whose ball lands on his back with a foom. Nearby, Razorfist slices Danny’s back, and the Griffin punches Maya hard in the face. Ronin realizes that they’re in real trouble as he is sizzled by an electrical blast.
Spider-Man is pulled to the ground by Vermin, and the Wrecker closes in on him as Tigra struggles against bulldozer’s strength. Out of nowhere, the room turns a shade of magenta and a hulking Doctor Strange appears; his muscles pumped to the max and his eyes glowing brightly. “Fastada Unrunade! Pistadi Rununini!” he cries. He repeats it twice. Every villain in the room is caught in his mystical assault, and they glow in the same way as Strange. A moment later and everyone is lying on the floor dazed. “By the Vishanti…” exclaims Wong. The Night Nurse places her hand on Strange’s cheek and asks what happened.
Before he can answer, she notices Wong crawling over to a book on the floor. She asks what he’s doing, but he tells her to hold on. “What happened to him?” He opens the book and raises his hands to perform a spell. “Kirinati Falanutiti,” he whispers. Wolverine screams and Wong moves onto Luke. He repeats the spell again and again with Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Tigra, Ronin and Echo. They slowly come out of their miasma and Clint asks what the heck that was. Wong explains that he used a reversal spell. It takes back a recent defense spell. It worked, though he wasn’t sure it would. He apologies for it being so painful.
Clint says that he means, what happened? Strange explains that because of their struggles of late, he has called upon darker forces than he would normally use. He thought he could control these forces, but he can’t. It was his arrogance – the same arrogance that led him down the path he is on in the first place. His hands are useless again, and he tried to disguise it. All these years, and he has learned nothing. He sighs. He continues to say that he’s had no time to deal with what he has done. The forces are overpowering him. He wanted to help them so much, and to help Bruce Banner, but he has failed. He has failed at his task as Sorcerer Supreme of this dimension. He doesn’t think he can help them anymore.
He is clearly upset at what has happened. He adds that he needs to atone for what he has done, and relearn all that he has lost. He needs to put back the magics which he had no business in using in the first place. “I can’t help you anymore. You have to leave here. We all do.” he apologizes, but creates a mystical spell which transports him away.
As Spidey wonders what they do now, Ms. Marvel then floats in through the roof with a squad from Operation Lightning Storm. She advises them not to move for starters. He calls in to base and informs them that she is at the house and they should hold on for reports.
She asks Luke where his baby is, to which he replies that he doesn’t know, but they’re okay. Carol wants to find her. “You’re not going to try and arrest us?” asks Spidey and Iron Fist together. Ignoring them, Carol reports to the helicarrier that they need a clean-up crew at Strange’s place. They should call Brother Voodoo back, as there are some magicy magical chemicals that she doesn’t want to touch. The controller asks if the rebel Avengers are there. “They must have taken off,” she replies, wincing at her decision. “Right?” she asks, turning to the members of Operation Lightning Storm. Clint smiles as he pulls his mask off and says that’s the Carol Danvers he used to crush on.
One of the soldiers apologizes, but says he’ll have to report this. Carol reminds him that these people just heroically avenged dead S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. He says no. What she is doing is against the law. Another soldier says that all he sees are bad guys who killed a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents lying all over the place. Luke thanks Carol, and the first soldier tells him he’s under arrest. “Shut up,” warns Carol. She asks Luke how he’s going to get by tomorrow. He replies that he doesn’t know.
The Hood has escaped but is in a bad way. He stumbles into an alleyway where he rests against a wall to recover. He struggles with his words as he speaks to the unseen silent voice he appeared to be speaking to earlier. He did everything the voice told him. They overpowered them and had the surprise. Why did they lose? The voice replies directly into his mind. “Okay,” replies Robbins. “Okay. You’re right. Now I know how to beat ‘em.”
(Stark Tower, New York City)
Near the top of the building, Jessica arrives and is asked for identification by the computer. The events of the past few weeks have finally caught up with her. The baby cries but she manages to inform the computer that her name is Jessica Jones and she’d like to register. She tries to calm the baby and pleads with the computer to let her in.