The Cellar (New York’s newest super-penitentiary):
A guard leads a doctor around and gives him a warning regarding his patient. Without the Tiger Amulet, the prisoner has no powers. That’s why she is here with the crazies instead of down below. But she’s still a highly trained martial artist. Lethally trained. And she’s no hero. Not like the other one. The New Avenger or whatever.
They look through a window into a padded cell as the guard continues that the restraints stay on. Say hello to Angela del Toro. The White Tiger. Or, y’know, she used to be. He refers to a slim Hispanic woman, wearing a straitjacket and a facemask. She will tear his heart from his chest and eat it raw, is Angela’s reply. In the name of the Hand.
The guard explains that the Hand are these ninja magic guys. They killed Angela and brought her back. Except what got brought back… They’ve seen Hand possession before. At Ryker’s. At the Raft. And you can reverse it sometimes. This ain’t one of those times. He means, he hopes he’s wrong.
He’s not wrong, the doctor tells him and takes a device out of his pocket. The guard asks about his accent and where he is from. Originally? the doctor replies. Out of state. He uses the device to incinerate the guard. Then he changes his features and reveals himself to be the Maker, the evil Reed Richards from another universe.
He informs Angela that he runs WHISPER, an organization like AIM, if AIM were fun anymore. And if he can get this gun in, he can get her out. Angela is not interested. She serves only the Hand. The Maker suggests sometimes one can serve best by serving themselves first. Once she has helped him with his business, she can go back to the Hand if she really must. But honestly? He thinks, they’ll have more use for her, if she is wearing this. He holds up a White Tiger amulet.
Surprised Angela bursts out her amulet was stolen from her. How does he have it now? He replies that it is actually from a neighboring universe where it was never claimed after Angela’s capture. So it is still imprinted on her. As for how he got it… that’s his secret. It involves pizza. But what he does with it now is all up to her.
Reluctantly Angela agrees… for the Hand. Who does he want her to kill? The Maker grins. Come one, Angela! Who does she think?
Rome, the Trevi Fountain:
The current White Tiger (Ava Ayala) and the current Power Man (Victor Alvarez) are sitting in a café. He realizes this is a date? Ava tells her former boyfriend, something he denies. Victor points out that they were on a mission and are now eating gelato and waiting for the ride home. Can they not get into the feelings side? Smiling, she replies they are in beautiful Italy and she would rather be on a date and so would he.
Can they just sit and eat some ice cream? Victor begs, to continue musing when was the last time she ate ice cream? When was the last time she ate? Yesterday? Two days ago? Ava rolls her eyes. This again? They’ve been over this. Vic insists. She wants to do this? Fine, they are doing this. When was the last time she slept?
Ava impatiently reminds him she doesn’t need food or sleep. The White Tiger amulet sustains her. She doesn’t know that, Vic insists. She doesn’t know what it’s doing to her. She just knows it lets her work forever. Never stop… never rest. Does he know what happens when she rests? Ava retorts sharply. Someone dies! Because she wasn’t there. That’s not how this works, Victor insists. This is just an excuse, so she can work herself to death instead of…
Both notice his nose is bleeding. Big disturbance in the local chi, he senses. Something that shouldn’t be in this world. His eyes focus on something behind Ava and she turns around. She thinks she knows what, Ava agrees coldly, as she sees the other White Tiger – Angela – stalk towards them.
Power Man puts on his glasses and rises as he announces he’s got this. It’s the Trevi Fountain in Rome. He’s got this. He’s got Fellini and Hepburn right outside the door… He’s got the Renaissance. Empires rising and falling, Popes and Caesars and they all left their chi for him to absorb. She might want to stand by.
That’s right, Angela remarks. He turns history and culture into power. The last time he fought the Hand was in New York, wasn’t it? A very new city. They were out-of-towners. Not here.
Suddenly, more blood bursts forth from his nose and she explains that since the dawn and the fall the Hand has gripped this world. Their history is a poison well waiting to be tapped. He sinks to his knees and she kicks him in the face.
Then she turns to Ava, sarcastically calling her “Tia Ava.” Just them now. She reminds Ava that she took the amulet while Angela was imprisoned and helpless. Her amulet. Her name. It will give her great pleasure to carve that name into… No more talking, Ava calmly interrupts as she puts on her mask.
She tosses Angela through the window outside into the Trevi Fountain and runs after her while warning the locals. Angela mocks that she was always a clever little girl. Always thinking. Think fast! she orders, grabs some coins from the bottom of the fountain and throws them in her face.
From WHISPER HQ, the Makers observes the battle, impressed by Del Toro’s quick thinking. On paper she might be the superior fighter. She’s not going to kill Ayala though. Obviously. Obviously, an insectoid sycophant repeats obsequiously. The Maker continues that Angela’s FBI training and Hand programming are in conflict. Meanwhile, Ava Ayala had full Avengers Academy combat training. So… no murder today. Luckily, that was never the plan, he grins. This is a whole other experiment…
In Rome, Ava jumps into the fountain as well, calling Angela sick. She respects that. But if she doesn’t surrender now… She’ll what? Angela calls her bluff. The power Ava stole is hers again. Anything Ava can do, she can do better! Ava scoffs believing what Angela is wearing is little more than costume jewelry. She reminds her that the amulet makes her one with the Tiger God. With the darkness that prowls outside the cave. The first thing humanity really feared. She manifests her power. Unimpressed, Angela does the same, manifesting another Tiger God.
Obvious, the Maker muses. The amulets from two different universes equal two Tiger Gods. And here is where things will get interesting…
Angela tells Ava that they are evenly matched. Two prehistoric deities equal in strength and savagery. One and the same. “One and the same,” the gods repeat. Ava’s Tiger God turns toward her: previously she had given him the choice to succumb to her will or be forgotten by mankind. There was no choice. No chance of escape. Not then. But now! He jumps toward Angela, as the Maker expected.
The Maker starts a full spectroscopic scan of what’s happening. The two Gods have merged. Angela’s Tiger aura has a different color and is larger. Twice the power, twice the rage, the new Tiger God snarls at Ava. He is the god she shackled, neutered and forgot. “And vengeance is mine!”
It is about to attack Ava who, shouts she is sorry. However, when she opens her eyes, she finds herself alone. Of course, she realizes. It got what it wanted.
Power Man comes running, asking if she is okay. It got what it wanted, she repeats and bitterly adds, he got what he wanted too. No more Tiger God. No more magic amulet. She’s human again. She’s powerless!
At WHISPER HQ, the Maker gloats he knew Angela wouldn’t kill her. Why should they? is Angela’s reply. They go what they wanted. They made her afraid. Just for a second but it was enough. She knows now they are the darkness outside the cave. They are the monster that hunts in the night… hunting her. They are the White Tiger.
So what now? He asks. Angela replies the Hand has informed her they believe his brand of chaos will benefit them. So until further notice she is on his team. She is surprised to learn it is a literal team, the Revengers, consisting of Asti the All-Seeing, Paibok the Power-Skrull, Angar the Screamer, Skar and Vermin Lord of the Rats.