“A funny thing happened on my way up the George Washington Bridge. Quick recap so I can get my head straight. This kid, Franklin Richards, came from a world where he says he’s the son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. It’s all well and good… except that Reed and Sue are not married and have no kids. Me? I was Rikki Barnes. I waited my whole life to get into Juilliard, the school for dancing. I didn’t get in. My life was ruined. Or so I thought at the time. But, it’s like what they say. “When one door closes, another one opens.” I got a better one. I GOT TO BE CAPTAIN AMERICA’S PARTNER! Okay, technically, not his partner. We look after each other. Unfortunately, none of that matters, because in order to save the Heroes… well, you know how some people are “born to run”? I think I was… born to die! I just didn’t think I was going to die right then and there.”
And so, it begins…
While standing on the Washington Bridge, Bucky asks Franklin if Onslaught is the monster that followed him, which Franklin confirms. Bucky panics a bit, and Onslaught says that he is death. To this, Bucky jokes that she always thought Death would look more like Brad Pitt. Onslaught moves closer to Bucky, telling her he’s only after Franklin and can spare her. Though, it wouldn’t make much difference to him. Bucky shouts it would sure make a difference to her! She stares at Onslaught again, and wonders if it’s just her, or if he just got bigger. Franklin explains to Bucky that Onslaught can get into a person’s brain and make her see or do things. Onslaught made his dad fight his mom!
Suddenly, Onslaught lunges at the two youngsters, though Bucky quickly dodges and grabs Franklin, telling him that Captain America taught her “when in doubt, run it out!” Franklin is glad to hear Cap is there, because that means so are his mom and dad. Bucky thinks that would be correct, technically. The momentum causes the two to falls off the Bridge, though Bucky manages to grab a hold of a rope. She then uses her strength to toss Franklin upward again, here he grabs another rope. Franklin panics that he’s going to fall, but Bucky warns the young boy to hold on, as help is on its way. Up above, Onslaught evilly agrees, suggesting that he give the child a hand…
Suddenly, Bucky’s help arrives, as a costumed figure leaps from an aircraft, high above. It’s… Captain America! Cap attacks Onslaught, remarking that, no matter what decade he wakes up in, there is always some madman who builds himself up by picking on woman and children. Onslaught isn’t impressed to see another of the so-called “heroes and wonders why they all insist on dressing up in some sort of garish costume. Battering Onslaught’s chin with his shield, Cap informs the monster that “it’s called “the American Flag.”
“Yep. That’s him. The Living Legend of World War blah-blah-blah. A lot of folks think of him as outdated. Or that he walks around like he’s got his underoos on too tight. Me? I always thought Captain America was cooler than cool.”
Cap informs Onslaught that people have tried to burn the flag, spit on it and even disrespect it. When Onslaught states that he doesn’t care about Cap’s politics, Cap again hits Onslaught with his shield, adding that this has nothing to do with politics. For over two hundred years, this flag has been a symbol of hope around the world. Onslaught tries to slash Cap with his claws, mocking the legendary hero that, in that case, killing him would send a significant message into the world, namely that Onslaught cannot be denied! Cap jumps onto Onslaught’s back and shouts at Bucky to get out of there, promising that a Quinjet will pick her up.
Cap slams the edge of his shield into Onslaught’s neck, causing him a great deal of pain. Onslaught swats Cap off of him and, as Cap is stunned, Onslaught angrily grabs Cap by his throat, wanting to pay him back in tenfold! On that moment, help arrives in its the most unexpected form.
“Okay, so I don’t always listen. But it doesn’t matter how many times I see them, it’s just… thrilling.”
The invincible Iron Man and the mighty Thor join the battle, giving Captain America a second wind. In tandem, the three press their attacks. Nearby, Franklin is glad to see the two, saying that he did it. He brought them all…!
As Iron Man and Thor open fire on the monster, Cap orders them to keep the pressure on. Iron Man keeps fighting, and along the way accesses every intel system world wide, but is speechless when he discovers that until two minutes ago… Onslaught didn’t even exist! Thor doesn’t think it matters where Onslaught came from. He only cares that the creature be tamed with the taste of Mjolnir! Thor hits Onslaught hard with his powerful hammer, and Iron Man hits Onslaught’s head with a repulsor blast from his gloves.
Cap wants to finish it. He proudly shouts out “Avengers, Assemble!” and he, Thor and Iron Man push Onslaught off of the Bridge, who falls into the river below!
Later, in the Quinjet…
Bucky informs the Avengers that Franklin claims he’s the son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Hellcat jokes she could tell people she was the Queen of England and that doesn’t mean she is. Franklin thinks they all believe he’s making this up. He tells the Avengers they don’t understand: he did this to save them all. He made a hiding place, changed everyone, because if he didn’t, Onslaught would have hurt them… badly. And now it’s his fault that Onslaught is there. Franklin just thought he’d be safe and all he wants to do now is go home. Cap sits on his knees before Franklin, promising they’ll get him home. Hawkeye, who’s steering the Quinjet, shouts out that the next stop will be the Baxter Building, joking they’ll be in for a surprise.
Later, at the Baxter Building…
Reed observes some strange glowing rays on his monitoring screen, which he finds fascinating. He states that he had postulated the theory that there are other dimensions where doppelgangers of themselves exist. He has only recently became aware of a so-called “Counter-Earth,” which mirrors their own on the other side of the sun. But that world is populated by creatures called “Beast Men”. He thinks if what Franklin is saying is true, he might be looking at some future vision of their own timeline.
Standing nearby are Cap and Iron Man. Cap informs Reed that’s just it: according to Franklin, they’re not copies of the heroes on his world. “We ARE those heroes,” Iron Man cuts in. They’ve been shunted off to some kind of hidden dimension… “Reborn,” so to speak.
Mr. Fantastic admits to the two Avengers that, as much as his heart desires marrying Susan Storm, there are no immediate plans for such an event. He’s sure Franklin is a fine boy, but Reed doesn’t believe Franklin is his son. However, what he does see as an immediate concern is this Onslaught creature. He believes no such creatures exist in their world, so it would stand to reason it followed the boy to this dimension.
Standing not far away from the discussions, Franklin tells Bucky that nobody believes him. Bucky reminds Franklin he doesn’t know that. Franklin disagrees: he knows his dad. He only has that certain look on his face when he lies to him. Bucky asks if Franklin lies often to his dad, but he promises he isn’t lying right now. Bucky mentions there’s something she has been wondering about: Franklin said he hid the heroes from wherever he is. But… she didn’t become Bucky until after Cap and the Avengers formed. She wonders how Franklin could have known about her if he didn’t exist when he said he did all this.
Thor and Sue enter the room, and Thor informs her about the boy of unspeakable power they found. Sue just finds it so unreal. Franklin is thrilled to see his mother again and runs towards her. Sue finds it cute that Franklin calls her “mom.” Franklin asks Sue if she doesn’t know who he is, but she doesn’t know what to say.
Hawkeye hates breaking up this little family picnic, but they just received word that the Hulk is not far away. On that moment, a steamroller is thrown through the walls of the building and hits Thor, smashing him through the opposite wall. Having just arrived in time to witness this, the Thing is incredulous. Seeing Ben Grimm, Franklin is glad to see his “Unca Ben,” which surprises Ben to hear someone calling him “uncle.”
Ignoring this, Cap orders Iron Man to go find Thor. He doubts Thor is hurt, but they’re going to need him if they’re going up against the Hulk. Franklin thinks maybe it’s not the Hulk… or just not his fault. When Cap asks Franklin what he means by that, Franklin explains to Cap Onslaught can make people do what he wants, and can control everybody… even the Hulk! The Thing and Hawkeye look surprised at Franklin, and Ben asks who this kid is. Ignoring the question again, Cap orders Bucky to get Franklin to the mansion, which she agrees to do. The rest of them – Onslaught or not – they have to stop the Hulk!
“So, we had our mission. What we didn’t know then, was that this was going on at the same time…”
Enchantress stands before a scrying pool, and asks the Tides of Fate to speak to her. She wants to be shown what’s to come. The water in the well reveal an image of Onslaught to her, which quickly fades away again. Enchantress thinks someone made the image go away and wonders who it could have been.
“Who else?” Loki asks, revealing himself. Surprised, Enchantress asks what the Prince of Mischief is doing in these fallow woods. Loki warns Enchantress not to try to play him like a fool, as he saw her spying on Midgard. And even there in Asgard, Loki can feel the power of Onslaught. He grins that the fates may have dealt them a favor this day, and delivered to them the manner to destroy his curse half-brother Thor, and his allies on Earth as well!
“I gotta say, of all the plays there are on Earth, pissing off the god of Thunder would never seem like a good idea!”
The impact of the steamroller pushes Thor into a river. However, he quickly recovers and starts swimming back to the surface. Once up, Thor takes to the sky, where he finds Iron Man waiting for him. When Thor asks his partner who could have done this to him, Iron Man explains it’s the Hulk, but that they have reason to believe Bruce is being controlled by Onslaught. Thor warns Tony not to let his friendship with Bruce Banner cloud his mind, seeing Hulk as a godless creature that has to be destroyed.
They make it in to the city, where the Hulk, with furious red eyes, is battle-ready, shouting that he’s the strongest one there is. When Thor approaches, the Hulk lands the first blow, staggering the Avengers. Though stunned by the blow, the true threat to Thor comes as his eyes suddenly begin to glow red like the Hulk’s. He too has been taken over by Onslaught.
Speaking through Onslaught’s spectral voice, Thor says that the outcome to this battle matters little to him, only that once the strongest of the two is determined, he will then destroy these heroes from within and shall triumph!