(The story so far)
A year ago, Nick Fury and the Black Widow uncovered a plot involving the Tinkerer and the prime minister of Latveria, Lucia von Bardas, which involved funding tech-themed villains. Fury suspected something major was being planned and took his concerns to the president. He was dismissed, and so decided to do something about it himself. He assembled several heroes to join him, and took them to Latveria to overthrow the government. Precise details aren’t known about what went down but, a year later, Lucia von Bardas is out for revenge against Nick Fury and his team, and has sent the villains to attack them.
(Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters, Salem Center)
Wolverine is relaxing in the grounds of the mansion, enjoying a beer and a rare moment of peace. As he wishes he had a cigar handy, he looks into the clear evening sky, and thinks, ‘Ah… crap!”
In an instant, he’s up and on his feet, preparing for action. He can hear them, even though his assailants are still a fair distance away. He can smell them too. He pops his claws, but realizes an instant too late that he’s about to be in a world of hurt. He tries to avoid an explosion, but the searing flames ignite his skin, which only keep burning as he runs to the safety of the tree line. He screams in pain and recovers against a tree, as his healing factor starts to work. He can see two Mandroids hovering above, silhouetted against a full moon. He sprints for more cover, evading fire as he runs. He realizes that they’re not after the school - they want him. As he watches them, he wonders what the %^&* he’s done this time.
(New York pier area)
The pier area is awash with heroes and villains, as the place becomes engulfed in flames. A major brawl has broken out between numerous tech-themed villains working for Lucia von Bardas, and the four heroes who were visiting Luke Cage at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Spider-Man takes on three familiar villains in the Scorpion, Lady Octopus and the Hobgoblin, but the heroes are hopelessly outnumbered. Captain America fends off the Spider-Slayer, as Nick Fury stands his ground against the Crimson Dynamo and Shocker. As Daredevil swings through the air to avoid the Constrictor’s electric cables and Boomerang’s weaponry, more villains aren’t far behind to help their comrades.
Spider-Man knows that this Hobgoblin isn’t one of his normal opponents, and offers some free advice about how bad his outfit really is. He hopes there isn’t an Osborn under his mask. He really can’t handle any more Osborns. The guy never shuts up, the Scorpion calls out.
Nearby, Cap asks Nick Fury to call in some reinforcements. Even Cap knows when he’s outnumbered. “This is New York City! We can’t have this here! We can’t let this happen!” he cries. The Constrictor grins maniacally, and assures him it is.
As Daredevil swings acrobatically through the crowd, taking the Constrictor out with his billy-club, he asks what it going on there. What do they want? Constrictor replies that he wants him to die. That would be plenty. Colonel Nick Fury uses some kind of handheld device to allow him to move through the air, which enables him to keep active enough not to be pinned down. He carries a pistol in the other hand. He warns the villains that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. He’s already called in the cavalry and an army of gun-toting S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are about to swarm right up their armored pattoties! They should do themselves a favor and stand down!
The battle rages, with Goldbug and King Cobra teaming up to fight Captain America. The battle is messy and brutal, but with so many villains trying to get to their respective opponents, they tend to get in each other’s way. Cap calls Tony Stark, and tells him that if he’s online, he’s needed, now! Nick Fury calls Reed Richards and politely apologizes for the lateness of the hour, but…
Spider-Man doesn’t care who they call. He should call everybody; even the Secret Defenders. Beggars can’t be choosers. He is thrown into a fence by the Scorpion as he speaks. Daredevil uses his agility well, and asks once again what the score is there, as his feet connect with both the Wizard’s and the Trapster’s faces simultaneously. He leaps past them, and picks up a vagrant who is caught up in this whole mess. He orders him to get away from there, and turns to see the reluctant Scorcher, standing nearby, by using his unique sonar.
Immediately, he dashes towards him and grabs him around the waist, taking them both into the murky harbor waters. They come up underneath a jetty, and Daredevil is in no mood for games. He grabs his foe and orders him to tell him what’s going on. Why are they being attacked, and why now? He slams the Scorcher against one of the supports, and his helmet shatters. As Captain America’s shield smashes into the back of Lady Octopus’s neck, Daredevil pumps the Scorcher for answers. The villain is terrified, and says he didn’t want any of this. He knows he’s done some bad #$%^^ in his life, but this is above and beyond. He’d never have signed on if he knew how dark this was gonna get. Murdock asks what he’s talking about. How dark what was going to get? The guy’s scared witless. He explains that he traded in his whole damn life for the suit, and now he’s %^&*ed so bad!
Spider-Man, who has been tossed through a window by the Lady Octopus’s tail prior to her concussion, lies in pain. He knows that, if he had a brain, he’d sneak out and go home to his wife. He picks himself up and witnesses the carnage outside. Of course, there’s that whole ‘power and responsibility’ thing to think of. Suddenly, he smiles. “Whoo, thank god!” he exclaims.
To Spidey and his fellow heroes’ relief, the Fantastic Four have arrived, and Ben asks what time it is. He gives them a hint. It begins with a C and has a lobbering in it! With Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman arriving in the Fantasticar, and the Human Torch soaring through the sky, the odds have more than evened themselves up.
Mr. Fantastic uses a huge fist to knock the Scorpion down, whilst the Thing puts Mentallo out of action. Reed asks Nick Fury what’s going on. He replies that they just needed some muscle on this, and Reed says he has it. He’d just like to know what they’re fighting about. Before he can respond, he is distracted and Daredevil tells him he has to end this. They have to get this out of New York City. Fury wonders what he’s supposed to do. He explains that they have to get this out of a populated area, now! Captain America asks what’s happened, as suddenly the villains run out of juice. Daredevil motions towards the sky. “Her,” he replies. Above them is Lucia von Bardas, and she looks like she means business.
As the villains’ costumes fizzle to a stop, several fall out of the sky and hit the ground hard. A closer look reveals Lucia has a badly scarred face; and her armor covers what’s left of her body. She congratulates the heroes on their perseverance and American spirit. Most of them were supposed to be dead by now, but so was she, so she guesses they’re even. Fury points his weapon at her and calls for them to take her out. Spidey has no idea what’s going on, but Cap appears to know exactly what the score is, and he hurls his shield at her. None of their attacks come to anything, as Lucia erects a force field that deflects all their blows.
Suddenly, the villains begin to scream, and their costumes crackle with energy. King Cobra wonders what’s happening, as the power is drained from his armor. Lucia informs Nick Fury that this is the day he pays for all his sins. His costumed soldiers have been gathered and beaten. Those who survived, she adds, were purposely gathered here; rounded up for one purpose - to watch this!
She wants the last thing they see to be the culmination of all his lies and betrayals. Electricity begins to spark from the villain’s armored costumes, and a connection is made between them. “My soldiers,” laughs Lucia, “the physical battle was my gift to them.” Reed Richards catches on amazingly quickly, and tells his wife to separate them with her force field. It’s a chain reaction energy flux!
Fury asks what on Earth that is, so Reed explains that it’s a bomb. All of the tech armor together makes a bomb. Schlicting wants the armor off, now, but he and his fellow villains are helpless as Lucia takes control of them. Sue Richards struggles to maintain her force field, and recoils in shock as her efforts come to naught. Lucia informs them that they are here to witness the destruction of their people, as they tried to destroy hers. The deaths of millions of Americans will be on Nick Fury’s head, she cries. They will name his desert wasteland after him.
The Thing tries punching through Lucia’s defenses, but even his mighty blows simply bounce off. He is thrown backwards, and looks up to se a huge ball of white energy building up around this mad woman. The heroes are defenseless against this kind of power, and even Cap can do nothing but shield himself. In a last valiant effort, he calls for the team to pick a villain and to try and break the chain. He uses his shield to smash the Crimson Dynamo’s armor but, as they try, they are lifted high into the air and tossed around like they were nothing. ”This is a bomb,” cries Lucia von Bardas at Nick Fury; “And you pulled the trigger!”