Captain Atlas of the alien Kree empire has managed to snare the famed Nega-Bands of the deceased Kree champion, Captain Marvel, before his Shi’ar enemies could. Using them to escape the cosmic crusader, Quasar, Atlas now finds himself face to face with the ionic Avenger, Wonder Man.
‘WHERE AM I?’ Att-Las booms as he punches Simon “Wonder Man” Williams in the face, knocking the powerful member of the Avengers West Coast backwards in one of the living areas of the Palos Verdes Compound. ‘How did you bring me here? What have you done with Dr Minerva?’ Captain Atlas demands as Simon falls over the back of a sofa. ‘What have you done with Rick Jones?’ Wonder Man enquires. But Captain Atlas warns Wonder Man not to trifle with him, and demands to know where Dr Minerva is, and where he is now. ‘TELL ME!’ Att-Las shouts. “Captain Atlas” “Dr Minerva” Simon mutters to himself, before standing up and telling the Kree warrior that there is only one thing he can tell him: ‘You and your friends have really stupid names!’ Simon exclaims as he punches Att-Las, knocking him backwards.
But the powerful men soon burst out of the living area wall and into the open space. ‘Do not mock us, little man! Do not mock the Kree!’ Att-Las declares. Realizing he is up against the Kree, Simon thinks that he has really blown this bodyguard gig. Simon knows that some Kree soldiers tried to kidnap Rick once already, and decides that it looks like this is a space-war in the making. ‘All I had to do was keep Rick safe - but now he’s somehow switch places with a crazed Kree super-soldier!’ ‘Where am I? Who are you?’ Att-Las asks, so Wonder Man remarks ‘You really don’t know? You’re on Earth! And at the moment you’re wrestling with -’ he begins, until Att-Las kicks Simon over, ‘EARTH!’ he shouts, before taking to the air, announcing that he has no business on this backwater planet. ‘I must find Dr Minerva…and bring her these Nega-Bands!’ Att-Las declares. ‘I was going to say, Wonder Man!’ Simon calls out, introducing himself, while wondering what Nega-Bands are.
‘What do you mean, “Nega-Bands”?’ Quasar a.k.a. Wendell Vaughn, the cosmic Avenger asks Rick Jones on a moon floating around the planet Saturn, where Captain Mar-Vell’s tomb resides. ‘How many meanings for “Nega-Bands” are there, Quasar?’ Rick Jones asks from inside a quantum bubble, created courtesy of Quasar to keep Rick alive on the moon. Rick explains that the Nega-Bands are the metal “clangers” that Captain Mar-Vell had on his wrists, the ones he used to bang together to trade places with Rick back when Mar-Vell was stick in the Negative Zone. Quasar remarks out that the Nega-Bands Atlas and Minerva where stealing from Mar-Vell’s dead body when he caught them.
‘And a fine job of catching you did, didn’t you? Gave him the time to put the bands on a clang them…which means I’m in deep space with you, while he’s on Earth’ Rick points out. Quasar knows that Atlas must be fighting Wonder Man, and asks Rick if he has any way of reversing the switch. ‘No such luck, chum’ Rick replies, explaining that there is only one pair of Nega-Bands, so Att-Las is on Earth until he wants to come back. ‘Well, if Simon can handle him, that could actually save us a lot of trouble…but if Simon can’t…I don’t want to think about it’ Quasar’s announces.
Back at Palos Verdes, Wonder Man flies after Att-Las, deciding that his Kree opponent is a little addled and not flying too fast, and not thinking about him, either. ’Always a mistake’ Simon tells himself as he reaches Att-Las and attacks him, using his body weight to force the Kree warrior to the ground. But Att-Las punches Wonder Man in the face, telling him it was a noble effort for a human, before boasting that he is learning to use the power of these Nega-Bands now, announcing that he will fly too quickly and too high for any human for follow. But as he takes off, Captain Atlas soon has Wonder Man gripping on to his ankle. ’Well, if it’s a ride you want…I’ll give you a ride!’ Captain Atlas exclaims as he flies onwards, while Simon tells himself to hang on and wait for an opening.
Wonder Man soon gets an opening, as the powerhouses are the city now, and Wonder Man wraps an arm around Captain Atlas’s neck. But Atlas declares that he wearies of this, and tells Wonder Man that he is no threat to him. ’But I would like you off my back!’ Atlas exclaims as he shoves his elbow into Simon’s ribs, and then punches him in the face. But Wonder Man hangs on, and attempts to reach for the Nega-Bands. ‘Let…me…’ Att-Las begins, before the Nega-Bands clang together, and Captain Atlas vanishes - replaced by Rick, who finds himself in Simon’s arms. ‘What the…’ Wonder Man begins ‘…heck?’ Rick concludes. Simon asks where Captain Atlas has gone, to which Rick replies ‘Ask Quasar, he’s probably real happy with you right now’, before Rick turns, breaking away from Simon’s arms, he declares that he has had enough of his “protection” for one day.
‘Oh, no!’ Rick gasps as he realizes he is high in the air above the city. ‘NO!’ Rick screams as he begins to plummet to the ground. ‘Just hold tight - let me get my body around you to take the impact - and relax’ Wonder Man declares as he surges downwards to grab Rick, who asks ‘How am I supposed to -’.
Meantime, ‘What…? How…?’ Captain Atlas gasps as he finds himself aboard a small vessel, where Quasar, and the inactive Avenger called Starfox a.k.a. Eros, one of the Eternals, have captured Dr Minerva. ‘Atlas! Where’s Rick?’ Quasar exclaims while maintaining a quantum beam around Minn-Erva, holding her prisoner. ‘Forget Rick! Get him!’ Starfox declares, while Minn-Erva urges Atlas to get out of here, for the Kree. ‘But how do I -?’ Atlas wonders, before smiling as he looks at the Nega-Bands, and clangs them together again. ‘I’ve got him, Starfox!’ Quasar declares as he fires a quantum-snare around Atlas - only for Rick to take his place, finishing off his sentence from Earth, ‘- relax?’, while looking shocked that he is in outer space again. ‘Oh, no!’ Wendell gasps.
‘Oh, yes! Perfect! Att-Las exclaims as he finds himself in Wonder Man’s arms, plummeting to the ground. ‘Wait a minute -’ Simon begins, before they slam into the street below, causing a large explosion. ‘I don’t know how you pulled that - but as long as I’ve got the advantage!’ Simon declares as he smacks Atlas in the face, then throws him into the side of a building. ‘I’m going to -’ Simon begins, raising a fist to the Kree warrior, but Atlas clangs his wrists together once more, and Rick takes his place. ‘NO!’ Rick shouts as Wonder Man’s fist approaches him at great speed - ‘Oh - geez!’ Simon exclaims as he pulls his fist back. He grabs Rick by his shoulders and asks him if he is okay, and what is going on here.
‘What do you think, Rick? Rick?’ Quasar calls out aboard Starfox’s ship, only to see that Att-Las has returned once more. ‘HEY!’ Wendell declares as he releases a quantum-claw to try and snare Att-Las once more. ‘Ha!’ the Kree warrior laughs, clanging the Nega-Bands together just in time, escaping back to Earth, where he punches Simon in the face. ‘NOW -’ Simon begins to say, but before he can act, Atlas clangs the Nega-Bands together again, and Rick is brought back to Earth. ‘NO!’ Rick calls out, waving his hands in front of Simon. An instant later though, Atlas has returned, and he punches Wonder Man backwards. Wonder Man roars as he gets up, and moves back towards Rick, ‘WAIT!’ Rick calls out, so Simon does, only for Atlas to return, and punch Simon the face, calling him a fool.
‘ATLAS -’ Wonder Man begins. ‘Simon!’ Rick calls out as he is replaced once more. ‘Fool again!’ Atlas declares as he yet again switches places, and grabbing Wonder Man, slams his face into the road. Simon looks up as Atlas moves backwards. ‘If I could land just one…good…’ Simon begins, but Atlas switches places with Rick once again. ‘Blast it. Stay there, Rick’ Wonder Man exclaims, but Rick replies that he can’t, while Simon announces that he is starting to get Atlas’s timing. ‘Tired yet, “Wonder Man”?’ Atlas asks as he reappears, and punches Simon in the face, although Simon was able to “roll” with that one, moving his face in rhythm with the punch. ‘This is it, Atlas!’ Wonder Man booms, as he begins to fake a charge, and time Atlas.
Atlas smirks, and clangs the Nega-Bands together again, teleporting away. Simon grabs Rick by his shirt, despite Rick pleading ‘NO!’ as Simon raises a fist - and instant later, Rick is gone, and Captain Atlas has returned, only to find himself at the mercy of Wonder Man, who moves his punch forward, hitting Captain Atlas so hard that the Kree warrior falls back with the single powerful blow. Simon smiles, “Duck season” he tells himself, before taking Atlas in his arms and keeping Atlas’s arms apart, begins to fly back to the Palos Verdes Compound.
Aboard Starfox’s vessel, Quasar places a quantum field around Rick so that he can breathe, not to mention hold him in place, whether it be Rick or Atlas that needs to be kept in check. ‘Meaning we capture him, or Wonder Man can handle him. Either way, we should stop him’ Starfox remarks. ‘And either way - you will fail to stop the Kree!’ Dr Minerva boasts. Rick announces that he doesn’t care who is stopping who - he just wants to be handed over to the Hulk when they get back. ‘And keep me away from that idiot, Wonder Man!’ he adds.
Meantime, far away, an alien with blue skin, white hair and a purple costume stands on surface, ‘Can there be a bleaker planetoid in the cosmos?’ he asks himself, deciding that it is a fitting size for his contemplation, for it mirrors the emptiness of his eternal soul. ‘What sense in being an immortal, if one knows not from whence he came or where he goes?’ the alien asks himself, when suddenly, he hears a voice: ‘You who have been called Demon Druid…’. The alien looks up to the cosmos, ‘Who calls me?’ he enquires, as he sees the horrid Supreme Intelligence. ‘I know who you are. I know who your people are. Come to the Kree galaxy and all will be revealed. Come…Ultimus!’ the Supreme Intelligence tells the alien.
Back at the Palos Verdes Compound, ‘Give it up! It’s over!’ Simon tells Captain Atlas as the alien tries to struggle free. Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America of the East Coast Avengers, and Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, one of Simon’s current teammates and closest friends, walk into the meeting room, and Wanda asks Simon what he is doing. ‘This war may be over for me - but never for the Kree!’ Att-Las exclaims. Simon tells Wanda that he is looking for a muzzle. ‘This clown won’t -’ he begins, while Quasar, Rick Jones and Starfox enter the room, with Dr Minerva still Quasar’s prisoner. ‘Did Atlas shrug, Simon?’ Quasar enquires, while Simon tells Quasar and Starfox that he is glad that they made it back safe. ‘You’re glad?’ Rick mutters.
‘The gorgeous thing in the energy cocoon must be -’ Simon begins, while Captain Atlas calls out to Minn-Erva, asking her if she has been harmed. Minn-Erva doesn’t answer, while Att-Las boasts that somehow, they will escape the bonds, as Quasat throws his quantum energy bonds around Captain Atlas, and traps his hands apart as well. ‘That should keep the Nega-Bands apart. But these two will be hard to hold, Cap’ Quasar tells his commanding officer. Cap agrees, and points out that they don’t have the jail facilities at the Compound, so they will have to come up with something clever. ‘Think you can manage to stay on the planet for a while, Jones?’ Wonder Man asks, smiling. ‘Think you can avoid getting me killed for a while, Williams?’ Rick mutters back.
‘Is that how you show your gratitude?’ Wanda asks, annoyed. ‘Simon battled Captain Atlas for you, young man - and defeated him, with no help from you!’ the Scarlet Witch points out. ‘But…but I just…’ Rick begins, dumbfounded. Wanda points at Rick and suggests he remembers that he is alive, and without Simon, might not have been. Simon tells Wanda that it is okay, that Rick is always like this, but Wanda turns away and tells Simon not to reprimand her, and that if he won’t defend himself, be glad someone will. Rick smirks and tells Wonder Man that he must have something going for him if he has the Scarlet Witch that stuck on him. ‘She…is…not…stuck on me! Do you understand that? I carried a torch for that woman long enough! Okay!’ Simon shouts, adding that he would know if Wanda felt anything like that for him. ‘At least…I think I’d know’ Simon remarks.
Captain America, Starfox and Quasar are seated around the Avengers West Coast conference table, and Cap asks Wonder Man to join them. Cap stands up and announces that the gravity of this situation should be apparent to them all by now - the Kree and the Shi’ar - two of the greatest empires of the known universe - are moving towards war, with this solar system somehow caught in the middle of it. Cap declares that he is calling for a bicoastal meeting of all Avengers - in New York. Wonder Man tells Cap that is a good move, but that he suspects they are going to end up going a lot further than New York. ‘Am I dragging this goof with me?’ Simon asks, motioning to Rick. ‘I hope not. I’d feel safer being locked in a closet!’ Rick replies.
Cap replies that as matters look, they will need Wonder Man for far more than just body-guarding, and suggests that it is time Rick returned to the Pantheon. Rick smiles and puts his hands together as if he was praying. ‘Oh, thank you, Captain America. I swear, I’ll buy US savings bonds for the rest of my life!’ Rick exclaims. ‘You do that. I’ve got some stuff to take care of’ Wonder Man remarks as he leaves the room, but Rick runs after him: ‘Hey!’ he calls out. ‘Yeah? What?’ Simon replies, frowning. ‘About that fight with Atlas…that was a nice trick you pulled, man. That timing, dude’ Rick smiles. The men shake hands, and Simon tells Rick to forget about Wanda, and that he would have done it for anybody.
Shortly, at his rented apartment, Simon is packing some things, and speaking on the phone to Neal Saroyan, his agent, telling him that there is no way around it, he will have to put all his auditions on hold for a while. ‘Simon, Simon, listen to me. I’m telling you this, not as you agent, but as your friend -’ Neal begins. ‘If course you are, Neal’ Simon mutters, while Neal tells him that if he wants to be an actor, he has to put acting over everything. ‘Neal, I do want to be an actor…’ Simon begins, while Neal, reclining in his chair at his office listens. ‘..but a space war raging through our solar system may prove to be a little more important than me landing another part on an episode of Doogie Howser’ Simon declares.
Neal asks Simon if he can’t stall the war for a little while, as the sidekick angle of his is paying big dividends, that Spider has got a nibble from Geffen on a record deal. ‘I’m telling you as someone who loves you -’ Neal begins, while Simon replies ‘Of course you are, Neal’ and slams the phone down, before he picks it up again and calls his companion Alex Flores. ‘Well, hel-lo! That tone in your voice must mean you’re canceling our lunch date’ Alex remarks. ‘New York, huh? Movie business or super hero business? Super hero, huh? You know, someday you’ll have to decide what really matters to you’ Alex exclaims. Simon tells her that she sounds like his agent. ‘Ouch. If that ever happens again, tie me up and tape my mouth shut’ Alex replies, adding that she is just disappointed, for there is something she has to talk to him about.
‘Something big?’ Simon asks, to which Alex replies ‘Oh, about four-foot-ten’. ‘Huh?’ Simon asks. ‘Never mind’ Alex tells him, asking Simon to call her when he gets back, and enquires as to whether he has any idea when they will be. ‘Not really’ Simon replies. ‘Not at all. That’s how it is with wars’. He hangs up and picks up his bag that he has packed. He checks around his apartment, tells himself that the refrigerator is empty, lights are off and faucet is tight, with the answering machine on and windows locked. ‘No wonder super heroes don’t have pets’ Simon decides. Outside, he meets his landlady, Gloria Angel, and gives her the next month’s rent in advance. Gloria takes the money and tells Simon to call her if he thinks he will be gone that long. ‘I don’t think they have phones where I’m heading, Gloria. At least, no phones that’ll reach LA’ he replies, before taking to the air. Gloria calls after him, wondering where he is going, but she gets no response. ‘Where do you go, Mr Williams? What amazing places could you take me?’ she remarks.
Meanwhile, in orbit around the sun, crew members aboard a certain space station begin rushing about, with someone calling ’Evacuate! Evacuate!’, and another asks what is happening. ’It’s a solar flare - and it’s heading straight for Starcore!’ he replies, as a massive flare from the sun approaches the science station….