In a desolate, dark Viking hall, barely a shell of its former glory, rest relics to a bygone age. Pieces of armor line the room, with cobwebs hanging from them, displaying their years of neglect. In the center of the room is a gaping hole, as if those that would stand before the thrones were consumed by an unearthly beast from below. Standing against a wall and forced to watch this through all eternity with eyes that have long since decomposed and turned into dust, is the skeletal remains of a Valkyrie maiden.
Her name is Hilda, and she’s a virgin; though, believe her, she had her admirers in her past. She had her chances, and now she lies in half-sleep beneath the once-great hall of Valhalla. She rests in this hall of the chosen slain, where Odin gathered the greatest heroes for the day when the final contest comes. But now, something stirs, as one eye returns to the empty socket in her head. Followed by her other.
Next to Hilda are her sisters, desiccated skeletons that are now no different than she was but a few moments ago. Their names are Mista and Sandrida… also virgins. They three fatal sisters dream of better, long-gone days when they weaved the crimson web of war, when warriors were theirs to kill and theirs to spare. In those days, when their armor shed a flickering glow, the mortals called it the Northern Lights. They would ride over the bloody battlefield and pick out those heroes to be slaughtered, for they were the Valkyriur, the choosers of the slain. Of course, now all they can do it lie there and wait… wait for a battle terrible enough to wake them from their dream… Now sensing such a battle, flesh begins to return to Hilda’s body.
Nearby, two opponents are indeed locked into a terrible battle near the fabled city of Asgard. One, the is the first son of the realm, the mighty Thor, and the other the enigmatic, eldest member of he group known as X-Statix, Doop. Though lacking his primary brain and working off of his back-up one in his butt, Doop is undeterred in his battle against the Mjolnir-wielding god of thunder.
Doop spits out a curse to his opponent, but Thor merely ignores it. Instead, he asks how he did pass through the Bridead Girle of Bifrost to invade his home. Nearby, sitting on a rock and leisurely watching the battle is Venus dee Milo. She explains that they didn’t need to take any Bridead Girle. She then introduces herself to him and explains that she’s famous for her cute grin, awesome booty and teleportation skills. To this, she then adds that they’re looking for a piece of Doop’s brain. It came out of Doop’s own skull, she informs him, so he has to agree that by rights it belongs to…
Venus cuts her own words short, as Thor, who had continued his battle against Doop, manages to connect a blow with Mjolnir, knocking Doop across the field to Venus’ feet. As she then tries to attend to her fallen comrade, Thor tells her that ‘tis his duty to find this piece of thinking organ or the Avengers. No one knows Asgard as well as he. If it’s there, the mighty Thor shall find it. Sheesh, Venus says to the barely conscious Doop, he’s referring to himself in the third person. She always thought when Iron Mike started doing that, the writing was on the wall. To this Doop offers his own opinion in Doopspeak.
A short while later, Thor strides down the streets of Asgard, causing the amazed populace to shout at his return. Taking advantage of their attention, he announces that he’s searching for a piece of glowing brain.
Ignoring his words, one bystander asks Thor if it’s true that he’ll run for president of the Asgard benevolent society for distressed chosen slain. Thor dismisses it, replying that the mighty Thor meddleth not in such matters. Disappointed, one woman informs him that they need someone to take over from Loki. His bellicose stupidity, she says, is ruining the society. And, with his war record, he’s the perfect candidate. Taking this in, Thor asks about Balder, to which the woman states that he’s good… but Loki’s spin-doctors have dug up some dirt on him. A teenage dalliance with a frost-giant’s daughter, another man then adds.
A short while later, Thor meets two men, one of whom holds the piece of Doop’s brain, asking Thor if it is what he seeks. They’ll gladly give it over, the other states, if he runs for president. Taking the brain in his hand and examining it, Thor states that, maybe in the future, he will. Right now, he still has more important work to do with the Avengers.
Suddenly, Thor’s contemplation is interrupted by the roar of Doop in his language. Barely having a moment to swear an oath to his father’s name before the ballistic Doop flies at him, Thor takes a left cross to his chin, powerful enough to knock him back. In the distance, a nearly reconstituted Hilda believes she hears thunder.
Pressing his advantage, Doop moves behind Thor and begins to strangle him. Doop gurgles out a word to Thor, but the thunder god yells that that’s enough of this. He tosses Doop over his shoulder, asking he green blob what is that foul language of his. Switching to English, Doop apologizes if his tongue “doth” offend thee, brain thief. So! Thor yells, thou canst speak properly! With this, Thor throws his hammer, which impacts with Doop’s mid-section.
However, as it does not stop, both hammer and Doop are propelled off of the isle of Asgard and into the inky void of space above. Slowly, Doop comes to a stop, with the hammer held halfway in his bulbous mass. Squinting his eyes, slightly, Doop inhales the hammer into his torso. Now facing the weaponless thunder god, Doop chides him that, as old Scandinavian hammers go, that was really quite tasty.
Angered at the theft of his weapon, Thor calls Doop a foul beast. He tells him that Mjolnir was forged long ago by the night elves, ere they built the great ship Skidbladnir. Now reaching out his hand, he then adds that it returns to him like a faithful hound. Come. Mjolnir! he shouts.
Feeling the hammer attempting to return, Doop begins to move and contort, as blisters form on his torso. He then replies to Thor that he has a few tricks of his own, before opening his mouth wide, letting lose over a dozen hammers. As Thor scans the multiple hammers now littering the tiled floor, Doop picks up his brain. While Thor’s deciding which is the real one, he explains that he’ll take his brain! Ignoring Doop, Thor calls out to his hammer, telling it come to him. However, to his surprise, all of the hammers begin to shudder in movement and then fly at him, barely giving Thor time to evade. The hail of hammers breaks through the roof of the chamber, raining down parts of the ceiling.
Elsewhere, Hilda hears the thunder, recognizing it as the storm of war. Like the old battles, the clash of blades and pikes. The singing javelins, the breaking bones.
Back at the battle, Doop has dropped the brain. The ascending hail of hammers having caused him to cover his head. Thor, having taken the moment to recover his hammer, now kneels next to the piece of brain. And now it’s over, Thor says to Doop. His visit to Asgard endeth.
Suddenly, a tremor rocks the city, which Thor recognizes coming from Valahalla. As if on cue, Hilda and her sisters from said realm arise from a newly created crevice. All are now returned to a semblance of life, yet ready to deal in death. They have lain asleep for too long, Hilda thinks, as she rises. It is time… Activating his wrist communicator, Thor calls all Avengers, telling them that what they’ve long feared is happening. The fatal sisters awaken.
His communication finished, Doop tells Odinson that he seems to be busy. Why don’t he take that silly thing off of his hands and he can get on with his… Interrupting Doop, Thor is amazed that he’s still there and tells him to begone. Rather than leaving, Doop points to a sight in the distance, returning to his own language with a swear. Turning to what Doop is pointing, Thor beholds the approaching fatal sisters, on horseback with swords drawn.
Leading the charge, Hilda calls to Thor, telling him to get out of their way, unless he wants to be trampled. The battle, she says, calls them again. Standing his ground, Thor replies that nothing’s called her. The battles are different now. Humans don’t look to gods and Valkyriur anymore. They now look to science.
Some distance away, an Avengers Quinjet arrives at the rainbow bridge to Asgard. Inside, someone instructs the pilot to set down there.
In the city, Hilda is undeterred by Thor’s words. He’s wrong, she tells Thor. The myth, “the age of science,” is coming to an end. It’s their time again. A time of martyrs and jihads, doomed heroes and massacres. Listen! she yells. They’re playing their song!
Propelling himself forward with the power of his hammer, Thor tries to stop Hilda, but is repelled by the mighty hooves of her steed. Falling a short distance from Doop, Thor lands violently, creating a mass of rubble from the stone floor. Floating nearby with the piece of his brain in hand, Doop suggests to the thunder god that he should tend to the horses, and he will take care of the br… Doop’s sentence is cut short by the words of Captain America. Flanked by the rest of the Avengers – Hawkeye, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Scarlet Witch – Captain America informs Doop that they’re there to help him. Whether he likes it or not, Hawkeye adds. Doops curses in his own tongue.
Seeing Doop’s reaction, Cap tells him that he can still have his freedom. But with limitations. If he persuades X-Statix, Iron Man adds, to hand over the other piece of his brain. Otherwise Hawkeye concludes, with an outstretched hand, he’s a dead blob.
Still recovering from his short bout with Hilda, Thor calls to his teammates, suggesting that they should settle this matter later. After they have stopped the fatal sisters riding once ore to the realm of man. Nearby, the source of Thor’s concern, Hilda raises her sword and tells the assembled Avengers that they’ve dealt with some mighty heroes in the past. What makes them think they’ll be thwarted by six modern heroes?
Hilda’s musings are answered by the arrival of Guy Smith, who corrects her that there are twelve modern heroes. His arrival, along with the other five member of X-Statix via the teleportation portal of Venus dee Milo. After Doop speaks up, Guy corrects that stat again with an apology to Doop. Thirteen.
Captain America smiles at the unlikely event. What’s this, he asks. X-Statix joining the Avengers? Venus replies that she ported her buddies in there as back-up, after which Guy adds that there are times when they put aside differences and help their brothers and sisters in spandex. The Anarchist, however, not as enthusiastic, approaches Cap and says that he just wants it on the record that he’s against this. Whatever have the Avengers ever done for them? Except, Vivisector says, sorrowfully eying Hawkeye, trick some of them into handing over pieces of Doop’s brain? Offering only a half-regretful smile, Hawkeye says hello.
Close by, the three fatal sisters take stock of the new situation. One of Hilda’s sisters wonders about the number of foes, and Hilda agrees, turning their horses around. Calling back to the assembled heroes, she tells them so be it. They won’t fight them now. They’ll go back to their slumber. But, the third sister offers, they will return when the battle is loud enough, a time coming soon, she thinks.
The crisis past, Cap tells Guy that that was very responsible of him, joining forces against a common foe. So responsible, Guy retorts, he’ll let them put Doop’s brain together and keep him? Chiming in, Hawkeye replies that they won the pieces of brain fair and square. Doop is theirs. Fair and square? Vivisector snarls, putting himself into the Avenger’s face. He tricked him into believing they were going to be a team, he exclaims.
Cap quickly separates the two. He tells Vivisector that Hawkeye told him about Africa. It seems he deluded him into thinking the two of them had a future together. Taking objection at the word, Vivisector correct him: He was tricked!
Hearing this, the Anarchist calls out to Captain America, asking him if “tricked” rings a bell. In response, Cap replies that there’s nothing sadder than a sore loser. Incensed, Tike gets into Cap’s face, asking if he knows why he lost. Because the great icon with the shield convinced a bunch of Thai peasants that he got to be white to be American. Angered by the insinuation, Cap spits back that he did no such thing. Just that being black makes you a second-class citizen, Tike rejoins.
Placing is hand on Tike, Cap replies that that is a slur on his character and he demands an apology. An apology, the Anarchist yells? Will this do? With this, Tike lets loose a left hook. Unfortunately, Cap moves too quickly and places his adamantium shield in the way. As the Anarchist reels in the pain, Cap lets loose his own left hook to Tike’s jaw.
As the two teams begin to position for battle, Vivisector asks aloud if anyone else is getting a strong sense of déjà vu. Unfamiliar with the phrase, Thor responds that he can smell nothing.
Suddenly, a green sound waves through the air. The group is confused at first, until they see Doop, who has begun to convulse and regurgitate. Understanding what is wrong, Guy announces that the back-up brain in Doop’s butt has run out of power. They have to give him back his brain. Now.
Quickly, the group assembles the brain and Guy places it inside Doop’s skull… but finds something amiss. There seems to be some pieces of the brain missing, he announces. Cap quickly replies that they’ve given them all of the brain that they have, but Dead Girl only sighs at the men, calling them “institutionally sexist types.” The Avengers might have beaten the X-Statix men… But not the X-Statix sisters, Venus concludes, holding several pieces of the Doop brain. She reminds him that they’ve got a couple of Doop’s brain too, remember?
Immediately, Guy asks her to give them to him, but Venus is unsure. Just hand them over? After they fought them for it? They were wrong, Guy replies. If anyone should have the responsibility of safeguarding Doop… it should be the Avengers. Incredulous, Tike asks how come, to which Guy only turns Tike to the assembled Avengers, standing heroically before them. He tells Tike to look at them… there’s his answer.
Cap approaches the stoic Guy, who has begun to place the last few pieces into Doop’s skull. He thanks the X-Static, telling him that this act of selfless responsibility convinces him. They’ve been watching them while they’ve been fighting. And they think they can trust them to look after Doop. For now.
Taken aback, Guy asks if they do. On closer inspection, Cap responds, they’ve concluded that they’re not the devil-may-care, irresponsible, fame-seeking, image-obsessed poseurs they make themselves out to be. Hearing this, Tike is surprised. They ain’t?
Later, at X-Statix Tower, Tike is still dismayed. Selfless, he called them! Responsible! He’s got no right saying those things about them. Comforting her boyfriend, Dead Girl tells him that he’s right. Clearly, they’ve been doing something wrong. Maybe, Guy adds, it’s time they called it a day. Silence follows, accompanied by shocked and confused looks.
After a moment, Tike returns his chin to his hands, replying that he was thinking about a solo career, anyhow. Speaking for himself, Vivisector states that he’d like to spend more time writing. Her head downcast, Venus adds that she’s been offered a record contract. Dead Girl states that she was considering leading an army of the risen dead against the living. Receiving shocked looks from the rest of the team, Dead Girl smiles, stating that she was only kidding. She wants to get into the movies too.
So, Vivisector says, shrugging his shoulders, that’s it, then? First, they were “X-Force,” then they were “X-Statix.” And now? Hey, Guy replies, at least they’re still alive. Unlike Edie, and so many others. Wide-eyed in disbelief, Venus asks if they’re really doing this. Are they really pulling the plug on X-Statix? The silence that follows her question is deafening.