The Vulture glides through the night, reminding himself over and over again that there is no justice. Once, he was Adrian Toomes, inventor and electrical engineer, but his partner stole the profits from their company and the law, blocked by a technicality, could do nothing. And so, applying the electromagnetic elements that had long fascinated him, Toomes built himself a set of wings. He discovered that, not only could he fly, but exposure to the wings harness gave him superhuman strength. He became a thief to catch a thief, and soon discovered that he preferred a life outside the law. He was in federal prison, now he is free...
Having reached his destination, the Vulture descends through an open skylight into a building. Landing gracefully, he shouts that there is no justice but just deserts, and dares the Tinkerer to come out and face his wrath for daring to duplicate the designs of his wings. Somewhere behind the Vulture, hiding behind a corner, the Tinkerer answers that he has been expecting the Vulture and activates the defense mechanisms of his base.
Electronic bolas wraps themselves around the Vulture’s upper body, pinning his arms and wings, though both men are aware that they won’t hold him for him. However, the Tinkerer threatens to use a concussive grenade, but the Vulture is no fool. Well aware that the resulting explosions would damage the Tinkerer’s beloved workshop, he knows that he wouldn‘t throw it. Lunging forward and grabbing the Tinkerer by the throat, the Vulture explains that as soon as he found the package containing an ersatz version of his wings in his prison cell, he instantly recognized that they had been crafted by the Tinkerer’s hands. Now he wants answers – why did he steal the designs and then send the wings to him?
The Tinkerer takes offence by being called a thief, and orders the electrical bolas to fully release the Vulture. The Tinkerer proceeds to inform the Vulture that he was hired to duplicate his wings, motioning to a computer screen, he explains that a face appeared on the screen and ordered him to make the wings. `A face? Why, you senile old dotard!‘ the Vulture retorts, but the Tinkerer tells the Vulture that he is wrong, and informs him that he told the stranger on the computer that he is a professional and works only for money. The Tinkerer holds up a bank statement, confirming that the very next day, an extremely handsome payment arrived in the mail, in full advance.
The Tinkerer adds that along with the money, was plans for the wings and instructions which he followed to the letter. The Tinkerer reads off the instructions and informs the Vulture that they also say that once the Vulture arrived here, he needs to attack a hero called Speedball. ‚What? That youthful cretin? He‘s worse than Spider-Man!‘ The Tinkerer replies `Perhaps‘ before remarking that their benefactor feels they owe him, and points out that their benefactor did arrange for the Vulture‘s release. `Then he is a fool‘ shouts the Vulture, boasting that he follows his own agenda, and proceeds to ask the Tinkerer if he has read the papers lately, informing him that the murderous villain called Nitro is to stand trial today, and boasts that he is going to release the madman from his high-tech canister prison, and informs the Tinkerer that he is going to help him.
Meanwhile, New Mutants Rusty Collins and Sally „Skids“ Blevins have been unjustly imprisoned by Freedom Force, the federal mutant watchdogs. After a failed attempt to block the Vulture‘s escape, Rusty freed his girlfriend, but his plans to recapture the Vulture have been put on hold as the prison guards open fire on them. `Bullets wont stop them! They bounce off the bimbo‘s deflection field!‘ one of the guards cries. Angry, Sally tells the guards `You can‘t get us, but we can get you‘ and warns them to back off or else Rusty will fry them.
Inside Skids‘ force field, Rusty tells Sally to quit threatening the guards and suggests that they get out of here. Sally replies that she would love to, and asks where they are going. Rusty replies that they are going to Albany, that‘s where Nitro‘s trial is, and the Vulture is planning on releasing Nitro, so they have to stop him. As bullets bounce off of her, Sally asks why they have to stop the Vulture. `Let the Vulture prey on other humans and good riddance! We‘ve saved humans time and time again, and how do they repay us? They imprison us, they kidnap us!‘
Suddenly, they heroic teens are knocked aside, but Sally manages to hold her force field up. Rusty exclaims that it was a rocket, and tells Skids that was nothing compared to what Nitro will do. Rusty exclaims that Nitro has the power to create concussive explosions from his own body, and adds that hundreds of innocent people will die. `People who aren‘t lucky enough to be born with a protective field‘ The handsome Rusty notices a truck which is still running and figures that the driver must have abandoned it when the shooting started.
Opening the door to the truck, Rusty discovers that it is not completely abandoned, as he pulls a driver out. Rusty suggests to the driver that he keep his head down and get out of the way as bullets are flying everywhere. As another bullet smacks against her force field, Sally snaps that she has had it with humans and declares that their real duty is to their own kind. Rusty assures his girlfriend that stopping the Vulture will save humans and advance the mutant cause, reminding her that he is going to be tried to desertion and wrecking naval property, and that she is going to be tried for aiding him, however, they are being held without bail and a date for the hearing has not even been set. `If Freedom Force and whoever‘s behind them has their way, they‘ll never set a date!‘ Sally exclaims as she and Rusty take their seats in the truck.
Rusty begins driving, suggesting that they capture the Vulture and stop him from releasing Nitro, then when the reporters descend and point their cameras at them calling them heroes, they can shout the truth - that someone in their government has kidnapped mutant children and training them for combat. The van speeds towards a large gate and more guards who are still firing at the escaping New Mutants. Sally extends her force field to outside the van though, and Rusty burns through the gate. Free, Sally exclaims that they will be heroes, delivering a heroic message of liberation and tells her boyfriend that it is a long shot, but might just work. `‘Just let Freedom Force try to cover that up!‘ Sally exclaims.
Meanwhile, the street before the Albany courthouse is a mob-scene - reporters and news crews jostle for pictures as throngs of irate picketers concerned about possible infringement of Nitro‘s civil rights confront activists concerned with the right of Nitro‘s victims. The police, trying to quell a potential riot, have little time to glance skyward, and if they did, they would not see anything out of the ordinary, for the Vulture has eschewed the skies, and has soared down alleyways, skimmed the rooftops to approach the courthouse from behind.
Landing on top of the courthouse, the Tinkerer declares that he wants no part of this, adding that the gizmo he was forced to make will release Nitro, and even a child could operate it. The Vulture replies that the Tinkerer‘s presence will ensure that his „gizmo“ works, warning the Tinkerer that if it doesn’t, then he will die. The aged villains approach a skylight and the Vulture thinks to himself that the Tinkerer will die anyw3ay, die with them all, and the secret of his wings will die too - `In an explosion that will reduce this temple of supposed justice to rubble!‘
The elderly villains look through the skylight and the Vulture asks the Tinkerer if he can see Nitro, locked inside the canister filled with nausea gas, kept incoherent, unable to speak, to testify in his own defense. The Tinkerer points out that they have to sedate him, otherwise, if Nitro could concentrate, he‘d activate his power and detonate. The Tinkerer reminds the Vulture that Nitro has done it several times before, and will no doubt do it again, as soon as he is released, and without a care for what damages he does or who he injures.
`Indeed he will!‘ the Vulture exclaims, before declaring that the fool who paid the Tinkerer to free him from prison was part of the super-villainous Acts of Vengeance. ‘And he insulted us! Insulted us both!‘ the Vulture exclaims, pointing out that their benefactor knows they are old, and therefore thinks they are weak, unfit for any real participation. `He thinks that I have nothing better to do than fight a bouncing neophyte like Speedball!‘ Suddenly, the Vulture bursts through the skylight, shouting `Where is the villainy in that? Where‘s the prestige? Where‘s the vengeance?‘
The Vulture boasts `He‘ll learn you can‘t judge a man‘s potential for destruction by the color of his hair…or the lack of it! I‘ll show him vengeance and villainy beyond his wildest dreams!‘ The Vulture swoops down into the courtroom, `I am the Vulture! I prey on the dead!‘ he cries, before grabbing the canister that Nitro is being held in and flying back up through the skylight. The lawyers in the courtroom call out for the guards to go after him, while arriving back on the roof, the Vulture asks the Tinkerer if he sees how rapidly he accomplished Nitro‘s rescue, only to discover that the Tinkerer is not on the roof.
`Rapidly, yes, yes indeed‘ the Tinkerer replies as he makes his way down a nearby ladder. The Vulture places the canister containing Nitro down and turns to the fleeing Tinkerer, `More rapidly than you had thought possible, eh, Tinkerer? It allowed you no time to escape!‘ Down in the alleyway, the truck that Rusty and Skids escaped from the prison in screeches to a halt. Inside, Rusty exclaims that the radio said the Vulture has Nitro, before motioning to the picketers who are all dispersing, Rusty supposes they must have heard it too, as they are running this way!
Sally warns Rusty that he has to stop or swerve, otherwise he will hit the picketers, but one of the guards shoots the truck and a bullet bursts one of its tires. Rusty exclaims that the brakes are locked, and as the truck heads towards the side of a building, he tells Sally to throw her force field up, which she does just in time. Slightly shaken, Sally remarks that the people are safe, and that she and Rusty are okay. Rusty is concerned about Nitro though and tells Sally that they have to go.
Stepping out of the truck though, the two New Mutants are almost injured by a statue that falls down and lands beside them. Sally remarks that the impact of them slamming into the building must have knocked it loose, but Rusty motions to the rooftop of the courthouse, where he sees the Vulture and someone else. Sally asks if it is Nitro, but Rusty replies that he doesn’t think so, before noting the fire escape and suggesting they go up it.
On the rooftop, the Vulture has a hand around the Tinkerer‘s throat, `You betrayed me!‘ he exclaims, warning the Tinkerer that if he was of less potential use to him, he would hurl him to his death. The Tinkerer pleads with the Vulture not to, and promises that he will open the canister. The Vulture pulls the Tinkerer back onto the roof, ordering him to hurry as they haven‘t got much time. The Tinkerer quickly announces that the device is activated, explaining that it will burn through the container, allowing nausea gas to escape and fresh air to enter.
The Vulture exclaims that then Nitro‘s head will clear and his escape will be a mere detonation away. Suddenly though, several guards arrive on the roof from the rooftop stair access in the courthouse and order Vulture to stop, otherwise they will shoot. The Vulture informs the guards that they have arrived too late, and tosses a couple of concussive grenades at them, while remarking to the Tinkerer that they are of some use after all. A low humming noise is heard and the Vulture declares that sound is the sizzling sweet sound of his victory!
The Vulture boasts that it will culminate in a blast far more deadly than this one, when Rusty notices that some police officers below are firing up at the rooftop. `At us or them?‘ Skids asks. Rusty remarks that the bullets will not stop the Vulture, to which Sally remarks that they won‘t be stopped by bullets either and tells Rusty to go on and get the Vulture, while she uses her force field to protect them as they climb. Rusty tells Sally to hold on tight and go carefully, reminding her that although the bullets will easily skid off her shield, she could just as easily skid down the latter. Sally replies that she will be careful and tells Rusty to hurry.
Arriving on the rooftop, Rusty sees Nitro‘s canister glowing orange, and notices the Vulture and the other old guy watching it, he wonders what they are doing. Rusty suddenly lunges at the Vulture, telling the old villain that whatever he is up to, he can stop it right now. The Vulture recognizes Rusty from their encounter at prison and asks him if he learnt nothing from it. The Vulture and Rusty begin fighting mid-air, with Rusty clinging to the old man, warning him that if he doesn’t finish him, the bullets will. `Not when I have you to use as a shield!‘ the Vulture replies, before informing Rusty that he has arrived too late, and that he planned to be out here in any case, for his great plan is set inexorably in motion - Nitro will soon be free, and everyone will die.
Sally watches the battle, thinking that the Vulture might have a plan, but so do she and Rusty. Sally realizes that the Vulture - and Rusty - are drawing the cops fire, so she drops her force field and makes her way up the ladder, only to witness an explosion as Nitro bursts from his canister. `On no!‘ Sally exclaims, as she instinctively throws up her force field to protect herself and the Tinkerer from all the flying shards of metal.
The Vulture grabs Rusty by his throat, `See, you young imbecile? It worked! And the best is yet to come!‘ the Vulture exclaims, adding that when Nitro coalesces, he will be himself again. Nitro stands before Skids and the Tinkerer, shouting that he will have vengeance on those who trapped him. `Soon you will feel the explosive fury of Nitro!‘ The Vulture continues to struggle with Rusty and shouts out to Nitro that it was the judges in the courthouse below who trapped him, before announcing `I, the Vulture, your friend and benefactor, have set you free!‘
Rusty asks the Vulture why he is doing this, pointing out that Nitro will blow up the courthouse and everyone in it! The Vulture replies that is exactly what he has in mind and boasts that he will show them all that despite being bald, the Vulture is a power to be reckoned with. `There will be destruction as the world has seldom seen…and then, I‘ll fly away‘. Rusty replies that he has a power to be reckoned with too, and calling the Vulture a jerk, Rusty unleashes his mutant flame upon the winged old man, who exclaims that they are too high, but Rusty doesn’t care, and the two plummet to the rooftop of the courthouse.
`Meddling mutant fool!‘ the Vulture shouts as he goes for Rusty‘s throat again, to which Sally warns the Vulture to stop choking him, and points out that Rusty was on the bottom when they landed, so now he is unconscious. `And soon, my dear, he‘ll be dead!‘ the Vulture boasts. The Tinkerer points out that they will all be dead, and tells the Vulture that he can‘t escape now anymore than the rest of them can. `You‘re all fools and now you‘re gonna die like fools!‘ Nitro shouts, to which the Vulture leaves Rusty and informs Nitro that the cops are closing in, and suggests they should re-think this plan. Nitro replies that he doesn’t care if the cops close in, as there will be nothing left for them to cart away. `You‘ll be gone and I‘ll be somewhere else!‘
Sally surrounds herself and the unconscious Rusty with her force field, before turning to Nitro and telling him that the Vulture and the Tinkerer set him free, so he should give them a break. Sally asks what good it will do to kill the Vulture and Tinkerer and all those innocent people. Nitro replies `Learn this, mutie, and learn it well! Gratitude has no place in modern villainy!‘ Nitro proceeds to tell Skids that can use her force field to protect and the others if she wants to, but that she shouldn’t expect them to thank her for.
Nitro begins to blaze white hot, building towards the momentum when he will explode in incandescent fury. `No! Don‘t!‘ Skids screams as she leaps towards Nitro, her force field fully extended, Sally Blevins throws herself onto the powerful villain as he begins to discorporate. Desperate, Skids wraps her force field around Nitro, covering the madman with the hope she will prevent disaster. In effect, Skids becomes a human containment vessel - but Nitro‘s fury cannot be contained, and he still detonates with enough force to destroy a city block.
Skids falls to the ground, energy dripping from her body, she wonders how she can hurt so much and yet still be alive. Nitro stands over her and is surprised that she was able to stop his blast, but declares that he doesn’t think Skids can move to try and stop him again, as all he has to do is re-form, and then detonate whenever and wherever he choses. Suddenly though, Nitro feels something strange happening, `Why can I not…reform?‘ he utters, before turning to dust. The Vulture asks what happened to Nitro, and the Tinkerer explains that it is probably the result of exploding within the extremely confined space of Skids‘ force field, and the concussion shattered his molecular bonds so that he was unable to reform. A weak Sally calls out to Rusty, and whether he can hear her or not, she whispers `We did it, Rusty….just like you said. Saved the humans. Gave mutants a good name…showed them we‘re real heroes…‘ before passing out.
Meanwhile…the rest of the New Mutants - Danielle “Mirage“ Moonstar, Sam “Cannonball“ Guthrie, Bobby “Sunspot“ DaCosta, Tabitha “Boom-Boom“ Smith Rahne “Wolfsbane“ Sinclair, Warlock and Julio “Rictor“ Richter - are in Asgard, the dimension ruled by the Norse Gods, where an invasion has just been repelled, but at a terrible cost. The obese Volstagg and three of his children - Hildy, Kev and Signe - rush over to Warlock, who sits with the unconscious Boom-Boom and Hrimhari the wolf-prince. Volstagg asks Warlock if they are all right, to which Warlock replies that he and Boom-Boom are alive, before turning to Hrimhari. Hildy announces that Hrimhari is still breathing, before remarking to her father that the other New Mutants have fallen too, and lie gravely wounded in Odin‘s palace, suggesting that they take Warlock, Boom-Boom and Hrimhari to them.
Shortly, Volstagg and his friends in the Warriors Three, Fandral and Hogun carry the three into a chamber where the New Mutants are recuperating. ‘The Warriors Three bring thee more invalids!‘ Volstagg announces. The New Mutants are finally reunited, and Wolfsbane is relieved that her wolf-prince is alive. Mirage exclaims that they are hurt though, and begins sobbing, asking her best friend Wolfsbane why she wasn’t strong enough to resist Hela‘s magics. Rahne tells Dani not to blame herself, that Hela took so long to create that spell, no Valkyrie was able to resist it. `But don‘t you see? I‘m not just any Valkyrie, I‘m a mutant!‘ Dani sobs.
Hogun turns to the dwarf-lord, Eitri and motions to Cannonball who is in a bed, asking if this is the champion who destroyed the Deathsword. Eitri replies that is, adding that Sam is feeling the bitter effects of his heroism. Hogun holds up a flask and remarks that in it, he has the elixir of life, a restorative potion of immense power. He brings the flask to Sam‘s lips and tells him to drink it and be healed. Sam replies that he can feel it working, that he is better all ready, before pointing out that some of the others were hit pretty hard also, and asks Hogun if he can spare some of the potion for them.
Soon, the brave New Mutants and mighty warriors of Asgard all examine themselves after taking the potion. `It‘s like a miracle!‘ Mirage exclaims. `It is a miracle!‘ Rahne remarks. Balder the Brave enters the chamber and declares that it is no less than the heroes of Asgard‘s defense deserve, adding that in the name of Odin, and all of Asgard, he thanks them all. Cannonball replies that it was nothing, and points out that Thor has risked his life for the people of Earth time and time again. `It was time us humans returned the favor‘.
Boom-Boom announces that the comment she is going to make is going to sound weird coming from her, but that it is not really that bad here on Asgard, and that she is almost sorry to be going home. `Home…to Migard? But I thought you knew!‘ Balder exclaims, before informing the New Mutants that the Rainbow Bridge that links their dimensions has been severed as Asgard now floats out in the Negative Zone. Balder adds that no one knows how the New Mutants came here, but that there is no way they can send them home!
Meanwhile, back home, on the now crowded courthouse roof, the Vulture and the Tinkerer have been taken into police custody, and a severely concussed Rusty kneels beside the unconscious Skids as the roar of the landing helicopter pounds his brain. Freedom Force members Blob, Pyro and Crimson Commando exit the chopper and Crimson Commando tells the approaching medics to keep back, as they are taking over now. One of the medics points out that Skids is in bad shape and Rusty is not much better.
The Blob informs the medics that the kids are escapees from a federal prison and therefore do not need medics as they are a danger to society, and he is going to take them where they cannot hurt anyone else. The Blob adds that as a favor to the local cops, they will take charge of the Vulture too. Rusty protests, `What are you talking about us hurting people? Skids never harmed anybody! She stopped nitro! She saved hundreds of people!‘ Blob grabs hold of Rusty, while one of the medics kneels beside Skids declaring that he doesn’t care who she is, `If she doesn‘t reach a hospital soon…I wont answer for her life!‘ the medic exclaims.
Crimson Commando assures the medic that Freedom Force takes full responsibility and asks the medic to load Skids into the chopper, informing him that Skids and Rusty will be cared for in a government facility from which there will be no escape. Anguish spreads of Rusty, `No! You can‘t! you heard them! She has to get to a hospital, now!‘ he cries. Crimson Commando looks at the paramedic and suggests he does as he is told - otherwise face a warrant for interfering with federal officers.
Flame bursts up around Rusty, `No! You Can’t! Don‘t listen to them!‘ he pleads with the medics, before turning to Crimson Commando and declaring that he is just afraid that Skids will spill Freedom Force‘s dirty little secret. Rusty points out that Skids isn‘t the only one who knows what Freedom Force is up to and begins to threaten them that they must take her to a hospital or else - until Pyro approaches Rusty and takes control of his flames. The Blob snarls that he has had it listening to lying bellyaching scum that give honest muties a bad name. Clearly referring to Rusty, the Blob punches Rusty hard in the face.
Suddenly, one of the many reporters, all flanked by their camera crews, asks what it was that Rusty was saying, `Is it true that you don’t want us getting their side of the story?‘ Commando replies that Rusty was saying what one would expect any criminal to say, that he was innocent, adding that in his desperation he sought to sully Freedom Force‘s name through baseless accusations. Crimson Commando declares that he wants to set the record straight once and for all, and announces that Rusty and Skids‘ escape, with the Vulture, from a federal facility is a matter of record.
Commando goes on to say that Rusty and Skids teamed up with the Vulture to free Nitro from his specially-designed canister and were injured when Nitro ignited. `Because of them, hundreds of people could have died!‘ Commando lies. He remarks that Rusty and Skids may look young, but that people should not be fooled in believing that they are harmless, adding that it is because of them that Nitro is free, out somewhere. `They‘re evil mutants, and we in Freedom Force have learned to our great sorrow, the power of evil‘.
Commando announces that Freedom Force‘s own teammates, Destiny and Stonewall have just fallen tragically against scum like Rusty and Skids. Blob, Pyro and Commando all stands before the cameras for a pose as Commando remarks that danger, even death, is the price of Freedom Force‘s vigilance. He adds that Freedom Force will pay it gladly, `Because we are America‘s heroes…and we serve you all!‘
Elsewhere, and hours later, seven dark and mysterious forms enter a major federal energy research facility near Dark Hole in Wyoming. They disarm sophisticated sensors and slip into the high security building like wraiths - and are the last sight the building‘s guards will ever see. `Ready Wildside?‘ one of them asks. `Ready Strobe‘ the other replies as he sets the bomb, before turning to the one called Zero and telling him to get them out of here. Shortly after the enigmatic Zero has teleported the group away, the bomb goes off and the building explodes.
Several hours later, while fire fighters are still trying to get the fire under control, one Mr. Phillips is being interviews by a team of reporters. They ask him about the possibility of arson, but Mr. Phillips argues there is no reason to suspect a terrorist attack on a research facility specializing in passive energy acquisition. However, he is proven wrong when one of the guards rushes to the scene, telling Mr. Phillips that there is an urgent message on the mobile phone.
The cameras record Mr. Phillips‘ shocked expression when he picks up the phone, only to be informed by the person on the other end of the line that indeed the press‘ suspicions of arson were correct. Claiming credit and responsibility for the attack that occurred, the person explains that they are the Mutant Liberation Front, and that their demands are rather simple. They want the two mutants known as Rusty and Skids be freed; otherwise “another false symbol of humanity’s prosperity and liberty will be destroyed“ for every day they remain in captivity.