A group of armed thugs jump a man dressed in black. The man orders them all to freeze as he throws them all off of him. He gets up and takes out his shield while asking if anyone wants some more of him. He is the USagent.
Arnette, Texas. Hap’s Roadhouse, right on the U.S./Mexican border, is a transit point for wanted criminals being smuggled out of the United States. Its clientele includes some of the toughest, meanest, most dangerous men in the state. Too bad for them – I’m worse. The crowd in the bar looks at USagent. The innocent bystanders just stare in awe at the pile of unconscious criminals at the man’s feet. The criminals, on the other hand, look on with a rising fear of being caught.
USagent introduces himself to those who may not know him. He lets them know that he knows that most of them are scum hiding from warrants and justice, but today is their lucky day. Today, he is only looking for one of them. USagent turns and points to a man playing a Pac-man arcade game and says that he is the one he is after. The man playing the game, wearing a trench coat and red hat, looks up confused. USagent calls him Calusky and says that he is talking to him.
This is a new job for me. I haven’t been doing it very long. But already I’m enjoying the hell out of it. Calusky, better known as Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew, rips off his coat and hat to reveal his red and white uniform below. Piledriver tells USagent that he just made the biggest mistake of his life, because no one takes Piledriver in. Piledriver knocks back some bystanders and charges at Usagent, who smiles.
It all started in the offices of the Federal Commission on Superhuman Activities… Johnny Walker, a.k.a USagent, stands in civilian clothes in front of Valerie Cooper and the board of directors of the commission. Cooper stands at a podium with the directors seated next to her. Cooper thanks Walker for coming, but cuts straight to the business. She tells Walker that after the Vault, a prison used to incarcerate superhuman criminals, was destroyed, the commission decided not to rebuild it. Instead, they created enhanced-security wings in various penitentiaries around the country.
Behind Cooper is a large screen showing the United States of America. Red dots appear all over the map to show locations, each dotting representing a super powered criminal. Cooper goes on and says that with more facilities means a higher risk of escapes, but there can never be a mass escape as with the Vault.
Cooper continues and says that an oversight team was created known as the Superhuman Tactical Activities Response Squad, S.T.A.R.S. for short. Their purpose is to watch all aspects of super-powered crime and imprisonment, coping with escapes, chasing bail jumpers, handling extraditions, and etc. Cooper tells Walker that all they need is a leader for the team and the leader they want is him. The directors believe he is dedicated, capable and more than loyal enough for the job. He is even more powerful since his physical enhancements were boosted in his recent battle with Protocide.
Walker thanks Cooper and the directors for offering him the job, but says that he will need more than just qualifications for the job they just spoke of. He goes on and says that it will involve going into people’s backyards, from local sheriffs to F.B.I – all people who won’t like to cooperate with other people. Cooper explains that they take super-powered threats seriously. The marshal they need will have to be able to coordinate and direct forces in a variety of situations involving anything from high-speed chases in Alabama to extradition in Wakanda. His jurisdiction will be everywhere and he will have the ability to commandeer forces to act as he deems appropriate.
Walker asks if this will be on a local or federal level. Valerie tells him that it will be at all levels, including their international activities. Too often these situations turn into global crises and the U.S. needs someone to take charge and represent their interests. Walker shakes Valerie Cooper’s hand and tells the board that they just hired themselves a new marshal.
That’s how it started, and there was an awful lot of set-up work, but the best part is the field assignments. Brian Philip Calusky, a.k.a Piledriver. High-school dropout from Brooklyn. Member of the Wrecking Crew. Busted out of stir in Wyoming three days ago and headed south. Piledriver swings his fist at USagent, who ducks to the ground. Calusky’s fist smashes through a wall. Piledriver tells USagent that he won’t be pushed around by a “pipsqueak leather joyboy” and reminds the man that he has the power of an Asgardian god.
My photonic shield absorbs most of his haymakers – and deflects the rest. USagent laughs and asks if he is referring to the god of basket-weaving or floral arrangements. Piledriver gets angrier and lunges at USagent who deflects the punch with his photonic shield. USagent tells Piledriver that he may not be as strong as him, but he knows what to do with the strength he has.
I knock the wind clean out of him. He just stands there, gaspin’ like a fish and it’s time for the Convincer. The energy-truncheon’s another gift from the commission, along with my added strength an’ durability. One tap’ll shatter steel. Calusky, it doesn’t shatter, but I bet he feels like it did, when he wakes up. USagent punches Piledriver in the stomach. The man starts to gag and catch his breathe. Walker then takes out his club, which glows blue with energy. He whacks Piledriver across the face with the Convincer and the man falls to the floor unconscious. Walker smiles and says he bets Piledriver has the power of the god of ballads and woodcarving. He then tells the man that he is under arrest.
My retrieval squad’s five minutes behind me. They take care of him. USagent’s retrieval squad sedates Piledriver and straps him to a metal stretcher. Agent Mowat tells USagent that they are good to go. Walker tells Mowat to get Piledriver into the transport when something catches his eye. A confused Mowat asks if something is wrong and then proceeds to explain that they triple checked all the procedures used in restraining Piledriver. USagent moves Mowat out of the way and points to an unconscious man on the ground. He walks over to the man, who begins to shimmer.
He was using some kind of image inducer – a disguise – an’ the fight must’ve cracked it, because it finally failed, and – As USagent approaches the man, his image inducer fails and reveals the true being underneath. Instead of a Caucasian wearing a tan t-shirt and green pants, there is a large purplish-red being wearing a blue costume. USagent immediately recognizes him from pictures he had seen before.
Washington, DC. The brand-spanking-new S.T.A.R.S. HQ… USagent returns to the S.T.A.R.S. HQ and calls out Agent Magruder’s name to get her attention. Before he can get a response from her, he begins to tell the black woman in front of him that he wants everything they have concerning the Blood Brothers. The Blood Brothers are from outer space and they don’t travel alone, which means the other Blood Brother cannot be too far away, but not too close or else the one they caught wouldn’t have been taken so easily.
Magruder turns around in her chair and tells USagent that it is good to see him too. She goes on to tell him that she has big news. Angrily, USagent asks what big news she can have that can be bigger that a “super-strong alien monster on the loose somewhere on American soil.” Magruder turns back to her computer console and tells him that it is pretty big and possibly related. She tells Walker, who has calmed down, that while he was out reports started to come in from all over. She puts up the reports with video on the screen.
On the screen there is only carnage as a giant robotic monstrosity picks up a police cruiser and throws it at the officers of the Kansas State Patrol. Magruder explains that the Kansas State Patrol was responding to a disturbance, which they thought was a prowler at a warehouse outside Greensburg. What they found was not the run-of-the-mill prowler. On the screen the creature starts to mutter something that seems to be a math equation, confusing the terrified officers who are ordered to keep on shooting.
Magruder switches to the next video to Manhattan, where the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four fought something strange. In the video, the Human Torch taunts a man on a rooftop. The man tells the Torch that he will fall to Dynorr, the Stalker. Magruder tells Walker that Dynorr is another extraterrestrial like the Blood Brother and the alien in Kansas. In the next video, X-Man battles three aliens all wearing the same uniform. Magruder is not sure, but believes that the three battled with the West Coast Avengers and Quasar. She also confirms them as being aliens.
In the fourth video, Magruder explains that even the Punisher is dealing with aliens, as the video feed from Alphabet City shows. In the video, the Punisher turns around the corner of a building and shoots across the street at a store that is filled with various alien beings, which are all armed and dangerous. Magruder switches to the next video of Sunfire attacking an alien over the streets of Japan. The woman tells Walker that the attacks are not just occurring in the U.S., but in Canada, England, Japan and other countries.
Though he does not want to state the obvious, USagent tells Magruder that the attacks cannot be a coincidence and something big must be happening like she said earlier. However, Walker continues, they gave the Blood Brother so many sedatives that he will be out for a while so they cannot question him.
Magruder tells him that it won’t be a problem. So far, 32 aliens have been captured in the U.S. and have been shipped to a facility in Virginia until they figure out what to do with them. Happily, Walker tells Magruder he could kiss her. A sarcastic Magruder tells her heart to be still. She then tells Walker that the F.B.I. have been routing certain calls to them “You know the type…” she says.
In his house, a man shoves a table in front of an alien creature that has just ripped a whole in his wall. The man screams into his phone that it ate his car, his front porch, and is currently going for the appliances. He demands that the police send somebody, because he pays taxes just like everyone else.
Elsewhere, a man on a payphone tells someone that it is all a government cover-up. The aliens, he says, are government agents eliminating people who could expose them. He goes on to explain that the government stole his evidence, got him fired, but he will get the truth out.
An old woman in Nebraska is on her phone letting the local authorities know of a little problem she has run into. She and her husband, Buford, saw something crash. They thought it was some sort of Air Force experiment. She wanted to call the authorities right away, but Buford wouldn’t let her and checked out the crash site. He found a weird ship with a baby inside of it. Since they were “good Americans” they brought the baby home, hoping they could do something for the frail and helpless child. However, the woman continues, the baby started to change and she thought someone should know.
USagent sighs and says that most of the callers are probably nutcases, but some of them may not be. He tells Magruder to follow up. He also orders her to call every federal agent, cop, A.D.A, deputy sheriff and substitute teacher in the area of any of the calls and to have them check it out. If there is anything interesting to follow up on he wants to know about it before the agent sent closes his or her mouth. Magruder hands USagent his helmet and asks him where he is going. As he walks out, Walker says he is going to Virginia to talk to some alien scum.
The Black Mariah gets me to Lurton, Virginia in under five minutes. They’re one of the first facilities to get a superhuman wing. I’m scanned six ways to Sunday before they let me below. Above, everything looks pretty normal. Down in the underground holding center, though – it’s another matter. USagent takes an elevator down to the underground facility where rows upon rows of cells are crammed with various alien creatures. Amid the ramblings of different alien languages, USagent calls out to anyone who can speak English.
One prisoner says that he can speak English. USagent goes over to a cell with a green reptilian creature in it, which calls itself Reptyl and reminds USagent to remember it. Sarcastically, Walker says he will do his best to remember the name and then questions Reptyl on why he and his alien friends are invading Earth. Annoyed, Reptyl says that humans cannot see the obvious even when it is right in front of them. “We’re not invading,” says Reptyl, “We were sentenced here.”
I report to the commission and fill them in, but – USagent rushes into Valerie Cooper’s office and, after filling her in, tells her that they have to do something fast. Cooper agrees and tells him that the commission already had inkling on what was going on, but his story confirms their suspicions. She also tells him that she has called for help. Worried, USagent tells her not to tell him that she brought in who he thinks she brought in. Sensing Walker’s anxiety, Cooper explains that the situation is too big and that they need special talents that can handle it, which means they need the Avengers!
In a sub-basement of Avengers Mansion in New York, the Avengers gather in the briefing room with their federal security liaison, Duane Freeman. The Vision, Wasp, Warbird, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, Triathlon and former Avenger Captain America sit around the table watching a datafeed of various alien attacks.
Duane explains that they are patched into the commission’s datafeed and they are seeing what the commission is getting at the moment. Vision thanks Duane and comments that the attacks are more widespread than they assumed. Warbird agrees and watches the monitors of Daredevil fighting something in New York, the New Warriors in Vermont, and the Winder Guard in Smolensk. Triathlon points out that these are just the latest reports. Captain America tells the Wasp that she was right about these attacks being worse than they imagined. Cap then says that the attacks are deliberate like Duane said, but Wasp cuts him off and tells him that is what Washington is telling them. She also thanks Cap for coming, considering he is currently an inactive member. Cap says he is there to help the Avengers get the job done.
At a computer console, the Scarlet Witch gets a message from Wonder Man, who apologizes for intruding. Further down below the mansion, Wonder Man swims in a restorative tank, due to a recent battle. Wonder Man tells Wanda that she needs to get him out. He has been following their conversation from the basement labs and, if Earth is being overrun, then the Avengers need Wonder Man’s strength. Wanda tells her lover that he is too unstable from the ionic bomb explosion he was caught in while fighting Count Nefaria. She knows he wants to help but, until Hank Pym says he can leave the tank, he has to stay there. Simon begins to plead with her, but Wanda tells him that she has to go, because they have an incoming call.
On the monitor in front of the Avengers, an image of Dr. Peter Corbeau from Starcore Station appears. Corbeau is obviously distressed, so Iron Man asks him what is wrong. Corbeau tells the Avengers that Starcore has found something threatening. There is a massive energy lattice at the boundaries of their solar system so powerful even their inadequate tools detected it. He cannot tell what it is, because Starcore’s technology is used to scan the sun and not the void. Starcore needs specialized equipment. Iron Man tells Corbeau that Stark Solutions will give Starcore whatever then need as soon as possible. He tells Corbeau to send any data he has to Avenger’s Mansion, because there is a situation on Earth and it must be related.
And that’s the point when I reach New York. Jarvis comes rushing into the room in attempt to cut USagent off, telling the one time Avenger that he has to wait. Triathlon looks confused at the intruder as USagent moves Jarvis aside, reminding the man that he once used to be an Avenger as he flashes his Avengers Membership card. Jarvis apologizes for letting USagent in as the Avengers look astonished.
USagent tells them that he is there in the flesh. He also tells them that they might want to check with the commission, because he is now the new point man on the operation and the Avengers, effective immediately, report to him! The Avengers are shocked once again. Iron Man tells USagent that they do not work for the government, but cooperate through their federal liaison not through other means.
USagent charges into the room and tells Iron Man that the Avengers were brought in by the commission, which makes it federal whether they like it or not. Vision holds back USagent and tells him to calm down. Triathlon gets angry and is about to lunge at Walker, but Iron Man holds him back and tells him to take it easy and that they will talk this out. Triathlon tells Iron Man to take it easy, because if the “stormtrooper” wants to push the Avengers around then they should push back. USagent taunts Triathlon and the two have to be held back by Vision and Iron Man. Duane gets between them and reminds them that they are on the same side.
I guess I came on a little strong. But I knew they weren’t gong to like the idea of me runnin’ the show. Still, before things go any further... Another call comes in, this time from Hank Pym, a.k.a. Goliath. Goliath tells the Avengers that he has something. He has been scanning the atmosphere to see if he can find out how the aliens are being transported to Earth. He hasn’t found anything conclusive, but he did find something. Goliath switches to a visual of a bright blue structure emanating energy everywhere. Goliath explains that it is in the lower mesosphere and that it is cloaked, which is causing the light refractions. At the moment, he can only map its heat traces. Wasp tells the Avengers that they should check it out and tells Goliath to meet them in the Quinjet Bay.
The Avengers turn to go to the Quinjet Bay. USagent, who is leaning against the wall, tells them that he hopes they have an extra seat, because he is coming along. Warbird starts to walk over to USagent. She tells him that she does not know him well, but already she does not like him. Wasp holds her back and Iron Man holds back USagent as Carol says that she has dealt with enough men like him in the Air Force. Wasp tells them that they have no time to argue and orders them both to go.
I sure know how to brighten up a room. Used to be I got along with a few Avengers – like Iron Man and the Scarlet Witch. But now they’re stayin’ quiet an’ I can feel the resentment comin’ from the others. Good thing I don’t care. If they can’t learn to button it and do what their country needs what good are they? The Avengers streak off to space in their Quinjet. Iron Man and Captain America pilot while the Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Wasp sit behind them. USagent and Triathlon are behind them while Goliath and Warbird sit in the back.
USagent calls Magruder on his intercom and tells her that he will be incommunicado for a while. As soon as the frequency is back open, he wants an update. Triathlon looks at Walker and then leans up to the Wasp. In a hushed voice, he asks her who USagent is and comments that he makes himself look like a pussycat. He also mentions that it is hard to believe that USagent was ever an Avenger. Wasp tells Triathlon that there were rough moments, but when things get harsh there is no one better to have than USagent.
Easy to tell what they’re talking about. The substitute Cap that won’t go away. The guy who had to work for a corporate puke to stay in the game. The guy who couldn’t cut it – who got ripped up by someone the real Cap had to handle. Well, let ‘em talk. Let ‘em look down on everyone who doesn’t measure up to their standards. Doesn’t matter to me at all.
Goliath tells them that they are almost to the coordinates, but so far there is no visual. He puts the heat image on the screen instead. The Avengers see the massive image on main screen. Iron Man points out that it is still indistinct and cannot tell if there are ports or sensory arrays. Cap tells Iron Man to get them closer so they can get better resolution. Iron Man tells them that it won’t come to that. There is an atmospheric distortion ahead. The Avengers pass through the cloaking field. Goliath suddenly tells Iron Man and Cap to take evasive action because the station has fired something. It is too late. Whatever Goliath was going to say is lost over the sound of the Quinjet exploding into pieces.
One minute we were just fine, and the next – Iron Man flies out with Cap and Triathlon, who holds the Scarlet Witch. Warbird carries out Goliath and USagent, but tells Walker that he can let go any time he wants. Vision and the Wasp fly out and Jan checks to see if everyone is accounted for. Iron Man tells Warbird to stop taunting USagent and then orders her to get back to Earth, because there isn’t enough air in space.
Whatever techie info Iron Man was planning to spout, it didn’t matter. Before he got another word out – A beam of yellow light comes out of the ship and envelopes the Avengers, catching them by surprise. Vision explains that they are suspended in a tractor beam. The beam starts to pull them to the installation and the Vision predicts it will take them inside.
The Avengers are pulled into the station where they are brought to the leader of the installation, Ronan the Accuser. Ronan welcomes the Avengers to the Citadel. Iron Man is shocked to see Ronan. The Kree warrior tells the technician, Why’rion, to terminate the containment field, because the Avengers are no threat to them. “No threat…?” says Iron Man dumbfounded. Cap looks around at the scope of the station and realizes it is a major operation even for a galactic civilization. Wasp wonders why they would do what they are doing. Cap turns to Ronan and accuses the Kree race of being behind the plot.
Ronan tells Cap that the Kree are not responsible. What the Avengers are witnessing is the work of the Intergalactic Council of which the Kree, a subject race of the Shi’ar, are not apart. Ronan tells them to pay attention for he will only explain himself once. He tells the Avengers that all is happening, because humanity has been declared a problem.
Captain America is shocked, but Ronan tells him that he should not be. Ronan asks the Avengers how many years has it been since humanity has been intruding into the intergalactic affairs, interfered with other cultures, meddled with their affairs, setting themselves against power such as Galactus to the Skrulls to the Celestials. Ronan then asks how long they have succeeded at it. Ronan explains that humanity was discussed at length, and then a decision was reached.
Ambassador Kreddik of the Skrulls stands at the speaker’s podium in front of Empress Lilandra and the rest of the council. He argues that many races have encountered the humans and many have suffered. He then asks that the question be raised and that humanity be judged. Later, Empress Lilandra, with a sad look on her face, tells the council that humanity must be contained.
Ronan explains that humanity’s stellar system has been quarantined, walled off from the rest of space by an impervious barrier of energy. This energy is generated by watchtowers at the fringes of the system. However, that was not enough, because humanity has proven to be resourceful in the past. That is why an extra step was taken to dissuade humans from breaking free. The most lawless and unwanted of the galaxies were rounded, transported to humanity’s system, processed and then transported to Earth, alone or in groups, where they have been sentenced to live out their lives without any hope of returning to their home planets. The benefit for the universe should be obvious says Ronan.
The increased number of alien criminals will cause chaos, unrest, and damage on a global scale to Earth with several different results. The aliens could destroy humanity, humanity may defeat the aliens, or combat could rage for years. Whatever happens, enough damage will be made on human society that once they are labeled a prison planet, they will no longer by a problem. Humanity will finally be contained and too preoccupied to deal with the affairs of the other races.
The Scarlet Witch tells Ronan that he cannot mean what he says. Triathlon says he means it and finds it funny. USagent wonder how funny Ronan will think it is when he shoves fist down Ronan’s throat. Warbird stops everyone and tells Ronan that she has Kree ties and knows them. She reminds him that earlier he said the Kree were conquered by the Shi’ar. Warbird then asks if he was not fighting the Shi’ar for freedom for the Kree last time she checked. She also asks how he can work with the Shi’ar to enslave others like they enslaved his people.
Bitterly, Ronan tells Warbird that he was also conquered and swore fealty to his new masters. This is his punishment too. He has been banished to oversee the invasion of Earth, which is his own purgatory. Cap tells him that he does not have to accept this and the Avengers will fight with him. Ronan tells the Avengers to silence themselves for there will be no more discussion. They are prisoners and he is the warden. He aims his hammer at them and tells them to return to their cell. The Avengers are once again enveloped in a yellow light.
And like that, the Avengers find themselves back on the streets of New York. Cap tells the team that they have to go back and fight Ronan, but the Scarlet Witch points out that Ronan can destroy their Quinjets and teleport them away. Vision interrupts them so he can make a suggestion of continuing their discussion inside. The Avengers are then no longer oblivious to the sounds of car horns. Ronan teleported right in the middle of an intersection and the Avengers have just caused a major traffic build up.
The Avengers return to the mansion. Cap asks Duane if the situation changed while they were gone. Duane says yes, but can only describe it as “more.” The Avengers look at monitors of Spider-Man and authorities from around the world battling aliens. Duane tells them that 73 more reports came in. Wasp wonders when it will end. The Vision tells her it will not end. The transports will come forever.
The Wasp takes charge and tells Warbird to call in the reserves, which currently is only Silverclaw. She tells Iron Man to call in their inactive members, because they will need them. The Wasp tells Goliath to get Wonder Man out of the restorative tank and asks Duane to call the president and the U.N.
USagent interjects when he hears this part. Walker tells her that she cannot just run around unsupervised and start acting like she knows what is important for the little people and what isn’t. He tells her straight to her face that the U.S. wants a voice in all of this and the voice is him. If she has a plan she needs to talk to him. Wasp, who is now annoyed, tells USagent that she knows he is a good man and appreciates his concern, but she is not turning over the Avengers to him or anyone else. USagent smiles and tells her that she does not get it.
The Avengers look at him annoyed as he explains that they are not tough enough. He tells them that they know what will happen. They will find some “broken-hearted alien princess behind this, or a space tyrant with a sob story.” The Avengers will melt like they always do. They will agonize over what solution is fair for everyone in the universe and, in the meantime, the U.S. will go to hell and the American citizens will “take it in the shorts.” Walker says that someone needs to be leading them who will look out for the U.S.A.’s interests.
The Vision tells USagent that the attacks are global, not solely contained in the U.S. Walker rebuffs the Vision’s comment and says that they will protect the rest of the world too. He then points out that it is not like “we haven’t been bailin’ the world out of scrapes since 1918 anyway – maybe this time we won’t have to apologize for it afterward…” Angrily, Cap turns to USagent.
But before the Boy Scout can chime in— The main video screens flash on and an image of Magruder appears. She tells USagent that she has the next report ready. The Avengers wonder who Magruder is as USagent tells the woman to turn the sound to the Avenger off.
Magruder explains to USagent, via his intercom, that there is a problem. She sent an agent to check out the couple in Nebraska with the “space baby.” After the agent called in, she checked it out herself. Magruder puts up a picture of the baby, which is a giant pile of mush with tentacles starting to sprout out. Magruder says that the couple took pictures, most likely to sell. The current picture is what the baby looked like when the couple brought it to their farmhouse. Magruder switches the picture to show what the baby looked like when she reached the house. The video switches to something that no longer resembles anything living. The baby has turned into a mush on a desk and has grown off of it to the floor.
“And this…this is what it looks like now,” says Magruder. The Avengers do not need any audio to fully take in the magnitude of the problem. On the screen is a live overhead visual of the town, or what is left of it. Instead, there is a giant green mass that is growing over the town and taking in anything in its path from houses to cars. In the center is a giant eye. People are running or driving for their lives as the tentacles start to rip trees from the grounds and people off the street. Magruder explains that the mass shows no signs of slowing its growth. According to their scanners, the growth is speeding up. Iron Man looks at the video and immediately recognizes the mass from its eye, Thor’s files and the Fantastic Four’s photos. He identifies it as Ego, the Living Planet.
Goliath tells everyone that data is coming in. He starts to look over the data and quickly realizes that something is wrong. Hank looks at the data again and tells the others that this is not what the Intergalactic Council could have intended at all. Cap comes over to Goliath and asks him what he is talking about.
Goliath tells Cap that maybe the aliens found a way to compress Ego, to trap him in another bioform. Maybe they meant to imprison him on Earth, but something went wrong and again Goliath says that this cannot be what they planned. Prison planet, yes, says Goliath. Transportees, yes, he continues. However, says Goliath, if Ego keeps growing at its current rate, within a week there will be no more Earth left for prisoners to be sent to. They won’t exist anymore. Everything and everybody will have been absorbed and there will be nothing left except for Ego!