Maximum Security #2

Issue Date: 
December 2000
Story Title: 
A World of Hurt

Kurt Busiek (Plot), Jerry Ordway (Pencils), Will Blyberg, Paul Ryan, Walden Wong (Inks), Jason Wright and Tom Smith (Colors), Richard Starkings & COMICRAFT’s AD & TP (Letters), Marc Sumerak (Assistant Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

The Avengers continue to lead the fight against the belligerent aliens on Earth. Vision and Warbird find Beta-Ray Bill, who tells them that a new race of aliens known as the Ruul is in charge of the Maximum Security program. Wasp contacts the Avengers Infinity squad and fills them in on what is happening. Quasar promises that they will find a way to stop Maximum Security from the other side of the barrier. Professor Xavier, Bishop and Cadre K lead an assault to gain an audience with Lilandra, but are quickly subdued. However, this seems to be a part of Xavier’s plan. In Nebraska, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Silver Surfer and S.H.I.E.L.D. barely escape Ego, as he suddenly breaks free of his containment. The Surfer tells Reed to finish his machine to absorb Ego into the Surfer, even if it could lead to the Surfer’s death. In Vermont, the U.S.Agent tracks a group of aliens, whom he believes are the Ruul. He finds the aliens and discovers that they are using an omni-wave device to communicate. Only the Kree can do that, which means the Ruul are the Kree in disguise! On the Moon, the Sintariis leads the Ruul to take over the S.H.I.E.L.D. installation to free the Supreme Intelligence, who is behind all this madness.

Full Summary: 

On the mysterious Blue Area of the Moon is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Lunar Station Number One. In one of the rooms in the ship, two workers, a man and a woman, dressed up in the same yellow space suit, wonder what is going on down on Earth. The man asks the woman if she has any kids. She tells them that they live in Cincinnati, but she has not heard from them in days.

The man picks up some equipment that needs to be moved as the women complains that there are aliens all over Earth and here they are on the moon guarding the Kree Supreme Intelligence. It’s almost funny to her. She joined with S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect her family and country. Now they are dealing with it while they are stuck up in space. The man agrees with her and the two turn to walk down the hallway. Silently behind them, Hawkeye and the Thunderbolts tiptoe behind the two workers to parts unknown on the ship.

Down on Earth, S.H.I.E.L.D. troops, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer continue to try and slow down the spread of Ego in Nebraska. Ego has now spread over a town and swallows everything in sight, which includes houses and cars. Several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents fly over Ego’s face on skimmers while Iron Man also flies overhead with a handheld machine to scan the biomass.

Iron Man lands by the coast where the Fantastic Four are busy building a machine. Iron Man reports that the biomass is still growing. Reed tells Ben to place the unit he is carrying on the power-feed so Johnny can weld them together. He then turns to Iron Man and tells him that he did not expect anything to change; he had just hoped it would. Iron Man asks about the Ego host. Reed confirms that it was a living being. Tests were run on the remains that Agent Magruder salvaged and it was confirmed.

Iron Man calls in to Wasp. She responds and asks for an update. Iron Man tells her that Ego is spreading, but he and Reed have slowed him down with bio-retardants broadcasts. However, Ego-filaments are spreading underground and emerging in Los Angeles and Russia, as well as other places around the globe. He and Reed have come up with the idea that they can reverse the process and reabsorb Ego into another host that can contain him. The Silver Surfer has agreed to be that host, but they still do not know if it will work or not or how to even reabsorb Ego.

Back at Avengers Mansion, in New York City, the Wasp breaks contact and goes back to what she has been doing for the last four hours. On the screen in front of her she continues to monitor the alien invasion. Jarvis brings tea for her and U.S.Agent, who is outraged that they are taking a tea break in the middle of a war. Jan reminds U.S.Agent that the Avengers were asked to coordinate activities among the superhuman community and he appointed himself their liaison, so he is here on his own choice.

Jan turns back to the monitor and tells him that the others are doing what they can. On the monitor she shows him that Captain America is fighting something at the Statue of Liberty. The Scarlet Witch is at the Hudson, while Triathlon is in Midtown. On the screen, images of the Scarlet With using her hex to warp the water around her enemies appears, as does a video feed of Triathlon taunting his enemy as he kicks him in the side of the head.

Jan switches to other video feeds and shows U.S.Agent that it is more than just Avengers in the field. Video from KTLA in Los Angeles is showing Captain Marvel in a battle and video from B.B.C. shows Union Jack fighting some reptilian aliens. Jan gets up from her seat and also informs U.S.Agent that Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Punisher have also been reported to be in fights with aliens. They have not been able to reach the X-Men, but there have been reports of the team fighting something in New Orleans. However, there has been no word from them since. U.S.Agent begins to interject, but Jan tells him that someone has to be command central.

At that moment, Vision and Warbird come in. Vision agrees with Jan and tells her that he and Warbird have returned from their mission. Warbird cuts him off and tells the two other heroes that they brought company with them. Jan is shocked to see Beta-Ray Bill. She is about to ask Bill how he got here, but Bill already knows she would ask that and wastes no time to tell his story.

It was not Bill’s choice to come to Earth, though he does not mean that in any offensive way. He had been looking for supplies when he was attacked by the Galactic Patrol, who held him down and put a collar on his neck, which subdued him. He was taken to a processing center and put through a power-dampening field that he could not resist. There were many races there among his captors, but the ones who seemed to be in charge were called the Ruul.

Jan is confused as she has never heard of them before and wonders why they would be angry at Earth. Bill, unfortunately, does not know anything else except that they transported him to Earth and released him. Vision offers a possible explanation. It could be that the Ruul are dispassionate and are doing this act to ingratiate themselves with the intergalactic powers. Vision is about to offer another explanation when an angry U.S.Agent interrupts and tells them that he is sick and tired of all the talk. They know already who is running the operation and that person is Ronan the Accuser. Right now he is up in the stratosphere, laughing at them in the Citadel. If they break him, they break his hold on Earth.

Jan tells U.S.Agent that they do not have a way to get past Ronan’s defenses yet, but they are working on it. Until they do find a way to get to him, he can easily destroy any ship that approaches. Also, they don’t have the manpower yet to defeat him as Earth’s heroes are fighting the alien threat on Earth. Finally, the angry Wasp also reminds her arrogant companion that they are still trying to get at the powers that are behind Ronan.

U.S.Agent puts his helmet back on and tells her to her face that she is using a stupid approach. That is what the bad guys want them to do. They want Earth to fight the prisoners so that they will never get to those in charge. U.S.Agent charges out and says that, if they need manpower, he will get it from the aliens themselves. They don’t want to be on Earth anymore than they want them to be. They will fight Ronan even if the Avengers are too cowardly to do so.

U.S.Agent leaves, even though Jan calls after him. She gives up and tells Vision and Warbird to catch the next situation report. She tells Bill that they would appreciate any help, if he is willing. She then goes to the computer console and calls Goliath and asks him if he has any progress. Goliath tells her no. He would like to work on finding a way to prevent Ronan from sensing and teleporting them away, but right now he is trying to work on a machine to get past the barrier so they can contact someone on the outside.

Warbird hopes that they can reach someone, like the Starjammers and Firelord. Jan thinks of Deathcry and Century. Jarvis comes up behind them and tells them that if conventional communication won’t work, there is another option. Quasar contacted the mansion from space a little while ago and the Quantum-Link might still be active. Overjoyed, Jan kisses Jarvis on the check and tells him that he is brilliant.

Goliath taps into the Quantum-Link and, soon in Rigellian space, Quasar gets a signal on his Q-band. However, he, Photon, Jack of Hearts, Moondragon, Tigra, Starfox and Thor are busy fighting against the Galactic Patrol. Photon wonders who they are and why they keep on coming after them. Quasar answers his Q-Band and asks if he can call her back, as he is busy at the moment. Jan is not surprised and quickly explains what is going on. Things make more sense to Quasar and he tells Jan that they will do whatever is necessary on the other side, including finding friends in space. The communication is cut short when an attacker jumps onto Quasar.

On the planet Selandiar, which is the home to the Intergalactic Council, the sounds of battle cannot be heard in space, but in the council’s administrative cantonment it is another matter. Cadre K attacks the Shi’ar guards. Fiz leads the charge while Nuro knocks out those on the right. Spunje uses his acid needles to take out the guards directly in front. Professor Xavier and Bishop follow them while Xavier telepathically tells Cadre K to remember their goal, which is to reach Lilandra.

It all started when one in their number was captured, a young Skrull telepath named Z’cann. Recently, Xavier found his long lost student Bishop and created a two-pronged plan that depends on swift action and success on both fronts. Fiz takes down that last of the Shi’ar guards and Cadre K enters the cantonment.

Skrull Ambassador Kreddik is horrified to see the guards fall and tells the others that none of them are safe from the “freaks.” Sintariis of the Ruul tells Kreddik not to have fear. The council guard is bringing out the psion-batteries. The guard does just that and rushes towards the Cadre before they can reach the delegates. Nuro tells them that they are not after the delegates; they just want to speak with Empress Lilandra.

The Kymellian ambassador tells his fellow delegates that maybe they should just let the Cadre speak to Lilandra for everyone’s safety. Disgusted, Kreddik refuses to acknowledge that the mutants are their equals. Sintariis tells the others that there is no need to disturb Lilandra. As leader of the council, she has weighty matters to concern her. Besides, continues Sintariis, the intruders will soon no longer be a threat. The guards use the psion-batteries, which shoot out an immense blast of green psionic energy, on Cadre K. The wave of noiseless sound hits the team and fills them with pain and agony. Xavier too falls; however, he falls with a smile on his face.

Back on Earth, U.S.Agent sends some S.T.A.R.S. agents out into the field to recruit alien criminals in the war against Ronan. On the banks of the Mississippi, an agent meets with some aliens in their makeshift camp and tries to explain that he is offering them a chance of freedom. They will train them and give them weapons. In the Rockies, another agent offers to return them to their loved ones. Their common enemy is hoping to turn them against each other. However, she stops and asks if any of them even understand what she is saying. In the Okeefenokee Swamp, an agent reports back to U.S.Agent and tells him that some prisoners can speak English and others are telepathic. None of them are aggressive, though, and many of them find Earth nicer than their home planets. They are now asking for food and medicine.

U.S.Agent tells the agent that he should keep trying. They will ask the prisoners in lockup if they have to, but he doesn’t want to bring that up to the commission unless he has to. He will find troops though, even if he has to draft them himself. U.S.Agent then asks for the next nearest location to him where clusters of aliens have been located.

Back in Nebraska, the heroes have slowed down Ego’s growth and stand dangerously close by him as Reed finishes work on his machine. Johnny jokingly sets Ben’s soda can on fire and Sue smacks him on the back of the head. Reed tells Iron Man that he does not like this. Iron Man agrees, but they cannot wait forever. He tells the Silver Surfer that he has been keeping Reed and Tony Stark in communication and the two have come up with a bio-compression protocol.

Reed tells the Surfer that theoretically they could project Ego into the Surfer, but they know so little about Ego and this experiment depends heavily on them matching the bio-matrices. Suddenly, there is a rumbling sound and to everyone’s horror, Ego breaks free and begins to violently expand once again.

The Surfer quickly uses his board to pick up the Thing and then blasts a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent free from Ego while the Invisible Woman catches him with a force field. She then makes a board of her own to carry her and the three agents away. Iron Man takes the machine while the Human Torch carries Reed. By the time they reach high ground and look back, the entire plain they were in is gone.

Ego begins to wake up and asks where he is. Reed sees this and realizes that Ego is now feeding off of the bio-containment field that was holding him back. There is no stopping him now. The Surfer looks at Ego and asks Reed if he salvaged enough equipment to make the bio-compression machine. Reed tells him that he has most of it, but the process is not perfected. It could kill the Surfer. The Surfer tells him that he has seen too many worlds die and he will not watch this one perish. He tells Reed to build the device; he will be ready when the machine is.

In Vermont, U.S.Agent’s plane, the Black Mariah, lands swiftly and quietly in the forest. U.S.Agent treks south to the coordinates he received. He thinks to himself that with his luck the aliens in the area are a bunch of pacifists who were kicked off their planter for being fuzzy bunnies. As he reaches the area, he finds something he did not expect at all. In a clearing in front of him, U.S.Agent finds some large brutish aliens constructing some sort of tower. He wonders if it is a temple, antenna or something like that when the aliens finish their job and leave. They fly away on a skimmer. U.S.Agent follows them, knowing they did not get that material or equipment on Earth, and he is pretty sure the intergalactic powers didn’t condemn them on Earth with construction equipment.

At the alien camp, the aliens complain, in grammatically poor English, that they are tired of these bodies. They like to be strong, but not stupid. Their leader tells them to shut up and to do what their master commands them. They disable the cloak on their base and enter. U.S.Agent overhears their conversation and realizes that they are not prisoners. They sound more like guards. They also resemble the guys in Ronan’s base, but the ones in the base were skinnier.

U.S.Agent figures that the aliens are the Ruul that Beta-Ray Bill was talking about. Inside the ship the base the aliens open a chest and pull something out. One of them says that they must contact the commander to give them their report. The Ruul worker takes the device and concentrates. The device emits a green energy, which swirls around the worker.

The horrified U.S.Agent realizes the truth. He recognizes the glow of the sphere from the Avengers files. The Ruul has an omni-wave device. There is only one race in the entire universe that can use an omni-wave for communication. The Ruul are not newcomers…they are Kree!

On the moon, the S.H.I.E.L.D. base is attacked. The troops rush to the breach, but are overwhelmed by the Ruul, who are in their more warrior-like form The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is one of the best trained teams in history. Against their assailants, they go down in seconds. The Ruul spread through the base and reach the two workers who were earlier complaining about not being where the action is on Earth. The Ruul quickly take them down and the battle is over.

The Ruul prowl through the base and search until they find the chamber they are looking for. The leader of the Ruul begins to straighten his back and undergoes an unnatural and painful transformation until the light of sentience comes into his eyes. Sintariis tells his leader that the Earth is now under their control and, soon, the entire universe will fall before the new Kree Empire and their unquestioned master: The Supreme Intelligence! “Of course it is, Sintariis. And of course it will,” says the Supreme Intelligence, “I did not doubt it for a moment.”

Characters Involved: 

Beta-Ray Bill

Bishop, Professor Xavier (former X-Men)

Charcoal, Hawkeye, Moonstone, Songbird (all Thunderbolts)

Fiz, Nuro, R’tee, Spunje (all Cadre K)

Goliath, Iron Man, Vision, Warbird, Wasp (all Avengers)

Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Four)

Jack of Hearts, Moondragon, Photon, Quasar, Starfox, Thor, Tigra (all Avengers Infinity)

Silver Surfer


Edwin Jarvis (Avengers’ Butler)

Ego, the living planet

Sintariis, various Kree/Ruul

Supreme Intelligence

Various alien criminals

Various council members

Various Galactic Patrol workers

Various S.H.I.E.L.D and S.T.A.R.S workers

On Monitor:

Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Triathlon (all Avengers)

Captain Marvel

Union Jack

Story Notes: 

This story is part of the company-wide Maximum Security storyline. It continues from Bishop: The Last X-Man #15 and continues into Gambit (3rd Series) #23 and Marvel Knights #6.

The Thunderbolts reasons for being on the moon can be found in Thunderbolts #45, which is also a Maximum Security tie-in book.

Beta-Ray Bill returned in Thor (2nd Series) #30.

The reason why the Avengers Infinity squad was out in space at the time can be found in Avengers Infinity #1-4.

Z’cann was captured in Maximum Security #1 and Bishop returned in Bishop: The Last X-Man #15.

Issue Information: