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Appearing in 1st story

This story is a reprint of the comic
Secret Empire #2.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

Events:

Synopsis for 1st story

This story is a reprint of the comic
Secret Empire #2.

Following Hydra's assault, the Underground mobilizes rescue efforts in the many damaged areas of Las Vegas, where very few people survived. Observing the atmosphere of despair, Black Widow declares that Captain America has to die.

Meanwhile, inside the Darkforce dome in Manhattan, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are looting a pharmacy for supplies when they find themselves surrounded by demonic creatures. They are assisted by Jessica Jones, and the three all go to Mercy General Hospital, where Claire Temple is helping nurse the injured and ill. An entire wing of patients is afflicted with typhoid due to water supply contamination, and hepatitis A has broken out due to poor sanitation. The climate outside the hospital is no better, there's no power or communication with the outside world, food and drinkable water is becoming scarce, and people are crowding together. Dagger is the only source of light for the entire island, using her Lightforce abilities to cast light for hours at a time, but her performance is getting worse, barely enduring for four hours when she used to reach twelve in the beginning. In another part of Manhattan, a group of armed men attempt to ransack a church for medicines. Kingpin intervenes, killing one of the would-be robbers and offering his protection to the church, with the sole condition that once the crisis is over, they remember it was him who kept them safe.

At The Mount, the heroes have barely returned when Black Widow calls their attention with a gunshot. She seeks out volunteers to help her assassinate Steve Rogers, claiming they have no other choice left. The Tony Stark A.I. interrupts her in order to reveal a recording from Rick Jones, taken from the data disk given to him by Shaun Lucas. In the posthumous video message, Rick unveils the cause of Captain America's change of sides, explaining Kobik and her involvement with the Red Skull. Jones also explains that once Kobik had been turned back into Cube fragments, Erik Selvig scattered the shards to keep them from Hydra. Before being forced to cut off the video, Jones reveals he has attached all of Hydra's intel on the search for the fragments to the video. Rick encourages the heroes not to lose hope, and the transmission ends. Hawkeye back ups Tony's idea of looking for the fragments, whereas Black Widow opposes it. When Hawkeye argues that the real Steve Rogers would oppose killing, Natasha retorts that if the real Steve knew what he was being used for, he would beg them to kill him, and leaves.

After giving a speech in light of the attack on Las Vegas, Captain America talks with Baron Zemo in private. It's revealed Rogers didn't order the attack. He had actually given Madame Hydra the power to do it. The other members of the High Council are unaware of that, for which their dissension has been quelled. Zemo additionally commends Steve's decision, claiming that it's a display of his strength as a leader, capable of having the devotion and faith he gives to the people he loves returned to him. When they touch on the topic of the Cosmic Cube fragments, Captain America tasks Baron Zemo with locating the pieces whatever the cost.

Back at The Mount, Hawkeye comes up to Black Widow. They attempt to discuss their differences, and reflect on how Bucky Barnes's death affected Natasha in a similar way to which Bruce Banner's influenced Clint. When he asks Natasha to give him one more chance, she tries to make him promise that if his plan doesn't work, he'll do it her way. Clint hesitates, and replies that he can't help who he is. After sharing a kiss, Natasha knocks Clint out and runs away on a motorcycle.

Once he wakes up, Clint alerts A.I. Tony about Natasha's leave. From inside a vent, Spider-Man spies on them. Noticing that with Black Widow on the move they need to move faster, Tony reveals he has devised a way to track down the Cube fragments, and has assembled a group of volunteers to find them: Hercules, Ant-Man, Quicksilver and Mockingbird. When Clint comments on the fact that Selvig couldn't have hidden the fragments within Hydra territory, Ant-Man suggests seeking help with a certain someone in order to get out of the country.

A day later, Black Widow arrives to a safehouse in Colorado, and notices that Spider-Man has been following her. When Natasha questions if Miles has followed her to stop her, he states that she won't do it, bringing up the fact that according to Ulysses Cain's vision, he's the one to do it. Miles admits that he's through with running from this possible destiny, and wishes to confront it and let whatever might happen, happen. The young members of the Underground have followed Miles, and decide to join Natasha, but object the prospect of killing. Black Widow proceeds to welcome them to the Red Room. In Montana, A.I. Tony's team arrives to a truck stop, where Scott Langs directs them to the person that could help them cross the border, Sam Wilson.

Somewhere else, in the middle of a forest, a young woman is running away from three members of the Serpent Society, they catch up to her and proceed to beat her up. A shadowed figure appears from behind and confronts the villains, effortlessly defeating them. The woman reaches for his hand, asking for her rescuer's identity. He identifies himself as Steve Rogers, wearing a torn WWII army uniform, and states that he's trying to get home.

Appearing in 2nd story

This story is a reprint of the comic
Secret Empire #4.

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Races and Species:

Locations:

Items:

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Synopsis for 2nd story

This story is a reprint of the comic
Secret Empire #4.

As he continues making his way through the mysterious forest, Steve Rogers is attacked and put on the ropes by Whirlwind, Batroc the Leaper, and the Living Laser. Two other travellers come to his aid and help him take down the villains. They offer him to join them in setting up a camp, but Steve declines, commenting on his unshakeable feeling that he is on a mission. The two strangers offer him to join his journey, arguing he could use friends.

At the Punisher's safe-house in Baltimore, Kraken approaches Frank Castle. Frank reminds him he doesn't answer to him, so Steve Rogers makes his appearance in the form of a holographic call, and urges Frank to find the Black Widow.

Inside a motel bathroom, Black Widow is torturing a Hydra soldier for information. The Champions implore her to stop, arguing he's young and doesn't even have a rank. Natasha reveals he's been assigned to work at the rebuilding ceremony of the Capitol Building, so he has intel. The young heroes keep insisting, and Black Widow gives in. Riri Williams suggests using a device of her own invention to induce him short-term memory loss so he doesn't become a loose end. However, as soon as she begins to untie him, the Hydra soldier unsheathes a concealed knife and lunges at her. Black Widow shoots him down and grumbles because they'll have to move out. Black Widow and the kids subsequently get on their van and prepare to leave.

While approaching Alaska on their transports, the Tony Stark A.I. and Captain America debrief their respective teams, the Underground and the Avengers, on the situation they are about to face. They are moving towards the Ultronic Territories, an array of robotic cities full of Ultron Sentinels built by Hank Pym (who is merged with Ultron), with the sole purpose to wait for humanity's eventual self-destruction. Even though Hydra denies its existence, Ultron and Hydra have an agreement, as Pym has come in possession of a Cosmic Cube fragment. Inside the Ultronic Territories, a robotic Jarvis informs Hank that the intruders have arrived. Upset by the current state of his former teammates, Pym exults at the prospect of "fixing" the Avengers.

As the Underground puts their infiltration plan in motion, Ant-Man comes across Black Ant while shrunk inside the facility's mainframe. Each member of the Underground subsequently clashes with a different Avenger. A monumental battle eventually breaks out. Iron Man and Captain America come face to face, and prepare to battle, but from above, Ultron blasts the fighters into unconsciousness.

When they wake up, the Underground and the Avengers find themselves sitting across a dinner table, restrained, inside an Avengers Mansion replica. Ultron appears, wearing a apron, commenting on how different his guests are. In addition to discolsing the Cosmic Cube-induced changes on Steve, Tony mentions that the Scarlet Witch has been possessed by Chthon, that Vision has been infected by an A.I. virus, and that Odinson has aligned himself with Hydra for his hammer. Ultron clarifies his comment, revealing he was talking about Tony, wondering what happened the the charming charismatic figure back in the day, that has been replaced by a manic, nervous, overreaching mess of a man.

Hank interrupts his prisoners as soon as they begin to verbally clash with each other, and shows his disapproval for the current predicament of his peers, observing that they are in a constant state of internal conflict. He admits to building the Ultronic Territories because he saw the heroes were tearing each other apart, so seeing his enemies destroyed became only a matter of waiting. Pym reveals his dinner charade is meant to help the heroes reconnect with what they have lost, but he again berates them when the bickering resumes, demanding the heroes to acknowledge his importance. Tony lets out a laugh, and mocks Hank, ultimately accusing him and his attack on Wasp as the starting point of the Avengers' fracture. Hank enlarges and attacks Tony, and defends himself with his positive contributions while rubbing Tony's failures in his face.

Ultron prepares to destroy Tony, but Ant-Man implores him not to. Lang soothes Hank, expressing his appreciation for Pym as the role model of a person that didn't let their failures stop him. Scott finally appeals to him by asking why would Wasp want him to do. After a moment of silence, Hank shrinks down and invites his hosts with dessert, giving Scott the Cosmic Cube fragment in his plate.

Later, Ultron bids farewell to the members of the Underground as they leave. Hank apologizes to Tony for their altercation, and suggests that the ongoing conflict might be benefitial in the end and have a cleansing effect. When they disappear in the distance, Captain America walks up to Ultron reminding him that they had a deal. Pym reveals that he gave the Underground the fragment in part because Hydra's consolidation is a recipe for peace, which wouldn't be in Ultron's interests if his wish is to see humanity destroying itself.

Six hours later, the Underground members are still on their jet returning to their base. They soon see on the news that Namor has willingly given Hydra a Cosmic Cube shard in his possession, albeit solely to ensure the safety of his people. This news strike the heroes hard and brings down down their spirits. Mockingbird encourages them, assures it's not the end of the mission, but rather an indication they have to work faster.

Following Namor's visit, Baron Zemo ensures Steve Rogers Hydra will not allow the Underground to abscond with what is rightfully his. Rogers tells him not to worry, because after all, Hydra has an inside man in the Underground.

Notes

See Also

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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