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Quote1.png You see... I knew Jacques Duquesne. He was human. So human it killed him. But when he died -- he died an Avenger! And everything you will never be! You were no Jacques Duquesne, cotati. May that knowledge comfort you -- at the hour of your death! Quote2.png
Black Panther

Appearing in 1st story

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Synopsis for 1st story

Brief Synopsis

Mister Fantastic and Tony Stark prepare to take on two consecutive crises, the flowering of the Death Blossom in Wakanda and the detonation of the Pyre on the Sun, with Reed wearing an Iron Man-inspired armor that Tony made for him. In addition to this, the Dark Harvest at the Cotati's employ use an Omni-Wave Projector on the young Kree and Skrull soldiers Jo-Venn and N'Kalla, beaming into the mind of every Alliance soldier dark memories of the Kree/Skrull War to shatter their union and turn them against each other. In the meantime. Hulkling tasks Captain Marvel and the Human Torch with using their powers to try to contain the Sun's detonation with Wiccan's help.

The Thing, Mantis and the Invisible Woman are fighting the Cotati Hulk in Lake Victoria. Sue has Mantis use her telepathy to block her pain and fatigue to push her powers and contain the Hulk. Jennifer Walters returns to life through the Green Door, breaking free from the Cotati's control. In the meantime, Franklin and Valeria Richards manage to make Jo-Venn and N'Kalla focus on their shared bond as warriors forced to fight each other and the fact that they worked together to escape the arena, disrupting the Dark Harvest's telepathic assault. Aboard the flagship, Captain Glory decides to expose R'Klll as an impostor. Hulkling has the rest of the royal guard leave to help Captain Marvel, the Human Torch and Wiccan while he confronts the pretender on his own.

In Wakanda, Black Panther reveals that he is alive, having slowed down his heartbeat until his suit could patch his wounds. Mister Fantastic appears to confront Quoi, revealing that the armor he is wearing can emit sonic frequencies that disrupt Cotati telepathy. He is joined by the combined forces of Earth's heroes and the Alliance. Meanwhile, Tony Stark uses the Avengers Mountain's teleportation systems to send the Unstable Molecules of Reed's discarded uniform into the Sun, which he has reprogrammed to attack the denser elements the Pyre is injecting into the Sun to cause its meltdown, causing the device to shut off. At the flagship, R'Klll reveals her true form and lashes out, breaking open Hulkling's Inhibitor Mask which he then manages to fasten to her face, neutralizing her powers.

On the Great Mound, Thor confronts Quoi, revealing his newly-obtained powers from Gaea to revoke the Cotati of their control over Earth's vegetation. Black Panther overpowers the Swordsman, prompting him to grab Quoi and hold him at sword-point in an attempt to escape, revealing his despicable nature and blaming it on his human side. T'Challa challenges that notion and stabs the Swordsman with the Star-Sword, pushing him into the Death Blossom tulip and destroying both. The Cotati surrender peacefully and Quoi accepts to face justice still holding the idea that he was in the right. As the heroes ponder on the new future of galactic status quo, Black Panther teleports the Star-Sword back to Hulkling, vouching for him as the new person who holds the future in his hands.

Detailed Synopsis

At the Avengers Mountain, Mister Fantastic and Tony Stark go over the two concurrent crises. While suited up in the Iron Man-inspired armor that Tony made for him, Reed explains that, according to satellite feed, a Cotati Death Blossom is growing on the Great Mound in Wakanda, where it will reach maturity in a matter of minutes, boosting Quoi's power over plants to immeasurable levels. In Wakanda, Quoi and the Swordsman stand in front of Black Panther's body, whom Reed assumes has been incapacitated since they lost contact with him. Tony jokingly expresses that, with any luck, the Sun will explode first. While unaware that Hulkling is currently at the Alliance flagship fighting Empress R'Klll, who has taken his form, accompanied by Captain Marvel, the Human Torch and Wiccan, Reed recalls that the Alliance has detonated the Pyre, which will detonate the Sun. Reed mentions that current readings estimate that will happen in eight minutes. Tony remarks that Reed should deduct the time it took him to say it, and Reed argues it never hurts to lay the problem out. Tony corrects him that they have two problems, and tells Reed that their next move should be for Reed to go to Wakanda while he fixes the Sun. Reed confesses that he feels Tony is lost. Tony assures him that finding himself in a cave with scraps and the clock ticking due to the karma for his actions is the only place he's ever like himself. Reed gives Tony a vote of confidence and prepares to leave, but asks him to share with him his plan. Grabbing Reed's discarded uniform, Stark tells him that he is going to put the Sun in a suit.

In Manhattan, the New Fantastic Four consisting of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Powerhouse and Brainstorm are fighting the Dark Harvest on a rooftop. Master Forest gloats that his team has completed their mission, having the young soldiers Jo-Venn and N'Kalla, a Kree and a Skrull respectively, encased in amber, and using an Omni-Wave Projector to beam the darkest memories of the Kree/Skrull War that are embedded in their beings into every troop of the Alliance to shatter their union. As a result, Skrulls and Kree begins to turn against one another. The beam also reaches the Alliance flagship, paralyzing Mur-G'nn due to her hybrid nature. Before turning against Super-Skrull, Captain Glory admits to R'Klll being an impostor, which Captain Marvel manages to record in the Universal Weapon. Hulkling notices the Inhibitor Mask he is wearing preventing him to suffer like Mur-G'nn due to it blocking his Skrull half. Teddy then turns to the Human Torch, asking him if he and Captain Marvel could combine their powers to tame the exploding Sun. Wiccan offers his assistance to get them to the star as well as to keep them alive. Hulkling decides to stay behind, having realized that he has to stop being a figurehead and act. Wiccan, Captain Marvel and the Human Torch arrive at the Sun. Noticing that Wiccan used magic to both teleport and protect them, Johnny wonders why can't Billy handle the containment himself. Billy explains that his powers have limits to what he can make happen. Johnny begins to panic, wishing his family were with him. Captain Marvel comforts Johnny, reminding him that he was once an Avenger, and they are all family. Carol encourages Johnny, and all three prepare to begin the containment.

In Lake Victoria, the Invisible Woman and Mantis have joined the fight to help The Thing stop the Cotati Hulk, but their efforts are in vain. After catching Mantis when she's blown away, Sue tells her that instead of using their powers individually, they need to combine forces. Sue asks Mantis to use her telepathy on her to block her pain and fatigue so she can push herself harder. Meanwhile, Wolverine has Master Forest pinned and orders him to switch off the Omni-Wave Projector, but the assassin tells him it can't be stopped. Valeria turns to Jo-Venn and N'Kalla and tells them to remember their time in the arena, where they were forced to spend every day trying to kill each other. Sue convinces Mantis to agree with her plan, which allows her to impale the Hulk with giant force-field blades that manage to hold her. Ben hesitates to act, and calls out to Jennifer Walters. Back in New York, Valeria tells Jo-Venn an N'Kalla to remember that the one thing that stayed constant during their fighting was there being another person going through the same. Ben talks to the Hulk, and tries to reach out to Jennifer, hoping her to still be there. Franklin joins Valeria to remind the kids that they broke free from the arena working together, and they encourage Jo-Venn and N'Kalla to embrace the future, fighting for unity. The Cotati Hulk rejects Ben's words, assuring him that Walters is dead and that she will unlock all her gamma power, but she suddenly becomes aware of the Green Door. Jo-Venn and N'Kalla's efforts work, and they manage to radiate a new beam of energy while Franklin cries out that it is the final chapter of the Kree/Skrull War. As the real Hulk bursts out the veins of the Cotati puppeteering her body, the Alliance cease the hostilities against each other. The Invisible Woman attends to the Hulk, who tells her she is ready to fight.

Aboard the flagship, R'Klll tries to consolidate her power as Hulkling, but Captain Glory exposes her true identity, claiming that the Alliance needs a strong leader, but one who truly represents everyone. He also admits that he planned to reveal R'Klll's ruse after their victory to break the alliance since he wanted the war back, but he now realized there are greater things to live for. Hulkling asks Mur-G'nn to teleport herself and the rest of the royal guard away while he deals with R'Klll on his own, telling the mage they will have a conversation about power and responsibility, and what makes a king.

At the Great Mound, the Swordsman pressures Quoi to grow the Death Blossom faster since the Dark Harvest's plan failed, and fears for loss. Black Panther appears in front of them, wielding the Star-Sword, to Swordsman's shock. As he lunges at Swordsman, T'Challa explains that as the master of his own blend of martial arts, he managed to slow his heartbeat until his Panther Habit could patch his wounds. Quoi attempts to turn the Heart-Shaped Herb inside Black Panther's body against him, but notices his commands have no effect. Reed appears behind Quoi, making the Celestial Messiah mistake him for Stark. Reed corrects Quoi that he is Mister Fantastic, but tells him that Iron Man is with them in spirit. He also explains they have applied bioacoustics to the armor, which emits frequencies that plants strongly respond to, causing enough noise to disrupt Quoi's commands. Quoi becomes irate, crowing over his conquest of Earth, and asks Reed what kind of sound will take his world back. Mister Fantastic replies with "Avengers Assemble," and an army combining Earth's heroes with the Alliance's troops led by Captain America rains down on the Cotati army, with Steve ordering Quoi to stand down or face the consequences.

Back at Tony's laboratory, Tony is tinkering with a teleporting machine. Talking to himself, he explains that the fusion reaction powering suns burns hot or cold depending on the density of the elements at the core, and he deduces that the Pyre works by injecting the core with denser elements like iron, so he plans on teleporting the solution using the power of the Avengers Mountain. In the meantime, the combined effort of Wiccan, the Human Torch and Captain Marvel is faltering. Tony turns to Reed's suit and recalls how it's made of Unstable Molecules that can adapt even to nova heat. In the Sun, the three heroes are joined by the Alliance's royal guard, declaring their unity. Tony uses the teleporter and sends reprogrammed Unstable Molecules into the Sun, which are programmed to replicate and attack the denser elements until the balance is restored. The Human Torch feels the Sun cooling down and declares victory. Tony states to himself that removing the iron removed the problem because iron is dense, and quips that karma is laying it on.

In the flagship, its systems alert R'Klll that the Pyre has gone offline. Revealing her true form, she lashes out at Hulkling, reproaching how she spent years infiltrating the Kree for her grandson. She punches Hulkling, breaking open his Inhibitor Mask. As she stands in front of Teddy, R'Klll tells him that destroying the Earth would have proven his strength, and accuses him of only showing weakness. Grabbing the Inhibitor Mask, Teddy lunges at her grandmother and fastens it to her face. Teddy points out to R'Klll that she could have won if she hadn't lashed out, giving him the advantage. Using his powers, Hulkling restrains R'Klll, declaring that leadership is not cruelty and that working to lift your own people up is what shows strength.

On Earth, the assembled heroes turn the tide of the fight against the Cotati army. Quoi cries out that the fight is over due to the Cotati's wizards absolute control of the vegetation. Thor confronts him, scolding him for taking the role of conqueror and colonizer. Green energies flow through Thor as he declares that he is the son of Gaea, revealing that he went on a quest to learn her will. He rebukes the Cotati and causes a global storm of green lightning, revoking their power over Earth's vegetation. The Swordsman tries to encourage Quoi to push forward, but he is then overpowered by Black Panther. T'Challa accuses the Swordsman of being filled with the same self-hatred as the original Swordsman, Jacques Duquesne, and ponders if that drove him to corrupt his son and attempt to end humanity. When Black Panther has the Swordsman in the ground, Quoi runs up to him, but the Swordsman grabs the boy and holds his at sword-point in an attempt to force Black Panther to let him escape. Both the heroes and the Cotati react in shock to the Swordsman's actions. The Swordsman concedes the victory to Black Panther, declaring himself to be Jacques Duquesne, a filthy human. T'Challa points out that he only sees him as a poisonous plant. Black Panther tells the Swordsman that he knew Jacques, and that he was so human it killed him. Quoi manages to slip from the Swordsman's grasp, and T'Challa tells the villain, while swinging the Star-Sword, that when Duquesne died, he died an Avenger. Black Panther stabs the Swordsman in the chest and tells him that he is no Jacques Duquesne as he pushes him against the tulip of the Death Blossom, and wishes this knowledge comforts him on his death. The sword releases a wave of energy, and the Death Blossom is destroyed.

At a later time, the heroes observe as the Cotati are being rounded up. When Black Panther brings up the Death Blossom on the Moon, Reed informs him that the X-Men have taken care of it. Mantis approaches Quoi as he is kneeling in the ground, surrounded by the Hulk and Thor. She apologizes to her son for failing him, and assures that he now sees the wrong in his path. Quoi stands up and snaps at Mantis, telling her that he saw his father corrupted by humanity. Quoi wonders if he was corrupted by the animal instinct as well, but cries out putting into question if he was wrong since the world is still at the mercy of animals. Quoi declares that he will face whatever justice in the knowledge that he was just. As he is escorted away by the Hulk and Thor, Quoi rants that the animals need to be put down. Mantis looks at him in horror, expressing that he is a child. Quoi turns to her and tells her with a smile that he is what she made him, a messiah. Present at the scene as a hologram, Tony laments what happened to Quoi, who was the Cotati's future. Captain America brings attention to the fact that the Cotati seem to be willing to see sense since they are surrendering worldwide peacefully. Sue and Reed sit together, contemplating the Kree/Skrull Alliance and what it might bring. Reed warns Sue that they are about to enter a new age of space with new challenges, and wonders if Quoi was perhaps the future. T'Challa reassures Reed that there are others who hold this new future in their hands and vouches for them. He teleports the Star-Sword back to Hulkling, who raises it in victory at the flagship in front of the troops of the Alliance, surrounded by the royal guard and his allies.

Solicit Synopsis

Who will rule the EMPYRE?

• There can be only one King of Space—and it’s the last liege standing! But as combat rages on, the clock ticks down to catastrophe!

• Will the ultimate interstellar weapon fry planet Earth before or after all sentient life on the planet is wiped out?

• The Avengers and the Fantastic Four are tested as never before—as EMPYRE comes to a pulse-pounding finish!

See Also

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