Appearing in 1st story
- Unnamed robbers (First and only known appearance; dies)
- Illuminati (First appearance)
- Absorbing Man (Carl Creel) (Main story and flashback)
- Numerous Unnamed New Yorkers
- Paulie <small(pawnbroker)> (First appearance)
- Avengers (Only in flashback)
- Dormammu (Mentioned)
- Asgardians (Mentioned)
- Red Skull (Johann Shmidt) (Mentioned)
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom) (Mentioned)
- Thanos (Mentioned)
- The Hood's House of Hell (First appearance)
- Asgardia (Cameo)
- Bleeding Edge Armor (Only in flashback)
- Mjolnir (Only in flashback)
- Absorbing Man's Ball and Chain (Only in flashback)
- Infinity Gauntlet (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
It begins in the Manhattan Detention Complex with a conversation. Absorbing Man is about to be shipped to a different prison, while his wife, Titania, is about to be released on parole. She plans to get a job in the real world, hire a lawyer, and get him a better sentence. He insists that they are above such things, and should go back to being super-villains, but she disagrees: when things were simple, they were getting beaten up by super-heroes all the time, and after everything that has happened recently, things are no longer simple. She makes him promise that when this is done, they should move to the middle of nowhere and be normal people, Carl Creel and Mary MacPherran. Hesitating, he agrees.
Walking out of the prison, MacPherran is approached by She-Hulk. She-Hulk is worried that she will break the law, but MacPherran is adamant - no more villainy. When She-Hulk pushes her, she snaps to leave her alone. Her home is a ratheap flat with no bed, every employer she approaches knows her as a woman who destroys buildings, and her urge to criminality is too easy to be quickly subdued. It is hard to be a good person when no-one thinks you are good.
She-Hulk asks if she wants help looking for work. MacPherran throws the offer back in her face... but the next day, she has accepted She-Hulk's offer, which has her working as a security guard in a pawn shop. The owner talks about her a lot in the third person, which infuriates MacPherran, but she keeps her cool... until the shop is attacked by a trio of masked robbers with ray guns. After they shoot her, to no effect, she beats them up. He boss starts insisting that she is the leader as part of a con, but before she can properly correct him, Power Man and Iron Fist arrive on the scene, and, assuming that she is her as a robber, start fighting her. She holds her own - much to the surprise of her and the heroes - until the Hood shows up. The criminal implies an alliance between the two of them, and then teleports her away, much to the chagrin of the two heroes.
Hood and MacPherran appear suddenly at Hood's lair, where she lets him know how angry she is. He tries to recruit her, saying he is starting a secret society of super-villains and wants to offer her a place, but she cuts him off: she is out of the game, and wants to be left free. Hood sneers at her, implying that her presumed path will be to join the Avengers and sell out the other villains for a cushy room and some PR. Hood denounces her & Carl's plan to "go civilian", saying that he doesn't believe her husband is a good person. Meanwhile, with her growing powers, someday soon she will push too hard - and some foolish young super hero will push back, killing her. He tells her that this is a world where bad people can win all the time, if they are smart, and that joining him is the smart move.
MacPherran points out that he already tried this, and it didn't work then. Hood brushes past this: his organization has a revenue stream, enough that MacPherran's share can get her husband a better lawyer, and keep them both secure for the rest of their lives. But true power comes from the perception of potential retribution, and if they are to be the army he envisions, they need weapons. He wants to recruit her for a job: to steal the magical weapons of Asgard. Seeing no other options, MacPherran agrees, and Hood, grinning, welcomes her to the All-New All-Different Illuminati, before leaving to take care of a minor issue.
It ends in the Manhattan Detention Complex with a conversation. The three men for the pawn shop and grumbling about how super-villain masterminds avoid punishment all the time, while working criminal stiffs like them swell the prisons. From the shadows, their employer commends them on a good day's work. They demand he follow through on his end of the deal by busting them out. Their employer responds by gunning them down... and then stepping from the shadows, revealing himself as the Hood, saying that Titania can never know how she became his prisoner.
“Bad guys win every day… why not us?” How do the villains of the Marvel Universe live in a world where the sky is constantly filled with heroes? What do they do when they want out of that life? There is no escape. No future. Who saves the villains? The Hood believes he might be that savior. He wants everyone to have a place at the table. Now all he needs to do is build his army… Featuring Titania, Mad Thinker, Thunderball, Black Ant and Enchantress, Illuminati is a tale of villains just trying to survive in the All-New All-Different Marvel Universe.