Appearing in "Bravest of the Argives"
- Tony Stark's Team of Allies (First appearance)
- Hellcat (Patsy Walker) (Joins team) (Main story and flashback)
- Gargoyle (Isaac Christians) (Joins team) (Apparent death)
- Scarlet Spider (Ben Reilly) (Joins team) (Apparent death)
- Misty Knight (Joins team) (Apparent death)
- Frog-Man (Eugene Patilio) (Joins team) (Apparent death)
- Halcyon (Joins team) (Apparent death)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Galactus (Galan) (Mentioned)
- Guardsman (Mentioned)
- Jim Rhodes
- Hearth & Home Furnishings (Mentioned)
- Daimon Hellstrom (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- B.O.S.S. (Voice)
Races and Species:
- Prime Marvel Universe (Main story and flashback)
- Milky Way (Main story and flashback)
- Solar System (Main story and flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Sun (Mentioned)
- Solar System (Main story and flashback)
- Goss Sector (Mentioned)
- Heaven (Mentioned)
- Hell (Mentioned)
- Milky Way (Main story and flashback)
- Iron Man Armor Model 70
- Cat Suit
- Scarlet Spider's Suit, Utility Belt, and Web-Shooters
- Leap-Frog's Suit
Synopsis for "Bravest of the Argives"
As Hellcat recovers from Korvac's possession, Iron Man gathers up with his ragtag group of allies assembled by Halcyon. It consists of Gargoyle, the Scarlet Spider, Misty Knight, and Frog-Man. Meanwhile, Korvac and his acolytes, Unicorn, Controller, and Blizzard, who still have Jim Rhodes hostage, prepare to take off on a ship to Taa II, the Worldship of Galactus. However, Korvac wants to kill Tony Stark before leaving in an hour.
Using his connection to Hellcat, Korvac induces her into leaving Tony's hideout and meeting him on the streets. He tries to turn her to his side, but Patsy electrocutes herself with a high voltage box to fight his control. Iron Man holds a stakeout over the rooftops, and ponders whether he's right for trying to stop Korvac. Tony then takes notice of Patsy's encounter with Korvac, since he had actually let her go to draw Korvac out. When Tony attends to her, it turns out Korvac used his powers to plunge Patsy into an hallucination that she is in Hell, leaving her terrified. Korvac lures Iron Man to a laundromat, and accuses Tony of being jealous of him. In the meantime, Tony's team communicates with him as they arrive at a warehouse where they had tracked down a Shi'ar jumpcraft, but when they inspect it it turns out to be a husk. The ship detonates, exploding the building. Tony lashes out at Korvac in anguish, putting all of his suit's power into an immense repulsor blast that fails to take down the villain. With his armor spent, Tony can't even move and topples down. Before walking away to reunite with his acolytes, Korvac kicks Iron Man in the neck, fracturing his spine and leaving him to die.
Tony Stark and Patsy Walker are sitting across from each other on a room, wearing their respective costumes. Tony is checking up on Patsy to see if she can still hear Korvac, but she doesn't. When Tony expresses relief, Patsy notes that Tony's suit is extremely beat-up. Tony tells Patsy to rest while he talks to the rest in private. Tony leaves the room, looking at Patsy over his shoulder. Tony approaches a group of people, welcoming them but acknowledging that they are all he could find in short notice. The group consists of Gargoyle, the Scarlet Spider, Misty Knight, and Frog-Man. Each of their captions reveal their current occupations. Gargoyle is the owner of Isaac's Oysters in Greenwich Village; Scarlet Spider sporadically works night shift security at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Misty Knight still operates the detective agency Knightwing Restorations; and Frog-Man is busboy at Isaac's Oysters. Halcyon is also in the room, which appears to be his garage, wearing some kind of undersuit. As he serves himself a glass of water from a wheeled rack, Tony gives them a rundown on the current situation, that he has gathered them since he needs secrecy to avoid Jim Rhodes from getting killed, as well as Korvac's current power levels. Tony deduces that Korvac has made himself powerful enough to storm Taa II and take on Galactus himself if necessary. This leaves Tony's gusts aghast, and Frog-Man asks Tony for a glass of water. As Frog-Man gulps down a glass Tony gives him, Stark tells his allies he expects Korvac to want the Power Cosmic to repeat the procedure that made him a god before. After putting on his helmet, Tony re-introduces the group to Halcyon and his mutant power. Tony reveals he provided him with a special suit that stimulates his adrenal system for his safety. When the Scarlet Spider asks Stark how do they stand a chance, Tony admits that he is unsure, so he tells them to do as he says. Misty Knight points out that she will cooperate only because of the stakes, but as she prepares to revile Tony, Stark interrupts her and tells her off, saying that he has no time for anybody's opinion of him. As he leaves the room, Iron Man tells his team that they need to get to work immediately.
At the Overstock Warehouse in the Bronx, Korvac is shaving off his goatee in front of a mirror when Unicorn approaches him to tell him that Guardsman is in position and that they have locked a set of coordinates. He leaves the bathroom to meet the rest of his acolytes, the Controller, and Blizzard. They walk towards a massive ship, and Korvac tells his disciples it will take them to the doorstep of Heaven itself. Rhodey is tied to one of the support beams of the warehouse, and he commends Korvac for getting rid of the goatee, which he had previously mocked. Korvac retaliates kicking Rhodey in the face. After Blizzard alerts Korvac they need to leave before Taa II moves out of its current position in the Goss Sector, Korvac insists they need to kill Stark before that. The Controller tells Korvac a vessel has been placed and activated, Korvac compliments him and orders him to continue preparing for the departure. He walks away, stating that all he needs is an hour.
Inside the room in Halcyon's garage, Patsy is on the bed struggling to ignore Korvac's voice, using a pillow to try to cover her ears. Korvac tries to entice her to let him save everyone. Patsy opens her eyes and experiences a flashback to being subjected to electro-convulsive therapy for schizophrenia. Finding herself standing in a black void, Hellcat hears Korvac pushing her forward and telling her to bring Stark with her. Patsy accuses Korvac of wanting both of them dead. Both Korvac and Patsy are suddenly in the streets, where it's raining. Korvac assures Hellcat he feels how she has suffered and promises to vanish her torment once he makes all things one. Hellcat takes note of her surroundings, and Korvac tells her he doesn't want to hurt her again. Patsy asks Korvac if he thinks she hasn't dealt with voices inside her head before, and flashes back to her electro-therapy. With his eyes glowing, Korvac tells Patsy that she knows his light and states that he will free the world. Hellcat tells him off, and throws a punch into a high voltage box next to her, electrocuting herself and falling into the ground. Korvac approaches Patsy's unconscious body, pitying her ignorance. Touching her head, he tells her to suffer and feel every bit of her fear.
In a rooftop, Iron Man stands in the middle of the rain. In an inner monologue, he acknowledges that he has taken for granted that he should stop Korvac, and admits that a part of himself wonders if maybe Korvac is right. Tony recalls that many times he has had ideas on how to save the world and been wrong despite his certainty, something he says people love to point out nowadays. Tony says that many people over the span of history have thought they were god, and asks himself if it's possible one of them could be right some day. Inside Tony's base, the Scarlet Spider approaches Misty Knight as she's on a laptop. She reveals one of her resources in the Bronx says there are massive radiation signatures coming off a warehouse in Port Morris. When Ben asks, Gargoyle tells him the warehouse is allegedly an overflow inventory warehouse for Hearth & Home Furnishings. Halcyon begins to talk to them using sign language, but none of them understand him. Frog-Man interjects, translating what Halcyon says, which is that a power output like it has to be from a giant combustion engine. Frog-Man also alerts his allies that Hellcat is gone, and Gargoyle wonders where is Iron Man. Back outside, Iron Man notices a column of smoke. He exults that Patsy led him right to Korvac and flies towards it. He approaches Patsy as she's regaining consciousness and attends to her, apologizing that he used her as bait since he knew Korvac would draw her out. She begins to ramble about seeing fire and acts scared of it, worrying Tony. When she turns to Stark, she recognizes him as Daimon Hellstrom instead and begs for his help, thinking that she is in Hell. Tony tries to reason with her, but Patsy keeps babbling about fire and teeth and being dead. In her face, the eyes of her mask reflect fire. Tony apologizes to Hellcat for letting Korvac near her, and hugs her.
Tony receives a call from Misty informing him of the engine at Port Morris, and he tells her to wait for him to make a move. He looks down to Patsy and asks himself who knows best and if it's himself. Suddenly, a group of people run away from a building nearby whose doors glow purple, shouting about there being a man with a bomb inside. Stark slowly lets go of Patsy against her begging and promises her to come back. Tony enters the building, which is a laundromat, and Korvac welcomes him, mockingly labelling him "the hero." Korvac clarifies that there is no bomb, and claims he doesn't want anyone to get hurt. Iron Man says that Korvac wants to take over the universe with the best of intentions, and warns him that good intentions will get him nothing. The villain points out that Tony doesn't think he can save everything, and when Tony agrees, Korvac suggests with contempt that Tony thinks he is a better candidate. Stark accepts that people don't trust him, including himself, but tells Korvac that if someone had to call all the shots, he'd rather it was someone who knows what is right. Tony is interrupted by a call from Misty Knight, telling him that the team have arrived at the ship, a Shi'ar jumpcraft, and Tony orders them to disable it. It is different from the previously-seen ship. Korvac accuses Tony of wanting to be in his place, that he wants to make the proclamations and that he is tired of being told he is wrong. As Tony's group enters the ship, Misty notices that it's only a shell even though the star drive is powered up. Korvac taunts Tony that he should be smart enough to have studied The Odyssey. Iron Man frantically tries to tell Misty to leave, but the warehouse explodes. Tony kneels down and cries out for an answer from the other side of the call. Korvac hunches toward Tony and places his hand on his shoulder. He tells Tony that he is misguided thinking he should be in charge, calling him an upright worm, and warns him to leave matters that he is not suited for in more capable hands. Screaming in anguish, Tony lashes out at Korvac, firing an immense and blinding repulsor blast at point blank. The blast plows the villain through a wall, but the little effect it has on Korvac only tears down part of his synthetic face, exposing a portion of his robotic face underneath. Korvac taunts Tony as he gets back up, noticing that Tony spent his suit to the point his mobility systems aren't working. Tony remains paralyzed as B.O.S.S.' voice informs him of the energy depletion. He topples down crying and calling out Patsy's name. On the phone with his acolytes, Korvac informs them that they will leave in ten minutes, and tells them to commend Guardsman for the false ship. He then kicks Iron Man in the neck while apologizing. B.O.S.S. alerts Tony he has suffered a cervical fracture, and repeatedly alerts of a danger of hypoxia. Korvac walks away, promising Tony that it will all be beautiful.
THE FIRST ACT OF “THE BOOKS OF KORVAC” REACHES ITS STUNNING CONCLUSION!
It’s put up or shut up time with KORVAC as the android mastermind begins the next phase of his ascent toward absolute power, and IRON MAN begrudgingly decides to finally ask for help. But…from who? As he takes charge of new allies and tries to use HELLCAT’s weakened state to his advantage, Tony Stark might instead risk everyone’s life including his own, especially when he confronts Korvac himself, one on one.
- This issue opens with tribute to Mike Hobson, a longtime Marvel Comics publisher who died on November 12 at 83. The tribute includes an eulogy by Tom DeFalco.
- When bringing his team up to date with Korvac, Tony Stark mentions him killing every Avenger. He is referencing the events of Avengers #177, an issue part of "The Korvac Saga". While not every Avenger, Korvac does kill most of the heroes that confront him in battle. Before willing himself dead, Korvac heals the fallen Avengers.
- Stark also mentions how the last time Korvac obtained the Power Cosmic on Taa II he became a god. This was established in Avengers #175 during "The Korvac Saga."
- When Hellcat recognizes Iron Man as Daimon Hellstrom while under Korvac's influence, an editor's note explains that Patsy was once married to him and it didn't go well. Patsy and Daimon married in Defenders #125. Patsy helped Daimon regain his demonic nature to avoid dying in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #3, and was driven mad as a result. After spending months in a bed-ridden, near-vegetative state, Patsy was approached by the mercy-killing entity Deathurge and killed in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14. Patsy would later be saved from Hell in Thunderbolts Annual #2000, and it is because of her afterlife in Hell that she hallucinates still being there.
- The title of this story ("Bravest of the Argives") is a reference to Homer's Odyssey. This epic poem features mentions of the Trojan Horse, a subterfuge employed by the Greeks to enter Troy during the Trojan War which involved hiding Greek soldiers inside a giant hollow wooden horse. In Samuel Butler's translation of the Odyssey, several of the mentions of the group of soldiers hiding inside the horse are translated as "the bravest of the Argives." Later in the issue, Korvac directly mentions the Odyssey to Iron Man, drawing a parallel between the hollow wooden horse and his hollow fake spaceship.
- Writer Christopher Cantwell once stated on Twitter that he had wondered what to name Iron Man's team, and all he could think of at the time was "the Alternates."
- The introductory caption for Frog-Man states that he has "zero solo titles, action figures, trading cards or real abilities." Frog-Man did get a trading card in the Vs. System collectible card game, released in 2005. And although not released until January 2021, a Marvel Legends Frog-Man action figure had been announced on November 13, two months before the release of this issue. Christopher Cantwell would later explain that the comic's script had been written before the figure's announcement.
- When Iron Man confronts Korvac and warns him that good intentions will get him nothing, Korvac rebukes him saying, "Oh ye of little faith." This is a common rebuke used against Christian doubters in the Bible.
- The Goss Sector is mentioned to be Taa II's current location. This space sector is one of the jargon words coined by Cantwell over the years that he uses for technobabble, and it was previously used in Doctor Doom #1, also written by Cantwell.