Appearing in "The Will of Fire"
- Michael Korvac (Main story and flashback) (Origin revealed)
- Brotherhood of Badoon (Only in flashback)
- Avengers (Only in flashback)
- Wasp (Janet van Dyne) (Only in flashback)
- Yellowjacket (Henry Pym) (Only in flashback)
- Vision (Only in flashback)
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) (Only in flashback)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Only in flashback)
- Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) (Only in flashback)
- Hawkeye (Clint Barton) (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man (Tony Stark) (Only in flashback)
- Jocasta (Only in flashback)
- Wonder Man (Simon Williams) (Only in flashback)
- Thor (Odinson) (Only in flashback)
- Moondragon (Heather Douglas) (Only in flashback)
- Hercules (Only in flashback)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Only in flashback)
- Starhawk (Stakar Ogord) (Only in flashback)
- Blizzard (Donnie Gill)
- Controller (Basil Sandhurst)
- Unicorn (Milos Masaryk)
- Phineas Horton (Mentioned)
- King Namor (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Badoon (Only in flashback)
- Synthezoids (Main story and flashback)
- Human-Kree Hybrids (Only in flashback)
- Mutants (Only in flashback)
- Human-Olympian Hybrids (Only in flashback)
- 30th Century (Only in flashback)
- Solar System (Only in flashback)
- Prime Marvel Universe (Main story and flashback)
- Blizzard Armor
- Controller Suit
- Unicorn's Power Horn
- Power Cosmic (Only in flashback)
- Bio-Synthetic Wings (Only in flashback)
- Captain America's Shield (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man Armor Model 4 (Only in flashback)
- Mjolnir (Only in flashback)
- Power Cosmic (Only in flashback)
- Control Disc
- Taa II (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Will of Fire"
In the year 2997, the human Michael Korvac is an operative for the invading alien race of the Badoon in exchange for a modest position within their empire. After executing a group of human prisoners that he helped capture by infiltrating their resistance cell, Korvac is ordered back to attend to his computer modules, being mocked for his cowardice beforehand. Korvac breaks down in shame and leaves his module to brood, but he is caught by his Badoon superior. As punishment for leaving his station, the Badoon cut Korvac by his waist and attach him to a computer module.
In the present, Korvac and his acolytes arrive on the moon of Rivalis, where he finds the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond. Hammond, whose current body is a jury-rigged contraption built by Tony Stark after having been decapitated, had gone on a self-exile after becoming tired of humanity. Likening Hammond to a brother due to his current form having stemmed from the work of Phineas Horton, Hammond's creator, Korvac offers Hammond to reconstruct his original body. Korvac also imparts Hammond's mind with imprints of his own so that he can become the only person to fully grasp his plan, allowing Korvac to share the burden of his mission. As a result of the process, Hammond relives Korvac's memories of being confronted by the Avengers in Forest Hills and killing them. With Korvac's mental imprints causing him to see the villain as a selfish and deluded coward, Hammond confronts him. He is stopped by the Controller, who places a Control Disc on his neck. Korvac laments that he failed to secure an ally in Hammond and will have to settle for using him as a slave.
In the year 2997, a group of three disheveled humans are locked in a futuristic holding cell with an energy barrier for a door. One of them apologizes for the information on their resistance cell that he disclosed when tortured, but his colleague sympathizes with him. They all suddenly notice someone approaching, and they are relieved to see it's Michael Korvac, in his original human form. When one of the humans asks him how did he survive after their team got separated, Korvac interrupts him to tell him there is no time for those details. The man insists that they need to break out of the prison and warn the Earth about the Badoon's plans for invasion. As the prisoners pull themselves up, one of them notices Korvac's clean uniform and asks him of his whereabouts for the last days while they were being tortured for intel. Korvac suddenly draws an energy gun and fires at the three prisoners, unflinching. After staring down at his victims, Korvac leaves the cell pulling up his uniform's hood. He reports back to a Badoon superior, gloating that his infiltration into the human's regiment was spotless. The Badoon mocks and taunts Korvac for his betrayal of fellow humans in exchange for a modest position within their empire, calling him a coward. The Badoon then walks away, ordering Korvac to return to his station and attend his computer modules. As he operates some machinery, a tear falls down Korvac's face. He is then sitting on the floor, holding his knees with his head down. He is startled by the Badoon superior, who chastises Michael for leaving his post. Pulling Korvac up by his arm, the Badoon declares he will ensure Michael never leaves his module again. Strapped to a table, an energy saw sinks into Korvac's waist and he screams. As he cries, his murmurs for mercy are ignored and a laser perforates into his left eye. He pleads that he is more than a machine, but as his torso is attached to a computer module, Korvac is told that he is too weak, even for a human, and that he will suffer and serve as nothing but a soulless matrix. Korvac shrieks a long "No!"
In the present, Korvac is scowling on his ship when he's approached by Blizzard, informing him that they've arrived at the moon Rivalis. He also informs his master of the distance to an electromagnetic signature at his request. Korvac, Blizzard, Controller and Unicorn on a jungle-like terrain. Blizzard notices the atmosphere is incredibly rich in oxygen, to which Korvac tells the Controller to be ready in case. Unicorn points to an obsidian-sealed pit in the ground and Korvac crouches in front of it. Placing his hand, he unleashes a surge of electricity that cracks it open. Behind the dust, a silhouette tells Korvac he doesn't care who he is. The dust settles to reveal a man with a robotic body sitting at the bottom of the pit, who warns Korvac that he wants to be left alone. His eyes catch fire and then the rest of his body. As he flies above Korvac, Michael identifies him as the original Human Torch. He clarifies that his name is Jim Hammond. As a surge of electricity clashes with a stream of fire from Hammond, Korvac tells him that his name is "Adam I." When Jim asks, Korvac identifies himself, but states that when he was reborn, he was given the name Adam IV, and calls himself Jim's brother. Korvac explains that he is a direct evolution from the science of Phineas Horton, with artificial cells that exactly match Jim's. Hammond tells him that he isn't Adam I anymore, with his body having been destroyed and replaced by his current robotic body, which he disregards as garbage scrap. Korvac recognizes and mocks Stark's workmanship. Jim warns Korvac to leave, but Korvac tells him that Stark made him a monster and deficient. When Hammond is irritated, Korvac asks him if he doesn't want to know why did he undertake the trip to visit him, and expresses that he wants to make him Adam again.
Entering Korvac's ship with him, Jim recalls that Tony had made him the way he is so he could fight an old friend, and Korvac interprets it that Stark used him, to which Jim agrees, lamenting that now he doesn't even have himself. Korvac says that Jim hid himself in shame, and he clarifies that he had finally decided to tell off everybody else. Korvac relates to Jim, explaining that his body was once destroyed and grafted to machine parts. When Jim asks how did Korvac solve that problem, he reveals that he accessed a power that made him perfect, and that soon he will be perfect again. Korvac turns to Jim to express that he wishes he was perfect with him. Korvac reveals his plan involves godhood, and Jim says he is not interested in being a god. Korvac clarifies that he isn't either, and thinks of it as a means to an end. He explains that he only needs power to save the universe from its strife. Jim asks how does he intend to do that, and Korvac tells him that he will show him, but first asks him if he accepts his help in becoming whole again. Jim says yes.
In a montage, Korvac rebuilds Jim's body. He explains that he is going to reconstruct his android form, but improved and modeled after his own, also making him stronger. Korvac appears wearing goggles unleashing an energy discharge. Jim is show laying on a table. A sequence shows his human-like arm flaming on. Before the procedure takes place, Jim's disembodied head is attached to an apparatus. Jim asks why does he deserve a gift like that from Korvac, and he states that Jim is the only one able to fully see his vision for a better existence. Korvac claims that he can explain it to lesser beings, but only Jim will actually feel it in all its glory. Korvac elaborates that he will impart Jim's upgraded mind with specters of his own, allowing him to grasp the entirety and purity of his intentions. Korvac exclaims that Jim will be Adam I, Jim Hammond and still the Torch, but will see all as it's meant to be and know it's undeniable; and that himself will no longer be alone with his burden of salvation. Jim tells him to show him whatever he wants, since he just wants limbs when he sees it. In the now, Jim is standing with his new body in the middle of Korvac's laboratory, with cables stemming from his eyes. Another set of cables stem from Korvac's temples, who is standing behind one of Hammond's sides. The Controller is in the other. Korvac states that the mental augmentation will take some time. The Controller announces that he has the contingencies ready, but Korvac states that he has faith that Jim will see the light.
In the dark, a voice calls out for Korvac to wake up. Korvac appears reaching out to a beam of purple light, saying that he and the cosmos will be one, and demands to be given what he deserves. Shifting to Korvac's house in Forest Hills, years into the past, Michael is sitting on his bed, reeling from being jolted awake. His lover Carina Walters comforts him. Korvac explains that he dreamed of the past, of stealing the power cosmic. She corrects that he didn't steal but claimed it; that he claimed his destiny and with it they will make the world a better and harmonious place. Korvac expresses his love for Carina, for being the only person who understands he's trying to help. The doorbell suddenly rings, and Iron Man's voice requests to see Michael. Korvac gets dressed and opens the door to see the armored hero spearheading the Avengers. He apologizes to Korvac for bothering, but he explains he and the Avengers believe something in his house might pose a threat to mankind. As the Avengers enter the house, Michael expresses lament. When Iron Man asks why, Korvac declares that he was going to be their savior. The Avengers look dumbfounded as Korvac elaborates that he intended to bring existence under his benevolent rule. Lighting up his hand, Korvac states that even though he can't save the future, he can save himself. Korvac flares up his entire body, becoming incandescent and disintegrating the heroes with a flash of light. All except Iron Man, who is grabbed by the neck by Korvac. Calling attention to the hero and pointing out with anger that he won't give up, Korvac vaunts that he wields the power cosmic and begins to forcibly tilt Iron Man's head backwards, cracking the neck of his armor. Carina cries out for Michael to stop.
In the present, Korvac's reminiscence is interrupted when Hammond announces that he is awake. Korvac asks if he can see his plan while Jim removes the cables attached to his eye sockets. Processing Korvac's vision, Jim sheds a tear, and reacts in shock. Korvac smiles, asking Hammond for his opinion, but Jim turns to him. He reveals he saw Korvac's memory of killing the Avengers and berates him for it. Hammond flames on and Korvac tries to explain that he also restored them and took his own life instead. He becomes agitated and exclaims that he won't allow to be obstructed. The Human Torch grabs Korvac by his shirt and tells him that the imprint Korvac gave of his mind allowed him to see that he is a selfish and deluded coward. Korvac accuses Jim of being hindered by mundanity. Their exchange is interrupted when the Controller places a Control Disc on the back of the Human Torch's neck, instantly making him extinguish his flame and fall down. Sandhurst explains that the disc is configured to block any self-awareness and allow for Jim's systems to be controlled remotely. He points out that Hammond will be a powerful weapon against Stark and his team or whatever they may encounter aboard Taa II. Korvac walks away, expressing that he didn't want a weapon but a brother. He supposes that he will continue to remain alone and will have to settle for a slave.
THE ORIGIN OF KORVAC!
After discovering the strange new sensation of self-doubt, Korvac and his crew take a detour in deep space to search for an unlikely ally. But conversion can often be difficult, and soon Korvac is left wondering if he'll ever have any followers born from faith rather than fear.
- As per its corner box legacy numbering, this issue corresponds to Iron Man #634.
- This issue opens with tribute to John Paul Leon, a Marvel Comics artist who died on May 1 at 49. The tribute includes an eulogy by Joe Quesada.
- This issue revisits and retcons Korvac's origin story as provided in Thor Annual #6. That issue had established that Korvac was turned into a cyborg as punishment after he collapsed from exhaustion at his station due to the Badoon being harsh taskmasters.
- Previous mentions of Korvac's backstory like Thor Annual #6 and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #13 stated that Korvac had become a collaborator to the Badoon when they invaded the Solar System in 3007. This issue stablishes that Korvac was helping them a decade before that.
- When Korvac encounters Jim Hammond, he likens him to a brother due to being evolved from the science of Phineas Horton, Hammond's creator. Korvac's current form originated from a continuation of Horton's legacy as shown in Marvel Comics #1000.
- Hammond mentions having his original body destroyed and replaced by the cobbled-together robotic body that Korvac finds him wearing. An editor's note cites Invaders (Vol. 3) #7. In that issue, Tony Stark provides Hammond with a jury-rigged robotic body after Namor decapitated him in issue #5. Namor is the old friend that Hammond later mentions fighting in this issue.
- The brief dream sequence of Korvac reaching out to the power cosmic corresponds to a flashback scene in Avengers #175 that showed Korvac's absorption of the power cosmic aboard Taa II.
- The flashback scene taking place in Forest Hills of Korvac's confrontation with the Avengers is a retelling events that happened in Avengers #176—177. The events are abridged, with this retelling omitting certain moments or lines of dialogue, most notably of the Avengers realizing that Korvac is their enemy after Starhawk becomes agitated because Korvac's cloaking makes it seem to him like the Avengers are talking to nobody, the arrival of the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy for reinforcement, Korvac's destruction of Drydock, and Korvac's physical confrontation between different heroes, who are not instantly disintegrated by Korvac in the original fight scene. Korvac lifting Iron Man by the neck corresponds to a panel of issue #177, but Korvac's dialogue and his attempt to break Iron Man's neck are original to this issue, as well as Carina's reaction to it.
- The panel of Korvac dressing himself during the Forest Hills flashback is miscolored. The entirety of Korvac's torso is colored green as if he had his shirt on all the way, but the gesture of his hands and the folds in the shirt indicate he's in the process of putting his shirt on.
- When the Human Torch confronts Korvac for having killed the Avengers, Korvac points out that he then restored them and took his own life instead. This happened in Avengers #177.
- Writer Christopher Cantwell conceived this issue with the goal to conciliate Korvac's complicated origin story and the different iterations that have been told of it.