Appearing in "Triage"
- Sunspot's Avengers
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom)
- Black Priests
- Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange)
- Numerous unnamed Black Priests
- Molecule Man (Owen Reece)
- Mad Thinker
- Earth-616 (Main story and flashback)
- Thorr's Mjolnir (Main story and flashback)
- Eye of Agamotto
- Cloak of Levitation
- Doctor Doom's Armor
Synopsis for "Triage"
Sunspot sent a deputation of the New Avengers on a mission to investigate the forces destroying reality, backed up by a cadre of Nihilii. They went expecting to never come back.
Today, at a fortress floating in nothingness, a door to somewhere opens, from which emerges the New Avengers. This is less of a surprise than it should be to the force that runs the fortress, who begin chanting syllables. In groups of two or three, they destroy individual Nihilii. The heroes recognize the tactics as belonging to the Black Priests, one of the groups they were sent to fight.
As his alien allies fall, Odinson muses that these are days of Armageddon, when mad gambles must be made. Throwing aside Jarnbjorn and his cape, he reaches for the weapon on his back, Mjolnir... but the Mjolnir of a different world, whose owner was a brutish monster. Grasping it, Odinson claims the power of Thorr.
Odinson lays into the Black Priests with his preferred tactics, only to have his arm encased in a forcefield. Abyss, realising what their method means, shouts that each priest chants one syllable, and pool their efforts to change reality. They don't need to defeat every member of the opposition, just to focus fire to one member. Every Priest lost prevents their result from forming.
This plan works, until the Black Priests step aside for a respected member of their group, one they call the Eye. The New Avengers prepare to stop the Black Priests to combine chants again... only for the Eye to chant several syllables in succession, freezing the heroes in place. The Eye moves through their ranks, explaining that he has more experience than the other Priests. He stops in front of Odinson, removing his helmet... revealing himself as Dr Stephen Strange, of Earth-616.
In Latveria, back on Earth, Doctor Doom has locked himself in a small room with a deranged matter-warper, and started a speech about the inherently false nature of history. This seemingly-suicidal course has an end: during an Incursion, a rock from another world landed in his kingdom, and he wants his guest, the Molecule Man, to examine it. The Mad Thinker will be measuring all readings coming out of the room, in accordance with scientific practice.
Molecule Man creates a copy of Doom's mask and accuses him of being a liar, but he examines the rock, muttering that was built to make maps, then says that the problem began on Earth, but not here. Doctor Doom asks why the rock is giving off a frequency that matches the Molecule Man's. Molecule Man looks at him cryptically, then says that they need to take a trip. With a snap of his fingers, he vanishes himself, the rock, and Doctor Doom away, leaving a cloud of smoke and a stunned Mad Thinker.
At the fortress, Dr Strange meets the New Avengers in a scrying room, and asks them how they found this place. Nightmask explains that his abilities let him travel the Superflow, the space under reality that links real universes. The Incursions and the destruction of universes is disrupting his abilities, but he can still travel to real places. They guessed that the groups they were seeking were headquartered on real matter in the no-space left by the destroyed universes, so they have searched, going from location to location, seeking answers and vengeance.
Dr Strange explains that the Black Priests have been drawn into a war between two forces, the Ivory Kings and the mysterious Rabum Alal, both of who seem bent on the end of existence. Ex Nihilo and Thor point out that both the Black Priests and the Illuminati have destroyed worlds, and Strange cannot claim superiority. Dr Strange explains that the role the Black Priests have chosen is as field surgeons. The group believes that by destroying Earths during Incursions, they can stop the process, stabilizing the heat death of reality. The Black Priests use words to change reality, and the world they use to destroy Earths during Incursions is "life".
Dr. Strange that his position with the Black Priests is due to his skill at sorcery. Where they learned syllables, he knows whole words. He asks their help with a great push they plan to make soon, to end the cycle of death by striking one side of the conflict. To find the Ivory Kings, they need to interrogate one of the Mapmakers. To find Rabum Alal, they need to interrogate one of the Black Swans. Starbrand speaks up, saying that each group should hit one of the targets.
As debate begins, Ex Nihilo, cuts it off, creating a small round cephinz, a crystal with a two-sided state. One side reflects all light, one side absorbs it. He throws it in the air, asking Strange to let the chaos of life be his guide and pick a side.
IN 6 MONTHS…TIME RUNS OUT!