- Look around you, kid -- does this place look like we're about to go save the world? Avengers Mansion had considerably less exposed plumbing. We're not "super heroes" anymore. We're just fugitives. Just -- people who remember a little too well. Anyhow, nowadays, the mission is save each other. Save yourself. Survive. Less ambitious, but somehow still not entirely successful, surprisingly enough.
Appearing in 1st story
- Brian McAllister (First appearance)
- The Underground (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Rayshaun Lucas (Joins team)
- Wasp (Nadia Van Dyne)
- Falcon (Joaquin Torres)
- Ironheart (Riri Williams)
- The Thing (Ben Grimm) (Main story and flashback)
- Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
- Hawkeye (Clint Barton) (Main story and flashback)
- Giant-Man (Raz Malhotra)
- Ant-Man (Scott Lang)
- Tony Stark (A.I.)
- Sharon Carter
- Rick Jones (Death)
- Hydra (Prime Marvel Universe)
- Hydra Command
- Avengers (First appearance)
- Numerous unnamed agents
- Krigorrath (Only appearance; dies)
- Daniel Whitehall (Named only)
- Marcus Festerman's sister (Mentioned)
- Ms. Peters (First appearance)
- Marcus Festerman (First appearance)
- Baron Strucker (Wolfgang von Strucker) (Mentioned) (Deceased)
- Project: Rebirth (Prime Marvel Universe) (Mentioned)
- Dr. Abraham Erskine (Mentioned)
- Anna (Jason's classmate) (First appearance)
- Project: Rebirth (Kobik's Timeline) (Mentioned)
- Hydra (Kobik's Timeline) (Mentioned)
- Arnim Zola (Mentioned)
- Alpha Flight Initiative (Voice)
- Chitauri Wave (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Super-Adaptoid (Mentioned)
- Gambit (Remy LeBeau)
- Psylocke (Betsy Braddock)
- Shen Xorn (Secretly controlled by Emma Frost)
- Sebastian Shaw
- Beast (Hank McCoy)
- The Underground (Main story and flashback)
- Dr. Erik Selvig (Mentioned)
- D.H.S. (Mentioned)
- Bucky Barnes (Mentioned)
- Pantheon (Mentioned)
- Tony Stark (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Human-Inhuman Hybrids
- Inhumans (Mentioned)
- Chitauri (Mentioned)
- Human-Vampire Hybrids
- Elder Gods (Behind the scenes)
- Human-Olympian Hybrids (Only in flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- Hydra Nation (Main story and flashback) (First appearance as Hydra Nation)
- North Carolina
- Nevada (Main story and flashback)
- Arkansas (On-screen)
- Little Rock (First appearance; on-screen)
- Dreadnought-Manufacturing Facility (First appearance; on-screen)
- Little Rock (First appearance; on-screen)
- Washington, D.C.
- Chicago, Illinois (Mentioned)
- New York
- Earth Orbit
- Madripoor (Mentioned)
- Pacific Ocean (Mentioned)
- Sovereign Republic of New Tian (First appearance)
- Hydra Nation (Main story and flashback) (First appearance as Hydra Nation)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Captain America's Uniform
- Captain America's Shield
- Planetary Defense Shield
- Captain Marvel's Suit
- Sternbots (Behind the scenes) (Unnamed)
- Wasp's Suit and Bio-Synthetic Wings
- Spider-Man's Suit
- Black Uru arm prosthesis
- Scarlet Witch's Suit
- Deadpool's Suit
- Deadpool's Katanas
- Superior Octopus' Suit and Tentacles
- Black Ant's Suit and Helmet
- Arnim Zola's Robotic Body
- Godkiller Sword (On-screen)
- Kraken Armor
- Xorn's Helmet
- Ironheart Armor Model 2
- Black Widow's Suit and Gauntlets
- Hawkeye's Suit
- Hawkeye's Bow and Trick Arrows (Main story and flashback)
- Bucky's Uniform (Mentioned)
- Giant-Man's Suit
- Ant-Man's Suit and Helmet
- Quicksilver's Suit (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Strange's Cloak
- Cosmic Cube (Recap)
- Stingray's Suit
- Rescue Armor Model 1
- Fantasti-Car MK II
- Hydra Helicarriers (First appearance) (On-screen)
- World War II (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
In Greensboro, young Jason McAllister is dropped by his older brother Brian at school, the Daniel Whitehall Elementary and Middle School. Before leaving the car, Jason comments on the fact his classmate Marcus Festerman stole his lunchbox. Brian promises to get him a new one, and Jason asks for it to be a Captain America lunchbox, much to Brian's annoyance. Jason leaves for class while Brian looks up a lunchbox on his phone.
Once Jason arrives to the classroom and the bell rings, the students make the Hydra salute before starting the lesson. During lesson, the teacher Ms. Peters comments that Hydra has been burning history books to fit with Hydra's vision of past events, delving into the fact that during WWII the Allies allegedly rewrote reality, but Captain America returned to his true self and is helping the world do the same. A discussion abruptly starts between Jason and Marcus when the latter accuses the other's brothers of being a freak. At the McAllister's home, Brian rushes inside from his car, and disgorges an entire Captain America lunchbox, having apparently created it after looking an image of it. After knocking the door, Hydra soldiers break into the house and apprehend Brian on the grounds of him failing to register as an Inhuman. Meanwhile, a kid arrives at a train station in Las Vegas.
At Earth's orbit, on the other side of the Planetary Defense Shield, Captain Marvel desperately tries to punch her way back to the planet while a S.O.S. message she sent to outer space plays back. Alpha Flight is still being bombarded by armies of Chitauri soldiers with no end in sight, and their defenses are all but broken.
Back in Las Vegas, the kid is being chased by Hydra soldiers. Members of the Underground, namely Spider-Man, Hulk, Viv, Falcon, and Wasp, observe him from the distance to make sure he's the person they arranged a meeting with and proceed to rescue him. The boy can barely identify himself as Rayshaun Lucas before Ironheart alerts them about Dreadnoughts approaching their location. Riri picks them up in a Fantasti-Car MK II, and they fly away.
In Denver, Captain America is confronted by Krigorrath, a monster from the depths who has returned from the depths to demand a sacrifice to sate his appetite. Captain America attempts to get him to leave by threatening him, but when Krigorrath brushes off his warning, Steve has the Avengers kill him.
A newsreel showcases the effects of Hydra's take over of America. Citizens are celebrating the victory of the Avengers; crime has been reduced by 75%; the exchange market is hitting new heights due to Hydra's works program, which involves the generation of new job opportunities with the creation of projects such as a Dreadnought-manufacturing facility; a new trade agreement has been signed between Madripoor and the U.S.; and an estimate of twenty people are set to be executed for treason.
At a meeting with Hydra's High Council, Doctor Faustus addresses the use of mind-altering substances in water supplies across the entire country, mentioning a new formula is being created to increase the people's docility and receptiveness. When reporting on intelligence, Kraken observes the mutants displaced to the sovereign nation of New Tian are not trustworthy. Viper talks about the opening of two new detention facilities to double the amount of Inhumans held in indefinite custody.
Before Captain America can end the meeting, Arnim Zola informs him about the incident in Nevada involving the Underground. Back at the scene, the Underground had managed to evade the Dreadnoughts after fixing the Fantasti-Car's boost drive. A video of this event made its way to Internet and amassed 50 million views before state censor took it down. Steve suggests issuing an statement, but his allies agree that other actions need to be taken, due to the increase of Underground activity in the area. Zola reproaches Rogers for having let all the rebel fighters free in the so-called "Day of Peace." Steve replies that he doesn't want to oversee a prison state, and instead wants to unite its people. With the exception of Baron Zemo, the other members of the Council are in the same line of thinking that Hydra should actually demonstrate their power by crushing the resistance before it's too late.
Back with the young heroes, the Fantasti-Car arrives at The Mount, where they are greeted by The Thing and Black Widow. Hawkeye scolds them for the exposure they garnered during their last outing. Natasha and Clint then confront Rayshaun, who reveals to have acquired allegedly vital piece of data from Erik Selvig to fix Captain America from none other than Rick Jones.
At Captain America's base, the hero-turned-Hydra-leader is trying to have dinner with Sharon Carter, who remains outraged and indignant at him no matter his attempts to appease her. He tries to convince her to join him for the sake of the good they could do together, but Sharon retorts that even if what he's doing seems to work on the surface, it's not good because it's corrupted at the core. When Captain America insists he's the real Steve Rogers, Sharon demands him to prove it by doing at least one thing that'd remind her of the man she loved, that being to spare Rick Jones.
In a prison cell, Rick Jones' singing is interrupted by the arrival of Captain America. Rick had been relocated there after violating protective custody in his apartment by stealing the phone of a guard and using it to hack in and steal valuable files in Hydra's possession. Captain America tries to convince Rick to at least pretend to show loyalty for Hydra in order to be spared and say the salute, and Rick meets his request by continuing singing. As Steve leaves the cell, Rick promises to never give up hope, knowing Cap will endure whatever Hydra did to him because he's his hero. Rogers shows remorse as he walks away.
Back at the Underground's base, Rayshaun is taken by Giant-Man to the laboratory of the Tony Stark A.I., who is using pair of armor gauntlets to allow for physical contact to work on fixing equipment. Rayshaun gives him the device containing Rick Jones' information, but he completely ignores it, preferring to focus on the matters at hand, namely fixing the base's air conditioning. Rayshaun questions Tony's reaction, bringing up the fact Steve and Tony were supposed to be best friends, but Stark replies that was the case until he betrayed them. Tony then recounts two other instances in which trying to tackle Steve's situation ended in tragedy. Stark also suggests the data is false, arguing that Rick was under arrest even before the take-over started. Rayshaun tries to get to Tony one more time, telling him he can't give up because he's a superhero. Tony shuts him down, claiming that the Underground aren't heroes, they're simply fugitives who remember a little too well. As the situation is now, all they can do is survive. In the upper levels of The Mount, Hawkeye and Black Widow are observing the rest of the resistance. Natasha cherishes Clint's accomplishments by organizing and keeping the Underground afloat.
Inside a study room, Madame Hydra is using her powers to counter Doctor Strange's attempts to break free from the Darkforce surrounding Manhattan. Steve Rogers comes in and they proceed to talk over tea. Steve shares his concerns for Zola and Faustus' traces of disloyalty. She brushes them off, reminding Steve of the plan to use find the Cosmic Cube to restore the world to their vision. She suggests Rogers to show how he stands apart and above, indicating it's time he reclaimed what is his.
While Captain America is broadcasting an announcement, Rick Jones is taken to a firing squad and executed, his last words being "Avengers Assemble." Meanwhile, back in Nevada, the Underground is alerted when three Hydra Helicarriers descend from the sky and open fire on Las Vegas.
It’s been building for months, across a bevy of titles! But now, the moment has arrived for Steve Rogers to step into the light and declare his allegiance to Hydra! How can the heroes of the Marvel Universe cope with this shattering betrayal by the most trusted figure among them? And what will this mean for the world? The map of the Marvel Universe changes in ways nobody will expect — TRUST THE SECRET EMPIRE!
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- Images from Secret Empire Vol 1 1
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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