- Enough!!! Listen to yourselves -- this constant bickering and battling, always at each other's throats... it's all you ever do anymore! What's happened to you?! Where did it all go so wrong?! You know, it's just exhausting -- and in this form, I can't even be exhausted! I go through all this trouble to bring us back together, and you just -- you just -- do you want to know why Ultron built this city? Why he didn't come after you yet again? It's because he didn't have to. It's because he looked at you and your war, Tony, and you and your scheming, Steve -- and he realized he wouldn't have to destroy anything -- because you were already doing it for him. You were going to tear each other apart, and burn down everything you built in the process. He didn't need to lift a finger -- he just needed to wait.
Appearing in 1st story
- Steve Rogers
- Red Room
- The Underground
- Whirlwind (David Cannon)
- Batroc the Leaper (Georges Batroc)
- Living Laser (Arthur Parks)
- Punisher (Frank Castle)
- Hydra Command
- Unnamed agent (Only appearance; dies)
- Numerous unnamed others
- Ultron Sentinels
- Avengers (Photo)
- Kobik (Mentioned)
- God (Yahweh) (Invoked)
- Avengers Academy (Mentioned)
- Stark Industries (Mentioned)
- H.A.M.M.E.R. (Mentioned)
- Norman Osborn (Mentioned)
- Peggy Rae (Mentioned)
- Cassie Lang (Mentioned)
- Namor the Sub-Mariner
- Atlantean Army
- Unidentified guard
- One other unnamed guard
- Unnamed Atlantean warrior priests (Mentioned) (Deceased)
Races and Species:
- Human-Vampire Hybrids
- Human-Olympian Hybrids
- Elder Gods (Behind the scenes)
- Gods (Mentioned)
- Demons (Mentioned)
- Atlantean-Human Hybrids
- Vanishing Point
- Prime Marvel Universe
- Hydra Nation
- Newark, New Jersey (Mentioned)
- Virginia (Mentioned)
- Avengers Mansion, Manhattan, New York, New York (Mentioned)
- Washington, D.C.
- Atlantis (Mentioned)
- Hydra Nation
- Hell (Invoked)
- Asgard (Mentioned)
- Punisher's Arsenal
- Kraken Armor
- Captain America's Uniform
- Black Widow's Suit and Gauntlets
- Hydra Uniform
- Spider-Man's Suit
- Web-Shooters (Behind the scenes)
- Planetary Defense Shield (Mentioned)
- Cosmic Cube (Fragments)
- Iron Man Armor Model 4
- Mockingbird's Suit
- Quicksilver's Suit
- Ant-Man's Suit and Helmet
- Black Ant's Suit and Helmet
- Scarlet Witch's Suit
- Black Uru arm prosthesis
- Captain America's Shield
- Wasp's Suit and Bio-Synthetic Wings (Photo)
- Giant-Man's Suit (Photo)
- Mjolnir (Photo)
- Iron Man Armor Model 51 (Model-Prime Armor) (Mentioned)
- Superhuman Registration Act (Mentioned)
- Pym Particles (Mentioned)
- Civil War II (Mentioned)
- Avengers: Disassembled (Mentioned)
- Civil War (Mentioned)
- Dark Reign (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
As he continues making his way through the mysterious forest, Steve Rogers is attacked and put on the ropes by Whirlwind, Batroc the Leaper, and the Living Laser. Two other travellers come to his aid and help him take down the villains. They offer him to join them in setting up a camp, but Steve declines, commenting on his unshakeable feeling that he is on a mission. The two strangers offer him to join his journey, arguing he could use friends.
At the Punisher's safe-house in Baltimore, Kraken approaches Frank Castle. Frank reminds him he doesn't answer to him, so Steve Rogers makes his appearance in the form of a holographic call, and urges Frank to find the Black Widow.
Inside a motel bathroom, Black Widow is torturing a Hydra soldier for information. The Champions implore her to stop, arguing he's young and doesn't even have a rank. Natasha reveals he's been assigned to work at the rebuilding ceremony of the Capitol Building, so he has intel. The young heroes keep insisting, and Black Widow gives in. Riri Williams suggests using a device of her own invention to induce him short-term memory loss so he doesn't become a loose end. However, as soon as she begins to untie him, the Hydra soldier unsheathes a concealed knife and lunges at her. Black Widow shoots him down and grumbles because they'll have to move out. Black Widow and the kids subsequently get on their van and prepare to leave.
While approaching Alaska on their transports, the Tony Stark A.I. and Captain America debrief their respective teams, the Underground and the Avengers, on the situation they are about to face. They are moving towards the Ultronic Territories, an array of robotic cities full of Ultron Sentinels built by Hank Pym (who is merged with Ultron), with the sole purpose to wait for humanity's eventual self-destruction. Even though Hydra denies its existence, Ultron and Hydra have an agreement, as Pym has come in possession of a Cosmic Cube fragment. Inside the Ultronic Territories, a robotic Jarvis informs Hank that the intruders have arrived. Upset by the current state of his former teammates, Pym exults at the prospect of "fixing" the Avengers.
As the Underground puts their infiltration plan in motion, Ant-Man comes across Black Ant while shrunk inside the facility's mainframe. Each member of the Underground subsequently clashes with a different Avenger. A monumental battle eventually breaks out. Iron Man and Captain America come face to face, and prepare to battle, but from above, Ultron blasts the fighters into unconsciousness.
When they wake up, the Underground and the Avengers find themselves sitting across a dinner table, restrained, inside an Avengers Mansion replica. Ultron appears, wearing a apron, commenting on how different his guests are. In addition to discolsing the Cosmic Cube-induced changes on Steve, Tony mentions that the Scarlet Witch has been possessed by Chthon, that Vision has been infected by an A.I. virus, and that Odinson has aligned himself with Hydra for his hammer. Ultron clarifies his comment, revealing he was talking about Tony, wondering what happened the the charming charismatic figure back in the day, that has been replaced by a manic, nervous, overreaching mess of a man.
Hank interrupts his prisoners as soon as they begin to verbally clash with each other, and shows his disapproval for the current predicament of his peers, observing that they are in a constant state of internal conflict. He admits to building the Ultronic Territories because he saw the heroes were tearing each other apart, so seeing his enemies destroyed became only a matter of waiting. Pym reveals his dinner charade is meant to help the heroes reconnect with what they have lost, but he again berates them when the bickering resumes, demanding the heroes to acknowledge his importance. Tony lets out a laugh, and mocks Hank, ultimately accusing him and his attack on Wasp as the starting point of the Avengers' fracture. Hank enlarges and attacks Tony, and defends himself with his positive contributions while rubbing Tony's failures in his face.
Ultron prepares to destroy Tony, but Ant-Man implores him not to. Lang soothes Hank, expressing his appreciation for Pym as the role model of a person that didn't let their failures stop him. Scott finally appeals to him by asking why would Wasp want him to do. After a moment of silence, Hank shrinks down and invites his hosts with dessert, giving Scott the Cosmic Cube fragment in his plate.
Later, Ultron bids farewell to the members of the Underground as they leave. Hank apologizes to Tony for their altercation, and suggests that the ongoing conflict might be benefitial in the end and have a cleansing effect. When they disappear in the distance, Captain America walks up to Ultron reminding him that they had a deal. Pym reveals that he gave the Underground the fragment in part because Hydra's consolidation is a recipe for peace, which wouldn't be in Ultron's interests if his wish is to see humanity destroying itself.
Six hours later, the Underground members are still on their jet returning to their base. They soon see on the news that Namor has willingly given Hydra a Cosmic Cube shard in his possession, albeit solely to ensure the safety of his people. This news strike the heroes hard and brings down down their spirits. Mockingbird encourages them, assures it's not the end of the mission, but rather an indication they have to work faster.
Following Namor's visit, Baron Zemo ensures Steve Rogers Hydra will not allow the Underground to abscond with what is rightfully his. Rogers tells him not to worry, because after all, Hydra has an inside man in the Underground.
There is a power that can either save the world or doom it! Both Steve Rogers and the heroes arrayed against him need this power! But unfortunately for all of them, the key to possessing this power lies in the hands of the unstoppable Ultron! LIVE IN X-CITING TIMES! SECRET EMPIRE!
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- Images from Secret Empire Vol 1 4
- ↑ First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks
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