Appearing in "Book One"
- Luke Cage
- Colonel Nick Fury (Main story and flashback)
- Black Widow (Natasha Romanov) (Only in flashback)
- Jessica Jones
- Dum Dum Dugan (Cameo)
- Val Fontaine (Main story and flashback)
- Agent Gabe Jones (Cameo)
- Agent Sharon Carter (Cameo)
- Agent Jasper Sitwell (Main story and flashback)
- Agent Jimmy Woo (Main story and flashback)
- Agent Clay Quartermain (Cameo)
- Agent Johanna Maley (First appearance) (Unnamed) (Only in flashback)
- Several unnamed agents (Only in flashback)
- Danny Rand
- Lucia von Bardas (First appearance) (Main story and flashback)
- Killer Shrike (Simon Maddicks) (Only in flashback) (Apparent death)
- Tinkerer (Phineas Mason) (Only in flashback)
- Three unnamed boys
- Heroes for Hire (Mentioned)
- United Nations (Mentioned)
- Mister Fear (Alan Fagan) (Mentioned)
- Sabra (Ruth Bat-Seraph) (Mentioned)
- Bob Woodward (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Hydra (Mentioned)
- Avengers (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- F.B.I. (Mentioned) (Only in flashback)
- Hammerhead (Joseph) (Mentioned) (Only in flashback)
- Punisher (Frank Castle) (Mentioned)
- Two unnamed Latverian bodyguards
- Jack O'Lantern ("Jason Macendale Jr.") (First appearance) (Appears on a computer screen, TV, or hologram only) (Only in flashback)
- President of the United States (Only in flashback) (Shadow only)
- Unnamed politicians and generals
- Jester (Jody Putt) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Scorcher (Jamal Hudak) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Grim Reaper (Eric Williams) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Goldbug (Jackson Smith) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Scorpion (Mac Gargan) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Grizzly (Max Markham) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom) (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- United States of America (Main story and flashback)
- New York
- Pennsylvania (Only in flashback)
- Philadelphia (Only in flashback)
- Washington, D.C. (Only in flashback)
- White House (Only in flashback)
- New Mexico (Mentioned)
- Albuquerque (Mentioned)
- Israel (Mentioned)
- Gaza Strip (Mentioned)
- Afghanistan (Mentioned)
- Iraq (Mentioned)
- Baghdad (Mentioned)
- Latveria (Only in flashback)
- Australia (Mentioned)
- United States of America (Main story and flashback)
- Astral Plane (Mentioned)
- Iron Man Armor Model 20 (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- Mjolnir (On-screen) (Only in flashback)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Flight Pack (Only in flashback)
- Vulture's Wings (Only in flashback)
- Grizzly's Suit (Only in flashback)
- Doctor Octopus' Suit and Tentacles (Only in flashback)
- Grim Reaper's Suit and Scythe (Only in flashback)
- Whirlwind Armor (Only in flashback)
- Scorpion's Suit (Only in flashback)
- Jack O'Lantern's Suit (On-screen)
- Pumpkin Bomb (On-screen)
- Doctor Doom's Armor (On-screen)
Synopsis for "Book One"
In Harlem, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones return to their apartment, and Luke pressures a group of neighborhood kids to get him the name of a local drug-dealer who is selling to kids. Inside the apartment, they discover a woman who promptly destroys the apartment with a massive energy blast.
Fury travels to Metro Hospital where he finds Danny Rand and Jessica sitting with the comatose Cage. Jessica demands to know why Fury has come.
"One year ago," the Killer Shrike was apprehended by Iron Man and Thor, and interrogated by S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Woo and Sitwell, who demands to know where Maddicks got the funding for his expensive equipment. Maddicks ultimately agrees to turn over the Tinkerer and leads S.H.I.E.L.D. to Philadelphia, but is killed by a trap left by Mason.
"Later," Fury searches the Tinkerer's workshop, finding little, and resorts to calling Natasha Romanoff, who has tracked the Tinkerer at the Latverian International Airport where he is picked up by a car with government plates.
Some time later, Fury meets with the President at the White House and delivers a report "on a project codenamed CIRCUIT" which has revealed that a number of "technological themed criminals" – including Jack O'Lantern, Killer Shrike, Goldbug, Grizzly, and Grim Reaper – "were getting their materials from...the Tinkerer," whose criminal endeavors were, in turn, being financed by Lucia von Bardas, "the elected Prime Minister of Latveria." Fury recommends taking decisive action against von Bardas, but the President suggests handling the situation "diplomatically" instead.
Fury storms out of the White House, explaining to Contessa Valentina de la Fontaine that the government's inaction will get innocent people killed, and that he refuses to "go through it again."
In the "present day," Fury looks on the comatose Luke Cage, and asks himself: "What have I done?"
The most popular and acclaimed writer in comics reveals the darkest chapter in MARVEL UNIVERSE history in this quarterly limited series MEGA-EVENT!
- When Nick Fury finds a disturbing connection between many of Marvel's deadliest villains, he puts together a ragtag team of the MU's most misunderstood heroes for a secret mission to do what the U.S. government could never allow, eventually leading to a super-powered blowout between a "Who's Who" of NYC heroes and mutants!
- Featuring the American debut of the stunning, fully painted work of Italian artist Gabrielle Dell'otto. 48 pages (with ads) include special material detailing the events leading up to the war, who the major players are and what is the SECRET in this SECRET WAR?
- Page 3 of this issue matches page 3 of The Pulse #6, while pages 6-7 and 24 of SW #1 correspond to pages 9-10 of Pulse #6.
- Lucia von Bardas was voted into government in Latveria at the end of Fantastic Four #508.
- Special thanks to Adam Cichowski, Patrick McGrath & Omar Otieku.