Appearing in 1st story
- Bobbi Morse (Referenced)
- Unnamed funeral director (Only appearance)
- Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) (Mentioned)
- Tony Stark (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- Hydra Supreme (Steve Rogers) (Referenced)
- Underground (Referenced)
- Dovbrotel police (First appearance)
- Calvin & Hobbes (Mentioned) (Topical reference)
- Chernayan Army (Mentioned)
- CIA (Mentioned)
- MI6 (Mentioned)
- Thor (Jane Foster) (Referenced)
- Black Widow ("Natasha Romanoff") (Shadow only)
- Beaker (Topical reference)
- Captain America (Steve Rogers) (Referenced)
- Bunsen Honeydew (Topical reference)
- U.S. Army (Referenced)
- Black Widow Ops Program (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Secret Empire (Mentioned)
Synopsis for 1st story
Clint Barton is attending the funeral of a man named David. When Clint comments on the deteriorating face of David, a stranger questions him on how they both knew each other. Clint stumbles to reply, but says they both owned a yacht. He asks the man the same question, and the man replies that they both worked together. Clint asks the man what happened to David, but the man interrupts him and leaves. An individual named Peter Antone then approaches Clint, and later makes him know he's the ambassor to a country named Chernaya. Once Peter asks Clint to leave, he whispers to Peter's ear "Hail Hydra." Denying any association with the evil organization, Peter orders his ment to attack Clint, whose real identity Antone was aware of. Clint begins to fight for his life and grabs a candlestick to defend himself. The candle falls off from the stick and grazes a courtain, starting a fire. As the fight continues, the funeral director tries to stop the fire with a fire extinguisher. Mistaking the director for an enemy, Clint knocks him him out. After the fire department has arrived, Clint is sitting next to the funeral director on the street and apologizes to him for the damage he has caused. A few police officers walk up to Clint to charge him with arson; however, before they arrest him, Clint shows his official Avengers license, and they let him go.
Later, Clint travels to Chernaya to find more clues about Black Widow, whom he thinks might be alive after numerous murders have been carried out with her M.O.. While Clint is walking to the Embassy of the United States of America, he notices two men following him, and manages to hide in a crowd of protestors. As Clint is walking towards the gate where the security officers are located, an explosion occurs and chaos ensues. Clint attacks a security officer so they take catch him to get closer to the embassy, and he glimpses the shadow of a lady running on top of the building. Clint defeats the officers and escapes with his bow and quiver to track the female shadow. He breaks into Peter Antone's office, and finds him burning numerous files on the fireplace. Peter surrenders to Clint and admits that he works for Hydra. Barton clears up that he's not trying to kill Peter like he believes, but he's actually tracking down whoever wants to kill him. Clint hears somebody coming into the room through the window, and manages to find cover with Peter behind a desk just in time to avoid being shot. Clint aims his arrows at the gunman, and jumps at him, and the attacker turns out to be the Winter Soldier, to Clint's surprise. The two realize they are both there to stop the killer. Whereas Clint belives it's Natasha, Bucky doesn't. The Winter Soldier glances at a cabinet and sees the Black Widow's symbol spray painted, explaining it's an old calling card method from the Red Room. As Clint is wondering why would Natasha's calling card be spray painted if she hasn't killed anyone yet, Peter opens a cabinet drawer where he has a gun, setting off an explosive planted there, causing the entire roof to explode.
RED LEDGER Part 1 (OF 5)
SPRINGING FROM THE PAGES OF SECRET EMPIRE!
THE BLACK WIDOW is dead… but someone is killing her enemies. With a broken heart and a bloody trail to follow, HAWKEYE is looking for answers. And the only person alive who may have them is Natasha Romanoff’s OTHER ex-boyfriend, THE WINTER SOLDIER. Can they trust each other long enough to unravel the web of mysteries that Black Widow left behind?
- The memorial home where this issue opens up is named after Don Heck. The memorial home's sign reads that it was established in 1959, the year when Tales of Suspense started being published.