Avengers No. 25 - Heart of Darkness

After much research, Doctor Strange finally uncovers the true intent of the spell cast by Satana on Halloween – She intends to open portals to a Hell dimension and allow demonic forces through. Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Hawkeye, and She-Hulk are dispatched to smaller perimeter portals, while the rest of the Avengers arrive at the main portal site. There they are confronted by the demon Blackheart, the son of Mephisto. The team manages to close the outside portals, but are nearly defeated by Blackheart, before Mephisto takes over the body of an unconscious Doctor Strange and banishes his son back to Hell.

Avengers No. 24 - Vision of the Future, Man of the Past

While the other Avengers are working alongside the X-Men to defeat the Brotherhood of Mutants, Thor, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Woman are called to Empire State University, where the Wrecking Crew has locked down one wing of the school, and taken Jane Foster hostage, in an attempt to get Thor’s attention. The Crew seems to be magically enhanced, and nearly beat Thor to death before they are interrupted by a mysterious red-skinned being, calling himself “My creator’s Vision of the future.” The “Vision” proceeds to aid the Avengers in their fight, revealing to them that the Enchantress is behind the attack, and has mystically boosted the Wrecking Crew’s abilities. With the help of their new ally, the team defeats the Enchantress and the crew, who escape.

The Vision tells the Avengers that he knows he is the creation of Professor Phineas Horton, an expert in robotics and a peer of Tony Stark’s father. The synthezoid claims to have no memories prior to a day previous, but feels compelled to defend humanity and believes that he can do so as an Avenger. The team tentatively grants him membership, but before they can regroup, they are called in by S.H.I.E.L.D. to aid Agent 19, aka Mockingbird, as she attempts to foil an AIM excavation project in the Arctic. The Avengers and Mockingbird defeat a squad of AIM soldier-scientists, as well as AIM field leader Superia and her trio of ‘Avenger-Buster” power armors. The AIM team flees, having found something in their dig. But the Avengers find a more interesting discovery – The cryogenically frozen body of Captain America!

Avengers No. 23 - Evolve or Die, Part Two

Cyclops leads a team consisting of She-Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Shadowcat, and Hawkeye in a raid on Magneto’s asteroid headquarters. In a fierce fight against Quicksilver, Dragoness, Emma Frost, Toad, and Magneto himself, the Avengers and X-Men manage to take down the Brotherhood, but realize that in doing so they have sent Asteroid M into a plummet towards the earth. Only Magnetos powers can steer the crashing satellite away from populated areas. As he is unwilling to see his children perish alongside himself, Magneto commands Quicksilver to surrender, and allows Cyclops to take the Brotherhood prisoner and escape aboard the X-Men’s Blackbird. The satellite burns through the Earth’s atmosphere, and crashes into the Indian Ocean, evidently killing Magneto.

Avengers No. 22 - Evolve or Die, Part One

Iron Man leads a team consisting of Black Panther, Colossus, Wolverine and Nightcrawler to Washington DC, where Mystique is intending to detonate a Terrigen bomb to mutate or murder the members of a Senate panel on mutant affairs. Black Panther makes his way past security forces and into the Senate chamber while the rest of the heroes confront a Brotherhood strike team of Blob, Sabretooth, Avalanche, and Rogue. The Panther manages to secure the device from Mystique, who is impersonating Senator Robert Kelly’s wife. The rest of the heroes battle the Brotherhood – with severe losses on both sides – until Rogue absorbs Nightcrawler’s powers and teleports her compatriots to safety.

Avengers No. 21 - Avengers versus X-Men, Part Two

The Avengers use the Scarlet Witch’s Avengers identicard to track her whereabouts to Westchester County, New York. They deduce that she seems to be held within the property of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Iron Man replaces his armor, ruined in the fight with Wolverine, with the experimental Mark 47 suit, and the team sets off in pursuit of their missing teammate.

Meanwhile, the Scarlet Witch awakens in a jungle, and finds herself confronted by Cyclops. He accuses her of attacking the X-Men in their headquarters, a charge she denies.

The Avengers Quinjet sets down on the grounds of the school, where the Avengers are quickly attacked by Colossus, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Storm – who seems strangely familiar to the Black Panther. The two teams clash in a ferocious combat that lasts until Cyclops calls a halt to the hostilities. He and Wolverine have determined to the best of their abilities that the Scarlet Witch is telling the truth and did not attack them.

The two teams gather in the X-Men’s headquarters beneath the school and establish what has happened. Mystique, of the Brotherhood of Mutants, infiltrated the Xavier school. Disguising herself as the Scarlet Witch, she sabotaged the X-Men’s mutant-detecting computer Cerebro, so that when the X-Men’s mentor, Professor Charles Xavier used it, he created a psychic feedback loop that incapacitated all telepaths in the area, including Xavier himself, and Phoenix of the X-Men.

The X-Men and Avengers realize that there is a strange energy signature left behind by Mystique, one that matches the signature left behind by the Brotherhood in their attack on the Avengers. The heroes discover that this is Terrigen radiation, the same energy used by the Inhumans to cause mutation. Magneto and the brotherhood have acquired Terrigen, and have created a bomb. They intend to detonate that bomb in Washington DC, as Senator Robert Kelly convenes a panel to discuss the so-called “mutant menace”.

The two teams agree to combine forces to defeat the Brotherhood. One team heads to Washington to stop the bomb from being detonated. The other travels to Asteroid M to confront Magneto himself.

Avengers No. 20 - Avengers versus X-Men, Part One

An Avengers squad of Iron Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Black Panther travels to Canada, where they rescue She-Hulk from the clutches of the Headmen. After turning over the villains to the Canadian government, the team steers the Quinjet towards home, but is ambushed somewhere over upstate New York. A teenaged girl stands in the sky, directly in the Quinjet’s flight path, and then passes through the speeding craft like a ghost, disrupting all of the Quinjet’s flight systems.

The Avengers make an emergency landing in a wooded area, where they are confronted by Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Shadowcat – The X-Men. Cyclops demands that the Avengers immediately turn over the Scarlet Witch to their custody. When Iron Man refers, the two teams clash. After a vicious battle, the Avengers find themselves defeated, and when they regain consciousness, the X-Men are gone – And so is the Scarlet Witch.

Avengers No. 19 - Day of the Adaptoid

The day begins with several Avengers conducting personal business. Iron Man manages to recussitate his relationship with Pepper Potts, convincing her that her actions as the Crimson Col were not her doing, and that Stark Solutions cannot function without her. Finally, he arrives at the heart of the matter, telling her he loves her.

Black Panther begins the long, arduous process of having Wakanda join the United Nations by meeting with Senator Del Rusk of the World Security Council. Despite Rusk’s racist baitings, T’Challa remains calm, and moves his country one step closer to joining with the world.

Doctor Strange and Thor meet to discuss Thor’s inability to return to Asgard, a situation Strange promises to look into.

S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson requests the Avengers’ assistance. S.H.I.E.L.D. has uncovered an AIM base, but there is a piece of technology they are uncomfortable dealing with. Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch respond. They find that AIM has created a sophisticated android, but have imbued it with such sophisticated technology that it canot be powered by an terrestrial source. The relief at this revelation is short-lived, when a S.H.I.E.L.D.scientist in the room reveals herself to be The Enchantress, who uses her Asgardian magic to bring the Adaptoid to life. The Adaptoid engages the Avengers in battle, absorbing and duplicating most of their abilities, unti, Thor, in a fit of rage, disintegrates the android almost entirely with a barrage of godly lightning.

Avengers No. 18 - Rough Waters

S.H.I.E.L.D. calls upon the Avengers to travel to Hydrobase, a free-floating island of scientific research owned and operated by the Roxxon Corporation. S.H.I.E.L.D. satellites are reporting massive energy discharges from the base, but because it operates as part of a multinational company, S.H.I.E.L.D. cannot investigate. Iron Man, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Scarlet Witch travel by Quinjet to Hydrobase, where they are met by the base’s heads of research, Diane Arliss-Newell, and her husband Doctor Walter Newell, who has created a super-powered exoskeleton for underwater research and calls himself Stingray. They are soon joined by Lucino Nefaria, who arrives by helicopter with his bodyguard, the superhuman mercenary called Paladin.

Nefaria orders Paladin and Stingray to attack the Avengers, while he retreats into one of the research buildings. Iron Man and Captain Marvel dive below Hydrobase where they realize they cannot find any leaks, but odd energy IS radiating through the containment walls of the facility. They are suddenly attacked by a group of blue skinned aquatic humanoids – Atlanteans – led by their ruler, the human/Atlantean hybrid Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

The Avengers best Paladin and Stingray easily, and the Panther follows Nefaria, finding a chamber where scientists are experimenting upon a strange mystical artifact – The Serpent Crown. The Panther incapacitates the scientists and defeats the chamber’s guardian, Tiger Shark.

On the surface, Namor battles the Avengers, being finally beaten by Hawkeye.

Nefaria manages to escape via a submersible escape pod. The Avengers turn the Serpent Crown over to the Atlanteans, with Namor warning them that future interference into Atlantis by the surface realm will be considered an act of war. The Panther also vows to bring charges against Roxxon for environmental crimes.

Avengers No. 17 - Moving Target

Spider-Woman is contacted by Nick Fury, and informed that S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, has gone rogue, and is currently subject to a capture/kill order. Shortly thereafter, Jessica receives a coded message from Hawkeye, informing her that he is still “on the side of the angels”, and that he has gone rogue in order to track down his former lover Natasha Romanoff, The Black Widow.

Worried for his safety, Spider-Woman enlists the aid of Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and the Black Panther. The four Avengers track Hawkeye’s movements to the independent city of Madripoor, known the world over for its lawlessness. Rumors in the intelligence community claim that The Black Widow is suspected of being a double agent working for Hydra. The Avengers discover Hydra operating out of a Roxxon building in Madripoor, and sneak in to find Hawkeye being interrogated by three Hydra operatives – Mentallo, Taskmaster, and led by Yelena Belova, the so-called “Dark Widow”. The rumors regarding the Black Widow, apparently miscommunication and in reality referring to Belova.

The Avengers handily trounce the villains, and the Hydra agents they call upon to aid them. S.H.I.E.L.D. interrupts the Avengers victory, revealing that they have inadvertently interfered with an ongoing mission. Nick Fury suspends Hawkeye from active S.H.I.E.L.D. duty. Hawkeye responds by quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. altogether, announcing that he would be joining the Avengers instead.

S.H.I.E.L.D. subsequently allows Taskmaster and Dark Widow to escape custody, needing them free for whatever schemes Fury is hatching.

Avengers No. 16 - Panther's Quest

While Doctor Strange conducts several rituals designed to pinpoint the location of the force summoned by Satana, and Thor experiences the boredom and frustration of monitor duty, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, and She-Hulk spar in the Avengers’ training room. Their exercise is interrupted by the appearance of a shadowy figure in black, who silently challenges them to combat. The mystery man manages to easily avoid the attacks of the Avengers before being startled and momentarily dazed by the arrival of Doctor Strange and Thor.

The figure ends the combat and introduces himself as T’Challa, the Prince of Wakanda. He has come to the United States to seek the Avengers’ help. He tells the team of his rival, The Man-Ape, who murdered T’Challa’s father and has taken over Wakanda, with the help of Hydra and a corrupt explorer named Ulysses Klaw. The Man-Ape is allowing Hydra to take Vibranium from Wakanda, a dangerous proposition for the rest of the world. The Avengers agree to aid T’Challa in his quest.

Doctor Strange teleports the group to Wakanda, where they are set upon by Wakandan soldiers. The Scarlet Witch easily incapacitates the soldiers, and the team splits up into two groups. Wasp, She-Hulk, an Scarlet Witch make their way to the Vibranium mines, where they confront Hydra agents led by the Grim Reaper and Ulysses Klaw. Meanwhile Thor and Doctor Strange accompany T’Challa to the Coliseum of the Panther, where they fight their way through elite Wakanda guards and then engage the Dora Milaje, the bodyguards of the king. T’Challa challenges the Man-Ape to one-on-one combat for the right to rule, and manages to defeat him in a narrow victory. T’Challa is named Black Panther, and king of Wakanda.

In the Vibranium mines, the other Avengers handily thrash Hydra. The Grim Reaper is finally captured, and the Scarlet Witch’s hexes transform Klaw into pure sound waves, at which point he is absorbed by the sonic converter he wields.

T’Challa turns the rule of Wakanda over to the Council of Elders, and announces that he will travel to America and fight for Wakanda and the world as an Avenger. He will furthermore attempt to integrate Wakanda more fully into the world, and end their isolationism.


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