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- Bless those Avengers kids and their helpful little souls. I’m sure they are fantastic kids, and their hearts are clearly in the right place. But you understand there is a reason they came to us, right? Things are not perfect there, not even close. It’s not as peachy as it looks on TV and we can’t risk our kids...our kind for a slim chance to make things right, or better than they were before. Things can’t get better than the way they were before, and I feel bad for those children because they don’t know that yet.
- -- Emma Frost
Appearing in "The Masters of Evil"Edit
- Masters of Evil
- GeNext (Mentioned)
- Megan Summers (Mentioned)
- Ororo Munroe (Mentioned)
- Golden People (Mentioned)
- Namor the Sub-Mariner (Mentioned)
- Attuma (Mentioned)
- Namorita (Mentioned)
- Dorma (Mentioned)
- Steve Rogers (Mentioned)
- Sue Storm (Mentioned)
- Evander Worthington (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Masters of Evil"Edit
This issue started with the older X-Men in Genosha. Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Hank McCoy, and Laura Kinney found themselves in Hank's lab waiting for him to fix the TV's so they could get worldwide broadcasts for the first time. When he fixed it, they switched it to the news.
The news was reporting on the Heroes of Tomorrow, and how two months' time would mark the official two-year anniversary since the defeat of Ultron. They watched the news with interest as they learned for the first time what the Heroes really had to go through. And for Emma, as she saw James covered in dirt and grime, and fighting a bunch of robots, she felt terrible.
Kitty was the first one to speak up, saying that they shouldn't have had to go through any of that, and that she couldn't really believe what Hank had told them until she just saw it. She thought that it was unreal and wrong that those kids had done what they and the Avengers had to do back in the day. Hank explained to her that there was a need, he says that the world needed hope and they provided it, the world needed salvation and they brought it, that the world needed someone to pick them up and help them every step of the way on its road to recovery. The world needed heroes, and they had answered the call.
Defensively, Emma insisted that the X-Men were never heroes, she said that the world never wanted them to answer the call, and that they would've died before accepting their help. Hank said he wasn't sure that was true. The world hated them for sure, and they might even hate them right now, but the world would have accepted anyone who ended thirteen years of world dominance.
Laura was the one to question what all of this meant. She wanted to know where they should go from there. She said it had become clear that those kids didn't tell any lies, and that America was once again open. Emma insisted that they don't do anything; they can't just leave Genosha, and that they were staying there. Laura asked why and Emma said they can't just uproot the kids from their homes. Laura said they had no ties to this place and so it didn't matter. Emma once again asked Laura if she wanted to move away and Laura said she doesn't know.
Laura thought it was a tough decision. Sometimes she thought that they should stay here, help keep the kids safe, hide them in Genosha and let them live out their lives, even if they didn't like it. But she remembered when she was young, how sitting still was never an option, she wanted to help and when she realized she was able to it became hard to sit and watch the bad things that happened around her. Kitty asked if Laura believed the kids would have the same mentality, and she believed so. She said it probably wouldn't be all of them, but more than enough. She asked Emma if anyone would disagree with her daughter if she told them they were leaving. Emma suggested the Blue Team might, but Laura pointed out that they were the ones who had been really pushing to leave in the first place.
They all ended up agreeing that if any of GeNext said anything, the kids would leave in an instant. Kitty also wondered if they could even stop the kids, saying that if they made a decision, they would be scrambling around to help them out and scold them later. Still, Emma insisted that they were too young for this kind of life. Laura disagreed, asking why and said that they had trained their entire lives.
Emma put her foot down, saying that she respected the Avengers and their desire to help, but they didn't understand how bad things could get yet. She insisted that they couldn't risk their kids and their kind for a slim chance at making things right, to make things as good as they were before. To her, things could never get back to the way they were before. Hank insisted that she had a defeatist mentality, but she didn't want to hear it, insisting that one person can't change the world, and that saying applies to five people as well. Laura said that at the end of the day they didn't need to make a decision right then, but at some point they should. Genosha had been beneficial, but they had powers and they could be speeding up the process for millions. They needed to figure out if they were sending a response team or not, which Emma reluctantly agreed to. In her mind, however, all she could think about was losing those kids to fighting. She couldn't bear to see that happen.
Back in the Biodome, the Avengers were holding a meeting, specifically James. As all his teammates arrived, James analyzed them, and he couldn't understand their attitudes. Francis and Torunn seemed to be in their own little world, chatting about whatever they liked, not a care in the world. Pym had his eyes glued to a tablet, something James had taken notice of the past few days. And he planned on asking him after the mission. Unlike the rest, Azari seemed locked in ready for anything. He was the same person he always knew, but to him it felt like Azari had leveled up since their last fight. James thought it was nice that someone was actually focused.
Tony and Banner walked in chatting about a problem in the midwest, and Riri and Amadeus walked in with Jocasta shortly afterwards. The only person missing was Vision. James questioned where Vision was and Francis was the only who responded, simply saying "Dunno." But there was hardly time to get mad and after repeating his question Pym answered that he hadn't seen Vision in a while. They asked Tony what was up and he said he didn't know either, which made Francis lament the fact that they had lost another superbot. Azari said that Vision was more than a superbot and he was one of the reasons they were alive so long. He deserved the benefit of the doubt, and they should continue without him. James agreed, handing off the meeting to Riri.
Before Riri could start, however, Vision finally appeared, and he admitted that these past few weeks had been the hardest on the team in a long time, he hadn't wanted to bother anyone with his circuit problem so he went to go fix it on his own. After a couple more questions, Riri started the meeting once again.
She had been tasked with analyzing the video from James' interrogation of Crossfire and Radioactive Man. Riri said that James and Francis were right: Cross and Chen didn't say much. But she had managed to ween a little from Cross's interrogation. She played a video of James interrogating Crossfire, and slowly but surely he got under the inmate's skin causing him to explode in anger, saying "You don’t know a thing! It’s not even the money this time around. I don’t give a shit about that, most currencies went to hell after Ultron anyway. It’s what we're going to do to people like you that gets me going every morning. This world is begging for someone to come in and save it and we aren’t going to let this opportunity slip through our hands. And I promise you we will destroy you and your group of friends. No mercy." It had become obvious James struck a nerve and so she began to dig deeper into Madripoor, using every resource available, from what she understood the country was basically a safe haven for villains that used to terrorize people pre-Ultron. Azari asked how many people might be there, and Riri admitted she didn't know but it didn't matter because most of them wouldn't do anything. They weren't the only ones who were living in fear, and that it's been years: people have gotten very old and aren't in fighting shape.
Pym said it added up: when you think about it, the people they had fought so far had been Crossfire, who was some sort of cyborg, Taskmaster, who had a serum running through his veins, and Radioactive Man, who was radioactive. Riri said that that was right, but also that Madripoor was once run by Viper, and she believed that she was the one spearheading the operation.
James said that while the four they've fought were dangerous, they couldn't be all. There had to be more people for Crossfire to be so confident. And Riri agreed, she gave her report saying they needed to be extra careful on Madripoor because it was impossible to tell the forces she had. James agreed, saying they'd leave in a couple of hours. He planned on taking Azari, Francis, and Vision with him, with Torunn and Pym as backup. When the Avengers filed out, Riri was the last to leave, and she went to her lab where she was all alone. After making sure no one was looking, she pulled up schematics for an Ironheart Mk. 2 suit, indicating that she planned on donning the suit if given the chance.
The next scene is with Francis and Torunn, who talked and got straight to the point. Francis asked if Torunn had made a decision on their relationship, and while extremely hesitant, Torunn said that as long as they didn't have senseless fights and had matured since their last breakup, then sure they could date again. This was okay with Francis, who also said they should keep things quiet as they didn't know how everyone would react. Still, though a bit awkward, they shared a familiar kiss before we saw Azari. He moved away from the cafeteria unseen and unheard, not meaning to spy on Francis and Torunn. He had been meaning to ask Torunn for some advice, but decided against it when he saw her with Francis. Getting back with him made Azari question how wise Torunn could be anyway, and instead he left for the labs, wanting to deal with this business with his mother.
He went to one of the bigger labs, where Amadeus was working on the Ultron files, and he got to work, turning down Amadeus' offer of help. He searched for his mom's old home, wondering how he was going to get all the information he needed. Amadeus told him that Kenya was pretty far and Azari sighed sadly, knowing that it was and he lacked information. Amadeus insisted he could help, and though he was working on the Ultron stuff, he could take a break to help Azari try and find his mother.
After that, the scene switched again and we found Tony, Banner, and Pym working silently in the lab until Pym asks him if Atlanteans are real. Tony was shocked and tried to avoid the question, but Pym kept doubling down, asking if Atlantis and Namor were real, and saying he should be told the truth. Eventually Banner was the one who answered, saying they were real, and that Tony should stop worrying because there wasn't any harm in him knowing.
Pym asked for an explanation on the Sub-Mariners and Tony brought up a bunch of hidden files, and Pym saw a bunch of names he didn't recognize: Dorma, Attuma, Namorita, it was all so much. Tony explained that Atlanteans were one of two evolutionary offshoots of human beings, the other group being mutants. Bruce said that they were an extremely dangerous, annoying and elitist species, but his smile showed that he was quite fond of them. They explained to Pym that Namor was their king and that he wasn't all too nice, especially recently. Bruce said that the only thing that could get Namor to come to the surface world was Steve, an attack on his kingdom, and a certain blonde scientist. Tony believed that if provoked, Namor would truly try and destroy the surface world this time.
Elsewhere, James was with Daisy, and she watched him stand over the table replaying the simulation of the mission over and over again, even though it had a ninety precent rate of success. She told him that he was getting into his own head, and James said he wasn't sure. He couldn't take anything for granted and it was not often that they got to fight unknowns, but at the same time, he's the leader, he had to scheme around this. Daisy points out that the simulations show that he's doing that just fine. James said that she's right, but because their last mission was a failure he couldn't forget it. It felt like it was the first time he's failed. Daisy gave him a pep talk, saying that unfortunately nothing was getting easier. She'd never tell him to get used to failure, but they couldn't be perfect every time. They just had to give every bit of energy they had. She told him that he cares, and that's why he was going to succeed. The pep talk worked, and James got ready to leave, but Daisy pulled him back, saying that he couldn't leave without saying goodbye. It was a little awkward as Daisy gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him to stay safe, and as James left he realized he and Daisy needed to talk about this growing thing between them.
The next time we saw the team they were in Madripoor. Francis questiond if they were in the right place, and Pym insisted they were, as everyone had worked on targeting the building. James, Azari, Vision and Francis left the plane stealthily, and traversed the city hiding from any and all cameras. They got Vision to the base of the Masters of Evil building, and he started to try and infiltrate the system. While this happened, Francis said they needed stealth gear, and that every good ops team had some. The three heroes debated for a while, until they realized it had been a while and asked Vision if he's done.
Vision didn't respond and James quickly asked for a status report on Vision. Pym told them that he seemed to be in the mainframe, but whatever command he was trying to use glitched his matrix. Tony agreed on the comms saying something was wrong, Francis wondered if Vision was going to go full Ultron on them, but instead Vision shut down completely.
Vision seemed to trigger some sort of alarm, and a bunch of small robots filed out. James, thinking on the fly sent Azari to take out the robots, Pym to take Vision's body, and Torunn to come for back up. Azari took out most of the robots, leaving one for James and Francis to inspect. As they described the robot, Tony explained that it was the work of Egghead. James insisted it was time for a push as Torunn entered the atmosphere, but they had barely made it into the building when Torunn had been tackled at the speed of sound. Before they could react, James had been punched in the face and sent flying. While a bit dazed, he could still identify this other attacker as Knockout.
Despite getting the jump on James and Francis, they dispatched of the woman easily, while Azari dealt with Taskmaster, who couldn't copy any of his mutant abilites. Still, while it seemed like they were winning, James couldn't shake the feeling of dread he had and for good reason. Every punch between Torunn and Moonstone was getting stronger and stronger. Every punch was shaking buildings and James radioed in telling Torunn to keep the destruction to a minimum, but there was no response.
A new voice told James and Francis that it was because they had placed Signal Jammers across the city. The new voice belonged to Zemo, who was walking calmly to the destroyed battlefield with Viper. Francis got a little chippy with Viper, and James told him to stand down, as Francis was the better fighter of the both of them. For them to be so confident, something else was at play, as he suspected.
James asked what they had done, and Zemo turned the question back on him, saying that he should be asking himself that. They went back and forth talking, and James slowly realized that they wanted this to happen. They wanted the Avengers to attack and destroy Madripoor, because this was not a physical play, it was a political one. With this knowledge, James gathered all the Avengers and hightailed it as fast as possible off the island, not explaining to anyone why they had to leave.
When finally asked by Torunn, James simply responded by saying they made a really big mistake. After that, James explained how they got completely played: the way he understood it was that they had been baited. The Masters of Evil had wanted this to happen. They expected their mission to Madripoor, and used it to their advantage. Physically, the team matched up just fine. He was sure that they were probably even stronger than the Masters. But they hadn’t been fighting a physical battle, not this time. The Masters of Evil were doing their best to try and make the Avengers look bad. The masses would no doubt see what happened in Madripoor, and somehow Viper and Zemo had a way to pin this on them. They were going to beat the Avengers in one category they couldn’t partake in. Politics. And there wasn’t a thing they could do about it. They had just been dominated in a game they didn’t even know they were playing.
Entering the Compound, James and the Avengers headed straight for the meeting room, where everyone else already was. On the way, Daisy admitted that things were looking pretty bad, and as they turned on the TV they heard this:
In recent news, Madripoor has gone to the United Nations on the subject of America and its heroes, specifically the Avengers. The recent reckless actions of the young team has led many to believe that there needs to be some restrictions on the group. Aside from the Avengers, the U.S.' governmental situation has also been called into question. The recklessness of the Avengers has accelerated ideas the UN has already put into motion. Nothing is official, but we understand that this is the likely outcome. The UN will tell the American people to choose a leader, or else they will choose one for us. The person the UN has in contention... Evander Worthington: a man supposedly of American...and German descent. We will update the story as more information comes to us.
As the Avengers heard this information, all they could do was react in shock, some storming out of the room, others having nothing to say. This was a whole new ballgame.
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