|Heracles And The Avengers|
|Volume 707, Issue 10|
|Synopsis||What If The Marvel Universe Was A Greek Epic?|
What If? Vol 707 9
- X-Men (Earth-800)
- The Four Fantastics (Earth-800)
- The Squad Of Nike
- Elders Of The Universe
- Ghost Charioteer (Boreads)
Heracles, with permission from his father, Zeus, has sent out a messenger to gather a team. Runaways, children of wicked kings. The X-Men, humans cursed by the gods (as well as a Cyclopean member), and the Four Fantastics, rulers of the island Baxi, have all applied, as well as his own team, the Avengers.
They set out to retrieve the Infinity Gauntlet, a mysterious artifact possessed by the god Thanos. However, to get there they must first fight their way through challenges for the Infinity Gems that power this gauntlet. The first is guarded by the mythical Ord Zyonz, or the Gardener. He takes Sthenelus, Man Of The Hoplites, who served alongside Odysseus, to question. He forces Sthenelus to detail his former allies, the Squad Of Nike, who he lost with the curse of immortality. He passes the test, and is given the Gem Of Time, which will bring back the Squad Of Nike once placed in the Infinity Gauntlet.
Their next challenge is offered by Taneleer Tivan, a Collector of all things. He demands that Sister Grimm produce the item he currently desires using her staff alone. She uses the spell, "What Tivan wishes for," summoning their universe's Cosmic Cube. He grants them the Gem Of Reality in return and places the cube in a human-shaped machine, refusing to reveal his intent to them.
The Runner holds their third gem, the Space Gem. He challenges Iron Man and the Human Torch to a race going directly around the world. If either of them win, they get the Space Gem. They beat him by flying over mountains that slow him down, However, he admits that he had vastly slowed down for them and wanted them to acquire the Gauntlet anyway, much to the annoyance of his two challengers.
The In-Betweener holds the Soul Gem, and to receive it, Heracles himself must travel to the underworld and meet with two figures - Death and Mephisto. They hold the two halves of the gem, and only the In-Betweener can fix it. Death willingly offers her half, but Mephisto wants a return - the lost soul of Boreads, or the Ghost Charioteer. Heracles finds it and successfully returns it, gaining the other half of the Soul Gem in reward. The In-Betweener repairs it for him and they move on to the last gem.
Their final challenge is a feat of strength, presented by Tryco Slatterus, Champion Of The Universe, to all of them. Together, they must defeat him in battle. They succeed in doing so, acquiring the Gem Of Power as a reward.
Finally, they arrive at the island of the Infinity Gauntlet. There it sits, The Grandmaster - En Dwi Gast - waiting for them. He congratulates them as they embed the gems one by one - Sthenelus first puts his in, and three other members of the Squad Of Nike appear by him, much to his adoration. Thoas and Strophius place theirs in together, followed by Niobe, then Heracles, then finally Zeus placing the Gem Of Power in. The Grandmaster places his gem, the Mind Gem, in. The story ends on a cliffhanger as Thanos suddenly appears, demanding his gauntlet.