14. Aid, Part 1
Janet fits Wanda for her new costume, consisting of a red robe and pointy headpiece. Wanda is impressed, and thanks Janet, but the alarm is sounded before the conversation can continue. The nine Avengers rush to the meeting room, where Natasha tells them about a smuggler named Ulysses Klaw who has been stealing the rare metal vibranium from the nation of Wakanda and selling it to arms dealers, who are producing incredibly powerful weaponry with it. Natasha suggests that the nine of them set up a stakeout so they can ambush Klaw and intercept him before he can get into the country. They fly the Quinjet out to the Wakandan border and set up camp in three teams. Natasha takes Thor and Clint, Steve takes Bruce and Tony, and Janet, Hank, and Wanda form the last group. The stakeout lasts for several hours. Clint sharpens arrows, Steve and Tony play cards, and Wanda complains about not having expected her first Avengers mission to be so boring.
Suddenly, a truck arrives and drives toward the Wakandan border. Wanda hexes the truck, causing the engine to fail. The truck turns out to be carrying King T’Challa and his sister Princess Shuri, returning from a diplomatic mission in Nigeria. The Avengers come out to apologize, and T’Challa chastises them for trying to solve Wakanda’s problems for them without permission. The nine Avengers go back to the Quinjet, with Natasha scolding Wanda for being too trigger-happy, and they see Ulysses Klaw climbing into the jet and flying it toward Wakanda. Running back to T’Challa, the Avengers explain what has happened, and ask the king to let them help find Klaw. T’Challa grudgingly agrees, wanting to avoid a national incident, and takes the Avengers to his palace.
At the palace, Natasha and Steve talk to Shuri about how they can track down Klaw. Shuri tells them of a Wakandan vigilante named Black Panther who’s going to work with them, and brags that Black Panther probably won’t even need that much help. Shuri gives the Avengers a GPS that will help them find the Quinjet, saying that T’Challa had a tracker placed on it as soon as it was spotted flying toward Wakanda. Steve is offended, but Natasha is impressed on a strategic level. Natasha sends Steve, Janet, Wanda, and Clint out, saying that a big team will be more likely to get in each other’s way.
Out on the streets of Birnin Zana (the capital of Wakanda), the four Avengers are met by Black Panther, who tells them he’s seen Klaw’s henchmen in a local night market. The Avengers and Black Panther run and fly out to the market, where they attract stares from Wakandans. Janet spots two white men with briefcases, and the five chase them into an alley. The two men drop their briefcases, and Steve picks them up to find them full of vibranium. Klaw himself then walks up behind the Avengers (Black Panther has vanished) and shoots them with a sonic weapon, knocking them all out.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, Thor amuses himself by pestering the spear-wielding palace guards, trying to get them to break their silent stillness. Natasha chastises him for being immature, which makes one of the guards giggle. Thor is ecstatic that he made one of them move, and Natasha attempts to lead him away out of embarrassment, before the leader of the guards tells her that she needs to learn to keep her team in line. Natasha snaps at General Okoye, telling her that leading a team of superheroes is easier than leading a team of guards who stand in one place all day, and Okoye informs Natasha of all the Dora Milaje’s historic accomplishments as a fighting force. Okoye says the Avengers are nothing in comparison as a brand new team, and Natasha challenges her to an unarmed duel: first to get knocked down loses. The two leaders go to the palace’s training room, with the other Avengers and Dora Milaje looking on eagerly, and begin to fight. Natasha holds her own for a while, but Okoye gets the best of her and knocks her down.
The Dora Milaje brag, but the celebration is interrupted when the palace sirens go off. Okoye sends the rest of the Dora off to guard the royalty, and tells the Avengers to come with her. They go to the palace basement, where they find a gang of Klaw’s henchmen armed with vibranium-powered sonic blasters. Bruce becomes the Hulk, Hank grows to 10 feet, and the five avengers plus Okoye make quick work of the initial invaders. However, another wave of flunkies comes in, and a sonic blast disables Tony’s armor. Hank shrinks down, climbs inside one of the blasters, and rewires it to absorb sound rather than project it. This stops the other blasters from firing, but also stops anyone from being able to talk. The Avengers and Okoye deal with the remaining Klaw goons, then run to check on the royalty.
Wanda, Janet, Steve, and Clint wake up tied to chairs, with their weapons taken. Klaw walks up to them, tossing Steve’s shield and boasting about how much ransom he’ll get for Earth’s mightiest heroes. When Klaw turns his back, though, Black Panther appears in the shadows and makes the “Shh” sign. Black Panther tosses daggers to cut the Avengers’ ropes, and whispers “Wait.” Klaw continues monologuing, saying that he’s going to sell vibranium to HYDRA and become the richest man in the world, and boasts that he’s going to make the delivery with the Avengers’ own Quinjet. Black Panther then jumps on Klaw and ties him up with a bolo, and tells the Avengers to run.
As Black Panther and the Avengers take off running, Steve thanks Black Panther for the rescue. Black Panther is silent, and Clint asks if Black Panther works for the king. “After a fashion,” Black Panther says. They return to the palace, which is crumbling from sonic blasts, and above them, they see the Quinjet flying away.
15. Aid, Part 2
Back at the ruins of the palace, the Avengers, Black Panther, and the Dora Milaje regroup. Black Panther takes the lead, sending the Dora Milaje to stake out any escaping Klaw henchmen, and leading the Avengers to a jet in an underground hangar. They take off after the Quinjet, but cannot catch up. Wanda offers to hex the Quinjet, but Black Panther says that hexing vibranium could create a massive explosion and kill them all. Black Panther tells Natasha to take over piloting, and grabs onto Tony’s back. Tony flies out of the Wakandan jet and approaches the Quinjet, which Black Panther boards the top of. Tony opens the Quinjet’s ramp with an override he programmed, and Black Panther climbs in. Black Panther approaches Klaw and knocks his blaster away, then ties his legs up with a bolo (again) and takes over piloting the Quinjet. The two jets begin to fly back to Wakanda together, but Klaw grabs a large blaster from the floor, breaks open a window, and aims it at the Wakandan jet. Wanda is the first to notice, and in a panic, she hexes the blaster. As Black Panther promised, an explosion occurs, destroying the Quinjet. Black Panther falls out, but Janet flies out of the Wakandan jet, grows larger, and catches the Wakandan hero. Back on the Wakandan jet, Black Panther thanks the Avengers for helping to defeat Klaw, but suddenly they see a glowing pink giant with Klaw’s face standing next to the jet.
Hank theorizes that the vibranium explosion must have turned Klaw into a being of pure sonic energy. Steve sends Clint, Tony, and Janet to the ground to clear the ground of civilians. Suddenly, Bruce remembers how Hank reconfigured the blaster to absorb sound, and says that with another source of vibranium, they could absorb Klaw’s body. Thor flies out to attack Klaw without asking anyone, which Natasha groans at, but Steve is happy about, saying that he’ll be a useful distraction. Hank points out that they don’t have any vibranium other than Steve’s shield, which is an alloy and won’t be usable. Black Panther says “My suit is vibranium. Reconfigure my suit and I can absorb Klaw.” Hank opens a canister of ants and sends them into Black Panther’s suit, controlling them to rewire the vibranium. Suddenly the jet grows silent, and Black Panther jumps out at Klaw. The pink energy body disappears, leaving Thor to scratch his head, and Black Panther opens a parachute and floats to the ground, glowing pink from all the absorbed sound.
Bruce yells out that the suit is holding too much energy and has to release it, so Black Panther takes it off, revealing her identity as Princess Shuri. Thor then grabs the suit, wraps it around his hammer, and throws it into the sky. The suit explodes in space, and Thor calls the hammer back.
Natasha lands the jet, and the Avengers approach Shuri, with Steve saying that he suspected the princess and the vigilante were one and the same. Okoye comes in a helicopter to the field where they landed, with King T’Challa sitting beside her. T’Challa approaches his sister and says, in Wakandan, how proud he is of her, and Shuri says that the American heroes aren’t half bad either.
Back in the palace basement, which is still in good shape after the attack, Shuri talks to Steve and Natasha. She commends them on their skill as leaders, and Natasha says that Shuri was the one who did the most important things. Steve offers Shuri a place at Avengers Mansion, which Shuri declines, saying that Wakanda needs her. T’Challa comes and takes her away. The king gestures to the Dora Milaje, who, as he points out, arrested dozens of blaster-armed criminals while she was off fighting Klaw. T’Challa says that Wakanda has its defenders, and that Shuri will only learn from fighting the good fight somewhere new. The king also adds that a team of all-American heroes could use a voice from somewhere else in the world. Shuri thanks her brother, but says she still wants to stay, until Okoye glares at her and says “Listen to your king.” Frightened, Shuri acquiesces and goes back over to Steve and Natasha.
Back at Avengers Mansion, Wanda apologizes to Shuri for blowing up the plane she was on. Shuri forgives her, and says that they’ll be good teammates. Natasha approaches the two youngest Avengers and says that they’ll be more than teammates—the mansion is short a bedroom now, so they’ll be roommates as well.
Tony approaches Shuri in the lab later, as Shuri is working on a new suit with a stockpile of vibranium taken from the palace. Tony offers to help with the design, and says that he could also use her input on some armor modifications he’s making, saying that he wants to defend against sonic pulses so he can’t be taken out again. They agree to assist one another.
Back at the Raft, we see Mandarin and Zemo sitting at the cafeteria, with a new prisoner MODOK sitting by himself at another table. Two muscular criminals approach MODOK and harass him, and MODOK is defenseless with his psychic powers disabled. Zemo and Mandarin tell them to leave MODOK alone, and when they refuse, Mandarin and Zemo take them out rather quickly with martial arts. They sit down next to MODOK, and tell the giant-headed psychic that he could use some friends.
Felt Kuti – “Water No Get Enemy” when Shuri attacks Klaw on the Quinjet
16. Warriors, Part 1
Hank, Bruce, and Janet are eating breakfast together at the mansion one morning, when Hank remarks on how quiet it is. Bruce says that this is usually when Thor shows up and has Jarvis make him an eight-egg omelette, and Janet asks where Thor has gone. No one knows, and they go to ask Steve and Natasha. The team assembles in the meeting room, as Thor has disappeared and won’t respond to any sort of communication. They call his girlfriend Jane Foster, who says she hasn’t heard from him either. Steve suggests that if Thor really does come from Asgard, that’s probably where he went. Natasha points out that they have no way of getting to Asgard, and Tony says that with this many brilliant scientists in one room, they have to be able to figure something out. Shuri speaks up and says that Wanda’s hex power might be able to facilitate interdimensional travel if channeled right. Tony says that he can help Shuri with building a machine that can harness hex power if Hank and Bruce can figure out how to open an interdimensional portal to Asgard.
Down in the lab, while the scientists work, Tony gets up to use the bathroom. When he comes back, he tells Shuri that she’s doing a good enough job on her own, and that he’s going to step back and let her work by herself. Shuri squints suspiciously, but continues working. Hank and Bruce conduct some experiments on Wanda. Hank excuses himself to use the bathroom as well, and finds Tony magically gagged and shackled to the wall. An enchantment activates and Hank is shackled as well. While Shuri’s back is turned, the false Tony turns some knobs on the portal machine. Bruce and Shuri turn it on to test it, and suddenly the entire mansion shakes. They look out the window to find lava and brimstone all around them.
Shuri and Bruce run into the bathroom to find Hank. They find Hank and Tony freed from the shackles, and Bruce looks over his shoulder to see the false Tony turn into a bird and fly out the window. The team assembles in the meeting room, and the scientists tell the others that the machine has been tampered with and the mansion has landed in a dimension called Muspelheim. Shuri adds that, since the machine wasn’t designed to transport such a large mass, it’s burnt out and needs to be repaired. Natasha sends Tony and Shuri to work on the machine, and puts Hank, Wanda, and Clint outside to guard against any hostiles.
Hank, Wanda, and Clint are met outside by a 50-foot-tall demon armed with a sword, who asks why they have come to Muspelheim. Hank explains that they’re only there by accident and that they’ll be leaving as soon as possible, but the demon shoves his giant sword in the ground, shaking the mansion. He says that trespassers in their realm are punished by death, and that he’ll be taking them to King Surtr to determine their fate. Clint fires an explosive arrow at the demon, knocking him over, then ties him to the ground with rope arrows. Hank runs in to warn the others, and Clint and Wanda watch a horde of demons approach.
The demons pick up the mansion and carry it to Surtr’s palace, where the Avengers stand before Surtr himself. Surtr says the Avengers and Jarvis are to be incinerated in a volcano, and that the only way for them to save themselves is for one of their champions to defeat their greatest warrior in unarmed combat. Hank offers, saying that he can grow to match a demon’s size, but Bruce pushes him aside and offers to fight in the arena.
The Avengers are put in chains in a colosseum and watch Bruce turn into the Hulk, as he faces down a 100-foot-tall demon. Hulk leaps onto the demon’s head and begins beating him down, but the demon blows fire onto Hulk that knocks him off and makes him cry out. Hulk grows angrier and gets even larger, then picks the demon up by the ankle and tosses him onto the ground. Surtr is impressed, and tells his guards to shackle Hulk so they can use him as a warrior. Natasha slips out of her chains and throws a grenade in Hulk’s direction, preventing the guards from shackling him for a moment and knocking Hulk out, causing him to revert to Bruce. Hank shrinks and slips out of his chains, then grows and picks Bruce up. The Avengers run back to the mansion, where Tony and Shuri activate the machine and transport the mansion to Asgard.
In Asgard, the Avengers see Odin’s palace in ruins, and frost giants rampaging across the city. Thor flies up to them, saying that they never should have come, and a giant-sized Loki laughs maniacally in the distance.
Soundtrack: AC/DC – “Highway to Hell” during Hulk’s gladiatorial fight.
17. Warriors, Part 2
The Avengers waste no time defending Asgard. Tony and Shuri don their armor, Bruce becomes Hulk again, Hank and Janet grow larger, and everyone springs into action. Fighting alongside Asgard’s finest, they fell the majority of frost giants and quickly cause a retreat to Jötunheim, the realm of frost. The Avengers, including Thor, regroup at the ruins of Odin’s palace and compare notes. Bruce tells Thor how someone impersonated Tony and sent them to Muspelheim, and Thor says that it must have been Loki. Thor reluctantly thanks the Avengers for coming to help him, but says that they must leave. He claims that Loki is more dangerous than anyone they’ve faced, more cunning than MODOK and more powerful than Ultron. Steve tells Thor that they’ll face Loki together, as a team, like they always do. Thor refuses, but Odin walks up and tells Thor that Asgard needs all the help it can get. Thor acquiesces to his father, and tells the Avengers they can help. Four Asgardian warriors walk up, who Thor introduces as Fandral, Hogun, Volstagg, and Sif.
Odin puts everyone in a circle, and says that Loki wouldn’t have retreated without a scheme, so it’s only a matter of time before he attacks again. Odin suggests sending a scout team into Jötunheim through the Bifrost, while everyone else takes defensive positions around the city. Thor immediately volunteers for the scout team, and Odin sends Sif, Steve, Shuri, and Clint along with him. The remaining six Avengers and the Warriors Three set up three camps around the city: Fandral with Wanda and Hank, Hogun with Bruce and Natasha, and Volstagg with Tony and Janet. No frost giants appear.
In Jötunheim, the scout team is immediately captured when a magical sigil activates and immobilizes them. They are taken by frost giants and put in shackles in a pit, where they encounter Odin. Odin accosts Thor, saying he let Loki trick him and that he never should have come here. Thor is confused until Clint puts two and two together and tells Thor that the Odin they spoke to must have been Loki in disguise. Odin continues to tell Thor how Loki outsmarted him and how Asgard is in danger because of it. Thor is furious, and summons lightning into the pit. The other Avengers and Sif squirm, but Odin sits there and grins as Thor summons bolt after bolt. Eventually a big enough bolt of lightning comes down to shatter Thor’s chains. Odin laughs and says that not even Loki can plan for how angry Thor can get. Thor breaks the others’ chains with his hands, then calls Mjolnir back to him. Frost giant guards approach the pit, and Thor strikes them down with lightning. Clint fires a rope ladder arrow to allow everyone to climb out of the pit.
In Asgard, the three camps watch for a frost giant attack. Nothing appears on the horizon, and we see a magical sigil glow at each camp, unnoticed by the Avengers and Warriors Three. All the watchmen begin to fall asleep.
In Jötunheim, the Avengers, Sif, and Odin run and hide in an icy cave, where they huddle to form a plan. Odin mentions that they have no way of returning to Asgard without being able to contact Heimdall to call them back with the Bifrost. Steve realizes that Loki must have a spell that can send his frost giants across realms, because of the earlier invasion, so he suggests finding a way to sneak in alongside them. Shuri observes that the frost giants don’t travel in vehicles, eliminating the option of stowing away. Clint realizes that Loki is likely still on Asgard, since he appeared as the false Odin earlier, so the transport must already be set up. Sif suggests they storm a portal and fight off frost giants to get through, since Loki won’t be there to close it. Thor tells Odin to stay and hide, since the battle won’t be safe for him, then flies up and finds the frost giants walking through portals on the other side of the mountain where they’re hiding. Thor, Sif, Shuri, Steve, and Clint run at the frost giants at the portal. Thor topples an entire row like dominoes with his hammer, and Sif slays four with her sword in midair. The five jump through the portal and reach Asgard, where they find frost giants wreaking havoc and no Avengers or Warriors Three fighting them off.
Steve barks at everyone to fan out and look for the other Avengers. They find the three camps, with sleeping Avengers and Warriors Three. Shuri burns a Wakandan herb of wakefulness at Fandral, Wanda, and Hank’s camp, rousing everyone there, while Clint uses a sonic arrow to wake Hogun, Bruce, and Natasha. Steve shakes Volstagg, Tony, and Janet and screams at them like a drill sergeant, and everyone at the three camps rushes back into the city. They regroup, but there are two Hanks. While the rest of the team fights off frost giants, the two Hanks try to convince the rest of the team that they’re the real one and that the other Hank is actually Loki. Thor throws his hammer between them, and one jumps out of the way, while the other Hank reaches out and catches it. Loki groans and reveals himself, before the real Hank smacks him down with Mjolnir, thanking Thor for the assist. Natasha puts Loki in anti-magical cuffs of SHIELD design, and the rest of the team makes short work of the frost giants.
In the ruined Asgardian city, Thor meets with Odin, brought back by Heimdall. Odin asks Thor to stay in case the frost giants invade again, and Thor pledges his loyalty to Asgard, but says that the finest warriors he knows come from Midgard and that his place is with them right now.
Soundtrack: Nightwish – “Bye Bye Beautiful” when they attack the frost giants at the portal