The Invaders #1

“Designed for Killing”

BUCKY BARNES’ eyes blink open in a hotel room, with a fresh gash on his cheek. He looks around, and sees the room is completely trashed. The TV cracked, the floor littered with broken bottles and lamps, and his metal arm lying on a toppled dresser. Either Bucky threw a crazy party last night, or…

Bucky Barnes: What the hell?

Visibly confused, he goes to re-attach his metal arm and take a look out from the balcony. He’s in a city, and not in a high floor. Then, from the door…


AGENT: Open up! This is SHIELD!

Quickly, Bucky starts look around the room, and checking drawers. No weapons…

Bucky Barnes: Crap.

Bucky picks up a bottle as the door is kicked open. In walks SHIELD Agent PHIL COULSON, with a posse of fellow agents.

Phil Coulson: Good morning, Mr. Barnes. Looks like you had some fun last night.

Bucky Barnes: Something like that.

Phil Coulson: So you do remember last night, then?

Bucky Barnes: What’s that supposed to mean?

Phil Coulson: Easy Barnes. You’ve got a checkered past, but I still consider you an American hero. And sometimes heroes need help, when the stress of it all breaks them.

Bucky Barnes: I don’t think I’m about to be the broken one.

Phil Coulson: I just want to ask you some questions about what you’ve been up to recently. But it sounds like you’d rather do this the hard way.

Bucky Barnes: Yeah, that sounds about right.

Bucky BASHES his bottle against Coulson’s head, than dashes past a parade of bullets as he leaps from the balcony into the city street below.  

He makes a run for it through the street, only to be hit with more fire from SHIELD agents on the ground- stepping out of cars and nearby buildings. He takes cover behind a car, but he’s been trapped by the lines of agents in front of and behind him.  

Suddenly, there’s a roar from the sky. A QUINJET comes flying low, and shooting at the SHIELD Agents! Most run for cover, but a brave bunch make a run at Bucky. He handles himself well against the assault, but it’s 12-on-1 and it looks like he’s going to be wrestled to the ground as one takes a hold of him from behind. Then- BAM! Out of nowhere, the agents take a series of kicks and punches. A girl who suddenly appears and disappears. Who was that? Why, it’s Ant-Man daughter CASSANDRA LANG, all suited up! Bucky and her are able to take down the gang of SHIELD agents. A rope comes down from the quinjet that Bucky grabs on to, while Cassie uses her wings to fly up. Once they’re in, the quinjet soars away from the scene.

Cassie wastes no time once they’re in, walking towards the pilot’s seat and saying….

Cassie Lang: Mission accomplished. Now get us to to New Mexico, Rikki.

Bucky Barnes: Care to explain what’s going on?

The pilot of the quinjet turns her head around. Why, it’s the Nomad RIKKI BARNES! (Bucky’s Granddaughter from an alternate dimension who crossed into the 616. It’s complicated).

Rikki Barnes: Hi gramps, you’re welcome.

Bucky Barnes: Wait, you’re… I thought you were dead.

Rikki Barnes: Yeah, that’s a long story. I’ll get around to telling you. But first, we’ve got a mission.

Bucky Barnes: What mission?

Cassie Lang: Rescuing my dad, and probably fighting whatever took him.

Rikki Barnes: Don’t skip ahead, Cassie. Here’s the rundown, gramps: A SHIELD agent named Brady O’Brien turned up looking like someone really did a number on him- but alive. And he claims you’re the one who tried to kill him.

Bucky Barnes: But you must not believe that, or else you wouldn’t have brought me along on this joyride.

Rikki Barnes: I believe that if you did it, you had a good reason to. But I’ve also got a contact who’s given me the location of a secret SHIELD base. Says we can start getting answers there.

Cassie Lang: And that contact is how I got brought in. My dad got sent there- they told him he’d find something interesting in there- and he’s been missing since.

Bucky Barnes: Who’s this contact?

Rikki Barnes: Secret.

Bucky Barnes: Secret? I don’t like secrets.

Rikki Barnes: Besides your own?

Bucky Barnes: Yeah, besides my own. This whole thing could be a set-up.

Cassie Lang: Only one way to find out what this all is.

Bucky scowls.

Phil Coulson is nursing his head in the hotel room Bucky escaped from. Entering the room to speak with him is NICK FURY JR., agent of SHIELD and son of the late director.

Phil Coulson: Don’t worry about it. I’ve taken worse.

Nick Fury: Oh, I know you have. How did he seem.

Phil Coulson: Very aggressive, obviously. Didn’t get anything else out of him before he ran

Nick Fury: And his accomplices?

Phil Coulson: We’ve identified them. Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassandra, was the one on the ground. Our look at the Quinjet’s pilot wasn’t as clear, but it appears to have been the late Rebecca Barnes.

Nick Fury: But she hasn’t been seen around since… is that the threat?

Phil Coulson: The threat?

Nick Fury: The threat he warned us about.

Rikki breaks down the plan as we watch Cassie execute it.

Rikki Barnes: Cassie will go into Ant-Girl mode to get into the base.

(Tiny) Cassie flies through an air vent to enter a hallway she begins moving down.

Rikki Barnes: She’ll be streaming the point of view from her helmet to our monitor, so we can see what we’re up against

Cassie eyes agents moving through an entrance. The agents put their suitcases onto a conveyor belt before getting their body scanned. Cassie waits quietly. As an agent opens their suitcase to put something inside, she leaping to kick it out of their hands. She quickly tucks herself inside before the agent (weirded out but shrugging it off), closes it and puts it on the conveyor belt. Inside the suitcase, she finds the agent’s glasses case, which she opens and fits herself in to hide before the suitcase is inspected.

Back in the Quinjet, Rikki wraps up her explanation.

Rikki Barnes: So, she’ll check stuff out, and when the moment is right or she gets in trouble…

She picks up her pistol

Rikki Barnes: We’ll move in. Good plan, right?

Bucky Barnes: Not really. It sounds like it’s just check out what’s down there, then go shoot at it.

Rikki Barnes: Well, it’s not like I had a lot of time to work on it.

Bucky Barnes: Eh. Shooting at things clears my mind.

Rikki Barnes: You worried about… your mind?

Bucky Barnes: I don’t think it’s at its best place. My memories foggy. But I ran when SHIELD came cause if I’ve got a problem, I’d rather work it out on my own than have SHIELD work it out of me.

Cassie gets out of the case, and puts her ear to the luggage wall to listen to the outside. Carefully, she uses her blasters to carve a hole in the side of the luggage. She pokes her head out, and sees no eyes on her- the luggage having been left on the ground beneath a desk. She crawls out, and begins quietly moving around the room. Agents are seated in a rows of desk, working on their computers and writing out notes as they observe through glass window in front of them some kind of testing room. Lang looks up at what’s going on in there.

Cassie Lang: Oh god.

In the room- a large open space with white floors and a wall, sits a young girl on her knees. She’s visibly distraught, with hair covering part of her face. She’s 14-15 and dark skinned- the mysterious TEST SUBJECT is not a face we’d recognize.

Test Subject: Please. Don’t make me do anymore. I can’t.

A speaker answers- unseen, but they cast a large shadow over the test subject.

Speaker: Time is of the essence, progress can not be slowed!

Test Subject: But… it’s hurting me.

The speaker hovering above her is revealed- why, it’s the disturbing menace known as MODOK!

MODOK: Child, don’t you see, your suffering is insignificant. You are one child, against the fate of a whole plane of existence. Your pain is necessary. Your pain is needed. Your pain is good!

Back in the quinjet, watching on the monitor…

Bucky Barnes: What the fuck.

MODOK stares down at the girl in the testing room, and she begins to shake.

Test Subject: I don’t understand what you want.

MODOK: Child, you are holding your abilities back. I require that you show you can bring out your full power when called upon.

Test Subject: I’m doing my best.

MODOK: At peak performance, you could eradicate entire realities. You are surely not doing your best.

He sends a painful beam down at her.

Rikki Barnes: What is SHIELD doing with MODOK…

Bucky Barnes: He doesn’t completely seem like himself. It’s like… those maniacs. They’ve tried reprogramming him somehow. And now they’ve got him torturing this girl for god knows why.

But the question, reader, is: Is MODOK still under SHIELD’s control, or are they under his?

MODOK: Delivering us the arachnid girl was a formidable feat. Another demonstration of that ability might earn you… mercy.

Test Subject: I can’t… not so soon. I can’t

Suddenly, she closes her eyes and put her hands on her head as she rocks on the ground.

MODOK: You must comply, or I will compel you further child.

She continues to shake. With greater anger…


She screams… and as she screams, her eyes turn into bright white lights. She starts to float into the air. Out of her hands, comes more spiraling light. Powerful, frightening- even MODOK backs away from it. The spirals get larger and larger, and come together- they make a portal. Suddenly, something pops out,THUDDING on the floor.

Why, it’s GROOT of the Guardians of the Galaxy, snatched through the cosmos! He looks around his sudden new surroundings in confusion.  

Groot: I am Groot?

The Test Subject’s light fades away, and she falls to the floor behind Groot, unconscious. He looks down at her concerned.

Groot: I am Groot?

MODOK smiles wide.

MODOK: Not as impressive as reaching through realities, but it will serve. Collect the test subjects! Though we will require the girl again soon.

Agents run in, and use stunning devices on the still perplexed Groot to bring him into custody, pulling him and the girl away.

Meanwhile, a SHIELD scientist sheepishly steps up to the window to speak to MODOK.

Scientist: Uh, Sir- Are you sure about that.

MODOK slowly whirls around to face the window.

MODOK: MODOK is certain of all things, but to what subject do you speak?

Scientist: I just meant- as you suggested earlier, it may an appropriate time to give the test subject a longer pause from the testing.

MODOK: Any pause could come at a great cost. You have enlisted me to help save this vast cosmos, and will do so as I see fit, for I am prepared to do whatever is necessary for the fate of existence.

Scientist: Well…okay, but…

MODOK: Yet I can see that due to your human incompetence, the subject may get an extended pause yet, as we deal with the invader you have allowed in.

Scientist: Invader?

MODOK shuts his eyes and concentrates- suddenly in the viewing room, Cassie Lang reappears in full size. She holds her head in pain.

Rikki Barnes: That’s not good.

Bucky Barnes: That’s our cue.

Rikki Barnes: How are we going to fight that?

Bucky Barnes: You know, I’m not that worried about him. He takes care of himself a lot of the time. But I’d say our best bet is trying to get more than one girl out of there. You got a plan for getting us in?

Rikki Barnes: Well, I was thinking we’d have to make a bit of a crash landing…

Groot and the Test Subject are taken to the base’s prison cells- rows of glass boxes. One of the cells is already occupied- by none other than GWEN STACY, the Spider-Woman of Earth-65! She looks up at the new arrivals.

Gwen Stacy: I’m not imagining the walking tree, am I?

Groot and the Test Subject are forced into their cells.

Gwen Stacy: So, more silent treatment then? The big head got all of your tongues.

The agents ignore her once the others are locked into their cells, most of them walking away while some guards stay behind.

Gwen sighs at look over to the Test Subject, now awakening in her neighbor cell, while in the next cell over Groot remains standing, looking around in a daze.

Gwen Stacy: Got a name, big guy?

Groot: I am Groot.

Gwen Stacy: Nice to meet you, Groot.

Gwen looks down at the Test Subject.

Gwen Stacy: So, he got you to bring another one over?

The Test Subject remains crouched and quiet, in inner distress. It’s not clear she even hears Gwen.

Gwen Stacy: It have been really nice if you had brought in someone they couldn’t take, like Thor or Captain Marvel or something, instead of… a plant.

Groot: I am Groot.

Gwen Stacy: But we don’t need outside help, do we? You’re powerful. I’ve seen it. You could blow this whole place up if you wanted to. If you could just…

The test subject has put her hands to her ears, continuing to tremble.

Gwen Stacy: I know it must be hard, to fight what they’re doing to you, but you can fight it.

Groot bends down in his cell.There’s a small sliver of space at the bottom in between their glass containers. Groot is able to extend and just fit his branches through this sliver into the test subject’s cell, where they then reach up to pet her back.

Groot: I am Groot.

Gwen Stacy: That’s… interesting.

There’s a sudden BAM! from elsewhere in the base.

Groot: I am Groot!

Gwen Stacy: Was that… a plane crash?

Their guards run off to see what’s going on.

Gwen Stacy: Whatever that was, I think this might be our chance.

Cassie Lang continues her face off with MODOK and his fellowship of SHIELD agents. She doesn’t have much of a problem taking down the agents as MODOK watches on- shooting her blasters, dodging their hits by shrinking, picking up some computers and breaking them against them. As Cassie finishes the last of her attackers off…

MODOK: I shall act as exterminator myself if i must.

He shoots a beam to break the glass window, then directs one at Cassie. She avoids being struck by quickly flying in circles around MODOK. She sends a blast at MODOK to distract him as she shrinks and takes cover behind a chair.

Cassie Lang: While we’re at this, I’ve got some questions for that big brain of yours.

MODOK: Ask if you must, but you won’t live to hear any answers!

Cassie leaps away from the chair just as MODOK sends a destructive beam down at it.

Cassie Lang: Your aim is pretty bad for being some kind of supercomputer. But I didn’t come just to embarrass you. I came to find out what you did to my dad.

MODOK: Your father? Let’s see if I can recall him among all the insignificant humans I have dealt it.

Cassie Lang: Maybe this will help with jogging your memory.

She sends a pair of blasts to his heads and she continues to elude his beams by quick flight.

Cassie Lang: Did you hurt him or not, ugly?

MODOK: It is irrelevant if I did or did not. MODOK has never been  interested in the fate of puny individuals And now MODOK has a higher, noble purpose- and MODOK is prepared to hurt any who come in the way of it.

He blasts at her- narrowly missing Cassie, but knocking out her wings. She shrinks to lower the impact as she takes a great fall to the floor. While scurrying to find cover, she speaks into her radio.

Cassie Lang: You guys still coming or not.

As they step out of the Quinjet they’ve crashed into the base with…

Rikki Barnes: Just hold on Cassie, we’re on it.

Bucky steps out of the crash rubbing his head,

Rikki Barnes: You solid, gramps?

Bucky Barnes: Next time we do this, let’s come up with something resembling an actual plan.

Rikki Barnes: So you’re up for a next time, then?

Suddenly a hoard of SHIELD agents running towards them, the first arriving in full tactical gear. The pair of Barnes brandish their guns and run to meet. Despite being outnumbered, they easily blow through most of them- until Rikki’s gun gets knocked away from her. Bucky turns his head back while battling two standing agents to see her being cornered by a trio of agents. With single kick, Bucky sends his foes into the backs of two of Rikki’s-  making them all stumble to the ground. Then, with his metal arm he grabs the third’s neck of pushes his head into the wall. Rikki and Bucky proceed to knock out the men who remain conscious on the ground. Bucky picks up Rikki’s gun and hands it to her.

Bucky Barnes: Hey… stop calling me gramps.

Rikki Barnes: I’ll think about it.

Their moment is interrupted when a single female agent enters their vision…

Woman: Barnes!

Why… it’s DAISY JOHNSON, the superpowered agent also known as Quake. Bucky quickly says to Rikki…

Bucky Barnes: Run back, try to find another way to Cassie.

Rikki nods and heads off.

Bucky Barnes: Agent Johnson, I didn’t really figure to see you here.

Daisy Johnson: What the hell do you think you’re doing Barnes?

Bucky Barnes: Apparently I’m here to save a little girl from SHIELD. Maybe you can clear some things up for me, because I’m pretty confused by a lot of what I’ve seen today.

Daisy Johnson: I agree that you must be really confused, Barnes.

She begins raising her arms, prepared to face off with the Winter Soldier.

The SHIELD guards come running back into the area.

Agent 1: Holy frick! The Winter Soldier’s here! And some redhead!

Agent 3: Redheads are always the worst!

Agent 2: What do we do?

Agent 3: Nothing! MODOK and Quake can handle the intruders. We’re better of staying nice and safe here.

Agent 1: But they’ll call us out afterwards for avoiding the fighting!

Agent 3:And we’ll say we were just keeping at our post like responsible SHIELD agents.

Agent 2: Yes! And then we’ll get to make fun of them for getting their asses kicked like a bunch of redshirts.

Agent 1: Hopefully they’ll have caught it all on camera.

Agent 2: This is the best plan!

Gwen Stacy: So you folks do speak, then?

They take notice of the Spider-captive- and the fact that that she is hanging upside down from the top of the cell, in some kind of web cocoon. 

Gwen Stacy: Surprisingly, you all sound very… middle school. Holy frick?

Agent 3: What… what are you doing? 

Gwen Stacy: None of your business. But it might be bad news for you.

Agent 2: Is she… metamorphosing?

Agent 1: Do spiders do that? 

Gwen Stacy: In this universe does SHIELD not, like, have its agents pass tests? Uh- well, anyway, go ahead. Just watch. I’m sure your superiors won’t think you were idiots for doing nothing about this.

Agent 3 looks around, conflicted, then turns to his back-ups.

Agent 3: You two, keep your blasters pointed at her. I’m opening the door.

Carefully, he unlocks the cell, and pushes the door open. Gwen remains perfectly still. Agent 3’s back ups step forward into the cell to block any potential exit from it.

Agent 2: So… what should we do now?

Suddenly, Groot shoots his branches across the floor into Gwen’s cell, where they wrap around the agents legs and trip them forward. Gwen extremely quickly unwinds her wb cocoon- and as it unwinds, it wraps the agents up and sticks them to the floor! She leaps over them, and shoots another web to pull Agent 3’s key towards her. She runs to unlock Groot and the Test Subject’s cel. While Groot quickly moves out, the Test Subject remains seated on the floor of her cell- emotionally unresponsive to what has taken place. Gwen enters the cell and bends down to her level.

Gwen Stacy: Hey, c’mon, we’re getting out of here. And maybe kicking MODOK’s butt on the way out. Well, if he had one, we could.

Groot comes up, and offers his hand.

Groot: I am Groot.

The Test Subject nervously looks up at him, before accepting his hand and getting up.

Gwen Stacy: You’ve got a name?

Test Subject: Kendra. Kendra Freeman.

Gwen Stacy: Stellar.

As the trio make their way out of the containment area, Gwen turns her head back to the webbed-up SHIELD agents.

Gwen Stacy: Hey, maybe the footage of that will be funny enough for SHIELD to upload to Youtube.

Rikki Barnes has returned to inside the crashed Quinjet, and is working the crafts’ controls.

Rikki Barnes: So, girl, I know I let you get beat up pretty bad. But if I’ve tracked Cassie’s movements through this place right, I only need one shot out of you.

The quinjet lights up…

Rikki Barnes: I just hope I don’t make this whole place come down on us or something… Let’s kick it, baby.

ZOOM! And with that, the quinjet goes ramming through the walls in front of it.

Will Cassie Lang survive her clash with MODOK? How will Rikki Barnes be able to rescue her from his clutches? Who will win the battle between the Winter Soldier and Quake? And who the heck is Kendra Freeman?

The answers, dear reader, await in the next issue of The Invaders

The Invaders #2: “Timely Heroes!”