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Tony? Last resort; Spider-man? (talking to himself) Ok, let’s take a couple steps back, Kurt. What do you remember last? Captain Rogers pointed at Doom, told me to teleport and I did…now I’m here…Great! I know nothing…(Looking around) This does not look like Latveria. And I am certain Doom Castle was my last known location… There isn’t even anything here, no buildings, villages, not even a McDonald’s! I really pray that my powers are not on the fritz because I did not teleport here…Ok, I am going to try and teleport over to that cliff, see if I end up there or.... somewhere else. (Crosses his heart, saying a quick prayer and Teleports) Well, that worked just fine, but why am I in this desert wasteland?! (Hanging upside down on the cliff) Although this cliff provides a beautiful scenic view of the ocean…..(Light bulb!) The ocean? Wait, why am I near the ocean? And where is everyone else? Are we all scattered around here? Ok, Kurt, WWJD? He would take the initiative to go and find his comrades, seeing as how I am at the edge of the ocean, I should probably start looking that way (Points opposite direction of the ocean) Thank God I don’t have to walk (teleports) Cut Scene to: Somewhere in a holding cell Spider-man Uhhh, anyone else wondering why Frank Castle, The Punisher, is here with us?! Hellstrom He musta been here before we got here. Punisher I’m right here you jackasses, why don’t you just ask me yourselves? No, I arrived here the same time you did. Cap Why the hell are you here, Castle? Punisher You think I know any more than you do at this point?...Sir. Cap No, I mean why are you here with us? I don’t remember seeing you around when we landed in Latveria. Ironman
Landed? Punisher & Cap Shut up, Stark. Spider-man (Aside to Tony) No, I’m with you, if he considers that a landing, what the hell does he consider a crash?! Ironman I change my mind, it was a landing, what happened to you not being able to talk? Spider-man No wonder the public hates me. I can’t even get my own superhero peers to be nice to me, are you sure you’re not J. Jonah Jameson under that monkey suit? (Doom enters) Doom Welcome to my Kingdom, where I am the law. Hellstrom Helluva welcome. You make all your guests where shackles? Prick. Doom Ahh, yes, the son of Satan, am I correct? Spider-man (aside to Tony) Wonder what gave it away, the pentagram scarred into his chest? Ironman What makes you think I want to hear every little side comment that pops into your head? Hellstrom (Back to Doom) Yeah, that’s right. And I already spoke to my old man, says he’s got a special place reserved for you, fully furnished with giant spikes, fire pits and all sorts of torcher devises ready to &%$# you if you even try and take a shit the wrong way. Doom Big words for an unarmed demon in enchanted chains. But a man who has gained immortality has no intention of going to hell, and I happen to know that you and your father are not on speaking terms. Perks of making a hell of a deal with the devil (smiles).
Cap Immortal? I’ve heard plenty of you super-villains make the same claim, still hasn’t proven true. Doom Enough. I possess all of the answers you seek. Mr. Castle is here because he has been tailing you since the beginning of your mission. Lurking in the shadows, going unnoticed, like a well-trained special ops agent should. All of you have been stripped of your weapons. Spider-man’s web shooters have been confiscated, captain; your shield remains with me as well, I always marvel at its primitive beauty. The son of Satan’s trident is in my possession, the new self-appointed god of Olympus has no weapons or armor, and of course Castle’s firearms have been destroyed. I cannot allow history to change so drastically by introducing firearms. And, as insulting as it was for you, Stark, to show up unarmed, I did confiscate from you a little book, with nothing but needless phone numbers, fool. I have searched you all extremely thoroughlySpider-man -Oh, God! I knew my seat cheeks were more sore than usual! And he’s the law?! How do I file a molestation-? Doom -Short of giving you all an enema! (Looking straight at Spidey) Don’t make me change my mind, it would not be a pleasant inspection. Cap Wait, did you say introducing firearms? WhatDoom I will return later, before your scheduled executions. That will be all for now, make yourselves comfortable until then, or as comfortable as you can. If you’re a God-fearing man, I’d start praying. (exits) Cap (Yelling after Doom) Where’s Kurt?! Ironman All right, let’s get our heads leveled here. At least he told us some things, pretty typical of a super-brain villain, they like to monologue and what not. They leave their captives alive and contained or incapacitated, giving them the opportunity or chance to make an escape (gestures to the team and their situation). This is something Doom will come to expect from us. He’s hoping that with all odds against us we will try and make a daring and optimistic escape. He’s counting on our notion of the greater good to get us into deeper trouble. So, before we start gnawing at our wrists and ankles, let’s talk calmly.
Ares This does not happen to a God, especially not the King of the Gods! What evil forces are at work here? No mortal metal can contain me! Hellstrom Weren’t you listening to scarface just a second ago? He enchanted these chains, this is magic far beyond my knowledge, I know every counter-spell in the book, and nothing has worked. Doom can’t be working alone, or if he is, he has learned more than even the Ancient One who chooses this plane’s sorcerer supreme. In a f&%$in nutshell, Doom’s stronger, but don’t ask me how. Cap All right…Well, now that that’s settled I have two burning questions. 1. Frank, why the hell have you been tailing us? And 2. Where is Kurt? Spider-man Ok, I’ve stayed quiet long enough. Those are your two burning questions?! I mean I’m concerned for Kurt too, but what about Doom talking about introducing firearms?! I don’t think the only question is where are we? I think a much more pertinent question is WHEN are we?! Ares Tis possible the elf used his mutant abilities to escape these shackles that bind. Spider-man Did no one hear me? Or just choosing to ignore me all together? Hellstrom Not likely, if these “shackles that bind” can suppress my magic and your Godly powers, they would most certainly suppress any X-gene mutations like Kurt’s teleportation. Plus, if Doom knew we were coming, he was well aware Kurt was with us and what he can do. I mean, take a look around. Notice anything? No empty shackles. I can’t be certain where Kurt is, but wherever he is, he was never here. Cap How? He was with us the entire time, we were all together when Doom transported us here, why is he the only one not here? And why is Frank Castle here? Ironman Think about it, Steve. What was Kurt doing the instant that Doom transported us….wherever this is? (Quick Flashback to previous issue of Cap yelling for Nightcrawler to teleport) Kurt teleported at the exact same moment in time Doom transported us all here. I’ve studied and
slowed down Kurt’s ability to teleport. When Kurt teleports, he instantly enters another dimension, a dimension that sits on the same physical plane as ours but operating at a much faster frequency. When Kurt enters this dimension his body is basically put on a cracked out version of a conveyor belt like you see at the airport, and he is able to subconsciously hop off whenever he wants; entering back into our dimension. It happens so fast he isn’t even aware of what happens. So, there are three possible scenarios as to what fortune our team member faced: 1Spider-man -Doom missed him all together and he wasn’t transported at all as he may have been in a dimensional limbo, and when he reappeared in Latveria we were all just missing. But working out the probabilitiesIronman That’s wishful thinking. But knowing Kurt, he probably has pretty good credit with the big guy upstairs and he could have been a very fortunate victim of divine intervention, not to be stuck in this hell hole. Hellstrom Believe me, this isn’t so bad. Ares What are the other possibilities? Cap Are you actually concerned? Ares No, I grow tired of this discussion and wish for it to come to a conclusion. Ironman Yes, because there are other, more pressing matters here. So: scenario number 2Spider-man Doom cast his little spell and it did encompass Kurt, but because of said “conveyor belt” (nice analogy there shellhead) Kurt basically entered this time like being shot out of a cannonball and is roaming around somewhere else in this time. Basically, Doom’s spell interfered with Kurt’s teleportation because when Kurt teleports he also rips into the time stream, and that means it adjusted the frequency he was traveling at even more and he missed his mark. Ironman
Thanks…But unfortunately, as bad as being stranded in God-knows-where, that’s not the worst of the scenarios.Spider-man Number 3. When he teleported, and this is just a guess because we don’t know how Doom’s spell really works, but it, again, interfered with Kurt’s teleportation and it stranded him in the other dimension. Cap All right, well before we can help him, if we even can, we need to get ourselves out of this situation. Hellstrom Wait, what about skull face over there? Anyone wondering why he was tailing us? (To the punisher) Really bit ya in the ass didn’t it? Punisher It was an assignment, but I’m not gonna say it didn’t bite me in the ass, because this sucks. Cap An assignment? Assigned by whom? Ironman That was the other thing I figured out, Steve. Who have you come into contact with lately who would pull that? Cap Fury. Punisher Bullseye. Spider-man I knew you were a lunatic, Frank, but when did you and Bullseye make amends?! Punisher Ok, bad phrasing. Yes, Fury sent me. One-eyed Jack likes to have his grimy little paws in everything.
Cap Yeah, even though he isn’t the head of SHIELD anymore, he sure has more tabs on the workings of the world than anyone else. Punisher Yeah, well, when you came looking for Ares through Fury, he felt he needed to know what the hell was going on, so presto, here I fucking am. Wait until I get back there, that sonuvabitch is gonna have a close encounter with my 45. Spider-man Fury sent a mass murderer to check up on us?! What? Was he planning on you snuffing us all out? Punisher He just needed someone who could go undetected and that he trusted. Ironman Fury trusts you? Cap Yeah, he’s never exactly been opposed to Castle’s methods. Punisher Results speak for themselves. Ares (aside to Hellstrom) Who is he? Hellstrom One of my Father’s favorite people. He sure brings in a lot of clients. Ares (putting 2 and 2 together) Ahh, he kills. Spider-man For a living. Ares
I like him already! Cut Scene: The Present, SHIELD Helicarrier Senior SHIELD Agent How the hell did Commander Rogers just fall off the grid?! Someone get me answers, now! Not two minutes from now, NOW! SHIELD Analyst His last known location was Doom Castle, Latveria. Then the radio feed completely cut out, sir. Senior SHIELD Agent I know! I was right here with the rest of you monitoring Commander Rogers and his team. How did they just disappear into thin air?! SHIELD Analyst It really isn’t that uncommon in the superhero field… Senior SHIELD Agent Get me all known and classified files on Victor Von Doom, pronto! I don’t care what level of clearance is needed to get them, this is an emergency. I will not let the most powerful man in the world disappear on my watch! Scramble a team together and get to Latveria. Have the agents bring E.V.P.s, Geiger Counters, and their S.T.C.s, I want the area scanned and analyzed for everything from gamma radiation to the bird flu. Get me answers! SHIELD Analyst Sir. Victor Von Doom is known to be a very successful technological genius and to possess very powerful magical abilities. In the magical department, we don’t have any real experts, we can only speculate at this point. Senior SHIELD Agent I don’t need speculation! I need cold hard facts, I need DATA, I need numbers, I need bold print telling me exactly what’s going on here! The head of SHIELD doesn’t just disappear, tap into the satellite video surveillance, show me what happened, get every available agent to stop whatever assignment they’re on and direct them to this. As of now, the world’s peacekeeping taskforce is on hiatus until Steve Rogers is found. Cut Scene: Back to the holding cell Cap
What’s that sound? Ironman I don’t know, sounds similar to a stampede though. Spider-man And cue horribly scarred dictator to fill us in in 3…2…1… (Doom Enters) Spider-man Contd. -Didn’t even need my spider-sense (smiles) Doom Ahh, the hour is upon us. (smiles, as much as you can in a metal mask anyways) Do you hear that? That is the sound of your imminent demise. Hellstrom Planning to stomp us to death? Doom What you should really be worried about is when the pitter-patter of little feet, stop. Ironman Ok, Doom. We’re shaking in our spandex, or in my case; a very expensive suit. Quit with the whole macho man song and dance. Obviously you’ve planned some kind of public execution for us, wouldn’t be the first time. What I want to know is: why? (Sentry steps forth, Cap rises to his feet) Cap Bob, what are you doing here? Why are you with Doom? (Sentry remains still) Spider-man I’ll admit, now I’m a little concerned… Doom (to Sentry) General, please keep an eye on our guests here until it is time for them to make their arena debut. (Doom conjures up a rack of armor, weapons and shields)
Sentry Yes, my Lord. Punisher (sarcastically, snickering) Lord? Doom (undoing the enchanted chains, they fall to the ground) I would not advise any escape attempts now that Mr.Reynolds is among your ranks. Remain subservient and you’ll live a few minutes longer. Spider-man Did you say arena? Doom Nothing gets past your keen eye, does it arachnid? (the rise of chanting gets louder and louder as the audience waits in anticipation) Ahh, hear that? Your audience grows impatient. They have a rather insatiable thirst for bloodshed. Ironman So, with all of these subtle hints you’ve been dropping I can only assume that we’re about to enter a gladiator arena. Would I be correct in that assumption? Doom Stark, you’ve never known real glory until you have engaged in actual hand to hand combat to the death. Think of it as your first true fight for your life. Ares (Ares examining the weapons and helmets) These inscriptions, on the weapons, they are familiar. Doom You should recognize the literature of your glory days. A time when you actually were revered as a God. Punisher
Are you telling me that we’re in ancient Greece? (in disbelief) Doom Assassin, you are the only one among us who has not attained the stature to address me directly. Punisher Well, beg pardon, your f&%$in highness. (Cap holding Punisher back from going after doom) Doom May want to save your strength, seeing as how you are the only one without any real powers. You will be the first to die.(exits) Sentry Choose your weapons. Spider-man I’m really not used to wielding any sort of weapon…no chance you guys have some ancient web-shooters? (Sentry stays his look) HA! Of course not…guess I’ll be unoriginal and just use the traditional sword. (thinking to himself) May want something to protect my big ol’ brain too! (grabs a helmet) Ares (Cap goes to look for some artillery, but before he can) Captain! This may suit your liking! (throws him a round Spartan shield) How does the craftsmanship compare, eh? Cap The weight is a little lighter than I’m used to, but the weight distribution is spot on. I think I can adjust (smiles) Hellstrom (Picks up a spear and some body armor) Well, I’ve got what I need. Punisher (Completely loads up on weapons but no armor: A sword in his hand, a shield on the same arm, two daggers in his belt, a spear in his free hand) Yep. Ares
What? No axes?! Ha! This may be somewhat of a challenge after all! (grabs a shield and a chain mace) Stark! What will be your killing tool of choice?! Ironman (Eyeing Sentry) I refuse. (All in awe except Spider-man who knows that all the time sitting there has given his armor a chance to recharge) So, Reynolds, how does this go? Sentry If you do not choose a weapon at all then I would say rather quickly. Ironman Cute. Cap (to spider-man) Pete, can I talk to you? (pulls him aside) Spider-Man What’s up Cappy? Cap Look, I know you and how you like to operate. Well within the confines of a hero, but today may prove to be different. You may be faced with something you’re uncomfortable with today, something most of us are uncomfortable with. Spider-Man What are you getting at, Steve? Getting a rash from the ol’ tights? I don’t have any goldboCap -Today, you may be faced with the decision to take a life. And, I know that is something you don’t do and its something I’ve always respected about ya, Pete. But I also don’t want to see that moral occupation stop you from coming back home. Spider-Man Thanks for the concern, Steve. Truly. But I’ve made it this far, I think I’ll be just fine. Plus, Ares over there doesn’t seem to be opposed at all, so I can let him make the final slice! Cap
I hope you’re right. I don’t want you to be forced into doing anything like that because I know it changes a person. And aside from all your little snide remarks, I do like ya, Parker (smiles). But this is a gladiator arena (I think) so you may not have time to make calculated decisions. Just reiterating what I said at the beginning of this mission; go with your instincts. Spider-Man Thanks, Cap. I’m not killing anyone today, and no one on this team is going to meet their maker either, we’re a team. And that means letting someone else do your dirty work for you! Cap Always with the jokes, kid, even when everything is on the line. Kinda remind me of a nicer Bucky (smirks). We will be looking to subdue our adversaries (looking at Castle and Ares) well most of us. I don’t want to have to kill anyone either, between our combined efforts, hopefully the casualties will be minimal, we’ll go in as a team and come out as one. Sentry Very touching, Captain. But you will not be going in together. King Doom has already decided who will enter the arena and when. Hellstrom Great, can’t say I’m surprised though, did we really expect Doom to let us have a fair fight? Sentry He intends for you to die. Spider-man Ooooh, good! For a second I got confused as to why I was being held prisoner and forced to carry a weapon. Hellstrom (aside to Spider-man) You as surprised as I am that Ares is so calm with Sentry in punching distance? Spider-man This will be the only time I ever say this; but I think Ares is a little smarter and calculating than we give him credit for. He is the master of warfare…I’m sure he has some sort of plan, biding his time? Sentry
Captain, assassin, you two are the first to enter the arena… (The gates open and Sentry shoves Captain America and the Punisher forward. The sunlight blinds them for a second as the shouting from the crowd fills their entire body. The entire stadium is vibrating and they can feel it throughout their bodies. Cap gets in a combat stance with his shield at the ready whilst Punisher puts his shield on his back and has his sword and spear at the ready. Doom enters and the crowd gets louder. He enters into the box reserved for royalty. Doom holds his hand and thumb out and hesitates as the crowd gets louder, they almost sound like savage barbarians at this point. Cap’s eyes are fixed on Doom, confident. Punisher stands, in a manner that he already knows his fate and doesn’t care (he is no stranger to death) Doom makes no little speech, not typical, and turns his thumb down, the audience is out of control, wild.) End of issue #6
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