|Secret Avengers #3|
Cover Date: September 2010
Release Date: July 28, 2010
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Production: Mayela Gutierrez
Associate Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Artist: Marko Djurojevic
Title: "Secret Histories Part Three"
He informs the major that the man they were trailing had simply disappeared. Thorndrake and his men follow the soldier to the area where the Union soldier had vanished. It was at this point that Aloysius Thorndrake was touched by the Abyss.
In the present, Ant-Man finds himself falling through time and space! The experience is making him feel sick.
On Mars, Steve Rogers and the Beast find themselves confronting a large armored being. The former Captain America explains they don't have the Serpent Crown and suggests they talk about the situation.
The attacker agrees. However, before they can begin their conversation, the three men hear the WorldMind calling for their attention through Nova's helmet! The WorldMind offers to give them information about the Serpent Crown that they are looking for. The Beast is fascinated that the artificial sentience contained in Nova's helmet called the armored being a "construct".
Suddenly, Commander Rogers receives a call from Valkyrie. She informs him that her group has located Nova but he appears to be possessed by the Serpent Crown. The Asgardian quickly knocks out a number of the Shadow Council soldiers under Nova's command.
As Valkyrie lands next to her fellow Avengers who have been knocked unconscious by Richard Rider, she turns to find herself facing the human rocket. She tells Steve Rogers that she will hold off their possessed teammate until the rest of the group can arrive. However, her sword attack is halted in mid-air by Nova and punches her so hard she is sent flying across the Martian landscape!
Nova leaves his unconscious foe to rejoin the Shadow Council soldiers. He is told by one of the men that the others cannot breathe as their oxygen feeds had been cut by Valkyrie's sword. Without hesitation, Richard Rider uses his power to generate an oxygen atmosphere on the planet! He then instructs them grateful soldiers to go back to work.
Elsewhere, Steve Rogers tells War Machine to meet them at Valkyrie's coordinates. Rhodey informs the commander that Ant-Man is missing and he cannot locate his signal anywhere.
Back on Earth in Texas, an alarm has gone off at a Shadow Council citadel. Two soldiers search the area for an intruder but detect no one. One of the men orders a diagnostic check on the equipment while he reports to Director Thorndrake of the false alarm. However, it turns out the equipment was working properly and the soldiers simply didn't detect Ant-Man. The diminutive hero had come through the citadel's Vanishing Point portal and hid in a higher area of the facility.
In Director Thorndrake's office, Aloysius and Nick Fury discuss the latest situations involving the Serpent Crown. Fury believes the Mars operation is coming apart around them. Thorndrake agrees that allowing Roxxon to dig on the planet was a mistake. He does point out that they were able to uncover one of the Serpent Crowns.
Agent Fury asks the director to let them fully examine the crown before it can do more damage. The leader of the Shadow Council reveals to Fury that he knows more about the crown than anyone knows. That includes never wearing the crown even for an instant. However, he does agree things have gotten too unstable on Mars and orders Fury to prepare the 9th Legion.
Back on Mars, the armored construct educates Steve Rogers and Hank McCoy on the risk posed by Nova and the crown. He reveals that Richard is attempting to break the seal and awaken the Darkest Child. The child will then free his brothers who, in turn, will revive their father from his otherworldly prison. The construct further informs the Secret Avengers that the Darkest Child's father is billions of years old and extremely dangerous.
The armored giant mentions the reason he and his fellow Archons were created was to prevent the escape of the Darkest Child's father. Their creation was billions of years ago when, as the Archon states, "the stars went out and came again". The father is also known as the Abyss.
Archon reveals that Abyss has been in a state of slumber even before the Celestials and Galactus were known. During this time, the beings known as the Watchers built the Archons to guard against the arrival of Abyss.
The team arrive at Valkyrie's location and find the Asgardian alive. The Beast discovers the Martian atmosphere has been changed and now contains oxygen. Archon explains that the Darkest Child's power (through the Serpent Crown) allowed Nova to restore the original atmosphere to Mars. When questioned by Commander Rogers, he confirms that Mars once had oxygen, forests and large cities. However, a millennia ago, three of the planet's inhabitants who had been touched by Abyss created the three Serpent Crowns. The crowns allowed them to channel the power of the Dark Children which resulted in the planet being decimated.
The armored construct informs Steve that his Archon brothers were destroyed in the battle before they were finally able to achieve victory. Steve Rogers makes it clear to Archon that Richard Rider is not to be killed. The giant being ignored the former Captain America's demand and flies down to confront Nova. The possessed hero turns a delivers incredibly powerful punch which sends Archon smashing hard into the side of a Martian mountain!
Steve and War Machine run to the fallen construct. Archon admits his body has been so severely damaged that it cannot repair itself in time to stop Nova. Commander Rogers points out that he was built to fight the Dark Children.
The fallen giant concludes that Richard Rider's Nova Force has made the Serpent Crown's wearer unstoppable!