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Assault On 42

Season Two, Episode 42



  Story by Christopher Yost, Joshua Fine, Michael Ryan

Written by Brian Reed

Summary Thor, Wasp, Ms. Marvel, and Captain America are escorting Whirlwind to a cell within the 42 prison via the gateway in the Baxter Building.  As they escort him to his cell, the lights flicker.  In the background, the Leader is ranting about voices in his head.

They deposit Whirlwind in his cell, and encounter Clay Quartermain, who has been assigned to investigate the power fluxuations and the Leader's strange rantings.  Quartermain suggests they return to the main control room so that the prisoners won't be disturbed by their conversation.

The Leader has recently taken to ranting about something outside wanting to get in; Quartermain informs the Avengers that 42 doesn't have any external sensors because they hadn't needed them prior to this, but by using Mandroid sensors they did find a few unidentifieable blips on the sensors. 

Power fails again, and the emergency backup power kicks in; the prison cells are contained.  Quartermain goes to investigate, accompanied my Captain America and Ms. Marvel.  Down at the affected junction, they find that something has eaten through the power conduit.

Wasp and Thor investigate a scream; a SHIELD agent has found the creature, who has trashed the control room, breaking the gateway controls; the door won't open until the next shift of guards arrive from the other side.  The warden has been taken prisoner, and the bug is trying to escape to the outside.

Before the Avengers can recover the warden, more bugs attack.  As Thor and Ms. Marvel follow the escaping bugs outside, the observe that the station is under attack by a swarm of hundreds of the bugs.  Trapped outside, Thor and Ms. Marvel fight the incoming swarm as the others make preparations.  The doors open, revealing Thor and Ms. Marvel, who survived the first wave of the bug attackers. 

The Avengers and Quartermain regroup at the control center.  Sensors have been restored, revealing a huge swarm of the bugs outside the super-prison, completely surrounding them.  The bugs seem to be waiting for something.  If the bugs take the station, then nothing will stop the bugs from swarming into Earth when the shift change arrives in less than an hour.  Captain America stipulates that they will blow up the gateway from this side rather than allow the alien bugs to escape into Earth.  In order to make their last stand, the Avengers take volunteers from the prisoners, as their lives are also at risk; the Leader, several AIM drones, the Abomination, the Radioactive Man, the Absorbing Man, Whirlwind, Blizzard, the Executioner, and Captain Marvel join the defenders.

While they prepare, Thor tells the Executioner about the Enchantress being controlled by Surtur.  Thor promises that if the Executioner fights honorably here, that Thor will see that he has a chance to help Thor rescue the Enchantress.

Captain America deploys the defenders, with Wasp, the Radioactive Man, and the Absorbing Man acting as a strategic reserve to cover their retreat, if necessary.  The control room is the final stand, if worse comes to worst, where Ms. Marvel and the SHIELD agents will make the last defense before blowing the gateway to Earth.

The bugs arrive, swarming the defenders. Annihilus shows up, controlling the bugs with a control wand of sorts. Several AIM drones fall, as does Blizzard.  The Abomination carries the stricken Leader clear.

The front line falls back to the second choke point, where the Radioactive Man, Wasp, and the Absorbing Man cover their retreat to the cell block.

In the cell block, the bugs swarm the defenders in wave after wave. Captain America sends the SHIELD agents to the control center, and the Abomination and the Leader head there with them.  The Avengers attack Annihilus, but are unable to damage him.

In the control room, the Leader attempts to disrupt the energy shields Annihilus is using.  The defenders take advantage of that to down Annihilus, and seperate him from his control wand; without it, the bugs turn on Annihilus instead.  The bugs flee, leaving the 42 prison heavily damaged but with the inhabitants intact.

Captain America greets the SHIELD shift change at the gateway.  "Welcome to 42"

  This episode reminds me of some of the classic space-horror movies, like Alien/Aliens, Black Hole, and others.  In space, nobody can hear you say "Avengers Assemble"!

* The bugs under Annihilus' control remind me of the alien race, the Brood, from the X-Men franchise.

* Interesting that the Negative Zone seems to have breathable atmosphere and enough pressure that hull breaches don't have to deal with explosive decompression.

 * This is my favorite Executioner moment, reminiscent of his "last stand" against the hordes of Hela in the comics.