Issue(s): Avengers #385, Avengers #386
This is a prelude to the Taking AIM crossover with Captain America. Black Widow meets Ivan Petrovitch, who has been tracking an unnamed organization. He's detected activity from them in Canada and the Caribbean, and Widow says she'll take the Avengers to investigate Canada. After she leaves, Petrovitch is captured by someone in golden armor.
Meanwhile, Quicksilver and Crystal are trying to break their way into the mysterious trans-temporal door in the Avengers' basement, something that Deathcry finds boring.
A burst of flame discourages them from investigating the door further. The four page sequence includes one full splash page of a flame, another half splash page of a flame, and no forward movement on this subplot.
Later, the Avengers (Black Widow, Crystal, Quicksilver, and Hercules) head to Canada in a Quinjet. SHIELD are tracking their movements, and Nick Fury and Dum Dum Dugan aren't happy about where the Avengers are going.
He tries to call the Avengers but only Deathcry is at home and she only relays the info to Widow. Deathcry also tells her that Ivan has gone missing.
The Avengers arrive at their destination: a crater. Residual EMP activity forces them to go the rest of the way on foot. They enter the crater and find the Red Skull and an unconscious Ivan.
Between issues we go from John Buscema to Angel Medina.
A sting blast from the Black Widow causes a cave-in, causing the Red Skull to get buried and then disappear. A point is made to show how Hercules is weakened now that his father has taken away his immortality. Black Knight heads back to the Quinjet to get a medpack for Ivan. Hercules continues to explore the facility inside the crater and finds what appears to be Captain America. But it's really the Red Skull using a holographic projector, and he surprises Herc, knocking him out with an energy blast. The Red Skull then attacks the remaining Avengers.
Black Widow holds out the best, but it's possible that the Skull is keeping her conscious because she knows something about the facility. Red Skull eventually leaves. The Widow gets the wounded back to Avengers Mansion, where the real Captain America shows up.
A subplot shows a similar facility in the Caribbean. Someone dies in the facility, triggering an explosion. A secret agent reports to a "master" that "thieves" are on the island.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Based on last issue, Ivan's call to Black Widow probably happened yesterday (there's always the possibility their meeting got delayed). This is the prelude to Taking AIM, but since this shows Captain America arriving at Avengers mansion, this takes place before Captain America #439, and then the crossover officially starts with Captain America #440.
Nick Fury is alive.
Crossover: Taking AIM
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showBlack Widow, Captain America, Crystal, Deathcry, Dum Dum Dugan LMD, Hercules, Ivan Petrovitch, Nick Fury, Quicksilver, Red Skull
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