New Avengers #21

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In the Wakandan Necropolis, the ghost of T'Chaka confronted his living son, asking why Namor's actions against Wakanda's people had not been met with his murder. T'Challa had responded by saying he still needed Namor to fulfill an end. T'Chaka said that as he was, he saw only what is and is not, and could not predict or emote. T'Chaka demanded his son exact vengeance. And that while a king may grant a criminal mercy, it brings nothing but tragedy in the end.

On the Earth of the Great Society, today, the Illuminati watch in horror. Stephen Strange has used the darkest of magics to summon a vampiric tentacle mass to kill this world's heroes. Worried for their friend, the Illuminati combine their skills to power a repulsor blast to stun him back to normal.

In the confusion, Sun God tries to free the Rider, who admits that he was wrong, before they both succumb to the tentacles.

In the Illuminati's base, Maximus the Mad has a theory he wants to run past Black Swan. Knowing that he will talk regardless, she smiles cryptically, and is proved right. Based on his research into all the previous missions of the Black Swans, Maximus has come to the conclusion that they persistently recruit heroes when they find an Earth, presumably because they will be motivated by a simple morality with clear limits. On this Earth, however, and quite by accident, Black Swan has recruited kings. Kings do not serve a simple morality, but are rather bound by an ever-shifting mass of obligation that requires them to be more, do more, to protect their people from things their people steadfastly refuse to educate themselves about.

On the other Earth, the Illuminati gather around their bomb. It is intact. With it, they can blow up this world and save both universes. Still alive, Sun God begs them to reconsider, but they say they cannot. They offer him asylum on their Earth, and he says he would rather they with his friends. They commiserate, and fly back to their world.

The Illuminati then argue about what to do with the bomb. Mister Fantastic, Bruce Banner and Beast all refuse to activate it on moral grounds, Tony Stark will not because he already faced the karmic toll of building the thing, and Stephen Strange s still drained from the diablery he wrought on the Great Society.

Black Panther picks up the detonator. As he delays pressing the button, the ghost of his father comes to him demanding action. It was the job of the Black Panthers to protect the kingdom in life. Now their power flows through T'Challa as King of the Dead, but now, by the compact between ruler and ruled, they demand he activate the bomb and save the kingdom. It is not just, but it is required of him.

Black Panther holds up the detonator... and puts it down again. He cannot. Enraged, T'Chaka strips him of his kingdom, of his people, and of his post as King of the Dead. As far as T'Chaka is concerned, he has no son.

In the silence that follows, Mister Fantastic goes to comfort his friend. Namor picks up the detonator. He admits that while he has known peers, he has never met a man he respected as truly greater than himself, but that this situation dwarfs him. A king who cannot protect his people is not worthy of being king. A king held back by morality creates a limit on his protecting strength.

Namor presses the detonator. Above him, a planet called Earth explodes in the evening sky...

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