Cover Date: March 2010
Release Date: January 20, 2010
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Andrea DiVito
Colorist: Bruno Hang
Letterer: VC's Cory Petit
Assistant Editor: Rachel Pinnelas
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Artist: Brandon Peterson
Title: "Riddle of the Sphinx
Part Two: The Book of the Dead"
Sensing the hero's unease, Mr. Fantastic comes up to Nova and tells him that, no matter how much he wants to, he can't tell his former girlfriend about her own future. He reminds Rich that everyone in their group has been taken from different time periods and they must all be careful not to unravel temporal continuity.
Reed Richards informs Namorita of their situation and how it is the work of the Sphinx. She also learns they are not actually in ancient Egypt. The group is in a mystically generated environment created by the Sphinx to resemble Egypt. Suddenly, the desert turns dark and lightning erupts around the nearby pyramid. The Sphinx has arrived in a chariot pulled by flying lions surrounded by flying bug-like creatures!
The heroes quickly take to the skies and begin battling the villain's horde of insectoids. Black Bolt and Dr. Richards attack one side and Nova and Namorita fight another group. During the heated battle, Namorita begins questioning Nova's new uniform and powers. Rich sidesteps the questions and they focus on getting to the young and powerful Sphinx.
However, the numbers become overwhelming and the group of heroes retreat inside the pyramid. Black Bolt drives them back with a sonic blast and Nova holds them off with a gravimetric shield. They come to a blocked passage but Reed senses there is a magical power source behind the wall. Before he can finish translating the writing on the wall, Mr. Fantastic is blasted by a powerful beam of energy! As the team rush to help the fallen scientist, Darkhawk's amulet begins to react to the mysterious energy. Without warning, the enormous doors open and the entire team of superheroes is knocked unconscious by the powerful energy that is released.
Sometime later, Nova finds himself dreaming about an altered reality. He sees himself with Namorita and is able to change the events which happened in the real universe. Nova prevents his girlfriend's death and also stops the civil war of superheroes. As a result, the young hero is about to warn Dr. Richards of the Skrull's secret invasion plans and together they stop the infiltration. In return, the Avengers and Fantastic Four join Nova in stopping the Annihilation War and the eventual War of Kings is avoided.
Nova's friend, Darkhawk, revives from the energy blast to find the other heroes are entangled in an energy web in a dreamlike state. He attempted to wake up Nova Prime but to no avail. Inside the energy web, the dreaming heroes find their own altered worlds to be as blissful as Nova's. Reed Richards did not go into space with his teammates and become the Fantastic Four which allowed him to live a normal life. Black Bolt's world finds the Inhumans in peaceful relations with mankind and his parents are alive. Namorita's peaceful life is shattered as Darkhawk is finally able to jolt her awake. Suddenly, they all find themselves free of the energy web.
Richard Rider believes someone is trying to tempt them and show that time can be rewritten. Before they can continue, the heroes look at their surroundings and are stunned to see a magical world in space near the Fault! The area consists of floating pyramids and two Sphinx monuments facing each other with red energy beams coming from their heads. At the base of one of the sphinxes, the group discovers an extremely aged Sphinx sitting on a throne connected to machinery inside the monument.
Nova demands answers from his old enemy who agrees to give them. The feeble Egyptian explains that he has been dying for a long time from temporal cancers caused by his constant manipulations of time. He could no longer travel to other time periods and was locked in the present. The Fault changed his situation and gave him the chance to alter his own history. The Sphinx created a mystical construction in order to heal and attempt to purge his timeline of temporal diseases. The timeless villain brought a younger version of himself through time to convince him to change his life and avoid his mistakes.
Suddenly, an energy blast interrupts the explanation! The young Sphinx has arrived and tells the heroes he refuses to listen to the warning of his older self. He reveals his own plans for the ancient Sphinx. The young Egyptian intends to kill his older counterpart and take his Ka Stone in order to join it with his own. Under normal circumstances, two Ka Stones cannot exist at the same time, however the unique energies of the Fault make it possible. With the two magical stones, the young Sphinx plans to become a powerful god and reshape the universe in his own image!
The older Sphinx retaliates and creates an energy shield around himself and the heroes. He informs them that the two versions of himself are too evenly matched and neither can win alone. That is the reason he brought this particular group of superheroes together. They each have defeated him in the past and he believes they can defeat the younger Sphinx before he destroys reality.
The young version of the powerful Egyptian responds to the threat by bringing his own team through time! The heroes from Earth suddenly find themselves facing villains who each possess a gem from the Lifestone Tree!