Cover Date: June 2010
Release Date: April 21, 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: Mike Deodato
Iron Man By Design Variant Artist:
John Tyler Christopher
As they put a massive piece of equipment down onto the main assembly platform, the human rocket begins asking his friend if he had discovered any useful information about the Fault during his journey through it. Quasar mentions that there wasn't anything revealed however he expresses his optimism that new tests will be able to help.
The quantum hero changes the subject and begins talking about Namorita and that her journey through time may produce a dangerous quantum anomaly. Richard Rider explains that it seems that all super heroes come back from the dead at some point. He reminds Wendell that he was once dead and came back. The leader of the Nova Corps asks him if he remembers that, upon his return to the living, they shared the Quasar powers while they fought Ego.
Rich then asks his quantum-based friend how he was able to return from the dead. Quasar mentions his theory that the energies of the Fault allowed him to reform his quantum body. Nova reveals that he heard the same theory last night from the true Quasar who was on the Shi'Ar homeworld.
With his deception uncovered, the fake Wendell Vaughn fires an energy blast at Rich. The young Earth hero was ready and deflects it with a gravimetric shield. Nova then responds with an energy blast which knocks Quasar through nearby equipment. As he presses his attack, the Nova Prime contacts Darkhawk and tells him that their cover has been exposed.
The former New Warrior mentions he is on Sub-Vault 77 and has located the mysterious energy source that the WorldMind had detected. Christopher Powell is stunned to find a large portal crackling with energy and a large tentacled creature attempting to come through it!
Darkhawk turns to see Director Gruenwald and a squad of troops. The leader of Project Pegasus looks at the armored hero with red possessed eyes and tells his armed men to kill Chris.
Meanwhile, Nova punches the fake Quasar away and flies down to assist a fallen Dr. Necker. He discovers that the red-headed scientist has also been taken over by an evil force. Suddenly a trio of Pegasus's protectors, the Guardsmen, attack Nova with lethal force. The blasts are blocked by a gravimetric shield but the fake Wendell hits Rich with a quantum tentacle. He asks Nova Prime if he ever had a plan before he came to the facility.
Six hours earlier, on the Resolute Duty, Namorita asks Nova and Darkhawk if they have a plan to invade Pegasus. Rich jokes that they are just going to break in and demand answers. The young Atlantean comments how much more mature the human rocket has become.
Nova asks the WorldMind to begin the briefing of the Nova Corps. The protector of Xandarian culture informs the Corps that, several hours ago, the Project Pegasus facility went into a lockdown mode and the only response to communication attempts is a recorded message. The recording states they are in a routine quarantine following the return of Quasar. Rich reminds everyone that the quantum-based hero had been on a fact-finding mission into the Fault which Pegasus had organized along with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
However, the WorldMind (in the holographic form of Ko-Rel) was surprised to receive another message nineteen minutes ago from Quasar. His message is a warning to Richard that the Fault contains the worst evil he has ever encountered. Nova's friend also reveals that the world inside the spacial/temporal rift is home to demonic doppelgangers of themselves.
With the revelation of an evil version of Quasar on Earth, the heroes begin planning their next move. The WorldMind informs the group that a tiny but significant trace of exotic energy is coming from Project Pegasus and is also scanning the solar system for something unknown to them. Nova decides he and Darkhawk will invade the scientific facility. He orders Zan Philo to stay on the Resolute Duty with the Nova Corps and monitor the Fault. If he detects any kind of activity, Rich wants Zan to contact him, the real Quasar and Peter Quill.
Back in the present, Dark Quasar and the Guardsmen continue their attack on Nova Prime. As he deflects their blasts with a shield, Richard reveals that Darkhawk, the former security chief of Pegasus, has provided him with the override codes for the Guardsman suits! As the WorldMind broadcasts the signal, the armored attackers find their suits rendered useless. The strategy allows Rich to blast the Fault's champion with a powerful blast of Nova Force!
With the evil Wendell down, Nova places Dr. Necker inside a gravity bubble. The possessed doctor begins ranting about the approach of the undying lord who will give the gifts bestowed to him by the Many-Angled Ones. Suddenly, the red-headed scientist collapses! As Nova suspected, his gravity bubble prevented the creature attached to the doctor from getting commands from its master. The small organic monster falls from Dr. Necker's neck and is quickly disintegrated by Richard Rider.
Eve reveals to Rich that something is coming to their universe from deep inside the Fault. Whatever the being is, it wants to expand and conquer everything. The attractive scientist tells the young hero that she is glad he returned to Project Pegasus. Before Nova and the doctor can continue their intimate conversation, the WorldMind interrupts to announce that the exotic energy source has begun to spike.
Nova Prime attempts contacting Darkhawk but the contact is lost after Chris tells Rich he needs help on Level 77. The human rocket grabs the doctor and they fly down to his ally's location. As they head down the corridors, Dr. Necker explains that Dark Quasar was using Pegasus's resources to construct a detection device called a Horrorscope. She noticed that the evil Wendell seemed afraid of whatever it was he was searching for with the instrument.
As they get closer to the Horrorscope, Rich finds that Darkhawk has rendered two Guardsmen helpless in the same manner he used earlier. Suddenly, from the shadows, Director Gruenwald attempts to attack Dr. Necker. Nova places the project's director in a gravity bubble in order to remove the mind-control creature. Richard Rider turns to see the Horrorscope and the giant creature attempting to come through the portal!
Nova Prime and Darkhawk leap into battle against the monster and hit it with energy blasts. Before they can continue their attack, the two former New Warriors are hit by a powerful beam from Dark Quasar. Chris Powell is knocked unconscious but Richard Rider stands to confront his foe. Nova states that the universe is under the protection of the Nova Corps. The evil villain merely states that the universe is doomed if the Corps is its only protector. He gloats over the fact that, in his universe, the Nova Corps was destroyed in forty-seven minutes!
Dark Quasar gives Nova Prime a choice. He tells Nova that the Horrorscope has detected what he has been searching for and intends to bring the undying lord the information. Richard Rider can either attempt to stop him or stay and fight the Gatekeeper from entering Earth and devouring it.
The young hero turns to check if Darkhawk is able to join him in the fight. He turns to find that the winged hero has been injured so badly that he has changed back to his human form. Dr. Necker believes he is dying. Eve recommends that Rich stop Dark Quasar. However, Nova Prime chooses to fight the gatekeeper as it is the bigger threat at the moment. He tells the WorldMind to give him every ounce of the Nova Force that it can and to focus it tightly. Rich unleashes a tremendous power blast which completely destroys the Gatekeeper!
With the creature incinerated and the portal closed, Nova checks on Chris's condition. He notices the Darkhawk suit has gone into repair mode but the amulet that powers it has been fused to Christopher Powell's chest. Rich asks Eve to take him to the medics. He also instructs her to have everyone at Project Pegasus to get the facility back into working condition. The human rocket tells the doctor he is going after the evil Wendell Vaughn.
As he leaves Earth orbit, Nova has the WorldMind prepare an intercept course on Dark Quasar. He also tells the artificial sentience to send an 8x8 distress signal to all locations possible to warn them of the threat posed by the Fault. As part of the message, Richard wants it known that he is responding!