|Secret Avengers #2|
Cover Date: August 2010
Release Date: June 30, 2010
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Deodato & Will Conrad
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Production: Irene Lee
Associate Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Artist: Marko Djurojevic
Title: "Secret Histories Part Two"
While reviewing security video, she is shocked to discover that her attackers wore stealth gear similiar to the ones worn by SHIELD. As a result, the cameras were only able to record digital blurs. But the Secret Avengers' tactical officer refuses to give up her search.
Sharon checks the data collected by the Beast to see if he was able to find anything that might help her. She is happy to find that Hank McCoy analyzed the Roxxon Serpent Crown and localized its unique energy signature before the team left for Mars. Sharon Carter begins her search for the stolen artifact.
Meanwile on Mars at the Roxxon Domed Mining Base, the Secret Avengers begin the search for their missing teammate Nova. The Beast is impressed by the technology used to simulate Earth's gravity and atmosphere inside the domes as Ant-Man and War Machine debate how much they think the Roxxon miners were paid a year.
Steve Rogers, Black Widow and the Beast approach a large door and notice boot prints that are only a day old. Steve finds it odd since Roxxon had supposedly shut down operations about a month ago. Hank McCoy also discovers that some of the machinery has been moved.
Suddenly, Moon Knight runs to the team and announces that he has uncovered something they must see right away. The Secret Avengers are led to a gigantic hole that had been drilling into the surface. At the bottom of the drilled out section, the former Captain America enters an uncovered cave and is horrified to discover a set of skeletons!
Marc Spector concludes they must have been the crew who uncovered the Serpent Crown while Steve comes across a detailed cave drawing of the crown. Steve Rogers realizes that Nova is in danger and the two Avengers hurry back to the rest of the team.
At the same time, the Beast and Ant-Man come under attack by a squad of Shadow Council soldiers. The rest of the Secret Avengers rush into battle with Steve Rogers leading the charge behind his energy shield. The soldiers find themselves outmatched and Hank notices they had been able to escape detection by his sensors.
During the fight, Steve and Natasha discover the soldiers are behaving strangely. The leader of the Avengers approaches the last two conscious soldiers and attempts to convince them to surrender. The masked attackers look at each other and mumble that they have failed the Lord of Shadows. The two men turn and shoot each other in the head!
The Beast examines the remaining fallen soldiers and finds their eyes are full of a black ink-like substance. Commander Rogers views it as confirmation of his theory that the soldiers were being controlled by someone. He orders the team outside in order to begin an investigation.
On the Martian surface, Steve has War Machine and Ant-Man follow a set of tire tracks heading toward the desert. He dispatches Black Widow, Valkyrie and Moon Knight along another set of tracks leading to the mountains. The former Captain America and the Beast are going to continue searching for Nova.
Meanwhile, back on Earth onboard a Shadow Council airship, the pilot informs Nick Fury of their loss of communications with the Mars squadron. He also mentions that their drone sensors are picking up energy readings which seem to indicate someone has activated the third Serpent Crown. Fury immediately orders the ship to go into hyperdrive as he needs to meet with the board of directors.
Back on Mars, Rhodey and Eric discover another base and they cautiously enter the building. War Machine informs Commander Rogers of the find and their intent to continue gathering information. During the conversation, Ant-Man flies ahead on his own and is surprised to see a strange portal. Suddenly, an energy burst explodes from the portal and knocks the shrunken hero to the ground!
On the surface, Steve Rogers and Hank McCoy are tracking Nova's energy signature and follow it through a set of shattered ancient doors. The two heroes enter a large cavern with a temple in the center. The Beast locates Richard Rider's entry point as Steve looks down to see Nova's discarded helmet.
Hank's sensor picks up a reading just as the ground beneath the heroes erupts in a massive explosion! As the light of the blast diminishes, the Avengers duo find themselves facing a giant being wearing heavy armor and looking for the Serpent Crown!
Elsewhere on the surface, the other three Secret Avengers have located Nova. Natasha is able to confirm that the person is their missing teammate. Unfortunately, they also find he is wearing the Serpent Crown! Moon Knight notes Rich is wielding an unknown power source and is using it to control another group of Shadow Council soldiers.
Although Nova is using the people and machinery to dig under the Martian surface, the Black Widow doesn't believe he is in control of himself. She mentions that his eyes have the same blackness found on the soldiers who had attacked them earlier. Natasha becomes concerned as she sees Nova turn and fly towards them!