Roberto da Costa, Toni Ho, Squirrel Girl and Pod have come face to face with the Avengers from the year 20XX. The future Captain America (aka Danielle Cage) announces she will do the talking, as she is already alive in this time period. King Hulk scoffs that Danielle is still a baby. He’s pretty sure that at this point he is already king of space. Only in name, Cap reminds him. The Eternity War is still a way off. Plus, he is emotionally compromised. Iron Mariner reminds them the history people are looking at them.
Future Iron Man has a tail, Roberto points out, inadvertently insulting Squirrel Girl’s sidekick Tippy Toe. Squirrel Girl assures him that Roberto didn’t mean it like that.
Danielle addresses Roberto and introduces herself as Captain America from some years in the future. She refuses to go into details. In their future, there is a firewall in time. Time travel from their side is next to impossible. Their failed Avenger Four test let them open a hole into their timespace but, even so, Madame Natasha had to stay behind to force the link. She gave her life to get them here. They won’t be able to do this again. They have exactly one chance – here and now – to save the universe.
Can he be honest? Roberto replies. They kind of had him at Eternity Wars. Collapsar, a tiny Nova, flies up to him and suggests they forget that.
Roberto asks how he can help. Danielle reminds him they recently fought Moridun – and kicked his squamous space-ass, Roberto interrupts. What’s her point? Cap reveals they kicked nothing. Moridun was an astral creature, a ghost from a previous universe, a parasite. During their encounter, he planted a seed in one of his team members. An egg. In that moment, he won. Everything else was just kabuki. What is she saying here? Iron Mariner interrupts, she is saying they need to know where William Kaplan is.
That moment, systems fail thanks to a spell by Demiurge. Billy surrounded by the rest of the New Avengers appears and asks what they want of him.
Cap orders her team to attack. King Hulk tells her it is already too late. Not on her watch! she snaps. She orders Collapsar to help Iron Mariner. If his armor fails while he’s out of the water, he’ll suffocate. Mariner groans he needs subatomic repair. No job too small, Collapsar jokes.
There has to be another way, King Hulk pleads. Calling him “Ted,” Danielle shouts at him to get his head into the game, that thing is not his husband. She throws her shield.
Teddy realizes that is his future self.
Demiurge stops and melts the shield. She should take better care of her shield, he mocks Danielle. Marvel Woman blasts him and recommends he take better care of himself.
He wants to know about the shield? Cap asks. The original was atomized on zero day. The day the old Captain America died. The day they all learned the dream was bigger than a hunk of metal… bigger than a flag. Or to put it another way… She hits him in the face. She is the shield!
Teddy angrily traps her and Roberto asks Songbird for crowd control. She tries a broad spectrum soundblast to calm everyone. Calling her “mom,” Marvel Woman points out she has genetic immunity to her powers and blasts her.
Bad time traveler etiquette or what? Power Man jokes. First rule of combat, White Tiger replies. If you’ve got a weapon that works… use it. She turns to their foes, announcing she is merged with a prehistoric Tiger God. That makes her scariest thing in the… She is blasted in the back by Iron Mariner, who scoffs, “maybe to humans.” But he’s an Atlantean. So unless a tiger shark god happens along… The sea and star team take the win again, Collider enthuses. High five, Broseph! He knows he doesn’t actually like him, right? Iron Mariner mutters.
Teddy cradles Billy, wanting to take him to a medical facility. He’s fine, Billy replies. He smiles evilly as he assures his boyfriend that, in moments, he will be back to full power, all reality at his fingertips. Then he will snuff them out like candles. And dance in the ashes!
What? Shocked Hulkling steps back. His future self, King Hulk, tells him he is sorry. They came back in time to stop this, but that’s not Billy anymore. That’s something else. Something that hollowed him out and— he looks away in anguish. He prayed it wouldn’t come to this. He’s so sorry.
What is he saying? Hulkling demands. His future self continues, while Demiurge is weak he has to set him free. He orders his younger self to step aside.
Set him free? Teddy repeats and slams in in the face. Unfortunately, he only manages to hurt his own hand. King Hulk angrily orders him to stand aside.
That’s good, Demiurge hisses, his eyes aglow. He and Teddy together. He and Teddy against the world. Hulkling snarls at him to shut up. He knows what he is now. Moridun, right? Evil creepy crawler from the nether whatever hitching a ride in his boyfriend’s brain. Oh, he won’t take the lie? Moridun asks, his voice changing. His old self was right, it is too late now. Maybe in the future, Teddy replies. But right now? He’s betting Moridun can be killed. And he knows who can do it. Billy? he orders. Kick his nether ass!
Billy Kaplan’s mindscape:
Billy stands on a meteorite in what seems to be space. Teddy? Did he say something? he asks. He looks around wondering where he is. On the inside, little warper, comes a voice, as the true monstrous visage of Moridun appears in the sky above him. In the nest, Mor-I-dun made deep in his mind. He orders him to lie down, sleep and accept his fate. If he submits, it will be quick for Billy. His tiny spirit will flutter out without much pain. He will be spared the dreadful end, the screaming death of reality as he snaps and tears and sucks and makes his heaven from its corpse.
He really needs to work on that pitch, Billy announces. As punishment, Moridun attacks him with an energy blast. He warns Billy he is far from hope, from any who could help him. Moridun can fill him with ill purpose, with bile and poisoned thoughts. He grabs Billy with his tentacle. Self-hate and fear.
Billy groans then asks whether that’s his weapon. That’s all he’s got? What? Moridun asks, taken aback. He doesn’t know people, does he? Billy asks. A voice in his head that doesn’t like him? That’s his big horror? Life – life is horror! Moridun stammers. Billy orders him to shut up He knows what poisoned thoughts are like. He always has. He gets anxiety. He doesn’t think he’s good enough. He doesn’t like himself, even though rationally he knows… Doesn’t matter. He has bad days. Bad thoughts. And sometimes they are hard to fight. But he doesn’t let them win every day. And he’s damn sure not going to let Moridun win today. He’s just a cheap little bully who likes breaking toys. And he shouldn’t have let Billy see him! Get out of my head! he orders, using his reality-warping powers.
King Hulk orders his team to wait and they watch as Bully casts the tentacly – and rather small – horror out. Worldmind confirms this is all of Moridun, Collapsar announces. Kaplan’s clean. Tell that to his tongue, Billy groans disgusted and orders for the taste to leave his mouth. Smart thinking, Teddy announces and tells him to come to him.
The two kiss. Relieved, King Hulk announces they did it. He sheds a tear. Time repairs itself. He finds himself in his human form in a nice house, looking more civilized.
“Hon, you back?” A familiar voice asks. It continues that he took Katy to the sleepover and then did some hero stuff on the way back and he did the washing up. He thinks he deserves some takeout and a movie. Does he want to send the drone? With a broad smile, Teddy tells his husband Billy he loves him very much. Doing the dishes, Billy replies he loves him too, calling him a big goof. He asks him to help with the drying.