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Illuminati, "Memento Mori"


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~Excerpt from New Avengers #1(2013), part of Marvel NOW!

Premise: One of the striking plots of this event started with New Avengers #1 in January 2013. Much like a crisis of infinite proportions (anyone catch my joke?), they are facing multi-universal destruction. Existence could be destroyed, as we know it. And to resolve this situation, you're going to see to return of a very prominent, cosmic artifact. The placement of these issues became pretty easy when the rest of the group made a move on Captain America and wiped his memory. Once that happened, we knew that this story happened before Avengers #1 (2013); there is a scene there where Steve has headaches and glimpses the Illuminati.

Important Events (SPOILERS): There are a couple of things that happened in this story arc that will reverberate into the future. First, we are introduced to a new character: Black Swan. She's filling the role of a villain, but more of a  persona with a purpose. Secondly, this story is used to reintroduce, and subsequently destroy, the Infinity Gems. Perhaps they'll appear at a later point, but for now, they are gone, removing that disturbing power.

Right: The first appearance of Black Swan, from New Avengers #1 (2013).

New Avengers #1 (This issue is placed here because Captain America is still wearing his old garb. It may be moved in the future. Passing a series of Maker challenges in Wakanda, N'Kono and his brother and sister finally make it to the end, where an alternate solar system is revealed to them. T'Challa comes forth and tells him that he will be part of the Wakandan space program. Suddenly, they sense a disturbance and they go through a rift to an alternate earth. There, Black Panther sees a woman calling herself "Black Swan", saying she will destroy all the earths. They fight, and eventually all are killed except for the T'Challa. He manages to knock her out. Later, though, he summons the members of The Illuminati - Reed Richards, Namor, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Tony Stark. With them is Captain America.) 
New Avengers #2 (Continues from New Avengers #1, still showing Captain America in his older garb. Reed Richards interrogates The Black Swan and relates his findings to the Illuminati. The universe is collapsing at a faster rate and "Incursions" are occurring. These events are causing alternate earths to collide into each other, either destroying both or one. The members discuss their options, but realize they lack the time to implement most of them. They bicker, but finally agree to reassemble the Infinity Gauntlet. The only problem is...they need to find the Mind Gem of now-dead Charles Xavier. T'Challa now fears the worst; in his final conversation with Reed Richards, he realizes that some terrible decisions may be inevitable.) 
New Avengers #3 (Continues from issue #2. This issue establishes chronology with Captain America, Beast, and Iron Man. Cap is in his old garb, I thought the Beast was mutated but he hasn't yet, and Iron Man is in his new armor. That puts this section much earlier in the event. Hank McCoy is given a letter which opens a long-set telepathic memory between him and Charles Xavier. Once completed, he accesses the Mind Gem, becoming its next bearer. The Illuminati finds him and he learns of the Incursion dilemma. They form the Infinity Gauntlet and decide Captain America should use it. Once an incursion begins, Cap uses it and staves off the destruction, but the gems shatter in the process, meaning they've only bought time. The group reconvenes to discuss possibilities. Cap doesn't want either world to be destroyed and fears Richards and the others who might destroy another universe to save their own. Before he can sense their actions, though, Dr. Strange puts him to sleep and removes all memories of their meeting. The Illuminati now prepares to do the unthinkable.)
New Avengers #4 (Continues from the previous issue, but with an undefined break period. The members of the Illuminati each search for answers and show their plans. One plan in particular is from Dr. Strange using a grimiore called The Blood Bible. In almost every case, each act will cause one person to die. By the middle of the issue, an incursion begins and the group flies to the other earth. On it, the find Galactus is already in the process of setting up his instruments and preparing to feast on its energy. Terrax, his herald, is also there, and he tells them that Galactus, by eating this world, will unmoor it from the incursion and save their universe. He laughs at them and asks them go give up and go home. On the last page, though, it ironically seems as those they decide to fight. But for what?)
New Avengers #5 (Continues from New Avengers #4, with an undefined break in time. Succeeding only for a short while, the story shows the members of The Illuminati taming Terrax and capturing him. Under questioning, they decide to limitedly release the Black Swan and ask her to detail what is happening and how it can be stopped. She then details her origin and the coming of Rabum Alal, the Great Destroyer. She talks about other incursions and how they were managed. As the members debate, she tells them that another incursion is minutes away. She's right, and this time it appears to be happening over Latveria.)
New Avengers #6 (Continues from the previous issue. The important word in this issue is "Blue Sky". Richards, the Black Swan, and the rest of the team carried a newly-fashioned anti-matter bomb to the incursion to see a blue tapestry of energy in this incursion...instead of the normal red. The Black Swan tells them this is a terrible sign of the Mapmakers, who use incursions to find new worlds to devour. As she explains, mapmaker soldiers appear and attack in Latveria. Doctor Doom and his son retaliate. With little time left, the Black Panther activates the bomb, destroying the dead earth above them. Saved, Black Swan returns to her cage. But not all is safe; now Doom knows something is afoot. And that offers little comfort.)

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