Synopsis: Henry Gyrich debriefs Congressman Woodman on the origin of Gauntlet.
Two powerful beings appear above the earth and clash in fatal combat. Their remains fall to earth, and Sgt. Joseph Green is sent to recover two of the pieces before Hydra can get to them. His team arrives on the scene at the same time as Hydra. During the battle, Green puts on a piece of the alien hardware and uses its power to help defeat Hydra. But now he cannot remove the gauntlet. It has become permanently bonded to his nervous system. He uses his new power in service of the US government.
During the story, it is revealed that former Initiative member Armory gained her powers from the same alien warriors as the Gauntlet did. Her weapon was surgically removed, but it will not function now that it has been separated from her.
Synopsis: After being dismissed from the Initiative, Armory is being held at the Burke Wellness Center in San Francisco. She recounts to Dr. Burke how she found the alien weapon that gave her powers. During a suicide attempt, Armory had leapt from the golden gate bridge. As she hurled toward the water below, the alien weapon that lay at the bottom of the bay sensed her approach. It felt the emptiness inside her and leapt up out of the water to meet her. Attaching to her arm, it shot out a grappling hook that swung her to safety. This strange weapon that could become whatever its wearer needed became her reason for being. Helping people gave her a feeling that she mattered. So when the Initiative started, she rushed to sign up. At this point Armory clams up, refusing to tell the doctor about the training mishap in which she accidentally killed MVP and was discharged from the Initiative. She abruptly tells the doctor that she made it all up. The doctor says that Armory must stay at the wellness center until she can tell the truth. After dismissing Armory, Dr. Burke picks up the phone to report to Gyrich that he doesn't have to worry about Armory telling anyone her secret.
Synopsis: Congressman Woodman's true nature as a Hydra Commander is revealed. He reports to an assembly of Hydra Commanders on the origins of his agent in the Initiative, Roger Brokeridge, aka Hardball. Roger's brother had been severely injured in an Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation bout, and Roger sought out the man who gave his brother his powers to exact revenge. In his encounter with the Power Broker, Roger is swiftly disarmed. He is manipulated into signing up for the Power Broker's enhancement process in exchange for a 70% cut of whatever profits he makes using his new powers. On his first outing as Hardball, Roger attacks an armored truck. He accidentally stops the truck from running over a small girl and is mistaken for a superhero. Wonder Man arrives on the scene and recruits him for the Initiative. Commander Woodman relates that with Hardball deeply entrenched in an Avengers training complex, the Power Broker sold Roger's contract to Hydra. Woodman has used the contract as leverage to make Roger an agent of Hydra.
Synopsis: Baron Von Blitzschlag examines the remains of Michael Van Patrick, the deceased Initiative recruit codenamed MVP. He is surprised to find no biological basis for MVP's extraordinary abilities. He puzzles over how he, a scientist who took part in the creation of Nazi super-beings like Master Man, Warrior Woman and Vunder Knight, was never able to engineer a being as powerful as this seemingly normal midwestern boy. Von Blitzschlag joins Hank Pym in the laboratory where four clones are growing. They empty the fluid from a growth chamber, releasing one of the clones. The clone sees a wall full of screens all showing images of himself in action. The Taskmaster is there, duplicating all of MVP's on-screen moves. Von Blitzschlag explains that the clones have been programmed with MVP's abilities via a set of telemetry circuits in Taskmaster's suit. As Von Blitzschlag and Pym take the clone out of the room, Taskmaster brings up footage of Spider-Man in order to continue programming abilities into the remaining three clones.
Von Blitzschlag and Pym fly the clone home to find out the story behind his abilities. They present the clone to the Van Patricks, telling them that they had to reject their son from the Initiative because he has no detectable superhuman powers. Mr. Van Patrick explains that he is the grandson of Dr. Abraham Erskine, the creator of the super-soldier serum given to Captain America. Dr. Erskine had developed a process by which it was possible to raise a child to be an optimum physical specimen. A regimen of optimal nutrition combined with an experimental program of isometric exercises. Erskine's process was dismissed by a government looking for more immediate solutions. The Van Patricks raised their son Michael according to Erskine's process. Satisfied with this explanation, Von Blitzschlag and Pym leave the clone with the Van Patricks to live out Michael's life.
Synopsis: A new Flag Smasher leads the forces of ULTIMATUM in an attack on the Liberty Bell. They find themselves opposed by the Liberteens, Pennsylvania's Initiative team nmaed in honor of the Liberty Legion. The Liberteens make short work of the Flag Smasher and his goons.
Back at home base, the Revolutionary exhorts the Liberteens to keep the partying under control as he heads to make his incident report to Initiative HQ. He reports that the Pennsylvania team is a rousing success, and that the nation as a whole is responding well to the Initiative. As he reports, he morphs into his true form, that of an alien Skrull. His superior at the Initiative is revealed to be a Skrull as well, engaged in an effort to place a Skrull in every state team.