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- Winter Soldier
While responding to a break in at a research facility, the Avengers discovered Angela, Spectrum, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, and Winter Soldier dazed and confused. Presumably, their appearances have been used by shape-shifters to break in and steal samples of deadly diseases, leaving the sedated heroes' bodies behind to take the fall. Black Panther assigned the Avengers' resident monster expert, Blade, to look into it. Blade freed the now confined heroes knowing they had nothing to do with it. He had fought something like this before. After explaining what he knew, Angela determined they were dealing with the Vridai, fairyfolk who escaped Svartalfheim after the Black Bifrost was destroyed. The victims agreed to stick with Blade and defeat the Vridai.
No compromise, No mercy!
Strikeforce was created by writer Trini Howard and artist German Peralta in Strikeforce #1 in the aftermath of the War of Realms event. They were intended to be The Avenger's wetworks team however it was canceled. An issue #10 was solicited as an Empyre tie-in, but when the global COVID-19 pandemic led to an industry wide distribution shutdown, it was dropped and never released. Thus, the team was disbanded when their first mission was concluded.
Having faced them before, Blade had a way of tracking them. It brought him and his new Strikeforce to Indonesia and the Temple of the Three, the former home of the Vishanti. Inside, they met Count Ophidian, leader of the Vridai, and his regent, Lady Birgit. Blade and his team attack only to be stopped by a force field generated by Hellstorm. Blade kills Hellstorm believing him to be yet another double, only to find out he is the true son of Satan.
Unbeknownst to the Strikeforce, Hellstorm had been approached by Lady Birgit at his sister, Satana's Las Vegas nightclub. The Vridai were looking for a powerful sorcerer to help them create a new home after being cut off from a return route to Svartalfheim. They only created a double of Hellstorm to stay at Satana's club so no one knew of his whereabouts while he helped them. With Hellstorm seemingly dead, the Vridai left his body behind.
Blade receives a call from Satana about her "brother" acting strange, not realizing that he was a double. Strikeforce decide to go to Vegas and kill two birds with one stone: save Satana and get Satana's help resurrecting Hellstorm. The Vridai also regrouped at Satana's nightclub. Unhappy that Strikeforce nabbed their magic user, they kidnapped Wiccan instead.
Hellstorm, back to his former self, fills the team in on a vision he had while dead. He saw Lady Birgit take advantage of Count Ophidian, puppeteering him as the real leader of the Vridai. The team (with Hellstorm now a member) returns to The Temple of the Three in Indonesia to save Wiccan. Wiccan is offered Hellstorm's role as the Royal Sorcerer after Dr. Doom ignored the offer. Only it wasn't Dr. Doom. It was a Doombot the Vridai mistook for the real Doom. Wiccan noticed immediately, spellcasting it under his control. He waited for his opportunity to fight back, which came when the team finally caught up with them.
They were able to fight the Vridai into retreating, but not before Doombot beheaded Count Ophidian. While searching the rest of the temple, Strikeforce found the real Ophidian comatose. Lady Birgit had been using a shape-shifter in his place. They recovered his body and kept watch over it at a nearby mansion abandoned by Dr. Doom, while Hellstorm and Wiccan recuperated from overusing their abilities. Once rested, they'd be able to teleport the team to a new location.
After successfully making it to a safehouse in Detroit, Spectrum was attacked by hacker/mercenary, Ghost. Ghost was working for Moonstone and her Aaru Project, an illegal experiment studying the afterlife. Moonstone hoped to use Spectrum's powers to stabilize the EMP field caused by actual ghosts. Strikeforce tracked her to a hospital, leaving Wiccan and Daimon behind to watch over the still comatose body of Ophidian. Ghost, sick of being used by Moonstone, entered a reluctant partnership with the team to free the spirits from Moonstone's grasp and lock Moonstone up in Ravencroft.
Back at the safehouse, Ophidian woke up revealing his trauma at the hands of Birgit. Blade has been concerned that none of their safehouses allowed them to get completely off the map, so the team teleports to Monster Island to ask the current ruler, Deadpool, if they can lie low there. Unfortunately, its not long before Birgit tracks them there too and nabs Ophidian from the team. Wiccan and Daimon are able to hold the portal open long enough for Strikeforce to make follow to Svartalfheim. There, they are able to defeat Birgit, but not without doing damage to Monster Island. Deadpool is ready to kick them off, when Spider-Woman calls in a favor with Monster Island's resident cage fight promoter.
Spider-Woman made a deal that whoever won the cage match would get a permanent home on Monster Island. She secretly switched places with Ophidian (shapeshifted to look like her) and made it so that he won, giving him and his people a place to stay. The team felt comfortable leaving them there in Ophidian's care.
Back at Avengers Mountain, after a debrief, the Avengers wondered if the team was willing to make the Strikeforce permanent. They unanimously said "No" and went their separate ways, but now as friends.