The Power Principle Part 1: The Prince and The Presence!
Namor, Hulk, Nighthawk, and Hellcat take an sub to Atlantis. There they discuss a radiation leak near Namor’s realm.
In the Soviet Union, the Presence—who is the cause of the leak—continues to prepare himself and his mind-controlled consort, the Red Guardian, for a massive nuclear explosion that will transform them into beings of great power. He hopes to make her truly love him.
Valkyrie talks with Clea about her intense stress from when she tried to register for classes at ESU a few issues ago. After some bonding, Val takes the subway back to ESU to try again. She finds the subway to be too packed, and makes some space for herself as an Asgardian warrior would. As she exits, she sees the local villain, Lunatik, jumping the turnstiles. She confronts him, and they are about to fight when he seems to recognize her, and runs off.
As the Defenders explore the radiation leak near Atlantis, the Presence gets ready for his new nuclear test. His nuclear bomb goes off, destroying much of Bucharest, and being felt across Europe. It also destroys the Atlantean vehicle, thus exposing the Defenders to the deep sea.
The experiment was a success: The Presence has changed into a new advanced state of being.
Clea, the Mystic Maiden!
In the backup story, Clea is mugged in Central Park. She casts a spell on him, but he shoots back. She seems to defeat him, but he is actually a magician as well, and defeats her once her back is turned.
He brings her back to his lair, where he introduces himself as Nicodemus. He wishes to absorb her magic via a machine. Then he will use it to steal others’ magic until he has all the magic in the world.
He successfully steals her powers, then releases her from her bonds, planning to take sexual advantage of her now that she is powerless. However, she grabs a small statue and whacks him in the head with it, knocking him out. She contacts Dr. Strange for help, and presumably gets her power back by using the machine.