Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Avengers #19
Marvel's Universe is in chaos as the War of The Realms rages across Earth, and The Avengers struggle to fight back on all fronts... making it the worst possible time to learn the team has a traitor in their midst. And not only is this betrayer the last recruit anyone will expect, but the villain he's serving is one the Avengers thought they defeated: Dracula. Yes, that Dracula, King of the Vampires.
When Black Panther became leader of the Avengers, his decision to recruit a new wave of heroes made perfect sense. First the Agents of Wakanda replaced SHIELD, who helped hold the line while a vampire civil war broke out (it's been a wild year). And when T'Challa invited Gorilla-Man AKA Kenneth Hale to become an Agent, it seemed the perfect chance for the adventurer--cursed with immortality as a gorilla--to serve a new purpose. But after saving the day in Avengers #19, Gorilla-Man's victory is revealed to be part of a much darker plan... because Gorilla-Man has been working for Dracula, and just set him up to rise back to power!
When the issue begins, Black Panther calls on Gorilla-Man, his newly appointed head of security to help defend Avengers Mountain (the team's new base, built inside of a long dead Celestial). Ken's conversation about the fate of Dracula--sent to rot in Chernobyl, last we saw--seems to be catching readers up. The truth of that imprisonment is later revealed, but when Ken arrives back at Avengers Mountain he's immediately put to work by T'Challa. His mission? Use the dead Celestial's staff to create a weapon, protecting the evacuees from the War of the Realms that have been gathered inside.
In true Marvel fashion, the mountain falls under attack as Gorilla-Man is working to create the ultimate weapon. He succeeds just in time, and falls off the mountain in the process. His inner dialogue states that he should have died then, "saving Avengers Mountain. Saving the whole flaming world." Even though he lives, Ken does have a near-death experience. The Celestial itself speaks to him, revealing the secret headquarters of Roxxon Energy Corporation's villains (the Marvel corporation has been working with Malekith during the War of the Realms, too). Now that the Avengers know where to find them, they have the first lead since the battle broke out.
All of this should make Gorilla-Man happier than ever, having proven his worth, and been given advice from Thor's father Odin himself. But as Ken slumps through the jail cells of Avengers Tower talking to himself about how things have changed, he stops in front of the cell holding Sarge, the demon dog, an member of the new vampire world order. Sarge reminds Ken that he has no choice in the matter... which is when Ken admits it. He's been betraying the Avengers for some time, serving Dracula and his Kingdom of the Damned.
He clearly isn't thrilled about it, but it's apparently too late to turn back. When did this betrayal happen? When did he declare his allegiance to Dracula? And how mad is his fellow animal Agent of Wakanda Ursa Major going to to be when he finds out that his good friend has not only betrayed him and the Avengers, but that Ursa Major was just a tool in his plans. Presumably Dracula was moved by Ursa Major to Chernobyl, not because it was actually Black Panther's plan, but that of his loyal legion. So what would make Ken betray the very superheroes he admires?
it's suggested by Sarge that Dracula may have tempted Ken with the promise of removing his curse (whether he would want to return to being a man, or just being able to die is anyone's guess). Is there any way Gorilla-Man can get out this allegiance? Either way, this can't end well. Dracula will join the War of the Realms soon, or perhaps be there to rule over the pieces that are left behind. Only then will Ken be able to decide if his betrayal was worth it.
Avengers #19 is available now from Marvel Comics, and at your local comic shop.