From there, the sea king essentially declared war on the surface world, nearly killing former Avenger Stingray with his bare hands and putting together a team called the Defenders of the Deep (in issue #9).
In the landmark AVENGERS #10—actually the 700th issue of the title!—Aaron laid even more groundwork. In addition to showing more of the Defenders of the Deep's exploits, it also established Red Widow as the new leader of Russia's Winter Guard, debuted the Phil Coulson-led Squadron Supreme of America, and featured the Wasp breaking Blade out of Dracula's castle!
The following issue showed how Agent Coulson had completely turned against the Avengers and mag #12 found Black Panther establishing a support group called the Agents of Wakanda, including Gorilla-Man, Wasp, Okoye, Ka-Zar, Broo, Morbius, Man-Wolf, American Eagle, Dr. Nemesis, Fat Cobra, and Roz Solomon. Blade also joined the main group at this point.
After a spotlight on the Iron Fist of One Million B.C. in issue #13, the Shadow Colonel and his Legion of the Unliving launched a war of the vampires against Count Dracula. But instead of entering the fray, the old vampire sought asylum with the Winter Guard! Instead of making a simple deal with the count, Red Widow decided to kill many of his former consorts in exchange for information on how to destroy the Avengers. After getting all they could from him, the Russians agreed to let him have a quiet place to live out the rest of his days...in Chernobyl. This all turned out to be part of Dracula's plan so that he could establish a Kingdom of Vampires while the human forces focused elsewhere (in issues #14-17).