Avengers: War Across Time #1: Review

Jan 2023
Paul Levitz, Alan Davis

Story Name:

War across time

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers: War Across Time #1 Review by (January 13, 2023)
This may be 1 long battle issue but the the smooth pacing of the script and the clear retro art of Alan Davis makes me give it a nostalgic (Iron Man's magnets and roller skates) 4.5/5.

The corner headshot box on the cover is the 1 used from #6-16 of the original Avengers run.

This issue (as some others have) adds to the list of early Avengers/Hulk encounters, even though this 1 isn't the real Hulk.
The team was founded to fight Hulk in #1, but he joined them.
They were dragged through time to fight with other Avengers against Kang in Av(2017)#4-6, and afterwards their memories were wiped.
Av#1.5 was added to have them fight Dr Doom.
Hulk quit the team in #2 after Space Phantom made the others fight him.
He teamed up with Sub-Mariner against them in #3.
They followed him into Fantastic Four #25-26.
He helped them against the Lava Men in Av#5.
In Tales To Astonish #59 Giant-Man and Wasp tried to capture him.
The Avengers and Rick Jones tracked him down in Hulk Smash Avengers #1, and their enemies Baron Zemo's Masters Of Evil tried to recruit him.

It also adds to the early Av/Kang fights.
There's the earliest 1 in Av(2017)#4-6 which they don't remember. But that's much later in Kang's personal timeline.
Kang turned up for the 1st time in Av#8, where Rick rescued the team.
Technically he was in #10 as Immortus, even later in his timeline.
And then he was just in #11 with the Spider-Man robot.

Tony Stark was feared dead at this time because his medical condition meant he couldn't appear outside the Iron Man armour. Since IM's app here is immediately after Tales Of Suspense #62 I'd guess he hasn't yet had time to improve his chestplate (in TOS#63) to allow Tony to show his face again.

And there's a hint that the pre-marriage relationship between Henry Pym and Janet Van Dyne may not have been as staid as it was portrayed in those Comics Code times.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: War Across Time #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Thor's hammer Mjolnir brings the Avengers (him, Captain America, Giant-Man, Wasp) back to New York from Mexico where Spider-Man helped them defeat a robot duplicate of himself sent back in time by Kang (see Av(1963)#11) (Iron Man isn't with them because he's off fighting Mandarin in Tales Of Suspense #61-62.). The wind of their arrival damages a newsvendor's kiosk outside the Daily Bugle. Giant-Man does a rough repair while Wasp flirts with Thor. After the others go to their homes Cap is besieged by fans wanting autographs (and kisses) but he manges to get away.

(Later?) a batch of Daily Bugle's are delivered to the newsstand with the front-page covering the battle between the Avengers and the villain Spider-Man. Secretary Betty Brant stops by to pick up a copy of every other newspaper for J Jonah Jameson, but they all have headlines stating that the Avengers have cleared Spidey's name. (That's why it must be later.) After she's gone a teen boy  comes up and asks the vendor about the Avengers, but he's missed them. (And it's not Peter Parker but Rick Jones.)

In the far future Kang is fuming. His armies are still conquering worlds across the Galaxy but too many of the planets are barren wastelands (possibly after the conquering). Apparently he needs to conquer fertile 20th Century Earth while they've still got maximum crop yield before mankind wrecks the planet. He enters his museum of relics of the old heroes and trashes the place in a fit of pique. But Hulk's gamma-irradiated heart still beats and he conceives of another plan to defeat his foes.

Giant-Man and Wasp have returned to Henry Pym's lab. Hank accuses Janet Van Dyne of drooling over Thor. She replies that it's just the normal reaction to a gorgeous body, as his is reacting to her now, and she suggests they hit the showers. But they have to answer a call asking for help from the Avengers or the Fantastic Four ...

... because Hulk is rampaging through town. As he knocks over the Atlas statue at the Rockefeller Centre our duo confront him. GM tries to talk him down but the behemoth punches him out. Cap arrives to distract him from stomping on the big guy, using his shield and agility and a judo throw to hold his own until Hulk throws a Roxxon Oil truck which explodes against the front of St Patrick's Cathedral. The priest tries to calm the congregation inside.

Cap is down too so it's up to Wasp to keep Hulk busy with stings to the face and eyes. His flailing fists can't catch her but a super-breath blows her away. Giant-Man has recovered and angrily grows building-size to pin him down. He at last notices that Hulk's eyes are glowing red, but now it's the Green Giant's turn to employ judo. Then Thor arrives and Mjolnir smashes into Hulk before returning to its master's hand. A titanic fist fight ensues until Hulk buries Thor under the side of a building, separated from his hammer.

All the Avengers are down but now Rick Jones turns up and tries to revive Cap. Hulk recognises Rick but seemingly not because he was his sidekick in the 6-issue Hulk series but because he ruined his master's plan (ie Kang's initial attack in Av#8, by pushing a button which freed the team). Hulk says there's no button to save them now. But all this makes Rick realise that this is a Kang-built Hulk robot, which the foe admits because he's going to kill the boy ...

... except now Iron Man turns up with repulsor blasts. (An editorial comment says he's just got back from defeating Mandarin in TOS#62.) Shellhead now also tries to reason with 'Hulk' but of course ends up having to fight him. Hulk grabs an armoured ankle but IM's boot jets take them into the air and he drops Greenie on the Rockefeller ice rink. But he wishes Thor were here because he's the only 1 with a chance of defeating the foe ...

... but we see Wasp finding Mjolnir and hearing a weak cry for help under the nearby rubble. The Avengers don't know about Thor's alter ego so she doesn't know it's Dr Don Blake who's there because the Thunder God can't stay Thor for more than a minute without his hammer. She alerts the assembled emergency services to the trapped guy and then goes looking for Thor and Giant-Man.

At the ice rink Hulk throws some rubble at the Golden Avenger which damages his repulsors. So to keep Hulk safely occupied he activates the roller skates in his boots and runs rings round the lumbering big guy. Jan finds Hank and wakes him with a kiss. They join Rick and Cap, and the youth tells them that Hulk's a Kang robot. He comments that the real Hulk is fuelled by gamma rays and anger. Without Thor they need to use brains, and Henry Pym comes up with an idea. Iron Man is still taunting 'Hulk' who keeps slipping on the ice. Angrily he smashes the surface to the water beneath. IM now has 1 repulsor working ...

... but Wasp flies up to tell him to back off and follow Cap's lead. CA gets Hulk's attention with his flung shield and then leads him on a chase through the streets with police clearing the way ahead. They reach a subway station where Wasp and Ant-Man on a flying ant are organising an evacuation. Shellhead distracts Hulk while Cap protects a frail old lady from flying rocks. (It's May Parker worrying about her nephew Peter.) IM's magnets tangle Hulk in twisted metal bars but he tears free. The combined Avengers (without Thor) lead him deeper into the station and onto the tracks where he gets fried by the 3rd rail with 750 volts ...

... however that's still not enough to stop the robot. So they lead him into the subway tunnel where he collapses. Pym theorises that the robot needed gamma rays to function and underground he's been cut off from them all. IM's repulsors break open the robot's chest and they are surprised to find a green glowing heart. They wonder if it could really be the real Hulk's heart (from Kang's future). Hank says he could do a post-mortem. But Mjolnir smashes the robot to bits and Thor says they should let Hulk's spirit go to Valhalla as an ex-Avenger deserves.

Iron Man says that Kang is getting tiresome and they need to take the fight to him. Watching from the future Kang says bring it on, he's got all the time in the world to get ready for them.



Alan Davis
Alan Davis
Rachelle Rosenberg
Alan Davis (Cover Penciler)
Alan Davis (Cover Inker)
Alan Davis (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Giant-Man
Giant-Man

(Hank Pym)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Kang
Kang

(Kang the Conqueror)
May Parker
May Parker

(Aunt May)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Betty Brant.

> Avengers: War Across Time: Book info and issue index

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