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Avengers #392: Review

Nov 1995
Terry Kavanagh, M. C. Wyman

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Story Name:

The Past is With Us Always ...

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers #392 Review by (April 11, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

In Celestial Quest, which postdates this crossover and Avengers Forever, when Mantis summarises her life she not only blanks out this crossover (because this Mantis is a Space Phantom imposter), but she also airbrushes out the negative aspects of her adventures with West Coast Avengers and Fantastic Four. I.e. there was no rift between her and the Cotati. They didn't refuse to return her son, and she didn't try to get him back. Could Mantis's reported bad feelings in the Fantastic Four issues be a sign of Kang or Immortus tampering with the past? The story leads straight into Iron Man #321.

The fact that Mantis is one of the villains explains why Neut said last issue that Vision and Scarlet Witch were particularly hated. Mantis wanted Vision to love her but Vision chose Scarlet Witch (in the #120's and #130's). Except of course that Mantis didn't hate them for it in previous appearances. Mantis eventually married a Cotati in the guise of a previous love, the original Swordsman Jacques Duquesne, in Giant-Size Avengers #4. This was to fulfil her role as Celestial Madonna, and bear the Celestial Messiah Sequioa between then and Silver Surfer v3 #3 (or strangely and more accurately betweem DC's JLA #142 and Eclipse's Scorpio Rose #2). Flashbacks in Silver Surfer v3 #4, West Coast Avengers #39 and Avengers: Celestial Quest #2 combine to say that Mantis raised her son, but then passed him on to the Cotati to learn the other side of his heritage. West Coast Avengers #39 had the Cotati Swordsman returning to say that the Cotati were keeping the boy. In Fantastic Four #323-325 and a backup in Annual #25 we saw Mantis trying to find a way to get her son back. In Iron Man #325 it gives this as the reason for embittered Mantis turning evil, and hating the Cotati Swordsman. (In Force Works #19 Moonraker will say that she just 'became disillusioned with her cosmic role'.) This hatred has extended to the Avengers, who were instrumental in her marriage to the Cotati Swordsman.

The place the invaders return to is probably Kang's citadel Chronopolis, introduced in Captain America Annual #11. Chronopolis exists in all times and alternate realities that are part of Kang's empire. So why would Kang need a portal to enter current Marvel reality? An explanation might be given in #393 where it says that Kang's unnamed enemy has shrunk the empire to a small area. Then maybe Chronopolis no longer exists in the time/reality, and Kang needs another method to get his forces here. Possibly a sneakier method than his time spheres. However if the bad guys are really Space Phantoms, then the base wouldn't be the real Chronopolis, but a mock-up created by Immortus. The Official Index to the Marvel Universe #9 suggests that it is in fact Immortus's citadel in Limbo. Kang once did occupy Immortus's citadel in Avengers #276-269. But this was before he occupied Chronopolis and recruited the original Anachronauts, who we will see in Force Works #18 and War Machine #21 are still working for him. As these are allegedly *not* Space Phantoms, they would expect to be operating from Chronopolis. This partially answers the question why the Phantoms would continue in their roles after they left Earth. I.e. because some of their associates weren't Phantoms. But another answer will be suggested in Avengers Forever #8, where a Phantom explains that Immortus (sometimes) makes them believe they are the roles that they play.

The online Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe suggests that it is Luna who stops Tuc from interfering. But the hand looks more masculine to me, and the epithet 'young one' smacks more of the Priest of Pama, Tuc's companion last issue. It is curious that this is the only scene in the crossover that teenage Luna and her supposed-brother Tuc share. And they never mention each other. If I am right above, then they ignore each other in this meeting. Maybe they come from different futures, and Tuc isn't the brother of *this* Luna. This neatly avoids the question of whether Tuc is the brother of Kang's Luna or of the one who tried to save Yellowjacket. And why he is dressed like a caveman, which doesn't fit in with the worlds of either Luna. (But it may fit the devastated future of Cybermancer as described in Force Works #22.) To me Jarvis looks shifty in the scene where Luna confesses to witnessing the murder of Yellowjacket. And then Mantis tells Iron Man to kill the witness Luna. This lead me to suspect that Jarvis was working for Mantis, maybe an imposter. But this doesn't turn out to be true. (And Iron Man never actually tries to kill Luna.) Stark's surprise at having the device that Iron Man earlier acquired is an indication that he isn't aware of all the things that he has done, like killing 2 people in Avengers: The Crossing.

The teenage version of Luna working for Kang is controlling the portal. I think she has a natural ability in this regard, but her chair helps her to control it. Luna's chair reminds me of the one belonging to Metron of the New Gods. In #395 she and the chair even appear through what looks like a Boom Tube. Malachi and Tobias are twins. Their Vision-like attributes suggest he might be their father. Luna calls them her cousins, so their mother should be a sister of Crystal or Quicksilver. They call Mantis and Kang their parents, but in #395 we will learn that they were stolen from their real parents when very young. And in that issue mantis hints of a connection to Vision. But it is never plainly said that Mantis and Kang have raised children of Scarlet Witch and Vision, and that they are their lost twins Thomas and William. Raising their children to hate them would fit with Mantis's desire for revenge. One flaw in the theory (apart from Malachi and Tobias actually being Space Phantoms working for Immortus) would be that Thomas and William were revealed not to be real in Avengers West Coast #52. But that hasn't stopped them being possibly 'reincarnated' as Wiccan and Speed in Young Avengers.

This claims to be the day after the anniversary party in Avengers: The Crossing, but my schedule in #391's comments means that it is a week later, after Iron Man #320. Iron Man #322 says that no-one entered the mansion in the week since the Avengers abandoned it in Avenger #391. My schedule means that Swordsman's bit of #391 has to be separated from the rest and placed just before this issue. The cover of this issue is one of the ugliest I've seen. I've never actually been a fan of Humberto Ramos, but Tom Palmer's (usually excellent but this time muddy) inking makes him almost unrecognisable. And the same can be said for most of the characters. If one purpose was to disguise the fact that one of them is Mantis, then they succeeded. Er ... that is Mantis in the middle isn't it?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #392 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from IRON MAN #320.

Iron Man is supervising the sealing off of Avengers mansion. The Avengers abandoned it last issue, after the deaths of Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), Marilla and Gilgamesh, and an enemy Neut coming through the door in the basement. The Avengers have temporarily relocated to Janet Van Dyne's estate.

Iron Man, Giant-Man and Vision investigate the basement where Marilla was killed (and where the mystery door is). Giant-Man finds an interesting fragment of technology which Iron Man takes, claiming it belongs to him and is irrelevant. Vision leaves in response to a call from Avengers' ally Swordsman (Philip Javert), who was told to contact the Avengers by Tuc and a Priest of Pama last issue.

Swordsman, in the grounds of Stark's country retreat, is confronted by a green plant being, a Cotati, dressed like Swordsman. The mystery woman from The Crossing 1-shot appears through a portal, this time not as an insubstantial vision, but riding a chair. She uses the chair to control the portal, and brings Malachi and Tobias with her to attack the Cotati. Swordsman and Vision defend him. Tuc (from the last 2 issues) arrives and tries to help them, but someone stops him. Malachi and Tobias defeat Swordsman and Vision, and capture the Cotati. The mystery woman stops Malachi and Tobias from killing Swordsman and Vision by reminding them they must all go back through the portal with the Cotati before it closes. Capturing the Cotati was their mother's prime objective.

Note that Tobias has eye-beams like Vision's and Malachi has a jewel in his forehead like Vision's. They are the twins the mystery woman warned about in The Crossing. And here she refers to them as her cousins.

Tuc says things aren't happening as history recorded. (But then this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as in his history the Avengers lose.) 'She' (the assailants' mistress) shouldn't have captured the Cotati. Vision believes the mystery woman's sympathies lie on the Avengers' side.

Young Luna tells her parents Crystal and Quicksilver she saw Yellowjacket murdered in The Crossing.

Note that Black Widow and Hercules sit this issue out. As does Wasp, even though the Avengers are living in her house.

Tony Stark is surprised to find the 'interesting fragment of technology' in his pocket, and is mentally transported to a void where a woman orders him to kill young Luna because she is a witness.

Malachi's group make 'a great crossing'. Malachi and Tobias's father is away 'on a tour of the borders', but they take the Cotati to their mother. She is the woman from Stark's void. She is Mantis, and greets the Cotati as her ex-husband.

The Crossing continues in IRON MAN #321.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

M. C. Wyman
Tom Palmer
Frank Lopez
Humberto Ramos (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Pietro Maximoff)

Plus: Deathcry (Sharra Neramani), Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Luna, Space Phantoms, Swordsman (Philip Javert).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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