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Avengers #393: Review

Dec 1995
Ben Raab, ?

Story Name:

Dark Days Dawn

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Avengers #393 Review by (April 26, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

Black Widow shouldn't be here. She is only depicted in one panel and the cover, and doesn't play any role in the events. Force Works #19 will establish that she is still in the desert with U.S.Agent and War Machine, and it will show the other side of the phone conversation Hawkeye has with her in this very issue. But Deathcry *should* have been present, as she was in Iron Man #323. The letter page says that one of the Avengers was wearing a Halloween costume this issue, and invites readers to guess which one. I thought that was their way of admitting they'd mistakenly swapped Deathcry for Black Widow. But in #396 they explain that it was because Swordsman was depicted as Black Knight. In previous issues of the crossover, Iron Man has committed his nefarious deeds while blacked out, under the control of the villains. He doesn't remember them. This issue seems different. He seems to know he is being forced to do something he doesn't want. This is probably the awakening that teenage Luna said she was trying to spark in Iron Man #322. But because the 'bad' Iron Man is now dominant, I have listed Iron Man as an enemy. The Crossing continues in Force Works #19.

This also leads me to wonder where this crossover should fit into Kang's history (ignoring for the sake of argument the fact that this Kang is later revealed in Avengers Forever to be really Immortus in disguise). I want to place it in a period when he is Ravonna-less, to leave him free to be with Mantis. It could be after the last time we saw him in Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective, where he had a turbulent relationship with the Terminatrix version of Ravonna. However Avengers Forever says that this Ravonna stayed with him until the end. (I must admit that this line of argument is a bit of a cheat, using Avengers Forever but ignoring the main fact from that series, that this Kang is actually Immortus in disguise.) But I can find another candidate era. I.e. between Avengers #267-269, where he lost a Ravonna to Immortus, and the Citizen Kang crossover, where he met Terminatrix. Combining this with Mantis's history, I have zeroed in on the period between Fantastic Four #323-325 and the Citizen Kang crossover starting in Captain America Annual #11, a time which otherwise only relevantly contains the Infinity War limited series. This would mean that the appearances of Apocryphus and Deathunt 9000 in Force Works #18 and War Machine #21 pre-date their 'debut' in the Citizen Kang story. Maybe these were the only 2 of the 'original' Anachronauts that he's recruited at the time.

Why should kidnapping the Cotati Swordsman have a big effect either way? Apart from alerting the Avengers. I have seen an online suggestion that the crossover was cut short (!) in order to set things up for Heroes Reborn. Maybe the Cotati, and their allies the Priests of Pama, should have played a bigger role in proceedings. Maybe the Cotati were Kang's big enemy. Maybe kidnapping the Cotati Swordsman would tip off the Cotati that Kang was up to something in current Marvel Earth. (Naaah! Because the Cotati sent their Swordsman there to warn the Avengers.) Maybe he could be used as a hostage, because he is a Cotati big cheese. Why is Mantis allied/married to Kang? In my comments on #392 I mentioned that we had last seen an angry Mantis in Fantastic Four hunting for the Cotati to get her son the Celestial Messiah back. Kang was after the Celestial Madonna (and hence the Messiah) when he first met Mantis in Avengers. Coincidentally he wanted to 'marry' her to father the Messiah himself. Also coincidentally he was involved in her adventures in Fantastic Four #323-325. He was the enemy then, but he did save her life (for his own reasons). Hardly the basis for a lasting relationship. But her hatred of the Cotati (and the Avengers, especially Vision and Scarlet Witch) could have led her into the alliance.

Continuing the Crossing crossover from Iron Man #323. We have seen villains Mantis, Neut, Malachi and Tobias in various previous issues in the crossover, as well as the woman in the mobile chair who controls the temporal portals and is a teenage version of Luna. We have been told that Malachi and Tobias are Mantis's sons. But this is the first time we have met their supposed father, and learned that he is Kang. There have been signs pointing to Kang. Kang's Timely Industries was mentioned in Force Works #15, War Machine #18 and Force Works #18. Members of Kang's Anachronauts were seen in Force Works #17-18 and War Machine #21. We never do find out who Kang's enemy is, who has collapsed his empire. Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective limited series told us how Kang ruled a spread of alternate realities over 7 millennia of time (we don't know how far his empire extended spatially). We also learned that he was surrounded by competing empires. In Iron Man #325 (with a strong hint in Force Works #19) we will find that Kang has been attacked from the future. In The Terminatrix Objective the future was owned by Revelation, one the versions of Kang's sometime lover Ravonna. I don't think the enemy is her. Kang is seen arriving by blimp. I don't know why. But the blimp approaching the towering technological spire of Chronopolis is an iconic image. I'm sure I've seen similar ones many times, most recently on the cover of Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #393 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from IRON MAN #323.

Queen Mantis remembers being the Celestial Madonna, and giving birth to the Celestial Messiah. She and Neut the weapon master see the return of the king, who has been on a tour of the border fortifications against a coming holocaust. He is Kang. And the borders have shrunk, so that this citadel is all that remains.

Kang tries to blame Mantis, saying that sending their sons Malachi and Tobias to kidnap her Cotati ex-husband (he was Mantis's husband when she was the Celestial Madonna) in #392 has played into their enemy's hands. But Mantis claims that the Cotati Swordsman is the means of their success.

Kang sends Malachi and Tobias to bring Iron Man to them.

Iron Man is currently facing the Avengers (Crystal, Giant-Man, Hercules, Quicksilver and Vision) plus Hawkeye, Janet Van Dyne, Swordsman (Philip Javert) and someone who is drawn as their leader Black Widow, in Jan's house. Jan still isn't an active Avenger at this point. She doesn't try to fight as Wasp. Stark turned on them in Iron Man #323 when they discovered that he had killed Rita DeMara, and Luna's nanny Marilla, in Avengers: The Crossing while under the influence of Mantis.

Iron Man accidentally blasts Jan, before he is taken away by Malachi, Tobias and the woman in the mobile chair from #392.

Hawkeye phones someone to update them on the situation. Force Works #19 will show that it's Black Widow on the other end of the phone.

Crystal and Quicksilver look after their little daughter Luna. They fear that Iron Man will come after her because she was a witness to Rita's murder. Tuc pops up and offers to take Luna to safety. #390 suggested that Tuc is Luna's time-travelling future brother, but her parents don't know that. They are understandably leery, but he renders them unconscious, and takes Luna to another place and time. Tuc is a mystery, even for a character in *this* crossover. No explanation is ever offered of how he knocks Crystal and Quicksilver out.

Giant-Man tries to save his ex-wife with an advanced version of the process that gave her Wasp's wings in Tales to Astonish #44. But in his desperation he takes it too far, and she is enveloped in a cocoon. I don't know why Jan's house contains a load of scientific equipment, especially Giant-Man's specialist equipment.

Masque, who escaped from Stark's Arctic base in Iron Man #323, crashlands a light plane onto Jan's estate. She is here to stop Iron Man.

The Crossing continues in FORCE WORKS #19.

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> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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?
Tom Palmer
Frank Lopez
Ed Benes (Cover Penciler)
Ed Benes (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Kang
Kang

(Kang the Conqueror)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Luna, Masque, Neut, Swordsman (Philip Javert), Tuc.