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Avengers #400: Review

Jul 1996
Mark Waid, Tom Palmer

Story Name:

History repeats itself

Review & Comments

Rating:
3.5 stars

Avengers #400 Review by (July 3, 2019)
This Giant-Size Anniversary issue tries to fit in all the past Avengers it can.
Besides the 11-fold current crop we see Sub-Mariner, She-Hulk, Black Panther, Spider-Man (although it's Ben Reilly, not the Peter Parker who was an Avenger) and the 3 Fantastic Four members (not Human Torch) who have been Avengers or West Coast Avengers.
We also see portraits on the wall of Jocasta, Hercules, Beast, Falcon, Hellcat, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and Starfox.
And on a monitor screen we see Wonder Man, Quasar, Mantis, (the good) Black Knight, Moondragon, Sersei, Deathcry, Dr Druid, Rage, Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne), Binary (Ms Marvel's then-current identity), Sandman, Tigra, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) and several versions of Iron Man which hopefully include James Rhodes as well as Tony Stark.
And Hulk appears but only as a statue.
The back of the book includes a list of all contenders and the issues of Avengers or WCA they've been in. It adds Mockingbird, Firebird, Moon Knight, Marrina, Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), Gilgamesh, Stingray, Thunderstrike, Swordsman (Philip Jarvert), Magdaelene, Masque, US Agent, the android Human Torch and Living Lightning to those mentioned above. (But *that* list misses out the James Rhodes Iron Man so maybe he's been forgotten.)

The end of the issue says the story will continue in Uncanny X-Men #335. Actually the story and chars will pass through the Onslaught: X-Men 1-shot 1st. But either way this is the Onslaught crossover event that will eventually lead to most of the Avengers disappearing into the Heroes Reborn universe.

The 11 core Avengers were last seen in Spider-Man Team-Up #4 with the Ben Reilly SpM, where they tangled with a robot Spider-Man left behind by Kang way back in #11, except that Teen Tony Iron Man has had his #329-330 and most of #331 in between, as Fujikawa buys Stark Enterprises and IM  and War Machine fight a super-gang sent by Morgan Stark.
The Avengers will continue into the Onslaught event and into Heroes Reborn. The 7 present at the end of this issue will appear with X-Man in O:XM, and then as predicted by Crystal Quicksilver joins them for UXM#335. Crystal and the other 2 will make it for our #401 which follows that.
Edwin Jarvis was last in IM#330 and will be next in O: Marvel Universe which is the springboard for HR.

The BR SpM came here from SMTU#4, and will go on to Sensational SpM #8 as part of the O event.
The 3 FF members came here from FF#413-414, the end of the Hyperstorm storyline, and will follow immediately into O:XM.
Sub-Mariner was last in FF#413.
Black Panther was last in Over The Edge #6, teaming up with Daredevil.
She-Hulk was last in Av Unplugged #4, at the wedding of Absorbing Man and Titania.
All 3 will continue into the O event in FF#416.

Loki makes a lone appearance in this issue after returning a while ago (in the Avengers/Ultraforce 1-shot) from his stay in the Malibu universe.
No mention is ever made again of his being trapped in adamantium. In the last issues of the Thor run Odin turns himself and the other Asgardians (except Thor) into amnesiac humans, and Thor goes to the HR universe. Journey Into Mystery picks up the numbering from Thor with #503 which starts the hunt for the Lost Gods, and Loki is then 1 of that amnesiac bunch.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #400 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Edwin Jarvis is tidying the area of Avengers Mansion grounds which contains statues of Avengers when a costumed young man appears in a blast of light and says he's Tyfon from the future. He's come back to this day to warn Jarvis that the Avengers are fated to die this day, and only Edwin can save them. Jarvis says the Avengers are in Manhattan dealing with a problem.

We see the villainous Black Knight brought down by Scarlet Witch, with Quicksilver dealing with falling rubble. Meanwhile Pietro's wife Crystal faces Melter (who she correctly thinks is dead) and the very-much-alive Radioactive Man. (In fact BK is dead too.) (Notably these 3 were the 1st members of the Masters Of Evil (led by Baron Zemo), and are wearing the costumes they had then.) Crystal stops Melter's attack with ice, and Vision pops up to do his hand-in-the-chest trick on RM. As Vizh examines the unconscious bodies they turn to shadow-matter. Crystal points out that nearby buildings are being replaced by shadow-matter too. Wanda Maximoff contacts Captain America to tell him what's going.

Cap is with Iron Man (Teen Tony) fighting Living Laser. When he threatens bystanders Hawkeye hits him with a (blunt) arrow to the head and then swings in to deliver a 2-footed kick which shatters the foe into shadow-matter.

Meanwhile Tyfon is explaining to Jarvis that history tells him that the Avengers' greatest enemy returned today and opened a portal to a dark dimension, letting in a darkness that overwhelmed the world for generations. The Avengers all died in the conflict. Their records don't say who the foe was, but that Jarvis was a witness. And he hands Edwin something (a camera to record evidence for the future?). He wants Jarvis to review Avengers history in their files so he can read the associated memories from his mind. The enemy is recreating old foes so there may be clues in what Jarvis knows. Edwin asks if he should start from the beginning, but Tyfon tells him to start later where records are skimpier. And he seems particularly interested in Thor ...

... who we find with Giant-Man, Wasp and Black Widow apparently reliving the Kree-Skrull War. But these guys also turn into shadow-blobs. Then an enormous Kang/Rama-Tut/Scarlet Centurion/Immortus hybrid taps Henry Pym on the shoulder, reverting him through *his* previous super-ids. But Thor's hammer Mjolnir smashes the fake time-lord.

The other Avengers join them in time to be attacked by Dr Spectrum, Hyperion and Whizzer of the Squadron Sinister. Hawkeye, Black Widow and Quicksilver are knocked out, and Cap tells Crystal to get them to hospital while the other Avengers continue the fight. But the 3 baddies are replaced by a horde of Lava Men.

Back at the Mansion Tyfon and Jarvis are looking at Avengers' foes including Thanos, Arkon, Stranger(?), Grey Gargoyle, Enchantress and Absorbing Man. Jarvis would still find it simpler to cover things in order from the start, but Tyfon says they've got to search faster.

The Lava Men presumably went the same way as all the others, because we now find Iron Man fighting Ultron, Wasp vs Controller, Scarlet Witch and Vision against Grim Reaper while Captain America is attacked by the Assassin from #145-146 (winning this issue's obscure villain prize), Thor faces Count Nefaria and Giant-Man is battered by a Kree Sentry, Nuklo and a Growing Man.

The darkness has spread. Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) and Invisible Woman/Mr Fantastic/Thing of the Fantastic Four try to deal with it in Manhattan, But further afield we see Black Panther in Wakanda, Sub-Mariner in the ocean and She-Hulk in the Mid-West all fighting various manifestations.

As the Avengers start to fail Jarvis is still trying to get back to their 1st villain in their 1st adventure. And Tyfon distracts him with later contenders such as Baron Zemo, Collector, Executioner and Black Talon. In fact he gets quite worked up over Edwin's fixation. Jarvis says he quite understands. It was 1 of their easiest cases with a wimp of a villain. The team are embarrassed to have him in their origin. It was that fool Loki ...

... and now incensed Tyfon reveals himself to be that very villain, who wants to brag that he's responsible for what's happening. He's the team's greatest foe, and he's been using Edwin's knowledge, transmitted by the little demon impersonating the camera, that has created the distracting enemies that have kept them from fighting the darkness that's engulfing the world. Jarvis, who obviously goaded Loki into this reaction, initiates a red alert on his Avengers Identicard.

All the Avengers (except the 4 in hospital, counting Crystal) abandon their fights and rush to the Mansion. It turns out Loki himself is the gateway that the darkness is pouring through. The Avengers attack, and Loki responds by animating their adamantium-coated statues. The team fight a defensive action while Scarlet Witch works up a hex to shatter them (she's neutralised adamantium before). However this time her unpredictable power melts the metal instead, into a wave that threatens to engulf them. Those with blast capability, plus Thor whirling Mjolnir, try to push the wave back. They succeed and it covers Loki, turning *him* into a statue.

After it's all over Crystal calls to say the other 3 Avengers are OK, and in fact Quicksilver is coming to join them. The portal to the Dark Dimension is sealed and the world is saved. Then Cap and Wasp answer the doorbell. It's the mutant called X-Man/Nate Grey who's here to tell them that the world is in danger for another reason, Prof X has gone mad.


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Tom Palmer
Tom Palmer
John Kalisz
Luke Ross (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
Layouts: Mike Wieringo. Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Mark Gruenwald. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Giant-Man
Giant-Man

(Hank Pym)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), X-Man.