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Avengers #401: Review

Aug 1996
Mark Waid, Tom Palmer

Story Name:

Sins of the father

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Avengers #401 Review by (July 3, 2019)
This issue seems more like an X-Men tale with the Avengers as guest stars. Or at least a mutant-centric 1 counting in Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Where does Onslaught come from?
In X-Men (1991) #25 Prof X shut down Magneto's mind, and in Uncanny X-Men #309 Magneto started to haunt PX's dreams.
Starting from UXM#322 various incidents happened with the name Onslaught attached, and in XM#50 Onslaught made his 1st appearance attacking the X-Men.
After more direct and indirect apps Jean Grey discovered that Onslaught is PX in XM#54. This forced Onslaught to reveal himself in the Onslaught: X-Men 1-shot.
In that issue traces of Magneto were detected in Onslaught, sparking the idea that Magneto is really controlling PX.
And there the assembled X-Men and Avengers split up for various tasks, including a team looking for Magneto in this issue. Wolverine went off into his own #104 where he will discover that when Prof X shut down Magneto's mind in XM#25 Magneto's negative side entered Xavier's consciousness resulting in Onslaught.

So why does Joseph appear to be Magneto de-aged and amnesiac? At this point in time the truth has not been revealed.
Brain-dead Magneto was looked after by his followers in the Avalon satellite until Holocaust destroyed it in XM#43. Magneto was taken down to Earth.
Joseph appeared in Guatemala in XM#46 and UXM#327 amnesiac but exhibiting Magneto's powers. He was advised to seek the X-Men to find out who he was.
He surfaced in South Carolina in XM#53 which also happened to be where Rogue was, and they met in X-Men Unlimited #11.
The real Magneto will return cured in UXM#350 and Joseph will still be around, suggesting that they aren't the same person.
It won't be until XM#86 that we learn that Joseph is a clone of Magneto.

Gambit and Rogue fell in love but she has this problem that too much touching of skin leads to her stealing the other person's mind. Then they kissed in XM#11 (because the world was ending) which sent Gambit into a coma (he recovered in UXM#323), and apparently revealed some deep dark secret, so Rogue ran off in X-Men Prime.

The mission of Giant-Man's team unveils in FF#415 but they're too late to stop Xavier/Onslaught kidnapping Franklin Richards. Meanwhile as well as the 2 mixed XM/Av teams and Wolverine's solo, Storm goes to find Cable and has to help him fight an Onslaught-controlled Hulk in Cable #34/Hulk #444, and in X-Factor #125 Onslaught launches his Sentinels.

Teen Tony Stark must think there's a lull in the event because he nips in to college at the end of IM#331 for some classes which are interrupted by the arrival of a Sentinel. He returns as Iron Man to join the other Avengers and X-Men to watch the invasion of New York by Sentinels in XM#55.

Alongside XM#55 Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) and civilian Peter Parker fight Sentinels in Amazing SM #415 and SM#72. And Onslaught gets X-Man away from Mr Sinister in X-Man #19. Then at the end of XM#55 Onslaught with the added power of Franklin Richards emits an EMP which depowers Manhattan.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #401 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue X-Man came seeking help from the Avengers because Prof X had turned evil. In Uncanny X-Men #335 they met many X-people at the ruined X-Mansion and determined that the enemy was a psionic being called Onslaught who seemed to be a mixture of Charles Xavier and Magneto. The heroes decided to split into teams to pursue various tasks. Captain America was going to lead a team to locate Magneto.

This issue will mainly follow that team comprised of 6 Avengers (Cap, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Vision) plus Gambit. They have for some reason returned to Avengers Mansion (in their quinjet) so that they can go down to the basement and exit via a tunnel to the river in a new type of quinjet.

Cap contacts Giant-Man who has been working on a way to locate Magneto. The X-Men's mutant-tracking device Cerebro is damaged so instead Hank Pym has detected Magneto's electro-magnetic signature recently in South Carolina. He sends them the coordinates and then leads another team (Avengers Black Widow, Crystal, Hawkeye and Wasp plus Bishop and Iceman) to visit the Fantastic Four because Onslaught is interested in Reed and Sue's son Franklin Richards.

There is discussion over the possibility that Magneto is controlling Xavier and turning him into the evil Onslaught. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff describe their unpleasant early life as part of Magneto's Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants. It took a lot to break out from under his dominance. Wanda is still not certain she wouldn't succumb to his sway again. Pietro as usual says he will protect his sister.

Now we turn to another couple whose car has broken down in Norfolk, Virginia. They are Rogue and a white-haired young man. The garage mechanic says he can't fix it because the control of his car lift is broke too. Rogue distracts him by opening the control box, while her companion uses magnetic powers to raise the lift. They leave the flabbergasted man to do the repairs.

The white-haired man Joseph is (supposedly) Magneto de-aged and amnesiac. Rogue met him in South Carolina in XM Unlimited #11. She's worked out who he is but is trying to keep *him* from finding out. She's driving north to New York to the X-Men for help, and they've got as far as Virginia. This plan is now scuppered by the arrival of the Avengers quinjet as the pair are walking by the Naval docks. (Henry Pym must have given them an update on the position of Magneto's energy signature.)

Quicksilver recognises Magneto even as a young guy, and impulsively as usual leaps to knock him down. But then he's shocked to see Rogue with the villain, and ex-lovers Rogue and Gambit are surprised to see *each other*. Pietro assumes Magneto has taken control of Rogue and so continues to attack him, despite Rogue asking him to stop. Vision asks why she's defending Erik Lensherr and begins listing his bad qualities. Desperate to maintain Joseph's ignorance Rogue flies the synthezoid away, followed by Thor and Gambit.

Vision asks Rogue if Magneto is controlling her and maybe others, but she doesn't know what he's talking about. She and Thor duel in the sky until Gambit decides to trust her. His charged playing cards separate the combatants and he gives Rogue the chance to tell her side of the story.

Meanwhile inexperienced teen Tony Stark in the Iron Man armour reaches out to help Magneto up, but at Wanda's warning shout he switches to an aggressive posture. And Joseph automatically sends the metal warrior rocketing straight through a nearby battleship. He also magnetically throws Quicksilver away via the iron in his blood, and uses Captain America's shield against him. Scarlet Witch readies a hex but Joseph captures her in a forcefield reminiscent of Magneto in her youth. But this time she fights free, but falls to the ground. Now it's Joseph's turn to offer a hand up, and his solicitous manner and voice convince Wanda this is *not* Magneto.

At this point Rogue returns with the other 3. All might now be well except Quicksilver returns to and races at Joseph with a broken wooden beam because he sees Magneto 'menacing' his fallen sister. But a hex from Wanda causes water to spout up through the pier between them. She tells Pietro she's no longer the frightened girl who needs his protection. And she believes Magneto is no longer the tyrant they remember.

Cap now brings Rogue up-to-date on Onslaught. Joseph apologises for overreacting. And they all agree to return to New York to sort things out.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Remy LeBeau)

(Hank Pym)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Pietro Maximoff)

(Anna Marie LeBeau)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Bishop, Joseph.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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