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Avengers #15: Review

Apr 1999
Kurt Busiek, George Perez

Story Name:

The Three-Fold Path

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #15 Review by (December 17, 2019)
Wes Abbot helps with the lettering again, and Scott Koblish aids the inking.

Iron Man was severely injured in a fight with Mandarin in IM#8-10. Despite this he managed to appear in our #10-11, IM/Captain America Annual 1998 and Amazing Spider-Man #1. He was surd of the in juries in IM#11-13 but discovered that things had been made worse because his armour had been slowly killing him for a long time. During that time Tony Stark contributed expertise via video link in our #12-13. Since then he's developed the new safe armour seen here in IM#14-15, missing out our #14. And now he's back.

Wrecker was accidentally given Asgardian power by Karnilla in Thor #148. He lost the power but regained it in Defenders #17, sharing it with 3 other criminals to become the Wrecking Crew. Their Asgardian powers faded (as seen in Journey Into Mystery #505) but they got an alternate power source from Arnim Zola for Thunderbolts #1. They were last seen defeated in Marvel Team-Up (1997) #11 and were presumably sent to jail, from which they've just escaped.
They will feature in our next 3 issues #16-18.

Ultron will then take centre-stage for #0,19-22. He's been lurking in #10 and last issue. Before that he hadn't been seen since Vision's 1994 mini-series.

The Triune Understanding subplot will keep bubbling away all the way to #50.

Graviton won't be a villain for this series. He'll spend his next period of activity in Thunderbolts starting from #27.

The team will have a busy time before their next issue the 1999 Annual.

Cap, IM, Thor, Vision and Wonder Man *will* find themselves fighting Apocalypse (with a mention of Moses Magnum) in Cable #66-68. Then everybody will cameo setting up for a party in the Ant-Man's Big Christmas 1-shot.

Cap will cameo in Magneto Rex #1 while IM, Scarlet Witch and Justice will pop up in #3.

Cap is then off fighting Red Skull (yet again) with a Cosmic Cube (again) plus also Kang and Korvac in his #15-19. In #15-16 IM works on Cap's original shield broken into pieces. And in #16 Thor, Wanda and Justice are at the mercy of the Skull.

Steve Rogers attends Karen Paige's funeral in Daredevil #8 and IM fights Fin Fang Foom (again) in his #16-17 while Thor, Witch and WM are in Thunderbolts #25 with lots of other folk and Firestar and Justice revisit their New Warriors pals in the 1st issue of the NW's new series.

Then it's everybody bar Vision in at least 1 issue each of Contest Of Champions II.

Finally everybody except Justice appears in some or all of Black Panther #7-9 where they learn why T'Challa *really* joined the Avengers way back when.

It's actually an awkward place to have all these side-issues between here and #16 because this issue has just brought in the Wrecking Crew who will be the villains across #16-18. And moreover Ultron has just learned that Pym has made the breakthrough he required but he now won't act on it until #0 and #19-22. However the side-issues have got to go somewhere. Most of them have to be after this issue where Iron Man returns to active duty. And #16-22 really *are* a tight continuity.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #15 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's the opening of the new HQ of the Triune Understanding in Calleyville, Texas and it's most famous member Triathlon gives an acrobatic display and an inspiring speech. Then he hands over to their leader Jonathan Tremont who gives another 1. Meanwhile the Avengers (including a returned Iron Man) are using special scanners to try to track the energy signature of Lord Templar with little luck. Scarlet Witch thinks back a few days to her conversation with Captain America (which was about to begin at the end of last issue) ...

... about the poor performance of the team lately (against Templar in #13 and Pagan last issue). Cap is all ears to hear suggestions for improvement from his new deputy leader. Wanda Maximoff says they've all been focussing on their own individual concerns, herself no less than anyone, and not gelled as a new team. Add to that Thor's part-time membership, Iron Man's recent time off for injuries and Cap's own absences and there's been a lack of leadership. She suggests that Cap continue as field leader because he's the best at that job (with herself deputising when he's unavailable) while *she* works on turning them into a smoothly-functioning team.

Next morning she calls a team meeting where she unveils her plans. But her 1st change is to reinstate the rotating chairmanship of meetings that has often been in force since the time of the original team. And she has primed Firestar before the meeting to take the chair this time. Wanda and Angel's boyfriend Justice encourage Angelica Jones to take the controls of the viewscreen to review ongoing threats:-

1st Lord Templar who claims the governments of the world are backing his armed Crusade For Peace. 2nd Pagan who just seems to go around daring people to stop him causing damage. 3rd is Graviton (though why he's included I don't know since as they say he hasn't been seen since he fought the Thunderbolts in their #17 before Hawkeye took them over). 4th is Apocalypse who was behind Moses Magnum (who they fought in #8-9). 5th is the Wrecking Crew who have apparently escaped from jail and the Avengers have been asked to find them.

The next item on the agenda is making recently-returned-from-dead (again) Wonder Man an Avenger again. But he declines at this time for personal reasons (last issue he discussed not being worthy). Next is Wanda's changes to the training schedule - as well as the regular team workouts she's adding 1-on-1 training for team members to get to know their fellow's fighting styles. Today it will be Thor vs Justice and Vision vs Firestar.

But then Iron Man shows up ready to return to work because his boss Tony Stark has created new armour to avoid the problems he's been having with it lately. (He's maintaining this fiction because Firestar and Justice aren't in on the secret that Iron Man *is* Stark.) And he comes bearing gifts - sensors that can track Templar's energy.

Which brings us to our opening scene. Now Cap and Firestar report to the other Avengers that they've picked up a strong Templar trail, and the others rush to join them. And the trail leads them to the Triune Understanding's HQ and their opening ceremony, and straight to their back door. The Triune people, including Triathlon who worked with the Avengers in #8-9, are reluctant to let them in. Justice notices heavily armed guards with weapons that ring a bell (I'm guessing they're the weapons that Lord Templar acquired in #13). Jonathan Tremont tells his staff the problem will dealt with ...

... and suddenly Pagan erupts from the ground. Cap holds the Avengers back while Triathlon takes on the invader because they're on Triune turf. But when Pagan swats Triathlon aside he sends Firestar, Scarlet Witch and Vision in. He holds Thor and Wonder Man back because their power didn't work last issue. Meanwhile he tells Justice to hold the crowd back telekinetically and Iron Man to come up with some ideas. Vision's solar beams prove ineffective. Wanda tries a different tactic from last time - instead of using her chaos magic to attack the self-proclaimed chaos being she tries to drain *his* chaos magic. And it seems to make him vulnerable when Firestar pours on the microwaves (now that she doesn't have to worry about her health). But he still manages to KO the pair with a Hulk-like slamming together of his hands.

Time for an interlude with the aforementioned Wrecking Crew in Muscatine, Iowa where they've just robbed a bank. Bulldozer says a mystery man broke them out of jail if they'd agree to work for him, but Piledriver adds that they then just up and left him. Thunderball reminds them that the man increased their power level and is apprehensive about what a guy like that might do to them, but Wrecker says he thinks too much. But as the police arrive a green energy spirits them away.

Back in Texas Pagan disposes of Wonder Man and Justice, and shrugs off Iron Man's vari-frequency pulse blast. Then Thor enters the fray and manages to stagger the villain. But Pagan bounces back and pummels the Thunder God deep into the ground.

But then a beam strikes Pagan from above and seems to defeat him. It's Lord Templar who declares these people are now under *his* protection. The Avengers are preparing to fight *both* villains when Triathlon tells them to stop, because Templar seems to be the only 1 who can stop the bad guy. And the crowd agrees with him. Pagan recovers and hurls a very large chunk of masonry at his adversary. But Templar sends forth 4 of his Avatars, like in #13 but all the strong variety this time, and they smash the missile and pile on Pagan. Thor emerges from the ground ready for another round but finds Templar taking Pagan into space where he will throw him far away.

The Avengers are confused, especially Wanda who reasons thus:- Pagan just easily bested Thor, and in #13 Thor proved stronger than Lord Templar, so how come Templar was able to easily defeat Pagan.

Later Tremont holds a press conference where he says that the Avengers want to search the Triune premises, but he accuses them of trying to distract attention from their failure here by blaming the victim. The crowd buys it and the press badger Cap for comment.

Later still Jonathan Tremont is in his private quarters when Lord Templar ghosts through the wall. They discuss their plans and agree that every power for 'good' needs an enemy to be seen to overcome. And the Avengers have just elected themselves to fill the role.

Lastly in Nugent Technologies an underling reports that Henry Pym has made the required breakthrough in his work. And Ultron says this will ensure the destruction of the human race.

George Perez
Al Vey
Tom Smith
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
George Perez (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


Plus: Firestar (Angel Jones), Jonathan Tremont, Justice (Vance Astrovik), Lord Templar, Pagan, Triathlon (Delroy Garrett Jr.), Wrecking Crew.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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