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Avengers #19: Review

Aug 1999
Kurt Busiek, George Perez

Story Name:

This Evil Renewed

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #19 Review by (January 20, 2020)
Kurt Busiek and George Perez return as writer and penciller for this series. Wes Abbott helps with the lettering.

This issue follows on from the Wizard #0.

Black Panther says he's on a quick visit to New York despite trouble at home in Wakanda as depicted in his current series. But the Marvel Chronology Project has this between BP(1998)#9 and #10 which is in the middle of a much longer stay in NY. T'Challa had arrived in #1 to investigate a scandal involving the Embassy but he was really lured her so that Wakanda could be taken over by Achebe who banned him from returning. #7-9 guest-starred the Avengers and included BP admitting that he only originally joined the team to check what threat they might pose to his country. In #10-13 he'll expose the forces behind the coup and regain his throne.

We've actually covered all of Alkhema's previous history. Ultron created her in West Coast Avengers #90-91 and they immediately fell out. They returned in WCA Annual #8 where Alkhema betrayed her father to the Avengers.
Black Panther wasn't in either of these adventures so he's never met Alkhema before. But presumably he recognised her from the Avengers files, or even his country's own doubtless extensive database.

Slorenia was previously used in a series of connected stories in Force Works #4-5,11-12 and War Machine #14.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #19 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Wakanda Design Group's Long Island factory builds quinjets for the Avengers (since Stark Enterprises became Stark-Fujikawa after the Onslaught event and lost the contract). (They were originally designed by Black Panther himself(?) and introduced in #61 of the 1st volume.) The plant is busy replacing 3 quinjets that the team has 'lost' recently (#17, the 1999 Annual and #0).

T'Challa is in New York visiting the Wakandan Embassy but now as Black Panther he's responding to an alarm that the plant is being wrecked by an intruder. He races stealthily through the ongoing destruction but is still detected by the metal assailant who he recognises.

Meanwhile Firestar and Justice are at last moving their stuff into Avengers Mansion (which they decided to do back in #13). Vance Astrovik carries his things telekinetically because of his broken leg and crutches, and despite his recent concussion (injuries sustained in #16-17). Edwin Jarvis welcomes them in, and Captain America invites them to join a press conference when they're ready. Only Iron Man and Thor are with him. He tells the press that Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man are due back from lunch, and he doesn't know where Vision is.

That lunch is in a regular haunt the Café Transia serving the cuisine of the Witch's homeland. Wanda Maximoff is providing a different taste of the old country this day by taking part in some traditional Transian gypsy dancing. She loses herself with unaccustomed wild abandon as the rhythm builds, cheered on not least by her lover Simon Williams. Afterwards she accuses him of infecting her with his extroversion.

They discuss Simon's brother Eric Williams (the villain Grim Reaper) who has been in a sanatorium since he was brought back to life in #11. But in #0 they found him gone and the hospital trashed by robotic invaders. Simon is convinced that Eric organised his own escape but Wanda thinks he may have been kidnapped.

Then Wanda notices someone who's been staring at her. But in that instant he vanishes and she realises it was the Vision. The owner tells her it was Mr Shade who's been a longtime regular except for a few months recently. (Victor Shade was Vision's alias in his 1st mini-series, and his months off presumably coincided with him being off in the Heroes Reborn universe and later being stuck as a hologram in the Mansion.)

Back at the press conference the Big 3 are having a hard time. Megan McLaren asks why they virtually accused the Triune Understanding of being in league with Pagan and Lord Templar (#15), and another reporter suggests it's religious intolerance. Another questions their spotty record of having African-American members, like none currently. Aaron Anderson queries why they accepted convicted murderer Justice and 2 other mutants (Firestar and Scarlet Witch). And not long ago they included the ex-villain Sandman (and he was part of the grand team assembly in #1-4) who has recently returned to villainy (after Wizard messed with his mind in Spider-Man (1999) #12).

Luckily for our heroes the conference is interrupted by full-size Janet Van Dyne flying  in through a closed window begging for help. She says Henry Pym has been kidnapped. The press are ushered out over protests that this is a stunt to avoid answering the questions. Angelica Jones and Vance Astrovik join them as Wasp explains that she went to Nugent Technologies for a lunch date with Hank but found his lab a mess and the boss Alice Nugent told her he'd been taken by robots (there's a pattern emerging here). Alice's description matched that of Ultron. Jan says her Avengers communicard wouldn't work for some reason so she grew her wings and flew here. Vision arrives by ghosting through a wall. And Jarvis tells them about Panther fighting an adamantium robot at the Wakandan factory.

Leaving Justice to man the comms and call in Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man the others, including Wasp (who finds time to don a costume), board an undamaged quinjet and head to the factory. On the way the team bring Angel up to speed on Ultron. Henry Pym created a simple robot with AI called Ultron-1 which turned on him and hypnotised him to forget it existed. It rebuilt itself several times and emerged to attack the Avengers as Ultron-5. Then it evolved again as Ultron-6 with an adamantium body, and went on through many more iterations. Along the way it created the Vision and a 'bride' Jocasta, both of whom left him for the Avengers. He created another 'wife' Alkhema but *she* revolted to become a rival villain. He also worked with the Grim Reaper several times. And through it all he has had an Oedipal fixation with his 'father' Hank.

They land the jet in a secret underground hangar and Wasp leads the way to the sound of battle. But they don't find the expected Ultron but instead Alkhema holding BP by the throat. And the female robot claims to be upgraded to version 2, and she welcomes the extra challenge. The adamantium 'bot enjoys shrugging off everything they can throw at her, and is only disappointed that Hawkeye isn't with them. (Alkema's brain is based on the brain-patterns of Mockingbird, Clint Barton's now-dead wife.) She denies being in league with Ultron, though she does confirm that he's involved. She claims to only be here to spite him by killing them before *he* gets the chance.

Only Vision seems to make an impact by landing on her from a great height at maximum density. But she retaliates by throwing him at Thor. Firestar bathes the foe with wave after wave of microwaves to cook her insides. She increases the intensity beyond anything she's ever done before, to stop Alkhema even if it kills her. But Panther leaps to pull Angel down as the robotess fires a deadly eye-beam at her.

At that point WM and the Witch turn up. ScW has previously defeated Ultron by hexing the molecular arranger which keeps his adamantium insides from freezing up. Wanda tries this on Alkhema but the robot claimed that she and Ultron had already shielded themselves from that by the last time they all met (West Coat Avengers Annual #8). But the Witch says she's improved her magic since then and she infiltrates her hex-power inside the robot and messes her up big time.

Jan demands to know from the prostrate Alkhema where Ultron is and the robot suggests they turn on the news. Which tells them of the small Baltic nation of Slorenia having been attacked. High-flying robots destroyed the country with death beams. And a cameraman relayed the silhouetted image of Ultron in the nation's capital before he was killed.

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.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Alkhema, Firestar (Angel Jones), Justice (Vance Astrovik).

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