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Avengers #38: Review

Mar 2001
Kurt Busiek, Alan Davis

Story Name:

Above and Beyond

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #38 Review by (July 10, 2020)
Alan Davis and his oft-times inker Mark Farmer begin a (short) run on this title here.
Albert Deschesne continues to assist with the lettering.

This is part 1 of 3 of the Hulks epidemic.

All the existing members of the Avengers are still on the core team, and Captain America, Quicksilver, Thor and Wonder Man have officially rejoined. Others are in away teams:- Jack Of Hearts and Photon have decided to stay on (JOH becoming an Avenger for the 1st time), and Black Knight, Firebird, Living Lightning and Quasar have all returned to active duty.

Iron Man's still wearing his old (70's real time) armour, here and in his own title, since his latest armour went sentient and rogue.

Quicksilver broke with his father in the Magneto: Dark Seduction mini-series, and was found 'mindlessly wandering' in a flashback in X-Men #111 and went to warn Wolverine about Maggy's plans in a tale in X-Men Unlimited #30.
Quicksilver doesn't get a chance to go back to Genosha because the X-Men very soon resolve the problem of Magneto in the Eve Of Destruction event, and soon after that the villain appears to die in New X-Men #115.

Since his last visit to the Avengers in #16-18 Black Knight has spent time with Captain Britain's cast of chars in the 2001 Excalibur mini-series.

Firebird was last seen in #27 declining active membership because of her church work. She's obviously changed her mind.

Living Lightning also turned down active membership in #27 citing pressure of college work. Here he's found a way to reconcile that. But he won't be seen again until #47.

Thor has been busy since we last saw him in the Maximum Security event. His most recent big app was his 2001 Annual where he teamed up with Beta Ray Bill and Hercules for the 1st battle against Desak, Destroyer Of Gods. Since then he's had minor apps in Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #36 (the World Trade Center issue) and Wolverine: Son Of Canada (a Doritos giveaway).

Quasar seems to have forgotten about being Protector Of The Universe and reverted to being a protector of Earth.
Ego being inside him will also seemingly get forgotten about. He'll next turn up in Fantastic Force (2009) #3-4, but that's after Quasar's (Marvel) death in Annihilation: Nova #4.
Quasar himself will be in Fantastic Four #46 with other space-based chars (Ego will also be mentioned there) before returning for our #47.

High Evolutionary had a base in the Savage Land in Ka-Zar (1997) #12-4 and the 1997 Quicksilver series. Since then he's been operating from a satellite, which is where the Avengers' situation Earth shows him, lately in X-Men issues where he was tricked by Mr Sinister into trying to remove all mutant powers.

Next issue we'll learn that the author of the Hulks problem is the alchemist Diablo. And in #40 we'll see that the father and son are Kang The Conqueror and the Scarlet Centurion.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #38 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
At the end of last issue boss Wasp persuaded Captain America to rejoin the team, and promised to shake things up. This issue we find that the new expanded Avengers are already up and running. But 1st we look in on the sleepy town of Kalkhimithia in Greece where a man floating above it snaps a glass vial and unleashes a green sparkly gas upon it.

Next we watch Quicksilver, field team leader Scarlet Witch, Triathlon, Warbird and Wonder Man disrupt 1 of Taskmaster's mercenary training grounds in the Florida Everglades. They easily defeat all the fairly-new recruits, and Taskmaster complains that this is the 4th of his schools the Avengers have raided this week - before escaping through a secret tunnel. His 2nd-in-command here hesitates before following him, which saves his life because the tunnel self-destructs behind the boss.

Wanda Maximoff (who's exchanged her gypsy-look costume for a more conventional unitard and cape) welcomes her brother Pietro back to the team. He says he's still got business  in their father Magneto's Genosha but he'll make the Avengers his 1st priority. Carol Danvers reports their success to Vision back at Avengers Mansion, and he suggests that since things are quiet now they should have their long-delayed (since #32) dinner date. And we pull back to see evidence of the transformation in their control centre ...

... where Cap, Janet Van Dyne and her lover Henry Pym (Goliath) survey a holographic representation of the globe with known threats pinned to it (including Magneto in Genosha). They've taken Cap's criticism last issue to heart and intend to be more proactive. And she and Cap are now co-leaders of the whole thing.

Vision connects them to Black Knight and Firebird (2 more rejoined ex-Avengers) on the border of Slorenia. Last issue Scarlet Witch trapped Bloodwraith in the empty devastated country with a spell. They and SHIELD are monitoring the situation. Sean Dolan is a 'raving monster' due to possessing the Ebony Blade. That sword used to belong to BK, and Dane Whitman is determined to find a cure for his ex-squire so they can free him and the land.

Next they check in with Jack Of Hearts (who's obviously decided to stay on after the last few issues) in the Savage Land. He's investigating the abandoned base of the High Evolutionary and analysing radiation traces which should enable them to detect his activities next time he does anything.

The mission control room is in the Mansion basement, totally rebuilt after Lord Templar and Pagan trashed the place in the last 2 issues. Now work is starting on restoring the surface level Mansion to its former glory. Meanwhile Edwin Jarvis brings a snack to Iron Man (who of course he knows is Tony Stark) who is working on a device to detect incursions from other dimensions like the Negative Zone. And when he's finished that Cap wants a time-travel detector as well. Wasp rings Tony to ask if he's seen Hank, but he says Pym hasn't turned up to help him yet ...

...and we see miniaturised Henry Pym using a jet pack to get to an equally-shrunken 'house' hidden in the Mansion grounds. Inside there's another Henry Pym imprisoned in a containment tube. We know that Hank was secretly duplicated as a magical side-effect in #28. 1 version continued as the Avenger Goliath, but folks have noted that he's become more cold and rational. The other has been hiding as miniature Yellowjacket, and has got the flippant side that emerged when Pym 1st took on that identity (#60 of the original run). Now YJ-Pym took G-Pym's place in #36. G-Henry asks YJ-Hank why he doesn't just kill him. YJH turns away and answers sotto voce "Avengers don't kill".

Steve Rogers meets with Thor atop the Mansion. Cap knows why the Thunder God quit (#27) but he says they need his strength. Thor agrees for his sake, but still won't play nice with reporters. Wasp flies up to welcome him back, and also demonstrate the new comms system on her wrist which enables her to take a hologram call anywhere in the grounds. And she's got a call now ...

... by Q-Link from Quasar out in space with ex-West Coast Avenger Living Lightning and Photon (like JOH still hanging around). They've been setting up a deep-space monitoring system in the asteroid belt. Wendell Vaughn is self-exiled to space because he has the dangerous essence of Ego The Living Planet within him (since Maximum Security). Miguel Santos is happy to share the solitude while he concentrates (remotely) on his college course. Monica Rambeau is commuting at lightspeed from her family's home in New Orleans. And Starfox has promised to pop in often from Titan, which should mess up Miguel's studying.

Back on Earth Cap comments that they've still got to get Black Widow to trace the Exemplars, and Falcon and Hercules have offered their help. A quinjet brings home the Florida team, and Triathlon and Wonder Man will go out undercover again to get 'recruited' for another of Taskmaster's schools. Delroy Garrett asks Simon Williams for some more acting lessons.

Unbeknownst to the Avengers they are being watched from afar by a father and son duo. The son is not impressed by Captain America. He is merely human while they have weapons and superior technology. The father urges him to study the surveillance they have on the team and especially Cap. It is his spirit, cunning, courage and skill that makes him win, and lead the others to win. And they are creating a formidable defence system. The duo must never underestimate the Avengers or they will not deserve their victory.

All through this issue we have been told of increasingly severe outbreaks of violence in Kalkhimithia. Now the town is ablaze and full of animalistic howling.

But we'll forget that and follow Carol Danvers and Vision jet-skiing on the Hudson River. Vizh then activates his human Victor Sage image before taking Carol to dinner - hot dogs from an open-air vendor. The synthezoid is full of surprises, and next is to be a Hong Kong action movie double-bill which Beast strongly recommends. But Carol can't resist asking if this date is just to make his ex-wife Wanda jealous. Victor says he will always have feelings for Wanda, but he is trying to build a life of his own. And he's spared having to go any further because they get called in to the Mansion.

The situation globe has flashed up an alert in Greece. Their Federal Security Liaison Duane Freeman calls to tell them about Kalkhimithia and shows them a video. The whole town has been turned into Hulks mindlessly fighting each other. And before his call is over a quinjet is in the air.

Alan Davis
Mark Farmer
Tom Smith
Alan Davis (Cover Penciler)
Mark Farmer (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Knight
Black Knight

(Dane Whitman)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jack of Hearts
Jack of Hearts

(Jonathan Hart)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Kang the Conqueror)

(Wendell Vaughn)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Duane Freeman, Firebird, Goliath (Hank Pym), Living Lightning (Miguel Santos), Photon (Monica Rambeau), Scarlet Centurion (Marcus Kang), Triathlon (Delroy Garrett Jr.), Warbird (Carol Danvers).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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