Comic Browser:


Avengers #4: Review

May 1998
Kurt Busiek, George Perez

Story Name:

Too Many Avengers!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #4 Review by (September 24, 2019)
Busiek and Perez continue to make everything old new again, this time with an Avengers lineup issue.

Bob Wiacek helps out with the inking, and Dave Lanphear offers a hand with the lettering.

Of Beast's 39 Avengers (including Firestar and Justice) at the end of last issue, Black Widow, Firebird, Living Lightning, Photon and US Agent left before this issue and I accounted for them in #3. 9 remain on the roster at the end of this issue. So what happens to the other 25?

4 chars from the flashback left before the main meeting:-
Darkhawk will go into relative obscurity for the duration of this series. He'll next appear with several others from this issue amongst the heroes attacked by a possessed Wolverine in Wo#134. But he'll be back for our big finale in the renumbered #501-502.
Sandman goes back to working for Silver Sable in Spider-Man (1999) #12 but Wizard kidnaps him and alters his brain to become a villain again, and that's how he stays.
Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter) will appear in the initial issues of Spider-Woman (Mattie Franklin)'s series before changing her name to Arachne.
Stingray will return in #43 and later issues.

Giant-Man & Wasp *do* leave the team but they just can't stay away. Jan goes shopping with Sue Richards and Jennifer Walters in FF#6, but Hank is involved in the Avengers/Squadron Supreme '98 'Annual' and the initial part of Av Forever #1. Then they both come home for #10-11 and many more.

Crystal and Quicksilver will return to his series from #4. Pietro will pop back for our #7 but Crystal won't be here again until #501.
Black Knight and She-Hulk return to the Heroes For Hire series from #13, which will soon be in a crossover with the Quicksilver series.

Rage slips out after Firestar & Justice don't let him join their adventure. But they must remain friends because he'll be seen with them in Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman 1-shot, and then all 3 will be among those attacked by Wolvie in his #134.
Beast also slips away after diagnosing Binary, and heads back to X-land starting with X-Men #73 to continue working on a cure for the Legacy Virus. He will return in #14 to spend time with his buddy Wonder Man.

7 more heroes decline the offer of membership:-
Black Panther will return to being a wandering guest star. His 1st will be Ka-Zar (1997) #17 which will feature the 1st app of Everett K Ross (not yet played by Martin Freeman). He'll appear with many others from this issue in Ant-Man's Big Christmas 1-shot before getting his own 3rd series.
Machine Man will star in the linked Cable/Machine Man and Machine Man/Bastion '98 Annuals, and then feature in the Rage Against The Machine crossover including the X-Men '99 Annual before getting his own X-51 series.
Sub-Mariner returns to his starring role in Marvel Team-Up for #9-11, dealing with his messed up physiology and regaining the throne of Atlantis.
Quasar will disappear in space for while before featuring in the Avengers: Infinity mini-series with others from this issue.
Sersi will join her family in the New Eternals: Apocalypse Now 1-shot, but then won't be seen again until out #501.
Magdalene & Swordsman may not want to be Avengers but they return for Avengers/Squadron Supreme (Annual) '98 and JLA/Avengers #4. But then they disappear forever.

4 more heroes wander off:-
Tigra won't be seen again until the above-mentioned Avengers: Infinity mini-series where she'll be joined by Starfox and Moondragon
Before then Starfox will be in #3 of the 1998 Adam Warlock series.
Moondragon will be even busier in Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell)'s 1999 series with a side-trip to Avengers Annual 2000.
Demolition Man goes back to Zero-Town until #501.

We don't see Falcon and Hercules leave after presumably getting passed over. Falcon never really wanted the job and Hercules was easy either way.
Falcon will be 1 of those guys in Wolverine #134, and among other adventures will pop in for #27 and eventually join properly from #58.
Herc will do other stuff but he will guest occasionally here, 1st in #25.

What about the main 9?
After all the trouble getting them on the team, Justice and Firestar won't be in the next 2 issues, but will be in Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman before appearing in #7.
Vision and Warbird won't go anywhere else before next issue. but the other 5 will be busier.
Captain America shares the limelight with Sub-Mariner in MTU#9-10 and Iron Man replaces him in #11 Then Hawkeye guests in CA#4 where a subplot leads into Fury/Agent 13 #1-2 involving Iron Man which brings Nick Fury back from his 'death' in Double Edge:Omega. Meanwhile Scarlet Witch visits her brother in Quicksilver #5-6.
Cap guests in Wolverine #124 while in IM#4-5 Tony Stark meets a new Firebrand and a new future girlfriend Rumiko Fujikawa.
Then IM, Thor, Hawkeye and ScW (and Quicksilver) join Cap in his #5-7 fighting Hydra and their Sensational Skrull leader.
Cap appears in the Spider-Man: Made Men 1-shot, and then he and Spidey cameo in Excalibur's final issue #125. Meanwhile in Hulk #465 Tony Stark gives crippled Rick Jones a suit of armour.
The core 5 assemble for Thor's new #1-2 to fight the Destroyer.
Thor continues into #3-4 with his new identity Jake Olson, and faces a sea monster with the help of Sub-Mariner. Meanwhile Iron Man teams up with Black Widow in his #6.

And Wonder Man continues to reintegrate his ionic body in #5 onwards.

The lone villain Whirlwind was last seen in a mob supervillain attack in Sensational She-Hulk's penultimate issue #59. (His apps in Heroes Reborn issues don't count as *he* wasn't transported to that pocket universe.) Next up for him is another mob scene in Thunderbolts #26, and then it's back to us for #44.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In #1-3 a whole load of mostly ex-Avengers were dragged into conflict with Morgan Le Fay. That's all over but (despite some of them appearing elsewhere in between) most of them are still hanging around.

We start with a flashback, via news report, to an incident the day before this issue. Whirlwind robs a bank. A bunch of our 'team' (Binary, Black Panther, Crystal, Darkhawk, Falcon, Firestar, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Hercules, Justice, Machine Man, Magdalene, Quicksilver, Rage, Sandman, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Starfox, Stingray, Sub-Mariner and Swordsman (Philip Javert)) try to stop him. But their numbers and lack of experience with each other cause them to fail.

Pietro Maximoff races forward but gets hit by Spider-Woman's psi-web. Whirlwind's 'tornado' kicks Sandman's sand in Sub-Mariner's eyes. Hercules hurls a chunk of masonry but Crystal's wind-trap diverts it in pieces to hit Falcon, Rage and Stingray. Binary's blast breaks Machine Man's extended arm as he reaches to stop the escaping villain.

The TV reporter compares that with the earlier success of a smaller group against Baron Zemo and the Thunderbolts in their #11-12. And she says that the Avengers founding members are discussing a new whittled-down roster in Avengers Mansion as she speaks.

Giant-Man and Wasp arrive to join Captain America, Iron Man and Thor. Wasp comments on Cap's triangular shield, a replica of his very 1st WWII version which he's borrowed from the Smithsonian Museum (in #3 of his new Heroes Return series) after losing his round shield in the ocean (in his #2). [Tony Stark made him a new round shield in #3 but it didn't work very well, and Cap will continue with the triangular 1 until his #9.] She also congratulates Thor on his return to the beardless look (which we'll see from the beginning of *his* new series).

Steve Rogers introduces the newcomers to their new government liaison Duane Freeman, who has a question [on behalf of knowledgeable readers]. Why is Cap counted as a founder member (when he only joined in #4)? Henry Pym says they decided on that when they voted Cap in and Hulk out. In return Rogers asks Freeman if the government has any requirements for the Avengers makeup in order to restore their security clearance. Duane assures them not [in contrast to the diversity constraints applied by Henry Gyrich way back in the old #181].

At the end of last issue they had 39 potential members. Cap says 8 of them have left already. Some of them must have gone since yesterday's flashback:- Darkhawk prefers being a solo local hero, Sandman now works for Silver Sable, Spider-Woman has a job and daughter in Denver, Stingray has retuned to his oceanographic research. 3 others haven't been seen since last issue:- Firebird is back doing mission work in New Mexico, Living Lightning has gone back to college at UCLA, Photon says she's starting a new business with her father. Black Widow was with the team in CA#3, but has apparently since left without explanation (probably because she was the leader of the previous team and still blames herself for failing to build a new Avengers after the main mob disappeared into Heroes Reborn).

Steve opines that for continuity purposes at least 3 of the founders should be on the new team. He, Iron Man and Thor offer their services, which is lucky because Giant-Man and Wasp have their lives to rebuild. The others note that the divorced Hank and Jan seem to be rebuilding their relationship as well. (Thor needs a place to call home while he searches for the missing Asgardians.) Cap thinks they should offer slots to Scarlet Witch and Vision, considering ...

Wanda Maximoff sits watching the synthezoid body of her ex-husband [I'm sensing a pattern here] Vision immersed in a nanotech liquid regenerating after being cut in half by Morgan last issue. She blames herself because it happened when she hesitated in delivering the final blow to Morgan - because that would also re-disintegrate the ionic body of Wonder Man who she also cared for. But then his ethereal voice interrupts her and she looks round to see Vizh in hologram form, which he says he can now project in the Mansion and its surroundings. He reminds her that when he was taken apart and rebuilt (Avengers West Coast #43-45) the emotional part of him that loved her died. But when she leaves the room he betrays emotions. [Actually Vision got emotions back in Avengers Spotlight #40, but only by getting someone else's brain pattern.]

Outside Black Knight, Crystal, Quicksilver and She-Hulk brave the press pack. Jennifer Walters says they are leaving. She and BK are returning to Heroes For Hire. Crystal and Pietro, who *were* part of the pre-Heroes Reborn team, are going to her Inhuman home Attilan. [Another divorced couple, though here they seem to claim to be husband and wife.]

Other prospective Avengers are waiting inside. Hawkeye is fuming that he isn't an automatic pick, and indeed that he isn't in the meeting room helping choose the roster. Hercules takes it all philosophically. Falcon says he never wanted to be an Avenger in the 1st place (when he was shoehorned onto the team by Gyrich). Moondragon too won't join, as she didn't last time she was asked (#150).

Rage *was* a probationary Avenger (from #326) until they discovered he was a young teenager in a man's body (#342), when he quit to join the New Warriors. he's talking with fellow New Warriors Firestar and Justice, who got involved in #1-3 even though they were never Avengers. Elvin Haliday suggests Angelica Jones could be on the team now she's 18. But it's Vance Astrovik who has always *wanted* to be an Avenger. Justice picks up a police message and takes Firestar along to investigate. Rage offers to accompany them but Vance rather insensitively says this is Avengers business. Hawkeye sees them leave.

Beast is in a lab testing Carol Danvers' power level. She's been losing her Binary power for weeks [since she expended much of it to save the Sun in Quasar #34]. Now Hank McCoy tells her she won't be able to become Binary again. But she still has her previous Ms Marvel power-level (and she's still wearing her last MsM costume). They toss around new codenames she might use. The word warbird is used but not as 1 of the suggestions.

Jan van Dyne finds Wanda to tell her she's in, and we briefly see Wonder Man's ionic face coalesce outside her window. Quasar's going back to space as Protector Of the Universe but he'll remain on call. Sersi is going back to Olympia, home of the Eternals, but she'll be on call for any parties. Magdalene and Swordsman are leaving because this isn't even their reality [they were part of the Gatherers team from destroyed timelines in #355 on]. Sub-Mariner leaves on his Atlantean business. Black Panther returns to Wakanda. Machine Man goes back to studying humanity. Demolition Man leaves via the sewers for Zero-Town with some groceries provided by Edwin Jarvis. Moondragon flies off. Tigra is there too, riding on the back of Starfox and demanding to be taken to the pleasure palaces of Deneb-7. Hawkeye doesn't seem to be around to answer the call.

Iron Man calls Carol into the meeting room, but as a recovering alcoholic he's disturbed at the way she's examining the drinks cabinet. Afterwards when the founders discuss the possibilities Tony Stark has reservations about re-admitting Ms Marvel but he doesn't want to say yet what they might be so he withdraws them. Cap suggests US Agent (who's not in the issue) but is met by stony silence. Wasp brings Hawkeye's name up again.

Whirlwind is whirling through town planning another heist when he's accosted by Justice and Firestar. Vance says he's studied the Avengers' file on David Cannon and his mobility won't help against Firestar's microwaves and his own telekinesis. We skip to the end of the fight with Whirlwind embedded in a wall. Hawkeye was watching and congratulates them. He makes sure the reporters learn who did the job.

And now Clint Barton presents the pair to the founders as recruits with great potential. He even threatens to quit if they aren't allowed in. But Cap says there's only 1 space left, which they were holding for *him*. Hawkeye can't back down now and suggests the 2 teens can share it. Firestar is angrily ready to storm out if they're not wanted here. But then Cap resolves the situation by inviting F&J to be trainee members with 1st dibs on any slot that comes free. Justice joyfully accepts for both of them. And Hawkeye gets his place after all.

Giant-Man takes out his pager which converts into a mini-plane. And he and Wasp shrink down into it and leave.

And Captain America leads the others out to introduce the new lineup to the press. Including Carol Danvers who has now chosen the name Warbird.

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.


(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Hank Pym)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)



(Greer Nelson)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: D-Man (Demolition Man), Duane Freeman, Firestar (Angel Jones), Justice (Vance Astrovik), Rage, Warbird (Carol Danvers), Whirlwind (David Cannon).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

Share This Page