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Avengers #45: Review

Oct 2001
Kurt Busiek, Manuel Garcia

Story Name:

Life During Wartime

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #45 Review by (October 10, 2020)
Starkings and Deschesne are the lettering duo again.

The Avengers have been doing a lot since last issue. I described their adventures in mmy Comments in #44 and Av: Ultron Imperative, but I'll just go over their last apps here.
The whole team assembled here cameoed (along with others) in Thunderbolts #57.
Captain America seemed to perish in the 4th tale in CA#50. And the others (apart seemingly from Firebird, Triathlon and Warbird) attended is funeral in the 6th story.
But the reports of his death were exaggerated and now he's back in the Avengers and will soon be in a new CA series - all without any comment on his death! But maybe that's why he's recovering from injuries in this issue, not as it says here from the effects of #44. (The Marvel Chronology Project had to fit all thius together somehow, and I believe that's what they intended.)

Jack Of Hearts began Marvel life in tales in most of the issues #21-32 in, of all places, the Deadly Hand Of Kung Fu magazine. He was given his powers by Zero Fluid, an experimental energy source. This left him with the left half of his body blackened by corrosion. He could expel energy as a weapon or means of flight, but he also needed an suit of armour to stop him releasing energy explosively.
Originally he could only revert to human while staying in a room filled with neutromist. The Avengers seem to have improved the formula because he can now use the mist to give him time outside as a human.

I'll talk about the Master Of The World next issue.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #45 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
On 40th Century (alternate-timeline) Earth in the centre of his Galactic Empire Kang receives the adulation of his massed army and tells Scarlet Centurion, to paraphrase, "1 day my son all this will be yours". He also describes how being freed from his fated future of becoming Immortus (as of Avengers Forever) has turned his mind to creating a dynasty, ie Marcus. His son asks about his mother, but Kang dismisses giving too much importance to women. He reminds Marcus what he has told him of his birth. How he chose the best 'breeding stock' in his Empire, and the best of the best was used to conceive *him*. And the child was sent back 25 years in time to be raised and trained for his future role (with frequent oversight visits from daddy).

Now they turn their attention once more to the conquest of 21st Century Earth. The champions of that time-period (mostly the Avengers) have earned Kang's respect as worthy foes, but now it is time to finish their long game and take the prize, which will be Marcus' 1st era to rule.

And in that time and place the Avengers have been recovering from the events of the 1st half of the Kang Dynasty War (#41-44). (But in between they've managed to fit in a lot of other stuff, as mentioned in my Comments in #44 and Av: The Ultron Imperative.) Captain America, Firebird, Thor and Wasp are in the Pentagon discussing the Kang situation. So far he's been stirring up trouble to keep Earth's forces too busy to properly prepare for the attack of his own army. He has stated that he will take Europe 1st, starting with France. UN troops have been fortifying the country as best they can. Cap says that Kang will expect to easily establish his beachhead, and thus demoralise the world. The General heading the meeting replies that this is exactly why they must stop him.

At this point the previously-silent Thor excuses himself and leaves. Firebird says she knows what's the matter with him, and suggests the others continue the meeting while she goes after him.

With joint-leaders Cap and Jan Van Dyne away deputy leader Scarlet Witch has been left in charge at Avengers Mansion. She gets a call from Tony Stark to apologise for not being active as Iron Man. He's been commissioned by the Government to find a way through the forcefield shielding Kang's orbiting space ship, the giant Damocles. Then she's contacted by Kro, Warlord of the Deviants of Lemuria. He too apologises, this time for the actions of rebel Deviants doing Kang's bidding in #42-44. He offers Deviant aid in combating the Conqueror. Henry Pym pops in and explains why he chose to use his Yellowjacket ID after his split-personality/body problem was resolved (our 2001 Annual). YJ was always the ID where his mental problems surfaced, so he needs to face them as YJ.

Elsewhere in the Mansion Jonathan 'Jack' Hart absorbs neutromist in his special chamber, sufficient to allow him 4.2 hours outside his Jack Of Hearts armour - and it also removes the discolouration from the affected half of his body. He's going out to a restaurant with Delroy Garrett who's arranged a double-date for them. But on the way out Vision and Warbird want to talk to Triathlon about his Church the Triune Understanding. They explain to Jack what Delroy and Photon discovered in the Annual from Firestar and Justice who are undercover in the Understanding - how the Triunes are building a spaceship to counter a prophesied threat from space, which will be powered by the life-force of the Triune members. Now they need to find out more. Delroy objects but Carol Danvers points out he already has unanswered questions about where the powers they gave him came from, and the seeming connection to the missing 1950's hero 3-D Man. And she also asks how come they were able to give him access to the Avengers private priority frequency in their 1st meeting (#8-9).

Meanwhile Firebird finds the Thunder God across the Potomac in Washington (they can both fly) on top of a building which looks to my non-US eyes to be maybe the Jefferson Memorial. She asks if his problem is to do with what he said to her in Siberia (#44). Thor angrily says he doesn't want to talk about it, but Bonita Juarez faces him down and he unburdens himself to her. The Asgardian immortal says he's become too attached to the mortal Avengers who he is bound to see die, either in battle or of old age. He will stay to see the Kang problem dealt with but then will leave the mortal world. Bonita opines that he will be giving up something vital, and hopes to change his mind before the crisis is over.

Back in Manhattan Triathlon has reluctantly agreed to help investigate the Triunes. Vision wants Delroy to introduce him as a prospective member of the Church, because he truly is seeking a new purpose in life and is interested in the faith. Warbird also thinks it will help Triathlon cement his place in the Avengers. Delroy sort-of agrees but changes the subject by inviting Carol and Vizh to join them for the evening out, and they accept. (Are the pair are still semi-dating? Despite Vision having a passionate affair with Mantis in Av: Celestial Quest.)

Quicksilver watches them leave from the rooftop where butler Jarvis brings him a snack. Pietro Maximoff wishes for action to take his mind off his thoughts. He's a failed husband (to Crystal) and absent father (to Luna). He knows he's arrogant and unlikeable, but he also knows he *is* superior and he doesn't particularly want to be liked.

We return to the Pentagon for our final scene where the General shows Cap and Wasp the Government's backup plan if the Avengers fail to defeat Kang. They've revived and improved the Sentinels (as we saw last issue). Cap points out that Sentinels have always proved unreliable in the past. The General says they won't be ready for 96 hours, so the Avengers have that long to deal with the problem themselves.

But then they are interrupted by external events, heralded by what feels like earthquakes. Information comes in that a large structure has risen out of the ground to surround the Washington area, and similar things are happening to all major cities in North America. Then a video screen comes on with an announcement from the Master Of The World that he will defend the continent and the world from Kang.

Manuel Garcia
Bob Layton
Tom Smith
Andy Kubert (Cover Penciler)
Andy Kubert (Cover Inker)
Richard Isanove (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Kang the Conqueror)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Firebird, Kro, Master of the World, Scarlet Centurion (Marcus Kang), Triathlon (Delroy Garrett Jr.), Warbird (Carol Danvers).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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