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Avengers #18: Review

Oct 2011
Brian Michael Bendis, Daniel Acuna

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #18 Review by (March 14, 2012)
Norman Osborn broke out of the Raft in New Avengers #16.1. He recruits a new Dark Avengers team and goes after the New Avengers from NAv#17 on, in parallel with the story in this series. Madame Hydra has a green octopus-thing on her head. She was killed in Secret Warriors #14, and revived in this form in SW#15 by a Hydra being known as the Hive. The head-gear is very reminiscent of the thing that controlled She-Hulk and others as the Earth X version of Hydra. Note that Madame Hydra isn't related to the Hydra Queen who is infesting recent issues of Captain America. Their branches of Hydra are probably completely separate too. And HAMMER has nothing to do with Hammer Industries, who harass Iron Man in his own series. But since no-one, not even Osborn, seems to know what the acronym HAMMER stands for, maybe Hammer Industries did have a hand (or some money) in its formation? Superia was running HAMMER in recent issues of New Avengers while Osborn was in prison. Now Osborn is leading an alliance of HAMMER, Hydra and AIM, with HAMMER apparently on top.

Now for another list. Apart from Cap, who's at the gathering? There's the surviving members of the recent Avengers team:- Hawkeye, Iron Man, Protector, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine, plus Maria Hill and Jarvis the butler. We have the full New Avengers roster:- Luke Cage and Jessica Jones (along with baby Danielle and nanny Squirrel Girl), Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird, Ms Marvel, Spider-Man (again), Thing and Wolverine (also again) plus Victoria Hand and Wong the housekeeper. There is also a good representation from the Secret Avengers:- Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Beast, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Valkyrie and War Machine. But there's no sign of Agent 13, Prince of Orphans or Shang-Chi. (Are the other 2 teams supposed to know that the Secret Avengers exist?) Plus in one scene I believe I spot Misty Knight. Maybe she came with Iron Fist. The Avengers can't stay in the Infinite Avengers Mansion because it was destroyed during Fear Itself in Avengers Academy #19.

This is the untitled part 1 of the Avengers part of the Shattered Heroes follow up to Fear Itself, which will centre on an attack on the Avengers by an alliance headed by Norman Osborn. The cover shows Captain America studying the files on some candidates for a new Avengers team. The players are (I think) Iceman, Photon (Monica Rambeau), Hercules, Blade, Cyclops, a Native American I can't identify, Storm, Ghost Rider, Loki, Cloak and Dagger, Rogue and Black Panther. Strangely none of these people are seen or mentioned inside. And only Black Panther and Storm are considered next issue. Last time he did this in #1 Cap wasn't Cap, just Steve Rogers Super Soldier, in charge of SHIELD and all the Avengers teams. Now he's taken back the Captain America role from the supposedly dead Bucky. But he's still in overall charge of the whole lot. At one point Tony Stark kneels in the rubble of Avengers Tower holding an Iron Man helmet in the classic 'Alas poor Yorick' pose. There are loads of pieces of Iron Man suits nearby. I guess this was the remains of a display of versions of his armour. Amongst the debris there is also an impossible photo of an Avengers lineup with Yellowjacket but with Wasp in a Tales to Astonish era costume.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #18 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue really contains 2 intersecting stories. Ostensibly it's about Captain America (Steve Rogers) picking the next Avengers lineup. It's after Fear Itself, and Cap (Bucky Barnes) and Thor are supposedly newly-dead. But it's also the story of a new character, disillusioned SHIELD scientist Carolina Washington, who will play an important role in upcoming issues.

Carolina's tale bounces through some of the lowlights of the last few years.

We first meet her in the aftermath of the Super Hero Civil War, where she collects a hair sample from the body of Goliath (Bill Foster). She is disgusted to hear that he was killed by Thor (actually the Thor clone later called Ragnarok).

She next collects a blood sample after Cap is 'killed'.

The debris of the battle in Central Park at the end of the Secret Invasion is a field day for Washington We see her taking some of Spider-Man's discarded web, samples of Skrull blood, and (I think) one of Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr)'s guns.

Now we reach the present where Cap and Tony Stark are discussing what to do about Avengers Tower, destroyed in Fear Itself. Tony says he can't afford to rebuild it. Cap is adamant that it must be rebuilt for symbolic reasons (directly related to the fall of the World Trade Center). He suggests they use part of the Asgardian treasure provided for Stark's rebuilding of Asgard.

Washington overhears this, and it (quite rightly) adds to her unease about super-hero morality. Meanwhile she collects some tech from a fallen mechanoid with a swastika on it.

Cap convenes a meeting of nearly all the current Avengers at Avengers Mansion, presently the home of Luke Cage's family and the New Avengers team. (Stark sold it to Cage for a pittance.) Cap tells the Avengers that any who want to can live here, and thanks Luke and Jessica Jones for their hospitality. Except Luke and Jessica were never consulted.

Thing apologises for destroying the Tower when he was transformed into Angir, one of the Worthy in Fear Itself.

Jarvis goes to help Dr Strange's manservant Wong in the kitchen. But Wong throws him out.

Spider-Woman asks Ms Marvel if she can share her apartment, rather than the crowded Mansion. Carol declines. Mockingbird doesn't like Jessica Drew either, because of her relationship with Hawkeye.

Cap ends by saying it's time to decide who will be on the adjectiveless team. (Luke Cage still has full control over the New Avengers membership.)

But the issue itself ends with Carolina Washington. She has defected from SHIELD and gone to AIM with all the genetic superhero secrets she has collected. And AIM have brought her to meet Norman Osborn, Madame Hydra and Superia.



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Daniel Acuna
Daniel Acuna
Daniel Acuna
Daniel Acuna (Cover Penciler)
Daniel Acuna (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: A.I.M., Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady), Carolina Washington, Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Norman Osborn, Protector (Noh-Varr), Squirrel Girl, Superia, Victoria Hand, War Machine (James Rhodes), Worthy.