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Avengers #34: Review

Nov 2012
Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #34 Review by (November 29, 2012)
The segue between last issue and this in the microverse isn't seamless. Last time Iron Man was captive in Gouzar's flagship and the other 4 were imprisoned underground. Only Thor was in a force-bubble. But then Thor threw Mjolnir, presumably shattering his bubble, tunnelling out of the ground and hitting several ships including the flagship. This explains how Thor is free, and why Iron Man is falling from the stricken skyship. But not how come the other 3 are in mid-air in their own bubbles. Nor how Captain America has his shield, when it was last seen with Iron Man in the ship. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones don't take part in the main battle. This is probably because they resigned from active duty in the concurrent End Times story in New Avengers. Moon Knight hasn't been active in Secret Avengers for a while. Black Panther is also a visitor at the party, living now in Wakanda. This arc has served basically to return Wasp and Wonder Man to the fold. There are still other threads from this series that haven't been closed. Bendis promises in his text piece that the Age of Ultron will appear in 2013, in a mini-series or maybe even an Event. But that still leaves (Madame) Hydra running around with lots of stolen technology.

Maria Hill and Daisy Johnson both have history before their direct involvement with the Avengers team. During this series Hill was the Avengers' liaison with Steve Rogers for the 1st 12 issues, and also in #16 and #18. Johnson (as Quake) also popped up in #16 during Fear Itself, but then became a regular team member in #19-24. They were both conspicuous by their absence in Avengers vs X-Men, although Hill has been appearing in Avengers Assemble. During their argument they refer to each other as Director Johnson and Commander Hill, with Johnson being the superior. In the pre-Dark Reign past Hill was been Director of SHIELD, but often referred to as Commander. While she was Avengers liaison she was also supposedly reinstated as Director in Iron Man. Johnson is only 18, but also the only level 10 SHIELD operative besides Nick Fury and Black Widow. She was supposedly Director of SHIELD in the Battle Scars limited series. But Hill is Director in Uncanny Avengers #1. Maybe the disagreement here is Bendis' way of commenting on the confusion.

I'm slow on the uptake, and I've only just realised that the Avengers in the microworld are the original team (well, post-Hulk). I'd also wondered why this arc had the Avengers Disassembled symbol on its covers. Especially as they *don't* break-up at the end. Now the open letter by Brian Michael Bendis at the end of the issue reminds me that Avengers Disassembled was where he *started* writing the Avengers. And now he's finished his stint with another end-of-series story. I believe Brandon Peterson & Mike Mayhew do the bulk of this large-sized issue, while Terry & Rachel Dodson handle the party at the end. The single-page fight scenes are by Mike Deodato, Walt Simonson & Scott Hanna, Leinil Yu, Jim Cheung & Mark Morales, and Olivier Coipel & Mark Morales.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #34 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Captain America, Giant-Man, Iron Man and Thor have gone into a microworld to rescue the Wasp. The rest of the main Avengers team (Hawkeye, Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Vision and Wolverine) were left behind to guard the portal Henry Pym set up. Then Avenger/SHIELD Agent Quake turned up, and called in SHIELD.

Now a SHIELD squad has arrived to cordon off the area, led by Maria Hill, sometime Avengers liaison. But also a load more Avengers are here (New Avengers:- Daredevil, Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Mockingbird and Thing, Secret Avengers:- Beast, Black Widow, Sharon Carter and Valkyrie, and the at this point unaffiliated Scarlet Witch and Carol Danvers in her new role as Captain Marvel)

There is a priority spat between Director Johnson and Commander Hill, which ends when Hill tells Black Widow and Hawkeye to go get some Pym particles from Hank's lab so they can send backup into the microworld. But Wonder Man has beaten them to it. And now, desperate to prove himself worthy to become an Avenger again, he uses the particles and the portal in an unauthorised shrink.

In the microverse Cap and normal-sized Giant-Man and Wasp are floating in individual force-bubble prisons amidst a fleet of exploding skycraft. Suddenly their bubbles pop. Free to grow enormously, Hank grabs the other 2 and plants his feet on the ground.

It is Thor who is causing the havoc. Until he sees Iron Man falling, powerless after expending his remaining energy blasting the centaur-like crimelord Gouzar. Said Gouzar is following him, now with metal airplane-type wings. Gouzar attacks Thor with his built-in cannon. Until Giant-Man hurls Cap at him as a fighting distraction.

Thor saves the falling Iron Man, and Giant-Man catches them both. As Wasp herds alien bystanders away from the falling flagship. Iron Man is still trying to get his armour up and running, and Thor is weakened in this alien environment. Lord Gouzar is throttling Cap. When suddenly Wonder Man arrives to take over the fight.

Now it's Thor's turn to catch a falling Cap, as Gouzar's alien horde converge on Wonder Man. Cap, Hank and Thor rejoin the fight. Wasp continues helping civilians. But Iron Man is still out of it. Until some enemy troops attack him, and he can use the power of their blasts to recharge his armour.

He seems to go straight from empty to full, and then to overflowing. A surge of energy brings down all of Gouzar's remaining attack craft. Gouzar is about to shoot Stark in revenge, and in the back, when Wasp flies up and blasts him out of the sky, shattering his helmet.

Jan stands over the fallen villain, and tells the inhabitants of the city that they are now free.

This all couldn't have taken very long, or time runs differently in the microworld, because back on Earth Maria Hill is just telling Black Widow and Hawkeye to continue with the plan to get Pym particles. When the 5 Avengers burst out of the portal. Wasp is glad to be home, and everyone is overjoyed to see her. But the joy doesn't last long, because Lord Gouzar follows them.

What follows is several full-page panels of the assembled Avengers beating on Gouzar. Each page done by a different guest art team.

Then Hank Pym sends the unconscious villain back home.

In an epilogue everyone gathers in Avengers Tower for a welcome home Wasp party. Wonder Man is back in their good books (after being a thorn in their side for the last few years). All the participants are there, plus Black Panther, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Moon Knight. All served of course by the ever-faithful Jarvis.

Cap and Iron Man ponder what now for the Avengers. Steve thinks Wonder Man was at least partly right - the Avengers do seem to cause as many problems as they solve. But Tony brushes that aside, and suggests the solution is to make the team even bigger than it is now. Cue the Marvel NOW series.


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Jim Cheung
Rachel Dodson
Paul Mounts
Brandon Peterson (Cover Penciler)
Brandon Peterson (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
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)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)
Thing
Thing

(Ben Grimm)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)
Wolverine
Wolverine

(James Howlett)

Plus: Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Hildegarde (Hildegarde), Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Lord Gouzar, Quake (Daisy Johnson).