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Avengers #6: Review

Oct 2010
Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

5 stars

Avengers #6 Review by (July 6, 2012)
2nd story:- Continued from New Avengers #5. Hank had invented a new Pym formula that allowed him (and Jan) to change size mentally without taking pills each time. Strangely it didn't restrict Wasp's abilities. There is at least one famous example of a scientist experimenting on himself, when Barry Marshall drank bacteria to prove that they caused stomach ulcers, rather than the previously-believed stress or spicy food. Previous theories of Hank's mental health began his problems with the lab accident that caused his Yellowjacket-schizophrenia in #59-60. Or with the mental manipulation of his creation Ultron in #58 (flashback). Continued in New Avengers #6.

Maestro refers to Kang as Kang early on, but calls him Immortus at the end. And no-one else seems to be surprised by his transformation, so it looks like all the future guys were in on it. Immortus then turns on them, and says he's learned how they would beat him, suggesting that was his purpose all along. But they didn't beat *him*, they beat Ultron! That, and the blasts from his fingers, might make me think he's really Ultron in disguise. But he continues to claim to be Immortus until the lightning fries him. There's also the problem with the Grounhog day timeloop. If it was caused by Kang repeatedly bring armies from alternate timelines to the same event, then surely that younger Kang would be the one trapped there. Except they say Kang/Immortus isn't trapped because he's a time-traveller. So presumably young Kang time-travels away from the battle scene, becomes Immortus (for reasons unknown), returns to the loop point, and conspires with Maestro et al to go to the Avengers as Kang. This is the kind of devious thinking that time-travel stories inspire. And I still don't think the plot hangs together. But I still love them! The relationship to the Next Avengers DVD is easier to fathom. This is an alternate version of the Next Avengers. In the DVD Ultron has conquered the world, as he has done here. He has also killed the NA's parents, along with the rest of the Avengers except Thor and Iron Man. Presumably something similar has happened here. But in the DVD it is the NA, with Iron Man and Hulk, who defeat Ultron. Here of course the story diverges, involving Kang and the past Avengers.

Ultron was seen out in space (after being ejected from Iron Man's armour in Mighty Avengers #6) leading the alien Phalanx during Annihilation: Conquest, where he was apparently destroyed. He will return from there in #12.1, heralding the Age of Ultron which old Iron Man warned about. However the only evidence of his activities so far is an Ultron body whose shipment Moon Knight will intercept in his 2011 series (and keep the head as a trophy). Before his consciousness left for space Ultron infected the Avengers' computers. This infection manifested as another Ultron in MAv #32-36, before being banished to ultra-space. What exactly is the relationship between Kang and Immortus in this series? (Ignoring the fact that they were split into 2 separate beings in Avengers Forever.) The 'previously' splash page of this and earlier issues say that the Kang who visited the Avengers in #1 is an earlier version of the Immortus seen being killed by the Next Avengers. And we are led to understand that the Kang who attacks Ultron is even younger. The Kang who visited the Avengers is the one with Maestro and Old Iron Man this issue. But he seems to be Immortus in disguise, who then gets killed by the Next Avengers. So it's presumably Immortus who visited the Avengers. And the evolution from Kang to Immortus must have happened between attacking Ultron and now. However the pre-Avengers Forever Immortus was generally shown to have outgrown Kang's lust for conquest, which this version hasn't. So maybe this Kang is after the split from Immortus in Avengers Forever. And maybe he's later taken on the name Immortus without the maturity.

This series never did give details of the background of the Next Avengers, apart from saying that the female is Thor's daughter. But we can assume their origins from their DVD. The female is Torrun daughter of Thor and Sif. The one with the photonic(?) shield is James Rogers son of Cap and Black Widow. (Presumably we're talking the Bucky Cap here? Which makes it stranger that Torrun says she hates him, for no explained reason.) The one with the bow and arrows is Francis Barton son of Hawkeye and Mockingbird. The black guy is Azari son of Black Panther and Storm. The other guy is Henry Pym Jr son of Hank and Jan. (If this lineage had been revealed in this story, it would have been another indicator that we're in an alternate future, because Jan's dead and childless in current Marvel. But then that's just Marvel-dead.) The Next Avengers and Maestro will be seen in vision of the future in SHIELD (2011) #4.

This is the last part of The Next Avengers, and also the last appearance of the Heroic Age banner. The misleading cover shows Thor vs Maestro. They have never been in the same *time* in this whole story arc. Ultron is actually Hank Pym's fault, rather than the Avengers in general. He invented him way back in the original Avengers #58 (in a flashback). The Kang with Maestro makes it sound as though the Kang attacking Ultron is *much* younger. Killraven hasn't shown up in the present since then. His only later appearances have been in his alternate future. The future-dwellers are careful not to tell Cap (Bucky) of his fate. This presumably refers to being sent to the Gulag after the upcoming Trial of Captain America in. Or maybe even 'dying' in the later Fear Itself?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The time-travelling Avengers (Captain America (Bucky), Iron Man, Protector and Wolverine) confront Ultron in a desolate future, just before Kang is due to attack him with an army of Marvel superbeings. They warn him of the impending attack, and he senses they are telling the truth.

He tells them it is futile to attack him. If this body is destroyed, his consciousness will live on. And anyway he calculates that he will win the fight against Kang. But Iron Man asks him to lose.

Ultron rapidly deduces what will happen. Kang will repeatedly attack with new armies, until the concentration of elements from multiple alternate realities shatters spacetime (or at least that's my interpretation). Ultron will be affected, along with everyone else. This is why the Avengers want him to deliberately lose.

Ultron wants to see the results for himself. Protector offers to take him forward in time. Ultron doesn't trust the Avengers, and wants to use Noh-Varr's time-machine alone.

There is an impasse, which Ultron resolves by trying to destroy the Avengers. But Protector's Kree technology protects them.

Then the Avengers leave Ultron to his thoughts.

We now move to the scene from the end of #1, as Kang returns from warning the Avengers. He reports to Maestro and the spiky-haired woman as before. But this time we see future Iron Man as well, and also the young Next Avengers. Maestro blames the Avengers for Ultron. Kang says the plan is for the Avengers to find their way here to see what's happening, then go back in time to ask Ultron to avoid breaking the timestream with his escalating war with Kang. Which amazingly is just what they did.

Kang reminds them that his younger self will soon be making his first strike against Ultron. The Next Avengers sneak out to watch. They see Ultron just standing there where the Avengers left him. Ultron notices them, but doesn't attack.

Then Kang arrives with the first of his super-hordes. They all launch into attacks on Ultron. Who hardly resists, and lets himself be cut to pieces.

Kang sends his army back where they came from. But then he expresses his disappointment at Ultron's performance. Kang lives for the thrill of conquest, and this was just too easy. So he leaves to find a more rewarding struggle.

Back in our time Hawkeye, Maria Hill, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Thor find all the time-lost beings who infected New York have gone. Except inexplicably for Killraven.

The time-travelling Avengers reappear with future Iron man, who confirms that everything's worked out. Before they leave, old Tony Stark has a word with younger Tony. They may have stopped the breaking of time. But Ultron still conquered the world beforehand. He says that the Avengers must stop Ultron. After all, they created him.

And he gives younger Tony the ultra-dangerous dark matter accelerator that Kang had in #1. Old Tony created it, and younger Tony must use it against Ultron if necessary.

This issue says that the girl in the Next Avengers with the large sword and presumably lightning powers is Thor's daughter. But it doesn't name her, or explain who the others are.

After the Avengers have gone back home, Maestro turns to 'Kang' and refers to him as Immortus. Kang's costume has subtly changed. Immortus thanks them for showing him how they would defeat him. And appears to kill old Iron Man, Maestro and his white-haired sidekick.

He then attacks the Next Avengers, but they repulse him. Then we get a replay of the opening scene of #1, as Immortus is struck by lightning, presumably caused by Thor's daughter.

In an epilogue, Protector formally joins the Avengers.

Story #2

Avengers Assemble: The Oral History of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes Chapter 9

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Henry Pym, Clint Barton, Jan van Dyne and Steve Rogers discuss the return of Pym (as Goliath) and Wasp, starting from #28, and the new Pym-particle formula that stuck Goliath at 12 feet tall for a while.

There are comments from scientists Reed Richards, Curt Connors (Lizard) and Bill Foster (Pym's assistant and a later Goliath) about the inadvisability of a scientist experimenting on himself.

It is suggested that Hank's later mental problems stem from a personality-change begun by this new formula, making him more irritable. These problems eventually led to Hank and Jan's divorce.

One irritability effect is claimed to be Goliath's opposition to Black Widow joining the Avengers. This leads to discussion here of her suitability, and Hawkeye repeating that she refused to be interviewed for this book, and that she wouldn't like them discussing her now.

John Romita Jr.
Klaus Janson
Dean White
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
Dean White (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Kang the Conqueror)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Next Avengers, Protector (Noh-Varr).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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