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Avengers #8: Review

Dec 2010
Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #8 Review by (September 11, 2012)
2nd story:- This part of Chapter 13 will be reprinted in the Avengers Assemble Oral History Trade Paperback as the whole of Ch13. New Avengers #8, Av#9 and NAv#19 will contain continuations of this Ch13, all set during the Kree/Skrull War. But the book will relabel NAv#8's contribution as Ch14, and Av#9 and NAv#9 will be combined as Ch15. This will obviously affect subsequent Chapter numbering in the book. While welcoming Pietro and Wanda's return (in #75-76), nobody mentions that Wasp and Yellowjacket quit at the same time. Or that Black Panther left in #87-88. The short history of the Kree and Skrulls doesn't mention their first pre-historic meeting on the Blue Area of the Moon, nor the involvement of the Cotati. Bendis obviously had to pick and choose what elements of the Avengers' history he could fit in. Noticeably he will omit the Cotati again by skipping over the whole Celestial Madonna saga in #129-135 and Giant-Size #2-4, where Vision and Scarlet Witch get married and we see the 1st stab at linking Vision to the WWII Human Torch. Next NaV#8 will cover #89-91 where Captain Marvel frees himself from Rick and the Negative Zone, and the Avengers face Ronan of the Kree.

Illuminati #2 showed Reed Richards handing out the Infinity gems to the Illuminati in a meeting. But here it seems only he knows who has what. But also the colours of gems they were given in Illuminati #2 don't match the colours here. Is there a missing story here (and I don't think it's Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers!)? But if Iron Man didn't know who had the Reality and Power Gems, why did he immediately suspect Black Bolt? Because a Skrull took his place at some point? Red Hulk started working for Steve Rogers in Hulk #26. The Inhuman Ertzia isn't dead, as we'll see next issue. For the record, accompanying Steve Rogers are (as well as Rulk) are the rest of the Avengers and New Avengers (apart from Ms Marvel). There are also Black Widow, Valkyrie and War Machine from the Secret Avengers (just how un-secret *is* that team?). But next time it will turn out that Beast, Moon Knight and Ms Marvel are also here.

How would Medusa know where to come? I would expect the signal to her husband just meant "meet us at the usual place". Lockjaw is the Inhumans' teleporting tracker-dog. In Thing #3 it was claimed that he was actually a male Inhuman whose Inhuman-ness happened to manifest in a dog shape. But X-Factor #71 explained that was a lie. Black Bolt 'died' at the end of War of Kings, but he will return in FF#6. I don't think Mr Fantastic has been in contact with the Inhumans since then. He visited the Blue Area of the Moon in Fantastic Four #577, but they don't live there now. Mr Fantastic got the Power Gem from She-Hulk (from Titania who got it from the Elder of the Universe Champion). He used that gem to track the others in Illuminati #2, which places that issue (just) after Avengers Disassembled in 2004. However Attilan, the city of the Inhumans, left the Himalayas (for the 2nd time) in Inhumans vol 3 in 2000, well before then even in Marvel time. So the Black Bolt can't have hidden the Reality Gem in his basement and then forgotten it during the move. He must have deliberately hidden it in the abandoned site. Mind you nobody tells Medusa *when* her husband was given the gem, so she doesn't know that.

This issue is part 2 0f 6. The Illuminati have been around since just after the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers #89-97, but we didn't see them until New Avengers (2005) #7. They were a secret group (Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Mr Fantastic, Prof X, Sub-Mariner organised by Iron Man) dedicated to proactively dealing with such major threats. The New Avengers: Illuminati 1-shot described their foundation and their demise. 5 of them (Prof X was missing since House of M) met to discuss exiling Hulk to space (and eventually to Planet Hulk). Namor resigned over it. Later Iron Man called the remaining 4 together to discuss his proposed Superhero Registration Act. They disagreed and disbanded. (In World War Hulk, Hulk got revenge on Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Mr Fantastic and Iron Man.) The 1st 4 issues of the 5-issue Illuminati mini-series detailed some of the things the group did while it was active, including #2 where they acquired the Infinity Gems. In #5 Iron Man called an emergency meeting of the disbanded group (including Prof X and Namor) to show them the Skrull version of Elektra. Only to find that the current Black Bolt was a Skrull replacement too, signalling the start of Secret Invasion. This is the 1st meeting since then.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Iron Man has called the Illuminati together at their regular meeting place in the abandoned Stark Enterprises subsidiary FunTime Inc. Dr Strange arrives, complaining that they had agreed to stop meeting. Sub-Mariner is even more angry because he quit the group. After Prof X, Mr Fantastic turns up assuming the meeting is about his problem.

Before they can clarify things, a 6th person arrives, teleported in by the dog Lockjaw. However it isn't the Inhumans' king Black Bolt, but his wife Medusa. She doesn't know about the Illuminati, she just answered a signal sent to Black Bolt. She now has to tell his friends, especially Reed Richards, that he is dead.

Mr Fantastic tells them that someone stole his Infinity Gem last issue. And Iron Man says he suspects Black Bolt's gem has gone too. Cue an explanation to Medusa about the Infinity Gems, and how come the Illuminati have them.

Iron Man describes how Red Hulk crashed the Avengers' party last issue. A flashback shows Rulk explaining that he was living in Death Valley while doing ops for Steve Rogers. This guy showed up with a red gem (that was sometimes yellow) and proceeded to beat him up. In Rulk's opinion the man didn't know how to fight, but with that amount of power it didn't matter.

During this tale Steve Rogers and Maria Hill joined the group of Avengers. Maria scanned the Avengers database and found references to the Infinity Gems. Iron Man left to check his own files, but in reality to summon the Illuminati.

We are privileged to see a bit more flashback after Iron Man left. Steve didn't believe Tony Stark couldn't check his files from Avengers Tower. So he told Maria to track him.

Which brings us to the present. Reed confirms that he had the red Power Gem and Black Bolt had the yellow Reality Gem, which seem to be what Red Hulk was attacked with.

Medusa doesn't want to talk about how her husband died. But Mr Fantastic knows that the Inhumans are off in space, and believes Black Bolt wouldn't have taken the gem off-Earth. So he asks Medusa to take them to the old site of Attilan in the Himalayas, and Medusa gets Lockjaw to teleport them all there.

They find the dead bodies Hood killed last issue, and Dr Strange tracks him to where he found the Reality Gem in a basement left behind when Attilan left Earth. They discover his discarded equipment, a Hydra weapon and an AIM scanner. Medusa recognises the red shell Hood broke open as an artifact made by a since-deceased Inhuman called Ertzia. She figures Black Bolt hid it there and then forgot about it during the exodus.

Lockjaw alerts them that someone has else is here. They return to the surface to face Steve Rogers and a horde of Avengers (from all 3 teams) wanting to know what's going on.

Story #2

Avengers Assemble: The Oral History of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes Chapter 13

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

This begins 4 issues, all called Chapter 13, centring on the Kree-Skrull War.

But first the Avengers mention that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch had returned to the team, emphasising that the Avengers are a 'family', and "once an Avenger, always an Avenger".

The rest of this section sets the scene by describing the Kree and the Skrulls and their galactic rivalry. And the relationship between Rick Jones and Captain Marvel, where they have to take turns existing in the Negative Zone while the other is on Earth.

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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.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)

(Ben Grimm)


War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Lockjaw, Protector (Noh-Varr).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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