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Avengers #2: Review

Dec 2012
Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena

Story Name:

We were Avengers

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #2 Review by (December 22, 2012)
Both this issue and last Tony Stark and Steve Rogers mention premonitions of something big and dangerous looming in the future. We have no idea where these feelings come from. Thor and the Asgardians did have a cyclic existence. They would die in Ragnarok but then the cycle would begin again. This classical idea was imported into the Marvel mythos in Tales of Asgard in Thor #128. But Thor broke the cycle in Thor (1998) #85, so who knows what kind of fate the current Asgardians have. I don't know how this history of the Marvel universe ties in with previously-established characters from the dawn of time like Galactus, the Celestials and the Elders of the Universe. It's not clear what Aleph did to the worthy race, but they may be seen with the 'Light' mentioned last issue. And how are the creation of Abyss and Ex Nihilo related to them? Last issue Ex Nihilo was creating a new Adam to occupy the transformed Earth.

This issue fleshes out the background to this arc. Someone has compared this arc so far to Giant-Size X-Men #1, where the X-Men are captured by a foe, but one escapes to bring new X-Men to rescue the older ones. However it's a sign of the times that GSXM#1 got it all done in 1 issue, albeit a big one. (Probably the same story at the beginning of the Marvel Age would have been packed into a normal-sized issue.) The choosing of core members takes 3 panels, quickly rushing over the fact that it's 'coincidentally' the Avengers film roster. The apparent subdivision of the Avengers roster into subteams isn't mentioned here. But Captain America's team (Ms Marvel/Spider-Woman and Falcon/Shang-Chi) and Iron Man's (Spider-Man/Wolverine and Cannonball/Sunspot) fit the old/new mix well. Manifold is the only member so far in the attached to Hawkeye (or Hulk), so we can't say much about that. But Thor so far has Captain Universe, Hyperion and Smasher - not very balanced! Luke Cage and family retired in New Avengers #31-34. And in the same story Dr Strange regained the job of Sorceror Supreme. It seems they never asked the other old New Avengers Daredevil, Iron Fist, Mockingbird and Thing.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue has flashbacks to Steve Rogers and Tony Stark creating the new Avengers team interspersed with the current action. I'm going to separate them out.

The flashbacks repeat the scene of Tony convincing Steve that the Avengers needs to be bigger, to meet bigger threats. Steve can inspire them to greatness, but Tony will design the Avengers to be effective. Stark also proposes a small core group, with extra members that can be called on as needed.

Captain America and Iron Man are obvious core members along with Thor. They also quickly agree on Hawkeye and Black Widow. And Tony insists on Hulk. The rest will be the backups. They also agree there should be a mix of old and new members in the backups, to help the new ones bed in.

The totally new Captain Universe, Hyperion and Smasher we met last issue are already on the list (maybe even already contacted?). Stark mentions that Luke Cage turned them down, and Dr Strange is busy. We see the pair getting other recruits on board, each for their own reasons (some possibly facetious). Wolverine's here for the beer, Spider-Man for the money. Falcon accepts because Cap asks him. Shang-Chi just accepts, but Stark suggests he could create some weapons to enhance his martial arts. Cannonball and Sunspot are tired of being outlaw X-Men, but fancy the Avengers spotlight. Manifold isn't sure he's up to it, but he'll try. Spider-Woman's in because she's an Avenger, Captain Marvel because she's a soldier. That completes the roster that's been brought in for this crisis. (Although there are still icons on the Avengers team board we've don't know anything about yet.)

The current plot opens on Mars, where Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor are captives of the aliens Abyss, Aleph and Ex Nihilo. Last issue these guys sent 2 'origin bombs' to transform parts of Earth. The Avengers came to stop a 3rd bomb, and found the aliens on an area of Mars they'd turned green with vegetation. After defeating Earth's champions the alien 3 sent Captain America back in the Avengers' quincraft as a message. Cap survived the crash, and activated a large group of backup Avengers.

Now Abyss has been studying the prisoners, and is intrigued by Thor. She deduces he is a god. Ex Nihilo asks Thor about his pantheon's creation myth. Then he enquires about their fate - is it a final end, or is there a resurrection to a new cycle. Thor doesn't answer this last question, probably because it's a sore point.

Instead Ex Nihilo explains the true story of the universe. A long time ago (probably in a galaxy far far away) the Builders were the 1st sentient race in the universe. After outgrowing the worship of the Universe as a Mother, they sent out mechanoid Alephs as gardeners of the cosmos. Mostly their gardening consisted of pruning, destroying races deemed unfit. But eventually one Aleph (the one in this issue) found one race worthy.

On that planet Aleph released 2 seeds he carried with him, which grew into Abyss and Ex Nihilo. Since then the trio have travelled countless other worlds. When they find a sentient species they either destroy it or help it evolve. And evolution is what the origin bombs are about.

On Earth Captain America is overseeing the modification of a quinjet to take the whole new team to Mars. Then 5 more origin bombs hit, and start evolving other parts of the Earth. On Mars Ex Nihilo explains that each one is different, evolving Earth-life in different ways. If none of them are fruitful, Aleph will destroy the world.

Back on Earth Cap can't wait any longer, even though Wolverine thinks the new team isn't ready. There also isn't time to wait for the quinjet to be finished. Cap calls on Manifold to use his power to transport them all to Mars.

Jerome Opena
Jerome Opena
Morry Hollowell
Dustin Weaver (Cover Penciler)
Dustin Weaver (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Sam Wilson)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Abyss 3, Aleph, Cannonball, Captain Universe (Tamara Devoux), Ex Nihilo, Hyperion (Marcus), Manifold (Eden Fesi), Smasher (Izzy Kane).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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