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Avengers #28: Review

Apr 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Salvador Larroca

Story Name:

The case

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #28 Review by (May 3, 2014)
I think this is the 1st time a character (Bruce Banner) has actually referred to the NAv super-group as the Illuminati. Bruce warning the Illuminati never to reform sounds like it should be at the end of World War Hulk. But he didn't actually say that then and I can't think of anywhen else. Hulk as Worldbreaker is a reference to his power-level in WWH. Maria Hill's comment suggests this issue is set after the Indestructible Hulk series with Banner working for SHIELD. However it doesn't tie in to the end of that series with Banner getting shot, leading to the status quo in the new Hulk series. But this would offer the intriguing possibility that the brain-damaged Bruce in the new series is actually the alternate universe version! This would not be without precedent. Wolverine was replaced by a Skrull for a large chunk of 1999, and the readers didn't know until he was exposed. Various characters were secretly replaced by Skrulls in the lead-up to Secret Invasion - prominently Spider-Woman, who was nearly given her own title where she would be a Skrull unknown to those who bought it. An alternative reading of the end of this issue would be that Maria Hill is in on Stark's scam and knows that she's got the wrong Banner. However this doesn't jibe with what to me is obviously Stark secretly taking Banner to hide among the Illuminati. And it still leaves us with the problem of fitting all the Hulk appearances together.

Tony Stark created the current Avengers in #1, but Captain America's dream-memory there indicates it is *after* the incursion problem started in New Avengers #1-3. The Avengers captured a Builder worldkiller ship in Infinity #3 but this is the 1st time we've heard that Stark still has it. So the alternate Avengers are gone just like that. Was this story just a means of getting Bruce Banner into the Illuminati? Or will we see the evil Avengers again? Dr Strange is shown with the Illuminati here, whereas in New Avengers he's been off on his own path since #12 with a cliffhanger in #14. This could have been an artist/editor mistake but in NAv#17 which follows this issue Dr Strange is also seen in the final panel (alongside Hulk) with no explanation. Note that Mr Fantastic has his new red and black uniform from the latest Fantastic Four series. The Mapmakers are 1 of the villain groups involved with the incursions in NAv. Here we seem to learn that they are actually Adaptoids (presumably from multiple timelines). Our Adaptoids were shown assuming the form with circles for faces in #26. In NAv#14 we saw the Mapmakers with (somewhat) similar bodies and circle-faces, and the weapon/armour addons. And the Mapmakers were able to adapt to their foes.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #28 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page summarises relevant bits of the last 3 issues. AIM randomly pulled a set of Avengers from an alternate universe being destroyed by 1 of the incursions from New Avengers. These Avengers turned out to be bad guys and eventually our Avengers had to fight them. Meanwhile their Hulk reverted to Bruce Banner and met our Banner. He revealed that his Avengers had surgically disconnected his emotions and implanted a device so they could control his transformation to the Hulk for their own conquering/murdering purposes, but it left him a sociopath. Our Bruce KO'd his counterpart in self-defence. Then a Hulk joined the Avenger vs Avenger conflict on the side of the baddies. Meanwhile AIM's creations the Adaptoids rebelled against their masters and went out to explore the multiverse.

Actually last issue continued further as AIM interrupted the battle by time-freezing both sides. Then they took away the bad Avengers, including Hulk. This issue skips past our team waking up. In fact it initially jumps even further forward to after a Hulk smashed his way out of Avengers Tower. Captain America and Maria Hill show reporters that Bruce Banner has been arrested by SHIELD.

Now we cut back 4 hours (still after the end of last issue). Bruce Banner enters Avengers Tower to see Tony Stark, the only Avenger there. (The others are out looking for their evil alternate team.) He assures Tony that he's the 'real' Bruce, but won't say what's in his briefcase. Instead he asks Stark why he created the current large Avengers team back in #1.

Banner goes on to tell Stark the Avengers are wasting their time looking for their counterparts. He reveals that he was the Hulk who joined the fight, and he attacked his own side then to fool the enemy. He intended to infiltrate the villains' team. But then AIM retrieved them (which Tony hadn't known till now). The Scientist Supreme and Superia told them that the alt-Avengers' universe was gone, and at their request sent them, led by their version of Thor, to another universe which didn't have its own Avengers to oppose them.

But Banner (obviously) chose not to go. He got Andrew Forson to explain how there were lots of alternate universes out there dead or dying. And the alternate Earths seem to be intimately involved. Then Bruce Hulked-out to escape and came here.

This news fit like a puzzle-piece with other stuff Banner had noticed. He accuses Stark of hiding the knowledge that the multiverse really is dying. He believes that is why Iron Man stayed on Earth during the war with the Builders (in Infinity) - he was dealing with the even bigger problem. He suggests that the current Avengers team has been made big enough to handle such threats so as not to distract Tony from the main event.

Bruce adds more evidence. Stark's partial Dyson sphere from #9 (and NAv#4), the rogue planet phased into Earth in #24 and a Builder worldkiller ship left over from Infinity are weapons to be used in his secret war. Banner has also noticed the fingerprints of Reed Richards, T'Challa and Hank McCoy in Tony's tech, and accuses Stark of reforming the Illuminati despite Bruce warning him not to. Tony admits it.

Bruce opens his briefcase to reveal a collection of tranquilliser shots, and takes one to keep his anger and the Hulk in check. Tony explains the incursion scenario to him. 2 universes connect via their Earths and 1 Earth must be destroyed to save both universes. And this is happening all over the multiverse (and in New Avengers). Stark correctly claims that luckily they haven't had to destroy an Earth themselves yet. But, until they find a way to stop the whole multiversal problem, they are prepared to destroy other Earths if necessary.

Bruce has had to keep injecting himself to control his anger. But Tony lays out his choices. He can either come to terms with the situation, or let Hulk deal with it. And he reminds Banner that Hulk is known as the Worldbreaker.

Presumably Hulk does show up as depicted at the beginning of the issue. But we continue from the end of that section with Banner arrested. Iron Man attaches a disc to the back of Bruce's neck which he claims will keep the Hulk at bay. It also has the 'side-effect' of silencing Banner as he starts to protest that he's not who they think he is. Maria Hill says she'll take charge of him - after all SHIELD has been looking after him for a while now.

Then we learn that the prisoner was the alternate-Banner, who couldn't become the Hulk anyway. And our Bruce is introduced to the Illuminati in his new home  the Wakandan Necropolis.

And we see the Adaptoids flying through the space between universes. They come across a floating citadel and meet some beings who look like them but with tech additions. The Adaptoids morph to become like their greeters, who welcome them to ranks of the Mapmakers.

Salvador Larroca
Salvador Larroca
Frank Martin
Agustin Alessio (Cover Penciler)
Agustin Alessio (Cover Inker)
Agustin Alessio (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Wil Moss.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Maximus the Mad)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)


Plus: Andrew Forson, Lockjaw, Mapmakers, Superia (Deidre Wentworth).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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