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Avengers #31: Review

Jun 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu

Story Name:

500 into the future

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #31 Review by (June 28, 2014)
Fractured temporal space seems to be the space between universes (or space left by deleted universes?) where Hyperion was fished from in #4 and the Adaptoids went to in #28. Yggdrasil is the World-Tree that binds the 9 Asgardian Realms together (including Midgard/Earth). I don't know whether Planet Ultron is the Ultron-dominated world from Av (2010) #1-6 and/or the future in Age of Ultron. They were eliminated as futures of the main timeline.

Original Sin #3 has Captain America (among many others) learning a secret. Presumably it's that the Illuminati made him forget what they were doing, as he remembered in #29. (It doesn't fit *that* precisely with #29, because there it looked like he just woke up 1 morning with the memories back.) Iron Man returned to the present last issue to get on with urgent Illuminati business, and New Avengers #18-19 tie-in directly to that. So the current Av and NAv issues are now linked in to OS. My comments on Iron Man #28 explain how recent IM and Hulk issues fit into the scheme of things. But it remains to be seen how the conflict between Banner/Hulk appearing openly in OS fits with Banner secretly working with the Illuminati in Av/NAv while the rest of the world (including Avengers and SHIELD) think he's in a 'coma' in SHIELD custody (the evil alternate Hulk in #28). This issue brings Thor back to the present, so he can continue to appear in OS, especially the Thor/Loki OS#5.1-5.5. He and Hyperion returned some minutes after Hawkeye (maybe the 15-20 minutes they spent in this issue's future). We don't know how soon after Iron Man Hawkeye reappeared. But it slightly makes a mockery of Hawkeye's insistence that IM go back *immediately* last issue, to avert a disaster (in NAv). Except maybe old Hawkeye knew that in the 1st 'pass' through this time journey IM stayed to the bitter end. Black Widow appeared to get a secret in OS#3. Will that be revealed during the time-travel?

Later addition:- Future Thor tells current Thor he doesn't carry Mjolnir because he's no longer worthy. I assumed this was because he now served Ultron. But the recent news that a female will take over the role of Thor because the current 1 will no longer be worthy (after the Tenth Realm side series of Original Sin) to lift Mjolnir throws this in a new light, and explains why future Thor tells current Thor here that he will soon learn what it means to be broken. It remains to be seen what the status of the current physical Thor body and/or mind will be.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #31 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page:- In New Avengers #3 Captain America, as 1 of the Illuminati, used the Infinity Gems to prevent an incursion from an alternate universe. But the Gems shattered except for the Time Gem which disappeared. Cap couldn't sign up to the more extreme measures the other Illuminati proposed to deal with future incursions. So Dr Strange made him forget all about it. Recently in #29 of this series, and probably Original Sin #3, Steve Rogers remembered it all again. But the Time Gem also reappeared and shattered again, taking a group of Avengers (including Hawkeye) about 50 years into the future. There they were met by other Avengers last issue, including an aged Hawkeye who told them they would experience a series of longer jumps further into the future. The Time Gem appeared again, but as it shattered once more aged Hawkeye told them this was as far as he got.

Now 6 Avengers find themselves in 'fractured temporal space'. And young Hawkeye falls away from them, ageing to a skeleton before disappearing. Cap consoles the others that older Hawkeye remembered this, so Clint Barton must be OK (unless branching alternate timelines are involved).

Then Black Widow, Cap, Hyperion, Starbrand and Thor are 422 years in the future, attended by small flying artefacts. (They don't actually know when they are, but Hyperion and Thor suspect several hundred years, Hyperion by changes in the Sun and Thor by sensing the growth of Yggdrasil.) Starbrand detects that they are confined in a cubic forcefield, and he makes it visible.

Another bunch of 6 future Avengers turns up, again because our lot were expected. Once again they are mostly equivalents of the Avengers in question, though this far in the future only Thor is the original. Future Cap says they are imprisoned because they 'broke the code' (presumably the code of Avengers - or, based on later revelations, computer code).

Future Black Widow makes the flying drones gas them unconscious. But it doesn't affect Thor, who can hold his breath for a very long time, or Hyperion who doesn't breathe. And Starbrand is astonished to find that he doesn't need to breathe either.

The future Avengers did expect this. The drones somehow take BW and Cap through the forcefield, leaving the others inside for a predicted 15-20 minutes before the next jump.

Steve swims back to consciousness via a dream of the Illuminati mocking him. He's strapped into some medical machinery by his future version, who reveals that Earth is now Planet Ultron. Humans are ruled by machines, and he was built on the template of Captain America as a trusted symbol for the people.

Thor explains things to the 3 Avengers left behind. (He's accompanied by 2 others now openly robots. 1 is machine-Hyperion. The other is either the Hawkeye-alike or the 6th member who was a female encased in armour. But none of them will appear again in this issue.)

It appears that Ultron led an army of machines from inside the Earth. They took over, and many humans left for other worlds. 30 million remain, penned up in 'strongholds' or in hiding. Thor himself still serves as an Avenger because Ultron is now All-Father of Asgard. He now carries a sword rather than the hammer Mjolnir because he is no longer worthy enough to lift it.

The 2 Black Widows watch Cap being operated on. Future BW claims that their present is at war with both the past and the future. She says that, being modelled on the original BW, she has inherited the will and skill to survive. So she'll hedge her bets by cooperating with both enemies.

Machine-BW gives Natasha a message for the future. She is to tell the 'future man' that Planet Ultron is a single whole system. For this info she wants her program to be made independent and alive. And she tells her human counterpart that she will see Tony Stark in a jail cell, and she is to remember what she was told here. (... ellipsis suggest to me that machine-BW now says something that we're not yet party to, as old Hawkeye whispered something to Cap last issue.)

Machine-Cap has placed a bomb inside 1 of real-Cap's eyeballs, intended for the future. Then the Time Gem appears and pops again. The 5 Avengers are reunited in fractured temporal space, but now it's the turn of Hyperion and Thor to dissolve away. The other 3 are taken to 5045 years after now.

Hyperion and Thor find themselves back in Stark's lab in Avengers Tower, where their time journey began. Hawkeye is there too, and only arrived a few minutes earlier.


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Leinil Francis Yu
Gerry Alanguilan
Sunny Gho
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Penciler)
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Inker)
Sunny Gho (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Hyperion (Marcus), Starbrand (Kevin Conner).