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Avengers #32: Review

Jul 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu

Story Name:

Five thousand into the future

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #32 Review by (July 19, 2014)
This is probably the grown-up future Franklin that Jonathan Hickman introduced in Fantastic Four #574 and featured on-and-off throughout his run. The superbeings on Avengers World are an amalgam of Avengers, the Imperial Academy (Shi'ar Imperial Guard?), the United Universal House of the Inhumans (the Universal Inhumans from Hickman's FF?), and the Atemporal Architects of SHIELD (the Brotherhood of the Shield from Hickman's (again) SHIELD series?). We don't see Black Widow passing on the information from last issue's robot BW to Franklin, as payment for her favour - but Franklin seems to know everything anyway. And his response is possibly cryptic. The robot BW wanted to become alive. But Franklin just says she will live on - which could mean become an immortal robot. The very old tree is of course Groot of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

These time-travel issues all start with a caption saying 'Betrayal + n years'. #30 has 'Betrayal + 48 years' and it was determined that the Avengers had come from 48 years ago, so this confirmed that the 'betrayal' is the present, and probably refers to the Illuminati's actions in New Avengers. However the issue titles have always been less accurate - #30 was 'Fifty into the future', and this issue is 'Five thousand into the future' even though the caption days 'Betrayal + 5045 years'. I don't think the contents of #31 said anything to disagree with its 'Betrayal + 422 years', but confusingly Franklin Richards says this issue is 4103 years in the future. Starbrand says that in the previous 2 issues they were told that there was some variability about the times they would appear. True, in #30 that future's Avengers say they've arrived a week earlier than expected, but they put it down to old Hawkeye's fallible memory. And in #31 there's no mention of time discrepancies. What they *did* say was that the jumps would become longer.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #32 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page panels provide a potted summary of the plot so far. Captain America used the Infinity Gems to stop the incursion from another universe in New Avengers #3, but the Gems shattered except the Time Gem which vanished. He couldn't agree with the more severe methods proposed by the other Illuminati to deal with the future incursions, so Dr Strange made him forget all about the problem. Then 3 issues ago Cap remembered, and confronted Tony Stark with a group of Avengers as backup. But the Time Gem reappeared and took them all 48 years in the future in #30 where Iron Man went back to deal with the incursions. Then 422 years in the future in #31 where Earth is Planet Ultron, and a robot Captain America planted a bomb in our Cap to be taken further forward in time. Hawkeye, Hyperion and Thor also got sent back to the present, during the time-transitions.

Black Widow, Cap and Starbrand are the only ones left to find themselves in what a caption claims is 5045 years after the Betrayal, in a garden beneath a large tree. But Starbrand detects a large population on the Moon, and an AI running a society of megacities on Earth.

They are greeted by a man who announces himself as Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue. Natasha doesn't believe him until he reminds her of some memories they share from when he was a little boy. He explains that it is 4103 years in the future (contradicting the earlier caption), and he's still around because he can't die.

Franklin also says he was expecting them here and now. Starbrand objects that the people they met on previous stops said that their arrival times weren't that predictable. But Franklin says they're wrong, but not in a straightforward way.

Meanwhile he has caused some flowers to transform into control devices, and the garden is revealed to be the top of a spaceship, which blasts off from some ruins on Earth. Next thing you know they're orbiting Saturn, which is being 'mined' for deuterium and helium-3 by machines controlled by generically-engineered humans.

Franklin explains that society is now composed of humans and androids living in harmony. There are no more nations, and no such thing as money because there is no scarcity. (He invites them to eat some of the fruits of the garden, which will provide all the nourishment they need.) Mankind has colonised the Solar System and is poised to go beyond.

Franklin takes Steve Rogers aside to give him some answers. He asks if Cap wants to know what caused the multiversal collapse via incursions (that is happening in New Avengers). But Steve wants to know how to stop the Illuminati (which includes Franklin's father Mr Fantastic) from taking extreme measures to protect the Earth (by destroying other Earths).

But rather than answer him Franklin shows him Avengers World, an artificial globe that dwarfs a nearby planet. These superbeings protect all the known universes. The nearby planet is a rogue 1 that they even now send back through time to effect an action in their history. And Rogers realises that it is the planet that was merged with Earth in #24. And Franklin has already arranged (in that issue) for an earlier descendant of Tony Stark to travel back in time to that issue to help with the merging.

Cap returns to the question of how to stop the Illuminati, or stop the end of the multiverse. But Franklin says he can't. Steve doesn't understand - the existence of this time must mean that the multiverse hasn't ended. But Franklin says the multiverse evolves.

More explicitly he says that the colliding of universes will continue, and the multiverse will die including Steve's Earth. The Illuminati will fail to stop it because it's inevitable, because there are other forces promoting it, and because Cap will oppose them.

Franklin asks Steve if he remembers what aged Hawkeye told him in in #30 (which we don't know). And then he tells him to ignore it and follow his instincts - your fixed fate is the result of your own decisions.

Black Widow interrupts to say that the robot BW last issue asked her to ask him a favour (making Franklin the 'Future Man' mentioned last issue). Franklin knows what it was - she wanted to live, and he says she will (because she already has).

But there's no time for Franklin to explain any more, because the Time Gem reappears and whisks the 3 Avengers away. And Franklin turns to ask the tree if he thinks Cap understood. The tree replies "I am Groot", which Franklin understands as "No".

In the 'fractured temporal space' Natasha and Starbrand fade away as Hawkeye, Hyperion and Thor did before them. And Cap is left alone to reach the year 51028 post-Betrayal.


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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: Clayton Cowles.
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)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Franklin Richards, Starbrand (Kevin Conner).