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Avengers #35: Review

Sep 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

The three Avengers

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #35 Review by (September 20, 2014)
Hyperion mentions that someone called Pod wanted to come on the mission with him and Thor, but he vetoed it. I'm guessing Pod is 1 of the Savage Land kids, but I don't think we've seen the name before. The Imperial Guard members we see are Hussar, Manta and Starbolt, plus possibly Nightside miscoloured with green skin, and a giant insect-type and an unidentifiable pair of logs. Nightside and Starbrand talk about The Bleed, which I haven't heard of in Marvel before. This may be a joke, as The Bleed was a realm connecting the DC and Wildstorm universes. And it gets mentioned in the new Grant Morrison Multiversity series for DC. Amadeus Cho is a teen genius introduced in his own story within Amazing Fantasy #15. He met Hulk there, and was later involved in World War Hulk. He became a regular in the Incredible Hercules title, and took over a team of Mighty Avengers. Hercules took him into the Chaos War, and more involvement with Hulk followed. Now (in the near future) he seems to be part of the Illuminati.

This issue is set 8 months later, and previews show each successive month's Avengers/New Avengers issues counting down a month. So we're in for a long run. We'll presumably get to see what happened in between. But we don't yet know whether we'll see it as flashbacks and references, or whether other issues will take us forward through the intervening months. There are of course many unanswered questions. Such as what happened to Smasher being transformed by AIM into Messenger in Avengers World? She was supposed to be their messenger to the universe, so is that why she went to the Shi'ar? Also, unless her 9-month gestation period has been messed with, she was pregnant before all this started. The Illuminati seem to have grown a bit since we last saw them. Sue Richards asks after all the current lot, apart of course from Sub-Mariner who's already been ejected. (Although it seems Iron Man's not actually with them now either.) But there are new members Captain Britain and Yellowjacket.

The Avengers membership diagram has changed, as well as being drawn fractured. (I also could never exactly make sense of the details of its various previous versions, but I'm a sucker for punishment.) Hulk and Iron Man have been taken out of the main circle and relegated to top corners, representing their revealed allegiance to the Illuminati. Hawkeye and Captain Marvel are still in the circle, but there's nothing to represent Invisible Woman or the War Machine drones (or Jim Rhodes if he has anything to do with them). All the Avengery characters here are still included in the circle or below it, the traditional recent layout. Steve Rogers is still in the circle, as is Falcon now shown as the new Captain America. Thor and Manifold are also still in the circle, indicating that whatever they are up to is considered Avengers business? (Though maybe not SHIELD Avengers business.) Hyperion has moved into the circle. But strangely he and Falcon-Cap are in an inner circle, but not replacing the 2 places there that seemed to be waiting to be filled. With that I'm starting to wonder whether I'm reading too much into this. Abyss and Ex Nihilo are in the circle, though they've been off the diagram for a while. Nightmask has moved into the circle, but Starbrand still languishes below. Black Widow has dropped down from the circle. The other underworlders remain the same:- Cannonball, Smasher and Sunspot from this issue, and Captain Universe, Shang-Chi and Spider-Woman who don't appear.

This issue is split between artists. I figure it starts with Dustin Weaver on the Abyss and Ex Nihili pages. Then Paco Medina does Cannonball and Sunspot with inker Juan Vlasco. Nick Bradshaw interrupts that for 3 pages of Nightmask and Starbrand. Jim Cheung finishes the issue off, inked by Guillermo Ortego for Hyperion and Thor, and Mark Morales for the Amadeus Cho stuff. Does the title 'The three Avengers' refer to Captain Marvel and Hawkeye? And if so is the 3rd Avenger the War Machine drones or Invisible Woman? The cover shows new status of the Avengers' Big 4:- Tony Stark in the Superior Iron man armour, Thor without Mjolnir, Steve Rogers old and Falcon in his place, and the new Hulk. Actually we can't tell about Hulk, but inside he's referred to as Doc Green, and the status of Thor and IM is confirmed. You may remember I have a problem merging the continuity of Avengers/New Avengers with that of Hulk/Iron Man/Original Sin. But this issue obviously has events in the last 3 plus Axis in its past. I also didn't see how the writers could get out of the imminent end of the multiverse. Either it's not as inevitable as it's been hyped to be (not impossible). Or there's going to be another history-rewriting cop-out as in Age of Ultron and recent Uncanny Avengers. Or Jonathan Hickman will surprise me.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #35 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page summarises the expansion of the Avengers and the revival of the Illuminati (in New Avengers) - both involving Captain America and Iron Man. It shows new Avengers members Abyss & Ex Nihilo, Nightmask & Starbrand, Cannonball & Sunspot, Hyperion and Shang-Chi, plus some of the more regular members Black Widow, Cap, Spider-Man and Thor. It doesn't explain about the incursions in New Avengers and the imminent death of the multiverse, but does show the Illuminati making Cap forget what's going on. And it reiterates the idea that the expanded Avengers was the brainchild of Steve Rogers (representing life) and Tony Stark (death).

But we don't see the Avengers/Illuminati clash that was threatened last issue. Instead we jump forward 8 months.

We start in the Alpha Whaan System where an assembly of Ex Nihili fail to stop its star dying, at the cost of 5 of their number. This star should have lived for billions of years more, and they could find nothing wrong with it. But like many others it just went. Abyss repeats what she has been telling them for a while, that the stars choose to die because they know the universe is about to end.

What's more she has detected that the centre of the universe collapse is Earth, a planet they know well. The group decide to return there.

Next we see Manifold teleporting business-suited Sunspot to where Cannonball is. Sam Guthrie is surprised to learn that Eden Fesi is working for AIM, and even more so that Roberto DaCosta bought the company. Bobby claims that the science-guy workers were OK once the evil management was gone.

We are then surprised when some of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard show up outside complaining about unauthorised teleportation onto the planet. It turns out Sam emigrated here (presumably the Shi'ar throneworld Chandilar) with Izzy Dare (Smasher) and their baby (who knew?).

Meanwhile in yet another part of deep space, the Orisian Field, Nightmask and Starbrand are dealing with an Aleph robot - which are supposed to be extinct in this universe since the Builders left (at the end of Infinity). Nightmask extracts data from its brain, and they discover it is the only thing that made it through when a Builder frigate tried to cross to this universe through the Bleed. Nightmask says the Bleed is impassable now, and Starbrand figures they must have been running from something really big, like the end of their universe.

Then they get a garbled call from Sunspot to come home - something about the collapse of the multiverse. They don't want to go, but they have information and a plan that might be vital. (We also learn that Nightmask has been growing younger.)

Back on Chandilar Bobby updates Sam on what's happened since he left Earth. Cannonball already knew that SHIELD took over the Avengers. But since then the others who didn't want to work for SHIELD followed Sam and Izzy's example and quit - often leaving Earth too. Those that stayed have been "obsessed with the Tony problem".

DaCosta has been keeping Guthrie up-to-date with what he's been having built. Now is the time to put the plan into operation. Sam agrees to come home, and Izzy will come too. (It turns out that it was Sam not Izzy who wanted to stay away all this time.)

At last we get to Earth, in particular the Savage Land, where AIM are building whatever it is. The zebra-striped Origin Bomb kids are now young adults (accelerated growth rate), and probably geniuses. They are helping/running the project, still under the watchful eye of Hyperion. They can only test the machine as individual components, because they'll only get 1 shot at running the real thing.

Thor is also there, carrying a large axe (probably Jarnbjorn from Uncanny Avengers) instead of the hammer Mjolnir, and not wearing his traditional costume. Hyperion joins in him in drinking (but probably not getting drunk like him). (I note that Hype has grown a beard, moustache and long hair like Thor.) The plan is for just the 2 of them to 'go through'. So they're building some sort of portal.

Our next scene is outside Avengers Tower, renamed SHIELD Station Golgotha, but which appears to be abandoned. The SHIELD craft keeping watch have detected an intruder. Maria Hill wants them to do nothing until they've determined who it is. But the subject's mind resists psychic probing.

The guy inside is Amadeus Cho, and he's transmitting data from the Avengers' computers to someone outside. (They don't have access to Tony Stark anymore, but it's the next best thing.) He calculates that he's probably not going to escape just as SHIELD works out who he is.

SHIELD surround him with a null field that stops him from using a translocator to escape. So he jumps through a window and uses flying SHIELD troopers as his way down to the ground. Hill orders the troops to evacuate, and Cho is face with SHIELD's Avengers:- Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and a drone War Machine armour.

Amadeus can't detect a big enough power source nearby to run a very large null field, and calculates that he can get out of range in 15 seconds and then translocate. To buy himself the time he takes over the drone, which attacks the other 2 Avengers. Until CM smashes it.

The operation is being controlled by someone (who might be codenamed Archangel). All is going according to her plan. But as he's pursued by more WM drones, Cho worked out that he's being herded somewhere, by being given a way out of each situation. But it's too late as he is caught in another, localised containment field.

Archangel joins her troops and starts interrogating him. She wants to know where Tony Stark is (a hologram shows him in the upcoming Superior Iron Man armour). Cho says he doesn't know (truthfully it seems to us). Carol Danvers asks about Bruce Banner, now known as Doc Green, and Hawkeye wants to know about Hank Pym. Archangel adds Captain Britain, Dr Strange, Beast, Black Panther and Black Bolt. Cho refuses to answer.

Archangel insists that he will spill the beans about the Illuminati. Especially the whereabouts of her husband Mr Fantastic, as she takes her helmet off to reveal Sue Richards.

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Jim Cheung
Juan Vlasco
David Curiel
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: A.I.M., Abyss 3, Adam (Nightmask), Aleph, Archangel, Cannonball, Ex Nihilo, Hyperion (Marcus), Imperial Guard, Manifold (Eden Fesi), Smasher (Izzy Kane), Starbrand (Kevin Conner), War Machine (James Rhodes).