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Avengers #36: Review

Oct 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

Universal Avengers

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #36 Review by (October 12, 2014)
Sub-Mariner took over from the other Illuminati the task of destroying incursion Earths in NAv#23, and formed a villainous Cabal (Black Swan, Corvus Glaive, Maximus, Proxima Midnight, Terrax and Thanos) to help him. Now he's worried that they enjoy the job too much. They have taken over Wakanda and so have the Illuminati's stock of anti-matter bombs to destroy worlds with. But before using a bomb they relish killing the world's superheroes. Corvus Glaive, Terrax and Thanos are away tormenting 1 such world. The Black Panthers (T'Challa and his sister Shuri) with the Dora Milaje and the Hatut Zeraze invade the ruined Wakandan capital in the mistaken belief that all the Cabal are absent. They intend to steal the remaining bombs. But Maximus and Proxima Midnight are there to stop them. The Panthers escape the trap. T'Challa arranges to translocate to the Illuminati's new secret base. But Shuri elects to stay behind to face their enemies' forces. Because Wakanda has been reduced to a city of the dead, T'Challa is now its rightful ruler. Meanwhile Namor goes to Dr Doom and Kristoff Vernard for help controlling the Cabal. But they turn him down. We learn that Doom has his own plans. The Thinker has examined the fragment of another Earth from NAv#6 and worked out that some group has been mapping the multiverse. (We know them as the Mapmakers, and that they are actually the Adaptoids from #27.) Thinker has recreated their map from the fragment, and has also created his own version of the Auger. Doom can now take the war to the enemy. And he'll use his secret weapon, Molecule Man.

I was wrong last issue about Pod being 1 of the zebra-kids. He looks like the being from the 7th Origin Bomb in #15-17. (Although he *could* be an Adaptoid that got left behind when the rest went into the no-space in #27) If he is the 'defence being' then AIM must have retrieved him with the Auger from where they sent him in #17. The Great Destroyer was the term Black Swan used in early issues of New Avengers to describe the cause of the incursions which are destroying the multiverse. Later she named him Rabum Alal. New Avengers #24 indicates that that series will show other aspects of this future world, concentrating on members of the Illuminati. But as indicated last issue Iron Man has gone into hiding even from them, so there are no characters in current NAv to justify including it in any of our Libraries. But to fill out the picture I'll briefly describe #24 here.

Stefano Caselli returns as penciller for a few issues. This issue and New Avengers #24 confirm the approach of last issue. They are all set 8 months in the future, and we'll only gradually learn what happened in between. This issue also confirms that (whether or not this storyline gets relegated to an alternate timeline) the events follow the big change in the recent Thor #1. Last issue I didn't notice that Thor has a metal left arm, to replace the 1 he loses in the later-published Th#1. And he now wields the axe Jarnbjorn rather then the hammer Mjolnir. The cast diagram this issue lists him as Odinson rather than Thor (which is presumably the title taken over by the new female version). And his musing about not being worthy reflects what happened in Original Sin. This is the 1st time the parallel universes of the multiverse have been specifically stated to form a linear spectrum, but the way they *have* been described has often betrayed that underlying assumption. Thus the concepts of us being at 1 end and there being a middle are new too. As is the naive expectation that the root cause of the multiversal decay will lie in the centre.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #36 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue continues to be set 8 months after #34. The previously page summarises last issue except the Amadeus Cho part. Abyss and the Ex Nihili have detected that the universe is collapsing and Earth is at the centre. Nightmask and Starbrand have found an Aleph robot from another universe. Sunspot has taken over AIM and has come with Manifold to fetch Cannonball and Smasher (and their baby) back to Earth. Hyperion and Thor are using AIM to build a machine in the Savage Land that will take them elsewhere.

Manifold has brought Izzy Dare and Sam Guthrie to the farm in Iowa to show the baby to Izzy's dad. They're going to leave the baby there while they go do what Sunspot has brought them back for. They aren't going to mention that he's a nigh-invulnerable superbaby. Meanwhile they take the kid to see a statue of Izzy's grandfather Dan Kane - Captain Terror of WWII, as revealed in Avengers World #2.

Meanwhile Roberto DaCosta is taking his private jet to the Savage Land. The pilot is an AIM trooper, and he's accompanied by 2 of the Savage Land zebra-kids in business suits. They land at an advanced city. An AIM scientist reports that they've solved the power problem, and the zebra-kids enthusiastically review the sciency details.

Later AIM prepare to fire up the Auger (used in #4 to pluck Hyperion from the space between universes, and a set of alternate-universe Avengers in #25). The zebra-kids say that the multiverse has been reduced to a few hundred thousand universes, and this universe is near 1 end of the spectrum. The Auger should be able to send a team halfway across this shrunken multiverse (ie to near the centre). They and Sunspot say doomy things about how they're risking the universe, the future and the lives of the away team. Who make their entrance:- Hyperion and Thor Odinson, Nightmask and Starbrand, Abyss and the Ex Nihili.

What follows is several flashbacks between meanwhile and later.

Nightmask and Starbrand tell DaCosta about the Aleph robot from another universe. (Aleph robots used to be companions of the Ex Nihili, but they were all destroyed or left this universe with the Builders at the end of Infinity.) Adam Nightmask has a theory that the no-space between universes is getting (relatively) crowded so that a pressure is building up. This pressure pushed the Aleph into this universe. As the multiverse shrinks such things will happen more frequently.

Starbrand is freaked out by the android-thing standing behind Sunspot. But Roberto assures them that Pod is on their side. Ignoring that, Starbrand says they want to join the Auger expedition.

In the 2nd flashback Abyss and the Ex Nihili are examining the Earth for Sunspot and Hyperion looking for traces of other universes (like the 1 Hyperion came from). They have to discount the abortive changes changes made by Ex Nihilo in early issues, such as that which produced the zebra-kids (see #4). They discover many points that have been touched by worlds from other universes.

This confirms what AIM has found, what some SHIELD files indicate, and what Captain America told the Avengers (after he returned from the future in #34). (Ie the incursions by other Earths that the Illuminati had been handling in New Avengers.)

Abyss and the Ex Nihili need to join the away team too. The Ex Nihili are promoters of life, and the dying multiverse is the opposite of life.

The 3rd flashback concerns the original intended away team duo Hyperion and Thor. The zebra-kids ask their adopted father Hyperion not to go where he's needed, but for him not to go would fly against everything he has taught them.

Sunspot reminds Thor that this is a 1-way mission. He feels bad about sending others but staying on Earth himself. But Thor says they all have their jobs. Roberto's is to rebuild the Avengers. His is to seek the source of the problem. The Son of Odin will find honour in destroying the Great Destroyer. He only hopes he is worthy of such a task.


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Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Frank Martin
Stuart Immonen (Cover Penciler)
Wade Von Grawbadger (Cover Inker)
Marte Gracia (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Wil Moss.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: A.I.M., Abyss 3, Adam (Nightmask), Aleph, Cannonball, Ex Nihilo, Hyperion (Marcus), Manifold (Eden Fesi), Pod, Smasher (Izzy Kane), Starbrand (Kevin Conner).