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Avengers #39: Review

Dec 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

You can't win: part 1

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers #39 Review by (January 20, 2015)
The now-standard cast list page highlights Beast, Black Panther, Captain Britain, Hulk and Mr Fantastic of the Illuminati. (We last saw Amadeus Cho in New Avengers #25. We found out what happened to Dr Strange in NAv#27 and Iron Man in NAv#26. Black Bolt is still unaccounted for. Yellowjacket was also mentioned in NAv#25 as missing, but he's been dropped of the list since then.) It also indicates Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Maria Hill, Steve Rogers and War Machine of the SHIELD Avengers. (This time we get to see James Rhodes operating the WM bots. But Invisible Woman isn't here this issue.) But it doesn't draw our attention to the New Avengers who turn up on the last page. It's the team we saw assembled last issue:- Black Widow, Cannonball, Manifold, Pod (AIM's Origin Bomb being from #15-17) , Shang-Chi, Smasher, Spider-Woman, Sunspot, Validator (from the Canadian Origin Bomb site in #10) and a Zebra Kid (from the Savage Land Origin Bomb site). Reed Richards has altered Valeria's note. He's copied the capital Y, T and V from lines 2-4 and put the copies between the starts of the lines, so that the new Y is between the D and the old Y, etc. (This doesn't *exactly* describe the position of the new V.) I don't know what this means (not having Reed's super-brain), but it also seems to me he's been folding the paper to create a different message. Like an old kid's game. Or like the back cover of Mad magazine. Throughout the issue we hear an extract from Reed's personal log which is a message of advice to Valeria. It takes the form of a generalised commentary on the unfolding plan of the fight, culminating in the gambit of confusing the opposition by dragging in a 3rd side.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #39 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page reminds us that Steve Rogers' SHIELD Avengers captured Amadeus Cho in #35 and wanted to know where the rest of the Illuminati were hiding. In particular Sue Richards wanted to find her husband Reed. Then in #37 we learned that they were tracking the Illuminati's movements whenever they used their translocation devices. But Rogers was exceeding SHIELD's authority by raiding their foreign bases without warning the countries involved. And Ms Marvel informed Steve and Sue that Sunspot now controls AIM. At the end of that issue we discovered that Sue was a mole in secret contact with her husband. And she passed him a note from their genius daughter Valeria who had been studying Mr Fantastic's notes on the death-of-the-multiverse problem. The 4-line message was "Dad. You can't win. Time to start figuring out how not to lose. Val"

The remnants of the Illuminati are hiding in Cadiz. Reed is contemplating his daughter's note. Then he uses their translocation system to move a chess king a few inches, knowing that this will be detected by SHIELD and bring them running.

The SHIELD Helicarrier Archangel is currently over the Mediterranean (since their last attempt to capture the Illuminati in Rome in #37). The translocation signal is detected and its destination is pinpointed. (No-one seems to notice that it started from the same place.) Steve Rogers orders some drones deployed.

Reed detects the detection and warns the others (Beast, Black Panther, Captain Britain and Hulk in Doc Green mode). They have everything prepared.

Maria Hill reports to Steve that the drones have arrived and the Illuminati haven't translocated away. They are going to use the same trick they used on Amadeus Cho in #35. The Illuminati are surrounded by a null-field that will move with them. And the drones have DNA trackers.

Sam Wilson as Captain America thinks it's a trap. Rogers agrees, but he intends to turn the tables.

For the 1st time we see that James Rhodes controls the War Machine bots from the Helicarrier. Ms Marvel is with him, and Carol Danvers is worried because he's going to be handling more bots than he's ever done before, even in practice. And it gives him headaches and nosebleeds. Rhodey isn't concerned, because Tony Stark built this system with a safety shutdown.

He's more worried about the quality of the personnel manning the Helicarrier. Carol assures him they've got their best team, apart from 2 psi-agents Susan and Victor who are off duty. (I don't know whether this will ever become relevant.) He also worries abut the Hulk, but Ms Marvel says she'll handle him.

2 minutes later Jim launches 20 War Machines. (And we also see there's another Helicarrier in the mission.) When they land Rhodey figures they are right on top of the Illuminati. Confirmed as a seismic shock heralds Hulk bursting up through the ground. He smashes several WM's and takes fire from many others. But then he announces that he was only a distraction.

The other 4 Illuminati emerge through a hatch. Captain Britain activates a light construct which becomes a solid sword. Which slices through War Machines. Black Panther has 2 vibro(?)-knives.

Pain-wracked Rhodes says he's losing bots too quickly. Rogers needs the Illuminati occupied until the slow Helicarriers can arrive overhead. So Ms Marvel and Hawkeye head out to join the fight.

Ms M powers down onto Hulk, and repeatedly pummels him until she's out of puff. Then she looks down to see the smiling Hulk resting until she'd finished. Then he sends her flying through 1 of the Helicarriers, which have finally got there.

Panther, Cap B and Hulk get back to breaking War Machines. Beast and Mr Fantastic have been trying to get a communication out through the null-field. Reed has just worked out a solution and sends it to Beast's comm unit. When they are suddenly cripplingly hit by Hawkeye's arrows. But Hank McCoy manages to make the contact he wanted.

Clint Barton reports back that Beast and Mr F are down, but the other 3 are about to run out of War Machines to fight. But the helicarriers are now in position, and Steve Rogers is about to send in his next wave when he's interrupted by a SHIELD comms tech.

An even larger flying craft is above the Helicarriers, and hailing them. Inside are AIM troops and Sunspot's New Avengers. Sunspot claims to have the authority to order them to cease the attack.


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Mike Deodato Jr.
Mike Deodato Jr.
Frank Martin
Alan Davis (Cover Penciler)
Mark Farmer (Cover Inker)
Brad Anderson (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

Plus: A.I.M., Archangel, War Machine (James Rhodes).