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Avengers #8: Review

Mar 2013
Jonathan Hickman, Dustin Weaver

Story Name:

Starbranded

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #8 Review by (March 24, 2013)
The new armoured version of the Hulk, that we've seen in the Indestructible Hulk series, has been with the Avengers since last issue. Last issue we saw the Superflow as a red 'sky' in which the communication/ascension stations were being flying, but being attacked by blue tentacles. Now the red sky seems to be rent by tornadoes. Some of the wrecked stations are still in the 'sky', but some are floating on a blue 'ocean'. Last issue the Caretaker of the Superflow realised that he was losing all the stations to the attacking tentacles, and ordered the remaining ones to initiate their White Events. Only Marvel Earth's station succeeded. (We were told that there was 1 station per universe. So presumably a station would normally initiate many White Events in it's lifetime, as planets in it's universe became ready to 'ascend'.) This forced activation is presumably why the Event isn't working properly. Also we don't know why Earth was chosen out of all the planets in this universe. (Although Captain Universe seeks to know.) But Earth probably isn't actually ready to 'ascend', which may also contribute to the malfunction. The issue title and description in Previews don't match up with the reality. And I'm not sure what the connection between Avengers and New Avengers is that we're supposed to spot. I commented on the use of the character name Manifold, and related symbol, in both series some time ago. I'm not sure if the destroyed stations (1 per universe) here and destroyed universes (there) are related. But if they are then this connection was revealed last issue. Maybe the wrong title 'World breaker' and the New Avengers #4 title 'World eater' mean that this issue was *supposed* to also feature Galactus, in a multiversal coincidence/conspiracy?



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page shows us that last issue's White Event was supposed to announce that Earth was ready to 'ascend'. The White Event turned Adam into Nightmask beforehand as a herald. Now there should be other beings transformed, but the system isn't working properly. However a youth has been made into a Starbrand, and the energy has destroyed a college. Captain America, Captain Marvel, Captain Universe, Hulk, Hyperion, Iron Man and Thor went with Nightmask to investigate.

They find naked Kevin Connor in the middle of the devastation, with the Starbrand burned into his palm and no idea what's going on. They want to spirit him away before the military arrives. But Kevin is freaked out by all the skeletons around him. He's even more disturbed when Captain Universe tells him he's responsible. It's not helped by her explanation that he's the product of a system that's malfunctioned.

Kevin starts to glow with energy. Iron Man and Captain America suggest a strategic withdrawal until he calms down. But the armoured Hulk isn't having any of that and tries to attack. The only result is that he suddenly finds himself floating in outer space. Kevin's as surprised as anybody.

CA sends CM to retrieve Hulk, and Iron Man radios the military to stay away for now. Hyperion tells Kevin to surrender. When the lad doesn't comply, Thor sends him flying with his hammer. But Kevin just gets up and shrugs it off. Hyperion tries his eye blasts, but Kevin deflects them to hit the other Avengers. And then his Starbrand blasts Hyperion.

Meanwhile Captain Marvel has reached Hulk, and sends him hurtling back to Earth. Where he lands on Kevin. Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor dogpile on the only-stunned youth.

Captain Universe and Nightmask have been keeping out of the conflict. They now intervene, and Captain America signals to give them a chance. Captain Universe gives Nightmask 'permission' to take Kevin away. Just as Captain Marvel returns, and Captain Universe reverts to her confused human avatar.

Adam takes Kevin to the Superflow, which gives him a Starbrand costume.  The Superflow is littered with damaged communication stations which used to support a network across universes. But as Adam and Captain Universe have been saying for several issues, the system and the multiverse are broken.

Adam explains that Starbrand (the person and the hand tattoo) is a weapon designed to protect a world's people as they progress to a more advanced society. But Earth's White Event didn't work properly (for reasons suggested last issue). Kevin was a bad choice for the Starbrand. And the other heroes the Event was supposed to create probably won't be here.

The Superflow and the White Evnet ascension system were designed by the ancient race called the Builders. But Adam himself was created by another Builder system (in #3). The White Event just took him over and used him as a Nightmask. These 2 Builder systems are now in conflict within him.

The Avengers have returned to Avengers Tower, where Tony Stark scans for a tracker he'd slipped on Adam before they went out. And finds that Nightmask is now on Mars.

Adam has brought Starbrand to the transformed part of Mars wher he was 'born', to meet his makers Abyss and Ex Nihilo.


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Dustin Weaver
Dustin Weaver
Justin Ponsor
Dustin Weaver (Cover Penciler)
Dustin Weaver (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Abyss 3, Adam (Nightmask), Captain Universe (Tamara Devoux), Ex Nihilo, Hyperion (Marcus), Starbrand (Kevin Conner).