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Avengers #9: Review

Apr 2013
Jonathan Hickman, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

Star bound

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #9 Review by (April 14, 2013)
I think Mike Deodato takes over the artwork for the final 7 pages:- the big battle and the epilogue. We saw Stark building his partial Dyson sphere in New Avengers #4 as one of the methods of repelling an incursion from another universe in that series. It is only intended to be a small part of a solid spherical surface (a full one would be unstable), but only a part is needed to provide the power Stark needs. However I question the wisdom of imprisoning fearsomely powerful beings in a place that provides even more power!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #9 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The 'previously' page reminds us that Adam was created by Ex Nihilo to be a superior human, as part of his Builder system plan to transform Earth. But then the White Event coopted Adam as a Nightmask in another Builder system to shepherd Earthpeople into a more advanced society. And the White Event also turned teenage Kevin Connor into a Starbrand to help him. To sort these conflicting systems out, Adam is taking Kevin to Mars to meet his alien father.

Ex Nihilo and his sister Abyss are in the garden they created on Mars, where the Avengers asked them to stay. They spot that something has happened to Adam since he went to Earth with the Avengers. Adam says he and Kevin have both been changed, and Abyss (strangely) chooses to  use her tendrils of darkness to examine Kevin rather than Adam. Frightened Kevin objects, and his Starbrand cuts Abyss in half.

Adam and Ex Nihilo just put Abyss back together again, and this time she (wisely) examines Adam, who she is more familiar with. She detects the effects of the 2nd Builder system. But says the conflict lies not in Adam but in the Earth.

Ex Nihilo admits that he exceeded the remit given by the Builders, to judge a planet's inhabitants and either destroy them or encourage their evolution. The origin bombs he sent to Earth weren't meant to evolve humanity, but to evolve the Earth into a sentient planet. Each bomb would stimulate an aspect of sentient life:- self-awareness in Croatia, self-sustinence in the Savage Land, self-repair in India, reproduction in Japan, communication in Australia, evolution in Canada and self-defence in the one taken to AIM Island.

In Avengers Tower Tony Stark has been tracking Nightmask and Starbrand, and now he tells his fellow Avengers that they've moved from Mars to the bomb zone in Croatia.

In Croatia Adam and Kevin find a beach covered in alien armoured slugs connected by fleshy ropes. Suddenly the shells split open releasing the slugs, all saying the same Builder code word (which the transliteration table in the back of the comic reveals means 'join'). And join they do, all these simple 'neurones' combining to form a brain.

Nightmask talks to the brain in Builder code, and it tells him it is the Earth. But then it echoes Captain Universe's refrain that 'the system is broken'. And tries to drag Adam inside it. Kevin tries to stop it, and as usual goes over the top. He destroys the brain in an explosion that rivals the one when he became Starbrand. And Adam comments that he's just lobotomised the world.

The whole current Avengers team has arrived and watched the unfolding battle. Captain America asks Kevin to surrender. Adam pleads for more time to train him. He asks Captain Universe for help, but she reminds him what she had told him last issue, that his course of action would end with him in a box.

Nightmask says he and Starbrand are leaving. Cap tells the Avengers to stop them. there follows a 5-page fight with a voiceover that echoes and expands on the voiceover in parts of #1 and #3. By the end it is clear to me that the voice is Adam's (from a future perspective), as a final combined attack by Hulk, Hyperion and Thor brings Starbrand down.

Kevin tells them to stop. He didn't mean for any of this to happen. He was holding back all the time. Iron Man says that they know, but that means it's even more important that they put him where he can't hurt people.

We finish with a shot of Adam and Kevin imprisoned in a cell in Stark's partially-built Dyson sphere.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Sam Wilson)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jessica Drew)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Abyss 3, Cannonball, Captain Universe (Tamara Devoux), Ex Nihilo, Hyperion, Manifold (Eden Fesi), Smasher (Izzy Kane), Spider-Man (Otto Octavius), Starbrand (Kevin Conner).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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