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Avengers #677: Review

Jan 2018
Mark Waid, Pepe Larraz

Story Name:

No surrender: part 3

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #677 Review by (February 3, 2018)
Grandmaster has been running games like this since we 1st met him in #69-71 of the original series. Coincidentally (or not?) where Voyager supposedly went MIA. Elders of the Universe like him have been around since the early days of the universe. To keep themselves amused they've each developed a hobby/obsession. His is getting opponents to bet their lives (or something very important to them) on contests.

In Av#69-71 Kang used some Avengers against Grandmaster's Squadron Sinister trying to have his love Ravonna brought back to life. After another game in Giant-Size Defenders #3 he organised the 1st Contest of Champions where 2 teams of Earth heroes fought for him or for Death, where he wanted his fellow Elder the Collector brought back from the dead. Lots more games were to follow (not including another CoC in 1999 which wasn't anything to do with him, and he was only partly in control in the 3rd CoC in 2015). Lately he's been in Silver Surfer and Guardians of the Galaxy.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #677 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Earth was stolen by person or persons unknown, and the Avengers are investigating. But last issue they were gathered in Avengers Mansion when Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight of the Black Order blew it up.

We go back a few seconds as Quicksilver detects what's happening. But there's no time for him to save himself never mind everyone else. The rest of the Black Order (Black Dwarf, Black Swan, Ebony Maw and Supergiant) join the duo to survey the wreckage. Supergiant can detect no life signs. Black Dwarf wonders at Earth being chosen as the site for their contest because it had the Avengers to act as 'obstacles' - obstacles which have now been removed in 1 fell swoop.

But now we learn that the Avengers are *not* dead. Voyager, the alleged original team member who supposedly died and was forgotten about, used her power to teleport them all to the Av Auxiliary HQ. (This too was forgotten about by everybody, including me. It was seen in the original #13 when the team were hiding from the Government.)

Valerie Vector even brought along the 3 Avengers who were in a 'frozen' state - Enigma, Squirrel Girl and Vision (presumably Wasp (Jan Van Dyne) is there too). (They along with many other (presumably all) supercharacters were frozen in #675.) She is drained by the effort of transporting so many people, and others are affected by the move, but Pietro Maximoff races around insisting that they spring to counterattack. The 3 team leaders Citizen V, Falcon and Rogue recommend planning 1st. Rogue suspects there's something more going on.

We already know there's some sort of contest between the Black Order and a new Lethal Legion. Now we learn that the game is being run by 2 players, 1 of whom is the usual suspect the Elder of the Universe known as the Grandmaster. His unrevealed opponent seems to have the Black Order as his team of pawns. And whoever loses the game faces being wiped out of existence.

We see 5 pyramids on display which Grandmaster refers to as representing elements. They start the game proper by each choosing an element - Earth for Grandmaster, Fire for his foe.

Dr Toni Ho (still listed as Iron Patriot even though she's relinquished the armour) gets in touch with Beast and Wasp (Nadia Pym) to let them know the group are OK. The duo are at a hospital looking after Edwin Jarvis who was injured in #675. But his encephalogram is is showing unusual activity as though his brain is fighting itself.

When the Earth was moved its satellites were left behind which crippled most communications systems. The good AIM Toni now leads has transferred a lot of her equipment to this HQ, and she's organised a comms system based on fibre optics and cell towers. Her latest success is a global alert system ... which sounds off to tell them about cosmic events happening in the Colosseum in Rome and a site in Peru. Amongst other things there are sightings of alien warriors which the Avengers assume are the Black Order.

Citizen V (Roberto da Costa) suggests they split into 2 teams which Voyager can take to the troublespots, and a small force can stay here in reserve. Scarlet Witch says she and Doctor Voodoo will stay to see if magic can unfreeze their comrades. Protective Pietro is glad that his sister Wanda will stay here in safety.

Falcon offers to lead the squad to Peru, and he picks Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Gen'l Maverick (who initiates his hour of Red Hulk power), Synapse and Wonder Man (who is a pacifist but can help save innocent lives).

Rogue claims Rome. Quicksilver assumes he'll be on this team, even though he and Rogue aren't on good terms. But Anna Marie chooses Thor (Jane Foster), Hercules, Lightning and Cannonball. Pietro is angry but Rogue says she needs people she can count on. He dismisses Synapse's attempt at sympathy. (He and Emily Guerrero were starting a relationship before Rogue threw him off the Unity Squad for causing Synapse to get injured in battle in Uncanny Avengers (2015) #29.)

Voyager takes Rogue's team to the Colosseum where they don't see any Black Order but other aliens fighting unseen foes. We met them last issue as part of the Lethal Legion. They are the 2 Blood Brothers plus 2 new aliens Mentacle and the new Metal Master (Moyln). Hercules and Thor leap to the attack. The Legion recognise them as 2 of the designated 'obstacles' to be overcome. Lightning (Miguel Santos) feels outclassed by the Goddess of Thunder and Lightning. Rogue lets Voyager leave them to go transport the 2nd team.

Valerie takes Sam Wilson's group to Cusco where there is an obvious pitched battle between members of the Black Order (Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw and Proxima Midnight) and people we recognise as the rest of the Lethal Legion (Captain Glory, Drall and Ferene).

But we go back to the Avengers HQ where Voodoo and Witch are examining the 'statues' of their friends. Quicksilver just sulks in a corner. Wanda suggests he follow orders until he can win back Rogue's respect. But the volatile speedster just zooms off and across the Atlantic towards Rome. Scarlet Witch wonders whether a hex will unfreeze 1 of them. Dr Voodoo suggests they start with Vision. The synthezoid is the easiest to put back together if it goes wrong, and his connection to Wanda (they used to be married) might work in sympathy with her spell.

In Rome Cannonball smashes into 1 Blood Brother while Hercules battles the other. Metal Master propels metal objects in the way of hurtling Rogue. Mentacle mind-blasts Lightning. Thor throws Mjolnir at Metal Master, but he diverts it back to hit her and Herc. Rogue is already down and Mentacle takes out Cannonball. She tells the BBs to pick up the Pyramoid in the Colosseum to win the point.

Just then Quicksilver arrives and defeats all 4 aliens. But at the same time his sister succeeds in restoring Vision to 'life'. However this causes Pietro to assume a frozen state instead. The aliens recover and start beating him up.


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Pepe Larraz
Pepe Larraz
David Curiel
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Mark Brooks (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Doctor Voodoo
Doctor Voodoo

(Jericho Drumm)
Falcon
Falcon

(Sam Wilson)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Robert Maverick)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Synapse
Synapse

(Emily Guerrero)
Thor
Thor

(Jane Foster)
Wasp
Wasp

(Nadia Pym)

Plus: Blood Brothers, Cannonball, Captain Glory, Citizen V (Roberto Da Costa), Drall, Iron Patriot (Toni Ho), Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Lightning (Miguel Santos), Mentacle, Supergiant.