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Avengers #682: Review

Feb 2018
Mark Waid, Sean Izaakse

Story Name:

No surrender: part 8

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #682 Review by (March 10, 2018)
Quintessence means the perfect example of something, or its purest essence. In that latter sense it could be soul or spirit as used here, though not particularly magic.

In ancient times Quintessence was the 5th element, hence the 'quint' part of its name. The world was composed of the 4 elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water. But the heavens above were made of Quintessence.

This Quintessence was also known as the aether, and both terms were used in alchemy.

Physics borrowed the name aether to explain both gravity and light until Einstein's theories showed that this underpinning wasn't necessary. And Quintessence was used for 1 theoretical version of dark energy.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #682 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Image from Avengers #682
This issue starts with a flashback for Red Wolf to the Valley of Doom 1872. (He had his own series spinning out of Secret Wars III where he was Sheriff of Timely, but he got brought to the present in #2 - and later joined Hawkeye in Occupy Avengers.) He's weaponless facing an outlaw who claims have 1 bullet left in his gun. But we'll leave him there.

In the present in New Mexico a bunch of Avengers are fighting a bunch of aliens called the Lethal Legion. Red Wolf and Hawkeye have just joined them (at the end of last issue). Falcon (Sam Wilson) explains to them that they have to stop the aliens getting hold of a floating glowing pyramid (or Pyramoid as the aliens call it) or the Earth is done for. Clint Barton fires a smoke arrow at Metal Master. But Red Wolf just studies the situation. And now we leave *them* ...

... to go to the Antarctic where Rogue's team have just lost a Pyramoid to another member of the LL because they were too busy fighting the other alien team in this game, the Black Order. She, Lightning and Thor (Jane Foster) are flying to find sanctuary somewhere. Thor tows 4th Avenger Hercules who carries their unconscious prisoner Ebony Maw. Rogue has the body of Corvus Glaive, who she killed in anger last issue, along with his weapon - a glaive.

Anna Marie was angry over the death of her lover Human Torch. That anger is causing her to make hasty decisions. Lightning suggests they should have waited for Voyager to return to teleport them home, but Rogue just wants to do *something*. Hercules counsels her that she has learnt that revenge doesn't salve the wound. Anna calms down and allows Lightning to zip off (as lightning) the Avengers Auxiliary HQ to bring back Voyager or a quinjet.

But we're off to another venue to keep another juggling ball in the air. At Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan Beast and Wasp (Nadia Pym) are trying to find out what ails the Avengers' butler Edwin Jarvis. Henry McCoy has at last isolated an alien pathogen which avoided detection before because it works at a quantum level. He reasons that some Avenger brought it back from some space adventure but the team members' immune systems have fought it off. But Jarvis' recent concussion (#675) has made him vulnerable. Beast takes some blood from Nadia and discovers that she is indeed successfully surviving the infection. So he starts to concoct a cure from her blood. (And of course Jarvis' condition chooses this moment to become critical.) But we're off again ...

... back to New Mexico where the battle continues, and Red Wolf continues to observe. Mentacle defends herself against Hawkeye's arrows, but that's just a distraction until the other Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) hits her with a growth-powered punch. Drall attacks pacifist Wonder Man who just defends himself while trying to talk to her. Hawkeye's back to shooting at Metal Master, who turns the tables by mentally stealing Clint's bow. Except Falcon hits him from behind. Captain Glory has Citizen V on the ropes because Roberto Da Costa is out of practice with his old Sunspot powers. But Wonder Man rescues him. Plus Synapse is now under attack by Mentacle, and Doctor Voodoo and Scarlet Witch seem to have the Blood Brothers fighting each other.

Red Wolf has been studying the way the aliens fight. Somewhere along the line someone has explained more of what's going on because he knows that whoever wins the point by touching the Pyramoid dies. But he sees the enemy trying to reach the Pyramoid without fear or hesitation. (Which doesn't jibe with how afraid 1 of the Blood Brothers was last issue when Mentacle tried to force *him* to touch it.) And Wolf makes a decision.

Back in 1872 he looked his foe in the eyes and lunged towards him.

Now he asks Hawkeye to cover him while he makes a dash for the prize. Clint reminds him that they've been told that Torch was disintegrated when he claimed a Pyramoid. Red asks Clint to trust him. He will vanish from here, but he will find a way back. Barton reluctantly complies as his friend dodges the lumbering Blood Brothers and dives for the goal.

And in his memory in 1872 he downed the bad guy, whose gun was actually empty.

Wolf touches the Pyramoid and they both disappear in a flash of light. Falcon can't understand why Barton let him do it. Clint says he's not dead, and so neither is Johnny Storm.

And elsewhere, in the Cosmic Game Room we see Red Wolf appear encased in a crystal, alongside Torch, Black Dwarf of the Black Order and Ferene of the Legion.

Grandmaster, 'owner' of the Lethal Legion, and Challenger, who runs the Black Order, are bickering as usual. The 2 Elders Of The Universe stole the Earth to use as a gameboard and froze most of Earth's superbeings in stasis to keep them out of the way. But at GM's suggestion they left some Avengers awake to act as obstacles in the way of their teams. But now the obstacles have claimed 2 of the points.

We know that Challenger hates Grandmaster because GM once beat him at a game where the loser was banished from reality. But now he's back and they're playing for the same stakes again. En Dwi Gast taunts Challenger, who threatens to just kill him. But Gast reminds him that would make *him* the loser again.

Back in #677 we saw there were 5 elemental Pyramoids. Now GM, on the basis of a vague statement that his Legion are performing better than the Order (even though they've each only won 1 point), claims the right to place the deciding Pyramoid representing the 5th Element Quintessence. (Though I could never see what difference it made who placed the other 4.) And he puts it in the Lenox Hospital ...

... where Jarvis is recovering. Suddenly there's lots of screaming as spectres of dead parents (and presumably other loved ones) swoop down on staff and patients. GM's voiceover tells us Quintessence is the element of soul, magic and spirit. Challenger congratulates him on his strategy. The Avengers will flock to the side of their butler. They may claim the 5th Pyramoid leaving a draw between the Elders, and so Gast will avoid his fate. But he reminds GM that *he* has a piece held in reserve who he now summons.

Jarvis awakes and shouts "It's a lie" before collapsing again and going flatline.

Challenger prattles on about his hate and rage, and the pain of betrayal. And he says that his new piece is fuelled by the same things. And in the ruins of the Mount we see glimpses of green flesh which combine on the last page to reveal (who'd 'a thunk it) the Hulk.




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Sean Izaakse
Sean Izaakse
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)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Synapse
Synapse

(Emily Guerrero)
Thor
Thor

(Jane Foster)
Wasp
Wasp

(Nadia Pym)
Wasp
Wasp

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Blood Brothers, Captain Glory, Citizen V (Roberto Da Costa), Drall, Jarvis, Lightning (Miguel Santos), Mentacle, Red Wolf.