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Avengers #17: Review

Mar 2019
Jason Aaron, David Marquez

Story Name:

The kingdom of the vampires

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #17 Review by (March 30, 2019)
Xarus rebelled against his father Dracula and killed him in the Death Of Dracula 1-shot. This sparked off a different vampire civil war with his half-brother Janus. He then infested the 2010 X-Men series as he turned Jubilee into a vampire and tried to take over mutant-kind. That storyline ended with Dracula reborn and killing Xarus. But now we know Drac revived him as his servant Shadow Colonel.

Thori is an Asgardian pup of Hel-Wolf and Garm the Hel-hound. Originally only Loki could control him (Journey Into Mystery #632). After various adventures Thor rescued the dog from the Collector (in the Unworthy Tor mini-series) and he's been a faithful companion ever since.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #17 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Dracula is at his lowest point (apart from the times when he's been dead). He's a prisoner of the most hard-line faction of Winter Guard (Red Widow, Ursa Major and Vostok) and he's just surrendered his only bargaining chip, the secrets of the important people who have come to him for the promise of eternal life. He did this because Red Widow promised to kill his vampire favourites quickly rather than excruciatingly slowly. And she was true to her word.

All Vlad Tepes says he wants now is to be left alone somewhere to live out the rest of his life in peace. The Widow and the bear know just the place. And Dracula is escorted to the Chernobyl exclusion zone.

Meanwhile in the Russian Sol-Iletsk prison Dracula's opposition in the Vampire Civil War have turned all the inmates to vampires. As the authorities call on the Winter Guard for aid they get Captain Marvel and Thor of the Avengers instead.

The Winter Guard (including the other members Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar and Vanguard) have their own problem. They've been attacked by that opposition, Shadow Colonel and his Legion Of The Unliving (Baroness Blood, Carpathian, Rat Bomber, Sarge and Snowsnake). And now apart from Red Widow they are down, possibly dead. Their attackers want Dracula.

As Widow prepares to make a deal more Avengers drop in. Black Panther has a sword fight with Snowsnake, Captain America squares off against the Nazi Baroness Blood, Iron Man blasts the Carpathian and She-Hulk is assailed by Rat Bomber's exploding rats and the Hellhound Sarge. But her troubles are halved when Thor's Hel-hound Thori sinks his teeth in Sarge.

Meanwhile Blade slices Shadow Colonel's wooden-stake-firing Gatling gun in 2. Armoured SC throws that away and resorts to eye-blasts and sharpened stakes projecting from his wrists. (Like the stakes in his gun the wrist-stakes are provided by Boy-Thing, the baby Man-Thing, draped across his shoulders.) The Colonel punches a stake through Blade's palm. In reply Blade chops a foot off.

Interlude:- Dracula surveys his irradiated prison and is content as he grabs a raven (to eat?). The Russians think they have put him in his coffin, but vampires like coffins.

Carol Danvers and Thor continue their fight against the vampiric prison inmates. The other Avengers also find themselves fighting ordinary vampires as well as the Legion. T'Challa continues his non-lethal stance by extruding hypodermic needles from his fingertips to inject Snowsnake with possible cures for vampirism. He tells her that he has researched her history and knows that before she was turned 300 years ago she faithfully served the Japanese Yagyu clan. He hopes to restore her honour.

But Blade and the Shadow Colonel continue to show each other no quarter. Blade rips Boy-Thing from SC, and the wrist-stakes come away with him because they are part of him. Swinging Boy-Thing causes 1 of the stakes to chop the Colonel's arm off. But like Monty Python's Black Knight the villain keeps on boasting and fighting. However now Ghost Rider joins in and smashes SC's helmet open, dislodging the air hose that is presumably helping keep him 'alive'. Boy-Thing has adopted Blade as his new master, providing *him* with wrist-stakes. Which he uses to sever the Colonel's head.

Thori has defeated Sarge. The others of the Legion have gone, but She-Hulk is still covered in rats. She loses her temper and goes up in a Gamma explosion. But the Avengers all get out OK.

Back in Avengers Mountain HQ we gather that (at least some of) the Winter Guard are alive. They still have Dracula and won't tell our team where. The Sol-Iletsk vampires are back in prison. And the Avengers just have Sarge in a cell to show for their efforts. Blade (and Boy-Thing) are staying with the team until all the vampire problems are over. Robbie Reyes asks him to teach him to control the Spirit Of Vengeance and exorcise his Hellcharger car. And in Hell Johnny Blaze laughs.

Meanwhile the Legion Of The Unliving surprise us by joining Dracula in Chernobyl. They have brought the Shadow Colonel's head (which is still talking) to him. Dracula, looking much better and better-dressed, lets us know that SC is his son Xarus. Drac congratulates him, but then throws the head away. It seems the supposed Civil War was all a plot to get the vampires a new kingdom here in Chernobyl (and purge the wimpier vampires).


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David Marquez
David Marquez
Erick Arciniega
David Marquez (Cover Penciler)
David Marquez (Cover Inker)
Matthew Wilson (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Ursa Major
Ursa Major

(Mikhail Uriokovitch Ursus)

Plus: Baroness Blood (Lily Cromwell), Boy-Thing, Carpathian, Crimson Dynamo (Dmitri Bukharin), Darkstar, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Legion Of The Unliving, Rat Bomber, Red Widow, Sarge, Shadow Colonel, Snowsnake, Thori, Vanguard, Vostok, Winter Guard.