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Avengers #18: Review

Apr 2019
Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness

Story Name:

Crisis on ten realms

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #18 Review by (April 27, 2019)
No Avengers were harmed (or indeed present) in the making of this issue.

It's clear now that this Squadron Supreme isn't the same as any previous Squad (Supreme or Sinister), even the 1 in their post-Secret Wars III series. For instance Joe Ledger was only the name of Dr Spectrum in the original Squadron Supreme on Earth S and the Supreme Power version. Stanley Stewart was the name of Whizzer on Earth S and in Marvel Zombies Supreme, and Blur in the Supreme Power universe. Maybe this set is based on the Supreme Power group.

Phil Coulson was killed during Secret Empire in Deadpool (2016) #31. He returned without explanation in our #10-11 working with the Squadron for General Ross. Marvel Wiki lists him as a member of the Power Elite who have been causing trouble over in Captain America, probably because he served Ross who was a member. But Ross was killed in CA#6 and Cap blamed for his murder.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #18 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers are off in various parts of War Of the Realms so the Squadron Supreme Of America will take over this issue and the defence of Washington DC.

In Kensington, Maryland mild-mannered Mark Milton is teaching his history class, and successfully ignoring all the little noises (like skin cells flaking off) that his super-hearing picks up. He's also trying to ignore the nagging thought that he can't remember just how long he's been training under Agent Phil Coulson. Then he hears the screams in nearby Washington. Then the school Code Red alarm sounds and he sends his class to assemble in the gym. But when they're gone he rips open his shirt to reveal the Hyperion costume beneath.

There's also a Code Red alarm in Washington in the House Of Representatives sending all Congressmen to the safety of the tunnels. But DC's own Congressman Kyle Richmond goes another way, and his minders obey his orders without question - because they are LMDs. And of course they don't blink when he changes into Nighthawk.

Zarda Shelton is sparring with another female. The only thing that keeps the contest fair is the Utopia Isle necklace that dampens her powers. But when she hears the screams and Hyperion breaking the sound barrier, Power Princess ends the bout efficiently and leaps off to action (ditching the necklace along the way?).

Stanley Stewart gained speed powers from a strange mist. Now he works multiple jobs including computer programming. But when he sees the news he leaves his keyboard and races off as the Blur.

Astronaut Joseph Ledger found a strange prism on a space walk. Now he doesn't need a space suit as Doctor Spectrum.

Together they are the Squadron Supreme Of America, and Phil Coulson has been training them in secret in Washington for years (or is it only months?). And now he's sending them into battle against rampaging Frost Giants.

The War Of The Realms has been under way since Mighty Thor (2016) #1 (that's over 3 years ago in our universe). Malekith the Dark Elf and his allies now control 9 of the 10 'Asgardian' Realms and now in the actual WOTR mini-series/event they've converged on Midgard/Earth. And the Frost Giants have been given North America as New Jotunheim. Thor is missing and the Avengers are concentrated in Manhattan. So instead the Frosties face the Squadron.

Hyperion and Power Princess are like speeding bullets boring through the bodies and brains of the Giants. Zarda flirts with Mark but Hyperion is too busy offering the Frost Giants the chance to surrender before killing them. But we then see the 1st of several 'training' flashbacks as Milton and Shelton face each other naked but spend their time intoning their 'philosophies'. Hyperion says he has atomic vision and great strength but he was raised a farmboy and will fight for the American Dream. Zarda is the superstrong princess of the warrior women of Utopia Island but she loves America more, and she will kill for it. And she loves American beer and Mark Milton. Phil Coulson watches this with technicians, and he tells them to turn the dials up to 11 for Zarda. This is our 1st indication that these beings were made not born.

Nighthawk attacks the Frost Giants with agility and his own technology such as gamma grenades which he attaches to their bodies. His flashback shows part of his current rigorous physical regimen. While doing 1-handed press ups he dictates into his personal journal. He senses that Hyperion and Zarda's love is fake and wonders if some of his weaker-minded team-mates are being brainwashed. He doesn't trust their bosses Thunderbolt Ross (now deceased - see Captain America) and now Coulson. He plans to covertly investigate Coulson. But Phil is watching this and approves of the mind-state they have given Kyle.

Blur creates whirlwinds to tear Giants apart, while using the high-speed camera phone Nighthawk made for him to upload pictures to the Internet. His training session is like something out of Clockwork Orange. His eyes are held open to watch multiple videos of Jihadist executions and celebrity sex tapes run at ultra-high speed. Colonel Joe Ledger objects to such torture of an American citizen. But then he automatically agrees with whatever Coulson replies. (Maybe the Squadron are all LMDs like Kyle Richmond's minders?)

As Dr Spectrum Joe uses his Power Prism to kill Frost Giants and chase them northwards. He contacts the other Squaddies and suggests they herd the survivors to Lake Erie. Then they send them across to Canada. Zarda wants to follow them and finish the job but the others say their only responsibility is to the USA. Coulson sends them to liberate the rest of the country.

We see Phil celebrating the DC victory in a meal with his boss. He wonders if the boss started the War Of The Realms to boost the Squadron's popularity. The boss says he doesn't have any influence over that, and Coulson will need a much larger army to defeat Malekith worldwide. But Phil isn't bothered about the rest of the world. The boss says Coulson has his heroes, his war, and his life back. Is there anything else he wants? And we see that the boss is Mephisto.

Ed McGuinness
Mark Morales
Justin Ponsor
Ed McGuinness (Cover Penciler)
Ed McGuinness (Cover Inker)
Val Staples (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Phil Coulson
Phil Coulson


Plus: Blur (of SSOA), Doctor Spectrum (of SSOA), Hyperion (of SSOA), Nighthawk (of SSOA), Power Princess (of SSOA), Squadron Supreme of America.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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