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Avengers #26: Review

Nov 2019
Jason Aaron, Dale Keown

Story Name:

As strong as the stars

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #26 Review by (November 30, 2019)
Andrea Sorrentino does some of the pencilling with Dale Keown. Joe Weems, Cam Smith and Craig Yeung provide the inking with Andrea Sorrentino inking presumably her own bit which I think is the Avengers 1M BC section. The colourists are also multiple with Erick Arciniega and Jay David Ramos helping Jason Keith.

We 1st met a Starbrand in Jim Shooter's New Universe line where he had his own title. We never learn the origin of the Starbrand, and in fact the 1st White Event we witness is *caused* by the Starbrand.
Then in the Newuniversal books Warren Ellis turned the paradigm on its head and had White Events creating Starbrands (and certain other chars such as Nightmasks) in that and other universes. He also introduced the Superflow which exists outside all the universes. The beings inhabiting 'stations' there give White Events to interesting worlds.
Jonathan Hickman picked this up in his Avengers and New Avengers series. The Incursions that led up to the end of the multiverse and Secret Wars III had a side-effect of  destroying the Superflow stations. As a last act the beings there sent White Events to random worlds. A White Event on Earth-616 created a Starbrand and a Nightmask.
The Superflow exists in the post-SWIII multiverse and in the Starbrand & Nightmask mini-series a White Event gave the Kree a Starbrand and Nightmask and some others. The prehistoric Starbrand of (the new) Earth-616 was introduced along with the other Avengers 1M BC in the Marvel Legacy 1-shot, continuing into this series. And next issue will start a storyline involving a Starbrand and pals in another universe.

I don't know how long the dinosaur Starbrand is supposed to have lived since 66 Million BC but it's corpse is amazingly well-preserved when it is unearthed in 1 Miilion BC. There has presumably been no other wielder of the Starbrand since the dino so maybe it died recently - or the Starbrand just stopped it from decaying? The question is somewhat important since the Dinobrand fights the Kree, and previous wisdom had it that the Skrulls only raised the Kree to a star-faring race about 1M BC.
The recent History Of The Marvel Universe offers some insight. It has the Skrull/Kree thing happening before the 1M BC Avengers are formed. But it also has the Progenitors (no relation to the Celestial Progenitor) uplifting (as David Brin would call it) the *blue*-skinned Kree earlier than that, and the Skrulls helping the *white*-skinned Kree. And it looks like Dinobrand fights only blue Kree.
The previously 1st-known visit by the Kree to Earth which created the Inhumans is placed by the History later than the 1M BC Avengers, conventionally only 25,000 years ago but as the History confirms before the 2nd Celestial Host caused the Great Cataclysm which destroyed Atlantis in 16,000 BC. The History has the Celestial 1st Host creating the Deviants and Eternals between the Skrull/Kree meeting and the 1M BC Avengers. (But Loki in our #5 claimed that the D&E arose independent of Celestial meddling but purely as a result of the Celestial Progenitor's infection.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #26 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
It's time for another 1 Million BC Avengers' origin. We've done Ghost Rider and Iron Fist and now it's Starbrand.

4 billion years ago the Celestial Progenitor died on Earth and infected the planet with Horde eggs.

66 million years ago an asteroid struck the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. It also caused a White Event which empowered a dying dinosaur with the Starbrand. A voiceover which has been describing these things claims that the Earth itself *drew* the asteroid to it to crack open the Superflow to create the White Event and a being to protect the planet from alien invasions and it's own infection. We see this dino-Starbrand opposing the Kree.

The voiceover also mentions someone who *was* a great man who believed all life was precious.

Now we get to the 1M BC era and a pair of male lovers in an Eden-like paradise hidden in a canyon. They are burly Brrkk and weedy Vnn. It soon becomes obvious that the voiceover is Vnn, and Brrkk is the 1 who's going to be a *was*. We learn that they both felt themselves different from their respective tribes. They somehow knew things that the others didn't. Vnn left his tribe before they could realise how different he was and he headed for this garden he'd seen in a dream. He was nearly dead by the time he got here but Brrkk was already here, called by *his* dreams, and he nursed Vnn back to health. They were alone in paradise and kept each other sane. They are learning to cultivate the garden and find uses for the many plants.

But then some Deviants find the way into the garden through a cave that exits through a waterfall. These are mutated monsters that live underground and are more technologically advanced than the 'cavemen' (which isn't saying much). (We know that the Deviants were created by the Celestials from proto-human stock but designed to be born in varying forms.) Battle ensues, but Brrkk's strength plus some dangerous fruits as projectiles drive the enemy back whence they came.

The duo expect the foe to return so they lay plans and traps. But the Deviants are more advanced than even they suspect and rise up out of the ground in a burrowing machine. The ground collapses beneath the pair and they fall into a large cavern. Brrkk is killed by falling rocks but Vnn survives and finds the Dinobrand corpse. He touches the Starbrand on its chest and becomes the new bearer of the Brand.

Vnn now realises that it was the power of the Starbrand which caused the garden to flourish. And that is what the Deviants were seeking. But the Brand has made Vnn even burlier than Brrkk, and vastly more powerful. He can sense the cosmos but for now can only feel the rage with which he kills all the invaders and accidentally(?) burns down the garden.

Months later Starbrand has met up with other super-powered individuals as the Avengers (1MBC). They are gathered on the sacred mountain of the Panther tribe. We see in the background the 1st Ghost Rider with his flaming mastodon, the female 1st Iron Fist and Agamotto the 1st Sorcerer Supreme. But the 1st Black Panther, young Odin and Lady Phoenix, the 1st human possessed by the Phoenix Force are discussing Starbrand. She can tell by reading his mind that he has foresworn eating plants. Indeed they know he eats very little (the Starbrand sustains him?). He says little too (but Lady P detects tragedy in his thoughts) and seems to live only to fight. Lady P says he comes from "no place that exists in this world, not anymore" (referring to Vnn's garden home having been obliterated).

Dale Keown
Joe Weems
Cory Petit
Dale Keown (Cover Penciler)
Dale Keown (Cover Inker)
Jason Keith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Jason Keith.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Agamotto, Avengers (1MBC) (1M BC Avengers), Black Panther (1MBC), Deviants, Ghost Rider (1MBC), Iron Fist (Fan Fei), Lady Phoenix (Firehair), Starbrand (1MBC).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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