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Avengers #36: Review

Sep 2020
Jason Aaron, Javier Garron

Story Name:

The age of Khonshu: part 4 - Moons of fire, stars of blood, panthers of black

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #36 Review by (October 2, 2020)
We don't yet know how this story arc and the Empyre event are sequenced. But the Unseen was also seen in Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four where Uatu the Watcher returned from the dead. It seems likely that this story precedes that.

Sub-Mariner 'called out' to the Phoenix Force in #32, so maybe it's been on its way here since then.
We've also recently seen the possessed Lady Phoenix in 1M BC flashbacks, and a possessed Wolverine from King Thor's future. But the last app of the PF of the current time-period was probably in 2018 Phoenix Resurrection mini-series.

Next issue is the finale of the Age Of Khonshu. Obviously Thor is going to break out from his prison of moons. And all the Avengers will combine to defeat Khonshu and maybe Moon Knight. But then the following arc will be called "Enter the Phoenix".


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #36 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Khonshu the Egyptian Moon God wants to prevent a future ruled by Mephisto. He sent his Fist Moon Knight to get Thor's hammer Mjolnir and the powers of Dr Strange, Ghost Rider and Iron Fist. Khonshu has Black Panther captive and has been trying to take *his* power. Then all he needs to complete the set of powers of the 1M BC Avengers is the Starbrand and the Phoenix power.

This issue has 2 strands running in parallel labelled 'earlier' and 'now'. I'll separate them and describe them in time order.

Earlier Moon Knight, who has kept Ghost Rider's power for himself, rides GR's Hell Charger car to the Moon looking for the new baby Starbrand. He confronted her protectors Captain Marvel and Iron Man last issue but they flew off into space. When he lands, praying to Khonshu for guidance, a voice tells him he's praying to the wrong god. It's a black-cloaked figure who says Khonshu and his Fist are right about the long-term plan Mephisto's been building across time and multiple realities. And they're also right that the great weapons from the dawn of man are needed to stop him. But GR's power isn't the 1 Marc Spector needs to wield.

MK sees that the fellow is chained to this place and he also thinks he recognises who's inside the shadowed hood - the original Nick Fury. But he saw Fury die on the Moon (at the end of the Original Sin mini-series). However Nick tells him that the Watchers punished him for killing Uatu The Watcher by imprisoning him here as the Unseen to take Uatu's place to record the events on Earth but be unable to take any action. But he has witnessed the growing evil of the Council Of Red (Mephistos from multiple timelines?). And he says that to save Earth Moon Knight must pray to the thing that consumes planets and moons and stars.

On Earth in this earlier strand Black Panther faces Khonshu. (Last issue he broke free of his chains and fought his way to the throne room). The Moon God shows him the mound of alternate reality Mephistos he killed as they came at him 1 by 1 (last issue after he and MK slew this reality's Mephisto) and asks T'Challa to join in the fight. But BP responds that by stealing other heroes' powers Khonshu has weakened Earth's defences against the onslaught.

The God hurls Mjolnir at Panther but instead of striking the Wakandan King the hammer dances around him. We see the 1M BC original Black Panther holding the Uru hammer, and now T'Challa says his ancestors have been allies of Odin (the original wielder of Mjolnir) ever since those times and they have always opposed Mephisto. Khonshu holds power over the hammer because its Uru metal is fashioned from the rock of a moon, but BP says that the spirit of the storm within Mjolnir does *not* answer to him. And neither do the powers of Dr Strange and Iron Fist he has imprisoned in ankhs hanging from his neck. And those ankhs now strain towards the Wakandan ...

... as does the Hellfire ankh round the neck of Moon Knight now returned from the Moon. Marc Spector discards it and chooses to attack his foe with the weapons of the Fist Of Khonshu. The Moon God uses Dr Strange's magic to cause Spector to think he's battling Mephisto himself. Then he grabs the fallen Ghost Rider ankh and uses the Hellfire chains to recapture Mjolnir. Then he commands the mallet to take him to the Starbrand, and the hammer hauls him towards a pile of moons in the sky.

At this point we've reached the 'now' strand as Moon Knight battles Black Panther. (There are little clues in MK's speech in the 1st few segments that MK thinks BP is Mephisto - before we get to the reveal in the previous paragraph. And MK doesn't have the GR ankh.) T'Challa tries to get through to the man inside the costume but at the same time infests the the chest of costume with a foam incapacitant. But Spector rips the infected cloth off and outright names his foe as Mephisto. The brutal fight continues. Part way through MK comes to his right mind and realises he's not battling the devil, but he keeps on forcing T'Challa to hit him.

We switch scenes to space where Iron Man is flying with Captain Marvel who has the Starbrand child Brandy Selby suspended in a papoose (the baby seems to able to survive in space). They are heading to an Alpha Flight safe house near the Martian ice cap, but on the way they pass near the jumble of moons. Tony Stark says he can 'hear' thunder (we know that Thor is entombed in there). Then Khonshu catches up with them and wraps IM in Ghost Rider's chains. Tony tells Carol Danvers to flee with the child, but the little girl won't let her - she's straining to fight the Moon God.

Time for another scene change. Last issue Blade, Captain America and She-Hulk rescued Robbie Reyes (the now-powerless Ghost Rider), Dr Strange and Iron Fist from a Moon Train. DrS and IF were in comas but Robbie was awake. Now it seems they dropped the 3 off at a hospital and are pursuing another lead to the pyramid where BP is held. But as they approach it Reyes follows them in a 'borrowed' ambulance.

In the pyramid T'Challa figures out that Marc Spector is trying to get him to beat him to death. But MK says he just needs to bleed enough to complete his prayer. When BP refuses to help Marc just starts beating himself up. And at last his prayer is answered as the Phoenix Force descends from the sky to possess him.

Javier Garron
Javier Garron
Jason Keith
Matteo Scalera (Cover Penciler)
Matteo Scalera (Cover Inker)
Rachelle Rosenberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther


(Eric Brooks)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Jennifer Walters)

Plus: Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Khonshu, Phoenix Force, Starbrand (Brandy Selby), Unseen (Nick Fury).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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