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Avengers #45: Review

Apr 2021
Jason Aaron, Luca Maresca

Story Name:

The king in blood

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #45 Review by (April 23, 2021)
Despite the King In Black cover banner the King In Black event is over. This is at most an epilogue to it.

And I don't know why Sub-Mariner is on cover.

This issue begins immediately after KIB so the Phoenix saga presumably happened before that.

The Avengers series and those of its members are taking a 2 month break (even if in the middle of an ongoing storyline) while Heroes Reborn tells of a Marvel Universe without them.
Is this an alternate timeline or has something altered the 'real' Marvel Universe'. The solicit for #1 suggests the latter with Blade taking the role of the 1 man who knows that something is wrong.
When I compared that with this issue's solicit of Blade paying a dark price that will change his world forever I jumped to the conclusion that Blade would trigger the change to Heroes Reborn here. Wrong!


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #45 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Avengers helped defeat Knull in the King In Black event, and Dracula's vampire nation helped too. And the team got caught up in the contest to inherit the power of the Phoenix Force in our recent issues, which was won by Echo.

Robbie Reyes (Ghost Rider) remembers the final battle against Knull and his black symbiote dragons yesterday (KIB#5) while he's working on his Hellcar. But there's no rest for the wicked (or the good). Captain America and Captain Marvel are back to their physical training regimes while Blade slices simulated Mandroids instead of vampires. Tony Stark is improving his Iron Man armour and She-Hulk is studying law books. The exception that proves the rule Thor is returning drunk from a night of victory celebration (see Beta Ray Bill #1). Leader T'Challa reviews recent events and his current schedule while fending off an attack by a hard-light hologram of the previous Black Panther, his father T'Chaka.

Then he gets a call from Congressman Kyle Richmond (Nighthawk of the Squadron Supreme Of America) who blames him and the Avengers for allowing Dracula to make a deal with the Russians (to get radioactive Chernobyl as a vampire haven in #17), and then (via Blade) bringing the vampires in to fight against Knull. And now Dracula has used his influence (the promise of eternal life) to get another deal accepted by the UN. We see the Count in Chernobyl haranguing UN representatives, claiming that vampires have been persecuted for their 'immune deficiency' disability, just as mutants and other minorities have been. But still they joined in the defence against Knull, only to be slaughtered immediately afterwards by Blade (also KIB#5). Now he wants Chernobyl to be officially recognised as a Vampire Nation.

Panther explains this to Blade with some extra details. Dracula's son Xarus (the Shadow Colonel) gets a seat on the UN Council. (Blade decapitated him in #17, but that hasn't slowed him down.) The vampires will receive regular Red Cross deliveries of blood. And all vampiric 'political prisoners' will be released, including the Hellhound Sarge in the Avengers' jail (since #17 again). T'Challa points out that as an Avenger Blade can't invade the new sovereign nation to kill any more vampires. So Blade quits, and bids goodbye to Boy-Thing (who he rescued from Xarus - #17 yet again).

But BP holds him back saying that vampires need to see that a (half-)vampire can be a hero instead of a villain. He adds that as King Of Wakanda he's arranged some amendments to the treaty. The vampires will only be provided with synthetic blood, and Wakanda has the 1st shipment ready. And he's arranged a role for Blade which would involve him in detached duty from the team. Dracula wants Blade handed over to them for punishment, but BP has a different idea.

Before we find out what that is we get an interlude with Echo and Ghost Rider. Maya Lopez is having a break between tests by Black Panther on the effects of her new Phoenix-status. Robbie brings some food (but proceeds to eat it himself). Maya says all the other Avengers seem frightened/wary of her except him. Roberto answers that he's in a similar situation to her with his Spirit Of Vengeance. Also he's been told that the 1st Ghost Rider teamed up with the 1st Earthly Phoenix avatar (in the 1M BC Avengers). He confides that the only thing that keeps him going is knowing that being GR enables him to keep folks like his young brother Gabe safe from the likes of Knull. Maya says she's driven to atone for the sins of her father and herself (when they worked for Kingpin).

Some days later the Legion Of The Unliving take delivery of the 1st consignment of blood. Dracula tells them to distribute it to the masses, even as he himself continues to feed off a captive 'blood supply'. Then the Avengers arrive. Blade enters the compound leading Sarge on a leash. Drac orders the border guards to take Blade prisoner but BP tells him that there's been a change of plan. Eric Brooks is here as the official Sheriff of Vampire Town.

Luca Maresca
Luca Maresca
David Curiel
Cory Smith (Cover Penciler)
Cory Smith (Cover Inker)
Jason Keith (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: Boy-Thing, Echo, Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes), Legion Of The Unliving, Nighthawk (of SSOA), Sarge.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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