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Avengers #51: Review

Dec 2021
Jason Aaron, Juan Frigeri

Story Name:

The Death Hunters part 1: A Dark Phoenix rises over Asgard

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #51 Review by (December 26, 2021)
The Multiversal Masters Of Evil seen here are Dark Phoenix and her Hound Logan (and later Thor) plus King Killmonger. The others are presumably attacking Avengers HQ as we learn at the end.
Alternate versions of Phoenix and Logan/Wolverine (and Thor) are self-explanatory. But the term Hounds of course reminds us of the Hounds in X-Men's Days Of Future Past stories who had spikes sticking out of their costumes. 1 of them was Rachel Summers who later became a Phoenix. This Dark Phoenix's Hounds seem to have metal (or maybe crystals) projecting from their flesh, including their eyes.
Killmonger is almost as well-known as a major Black Panther adversary, and this version mixes Wakandan science with Asgardian magic in his armour and weapon.

In the 616 universe Bashenga was the 1st Black Panther (or rather the 2nd known 1 after the 1MBC version.). In this universe he wielded a vibranium spear rather than the vibranium axe that King Killmonger has appropriated. Presumably both were handed down through the royal lines.

The God Quarry was 1st seen in the 2016 Thanos series and played an important role in the Infinity Wars event. It is the place where old gods go to die, and also guards the source of the multiverse's Infinity Stones. Its similarity to DC's Source Wall has been pointed out (as has of course Thanos' similarity to Darkseid).

The Superflow space between universes was invented in the newwuniversal alternate-universe series, but it also cropped up in the lead up to Secret Wars (Avengers (2013) #7-8) and has been more-widely used in the post-SW universe, especially in the Ultimates series.

The Council Of Red is the multiversal group of Mephistos that we've seen earlier in this series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #51 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Last issue, among many other things, Tony Stark reluctantly (because of all the boozing that goes on there) said he'd go to Asgard to see if Thor's 'family' problems will keep him from Avengers Mountain HQ. Now Iron Man's commiserating with the Thunder God over shared parent issues. He knows that in this case it's the Phoenix Force claiming to be his mother (#42) that has has Thor using the Destroyer armour as a punchbag. Now Tony tries to persuade him that the person and All-Father he's become isn't anything to do with his parentage. Bur Thor is in denial and believes the Phoenix lied. And he can't find *any* reference in Asgardian lore or Odin's private journals to the Phoenix. However Gaea who he thinks *is* his mother isn't answering his calls. Stark suggests he talk to Echo, the current Phoenix avatar, but Thor wants nothing to do with her ...

... which is unfortunate because Echo is on the Rainbow Bridge trying to talk its guardian Sif into letting her pass to speak to Thor. Sif tries to persuade her that wouldn't be a good idea. But then it comes to threats. Sif brandishes her sword and Echo goes all Phoenix. But before they can clash the guardian freezes and the Phoenix Force appears over Asgard telling Echo she's destined to go 'Dark' like all the avatars do.

Inside, IM and Thor have, each in their own way, detected that all Asgard is paralysed except for them. Then a Deathlok approaches to explain that he's mind-shielding them and that he's come across the megaverse from the Watchtower At Infinity's End to warn them about Gaarrrgggh, as he's killed by 3 claws through his chest.

At this point I should remind you that last issue we met the army of Deathloks that serve the Avenger Prime. And also their enemies the Multiversal Masters Of Evil assembled by Doom Supreme at the behest of Mephisto. And at the end of the issue the MMOE arrived on Earth-616.

Now 3 of them are on Asgard. A Dark Phoenix is here with her Hound (a version of Wolverine) who has just stabbed the Deathlok, along with King Killmonger who boasts of ruling both Asgards and Wakandas, and of having killed Thors before. The eye blast from his Asgardian Destroyer armour is able to beat this Thor back. And he strikes the killing blow with the Wakandan vibranium Axe Of Bashenga he calls Stormslayer - but Thor dodges aside. The Golden Avenger attacks Killmonger but Dark Phoenix sets Hound on him while she herself goes to hunt other Deathloks she senses in the halls of Asgard. But our Phoenix intervenes to stop her killing them.

1 Deathlok finds the main battle to tell Iron Man to stop trying to reason with Logan because it's not Wolverine, he comes from an alternate universe. Shellhead detaches a gauntlet to hold the berserker at bay while Deathlok explains that the Death Hunters have committed omni-atrocities across the multiverse and that Avenger Prime, the guardian of the God Quarry, has sent the Deathloks to warn Earths of their main tactic. They will locate Earth's super-genesis point and its original protectors (he of course means the 1M BC Avengers). He tries to identify this group the current Avengers must save ... when this time it's Killmonger's axe that cuts him short. Now KM pounds IM as the flying gauntlet blasts him ineffectually with repulsor rays.

Maya Lopez is faring badly against the much more experienced Dark Phoenix when Thor strikes them both with Mjolnir, telling them both to leave Asgard. Another Deathlok joins the fight, saying that the Death Hunters have crossed the Superflow that binds universes together conquering as they go. But he doesn't survive a Destroyer-punch through the chest as Tony Stark redons his gauntlet. Yet another Deathlok takes up the thread of explanation to tell Thor that the DH work for the Doom Above All and the Council Of Red before Dark Phoenix blasts his head. 2 more Deathloks tell Echo that the DH remake Earths in their own 'depraved image' by striking in the ancient past to stifle the Age Of Heroes in its infancy. The dawn of man is where all Avengers, the megaverse's mightiest heroes, must make their final stand. Maya goes Phoenix again and flies off to get back in the fight.

Thor is enjoying beating up Dark Phoenix and sends her hurtling into the sky. Echo-Phoenix implores him to team up with her as the only way to defeat such a world-destroyer. Thor refuses to work with her. Up to this point the DP has appeared just as a cloaked and hooded figure with a mask. But she returns in full Phoenix mode, and now its Thor's turn to go flying. KM slashes IM's armour with the vibranium Axe. The last 2 Deathloks in Asgard tell Echo they came seeking the help of the All-Thor and the Avengers, but their records show that Maya *isn't* an Avenger. And Dark Phoenix denigrates her as being a mere mimic and attacks her with a powerful flame.

So now we flashback a few days to Echo and Black Panther in Avengers Mountain HQ. She's already mastered all Earthly fighting styles but T'Challa tells her there are recordings of alien fighters in the Avengers database. She asks the computer system to show her beings that could kill the Phoenix. We see Molecule Man, Thanos and Galactus and the computer mentions the Living Tribunal, Beyonders, Scarlet Witch, Odin and Thor. Maya says she's not concerned with defending herself against these, more worried that she may have to fight the Phoenix itself.

So it is now with these powers she fights Dark Phoenix, including wielding a fiery hammer. With DP temporarily stunned she takes time out to hurl the hammer at Killmonger, downing *him*, and then plunges fiery claws into Hound's skull in an attempt to free Logan from Phoenix's control. But DP's hawk-form returns clutching the last 2 Deathloks in her taloned feet. Thor threatens her and Iron Man blasts her, making her drop the DLs. The 3 heroes line up with the 2 Deathloks against DP. The 'Loks keep spouting their message, mentioning the Infinity Requiem and the Legion Of Super-Satans ...

... but then another blast ends *them*. It's from another Mjolnir of another Thor, this 1 is another of DP's Hounds. Tony contacts Captain America to tell him of their situation. But Cap says they've got a similar problem at HQ and warns him not to let the enemy kill the Deathloks. Oops!

Juan Frigeri
Juan Frigeri
David Curiel
Javier Garron (Cover Penciler)
Javier Garron (Cover Inker)
David Curiel (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


Plus: Dark Phoenix (of MMOE), Deathloks, Echo, Hound (Thor), Hound (Logan), King Killmonger.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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