Avengers Annual #1: Review

Aug 2021
Jed MacKay, Travel Foreman

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers Annual #1 Review by (August 27, 2021)
This is the last of the Infinite Destinies annuals that began with this year's Iron Man Annual #1. The Mind Stone is still unclaimed. The story will continue in The Infinity Score in Black Cat #8-10 followed by the Giant-Size Black Cat: Infinity Score 1-shot. Maybe we'll see the bearer of the Mind Stone there.

This is really a Captain America/Iron Man team-up and the other Avengers don't get a look in.

John Sublime was an entity behind all the Weapon Plus programs that created super-chars from Captain America to Wolverine, but it/he only made a 1st physical appearance in New X-Men Annual #2001. It has reason to hate mutants because they are immune to its control.

The Sapien League has been around attacking mutants since the Decimation: House of M - The Day After 1-shot.

The Soul Stone may have copies of the whole population of Earth inside itself since Gamora sent them all to Warp World within it as part of the Infinity Wars event. It has been shown to retain fragments of its occupants, eg Gamora and Henry Pym. This would explain it projecting versions of Cap and Iron Man, but it's a stretch to include Shuma Gorath.
And this projection ability seems new, possibly since the Infinity Gems got changed to the Infinity Stones in the post-Secret Wars universe.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Annual #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
A young robot/AI named Ward is sitting in a roadside diner saying that there's a lot of discussion in his community about the right word for them, and neither of these terms is really satisfactory but neither is mecha or droid. He's definitely not a synthezoid because he's not made from Horton Cells. He reminds them that John Sublime claimed that men augmented with mutant organs were a 3rd species between man and mutants, but the youth says the 3rd species is really the synthetic persons like himself. However the 3 hulking males leaning over him don't seem interested in his theories.

In Avengers Mountain HQ Steve Rogers and Tony Stark are discussing the resurgence of the Infinity Stones. It's been known for a while that Star possesses the Reality Stone and recently Iron Man met Quantum with the Space Stone (IM Annual #1) and Captain America ran into Overtime with the Time Stone (Cap An#1). (They aren't aware that the Prince Of Power has the Power Stone as seen in several Guardians Of The Galaxy issues culminating in their An#1.) The Mind Stone is also missing but Tony is mainly worried about the Soul Stone because he can't figure out what the owner of that would be able to do.

Back in the diner the 3 bruisers have started to beat up the kid when they are interrupted by a truck driver with a cyborg arm who they know as John Cray. He knocks 1 out and quickly deals with the other 2 with the tools they were using as weapons. Then he suggests that he and Ward drive to another diner. On the way out 1 of the men threatens to report them to the Sapien League.

Steve tells Tony that he alerted Nick Fury Jr to what was going on (in the Infinite Fury backup in the Cap Annual). Stark worries that Fury will just kill the Stone-bearers but Rogers argues that he would have found out anyway - this way they're all in the link. Tony reports that there was a Project PEGASUS research station near the prison where Hector Bautista gained the Time Stone and they recorded the energy signature of the event. So now he's got the Avengers' system scanning for any new occurrence, assuming the Stones haven't all recruited their new bearers already.

In Cray's truck and later in the new diner Wade is going on about souls. Despite human supremacists saying that mutants have no souls he believes that both humans and mutants do, and he cites demonic possession of both as evidence. But he doesn't know whether synthetics like him do. John queries whether 'synthetic people' is any better as a label than any of the others Wade mentioned - doesn't it just mean 'fake people'? Wade replies that synthesis means that they were created by combining existing old tech.

But they can't continue this discussion because 4 masked and body-armored members of the Sapien League start shooting up the place and order everyone out except the robot. But John Cray has been severely wounded and Wade tries in vain to drag his bulk to safety. As the terrorists are about to shoot him a beam strikes from space and a golden globe of energy expands from the diner.

Steve Rogers is cooking up a whole load of eggs and bacon to fuel his superhuman metabolism. Tony Stark suggests he should switch to the high-protein drink he's sipping (and his company manufactures). But the WWII veteran has old-fashioned tastes. And Tony easily accepts some crispy bacon in place of his drink. But neither of them is going to have time to eat because the Stone-alarm goes off.

Wade is floating in the air but unable to move. The diner is empty apart from the bodies of Cray and the Sapien Leaguers. He wants to help John but a voice in his head tells him to ignore the wounded and unconscious humans. It claims to be the host to billions of souls which it must protect. Wade demands to be set free and his possessor allows him to lift his friend up again and drag him outside, saying that it is the Soul Stone.

Captain America and Iron Man arrive in time to hear Wade asking what the Soul Stone is. Cap calls the other Avengers for backup while IM tells the boy to let the man (Cray) go. Wade tries to explain what happened but all the heroes see is wounded people and an AI with a cosmic power. And the voice in his head claims that the Avengers just want to dismantle him to get at the Stone, and urges its host to give it back control to fight them with the power of the souls it contains.

Next thing we see is the Stone's voice telling the Avengers to call it/them Multitude as it sends projections of Blackheart, Juggernaut and Shuma-Gorath against them, then some lizard-men, Magneto and Venom and then Dr Doom, Omega Red and Wolverine. But our heroic duo find their foes weak and Wade theorises that it's because there are too many of them, so the Stone should just project 1 foe each. And he has just the right choices ...

... and we then see a Cap projection attacking Iron Man and an IM projection attacking Captain America. The Soul Stone agrees that the heroes are instinctively holding back fighting their 'friends'. The Stone urges Wade to leave while they're occupied but Wade wants to make sure Jack Cray gets to a doctor so they come to an agreement. The Stone stops his projections fighting and offers the Avengers a deal - no more fighting if they let Wade go and take the man to hospital. He tells them that the other injured are Sapien League who attacked them. Cap asks what the Stones want and gets the reply that they have bonded with people because they want to become something more than they were - a synthesis. And it generates a sort-of dragon to fly away on.

Wade is content. He started off wondering if he had a soul and now apparently has billions of them. And he's happy with the idea of synthesis. On their way he asks what now? The Soul Stone says they must find the other 5 Infinity Stones. Together they are more than the sum of their parts, and they will form a final synthesis and change the world.


Story 2:-

Infinite Fury part 8
Writer Jed MacKay. Artist Juan Ferreyra. Letterer Joe Caramagna. Editor Nick Lowe.

Nighthawk has brainwashed Nick Fury Jr into joining him as his partner Falcon and helping him capture all the Infinity Stone bearers, and last issue they grabbed Star. But then Fury turned on him.

He now explains that he's got backup plans for if he loses a body part, and also 1 for if he loses his mind. He's got an automatic reset triggered by seeing the face of his wife tattooed on his chest (see part 6 in the Guardians Of The Galaxy Annual). Nighthawk chooses to set off a smoke bomb and escape. But Nick has the scanner they were using to locate the Stone bearers. So now he puts Star in a stasis pod and plans to go after the other bearers, keeping an eye out for Nighthawk.

This story continues in Black Cat #8 where Felicia Hardy steals Star from him. She too is under contract to collect the set.



Travel Foreman
Travel Foreman
Jim Campbell
Federico Vicentini (Cover Penciler)
Federico Vicentini (Cover Inker)
Alex Sinclair (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Nick Lowe. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Nighthawk
Nighthawk

(Kyle Richmond)

Plus: Multitude, Nick Fury Jr (Marcus Johnson), Star.

> Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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