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Avengers Annual #1999: Review

Jul 1999
John Francis Moore, Leonardo Manco

Story Name:

Day of the remains

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

Avengers Annual #1999 Review by (January 7, 2020)
Regular Avengers writer Kurt Busiek provided the idea and title for this story which is presumably a twist on The Remains Of The Day, a novel and film about a butler.

This is the Ultimator's only app, but ULTIMATUM have been around since Captain America #321. They last showed up in the person of their leader Flag-Smasher in X-Men Unlimited #22.

Carnelia was 1st heard of in Iron Man #117. Then IM's armour was taken over and killed the Ambassador in IM#124. The country was last visited in Thunderbolts #11. Trebekistan was invented for this issue and I don't believe has ever been used again.

Jarvis makes 1 post-Onslaught appearance before the flashback in this issue - in Daredevil #358 featuring Mysterio pretending to be the Big O. And then DD also fits in a lawyerly app in Spider-Man Unlimited #13. Hercules returns from space in Incredible Hulk: Hercules Unleashed to learn from Black Widow what happened, and he goes after the now Banner-less Hulk. None of the other characters in the FB manage a post-O app.

After the main part of the FB Jarvis has his brief encounter with Fabian Stankowicz before Quicksilver calls on him in an FB in his #7. Meanwhile QS goes to stay with the X-Men in Uncanny XM #337, XM(1991)#57, UXM#338 and XM#59 where Hercules comes calling to take him off on adventures, but in the QS#7-FB QS persuades him instead to take him  to Avengers Mansion to pick up his daughter Luna, who he left in Jarvis' care, and take her to Wundagore and eventually into his own series. Archangel, Beast and Iceman are also in those X-issues and others.

Daredevil helps Spider-Man (Ben Reilly) fight Hydra in SM#74 before fighting Absorbing Man in his own #359-360. Then with his lawyer hat on he oversees the closure of Four Freedom's Plaza in Tales Of The Marvel Universe (and Nathaniel Richards hides all the FF's inventions in the Negative Zone). Ant-Man (Scott Lang) loses his job at the Plaza. And also in that issue War Machine deletes all Tony Stark's Iron Man secrets after Stark's company got taken over, but in the process loses his Warwear armour.

Black Widow goes off to do her own thing. But she'll next be seen in a cameo in Thunderbolts #1 giving her blessing to the 'replacement Avengers'.
She-Hulk obviously continues to be lawyerly busy until she joins Heroes For Hire as their lawyer in their #8-9 before joining the grand Avengers assembly in Avengers (1998) #1-3. Moondragon will also be back for that.

Peggy Carter, Michael O'Brien and Fabian Stankowicz were part of the Avengers' support team recruited by Captain America in his own series, and appearing mainly there rather than in the Avengers title itself.

Peggy Carter was introduced as a WWII love of Cap in Tales Of Suspense #75 and #77 but then brought into the modern world in CA#161 as Sharon Carter's older sister. (At some point Marvels' sliding timescale will compel her to be relabelled Sharon's aunt, but I don't think it's happened yet at this time.) She was last seen as Avengers comms officer in CA#443 and Star Master #2. She won't appear again until CA(2005)#49.

Michael O'Brien started off in Iron Man #82 as a policeman investigating his brother's death in earlier IM issues, graduated to wearing his brother's Guardsman armour and eventually he and it became head of Project PEGASUS security (Av#236) until he was recruited into Avengers support, most recently in CA#422. His only app after this is in Moon Knight (2006) #21 after Civil War.

Fabian Stankowicz originally attacked the Avengers in their #217 as Mechano-Marauder to gain their attention. He applied to join the team as Mechanaut in CA#352 and was rejected but joined their support staff as mechanic instead until CA#433. He won't be seen again.

Abigail Jarvis, Edwin's mother, made her 1st physical app in a Jarvis backup in Av#201. Her other app was in Av#298 during the Inferno event where Edwin met his girlfriend Glory Garsen. *Her* other previous app was in Av#325. Glory won't make any more actual apps but Mrs J will pop up in All-New, All-Different Av #4.

The team's next apps after the present day section are much simpler to state - they go straight to Avengers #16.





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Annual #1999 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The frame for this issue is Edwin Jarvis writing someone a letter to keep them updated about the Avengers. He apologises for not having written for a while because the past few months have been unusually hectic. He describes the events of the day:-

The Avengers were called to a Broadway musical that had been interrupted by the Ultimator claiming to be part of the ULTIMATUM terrorist group and taking the Carnelian Prime Minister prisoner from the audience. His aim is to prevent a peace treaty being signed with Trebekistan. ULTIMATUM's long-term goal is the elimination of all countries under a 1-world government.

Firestar, Iron Man and Justice arrive 1st. Firestar's microwave blasts disrupt all his electronic gear which all starts exploding next to the Prime Minister. Justice telekinetically grabs his gun, but Iron Man tells him it's triggered a suicide option which means it's going to explode. Justice smothers the blast with a TK shield but it still brings down a lot of the ceiling. The other Avengers are now here. Captain America tries vainly to stop the audience from a panicky stampede for the exits. Justice and Thor hold the ceiling up while Firestar, Iron Man and Vision blast the falling pieces. Cap and Scarlet Witch supervise the escape routes.

Back at Avengers Mansion Steve Rogers reviews their performance critically. Iron Man should have analysed the threat before moving in, Firestar shouldn't have messed up Ultimator's suit until the Prime Minister was safe, Justice shouldn't have grabbed an unknown weapon, and everybody else was late. The others protest that teamwork saved the day, but Cap still orders an extra group training session each day.

After the meeting Wanda Maximoff privately suggests that Cap give the 2 new Avengers more encouragement. Angelica Jones tries to convince her boyfriend Vance Astrovik that everything wasn't *his* fault. Iron Man tells Thor that he and Jane Foster (Tony Stark's current doctor) are worried about him being 'distant'. Thor blames his recent fight to get Asgard back from the Dark Gods (in his #9-13), but he's not yet ready to tell his old friend about his new secret identity.

Jarvis' 'voiceover' continues throughout, and at this point he reveals his own backstory. He is English but his (now-aged) mother is American. When his butler father died his mother returned home to the US. After serving in the RAF in WWII Edwin came to America to join her, and he became butler to Howard and Maria Stark. After they died he continued in the service of Tony Stark, who later 'lent' him to the Avengers. He heads a staff who we hardly ever see. And we see here that he ensures the smooth running of the Avengers behind the scenes in many unrealised ways.

Jarvis has retired to his kitchen for a cup of tea and a squint at the papers when Vance pops in for some ice cream to accompany a film he and Angel are going to watch. The insecure newbie asks Edwin how the current team compares with previous ones. Jarvis ducks the question and says he's just glad there *is* a team once more after the Onslaught event. And now his voiceover changes from the letter he's writing (later) to him telling Justice what happened during Heroes Reborn.

He starts by reminding Vance how Avengers Cap, Falcon, Giant-Man, Hawkeye, IM, Scarlet Witch, Sub-Mariner, Thor and Wasp apparently died with some others defeating Onslaught, a combination of the dark sides of Magneto and Prof X. Not knowing that they were really alive in another reality Black Widow, the latest Avengers leader, turned down a job with SHIELD to try to put together a new team. She approached her ex-Champions teammates Angel, Beast and Iceman but they were too busy with X-Men problems:- the Legacy Virus, the effects of Onslaught and increased anti-mutant public feeling. Ant-Man (Scott Lang) didn't want to put his daughter at risk. She-Hulk said she'd join later after a several-month trial. Moondragon would only join if she was allowed to be leader. War Machine was busy keeping Tony Stark's Iron Man secrets from Fujikawa who'd taken over the Stark's company (and we know he'd lose his Warwear armour in the process).

Natasha Romanoff sought solace with her old friend Daredevil, confiding that maybe she should go back to being a loner like him. There were only 2 other still-active Avengers. But Quicksilver quit when the UN tried to blame Onslaught's actions on mutantkind in general. And Hercules was mourning with alcohol. The Government annulled the Avengers' charter on the grounds that all the original Avengers signatories were dead. Jarvis tried to bolster her confidence but she decided to close the Avengers down. Edwin went to inform the staff including Peggy Carter (comms), Michael O'Brien (security) and Fabian Stankowicz (mechanic). Fabian was particularly upset and swore not to give up on the Avengers. But when it was over SHIELD took over the Mansion.

That ends Edwin's conversation with Justice, and the voiceover now resumes as the later letter continued the next day. That morning New York awakes to see 4 giant armoured figures overhead declaring that the city is now under the protection of the Protectorate. The Avengers, including Wonder Man, assemble to investigate. When they get there free-flying Firestar, Iron Man, Justice, Thor and Vision realise that 3 of the robots are meant to resemble Cap, IM and Thor. The Golden Avenger detects Sentinel tech in the robots which immediately declare the heroes are all mutants and therefore enemies.

Jarvis sees the battle over the 59th Street Bridge on the TV as the 4th robot reveals his Ant-Man basis by unleashing a swarm of mechanical insects. The Thor-bot brings down the quinjet containing Cap, Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man as the Cap-bot spouts phrases that ring a bell in Edwin's mind. He recalls running into Fabian 1 day looking like a homeless person and muttering to himself the same phrases that the robot now uses. And now Jarvis remembers that Fabian Stankowicz was once the armoured villain known as the Mechano-Marauder. He tries to contact Cap about this but something's jamming the comms.

The disorganised Avengers aren't faring well in the fight as the robots seem to have tactics to overcome each of them (but FS&J are just beset by the 'insects'). Soon they are trussed up and the robots announce that the 'mutant' threat has been neutralised. Army helicopters move in but the robots deal with them as they did the quinjet.

Jarvis has tracked Fabian to a warehouse in New Jersey. He's got there and now gains access via a fire escape and an open window. Inside he finds lots of Sentinel parts and Fabian hooked up to a live 1 and speaking in a robotic voice. But a smaller robot grabs him. Edwin tries to get through to the Fabian he knew, to convince him that his Protectorate are attacking the Avengers and endangering civilians. But Stankowicz is convinced his heroes are dead and he has created robots to take their place. He is now linked to the sole undamaged Sentinel CPU he has, through which he controls the Protectorate. Now he believes that the current team are imposters.

Justice finds the imprisoning metal mesh too tangled to unravel with his TK, so he tries something simpler. He mentally pushes the button on Captain America's glove that activates his plasma shield. And with that Cap can cut himself free and then turn to freeing the others. Soon they are back in action, and Jarvis tells Fabian to watch them at work fighting the Sentinels and saving lives. At last he realises they are the real deal. The physically weak man tells Edwin to rip the connecting helmet off his head and then directs him in smashing the main Sentinel's motherboard. And at the Bridge the Protectorate stop moving.

Jarvis contacts Cap and explains what has happened. Repentant Fabian is taken to hospital. Thor takes the team and Jarvis to an ice-cream parlour. Cap praises Justice but Vance says Jarvis deserves the credit. Edwin is flattered but has to leave to see what mess the staff have made while he was away.

Later he recalls how he sank into despair after losing his Avengers job, and even his mother Abigail and his girlfriend Glory Garsen couldn't shake him out of it. But then he sprang back to life when the team returned from the Heroes Reborn universe.

And now he finishes the letter and posts it to Black Widow.



Leonardo Manco
Leonardo Manco
Tom Smith
Leonardo Manco (Cover Penciler)
Leonardo Manco (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Jarvis
Jarvis

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Fabian Stankowicz, Firestar, Justice (Vance Astrovik).

> Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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