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Mighty Avengers, The #23: Review

Mar 2009
Dan Slott, Khoi Pham

Story Name:

Earth's mightiest part 3 of 3: Three words

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Mighty Avengers, The #23 Review by (June 12, 2017)
Loki mentions being trapped in a tree and on the Isle of Silence. The 1st refers to his 1st Marvel appearance in Journey Into Mystery where he had been imprisoned in a tree until someone sheds a tear for him. The 2nd is where he's been banished at the start of Avengers #1. (He'd last been seen in JIM#94,96 chained to a wall, but that obviously hadn't kept him out of mischief.)
He also mentions creating the 1st Avengers, but that was accidental unlike this team.

Thor Annual #10 explained how all the Elder Gods apart from Gaea became evil, and the Earth was populated by their demon children - continually at war with each other. Gaea created Atum who absorbed the demons and evil Elder Gods, became the Demogorge and flew into the Sun. Much later humans were born, and new gods.
A few Elder Gods like Set escaped their fate. Chthon did so by fleeing to another dimension. But before he left he wrote the Darkhold as a link to return.
Chthon claims here that humans used to worship him and he ruled them through fear - but later generations forgot him. However he left Earth long before the rise of Man. His worshippers would only be a select few mages. But he was able to do things from his dimension and supposedly created many demonic species.

Jonathon Drew and Herbert Wyndham discovered large uranium deposits in Mount Wundagore in Spider-Woman #1. They used it to finance the High Evolutionary's citadel. But radiation made Jonathon's young daughter Jessica ill, which eventually led to her becoming Spider-Woman.

Jocasta was created by Ultron with Jan-Wasp's mind in Avengers #162. Henry Pym presumably took Ultron's brain-wave transfer equipment after his defeat. (Ultron had previously used the same technology to give Vision the brain pattern of Simon Williams/Wonder Man.)

Iron Man refers to Stature and Vision as kids. They are both in the Young Avengers. Stature is the daughter of Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Vision's kidhood is not so straightforward. He has the operating system of the original Vision but his brain pattern is that of Iron Lad, the young Kang the Conqueror.

In YAv#11 Super-Skrull told twins Speed and Wiccan (Tommy and Billy) that they are the sons of Scarlet Witch. Research into what happened to Wanda's twins suggested that they would have to be reincarnations if anything. In YAv Presents #3 they tried to find her, unsuccessfully but they did find some confirmation.

A lot will happen before #24 but Jarvis and US Avenger won't make any appearances before then. Quicksilver will also rush straight there to join the team to be near his sister Scarlet Witch. The rest of the YAv (Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Hulkling, Patriot, Speed and Wiccan) will also be among the missing until Stature and Vision invite them there to tell them about SW (but the MAv will get whisked off to several issues of adventure before S&V get a chance).
The rest of the main cast will be busy:-
Stature and Vision will sort-of appear within Captain Britain & MI-13 #10-15 as Dracula tries to take over the UK, but they're actually an alternate timeline version. The real Vision will be at Thing's wedding in the 2nd half of Fantastic Four #569, and Stature will show up in Incredible Hulk #601 as Bruce Banner is declared Hulk-free.
The alternate versions of Jocasta and Wasp will also be in CB&MI13. The real ones will also be in FF#569, and Wasp in IHu#601.
Amadeus Cho and Hercules will take some Hulk time in Planet Skaar: Prologue as Hulk's son Skaar come to Earth. But Herc will be in FF#569 and then both will be with Stature and Wasp in IHu#601.
These issues show that S&V are already part of the new MAv, and have presumably informed the YAv. And the MAv are continuing but in these instances without 'Scarlet Witch'.

Loki will be back as Wanda in #24, but she has been even more busy as Loki in between. She's in PS:Pr as part of Osborn's Cabal, in the final issues of the current Thor series plus Thor God-Size Special. Then in Dark Reign: Cabal she makes a deal with Dr Doom, and as Thor picks up his original numbering with #600-602 she getts Thor evicted from Asgard and leads the Asgardians to Latveria. Then back to the Cabal for DR: Hood #2 before pitching up in #24.

Norman Osborn is the only other character from this issue that will return for the next. His apps in the meantime are too numerous to fully list but he is in some of the issues mentioned so far, plus some others that mark the next apps of some other chars from here:-
His 1st app is within Agents Of Atlas v2#1-5 as they pretend to build weapons for him. This is the next app of Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and Wolverine (and the rest of the New Avengers). (Wolvie has also got too many other apps to tarck after this.)
He follows Iron Man into his #8-13 as IM goes on the run with the Superhero Registration database. Meanwhile Tony's given Pepper Potts her own armour.
He also follows Hulk into Hu#10-13, the last of this run that green Hulk shares with Red Hulk. Banner/Hulk then segues into PS:Pr (with Osborn too) and the Skaar: Son Of Hulk series (including a visit by NO). Then Hulk/Banner transfers to Incredible Hulk restarting with #600 of the original numbering, where it is Red Hulk that takes the Hulk out of Banner.
Meanwhile alternate NO even gets into the act in CB&MI13.
The real Osborn has a meet with Loki in Thor#600, and again in DR:Hood#2.
There are lots of other less relevant NO apps mixed in with those.

The CB&MI13 issues are obviously the next apps of Black Knight, Captain Britain and Spitfire.
She-Hulk and Thor's 1st apps after here are cameos in Wolverine (2003) #73. But Thor then moves on to his own issues as mentioned for Loki.
SHulk continues in SH: Cosmic Collision where we meet Thundra and Valkyrie again. She and Thundra will also show for Thing's wedding.

Other chars won't reappear until after #24:-
Crimson Dynamo will pop up in Red Hulk's next issue (#14) of his now-solo Hulk mag. Then in Hu: Winter Guards he will rejoin Darkstar and Red Guardian but will be replaced by a new CD.
Modred will be 1 of the possibilities in NAv#53-54 for the role of new Sorcerer Supreme. Brother Voodoo gets the job, the new name Dr Voodoo, and his own mini-series where Modred will show up in #5.
Sasquatch is reunited with his old Alpha Flight buddies when they get resurrected in Chaos War: AF.
Meanwhile Guardian (Michael Pointer) will get another rename to Weapon Omega and join the Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men in DXM: The Beginning #2.
Bova's next app is to get killed off by her creator High Evolutionary at the start of the New Warriors (2014) series.
Chthon will attend a meeting of demons during Fear Itself in Journey Into Mystery #627. Then he too will appear in the NW series as that team continue their involvement with HE in Wundagore.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Mighty Avengers, The #23 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In #21 the State of Oklahoma disappeared. Now we see that Broxton, where Asgard currently rests, still exists but is cut off from the rest of Earth. Heimdall can't see anywhere else, Thor can't fly to anywhere else, and the female Loki says it is Asgard which has moved but she can't figure a way to reverse the spell. (It seems here that it is only Broxton and Asgard that are affected, not the rest of the State.)

Meanwhile strange 'plagues' have been happening on the rest of Earth, and someone who looks like Scarlet Witch has recruited a new team of Avengers to deal with them, led by Henry Pym using the super-id Wasp in honour of his ex-wife who died in Secret Invasion. They tracked the origin of the problem to Mount Wundagore in Transia. But Iron Man also figured that out and now he's turned up too - and thinks *he* should be the boss.

Pym questions Tony Stark's fitness to lead given the bad choices he's made in the past, which other members of the team told him about last issue. Why should Iron Man take over from *him*? Tony replies "3 words - you're Hank Pym" (the poster boy for bad life-choices), and then ignores Hank's feeble protests and gets on with issuing orders.

1st IM wants Bruce Banner to keep from Hulking out (but he ignores Bruce's complaint that the shredded Hulk-pants can't keep him warm on this icy mountain). 2nd he wants the unconscious Modred the Mystic (who attacked them last issue) bound with (anti-magical) iron and gagged (so he can't cast spells). Vision (Jonas) severs the chains with which Modred had Bova the cow-woman bound, and they follow that order.

Then Bova tells them that Modred used the Book of Darkhold to summon Chthon into the body of Quicksilver. He actually transferred the contents of the Book into his own body, and now Pietro's soul is trapped in the Book. But Pietro is able to write messages on the blank pages. And a message appears confirming that.

Stark wonders why Chthon has struck now. Hercules has an explanation for that. During Secret Invasion Earth's gods fought the Skrull gods. They won but an Elder God called Demogorge died, and he was the 1 Chthon feared.

Stature can't understand how they can fight a god like Chthon. Shellhead says they'll treat him like any reality-changer. Defeat him and all his changes get unmade.

Wasp gets a call from Amadeus Cho who was left at their requistioned HQ with Edwin Jarvis and Jocasta. He scavenged enough bits from Pym's mobile lab to make an Ant-Man helmet to call with. He has to report that there's a tidal wave of tentacles approaching. Stark accesses satellite data which shows Earth being covered by a chaotic carnivorous mass.

Iron Man tells Hank to lead Bova, Modred and the kids (Cassie Lang and Vision Jr) to safety (Vision carrying Modred). With a god (Hercules) and a super-soldier (U.S. Agent) he's got all the Avengers he needs. (Another blow to Pym's ego.)

Chthon uses Quicksilver's super-speed to get to Wundagore ahead of his chaos wave. He sees the trio tearing down the mountain because it's the source of his power. IM uses repulsor blasts, USA sets explosives and Herc just uses his fists. This is obviously the right move because the god gets angry and rants.

The others have linked up with Cho's group and can only watch. But Amadeus doesn't think much of the plan because the mountain is full of uranium and he fears a nuclear explosion. Wasp says Tony must know what he's doing. But Banner, Cho and Jocasta tell him how Stark was ready to send Manhattan into the Negative Zone during World War Hulk just to get rid of Hulk. So Pym figures he'd better lead Stature and Vision to defeat Chthon before Stark blows them up ...

... a move which ends in abject failure.

Jarvis asks Cho if he can do anything, but Amadeus just babbles about how the Ant-Man helmet gets round the fact that ant's communicate by smell. It transmits signals directly from the language centre of the human brain to the ant's language centre.

Meanwhile Scarlet Witch's astral form returns to whisper to Bruce Banner, turning him into the Hulk. And proceeds to pound Chthon into the ground.

Wasp has an idea. When he returned here this issue Chthon used the magical Wundagore mountain as a transmitter to send a message of doom all over the world, letting the populace know it was he who was killing them. And he gained power from their belief in him. Now Pym beams a message of hope - that his Avengers are on the case. And Chthon's power starts to wane even as he zaps Hulk off him.

But then as people realise that it's Henry Pym who's leading the Avengers, and many of them still think of him as the Skrull imposter who did so much to help the Invasion, their hope fades and Chthon is back on top. And the god turns his attention to the 3 powerful Avengers who are destroying his mountain.

But Pym believes in himself even if nobody else does, or at least he tells himself that. Then he has an idea. He takes Cho's Ant-Man helmet, modifies it, and approaches Chthon. Suddenly the evil god starts spouting nonsensical strings of words.

Henry explains that he is using the helmet to scramble Chthon's language centre. Now he can't cast spells because he can't get the words right. Hulk returns to the fray, stamping the ground and knocking him off his feet so he can't use Quicksilver's running speed to escape. But it's Stature who gets a rain of blows in.

But Morded gets his gag off and draws Chthon from Pietro's body into his own. The combination breaks his chains and prepares to continue his magical takeover/destruction of the world.

But now it's Cho's turn for a brainwave. He takes the Darkhold from Bova and gives it to Vision, telling him to read it aloud as fast as he can. It now contains the words of Quicksilver, which vanish as the words of Chthon did in #21 when Modred read them. Pietro is now downloaded to Vision's hard drive.

But more significantly the Darkhold is now empty. And Chthon is drawn back into it. Modred seems to get killed in the process.

Then comes the tidying up:-

Hercules and US Agent apologise for doubting Wasp as leader. Iron Man flies off leaving him to it. His 1st act is to take a device that was once used to put Jan Van Dyne's brain patterns into Jocasta and use it to put Pietro's mind back in his body.

Then he officially asks the assembled heroes to become the latest Mighty Avengers. Hulk expectedly just wants the be left alone. Quicksilver too declines. He's going to study the Darkhold because its Chaos Magic is the stuff his sister Wanda used to use. Maybe it can tell him where she is now.

Before the others can tell him that it was *she* who brought them together, Scarlet Witch reappears and whisks the Avengers away, leaving Pietro with Bova to tell him what's been going on.

She dumps Hulk back in the desert. US Agent is reunited with Sasquatch (and Guardian's hand) to tell them he's leaving Omega Flight. Stature and Vision find the other Young Avengers no longer stone statues. They hesitate to tell their team that they're leaving. But more significantly they're worried about telling Speed and Wiccan about Wanda who might be their mother.

The rest of the world has also recovered totally unharmed from Chthon's attack, as Pym predicted, even those who supposedly died. We see Captain America (Bucky Barnes) and Wolverine of the New Avengers from #21, and MI-13, Winter Guard and the Lady Liberators from last issue. Iron Patriot is interviewed again and Norman Osborn denies that these Mighty Avengers are *his* team.

And Asgard and Broxton (and maybe the rest of Oklahoma) are back on Earth. Thor tells everyone that the Mighty Avengers are responsible for saving them. But female Loki smiles to herself because she knows that *she* had a big hand in it. And we learn that it is *she* who has been posing as Scarlet Witch - and she likes the idea of continuing the deception.

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Khoi Pham
Allen Martinez
Jason Keith
Khoi Pham (Cover Penciler)
Danny Miki (Cover Inker)
Dean White (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)
Loki
Loki

(Loki Laufeyson)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Wasp
Wasp

(Henry Pym)

Plus: Bova, Chthon, Jarvis (Edwin Jarvis), Jocasta (Jocasta Pym), Modred the Mystic, Speed, Stature, U.S. Agent, Vision (Jonas), Wiccan, Young Avengers.