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New Avengers #26: Review

Nov 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Kev Walker

Story Name:

Cages

Review & Comments

Rating:
4.5 stars

New Avengers #26 Review by (December 6, 2014)
Scott Hanna does some of the inking for Kev Walker this time, and Kev will unexpectedly hand over the whole art chores to Szymon Kudranski next issue. In a slightly similar vein Dono Sanchez Almara does some of the colouring for stalwart Frank Martin, and will do it all next issue. This guy may be a total newbie, but his name sounds suspiciously like Dommo Sanchez Aymara who's already done a few colouring jobs for Marvel. Young Valeria Richards has a long complicated history with Victor von Doom, including time-travel, alternate versions and the Omniversal Guardian Roma (and I wonder what *she's* doing about the death of the multiverse?). It included Victor naming her when she was born (more than once) after his dead love. In the latest Fantastic Four series she's been staying in Latveria with Uncle Doom. Currently she's helping the Axis-good Dr Doom recruit a group of Avengers in Avengers World #15-16. In the 8 months later world she's obviously gone back to the FF. Bentley-23 is a young clone of the Wizard who is part of Mr Fantastic's Future Foundation of whiz-kids. The early issues of Superior Iron Man occur during Avengers & X-Men: Axis while Tony Stark's personality is inverted by the events of Axis#3. We expect most inversions to be reversed by the end of the event. But SupIM#1 (confusingly) confirmed that Stark will avoid the reversion and will keep his 'superior' personality. Which is obviously who he is here.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #26 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page shows us 1 panel of Black Swan and Mr Fantastic disagreeing about how insoluble the incursion/death-of-multiverse problem is. Then we jump to the 8-months later world of the last 2 issues. Mainly we see Sub-Mariner in #24 going to see Dr Doom for help managing his bloodthirsty Cabal who enjoy destroying alternate Earths too much. But Doom has his own plans involving Mad Thinker and Molecule Man. The last panel from #25 has Beast, Captain Britain, Hulk and Mr Fantastic retrieving the secret files of the missing Tony Stark.

Now 2 armoured forms drop from orbit to the Necropolis in Wakanda. (This is the former base of the Illuminati, now taken over by the Cabal.) They evade flying patrols and head towards the smoking ruin of the Wakandan capital. In the bowels of the Necropolis Black Swan taunts Stark, his white Superior Iron Man armour wrecked, who is held captive in the force cube the Illuminati once used to imprison her.

Meanwhile Valeria Richards gets a call from her Uncle Doom. After fending off Bentley-23's attempts to interest Doom in some money-making schemes she gets down to business. She's studied her father's notes about the colliding alternate Earths and the end of the multiverse, and she's already passed on her opinion to him. (Invisible Woman handed him the note in Avengers #37.) Now she gives Doom the same message "You can't win. What you have to do is start figuring out how not to lose."

Doom as usual ignores everybody else's opinions and plans, and just returns to his work with the Thinker and Molecule Man. Owen Reese spouts some mystifying sentences. My best guess at his meaning is that he's studying universes as they die, and feels alternate versions of himself disappearing. He can sense a pattern. Doom tells him to stop worrying about how to stop the multiversal collapse. Instead they will find out how it began.

Back in the Necropolis Corvus Glaive and his wife Proxima Midnight discuss Thanos' latest concern. The mad Titan has noticed that the incursions are taking longer to dissipate after they destroy the invading Earth. Suddenly Corvus interrupts the conversation when he senses they are being watched. He strikes at the source of his unease with his complex polearm, but there seems to be nothing there. After the 2 depart, the armoured invaders drop their invisibility cloaks. Glaive has struck between them.

Apparently Black Swan has been visiting Stark's cell every day for the months he's been here, trying to persuade him to join her in shaping the end of the world(?)/universe(?)/multiverse(?). Tony claims not to believe that's what she really wants. Instead he thinks she's fallen in love with him! After all, who wouldn't?

But more seriously he believes she too wants to stop the multiverse from ending. She's not like the other Black Swans. She has her own purpose. Tony tells her he knows she's carrying DNA samples of her family. (The Illuminati watched her go back in time to her destroyed homeworld to get it in #15.) He guesses she's searching for a way to clone her relations. And maybe he can help with that.

Swan protests (too much). She changes the subject by reminding Stark how they captured him. Iron Man went alone against the Cabal to try to save some unspecified people (Wakanda or an alternate Earth?). But she finally does admit he's right. And then leaves.

Then the 2 armoured invaders drop in (literally). And they turn out to be Black Widow and Spider-Woman, who say that they have quit Steve Rogers' team of Avengers because they can no longer support his increasingly autocratic actions. (We learned in Av#37 that they had gone AWOL.)

The story of how they tracked Tony down reveals some of the history of the past 8 months. Iron Man fell out with the rest of the Illuminati, and then had a secret meeting with Steve to try to find a way of working together to save everything. But the meeting didn't go well. These 2 spies now figured out where and when that meeting was, and tracked his movements from there to here.

They are here to free Stark, but only if he can see that he's just as wrong as Rogers. But Tony's reply confirms that it's not just the white armour that's a holdover from the Superior Iron Man series. He's still got the arrogance of his Axis-reversed self. So the 2 women sadly leave him in his cell. (Continuing the tight continuity between this title and Avengers, they will join Sunspot's Avengers in Av#38.)


Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:




Kev Walker
Scott Hanna
Dono Sanchez Almara
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Paul Mounts (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Spider-Woman
Spider-Woman

(Jessica Drew)

Plus: Bentley-23.

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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