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New Avengers #27: Review

Nov 2014
Jonathan Hickman, Szymon Kudranski

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4.5 stars

New Avengers #27 Review by (December 6, 2014)
Of course this line of thought may be academic. I see no way out of this current storyline short of making it an alternate timeline. Of course Jonathan Hickman may be aiming higher than that - destroying the whole multiverse and recreating it. (Destroying and rebuilding a single universe has been dome many times before.)

The previously bit about Dr Strange is misleading in that his request for power in #14 was turned down, and he gained dark power instead from the Blu'Dakorr as revealed in #20. He used that power in that issue to defeat the Great Society, and incidentally wrest the Black Priest helmet he wears here from the Norn. #21-23 followed immediately after that, and in #23 DS is seen holding the helmet and disappearing. This issue would suggest that's when he went to join the Black Priests. However it is interesting (at least to me) to consider the several appearances he's had *published* since then. There is already discussion as to how Original Sin fits into the tight Avengers continuity. But he also plays a vital role in Avengers & X-Men: Axis, which introduces the Iron Man armour that Stark wore last issue. So that Event has to occur on the timeline between #23 and now. A factor to throw into the pot is that Strange didn't know about Thor's artificial arm here. Now in the latest (female) Thor #1, Thor (who can't use Mjolnir) takes up the axe Jarnbjorn. And then he has an arm chopped off. In these 8 months ahead apps he's shown with an artificial arm, which we expect him to be given in Thor #3. In Axis he's shown with Jarnbjorn but apparently 2 normal arms. This has caused discussion about where *that* fits in. DS's statement here supports the view that there's a large gap in Th#1 between getting Jarnbjorn and losing his arm.

According to our Black Swan the Black Swans group worship Rabum Alal, the Great Destroyer, who started the deaths of timelines. But their worship is peculiar because by destroying 1 of the 2 Earths during an incursion event they *save* both timelines. The Ivory Kings have only been mentioned twice before. In #12 our Black Swan listed them as amomg the Illuminati's possible future adversaries. But in #5 she had revealed a connection to the Black Swans, because the Library of Worlds that the Swans inhabited was a gift from the Ivory Kings. Which is strange if the the Kings and Rabum Alal are enemies. (In #12 I thought that BS named the Kings and the Sinnu Sarrum as 2 separate groups, but #5 makes it clear that they are titles for the same bunch.) The coin that is tossed at the end isn't a coin, and is given a fanciful description for what is just a disc with 1 black side and 1 white. But more confusingly I can't make sense of the choice Dr Strange is given. Ex Nihilo decides the black side will mean Strange goes after the Ivory Kings, the white side means Rabum Alal. Then he tosses it, which would normally imply whichever side lands upwards determines Strange's target. But then he asks Strange to call it before it lands. Call what?

Kev Walker was supposed to be the artist for this issue, but he's been replaced by DC and Spawn regular Szymon Kudranski. Kev was supposed to be off next issue (subbed by Mike Deodato) but he should be back after that. This issue's cast list page continues a style just begun in Avengers #38. It lists all the members of 3 Avengers groups plus the Illuminati and the Cabal. It highlights any members who are present in this issue, with extra characters displayed below them all. The 3 Av groups are Steve Rogers' SHIELD Avengers, Sunspot's New Avengers and Thor's travelling group the Multiversal Avengers. This issue highlights the Multiversal Avengers plus Dr Doom and his companions Molecule Man and Thinker. It fails to highlight Dr Strange. This issue shows again what I didn't notice in Av#27 - the inscription on Thor's new hammer says "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be *unworthy*, shall possess the power of Thorr". This tells us the alternate Thunder God's name, and explains why the *evil* Thorr could use it. But it doesn't explain why the alternate Odin (or someone else) would *make* it that way. This issue also makes it clearer that Thor took the hammer after Thorr was defeated.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #27 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page runs to 2 pages this time. Mr Fantastic talks to Black Swan and she tells him how the Black Priests destroyed her Earth and the Black Swans saved her (NAv#15). AIM retrieve a set of evil alternate Avengers (Av#25) and our guys defeat them (Av#27). Dr Strange sells his soul for power to stop the incursions (NAv#14). Then 8 months later Dr Doom, Molecule Man and Thinker have a plan to find the cause of the dying multiverse (NAv#24), and Sunspot sends Thor's team on a similar mission (Av#36).

Most of Thor's team (Abyss, Nightmask, Starbrand and a horde of Ex Nihili) gate in to the Black Priests' Temple in the Nothing Space of destroyed universes between the surviving universes. The Black Priests immediately respond to the attack with their words of power. By the time Hyperion and Thor follow through the gate from a collapsing universe, our side is losing the battle.

Thor's team have been hopping from universe to universe since leaving Earth-616 in Av#36. They have fought the Sidera Maris, agents of the Mapmakers, many times. They only met the Black Priests once, but that was only a small contingent. Now they face thousands of them, and the vastly outnumbered Ex Nihili are being picked off.

The 2 powerhouses prepare to enter the fray. Thor discards his axe Jarnbjorn and reveals a hammer strapped to his back. This is not Mjolnir, which he has been unworthy to wield since the end of Original Sin. Instead it is the hammer of Thorr, his alternate universe counterpart from Av#25-27, which he doesn't have to be worthy to use.

Hyperion and especially Thor have an immediate effect. But the Priests find a way to 'freeze' the hammer. Abyss declares that the the Priests build their spells by combining their individual 'letters' - to defeat them keep them apart. Hype and Starbrand blast Thor's foes and his hammer is freed. He uses it to kill a bunch of Priests.

Heartened the Ex Nihili resume their attack. Other Priests die. And the remaining Priests seem to have lost their power words. (Ie enough individual letters have been lost that they can no longer form useful words.)

But now it is the Priests' turn to regain heart, as the 1 they call the Eye approaches. This Priest can speak whole spells by himself, and the Avengers find themselves frozen in place. The Eye wears the Orb of Agamotto, and takes off his headmask to reveal himself as Dr Strange!

This is the time of course to change scenes to Latveria. Dr Doom is exchanging pseudo-philosophy with Molecule Man. The only solid piece of new information is that Owen Reese's origin isn't what everyone thinks it is, and he is somehow connected to the fragment of an alternate Earth that Doom retrieved after a Sidera Maris incursion in #6.

While Thinker's machinery tries to keep the released energies under control, Victor von Doom opens the container holding the fragment. Reese babbles about the Mapmakers, and Doom asks him to take them to the alternate Earth that started the whole incursions/death of the multiverse thing. Molecule Man snaps his fingers and they are gone.

Back in Nothing Space Dr Strange and the Thor-vengers are exchanging notes.

Nightmask explains how he found the Black Priests' home. He was designed by the Builders to travel the Superflow between universes. The Superflow was destroyed in Av#7, but his ability still works in the remaining Nothing Space.

In return Stephen Strange tells them about an ongoing war between the Ivory Kings and Rabum Alal, both of whom want to destroy the multiverse. He claims the Black Priests are unwillingly caught up in it. He doesn't say how he came to be in a position of importance within the Priests, but claims that they are killing Earths to save their universes (as the Builders in the Infinity Event tried to destroy Earth-616 to save universe-616). And as a consequence they hope to preserve the multiverse.

Strange confirms that each Priest commands a symbol, and they need to combine their symbols to create spell-words. But as Sorceror Supreme he knows the spell-words himself.

Thor's gang came here hoping that this was the source of the universe-destroying incursions. But it seems not. However Strange has persuaded the Priests to change their tactics and attack the Kings and Alal directly. Everyone decides to join forces.

A Priest tells them all that they need to ask a Mapmaker how to find the Ivory Kings. And they should follow the Black Swans to find Rabum Alal. Starbrand suggests the Avengers go after 1 target and Doc and the Priests take the other 1. An Ex Nihilo (probably the 1 we met 1st in Av#1) tosses a 'coin' and asks Stephen to use its fall to decide which target his side has.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Szymon Kudranski
Szymon Kudranski
Dono Sanchez Almara
Salvador Larroca (Cover Penciler)
Salvador Larroca (Cover Inker)
Paul Mounts (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Wil Moss.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)


Plus: Abyss 3, Ex Nihili, Hyperion (Marcus), Starbrand (Kevin Conner).

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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