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New Avengers #3: Review

Feb 2013
Jonathan Hickman, Steve Epting

Story Name:

Infinity

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

New Avengers #3 Review by (February 13, 2013)
Cap's last sight is of Reed, Namor, Black Bolt and T'Challa looking down at him. Which is the dream image that Steve wakes from in Avengers #1. Thus, as I thought then, these 3 issues predate that one. And it may imply that Cap has only just been returned from Wakanda. It adds deeper meaning to Stark's following comment there that *now* he agrees that they need to expand the Avengers lineup. The bulk of the succeeding Avengers adventure happens a month later. It is only at the end of Avengers #1 that Cap switches to his new-style helmet with chinstrap. This explains why he's been in his old headgear during this story. It now becomes apparent why none of the preview scenes last issue has Cap in them. But then they didn't have Beast either.

I've just noticed that the cast page in this and last issue describes Black Bolt as Celestial Messiah. I don't remember that appellation being used before. And I don't think he's got anything to do with Mantis' child. I don't know whether this is supposed to be the new-look Beast from All-New X-Men #5. But to me he looks like one of Steve Rude's Thunes from Nexus, but blue. Tony Stark was out of armour in the 1st 2 issues. But now he is in the modular armour from the new Iron Man #1-5. It appears that the early warning system only tells them when the incursion starts, not some time before as I thought last issue. The fact that the Time Gem disappears rather than shattering probably gives future writers an out to bring the whole lot back again.

Although I don't think they actually used the term Celestial Messiah, I now guess it refers here to Black Bolt being the prophesied leader of the Universal Inhumans as revealed in the pages of Fantastic Four and FF.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The 'previously' page of flashbacks shows Black Swan and Reed Richards' explanation to the Illuminati that 'incursions' are 2 alternate universes touching at the Earth. At that point they will have 8 hours to solve the problem. At the end of that time both universes will mutually destruct. Unless 1 of the 2 Earths is destroyed, saving both universes. Captain America absolutely refused to countenance killing a world. They must find another way, and he proposed using the Infinty Gauntlet. Later Reed and T'Challa agree that if Cap's plan doesn't work, they'll have to consider destroying other Earths.

As part of Charles Xavier's will, Beast receives an envelope containing the word 'remember'. This triggers a hidden memory where Xavier told him about a locked room containing information about his 'clandestine activities' - and something else. Now Beast also remembers the keyword to gain entry to the room. Inside he finds a blue gem (the Mind Gem). And Lockjaw teleports Black Bolt, Captain America and Sub-Mariner there, with the other 5 Infinity Gems, to invite Beast to join the Illuminati (replacing Prof X).

Next day, in the Wakandan Necropolis, Dr Strange and Mr Fantastic implant a device in Beast's palm, even though he isn't sure he agrees to join them. Namor thinks Henry McCoy isn't up to it. But Reed Richards has faith in Xavier's choice.

The device will pass simple messages between the Illuminati. It also acts as a homing beacon. And thirdly it will react to the early warning system that T'Challa and Tony Stark have built, to warn them of an incursion.

Mr Fantastic interviews the prisoner Black Swan again. He tells her that they intend to use the Infinity Gems (combined as the Infinity Gauntlet) to stop the next incursion. She recognises them from his description, and agrees that they will have some effect. (But only in this, their native universe.)

4 days later she detects an incursion, and the Illuminati's palm implants alert them. They track the incursion to the Pakistani Himalayas. But Lockjaw couldn't teleport them inside the incursion wall (just as Black Panther couldn't port out in #1). Iron Man detects the boundary, but they only have 6½ hours left.

The Illuminati walk through the invisible wall, and find themselves in the red atmosphere Panther had described, with another Earth hanging in the sky getting slowly closer. And the 6 members with Infinity Gems (not Black Bolt and Black Panther) join them together to form the Gauntlet. This is immediately sensed by the Watcher on the Moon, Thanos on Titan, and even Galactus far away in space.

Reed and Tony elect Steve Rogers to use the Gauntlet. They say that his willpower, and his belief (in his own idea), will be important. Namor pooh-poohs this, but Beast concurs. Cap dons the glove and aims its power at the other Earth. He's got to not only push that Earth away, but the whole universe that contains it!

Cap slows the other Earth's approach, and then starts to push it back. But Iron Man detects feedback.

With a mighty flash the other Earth vanishes. But so does the Time Gem. And the other Gems shatter.

Sub-Mariner blames Cap for losing their only effective tool. The other Illuminati have to pull him off Cap. While Beast looks on in disgust.

Later, back at the Necropolis, Cap is taking a break from a long argumentative meeting. Panther comes to bring him back to the table. Steve is still dead set against compromising his principles. He asks T'Challa for his support. T'Challa promises to do the right thing.

But Black Panther reveals himself to be on the other side in the resumed meeting. He has a duty to protect his people. So do Black Bolt and Sub-Mariner, and Beast to save mutantkind. And Mr Fantastic his family. Steve appeals last to his brother-in-arms Iron Man. But Tony just apologises for what they're going to do next.

Dr Strange casts a spell. And Cap falls asleep, with his memory of these 3 issues wiped.


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> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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Steve Epting
Steve Epting
Frank D'Armata
Mark Simpson (Cover Penciler)
Mark Simpson (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Watcher
Watcher

(Uatu)

Plus: Lockjaw.