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New Avengers #31: Review

Mar 2015
Jonathan Hickman, Kev Walker

Story Name:

Rabum Alal

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

New Avengers #31 Review by (March 20, 2015)
Kev Walker returns in his on/off role as penciller. This title now seems to have settled into a cosmic scope in the 8 months ahead story, while Avengers relates events on or near Earth (or a parallel). The incursions/multiversal collapse were described in #2 as being caused by an event on 1 of the parallel Earths (but we still don't know what). Now the various groups we have met are also linked to Earths, and even to Earth-616. In Avengers #38 the Explorer Adaptoids from our Earth joined the Mapmakers who were others of their ilk presumably from other Earths. In #27 of this title we found that Dr Strange has become leader of the Black Priests (but there is no suggestion they originated on any Earth). Now the Black Swans' god Rabum Alal turns out to be Dr Doom. (Over several past issue Molecule Man has taken DD through time/space/alternity to seek the origin of the problem - which has somehow put him in this position.) In #27 Strange said that the Black Priests are caught up in a war between Rabum Alal and the Ivory Kings, both of whom want the destruction of the multiverse. Like the Illuminati the BP's have been destroying Earths to save universes. The Mapmakers also seem to be an independent low-level force. And the Builders and their Alephs and Ex Nihili failed last issue in their attempts to stop the IK's (after possibly wiping out the Mapmakers and their Sidera Maris). The war between Rabum Alal and the Ivory Kings may not be as we have been told. Dr Doom seems more interested in stopping the IK's multiversal destruction. Black Swan claimed that the Library of Worlds was a gift from the Ivory Kings, but now it seems that Rabum Alal owns it.

Since the Ivory Kings have been exposed as the Beyonders and we now learn that the Library is indeed a museum, then this may link back to their 1st mention in Marvel Two-In-One #63. There High Evolutionary's creation Counter-Earth was stolen for the Beyonders. In Hulk #266 HE explained that the Beyonders put the planet in a colossal museum.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #31 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In the previously page Yabbut describes from #5 how the Black Priests destroyed her Earth and the Black Swans saved her and made her 1 of their own in the extra-dimensional Library of Worlds, a gift from the Ivory Kings. The Swans believe that destroyed Earths are sacrifices to Rabum Alal, the Great Destroyer. However in #15 we learned that she returned to the time of her world's destruction to retrieve the blood of her brother, and there lost a key to the Library which a Black Priest found. And in #27 we learned that Dr Strange is now the Eye, leader of the Priests. Each Priest has a letter and in combination they can speak sorcerous words. But Strange can speak all the words.

Now some Black Priests find 3 Black Swans guarding a door to the Library of Worlds. They send word to the Eye who sends all the Priests to attack. 2 Swans die but the 3rd escapes to the Library and bars the door. All the doors the Priests have found before this have been lost in the incursions that destroy Earths or universes. This Earth too is about to be consumed. But Strange and the Priests now use the key to enter the Library.

The Library is labyrinthine but Dr Strange uses BP sorcery to divine the most-used path which he expects will lead them to Rabum Alal. They pass through rooms of preserved artifacts, of information stored in light, and an Escher-based room that DS theorises is a conduit to various universes.

Finally they reach a room with a book on a pedestal. DS finds he cannot speak the words of power. The lone Swan in the room points to a page in the book which explains that they are in a vacuum, where speech is impossible. Looking round Strange and the Priests find themselves surrounded and vastly outnumbered by Swans.

The Swans attack with powerful blasts. But as his muted followers are annihilated Dr Strange abandons their word-magic and falls back on other avenues open to the Sorceror Supreme. Demonic pseudopods lash out and kill many Swans. But all too soon DS falls exhausted.

He awakes to find the Black Swans taking him where he wanted to go - to meet Rabum Alal. He is handed over to 2 aged and self-blinded Swans, because no sighted Swan could withstand RA's radiance. The duo usher him to and through a door. As it closes behind him Stephen Strange sees a figure approach through concealing mists ....

.... to reveal himself as Dr Doom.

Doom takes Strange to the Molecule Man who is monitoring the crumbling multiverse. They see the Multiversal Avengers (Hyperion, Starbrand and Thor Odinson with Abyss, Ex Nihilo and Nightmask in the background) facing a pair of Beyonders.

Kev Walker
Kev Walker
Frank Martin
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Penciler)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Inker)
In-Hyuk Lee (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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