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New Avengers Annual #2: Review

Jan 2008
Brian Michael Bendis, Carlo Pagulayan

Story Name:

The trust, conclusion

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers Annual #2 Review by (April 13, 2024)
Lettering is by the Albert Deschesne/Richard Starkings combo.

A flashback in #35 showed how Hood terrorised Tigra to impress the gang he was recruiting. Since then she's been having an affair with Henry Pym (actually a Skrull) in Mighty Avengers #3 and Av Initiative #6.

It's not obvious here that Night Nurse is in a relationship with Dr Strange (since the DrS: The Oath mini-series).

During World War Hulk Dr Strange tried to persuade Hulk that his quest for revenge was wrong but Hulk crushed his hands (WWH#3). Later in that issue he called on the power of Zom and they fought in #4.

The Chemistro that Luke Cage (as Power Man) and to a lesser extent Iron Fist remember was actually a series of 3 different people:- Curtis Carr, Arch Morton and then the current encumbent Curtis' brother Calvin. The only other place any of them have appeared before this series was Iron Man #251-252.

As well as Hood and the 7 villains carried forward from #37 several others that I have mentioned have reappeared here straight from the flashback gathering in #35:- Griffin, Jigsaw and Razor-Fist. Mandrill also but he's been in Punisher War Journal (2006) #14-15). 2 others weren't there:- Living Laser (last seen in Super-Villain Team-Up: MODOK's 11 #1-5) and Shockwave (last in Heroes For Hire (2006) #1 during Civil War).

Many others I didn't name were also last seen in #35fb:- Answer, Blackout, a Blood Brother (Gh'Ree), 1 of the Brothers Grimm, Bushwacker, Corruptor, Crossfire, Cutthroat, Deathwatch, Dr Demonicus and Scarecrow. Purple Man was also there but he put in an app in SVTU:MODOK #1. Centurius (last in #2) and Vermin (last in She-Hulk (2005) #21) are new to the team.

As well as heading the Mighty Avengers since the end of Civil War Ms Marvel has had her own strike team Operation: Lightning Storm working with but not for SHIELD. Their activities have been documented in her own series since #13. Since World War Hulk she's only been personally involved with Iron Man and the MAv in New Warriors #7 and Av: Initiative #11-12. And a peculiar story featuring herself and the NAv in Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way #1.

Comics are very often written as if there's no break between successive issues, none more so than the post-Civil War run of the new team occupying Dr Strange's house in #27-37 and this Annual, which also interact a lot with the coinciding Mighty Avengers issues. But the team (members) also have other apps which have to fit in somewhere. In particular this issue depends on what happened to Dr Strange in World War Hulk. Neither NAv nor MAv had any issues set in WWH but Av: Initiative had #4-5, so WWH is firmly anchored between Civil War and this issue.

The Marvel Chronology Project considered the action in #27-37 *was* continuous, and Strange hasn't mentioned his WWH problems before this issue (and neither have any others mentioned WWH). So they broke the direct link between NAv#37 and this issue. Having broken the link for WWH they were free to throw in other apps of the NAv chars. Bearing DrS's injuries in mind they put most of his (and others') apps before WWH.

In #37 I listed the apps leading up to WWH. Now I'll deal with post-WWH which are almost exclusively apps of Spider-Man and Wolverine.
Logan stars in his #52-55 (chapters 3-6 of his Evolution story where he recalls much of his hidden past with Sabretooth), followed by more memories in W: Origins An#1 and #16-20 (in WWII with Captain America and Bucky).
Spidey takes over for Sensational SM #35-37 (part of the Back In Black era, vs Mr Hyde) and An#1 (a Peter Parker/Mary Jane retrospective). An app in Punisher War Journal #13 sees Frank Castle start a war with Al Kraven, and then its back for the other half of SSM's Back In Black run #38-40 (where dying Eddie Brock is tempted by Venom and Peter asks God to save dying Aunt May). He's there for the finale of Irredeemable Ant-Man and to meet the Scarlet Spiders in Av: Initiative #7.
Back to Wolverine who is the support char in his own 2007 Annual and his #56. He and Spidey and the whole NAv are then support for the Iron Fist/Spider-Woman story in the afore-mentioned Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way #1. Then Logan dies in his #57-61 but Dr Strange (in his only apps in this post-WWH gap) helps to bring him back to life.
Maria Hill's apps since WWH have all been with Iron Man in flashbacks in True Believers #2-4, in the IM: Director Of SHIELD Annual and in Wolverine #57.

As I've said WWH and those other apps break the link between this Annual and #37, so we have to ignore certain things about the start of this issue. The team are depicted returning from a rare successful mission, which was obviously meant to be the capture of Hood's mini-gang in #37. Maria Hill is informed of the villains' release by Hood and comments that she only just left them, which is meant to be a reference to her interrogation of newly-imprisoned Wrecker in #37.

The MCP allows the last-pages prison-break in #37 to have only just occurred, meaning that WWH and other apps have all happened between Hood's gang being captured and Hood getting around to rescue them. Maria Hill could have interrogated them more than once in the interim. But there is no documented other fight for the NAv to be returning from victorious. At 1st sight it could have been the story in BICTMW but that doesn't fit the bill for several reasons, including the NAv don't have a battle there.

Meanwhile in #38 the New Avengers will take up residence in a building owned by Danny Rand's Corporation. But as usual Wolverine and Spider-Man will have other things to do in the meantime.
Wolverine is only given the 2 stories in his Firebreak 1-shot.
Then Luke Cage appears without the rest of his team in the bulk of #38 trying to persuade Jessica Jones and their baby to leave Avengers Tower. That's also Ms Marvel's next app, alongside most of the Mighty Avengers.
Spider-Man's apps are more significant. Amazing SM #543-544 are the end of the Back-In-Black era and the start of the One More Day story as Peter Parker runs out of options to save Aunt May's life. Dr Strange isn't much help in Friendly Neighbourhood SM #24. And then Mephisto rewrites his life in Sensational SM #41 and ASM#545. (This is the 1st app of DrS since this Annual. His Sanctum doesn't look more ruined than it was before the Annual, and he doesn't seem particularly off form. And fbs in ASM#640-641 add that DrS is involved in making everyone forget his revealed secret identity.)
The new Spidey in the old red & blue costume is the last guest-star in the (Cable &) Deadpool series #50. That and #49 were Ms Marvel's next apps. And then Spidey and MsM share her Annual too. Then he meets the Galactic Alliance Of Spider-Men in a tale in Marvel Comics Presents (2007) #1 before we finally get to the last bit of #38.

Dr Strange will make some other apps before Secret Invasion but Night Nurse and Wong will have to wait until after that.

Tigra will next appear in Ms Marvel #18-20 controlled by Puppet Master.

Maria Hill will continue to mainly follow Iron Man around but she'll start off without him in Astonishing X-Men #13.

Hood will make a side trip to Daredevil v2 #101-105 (with Razor-Fist and Wrecker in #102 and Bulldozer and Thunderball in #103) before reuniting with his gang in our #46 (during Secret Invasion). Answer will pop in to ASM: Swing Shift before then while Blackout does Ghost Rider (2006) #26-27. Bulldozer and Wrecker continue on into ASM#552-553 with Thunderball in #552 while their pal Piledriver visits the Valkyrie 1-shot.
Bushwacker will duck out of #46 but will show in SecInv #6. Shockwave will also miss #46 but will be in ASM#552 before SecInv #7. Purple Man will quit the gang altogether and be next seen in the 2010 Heroes For Hire series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers Annual #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In #37 the New Avengers stopped Hood and some of his gang robbing a bank. Hood got away but SHIELD captured the gang (including Hood's cousin John King with the money) and imprisoned them in the Raft. But at the end of the issue Hood magically teleported in and freed the gang.

Now Maria Hill in the SHIELD helicarrier HQ is told about the break-in and -out and that all the villains are free - Chemistro, Madame Masque, Wizard and the Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball and Wrecker). They killed 17 Agents on the way out.

We see Hood and the 7 villains plus Jigsaw visiting Tigra in her bedroom. Hood wants her to tell him where the NAv are hiding, or he threatens to kill her mother and cut of 1 of her legs. She tells him that the Initiative all know they're in Dr Strange's house but they can't prove it because the Sorcerer Supreme's magic makes it seem deserted and boarded up. She swears she's not lying but she only told them because she expects the Avengers to defeat them. So Jigsaw smacks her.

In that disguised Sanctum Jessica Jones and baby Danielle Cage are having tea with Night Nurse (Linda Carter) while they wait with Wong for the team to get back from their latest mission. They arrive in a burst of light from Strange's teleportation spell. They're celebrating a victory but Maya Lopez' arm is injured so Linda attends to her. Stephen Strange is also doubled over in pain though no-one remembers him getting injured. The Nurse goes to him but he angrily brushes her and Wong off and staggers away.

Wolverine heads for the kitchen to get some food but Wong stops him because he, and the others, always mess his tidy workplace up. Jessica, Danielle and Luke Cage have a reunion. Iron Fist thinks they should leave Stephen's home but Luke says they've got nowhere else to go. Except Spider-Man leaves for *his* home because he's tired of everyone suspecting he's a Skrull. Ronin (Clint Barton) offers to fix ex-Ronin Maya's arm. And Logan heads to the kitchen anyway.

On an opposite rooftop Hood and the others have been joined by many other members of his supervillain gang. Wrecker asks if he's sure they can defeat the Avengers. He remembers him and his Wrecking Crew being part of a large gathering of Masters Of Evil who succeeded in taking Avengers Mansion (Av#270-277) but they still lost in the end. Bulldozer doesn't even believe the team are in there. But Hood gets his empowering demon to let him see through Strange's illusion and he tells them that Tigra wasn't lying. Madame Masque wants to know what demon he's working with. But that conversation is aborted when they see Spider-Man exiting the building, confirming to *everyone* that the Avengers are in there. Then Spidey's Spider-sense alerts him to the danger and he heads back to the Sanctum. And Hood launches their attack before they can lose the element of surprise.

Inside some of the team are wondering who 1 of Hood's villains was and Luke and Danny Rand have to say it's 1 of their old foes Chemistro. Peter Parker swings in shouting "They're here!" (which Clint thinks means Skrulls) and grabs Danielle out of Jessica's arms. He swings away with the baby with Jess in pursuit, and Luke and Danny planning to intercept him. But just then the wooden frame of the ornate Sanctum window crumbles into leaves! Outside we see it's the work of Chemistro's alchemy gun, but he's hit by Iron Fist's hurled nunchucks as Spidey and baby climb onto the roof. Jessica flies up to him demanding her baby back. Peter hands Danielle over and suggests they get far away before heading back towards the fray.

Wrecker kicks the front door down and leads others inside. Dr Strange's illness or Hood's influence means the non-magical villains can now see their previously spell-cloaked foes, and those that can shoot/blast rake the room with fire. Meanwhile Hood has gone straight to Strange's bedroom where Linda and Wong are tending him and he starts shooting too, riddling the Sorcerer with bullets. In the main room a full melee ensues, and Wong drives Hood away with his martial arts skills while Night Nurse pronounces Stephen dead. Outside Jigsaw has hovering Jessica in the sights of a sniper rifle. But Spider-Man detects him and webs the gun up before taking the villain out with 1 punch. Inside the mass of villains are getting in each other's way. Spidey swings back in and tells Cage his baby is safe.

2 SHIELD Agents have been keeping surveillance on the house from an undercover van. They report the altercation to the helicarrier as Bulldozer comes flying out of the window to land on a car in front of them. The fight continues inside as Tigra suddenly appears and rakes Hood's face with her claws but gets shot in the shoulder. Danny Rand  deplores the ruin the battle is making of the place, destroying precious mystical books and artefacts. But on his bed Dr Strange suddenly comes back to life with a demonic glow in his eyes. The heroes are losing:- Light-being Living Laser powers through Wolverine's abdomen. Thunderball slams his Asgardian-powered ball & chain into Cage. Razor-Fist slashes Iron Fist's back. Griffin attacks Maya. Shockwave zaps Ronin. Mandrill has SM down. Bulldozer's got Tigra. But then Strange appears in a raging Hulk-like demonic form wielding the power of Zom with which he renders friends and foes alike unconscious or in agony.

Linda Carter and Wong find Stephen Strange shattered. Wong grabs a surviving book and goes round each hero reading out a spell which heals them. DrS explains that in his arrogance he's recently used dark forces to try help Bruce Banner (in World War Hulk) and his allies in this series. As a result he's lost the use of his hands (again) and is losing control of magic. He can no longer be Sorcerer Supreme or provide them protection in his Sanctum. And he magically leaves to rebuild himself.

The Avengers wonder what to do now. Then Ms Marvel (Carol Danvers) arrives leading some of her Operation: Lightning Storm troops. She immediately asks where Jess and the baby are. Luke says he doesn't know but they got away. The team expect to be arrested but Carol tells him to go find them. She reports back to the helicarrier that they need Brother Voodoo to clean up the dangerous magical mess, but that the rebel Avengers left before  they got here. 1 of her team protests but she points out that the Avengers just delivered the gang that killed 17 SHIELD Agents. The rest of her team agree with her. Luke thanks her but says he doesn't know how long they can remain free.

Epilogue 1:- Hood escaped and asks his demon how they lost.

Epilogue 2:- Jessica goes to Stark Tower and surrenders herself and child to Registration.

Carlo Pagulayan
Jeff Huett
Justin Ponsor
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: ?.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Night Nurse
Night Nurse

(Linda Carter)

(Clint Barton)

(Peter Parker)

(Greer Nelson)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Chemistro (Calvin Carr), Danielle Cage, Echo (Maya Lopez), Griffin, Jigsaw, Razor-Fist, Shockwave, Wrecking Crew.

> New Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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