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Secret Avengers #26: Review

Apr 2012
Rick Remender, Renato Guedes

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Secret Avengers #26 Review by (February 26, 2014)
Protector was contacted by the Kree Supreme Intelligence in Avengers #25 before the space team left on their mission. He was told then to intercept and contain the Phoenix Force, even if it meant killing the Avengers. (Though it didn't specify what he was to do with the Force, and that was the Avengers mission anyway.) Av#26(most of)-27, which chronologically follow this 3-parter, show that the Supremor's plan was separate from that of the mysterious Minister here. I don't think Ms Marvel was given any instructions. Next issue will show that the Minister does indeed have control of the population of Hala, including the Supremor and Protector and the semi-Kree Ms Marvel. (But the Supremor presumably issued his command to Protector before being taken over.) We will find that there is a mental emission urging them all to seek the ascension, which is presumably how Ms Marvel and Protector know about it.

The Kree omniwave communications device dates back to Avengers #93 in the Kree/Skrull War The original Captain Marvel was a Kree soldier Mar-Vell sent to study Earth (after the Fantastic Four drew the attention of the alien race in FF#64-65). He soon defected and became an Earth hero. He died in the 1st Marvel Graphic Novel (by Jim Starlin), of cancer caused earlier by a fight with Nitro in #34 of his own series. Several others have used the name since then, including his son Genis-Vell. Captain Marvel's costume here looks like the one he wore up to his death, but in the green and white colours of his original Kree military uniform. Ms Marvel is partially Kree due to the Kree Psyche-Magnetron which gave her powers in CM#18. Noh-Varr is actually a Kree, but from an alternate timeline. He 1st appeared as Marvel Boy in the limited series of that name, but he has since taken the title Protector as one of the Avengers.

The M'Kraan Crystal and its link to the White Hot Room have a complicated history. The Crystal 1st appeared in UXM#107-108 as a source of immense power. During the Age of Apocalypse alternate timeline, in Gambit & the X-Ternals, we learned that any piece of the Crystal was as good as the whole thing. And that its heart was a Nexus Of All Realities. Thus various people used Crystal shards to escape to the main reality at the end of AoA. The place that was probably the White Hot Room was 1st seen in Classic X-Men #43, except it wasn't white or hot or even a room. It was where Jean Grey went after she died in UXM#137. But by the time CXM#43 was published post-XFa#1 we already knew it was the Phoenix Force not the real Jean Grey. However Jean Grey herself did get hold of the Phoenix Force later, and after she died for real in (New) X-Men #150 she went to a place called the White Hot Room. During the sequel in NXM#151-154 she met lots of other Phoenix's there. Supposedly she also learned then that the Room was inside the M'Kraan Crystal, but I can't find this reference, or remember the link made anywhere else before this issue. The only previous hint as far as I know was in UXM#108 where the X-Men found a white city at the heart of the Crystal. Some say that Phoenix-Jean felt a special connection to it, but I can't read the issue that way. The 1st time the place was actually shown to be white may have been when Rachel Summers, another Phoenix-person, went there in UXM#462 during House of M. But the terms 'hot' and 'room' still seem to be unsubstantiated.

These next 3 issues leave the Secret Avengers group to follow a special space team of Avengers in tie-ins to Avengers vs X-Men. Beast, Captain Britain and Valkyrie are carryovers from the real group, plus War Machine who stopped being a member after #21. But Ms Marvel, Protector, Thor and Vision are just here for the duration. This issue has no title. But judging by next issue it should be Operation Phoenix part 1. In the Dark Phoenix saga that Beast remembers the Phoenix Force didn't possess Jean Grey, it in fact turned itself into a copy to replace her (in Uncanny X-Men #101). But the inherent Jean-ness of the copy did surface to commit suicide in UXM#137, as Beast recalls. But the X-Men thought it was the real Jean Grey at the time. (The real Jean Grey returned later in the issues leading in to X-Factor (1986) #1, and things got even more complicated.) Beast used his mnemonic scrambler in UXM#136 to weaken the Phoenix. This is the 1st time we've been told it also gave Beast data about the Force.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Avengers #26 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Avengers vs X-Men #1 (and Avengers #26) Captain America sent Beast, Captain Britain, Ms Marvel, Protector, Thor, Valkyrie, Vision and War Machine into space to intercept the Phoenix Force before it reaches Earth.

This issue follows on from the middle of AVENGERS #26

On board their spaceship Beast remembers back to the end of the X-Men's 1st encounter with the Phoenix, when it took over Jean Grey and turned her into Dark Phoenix. Jean committed suicide to stop it. But before that Beast had used a mnemonic scrambler on her. And that had also enabled him to gain data which Captain Britain is now using to construct a Phoenix cage.

Even if it doesn't hold the Phoenix for long, it will extract more data and transmit it to Tony Stark on Earth.

Thor and Valkyrie enter the room. The cage is finished, so Thor persuades Captain Britain to join them in getting drunk - his way of preparing for battle.

On a Kree omniwave space station a band of Kree prepare to use a piece of the M'Kraan Crystal, which allows access to the White Hot Room - home to the Phoenix. They intend to draw the Phoenix Force to them. And their plan also involves the Nega-Bands of Captain Marvel.

Meanwhile the Phoenix Force destroys another world, the home of the Dre'lnn. Once they conquered other worlds. Then they fell into civil war. And out of it they emerged as long-term ambassadors for peace. Now all of that is over.

Ms Marvel, Protector, Vision and War Machine have detected the event, and the team can now go to face the Phoenix. The plan is for Thor to engage the enemy, while War Machine sneaks up with the cage device.

However the Phoenix Force is too powerful, and blasts both heroes. Vision and Valkyrie swoop in to retrieve the damaged War Machine and Thor respectively. Captain Britain takes the Phoenix cage, hoping that his magic-based power will succeed where War Machine's tech failed. But he fares no better.

Then the Kree in their space station throw the switch on their M'Kraan/omniwave lash-up, and the Phoenix flies away from the Avengers. The Kree seem to have the body of the original Captain Marvel, wearing the Nega-Bands, attached to their machinery. They perform religious chants. The Phoenix arrives and destroys the station.

All this is watched remotely from the Kree capital Hala by a Minister who seems to have the populace in thrall. He announces that the Phoenix is coming to Hala. They should rejoice because the hour of ascension is upon them.

The Avengers too are heading for Hala for medical recuperation. Beast asks Protector to contact his fellow Kree. But Noh-Varr points out he's from an alternate timeline and so won't be recognised. But his knowledge of the planet allows him to find a safe haven for their ship.

Beast consults Vision about their fallen comrades. Thor the god will recover from his horrendous injuries, but Jim Rhodes is out of it. Brian Braddock is OK, but Beast chides him for foolishly risking the cage. Hank McCoy tells the Captain that the reason someone as powerful as him is rarely called on during the big battles is that he tends to leap before he looks.

Protector and Ms Marvel are chatting on the roof of the spaceship. Noh-Varr says that he's been called here to Hala, and Ms Marvel admits that she's felt it too. They both agree that they're here to help the ascension. And nothing must be allowed to stop the Phoenix.

And Captain Marvel turns up to ask them to help kill the other Avengers.


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Renato Guedes
Renato Guedes
Matthew Wilson
Alan Davis (Cover Penciler)
Mark Farmer (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Beast
Beast

(Hank McCoy)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)
Valkyrie
Valkyrie

(Brunnhilda)

Plus: Captain Britain, Hildegarde (Hildegarde), Kree, Minister Marvel, Phoenix Force, Protector (Noh-Varr), War Machine (James Rhodes).

> Secret Avengers: Book info and issue index

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