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U.S.Avengers #12: Review

Nov 2017
Al Ewing, Paco Diaz

Story Name:

Maybe we should all be praying for time

Review & Comments

4 stars

U.S.Avengers #12 Review by (December 15, 2017)
This is the last issue. The characters are scheduled to reappear in the weekly run of the main Avengers title starting next month.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

U.S.Avengers #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The U.S. Avengers have gone to rescue Cannonball with his wife Smasher of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Sam Guthrie is on a planet called Kral X in the Andromeda Galaxy, in a town called Glenbrook which is modelled after the Archie TV series (here called the Ritchie Redwood Show). And of course the inhabitants are really Skrulls. In a dungeon Sam meets another prisoner Bugface Brown, the only 1 who actually looks like a Skrull.

Bugface explains that his shapeshifting race didn't really understand stage/film/TV acting. To them pretending to be someone or something else was what you did in war (or espionage), not for entertainment. This blind spot extends to art which they think must be real images. (We see a Skrull, presumably during Secret Invasion, looking at an old Marvel monster mag (early Journey into Mystery), and wondering if the drawings of monsters were photographs. This harks back to Fantastic Four #2 where Mr Fantastic convinces a Skrull warfleet to go away by showing them monsters and fantastic weapons in old Marvel mags which they think are real.)

Then they discovered Earth films transmitted into space, especially movies about Prohibition-era gangsters. The 10 planets of the Kral system were turned into a place where Skrulls could live out a fantasy in that setting (or variations?). (Thing was abducted to gangster-based Kral IV in FF#90-93.) This was connected to Earth being the Skrulls' Promised Land (as revealed in Secret Invasion).

Don Scarpone ruled small planet Kral X as a Mafia boss. He had 2 sons, who are now 'Ritchie Redwood' and 'Bugface Brown'. Ritchie became the Don's right-hand man who went on space missions to intercept more films beamed from Earth. These would be worth a lot in trade to the other planets.

But among the signals he found the Ritchie Redwood TV Show and kept it for himself and shared it with his friends. The show was a great hit with the people of Kral X, and 'Ritchie' used his position, and 2 Power Skrulls left over from Secret Invasion, to exile his father and *his* supporters from the planet. (The USAv met some of them out in space last issue.) Then they built Glenbrook and took on the personas of characters from the show to live out the 'American dream'.

And then things went wrong, which ended with 'Bugface' and his associates being thrown in this dungeon.

Up above we see an example of how things have gone wrong. As we saw last issue Ritchie wants everyone to always act in character. This includes never mentioning the fact that Glenbrook isn't actually on Earth, and they aren't actually Earth people named Ritchie Redwood & co. Under threat of being replaced in their roles and sent to the dungeon to join Bugface and the other subversives.

This makes it difficult for his 'love rival' Gerry to bring up the subject of Cannonball being a real Earthman. And also having connections to the Shi'ar. Ritchie has based Glenbrook on the 1960's TV shows, and he doesn't want any hint of later changes in society or technology. Especially not aliens and spaceships ... like the 1 that appears in the sky above them. Ritchie *is* allowed to slip out of character, and he tells Biff (who we saw last issue was a Power Skrull) to fetch Mr Waspwind the biology teacher.

In the Shi'ar craft Gen'l Robert Maverick jumps out as Red Hulk despite warnings from Roberto Da Costa (Sunspot/Citizen V) and Dr Toni Ho (ex-Iron Patriot) that the don't know all the side-effects of Hydra tampering with his Hulk powers (during Secret Empire). As he falls towards the town he says he's still got 20 minutes of his current hour of power left. Then he has a heart attack in midair and turns into his weak human (but still red-skinned) self.

Roberto asks Toni if the headband she created for him (#8, and the improved version #10) restores *all* his old Sunspot powers. She doesn't know, so he just jumps out of the ship anyway to see if he can still fly.

Bugface continues his tale. 1 day he returned to Glenwood (in 1 of the spaceships that look like old cars, that we saw last issue) with loads of much later episodes of the show. The existing characters were updated to reflect new decades. Lots of new chars were introduced, like Sabine the Sorceress who brought magic into the series. The latest series has a gay character.

Ritchie wasn't comfortable with these newfangled things. He tried to go along wihyperwaveth them but not very successfully. The last straw was when Bugface changed back to his natural Skrull appearance and suggested that he could be exposed as an alien masquerading as an Earthman. And he fancied being a cop from the future too. After the resulting civil war Bugface and all the new chars were sent to this dungeon, with hyperwave generators to keep them stuck in their Earth-teen images. (And unless I misread it, there's a suggestion that they've had to eat others of their number to survive.)

Sam Guthrie is chained to a gravity ball which will stop him from flying away. But among the lessons he learned at Xavier's mutant school was thief-skills from Storm. Apparently when Mr Mason used an electronic key to unlock some other shackles Sam was in last issue, Guthrie picked his pocket and stole the key. Which now frees him from the gravity ball. And also switches off the hyperwave generators.

Luckily for 2 people Sunspot still has his flying power, and he catches Maverick just before he hits the ground. But they are then confronted by Ritchie Redwood flanked by his 2 Power Skrulls:- Biff who is a combination of Archangel, Colossus, Cyclops and Nightcrawler, and Mr Waspwind who has the powers of Gambit, Iceman, Wolverine, Nightcrawler (again) and maybe Dazzler. Sunspot stands up against them but comes off the worse ...

... but then the Power Skrulls are squashed by a giant Monty Python foot-shaped force field generated by a device Toni Ho has rigged. She arrives via a jetpack. Enigma floats down from the spaceship. And Smasher carries Squirrel Girl with her. But the 2 Skrulls bamf free and reappear in midair. Smasher throws Doreen Green at Biff and she kicks him in the face sending him back to the ground. (Doreen lands safely.) Waspwind attacks Enigma and Smasher with his claws but they each use their powers to become almost invulnerable, and the not-adamantium claws shatter. Smasher then sends *him* to sleep.

Ritchie exhorts his teen gang to attack as Skrulls, but they complain that he's ordered them to stay in character as Earth teens. So Redwood prepares to take on the enemy himself. But finds that he *can't* change. I guess it's because of the hyperwave generators Cannonball and the subversives have brought with them (after Sam used his powers to break them out of the dungeon).

Ritchie and the Power Skrulls are sent to Kral IV (I think) for trial. The rest of Glenbrook's inhabitants get to be whatever kind of Earthers they want to be. And Cannonball is reunited with his wife Smasher.

Roberto brings Sam up-to-date with what's happening in AIM and the US Avengers. He's resigned as leader of AIM and Toni has taken over. Toni has given up the Iron Patriot armour. Maverick has health problems which mean he shouldn't be Red Hulk anymore. Roberto is broke and on the run from the US Government (again). But he still wants the US Avengers to continue.

We end with a flashforward to part of the upcoming Avengers epic. Toni Ho is calling for help because someone powerful is killing them all.

Paco Diaz
Paco Diaz
Jesus Aburtov
Paco Medina (Cover Penciler)
Paco Medina (Cover Inker)
Jesus Aburtov (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Robert Maverick)

Plus: Cannonball, Enigma (Aikku Jokinen), Iron Patriot (Toni Ho), Smasher (Izzy Kane), Squirrel Girl, U.S. Avengers.

> U.S.Avengers: Book info and issue index

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