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War Machine #21: Review

Dec 1995
Dan Abnett, Sandu Florea

Story Name:

Brothers in Arms

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

War Machine #21 Review by (April 18, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

Deathunt 9000 is one of Kang's Anachronauts, first seen in Fantastic Four Annual #25. If Deathunt got his information from Cybermancer via Iron Man in Force Works #18, this explains why he wasn't expecting Black Widow. But not why he was surprised to meet the Warwear armour, even though he wouldn't know who was inside it. The Official Index to the Marvel Universe lists Deathunt 9000 as the real character, not a Space Phantom. Presumably this applies also to fellow Anachronaut Apocryphus in Force Works #18, which OITMU hasn't catalogued yet. The online Marvel Database and Unofficial Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe also list them as the real characters. (Comic Vine Database is no help here, as it doesn't seem to have been updated to list *any* of the Crossing characters as Space Phantoms.) It also seems to be true that the wider army of Anachronauts, seen so far in Avengers: The Crossing and Force Works #18, are also not Phantoms. They are recruited like Kim in Force Works #18. I have to assume that the original Anachronauts are unaware that the 'Kang' they are currently working for is in fact Immortus. Hawkeye takes the crossover directly into Iron Man #323.

This issue follows immediately from Force Works #18 in the Crossing crossover. Iron Man only appears in this issue in flashback. Black Widow met Hawkeye in his first outing in Tales of Suspense #57, where he was mistakenly branded a villain. She was already an established foe of Iron Man, but they continued from there as a team harassing Iron Man, until reformed Hawkeye joined the Avengers in Avengers #16. For love of Hawkeye, Black Widow followed him over to the side of the angels. But eventually they broke up. Compared with that, I don't believe Black Widow has ever been close with Tony Stark (Iron Man #317 and the initial seduction in Tales of Suspense #52 notwithstanding). Her relationship with him has been more as a long-standing fellow Avenger, whom she trusted implicitly. War Machine of course has much more history with Iron Man than with Hawkeye.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

War Machine #21 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from FORCE WORKS #18.

War Machine is hiding out in an abandoned airstrip with Black Widow, Hawkeye and U.S.Agent. He and Black Widow can't believe Hawkeye is a murderer. Iron Man accused Hawkeye in Force Works #17 of murdering Marilla and Rita DeMara in Avengers: The Crossing.

But they also can't believe Iron Man framed him. They don't know that Iron Man committed the murders under the control of Mantis.

Rhodey shows the Widow his new Warwear armour, and flies off for a scout around.

The cyborg Deathunt 9000 and the equally-cyborg 6-man Fireteam Decimal Four arrive via temporal transfer, easily nullifying our guys' defensive sensors. They don't expect to find Black Widow, but are winning the battle against the lightly-powered trio when War Machine returns.

The fight ends with the Fireteam all dead (according the the Official Index to the Marvel Universe) and Deathunt using a temporal portal to escape.

Hawkeye and Black Widow recognise Deathunt as a follower of Kang. (The editors have Black Widow cut Hawkeye off before he can speak Kang's name because Kang hasn't yet been shown as the villain behind the plot, until Avengers #393.) Hawkeye wants to confront Iron Man with that lead. The others want to wait. Hawkeye takes Black Widow's Quinjet and goes to find Stark.

Meanwhile SHIELD time travel expert Kirby Martell sees Sheva Joseph undergo some more timeslips caused by her time travel in #15-17, and wind up as an old woman. (There is no connection to other temporal anomalies in this crossover.)

The Crossing continues in IRON MAN #323.

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Sandu Florea
Johnny Green
Ericka Moran
Fred Haynes (Cover Penciler)
Johnny Green (Cover Inker)
Letterer: John Costanza.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)

Plus: Deathunt 9000, Kirby Martell, Sheva Joseph, U.S. Agent, War Machine (James Rhodes).