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Avengers #390: Review

Sep 1995
Bob Harras, Mike Deodato Jr.

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Story Name:

Campfire Tales

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers #390 Review by (April 5, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

The crossover proper will begin in Avengers: The Crossing 1-shot, but there are early signs in Force Works #15, Iron Man #319 and War Machine #18-19.

Tuc is the first of several characters who will be revealed by the retcon in Avengers Forever to be Space Phantoms working for Immortus. If this synopsis was written before Avengers Forever came out, Tuc would be one of the good guys. Now we consider him a villain. The same will apply to Moonraker, the Cotati Swordsman and teenage Luna when they appear. Also, in my notes to #395 I will claim that several other characters in this crossover may be Phantom imposters. Authorities such as the Official Index to the Marvel Universe, the online Marvel Database and the Unofficial Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe don't always agree on the Phantom/villain status of a particular character. But I will try to follow their lead as to the currently-accepted status, rather than my own speculations. There is a particular problem in this crossover with Iron Man. He isn't a Phantom but is arguably a villain, at least part of the time. The 'authorities' sometimes (but inconsistently) list him as such. The best sense I can make of their choices is to have him as a hero until he is completely taken over by Kang and Mantis in #393, and then he comes good again at the end in #395. This gives me the unusual option of listing him as a villain in his own comic in Iron Man #324-325.

Tuc's vague predictions don't all relate to the Crossing. Marilla's death will occur in Avengers: The Crossing, at the hands of the traitor, Iron Man, that Hercules is warned about. The elements of the Avengers' past that Tuc mentions could be many things:- Kang; the unstable mental histories of Giant-Man and Iron Man; the Mantis/Vision/Scarlet Witch triangle; the Celestial Madonna affair. I can't see what hurt Hercules will specifically suffer during the crossover (or soon after). Quicksilver and Crystal are probably being told of their separation by Onslaught, when Crystal enters Franklin Richards' pocket universe and Quicksilver doesn't. The warning about the House of Magneto almost seems like a prediction of the House of M story, but that's just an example of how easy it is to read things into vague predictions. Deathcry's hidden past and destiny are probably a story Bob Harras never got to tell, as he will leave Avengers after this crossover and Deathcry won't remain much longer. Tuc embodies several comics cliches. He is a future descendant of current characters. He has come back to prevent his future from happening. He is under some constraint that prevents him from doing anything really decisive. He gives cryptic warnings which only make sense, if at all, after the events have come to pass. Eventually Avengers Forever will reveal that the constraint was that Immortus just wanted the Avengers confused and kept busy for a while. This effectively justifies most incoherences in the plot of the Crossing.

Swordsman plays a significant role in the Crossing. But after a brief appearance next issue Magdalene plays no further part. Black Widow is the current Avengers' leader, but doesn't appear in this issue. Possibly she is in Russia with Tony Stark in Iron Man #315-317. The rest of the current roster do appear. Wasp isn't an Avenger at this time. Teenage Tuc calling very young Luna his big sister suggests he is a future son of Crystal and/or Quicksilver. Their instinctive liking of him suggests he is the son of both. (The Iron Man part of the Official Index to the Marvel Universe #9 agrees that is who he is supposed to be. A Crossing cast chart in Avengers Unplugged #2 is unsure of Quicksilver's paternity.) His caveboy attire suggests it's not a nice future. But it's not until #398, after the crossover is finished, that Crystal actually refers to Tuc as her future son. However this is all irrelevant given that Avengers Forever will reveal that the Crossing crossover is all a scam by Immortus. And OIMU#9 will confirm that Tuc is actually one of Immortus's Space Phantoms.

This issue is an official prelude to the Crossing crossover. Iron Man is not in this issue, but he is central to the Crossing, so I'm including it in his database. The cast in this issue was all assembled by Bob Harras during his run on Avengers, except Hercules who rejoined the Avengers in #329, just before Harras took over in #334. (Even the absent Black Widow only signed up this time around at the same time as Hercules.) Crystal the Inhuman (and her Inhuman 'pet' Lockjaw) enlisted in #336. Her daughter Luna joined her with the newly-invented Inhuman nanny Marilla in #343. In the same issue Magdalene and Swordsman were introduced as part of Proctor's Gatherers from various alternate timelines. They gradually switched over to the Avengers' side, and stayed on Earth after Proctor was killed. Shi'ar Deathcry was introduced in #363, sent by Lilandra Neramani to warn the Avengers of an attack by renegade Kree. For a never-explained reason this also involved exile on Earth, so she stayed with the Avengers. Giant-Man rejoined the Avengers in #366. Crystal's estranged husband Quicksilver reunited with his family in #372.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #390 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Avengers Crystal, Deathcry, Hercules and Quicksilver, along with Crystal and Quicksilver's daughter Luna, her nanny Marilla and their dog Lockjaw are enjoying a summer's day at one of Tony Stark's country retreats, where the Avengers' guests Magdalene and Swordsman (Philip Javert) are staying while they adjust to this world.

After the discovery of the secret messages from the Shi'ar empire last issue, Deathcry has had weeks of interrogation as a suspicious alien by Henry Peter Gyrich.

Lockjaw finds a teenage boy Tuc dressed in skins, and Hercules brings them back to join the others. Lockjaw, Luna, Crystal and Quicksilver instinctively warm to Tuc. He cryptically tells the fortunes of the Avengers and Marilla.

Tuc warns Quicksilver of the possibilities for greatness or disaster for the House of Magneto. He also says Quicksilver and Crystal's destinies are linked, but may be sundered by 'the Other'.

For Deathcry he mentions a hidden truth about her that will cause war amongst the stars.

Hercules is warned about a traitor in the Avengers, personal pain to come, and something in the Avengers' past to be feared.

Marilla senses that she will die soon.

Then Tuc vanishes. Later he visits Luna's bedroom and calls her his big sister. He says he has done all he can to warn the Avengers of what is going to happen.

Meanwhile Janet Van Dyne and Giant-Man learn that Wasp has lost most of her fortune. She seems to shrug it off.

The preludes to the Crossing continue in IRON MAN #319.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Mike Deodato Jr.
Tom Palmer
Paul Becton
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Tom Palmer (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Bill Oakley.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Pietro Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Deathcry (Sharra Neramani), Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Lockjaw, Luna, Magdalene, Marilla, Swordsman (Philip Javert), Tuc.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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