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Avengers #394: Review

Jan 1996
Ben Raab, Mike Deodato Jr.

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Story Name:

Bad Blood

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers #394 Review by (May 2, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

How did Neut and the blimp get to this reality from Chronopolis? Previous issues have suggested that they need the door in Avengers' basement (or an equivalent), and/or Luna's abilities, perhaps enhanced by her time-chair and the activated door. They don't have Luna or the chair, and I'm pretty sure the blimp didn't come through any door. Wasp effectively rejoins the Avengers from this issue, but I guess it won't be official until after the crossover finishes. Up to now she has been a retired friend, and given them a home while their mansion is considered dangerous since #391. Neut is never seen again. Moonraker is shown in #397 still under medical sedation, but is then completely forgotten about (despite a misleading appearance on the cover of Force Works #21). Avengers: Timeslide is the next issue in this leg of the crossover.

This issue follows Iron Man #324 in the Crossing crossover. Iron Man isn't actually in this issue. But it is important to the Crossing, which itself is a significant event in Tony Stark's life. So I have included it in the Iron Man database for completeness. We get no explanation of why Luna was working for Kang/Mantis. If she is the same person as the one who came back in time to try and prevent the murder of Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), we don't know how she got from there to being a trusted aide of the villains, all within the scope of her teenage years. Crystal trusts that Tuc means to keep Luna safe, but Quicksilver doesn't. This could be taken indicate that Tuc is Crystal's future son but not Quicksilver's, as suggested in the back of Avengers Unplugged #2. But then Crystal automatically trusts teenage Luna this issue, while Quicksilver doesn't.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #394 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from IRON MAN #324.

In Kang's citadel, Mantis is continuing to torture her father Moonraker. But when she leaves, the girl who controls the portal comes to set him free. She is interrupted by Neut, Malachi and Tobias. But she escapes with Moonraker in her time-chair.

By the end of this issue the Avengers will realise the girl is a teenage version of Crystal and Quicksilver's young daughter Luna.

Teenage Luna fetched Moonraker for Mantis in Iron Man #324. Throughout this crossover she has been trying to warn Avengers while continuing to work for Mantis and Kang. Now she abandons pretence to rescue Moonraker from torture. But also to directly help the Avengers, rather than just leave them with cryptic/hidden messages.

Malachi and Tobias are supposedly Mantis and Kang's sons, although in this issue Kang spitefully refers to them as hers not his. Neut is Kang's weapons-master.

In Janet Van Dyne's mansion, Giant-Man is watching over Jan's cocoon, where she retreated after being injured by Iron Man in #393. He's still working on ways to save her. Iron Man is under the control of Kang and Mantis.

The other Avengers (Black Widow, Crystal, Hercules, Quicksilver and Vision), along with Masque, are communicating via comlink with Black Panther. They are discussing details of Tony Stark's Arctic bunker, details recorded by Vision's sensors during Iron Man #234. But Wakanda's scientists can't help crack it. Black Widow says that Wakanda's scientists were their last hope of finding someone to help. Presumably they've already tried Reed Richards (and Dr Doom?).

Masque is a clone of Madame Masque who has been following Iron Man for undisclosed reasons since Iron Man #320. She started off saving him from an attack by Marianne Rodgers in Iron Man #321. Now she has come to warn the Avengers against what Marianne saw in his mind, arriving in Avengers #393.

Hercules is trying to remember something important. Teenage Luna placed information in Hercules' mind in Avengers: The Crossing. But he couldn't remember the incident, despite what he said in Iron Man #321.

Quicksilver is concerned about his missing daughter Luna, convinced that Stark has her. But Crystal trusts Tuc, who spirited her away in #393.

They are interrupted by the arrival of the teenage Luna in her time chair with Moonraker. Nobody recognises Moonraker without his costume because no-one from Force Works is here, apart from Century who was absent during Moonraker's brief tenure. Vision recognises the girl from the abduction of the Cotati Swordsman in #392, and thinks her an enemy. But Hercules belatedly remembers her appearing to him with a warning in Avengers: The Crossing. And Crystal feels she is familiar.

The group is joined by Century, Deathcry, Hawkeye and Swordsman (Philip Javert). Century teleported Black Widow and (costumed) Moonraker here from Force Works HQ in Iron Man #324. (Luna abducted Moonraker during another of Century's teleport later in that issue.) Hawkeye arrived here in Iron Man #323, to clear his name after Stark framed him for murder in Force Works #17. Avengers' guest Swordsman has been playing a more active role in this crossover than member Deathcry.

Giant-Man tends to Moonraker alongside Jan's cocoon.

Neut attacks, dropping from Kang's blimp. He defeats the assembled heroes, especially Swordsman, except Crystal, Quicksilver and Luna. Luna takes a blast meant for the other two and dies. But not before calling them her mother and father. And telling them about information in Hercules' mind, and to use the door in Avengers mansion basement as a portal to the past.

Neut is about to kill the last two Avengers standing, when he is rendered unconscious by a blast from Wasp. She has just risen from her cocoon, transformed into a more insectile form.

Swordsman is placed in a medical bed, next to Moonraker. Neut is held captive.

The Avengers extract the (unspecified here) information from Hercules' mind using the image inducer they used to read the minds of Iron Man and young Luna in Iron Man #323. Avengers: Timeslide will reveal that the information in Hercules' mind is the combination to the basement door. I'm not sure how the image inducer could display this.

Black Widow wonders if they should use the door to go back in time and kill Stark. Masque suggests going back to get another genius to counter Stark.

In Avengers: Timeslide they will combine Masque's suggestion, of getting a genius from the past to defeat the modern genius of Tony Stark, with Marianne Rodgers' message (in Iron Man #324) that Stark wasn't evil before Kang infected his mind. They will go back in time for young Tony. This is probably what Masque's suggestion was supposed to mean anyway.

This leg of the Crossing continues in AVENGERS: TIMESLIDE.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Mike Deodato Jr.
Tom Palmer
Frank Lopez
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Inker)
Plot: . Letterer: Janice Chiang.
Editor: Ralph Macchio.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)

(Clint Barton)

(Edwin Jarvis)

(Kang the Conqueror)

(Pietro Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Century, Deathcry (Sharra Neramani), Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Luna, Masque, Moonraker, Neut, Swordsman (Philip Javert).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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