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Avengers #11: Review

Dec 1998
Kurt Busiek, George Perez

Story Name:

...Always an Avenger!

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #11 Review by (November 12, 2019)
Bob Wiacek helps with the inking this issue.

Grim Reaper's live version will be kidnapped by Ultron from a sanatorium in #20-22 where he'll help our team. But he'll be a villain again in #31-33.
Captain Marvel's spirit will show up in #5 of his son Genis-Vell's 2002 CM series, and Dr Druid will pop in to Dr Voodoo: Avengers Of The Supernatural #5. Then they'll join Swordsman in being temporarily resurrected again in the Chaos War: Dead Avengers mini-series. Grim Reaper will be in there too.
Hellcat and the Skrull Mockingbird will be seen next together too in Thunderbolts Annual 2000 where Hawkeye goes to Hell to rescue Bobbi Morse but winds up bringing Patsy Walker back to life instead.
Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson) hasn't had any chronologically later apps, but his son Kevin will take up the mace.

Megan Mclaren will continue to appear in issues of this title, but will be in the press pack in Spider-Man Unlimited #22 before our #12.
Chili Storm will reappear somehow rejuvenated in the Models Inc mini-series.
Stuntmaster will be seen as part of Georgia's Cavalry team in Avengers: Initiative #18.
Agatha Harkness will have apps in Maximum Security #3 and Witches #1 before being killed off again, this time by mad Scarlet Witch in #503 during Avengers Disassembled.

Daredevil was in these 2 issues during the supposed 6-month gap the start of DD v2 #1 when Karen Page leaves him and the rest of that issue which begins the Mysterio/virgin birth saga which ends with Karen's death in #7 and her chronologically significant funeral in #8. More specifically he's here between his apps in the Nighthawk mini-series and Amazing Spider-Man v2 #1.
Spider-Man himself was here between Thor v2 #5 (cameo) and the aforementioned SMU#22 (fighting Scorpion). More widely it's between SM#95 (Peter Parker trapped in a lift with Norman Osborn!) and Sensational SM #32 (beginning the Gathering Of The Five story spanning all 4 core titles in which Mattie Franklin gained her Spider-Woman powers). A little later Spidey will abandon his costumed role (again) in SM#98 until the story involving Mattie starting in the above-mentioned ASM v2 #1. Some say this gap too is 6 months.
The Fantastic Four's app meanwhile fits between standalone adventures FF v3 #9/Uncanny X-Mn & FF Annual 1998 and an foray into Captain Britain territory (without CB) in FF v3 #10-12. More locally Human Torch has just cameoed with Spidey in (the previously mentioned) Thor v2 #5 and the team will appear in Spectacular SM #263, part of the Final Chapter story which ends in SM#98 (up there somewhere).

Giant-Man and the Wasp will be dragged into the Avengers Forever limited series before joining the Avengers (except Firestar and Justice but including Thor) for a flashback in the Iron Man/Captain America Annual 1998 before leaving IM and Cap to fight MODOK and AIM alone for the rest of the issue (despite Tony Stark's injuries). Then GM & W will wander off while FS & J join the rest of the team (including Thor but not Wonder Man) in ASM v2 #1 (I'm sure I've seen that comic before).
Cap will have a small role in Thor #6, and in #6-7 Thor and Hercules will find Olympus as ruined as Asgard. Then in his 1999 Annual Thor visits the FF and we learn what happened to him and Dr Doom at the end of Heroes Reborn: The Return. And he also does the present-day part of Thor: Godstorm #2-3. Meanwhile Cap has another 1998 Annual shared with Citizen V where the 2 fight Baron Zemo (who had earlier been leading the Thunderbolts disguised as CV).
Then Cap, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, possibly with IM and Thor) will see news of Hawkeye working with the Thunderbolts in the last panel of Wizard's TB#0, which will lead the 1st 3 into our #12 where the team will clash with the 'Bolts.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Scarlet Witch drives back from her meeting with her witch mentor Agatha Harkness totally oblivious to the fact that her team-mates were ambushed during the Avengers Day Parade by Grim Reaper and a team of dead Avengers. As Wanda Maximoff parks her car in an off-site Avengers garage she mulls over what she's learned - that her hex power is actually channelling Chaos Magic, and she can train to use that in more ways - and also that Wonder Man is refusing to die because he loves her, and she can bring him fully back to life by returning his love. She uses the Avengers private underground monorail to get back to Avengers Mansion and so is unaware that the police have cordoned it off.

So she's totally surprised to find Wonder Man with other dead Avengers (unlike him showing the marks of the grave) terrorising Edwin Jarvis the butler in a wrecked room. She immediately assumes these are imposters. But she's kicked in the head by Hellcat who she didn't notice, and then blasted by Captain Marvel and whacked with a battle-stave by Mockingbird. As she lies groggily on the floor Dr Druid tells her they've taken their rightful place as Avengers in their Mansion. (The ones I haven't mentioned are the original Swordsman and Thunderstrike.)

The real Avengers (Captain America, Firestar, Giant-Man, Iron Man, Justice, Thor and Wasp) are trapped under a force dome in Central Park chained to towers of screaming faces. All except for the holographic Vision who's on the fritz because Grim Reaper holds his damaged holo-projector. Everyone, even Thor, hangs limply and the previously-injured Iron Man seems unconscious.

Eric Williams drones on as usual about how life always did him wrong. When they were young he was always the bad son and his brother Simon was the favourite. Even when Simon embezzled money from the family business everyone blamed Eric. And then Simon got super-powers as Wonder Man and died saving the Avengers (Av#9). Eric bought his own powers to avenge him but Simon came back to life and became an Avenger. Later Eric died too (Vision & Scarlet Witch v2 #2), but when he was resurrected (by Nekra twice) he became a zombie and then worse. He was eventually killed again (Av#354). Simon died again (Force Works #1) but even that didn't stop him from keeping returning to life (recent issues). But this weakened the barriers between life and death and the Reaper has crossed over and brought the dead Avengers with him.

Vision's holo-image may be fractured but his voice is unaffected. He reminds Eric that Simon too felt unworthy, but now Reaper crushes the projector and Vizh vanishes completely. GR brags about his plan. As the world sees the fate of the Avengers they will begin to despair (as he has), and their despair will feed his power which will enlarge his domain and increase their despair, and so on. The world will feel his pain.

Outside the dome Chili Storm and Stuntmaster, the TV hosts of the Avengers Day Parade, comment as the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and Daredevil fail to break through the force barrier. Megan McLaren's interview with Reed Richards lowers the crowd's spirits, and true to GR's prediction the dome expands to push them back.

Inside the Mansion the dead Avengers have tied Scarlet Witch up and told her what's been happening. They explain that they will spread death and destruction around the world to further Grim Reaper's plan. But 1st they'll kill *her* and display her body to the crowd outside. They echo the words Eric has been spouting, and Wanda knows this is not like the heroes she knew and grieved for:- The Kree Captain Mar-Vell dead of cancer (in the 1st Marvel Graphic Novel). Swordsman died to save his love Mantis (in Giant-Size Av#2). Dr Druid killed and immolated by Daimon Hellstrom (at the end of his own mini-series). Hellcat committing suicide after being driven mad by her husband Hellstrom (in *his* mini-series). Mockingbird dies saving *her* husband Hawkeye (Av West Coast #100). Thunderstrike died to end the curse of the Blood-Axe (in the last issue of *his* series). Wonder Man sacrificed himself to prevent the destruction of the Earth (Force Works #1).

The Witch remembers what Miss Harkness told her about her power. She concentrates to use it to gain the effect she wants. The dead heroes begin to feel something happening to them. Simon Williams tells her whatever she's doing won't work. But Wanda replies that Eric may have created new (corpse) bodies for them and brought their spirits across to this world but he's imbued them with his own anger and pain, and it's *his* words they're mouthing. However she knows that the Avengers she knew are still in there somewhere, and she'll bring them out. Simon tries to break her spirit by claiming that it wasn't *her* that has been bringing him to temporary life in recent issues, it was the Reaper. And he threatens to kill her. Wanda dares him to do it ...

... next thing we know the 7 Avengers are flying away from the Mansion, the flyers assisting the non-flyers. And inside the Mansion SW frees herself from her bonds. She prepares to leave to aid her team-mates, but Agatha Harkness appears and advises her to stay here.

In Central Park New York's heroes are still trying to get into the dome. Stuntmaster even joins in on his jet-assisted stunt-cycle, but comes off much the worse for wear. Then the dead Avengers fly unimpeded through the mystic force-field ...

... where Grim Reaper greets them and asks them what destruction they have caused outside. But Thunderstrike's mace shatters the tower holding Thor. And we see that these Avengers are now back in their own minds and bodies, as the others each pick a captive Avengers to free. And Wonder Man faces his brother in front of the assembled might and asks him to surrender. Eric became GR to avenge the death of the brother he thought was killed by the Avengers (Av#9), but Simon says all that is past.

GR's response is to open another window to hell and let through a horde of demons. Everyone fights them. Even Iron Man, suffering from injuries from his #8-10, fires repulsor rays from a prone position. Even doubting Firestar is inspired by the dead heroes.

Scarlet Witch still wants to join the battle, but Agatha reminds her of the other thing she was told last issue - that Simon Williams loves her and only waits for her to love him back to return fully to life. Wanda knows that GR is using WM's half-alive half-dead state to create the rift between Earth and the afterlife. She reasons that if she can bring him fully over to this side then the Reaper's power will end.

Wanda lets her chaos power flow from her heart to Simon. She sees the battle outside, and Simon fighting his brother Eric. She tries hard to love him. She remembers back over their long relationship and realises she's always known he loved her, but didn't want to admit it. He's a good man, but she doesn't know if she can make herself love him.

However she does have an effect under the dome. But only to make Wonder Man disappear from the site. Grim Reaper laughs because now all the other dead heroes fade away too, leaving the living ones to face the demons alone. Our heroes had never been sure whether the dead ones were just constructs of the Reaper. But as he goes Thunderstrike asks Thor to tell his son he loves him, and Mockingbird tries to leave a message for Hawkeye. GR is still here but the angry Thunder God smashes all the demons and hurls his hammer to strike the main foe.

Scarlet Witch has drawn Simon Williams to her but she still can't bring him fully into this dimension no matter how hard she strains. Her mentor advises her to relax, to stop trying to *make* herself love Simon. And then Wanda realises that she always *did* love him. But initially she was married to Vision, the synthezoid with his brain patterns. And after she lost Vision, Simon reminded her too much of him. But now she lets that love free. And Simon's naked body tumbles into this world. But as she holds him he tells her it's not over yet ...

... Thor and GR are having at it, hammer against mystic-powered scythe. GR appears to get the upper hand. But then Wonder Man's hand reaches through an ionic(?) portal to pull Eric through to the Mansion. Simon tells his brother that his hate, for the Avengers and then for Simon and Vision, have fuelled him through his life. But that hate alone wouldn't be strong enough to keep him after death so near to the living world. He persuades Eric that it was also brotherly love, as he sort-of admitted in V&SW#2.

In an epilogue we learn that the Williams brothers are now both firmly in the land of the living, Eric has been arrested and the hellscape has gone. He will probably wind up in a criminal asylum. Iron Man is recovering in hospital. And Simon and Wanda are comfortably together. But Vision doesn't look so happy.

George Perez
Al Vey
Tom Smith
George Perez (Cover Penciler)
George Perez (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Bob Harras.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel


(Matt Murdock)
Doctor Druid
Doctor Druid

(Doctor Droom)

(Hank Pym)

(Patsy Walker)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Peter Parker)


(Eric Masterson)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Agatha Harkness, Chili Storm, Firestar (Angel Jones), Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Justice (Vance Astrovik), Stuntmaster, Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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