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Avengers #12: Review

Apr 2011
Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

5 stars

Avengers #12 Review by (September 25, 2012)
Story 2:- This issue says the Oral History is continued in New Avengers #12, but it isn't. The missing chapter is included in the TP as Ch20. That doubles back to #161-162 for the origin of Jocasta. Then moves forward to #185-187 where Scarlet Witch is possessed by Chthon. That story and one in the contemporary Uncanny X-Men allow readers to deduce that Wanda and Pietro are the children of Magneto. But the twins don't know that yet.

Tony Stark would probably undo events back to before the Superhero Registration Act and Civil War. Iron Man's rejection of the Gems is effectively based on the Protestant work ethic. The more classic answer to this scenario was mentioned by Spider-Man in #9. The best example is Galadriel's rejection of the Ring in Lord of the Rings, because enforcing paradise would involve taking total control of everyone. Thanos created the Infinity Gauntlet in the Thanos Quest mini-series to hold the Infinity Gems. There has never been any suggestion that the Gauntlet has any powers beyond the Gems themselves. The jail cell Hood is returned to is the one in the maximum maximum security Raft he started in, rather than the one in the merely maximum security Ryker's Island he escaped from. The Illuminati, especially Mr Fantastic, should know that the Gems can't be wished away. Reed tried that at the end of Illuminati #2 at it didn't work. Steve Rogers seems to hypocritically accept the need for the Illuminati as long as *he's* part of it. So he can't eject Iron Man from the Avengers for doing the same.

This is the last issue of the unnamed story arc about the Infinity Gems. Another powerful issue which makes the most of John Romita Jr's talents. Thing and Thor come with the small group of Avengers but don't do anything. In particular Thor doesn't use the Time Gem. The backgrounds during Red Hulk/Hood's chase are I believe illustrations taken from actual comics. The contents are:- Ego the Living Planet (in a mash-up of Kirby photo-collages from Thor #132 and #160), Marvel Zombies (from v1#1), the last Dark Reign battle in New Avengers Finale, Squadron Supreme (not sure from where), Liberators (from Ultimates 2 #10), Exiles (not sure from where). The fact that Hood is able to travel to different times and realities using only the Reality Gem supports my thesis that you don't really need the others. Red Hulk *did* have the Power Gem for most of the chase. He must have let Iron Man wish it from him near the end. I can't swear that all the Avengers and Illuminati from the previous issues turn up for the final showdown, but possibly only Ant-Man is missing (or just hard to see).

The rest of the comments refer to #12.

The Spaceknights are a team of cyborg alien warriors who were originally restricted to the licensed Rom title. But they have since appeared in other Marvel books, especially some of the Annihilation titles. (Their enemies the Dire Wraiths have also spread to the rest of the Marvel Universe.) They can travel through space without a ship. And their cyborg state means a Spaceknight *could* be downloaded into. The Intelligencia are basically a Hulk foe, starting in Fall of the Hulks. Klaw isn't actually a member of the group, he's a servant like Thinker's android and Red Ghost's apes. They created Red Hulk and Red She-Hulk. This Ultron's consciousness was projected into space after the 1st arc of Mighty Avengers, and became involved in Annihilation: Conquest. However other versions have cropped up on Earth in the meantime, in Avengers/Invaders and the last issues of Mighty Avengers. The only Ultron sightings for a while after this are in Moon Knight where Marc Spector acquires an Ultron head. Eventually we'll get the Age of Ultron event (which won't mention Spector's Ultron head), which will be cancelled out by rewriting this very issue.

Note that the splash page doesn't list Protector or Red Hulk as Avengers, even though Protector is here, and both are now team members. Both will be in some of the Fear Itself issues, and following ones. It does list the Bucky Barnes Captain America, who *is* here (only in the crowd scene) but won't be in any more Avengers issues. (And will hand back the CA role to Steve Rogers after 'dying' in Fear Itself.) I assume that Captain America (Bucky)'s absence from Avengers #7-12 was because he was in the Russian prison as seen in Captain America. In CA#619 he gets out, but is told he can't be Cap anymore. However he'll be in his Cap uniform in Fear Itself. And presumably this brief appearance fits in between, still in uniform. SWORD was introduced in the opening arc of Astonishing X-Men (2004). They've since been involved in Secret Invasion, and had their own short series.

The following comments refer to #12.1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The Hood has been fighting the Avengers for possession of the 6 Infinity Gems. He has the Reality, Space and Mind Gems while the Avengers have the Power and Time Gems. Now Parker Robbins has come to the Astral Plane for the Soul Gem, but finds himself facing Thanos.

Thanos claims that the Infinity Gems are too powerful for a mere human to control. If Hood succeeds in collecting all 6 he will be wiped out of existence. But on the way out he might destroy the universe, which Thanos wouldn't like. So Thanos offers Robbins a deal:- give him the Gems and he will grant all Robbins' desires.

Hood calls his bluff. And it turns out 'Thanos' was bluffing. It further transpires that this Thanos is actually Dr Strange. Strange drops his disguise and calls in small group of Avengers, including Red Hulk with the Power Gem.

Rulk smashes Hood in the eye, and Robbins loses control of his Gems, dropping them. Sub-Mariner and Ms Marvel swoop in a scoop up the Space and Mind Gems. Iron Man dives for the reality gem but Hood beats him to it.

Red Hulk attacks Hood again, who panics and takes the 2 of them through various times and realities. Robbins eventually gathers himself together and tells Rulk to give him the Power gem or he will wipe him out of existence. But Rulk smiles as he shows him empty hands.

Red Hulk's attack was a ploy to gain time. Now all the Avengers arrive, led by Iron Man with all 5 other Infinity Gems embedded in the Infinity Gauntlet. Hood tries to use the Reality Gem only to find that it leaps to the Gauntlet to join its mates.

The defeated Hood whines that he only did what any one of them would do if they lost their power:- whatever it took to get the power back. Any one of them with the Infinity Gems would use them to remake the world as they think it should be. He asks Iron Man what he's going to do now.

Tony Stark, under the watchful eyes of Steve Rogers, muses that he could rewind the recent past to wipe out his mistakes. He could bring people back, like his father and the Wasp. He could make the world a technological paradise. But that paradise wouldn't be earned.

Tony only does 2 things with the Gauntlet. 1st he sends Robbins back to jail. Then he uses the Gems to wish themselves and the Gauntlet out of existence.

There are 2 postscripts to the adventure:-

Steve Rogers compliments Red Hulk on his actions, including tactical advice, and invites him onto the main Avengers team.

The 5 Illuminati (excluding dead Black Bolt or his wife Medusa) meet up again, and it turns out that Iron Man didn't destroy the Gems and Gauntlet after all. They redistribute the Gems, promising to hide them better this time:- Iron Man purple Space Gem again, Prof X blue Mind Gem again, Namor red Power Gem, Mr Fantastic yellow Reality Gem, Dr Strange green Soul Gem again. The orange Time Gem goes to Steve Rogers, who has agreed to join the Illuminati despite all he said against them earlier.

Story #2

Avengers Assemble: The Oral History of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes Chapter 17

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Continued from New Avengers #11.

This is in the TP as Ch19

This episode covers a lineup change (#150-151), a battle with Count Nefaria (#164-166) and the Korvac saga (#173-177).

This was the first time the Avengers had a planned reshuffle since #16. Previously people just drifted in and out. This started a trend for having press conferences to announce new lineups.

The Count Nefaria story turned him from an unpowered Maggia boss into a super-powered menace, in future just known as Nefaria. But I don't know why Bendis singled it out for mention here.

On the other hand the Korvac saga is one of the Avengers' biggest epics, which had actually been building since #167, and arguably involved every appearance of the Collector since #28, including some revealed to be behind the scenes.

Story #3

#12.1 (no title given)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis. Penciler: Bryan Hitch. Inker: Paul Neary. Colorist: Paul Mounts. Editor: Tom Brevoort. Cover Penciler: Bryan Hitch. Cover Inker: Paul Neary. Cover Colorist: Paul Mounts. Letterer: Cory Petit.

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Abigail Brand, head of SWORD, as come to Avengers Tower to tell them that Spider-Woman is one of her agents, and she has gone missing on a mission. We see by flashback Jessica Drew flying over the Wakandan jungle seeking an alien energy. She lands and finds it, but is confronted by members of the Intelligencia (Klaw, MODOK, Red Ghost (and his apes), Thinker (and his android) and Wizard).

The assembled multi-team Avengers are Steve Rogers (boss), Captain America (Bucky), Hawkeye, Iron Man, Maria Hill, Ms Marvel, Protector and Thor (all Avengers), Dr Strange, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Mockingbird, Thing and Victoria Hand (of New Avengers), Spider-Man and Wolverine (on both teams), Ant-Man, Beast, Iron Man 2.0 and Valkyrie (Secret Avengers).

Abigail has to explain to Steve that SWORD is the alien-fighting arm of SHIELD, which she is surprised he didn't know about since he's head of SHIELD as well as of the Avengers. Beast owns up to being a SWORD agent too.

Brand says she went to Spider-Woman's reported location, but couldn't find anything. Now she's come to the Avengers for help. Steve designates a team for the job, with Brand to show them where to go, Iron Man, Ms Marvel and Thor for power, Protector for alien expertise, Beast probably as another science-guy, Wolverine as tracker, and Moon Knight for some reason or other.

Meanwhile Jessica Drew has woken up naked with her hands cuffed behind her. Thinker and Wizard enter her cell, and both sides try to find out what the other knows. Spider-Woman manages to fire a bioelectric blast at the villains from her bound hands. But they are shielded.

It turns out the Intelligencia think they have found a crashed comatose Spaceknight. MODOK urges caution, but Red Ghost just dives in and pokes around, while Klaw is doing something indecipherable.

Spider-Woman's interrogation is interrupted as Protector uses an alien device to teleport himself and Iron Man into her cell. Iron Man blasts the 2 villains out into the area where the rest of the Intelligencia are working, just as the rest of the Avengers team (not including Abigail Brand) smash their way in.

MODOK boats that they can't touch him because of his force field. Until Thor whacks him with his hammer. Red Ghost and Wizard surrender, and soon the whole gang is captured.

Abigail brings Jessica in, modestly cloaked. Iron Man explains they were able to home in on the Spaceknight's energy, as she did. But Red Ghost's tinkering has activated the alien, and it turns into Ultron!

This time Mjolnir is ineffectual. And Ultron takes his leave. The energy devastates the Intelligencia's island base.

Brand says SWORD had heard that Ultron was active in deep space. Tony Stark guesses that Ultron downloaded himself into the Spaceknight, and then aimed it at Earth.

Tony also remembers the future they saw in #1-6, where Ultron had taken over the world. This is what he expects Ultron will work towards next.

John Romita Jr.
Klaus Janson
Dean White
John Romita Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Klaus Janson (Cover Inker)
Dean White (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Eric O'Grady)

(Hank McCoy)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)
Red Hulk
Red Hulk

(Thunderbolt Ross)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)

(Ben Grimm)


War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Abigail Brand, Protector (Noh-Varr), Victoria Hand.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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