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Avengers #21: Review

Oct 2013
Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu

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Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #21 Review by (October 20, 2013)
No-one mentions the 2nd option that was discussed last issue, unleashing the Brood. The Shi'ar Imperial Guard is composed of Superguardians, as revealed in #5. These individuals have powers that are usually normal on their particular planet. Subguardians are other members of their race who in training to replace their Superguardian if he is killed. Gladiator's son Kid Gladiator has been a pupil at the Jean Grey School for Mutants. I expect his involvement in Infinity to be detailed in Wolverine & the X-Men Annual #1. For the writer's purposes Captain Universe had to be kept in a coma for this whole event, because she could have stopped it at any time. It isn't plainly stated here but it becomes clear that the reason the Builders want to destroy Earth is to save this universe from destruction by the incursions seen in New Avengers. For the fate of the surviving Builder see New Avengers #11, where things will become even clearer.

Calling the Kymellian forces cavalry is a bit misleading, since the Kymellians are horse-like beings. They originally featured heavily in the various Power Pack series. But later in Fantastic Four #577 it was revealed that there is a Kymellian version of the Inhumans, who joined with others as the Universal Inhumans. The blue-skinned Centaurians of Centauri IV will provide a member (Yondu) of the original future Guardians of the Galaxy. And they too have a component of the Universal Inhumans. The Rigellians have been known in the Marvel U since Thor #129. One of their creations is the Recorders, sort of a robot version of the Watchers. A rogue Recorder plagued Iron Man in his recent issues. Chize was the planet of the Froma, whose members Edam and Gouda were comedy foes of Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #68. (But the planet here appears to be inhabited by intelligent ducks.) Formalhaut is probably a misspelling of Fomalhaut, a real star. The amoeboid Fomalhauti have made several appearances in the Marvel U, starting with Giant-Size Defenders #3. Korm Prime has me stumped.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #21 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page reminds us that in #19 the Builders were amazed to find Abyss, Nightmask and Starbrand among the Avengers, and especially Captain Universe who they recognised as their rejected goddess. Then in #20 Abyss and Ex Nihilo went to meet the other Ex Nihili who accompanied the Builders. They learned that all the other Abyssi died when the Builders made the Ex Nihili/Abyssi pairs stop tending worlds, and turned the Ex Nihili into world killers. The Avengers' Ex Nihilo now fomented rebellion. Meanwhile in Infinity #4 Thor killed a Builder on the Kree capital Hala, freeing the Kree Empire and inspiring the rest of the galaxy. Captain America told the Galactic Council to prepare for victory.

On the Shi'ar battleship Lilandra, the mobile home of the Council since the destruction of the Behemoth Ringworld in #19 and Inf#3, Abyss, Cap, Captain Marvel, Ex Nihilo and Gladiator stand over the retrieved body of Captain Universe, still in a coma since Inf#1 in her human alter ego. Ex Nihilo believes that if CU woke up she could stop the war.

On Hala the Supreme Intelligence is being repaired. We get a flashback showing how he got damaged. 1st he reprises Thor's action in Inf#4 in more detail:- Thor came to the Builder pretending to bring the Council's surrender, but then killed the Builder with his hammer. Ronan's Kree Accuser Corps swore to help the Council against the Builders.

But after that issue the Supremor said that Thor's action meant nothing. The Builders were still superior, and the Council's forces would be crushed. If Ronan and the Accusers fought the Builders then Hala would be destroyed. Ronan's answer was to smash a hole in Supremor's container, and lead the Kree forces into battle.

Now Ronan leads the Accusers to free Kymellia III from the Builders' Aleph robots, and the Kymellian cavalry rejoin the war. The Spaceknights Ikon and Starshine, who survived the destruction of Galador in Inf#1, help the bowmen of Centauri IV win back their world. Super-Skrull leads the Skrulls to retake Korm Prime with heavy losses. The Avengers fight with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard on Rigel, Formalhaut and Chize. Some of the Guard don't survive.

We see Hulk and Hyperion with Manta and Starbolt on Rigel, Cannonball, Smasher and Sunspot with Oracle and Pulsar (killed) on Formalhaut, and Falcon and Thor with Earthquake (killed) and Warstar on the planet Chize.

Mentor relays news of the battles to Gladiator - things aren't going well enough. Chize is lost and Formalhaut is slipping away. Captain America decides that they'll have to use 1 of the fallback options they discussed last issue. The Shi'ar open stargates to the Negative Zone and the new Annihilation Wave pours forth. Annihilus sends the swarm against the Builder forces. But a Builder tweaks their genetics, and the drones turn on each other.

Gladiator thinks there's nothing left now but to go down fighting. He steps down as Shi'ar Majestor to resume his old rank as Praetor of the Imperial Guard. He summons all Super- and Subguardians, including his son, and prepares for the final battle.

But elsewhere Abyss and Ex Nihilo have taken the comatose Captain Universe to the other Ex Nihili. They summon a miracle, and Tamara Devoux awakens and becomes CU. They call her attention to her 'children' the Builders and the devastation they are wreaking.

Captain Universe teleports to the Builder command ship. She destroys all the Alephs sent against her, and asks the Builders what they are doing. They reply that all the universes are dying. To save this one they must destroy the axis point (Earth). CU says that their action is futile, and she will stop them because 'she's lost something and needs to find it'.

Suiting actions to words she kills all but 1 of the Builders. The last Builder encases himself in a force field and prepares to retreat to another universe. But before he goes he initiates a backup plan. All over the galaxy Aleph robots declare they will self-destruct and take everything with them.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Leinil Francis Yu
Gerry Alanguilan
Sunny Gho
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Penciler)
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Sam Wilson)

(Bruce Banner)


Plus: Abyss 3, Aleph, Builders, Cannonball, Captain Universe (Tamara Devoux), Earthquake, Ex Nihili, Ex Nihilo, Gladiator (Kallark), Hyperion, Ikon (Spaceknight), Manta, Mentor (A'Lars), Oracle, Pulsar (Monica Rambeau), Ronan (Ronan the Accuser), Smasher (Izzy Kane), Starbolt, Starshine (Spaceknight), Super-Skrull, Warstar.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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