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Avengers #43: Review

Apr 2015
Jonathan Hickman, Mike Mayhew

Story Name:

And all that's left is ashes

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers #43 Review by (April 4, 2015)
Mike Mayhew takes over what was supposed to be Stefano Caselli's last issue as artist. But Caselli does the cover instead, which had been previewed as the Adam Kubert cover which has been more sensibly used as the cover for New Avengers #32 - unless the contents of NAv#32 were supposed to be in this issue?. Maybe all this explains why this issue was delayed until after NAv#32. The opening scene leads me to reconsider the 1st scene of NAv#29. Then the opening title '8 months ago' led me to believe that the scene was set then and depicted the Illuminati discovering the broken cage that held Thanos. I had continuity problems with that idea. Now I realise that the #29 opening occurred after the 1st scene of this issue, and showed the Illuminati standing around Iron Man' shattered cage. This resolves all my continuity problems. Why exactly is Tony Stark more guilty than the other Illuminati? They all conspired to remove Captain America's memories in NAv#3. They all worked on ways to destroy other Earths, although Black Panther seems to suggest that the others tried to find better ways to resolve the problem while Stark gave up on that. But T'Challa also seems to say that this was while Sub-Mariner was working with the Cabal and Dr Strange went missing (we know he went to join the Black Priests). So this would be something in Tony's Superior Iron Man phase that we don't know about yet. T'Challa specifically accuses Tony of going to Steve Rogers and bringing "a storm down on top of us". And Stark admits to being "a criminal wanted for high crimes". We shall see. Steve Rogers' assembled Avengers are:- Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Invisible Woman, Maria Hill and War Machine of his SHIELD Avengers. Amadeus Cho, Beast, Black Bolt, Black Panther, Captain Britain, Hulk and Mr Fantastic of the Illuminati. Sunspot's New Avengers including Black Widow, Cannonball, Manifold, Shang-Chi, Smasher, Spider-Woman and 2 Zebra Kids.

Gladiator became Shi'ar emperor in War of Kings: Who Will Rule after Vulcan was killed in WoK. We learned that there was a girl, Aikku Jokinen, inside Pod in #38. The Auger is a device that AIM have been using all though this series to transfer things (like Pod) to and from the multiverse. Izzy Kane was originally called Izzy Dare. But since she was revealed (#5) to be the granddaughter of Dan Kane/Captain Terror her surname has been changed to Kane and her earlier namings retconned in reprints.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #43 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The previously page shows Gladiator deciding to lead an alien armada to destroy Earth (last 2 issues), plus some recent Iron Man bits. In #24 he merged a rogue planet from the future with Earth. In New Avengers #26 Black Widow and Spider-Woman learned that (Superior) Iron Man is a captive of the Cabal, and decided to leave him there.

2 weeks ago (NAv#29) the Illuminati (Beast, Black Bolt, Black Panther, Captain Britain, Hulk and Mr Fantastic) have reoccupied the Wakandan Necropolis now that the Cabal have gone. They have discovered Iron Man in his prison cube but they don't know whether to let him out. They consider him more guilty than they are, possibly for reasons that will be revealed later (possibly in Avengers World).

Tony Stark says they're all going to die, but he wants to be released so he can die fighting. T'Challa is worried that Tony's reappearance would shatter the fragile alliance they have built with Steve Rogers' SHIELD Avengers. But he activates a power glove and breaks the confining forcefield. Iron Man dashes off.

2 hours ago holograms of Gladiator appear all over the world announcing that Earth will be destroyed to save the universe. But in gratitude to the Earth heroes who helped fight the Builders (in Infinity), the population will be given 2 hours to make their peace. Steve Rogers and an assembly of Avengers from all teams prepare to fight back.

In a lull Steve Rogers and Reed Richards chat about Tony Stark. In the midst of the threatened end of the world (and end of the multiverse), Tony's betrayal still eats at Steve. Reed suggests that Tony's morality was always subject to what he saw as the greater good - mankind's future (presumably ignoring the (still-ongoing?) Superior Iron Man phase).

He also says that Stark was always solving several problems at the same time, even while the Illuminati were battling the end of the universe. He hands Steve a control device and explains that it's for a Builder planetkiller craft they acquired during Infinity. Tony built the control system while they were enhancing Reed's Bridge to be a multiversal viewer (NAv#15).

Steve takes the control device to Black Widow at SHIELD command. She activates it, and the planetkiller rises out of Jupiter's Great Red Spot.

Last issue Gladiator called Smasher to take her place in the Imperial Guard in the upcoming invasion. In a flashback we see her refusing to attack her homeworld. Gladiator recalls that such a conflict of loyalties led to him taking the Shi'ar throne. He releases her from her duty and lets her return to Earth.

Now Izzy Kane is working with her husband Cannonball and Sunspot and his AIM scientists to save her child. She hands him over to the girl inside the Pod android. If the end of the world comes Pod will go through the Auger to the multiversal void. Izzy will follow (and find out whether the Smasher uniform will protect her there).

Roberto da Costa and AIM put another plan into operation. They have 20 satellites in orbit which combine to focus the 'power of the Earth' as a massive thermal lance. Mentor and Oracle report to Gladiator as it rips through 6 ships of the alien armada. In a coordinated 1-2 blow Black Widow (watched by Captain Marvel and Steve Rogers) jumps the planetkiller into the fleet causing more destruction.

Then the AIM weapon fails due to overload. And Gladiator gets Annihilus to send the Annihilation Wave to overwhelm the planetkiller. Steve Rogers thinks it's all over as Gladiator prepares the rest of the alien fleet to attack Earth.

But the Illuminati (Beast, Black Panther, Hulk and Mr Fantastic) are in the control room for the rogue planet. The planet itself occupies the same space as Earth but out of phase. They swap the 2 planets (I think). They now wait for Iron Man, who we learn has headed for Sol's Hammer the partial Dyson sphere he constructed around the sun (NAv#4).

Mike Mayhew
Mike Mayhew
Frank Martin
Stefano Caselli (Cover Penciler)
Stefano Caselli (Cover Inker)
Sunder Raj (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

Plus: Cannonball.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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