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Avengers #54: Review

Mar 2022
Jason Aaron, Juan Frigeri

Story Name:

The Death Hunters conclusion: Even Thunder can burn, even Deathloks can die

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #54 Review by (March 19, 2022)
So the dead Celestial's body is heavily damaged but still habitable as Avengers HQ.

Sub-Mariner, King of Atlantis, declared war on the surface world (again) in our #9. As well as in this series Namor prosecuted the war in the Defenders: The Best Defence event, the Invaders vol 3 short series and the Atlantis Attacks event. Recently in this series he tried to win the Phoenix Force for Atlantis. But then during the World War She-Hulk arc his people dethroned him, and She-Hulk saved Atlantis from a gamma bomb so in gratitude he agreed to join the Avengers.

As well as warning the Avengers about the Multiversal Masters Of Evil the Deathloks told them that their main tactic was to kill an Earth's proto-heroes like Earth-616's the 1MBC Avengers. (But we know that Mephisto has forbidden the MMOE from doing this to E-616 until all other timelines have been dealt with.)

We still haven't learned who the Avenger Prime is. But that's now just another element thrown into the saga that's been running since #1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #54 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Avenger Prime sent some of his Deathloks to Earth-616 to warn the Avengers about the Multiversal Masters Of Evil (and the similar legion of alternate Mephistos). But the MMOE were already here and they attacked our team in Asgard, Kansas City and Avengers HQ at the North Pole leaving nearly all the Deathloks destroyed. The final battle last issue ended in a massive explosion in the body of the dead Celestial that is the Av Mountain HQ.

Now Captain America, Captain Marvel, Starbrand and a surviving Deathlok are flying to HQ in a quinjet, worried that they can't get a response on the radio. They're also concerned about Starbrand who suddenly aged mid-combat (#52) from single digits to teenager. DL thanks her for sacrificing years of her life to save him. He promises to repay her but won't get a chance because something drills a big hole through his chest and the plane.

It was a flaming Mjolnir which also emits dark 'lightning' wielded by an evil Thor. The real Thor and Mjolnir are battling him in the sky watched by false Thor's mother, a Dark Phoenix from an alternate timeline. Our Thor is still unwilling to accept that this universe's Phoenix is *his* mother and has been refusing to speak to her current avatar Maya Lopez/Echo who now blasts the false Thor. They've obviously brought this fight from Asgard (#51) but Iron Man seemingly hasn't got here yet.

Meanwhile in the wrecked HQ Sub-Mariner and Black Panther (in his Red Panther mystic armour with a vibranium force-field) are holding up large chunks of it while Valkyrie uncovers the body of another Deathlok with severe injuries. Dr Jane Foster uses her All-Weapon as a surgical knife to try to save his life.

Thor hurls lightning at Dark Thor with no effect as the foe boasts how many alternate Thors he's killed. Phoenix uses DT's own Mjolnir to hit him with Phoenix fire to show Thor that only that can hurt the bad guy. But Dark Phoenix ensnares her in a mystic chain and Dark Mjolnir returns to its master. Echo urges Thor to find the fire within him but the Thunder God is still in denial. DT beats him up until fire starts to stream from our Thor's eyes. Ph breaks free from DPh and Thor hurls fire at his doppelganger killing him.

DPh vanishes with the body and the false Mjolnir. But her parting words are that she has won because Thor accepting his Phoenix heritage is the 1st step towards his corruption by it. The hero now accepts Echo as a fellow Avenger. Iron Man finally joins them. Captain Marvel is flying and supporting the crippled quinjet. And they all continue on to Avengers Mountain.

It was Doom Supreme and Kid Thanos who attacked the HQ (last issue). Now they watch it burn from outside. Doom claims that the last Deathlok on Earth-616 is now dead so their Death Hunt is finished and they can leave this reality. Mephisto turns up in the form of a hellhound accompanied by his Iron Inquisitor (armoured Howard Stark). The devil isn't happy, but Doom protests that he hasn't broken the ban against disturbing the 616 timeline. He and his MMOE were here in pursuit of the Deathloks.

But Mephisto is really concerned that they killed the Orb (#50) whose body lies on the ice. In particular Doom burned the Eye of the  Watcher that Orb possessed. That Eye held all the secrets of the world, and the demon knows Doom destroyed it to keep it from *him*. Doom reluctantly uses his magic to unburn it back into existence. But then he takes a bite out of it before leaving with Kid Thanos through a mystic portal to join the rest of the MMOE.

The Inquisitor says that Doom knows what the Council Of Red (alternate Mephistos) are planning. Mephy says he knows that he knows and Doom's not trying to stop them because he's expecting to be able to turn it to his own advantage. The demon for his part expects to be able to defeat the MMOE when the time comes. And maybe he'll learn how to do it by consuming the rest of the Eye.

In the HQ Valkyrie has found her horse Mr Horse alive. CapM and IM make a way in for CapA. Black Panther confirms that Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes) is nowhere on (this) Earth. (We know he's gone travelling with a Deathlok to other timelines in Avengers Forever.) Dr Foster examines Starbrand (Brandy Shelby). Phoenix and Thor talk. Someone's thrown Orb's body into the ocean.

Namor tells Steve Rogers and T'Challa that he's joined the team but he won't stay in the HQ, he'll be on call. Cap says She-Hulk may have sent him here to atone for his recent crimes (in this series and elsewhere) but *he* considers the former monarch of Atlantis in Avengers custody. Subby accepts Captain Rogers' conditions. Panther only accepts Namor as an Avenger because they need all the power they can get.

Valkyrie/Dr Foster has mended the last Deathlok's body and plugged him into the Celestial's necro-tech to keep it alive, but can detect no brain activity. Tony Stark and T'Challa wonder what they can do about the Deathloks' warning. But we learn that the Deathlok's consciousness now inhabits the dead Celestial's (damaged) body.

Juan Frigeri
Juan Frigeri
David Curiel
Javier Garron (Cover Penciler)
Javier Garron (Cover Inker)
David Curiel (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


(Jane Foster)

Plus: Dark Phoenix (of MMOE), Deathloks, Doom Supreme, Iron Inquisitor, Kid Thanos, Phoenix (Maya Lopez), Starbrand (Brandy Selby), The Orb.

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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