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Avengers Annual #2001: Review

Jul 2001
Kurt Busiek, Ivan Reis

Story Name:

The third man

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Avengers Annual #2001 Review by (September 5, 2020)
Albert Deschesne shares the lettering with Richard Starkings.

I must admit I didn't recognise the Hornet's Hideaway when we saw it in #38.

Nurse Jane Foster was of course the early love-interest for Thor. As a doctor she's been Tony Stark's physician since Iron Man (1998) #11 and treated Justice's injury in our #17 and #24. But she's also a regular in the current Thor series working alongside his current human id paramedic Jake Olsen, and that's where she'll return after this.

Firestar and Justice will disappear again but pop up in in a guest-star-fest in Thunderbolts #57.

Photon will be back in out #46.

The 2nd story with Jarvis is an attempt to explain away past inconsistencies.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Annual #2001 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This Annual concentrates on Henry Pym, so it begins with a quick primer on his abilities. He discovered Pym Particles which enabled him to grow and shrink. (Later it was discovered that when he grows he takes mass from another dimension and when he shrinks he shunts excess mass there. He's had many super-identities, shrinking as Ant-Man and Yellowjacket, growing as Giant-Man and Goliath. In earlier days the shrinking and growing caused health and sanity problems, but nowadays he's made the process perfectly safe ...

Chapter 1: The third man (actually the title of the whole story) why are Wasp and Triathlon rushing him, as Yellowjacket this time, to the Avengers Mansion medi-lab. The 3 of them were part of a team of Avengers (in #42-43 of the current run) repelling an invasion of Canada by Attuma and the Atlanteans. But then he collapsed and started to turn translucent. A quick quinjet flight and here they are. Dr Jane Foster has been alerted and is ready to do whatever she can.

Then Photon beams in. Janet Van Dyne says she told Monica Rambeau to lightspeed from the Avengers asteroid base to Prince Edward Island to help with Attuma. But Photon says Hercules is there and he and Scarlet Witch and Stingray have the situation in hand. And she can zip back in seconds if necessary but she wanted to help her friend.

Then Hank regains consciousness and urgently tells Jan to go to the Hornet's Hideaway on the maple tree in the front yard and look after the fake Henry Pym who's trapped there. This all confuses her but she obeys and indeed finds the miniature base he had when he 1st took the name Yellowjacket (in #59 of the original series). And inside she indeed sees another Henry Pym in a containment tube. She frees him, and her lover warns her about the duplicate who captured him and who he fears might infiltrate the Avengers. Then he too collapses and begins to fade.

Jan takes him to Dr Foster, who continues to examine both men. She tells Monica how Henry had been more introverted than usual and then suddenly changed to an extrovert (in recent issues), but she never suspected they were 2 different people. Monica tries to reassure her that everything will be fine.

Meanwhile Triathlon is in the Situation Room studying the globe display of known threats. Delroy Garrett has gotten used to the fact that 1 of those considered a threat is Jonathan Tremont, the leader of Delroy's 'church' the Triune Understanding. But then he makes a decision. As he leaves the room the globe switches to a display of inactive Avengers, including Firestar and Justice who are (supposedly) on leave in Cap D'Antibes.

Jane tells Jan that the Hanks' problem is beyond conventional medicine. There are only 3 people who might be able to sort it out. She can't get hold of Reed Richards or Henry McCoy, and the 3rd is Henry Pym himself. Then Triathlon interrupts with an idea that Wasp won't like. Pym seems to have been divided into 2 people. The Triune Understanding are all about healing rifts between body and spirit or heart and mind, so just maybe they can help.

Jan *is* resistant because of the bad blood between Avengers and Triunes. But Delroy says they 'healed' him when he needed it. And desperate Jan says she'll try anything.

Chapter 2: Desperate measures

A quick quinjet flight brings Photon, Triathlon, Wasp and the 2 patients to the Triune HQ in Calleyville, Texas, where they are warmly greeted by Jonathan Tremont who assures Jan he'll do all he can. In the Understanding's medical bay Tremont is bathed in '3-fold energy' as he stands between the heads of the Pyms. He senses that they are indeed 2 halves of the same person but they are rejecting each other. But they can't survive separately, so he must make them confront each other. And he directs energy into their brains.

Goliath and Yellowjacket approach each other in a mist-shrouded scene. Initially they just compare notes. Goliath remembers (#28) when Kulan Gath's spell briefly turned him into a Yellowjacket-ish character, and since then he found it not so easy to grow - presumably because some of the other-dimensional mass he accesses was used to create YJ's new body. Yellowjacket agrees that the spell allowed him to escape back to life and his true place. Goliath protests that YJ is a fake, but his opponent claims that G-Pym is the usurper who forced him out a long time ago.

He says that he evolved from Ant-Man via Giant-Man and Goliath to Yellowjacket, which was when he won Jan's hand in marriage. But Goliath forced him out to regress to his earlier identity. Goliath responds that YJ was a mental aberration brought on by guilt over creating Ultron and an accident with chemicals. And every mistake he made in life was when using the YJ id (presumably not including marrying Jan, but definitely including when he hit Jan leading to divorce). And predictably they start fighting.

Jonathan tells Janet that in his experience things always come in threes, but he can't figure out what the 3rd factor here might be. Jan fears it be herself. Tremont isn't so sure but it's worth a try. And Wasp agrees to let him send her into her lover's minds.

Watching from a gallery Monica asks Delroy what's the problem between the Avengers and the Triunes. Triathlon says his version of events would be biased, but if she wants just to know something about the Understanding she can read a brochure in the lobby. Photon heads off to maybe do just that.

The battling Henrys are stunned to see Jan approach them, clad in the costume she wore when Yellowjacket 1st emerged. YJ runs to his 'wife' for a big reunion, but Goliath stops him to protect her - from *both* of them. YJ acts without thinking and he hurt Jan so he needed to be locked away. Hank suppressed his emotional side so it wouldn't happen again.

Chapter 3: Secrets within

As Monica Rambeau strolls casually about the building she is dragged aside by 2 hooded cultists who turn out to be Firestar and Justice undercover. They take her to see that the Triunes are building a spaceship. Apparently the Understanding are preparing to fight a predicted threat from space. The ship uses psychic induction grids to power itself with the faith of the assembled acolytes, but the duo are afraid that it will fry their minds.

In the mind-space the 2 Henry Pyms ask Janet Van Dyne to choose which of them should live. She rejects that option. She wants the whole man, not just a fragment. And they need to stop trying to live up to what they think someone else, even her, wants them to be. Hank needs to decide who *he* wants to be. She leaves them glaring at each other.

Photon returns to Triathlon who tells her Wasp has just woken up unhappy. Monica still wants to understand Delroy's position with the Avengers and the Triunes. He tells her how he tried to prove himself as an Olympic champion but screwed it up. How the Triunes accepted him and helped him come to terms with things (as well as giving him his powers). And then he was foisted on the Avengers and they are suspicious of him. And now he doesn't know which of them is right.

Monica says his status as an Avenger doesn't depend on the Triunes being innocent. The Avengers have welcomed members with tainted pasts before, like Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision. She says he's just feeling like the new guy in the club. Silverclaw must be the same. And now Jack Of Hearts is the even-newer-guy who probably need *his* help.

In wherever they are Goliath and Yellowjacket reluctantly admit that they both admire qualities in the other. Then a 3rd figure approaches as Ant-Man, but then grows to the just-a-human scientist Henry Pym. The other 2 decide it's no use trying to be the bravest, smartest or most powerful Avenger, they should just aim to be the best Hank Pym they can be. The 3 join hands and the 2 costumed chars shrink as the human grows ...

... and wakes up as a single being. Jan runs to him and sees him relaxed and confidant, and they kiss. They and Tremont go to join Monica and Delroy. Photon has just told Triathlon about the spaceship. He didn't know about that but he did know about the predicted Triple-Evil. Jan gives Delroy a hug of thanks. And the Avengers leave in their quinjet.

There's a 2nd short tale starring Edwin Jarvis.

Title: House cleaning

Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund from the cover do the pencils and inks. The rest of the creators are the same as the main story.

Jarvis gets an email from Duane Freeman, the government liaison, with some queries for his files.

The main queries concern things before the Onslaught event. The Wasp had been turned more insect-like, but now she's not. And Iron Man was accused of 3 murders but the cases are closed now.

Edwin painfully remembers the Crossing event where Iron Man killed the female Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), Luna's nanny Marilla and Force Works' PR Amanda Chaney. He also injured Wasp and the cure changed her. But then Tony Stark died heroically and he was replaced by a teen version from another timeline, who was 1 of the heroes who disappeared at the end of Onslaught. It turned out they lived new lives in the Heroes Reborn universe. And when they returned Tony was adult again and could remember all 3 lives. And his old body was gone from its grave.

It turned out that the HR universe was created by Franklin Richards. He was also involved in their return and recreated them as he remembered them:- Iron Man adult and Wasp not insecty (and Hawkeye without damaged hearing). Iron Man got exonerated of the murders because he was controlled by Kang (or Immortus as revealed later in Avengers Forever). He still feels guilty and has installed anti-mind control features in his armour and Avengers Mansion.

Duane has 2 more queries:-

How can Captain America's shield made of adamantium and vibranium when adamantium was invented much later?
Both the shield and adamantium were created by Dr Myron Maclain. Before WWII he was trying to bond vibranium with steel. He accidentally succeeded but couldn't duplicate the process. That single sample was used to create Cap's shield. Later he created adamantium, not related to vibranium.

Is Falcon a mutant? No. His only super-ability is his mental link with his pet falcon which was caused by Red Skull and a Cosmic Cube. A mutant-hunting Sentinel once attacked him but it must have been faulty.

Ivan Reis
Scott Hanna
Tom Smith
Ian Churchill (Cover Penciler)
Norm Rapmund (Cover Inker)
Tom Smith (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Edwin Jarvis)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Firestar (Angel Jones), Goliath (Hank Pym), Jonathan Tremont, Justice (Vance Astrovik), Photon (Monica Rambeau), Triathlon (Delroy Garrett Jr.).

> Avengers Annual: Book info and issue index

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