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Avengers Forever #6: Review

May 1999
Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco

Story Name:

In the meantime, the in-between times ...

Review & Comments

3 stars

Avengers Forever #6 Review by (May 10, 2010)
Yellowjacket says that whenever a Space Phantom impersonates someone, that person is shunted to Limbo, only to reappear next to the Space Phantom when the impersonation ends. This is what happened in the first appearance of a Space Phantom in Avengers #2, and what happened to Songbird here. He suggests that a Space Phantom can impersonate a dead person without any Limbo-shuffling. This is why no-one appeared last issue when a Space Phantom stopped impersonating the dead Kid Cassidy. But this means that Reno Jones and Black Rider, who were also exposed as Space Phantom's last issue, must be dead as well as Kid Cassidy. The death of Reno Jones, and also of Kid Cassidy, is contraindicated by the 1885-set Blaze of Glory later limited series. But internal evidence suggests that this is a parallel timeline where the main Marvel timeline events exist in dime novels. Black Rider later gets one modern appearance in the Strange Westerns one-shot. But I don't know when this is set, so I don't know if it fits with Avengers Forever. Apart from the marriage of Jocasta and Machine Man, most of the other images Rick sees are of events that will be referenced in later issues. The odd one out is the meeting of two versions of Vance Astro(vik). This meeting caused young Vance to grow up to be the Avenger Justice in the main timeline, and rendered the Guardians of the Galaxy's timeline an alternate reality. Presumably this was one of Immortus's manipulations.

The Killraven adventure shows Immortus manipulating the timeline to keep humans from space. It doesn't specifically show him using the Forever Crystal, but he would need it to stop his actions just causing a divergent timeline. I'm not sure what was the point of including the Western adventure in Avengers Forever, but I have a theory. In #4 Giant-Man and Yellowjacket detected evidence of 3 similar activities by Immortus. The 50's Avengers and Killraven events involved the Forever Crystal, so presumably the Western adventure did too. I propose that Immortus in Avengers #141-143 used the Crystal to ensure that version of Kang died without leaving an alternate reality version who didn't. (But we will see in #9 that this particular Kang didn't actually die.) Wakanda's version of vibranium was introduced in Fantastic Four #53. It absorbs energy and vibrations, and is a component of Captain America's shield. Mourning Prey is another character seen in the original alternate future War of the Worlds in Amazing Adventures, and now included in this alternate alternate future. Kid Colt, Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid we have already met in #4. Ringo Kid began in Wild Western #26 in 1953 but never made it out of the 50's. Night Rider is Carter Slade, who debuted in the 60's as Ghost Rider in his own series. For reprints and later appearances the name was changed to avoid confusion with his supernatural namesake, first to Night Rider and later to Phantom Rider. Several other Western and modern-day heroes also used this identity, and it is complicated to work out which ones were actually known by which names.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers Forever #6 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Captain Marvel (Genis-Vell) and Wasp have just escaped in one of Kang's chronospheres from the alternate timeline of the 1950's Avengers as it was destroyed by Immortus. Captain America and Giant-Man are in an alternate future war against 'Martians'. Hawkeye, Songbird and Yellowjacket are stuck in 1873 Tombstone in the main Marvel timeline. These seven Avengers have been plucked from various times to protect Rick Jones from Immortus.

Rick is safely hidden outside of time in Kang's time-Sphinx, monitoring the situation and keeping in touch with the 3 teams. Captain Marvel and Wasp's escape from the collapsing timeline triggers a cascade of images of Immortus on the Sphinx's viewscreens.

Captain America and Giant-Man have just helped the last remaining Avengers (Black Panther, Crimson Dynamo, Jocasta, Killraven, Living Lightning and Thundra) drive the 'Martians' off Earth (although it seemed a rather localised battle last issue). They now want to pursue them to their nests on Mars. The only usable space technology left on Earth is to construct spaceships from the remains of Wakanda's vibranium mound.

The synthezoid Jocasta is pregnant (the father is the now-dead Machine Man). It turns out that her baby needs the presence of vibranium for a successful birth. They also meet Mourning Prey and her insectoid children who need the vibranium to survive. From Mourning Prey's description we understand that Immortus had a hand in her situation. And one of the images Rick sees is of Immortus marrying Jocasta and Machine Man.

Captain America persuades Black Panther to use the vibranium to support life rather than pursue death for the 'Martians'. Then he and Giant-Man leave in their chronosphere.

Hawkeye, Songbird and Yellowjacket have lost their chronosphere, but they have found some Space Phantoms impersonating Western heroes. They are on the periphery of the buildup to a known Avengers adventure helping real Western heroes Kid Colt, Night Rider, Rawhide Kid, Ringo Kid and Two-Gun Kid against Kang. Because our Avengers know the other Avengers will win, they just want to avoid messing with the timestream and find a way home.

Songbird leads Hawkeye and Yellowjacket into Kang's revealed citadel and finds them a chronosphere. But Yellowjacket is suspicious of Songbird's too-detailed knowledge of the citadel. It turns out she is another Space Phantom (since partway through this issue), and when he drops his disguise the real Songbird returns from Limbo. It appears the Space Phantom was going to take them to Immortus, but instead they use the chronosphere to return to the Sphinx.

Meanwhile in the Sphinx Rick has recorded the images of Immortus. One of them shows him openly carrying the Forever Crystal which he constructed in #3 from Kang's city Chronopolis, and which now allows him to destroy timelines. It is unclear whether the other images are also of Immortus in his current state, but they may in any case show him carrying out part of an overall plan.

They show him officiating at the aforementioned marriage of Jocasta and Machine Man, but also at the joint marriages of Scarlet Witch/Vision and Cotati Swordsman/Mantis in Giant-Size Avengers #4. He is seen in Thor #282 where Thor sacrificed the time-travel capability of his hammer to save the planet of the Space Phantom. But he is also seen in places where he was not known to be:- at the meeting of Dr Doom and Rama-Tut in Fantastic Four Annual #2, and when Vance Astro of the Guardians of the Galaxy met his teen self in Marvel Two-In-One #69. There is also a meeting with the Badoon ruler, and a meeting with a Space Phantom and the Grim Reaper from around Avengers #107 when they erased the world's memory of Captain America's identity as Steve Rogers. And a mysterious image with Immortus, the Forever Crystal, a Human Torch and a body.

The Avengers decide to take the fight to Immortus in Limbo. But Rick Jones is worried, as is Captain Marvel who seems to know more about what is going to happen than the others do.

Carlos Pacheco
Jesus Merino
Steve Oliff
Carlos Pacheco (Cover Penciler)
Jesus Merino (Cover Inker)
Steve Oliff (Cover Colorist)
Plot: .


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel


(Clint Barton)

(Jocasta Pym)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Crimson Dynamo (Anton Vanko), Giant-Man (Scott Lang), Grim Reaper (Eric Williams), Songbird, Space Phantoms, Vance Astro (Major Victory).

> Avengers Forever: Book info and issue index

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