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New Avengers: Illuminati #2: Review

Jan 2007
Brian Reed, Jim Cheung

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Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers: Illuminati #2 Review by (May 28, 2013)
After the last scattering, the Power Gem came into the possession of Titania, via Champion of the Elders of the Universe, in She-Hulk (2004) #10-12, which the Chronology Project puts just after Avengers Disassembled, and so not long before this issue. And from there it passed to She-Hulk's friend Mr Fantastic, which is where this issue starts. The Illuminati say the Gems have been combined twice before, and the last time Mr Fantastic temporarily ceased to exist. This ties in with these being the 2 Thanos occasions mentioned above. But this issue has to happen after all the other occasions too, because of the She-Hulk connection and because after this the Gems are seen in the hands of the Illuminati. And I can't understand why none of the Illuminati can remember any of the intervening adventures. Reed also claims that 2 teams going after 2 Gems simultaneously will minimise the cumulative difficulty of controlling multiple Gems. But strangely this doesn't stop him using 5 Gems to get the 6th at the end. The colours of Gems handed out to each of the Illuminati don't match up with the distribution revealed in Avengers (2010) #7-12. The allocation could conceivably be switched round in the intervening Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers mini-series. But there are problems trying to fit that into continuity. This is the last chronological appearance of the Illuminati before their 1st published debut in New Avengers (2005) #7.

This issue was published after Civil War but dates itself as several months ago. The Official Index places it soon after the introduction of Extremis in Iron Man (2005) #1-6 and before the formation of the New Avengers. The splash page takes a bit of a liberty with the story of the Infinity Gems. The Thanos tale spanned the Thanos Quest mini-series, some issues of Silver Surfer, and the Infinity Gauntlet limited series. The Gems had already made earlier appearances, including Thanos having them all once before in a tale Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. At the end of Infinity Gauntlet the Gems became the possession of Adam Warlock. But in Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1 a gathering of cosmic beings led by the Living Tribunal persuaded Warlock he shouldn't control them. But the LT then gave the Gems to Warlock, telling him to pick 5 others, so that the 6 of them can guard the individual Gems. One of the Watch turned out to be a (temporarily) reformed Thanos. Thus began a 42-issue series. In W&IW#6 The Living Tribunal decided the Gems were still too dangerous, and made it so that they couldn't be used together. This is still not the state referred to in the splash page, because the Gems weren't actually scattered. They remained with the Watch, all of whom except for Thanos were a group that stayed together. During the series the ban on being used together got broken in the Infinity War limited series, but then reinstated at the end of that by Eternity. After W&IW ended the Gems were stolen by Rune of the Ultraverse universe, used by Loki, then by Galactus, and lastly in the Avengers/JLA mini-series. The Gems *did* tend to get scattered after each of these appearances, but the prohibition against being used together seems to have vanished.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers: Illuminati #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The splash page reminds us that years ago Thanos gathered together the 6 powerful Infinity Gems to try to kill half the universe. After his defeat cosmic forces stopped the Gems working together, and scattered them throughout the universe.

Mr Fantastic has convened a meeting with the rest of the Illuminati (Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Iron Man, Prof X and Sub-Mariner). He shows them the red Power Gem, which She-Hulk gave him after taking it from Titania. Reed reminds them how often the Infinity Gems have been united to cause major problems. They dismiss the idea that the Gems can no longer be used together (mainly I would presume because they've seen them combined since that prohibition was made).

Reed Richards proposes that they seek out the Gems themselves before someone else does. He then reveals that he has the Infinity Gauntlet to hold them, and has in fact already retrieved 2 more of the Gems (the green Soul Gem and the purple Space Gem). He says he's discovered that the Gems talk to each other, and he can use them to find each other. But as he increased the number of Gems he had they became more difficult to control. Which is why he's brought them to the Illuminati.

Mr Fantastic causes the Gauntlet to show them the locations of the other Gems in a sort of virtual reality. The blue Mind Gem is in the universal collective unconscious, the yellow Reality Gem at the edge of reality, and the Time Gem is adrift in time. He proposes they split into 2 teams to get the 1st 2 Gems. Then the combined might of the 5 Gems should be enough to bring the Time Gem to join them.

Dr Strange, Prof X and Sub-Mariner go after the Mind Gem. Charles Xavier uses Cerebro at the X-Men's school to help him send their psychic projections into the unconscious of the universe. Dr Strange's astral form should be able to bring them back. Namor is there as muscle. They find that the Mind Gem isn't just in the collective unconscious, it is the universal unconscious.

They imagine themselves standing on an infinite blue crystal plane. But Namor also thinks of it as an ocean, and a giant fish surges up to attack them. Sub-Mariner saves Prof X. He claims that since the fish obviously came from his imagination, then it's up to him to defeat it. But actually a spell from Dr Strange helps as well.

In the Baxter Building Reed and Tony Stark use the power of Black Bolt's voice to open a hole in reality. Iron Man expresses surprise at what he senses through the rip, but we're never told what it is. Instead he just reaches in and pulls out the Reality Gem.

Of course it's not as easy as that, and the Gem starts to erode him away, and the floor he drops it on. A gesture from Black Bolt suggests Mr Fantastic use the gauntlet and its 3 Gems to take control of the new Gem. Driven by worry for Human Torch and Thing who are also in the building, Reed grabs the Reality Gem with the Gauntlet and struggles to master it, eventually restoring Iron Man back to existence.

The other 3 Illuminati return with the Mind Gem. Reed adds it to the Gauntlet, and the 5 Gems summon the Time Gem to them without his intervention.

Mr Fantastic seems lost in the power (literally) at his fingertips. He ignores the others' entreaties and threats to take the Gauntlet off. Uatu the Watcher even drops in to talk Richards down. But when Reed comes to, he explains that he'd tried to use the Gauntlet and Gems to wish themselves out of existence. But he couldn't make it happen.

Richards then offers the Gauntlet to the Watcher. But Uatu says no one being should have all the Gems. Reed suggests that each of the Illuminati take a Gem and hide it, even from the others. Watcher still isn't too happy, but is willing to let it be.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

Jim Cheung
Mark Morales
Justin Ponsor
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Johnny Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Jennifer Walters)

(Ben Grimm)


> New Avengers: Illuminati: Book info and issue index

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