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New Avengers: Illuminati #3: Review

May 2007
Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

New Avengers: Illuminati #3 Review by (September 20, 2016)
This issue doesn't actually include Iron Man, but I've done it for completeness.

This controversial issue suggests that Secret Wars II never happened on the real Earth, just in Beyonder's simulations. But there are all those crossovers with other titles to explain, some of which have lasting consequences. The idea that he is a mutant Inhuman has also never been taken up by others, in favour of the theory that he is an immature offspring of the equally pan-cosmic Beyonders. The Marvel Chronology Project Forum thinks he is just messing with the Illuminati's minds here.
The MCP place this issue immediately after SWII#3 to explain why the team don't remember Beyonder being on Earth (and Prof X detecting him land). They put it down to a mindwipe at the end of SWII#3 to make everyone forget Beyonder conquered the world in that issue. They say the mindwipe covered his whole visit in #1-3. (Not a perfect explanation because in other issues various characters do remember incidents from there.)
They consider that the Ceres incident is Beyonder reviewing events from #1-3, like in particular the gold building affair from #2. But other things don't necessarily tally with this.

The gold building incident happened in SWII#2 when Beyonder had blonde hair. He turned it to this issue's dark shade in #3 so that would fit with him replaying it here. However he hasn't worn the trademark white suit yet. He does keep changing colours - but I'm not sure he ever wears the white version in that series, the covers of #6 and #8 to the contrary.
Galactus and Frankie Raye aren't in SWII or its tie-ins. Silver Surfer is only in a crowd scene in #9. The attack by Hulk would be in #8 if anywhere relevant. Beta Ray Bill could be from Thor #357-359 which likely happened before this, but Beyonder doesn't get involved in that area until later. Captain Marvel's app can't be tied to anything in particular.

It's a bit strange for the Illuminati to say they don't know where Tony Stark is at this time. A later continuity-implant series Iron Man: Legacy has them helping Tony out in California while Jim Rhodes was in the armour. But even without that some of them would surely have heard where he was, and realised that he's since then taken the role back in IM#200 in a new armour.

Prof X is here between Uncanny X-Men #196 and #200. There's no indication that he'll be near-death in #200 from (I think) injuries sustained in #192.
Mr Fantastic has just returned from the Skrull galaxy in FF Annual #19 and Avengers Annual #14, which follow on from Av#260 which is linked in to SWII#3. His next app will be in a crowd scene at the end of SWII#5.
Dr Strange was last seen in Marvel Fanfare #20-21 bringing Hulk back temporarily from the Crossroads dimension, just in time to fit in a cameo in Marvel GN #27: Emperor Doom. Next DrS will have his own #71-74, and #74 will feature his own visitation from Beyonder, from the middle of SWII#5.
Sub-Mariner himself was last in MFan#20 and GN:EDoom, after losing his Atlantean kingdom in his own 4-issue mini-series. Next he'll become an Avenger in their #262.
Black Bolt meanwhile hasn't been seen since the previous Illuminati gig in IM: Legacy. Next up for him is an app of his other group the Inhumans in Vision & Scarlet Witch v2 #10 via their link Quicksilver - brother of SW and husband of Inhuman Crystal.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers: Illuminati #3 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Prof X explains to the other Illuminati (except Iron Man) something about Secret Wars I. (Mr Fantastic is the only other 1 of them who was there as well, but he doesn't know some of this.)

A being from beyond this universe who they dubbed the Beyonder had gathered a bunch of superheroes and villains on Battleworld and pitted them against each other. Charles Xavier says he could have psychically stopped the fight, and then he and Reed Richards could probably have dealt with the problem. But he was wary of how the immensely powerful being would react.

But he now adds that he investigated the Beyonder's mind and found a mutant signature and an image of the Inhuman royal family. He believes the Beyonder is actually a mutant Inhuman. Ie he was a mutant before the Terrigen Mists triggered his Inhuman power. Xavier reads from silent Black Bolt's mind that he doesn't remember such a thing.

Prof X has gathered Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Mr Fantastic and Sub-Mariner together now because he has sensed the return of the Beyonder. (DrS says they don't know where Tony Stark is, and MrF says he hasn't talked to him for a while.) PX thinks they should go find the alien before he gets a chance to do anything. He's used Cerebro to track the 'mutant' to the asteroid Ceres. Regal Namor expects the Beyonder to respect the will of his king BB.

Reed takes them to the Skrull ship that they escaped from the Skrull galaxy on in #1. The other Illuminati believed the ship destroyed lest the Skrulls track it (but surely the Skrulls know where Earth is?). But he and Stark have been studying it, and Namor accuses them of both profiting from the alien tech.

They fly to Ceres and find a lifesize replica of Manhattan there. They land on the Baxter Building and Stephen Strange declares that the city's inhabitants are all mindless puppets.

They see the Beyonder in human form talking to fake Iron Fist, Power Man and Spider-Man in front of a collapsed gold building. Then B makes PM & IF vanish.

But then Beyonder notices the Illuminati and transports himself to their presence. He is astonished to see real people made of real molecules. Then he recognises Black Bolt and kneels to him as his lord.

But at that point a fake Hulk attacks the alien. Beyonder gets rid of him and apologises for not aborting that scheduled action.

He says Blackagar Boltagon can speak here without fear of his voice destroying the place. He offers to give his king control over his vocal power, or even to remove it completely. But he's confused over how BB can still be alive - Beyonder believes he's been away for a long time.

While they are speaking Beta Ray Bill and Captain Marvel streak past, followed by Silver Surfer, Galactus and his herald Nova/Frankie Raye.

The Illuminati ask Beyonder to return to the universe he just came from (not his birth universe according to the origin presented here). They say his meddling is upsetting the natural order of things, especially the future of humanity. B responds that they interfere all the time, but DrS says they are human so that's OK.

Beyonder then gives them a taste of the 'perfected' world he could create, with their desires satisfied. Dr Strange wakes up in bed with Clea and Scarlet Witch (according to Marvel Wiki). Overhead fly Iron Men and Iron Women, and many other flying beings (Inhumans?), and flying cars. Sub-Mariner invades the surface world with his Atlanteans.

The Illuminati tell him to stop. Namor relays it as an order from King Black Bolt that he should leave this universe. We see Beyonder's memory of walking into the Terrigen Mists watched by BB and co. (Presumably after his transformation he disappeared into the solipsistic universe he later occupied.)

Then his body turns into a statue, which starts to crumble along with the surroundings. And the Illuminati escape as other asteroids crash into this 1. The team believe the alien has gone. And BB still can't remember him.

But Beyonder watches them go from afar. He's in another replica Manhattan, or maybe the real 1.

Jim Cheung
Mark Morales
Justin Ponsor
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Atlanteans.

> New Avengers: Illuminati: Book info and issue index

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