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New Avengers: Illuminati #4: Review

Aug 2007
Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers: Illuminati #4 Review by (February 24, 2024)
Brian Reed is co-scribe with Brian Bendis again. John Dell, Dave Meikis and Mark Morales combine on the inking.

The cover is somewhat misleading in that only Invisible Woman actually appears inside. The other women are merely talked about.

Bendis seems to (have chosen to) forget that Marvel Boy is from an alternate timeline. Eg Prox X expects him to know Kree history from *this* timeline. And he *does* know about the traitor Captain Mar-Vell.

Noh-Varr is here between his mini-series where he ended up imprisoned and the Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways mini-series where SHIELD use him as a weapon against the teens but he winds up secretly taking over the Cube. After that he'll fight Skrulls during Secret Invasion and then become Captain Marvel but as 1 of Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers.

The Marvel Chronology Project locates this issue in the history of the other chars:-

It's in the post-Onslaught/Heroes Reborn time where the Avengers and Fantastic Four are well into their 1998 series.

Iron Man is here between and Avengers story in Marvel Double Shot #2 and Av#62 while Sub-Mariner shows up between Av#61 and Get Kraven #2. In #61 the Avengers became a separate 'nation' in the UN, and they don't realise they are in the build up to a conflict with the Red Skull.
For IM this is all between his #58 (which ended the Sympathy For The Devil arc vs Tiberius Stone) and #59 (which starts the In Shining Iron Arthurian adventure).
Namor was allied with the Avengers during their #58-61 and a battle with Scorpio. That was just after he was part of the latest Defenders series which morphed into the Order mini-series where they took over the world. After this he'll go into roving guest star mode.

Franklin Richards establishes that this is between FF#60 and #61, both standalone stories between a pair of 3-parters. In #57-59 Thing fought multiple versions of himself and re-lost the ability to turn human. In #62-64 Franklin creates a living equation.
Invisible Woman and Mr Fantastic have a whole load of apps before this 1:- Amazing Spider-Man #47, B-Sides #1-3, Peter Parker SM #55, Spectacular SM #4 & #8 (and the Spidey apps aren't particularly connected). And Mr Fantastic has an app in Daredevil #39 after this issue.

Black Bolt is here between FF#54 and the 2003 Inhumans series. (And he's not yet been replaced by a Skrull.)

Dr Strange is here long after his Defenders and Order apps with Namor. His latest app was a cameo in Thor #49. He'll appear next in DD2#39 (with Mr Fantastic).
Despite just now telling the others that Clea has left him to rule the Dark Dimension, that happened 2 real decades ago in Dr Strange vol 2 #53. It is suggested here that they were married but it wasn't true at *that* time. However some real years later (Dr S, Sorcerer Supreme #2) they did get magically married (they couldn't be Earthly married because she was from another dimension) but she keeps having to spend a lot of time in the DD. And that's their status at this point.

Prof X was also involved in Order #5-6. After that he had apps in Brotherhood #8 (the B'Hood were anti-mutant terrorists) and a tale (about an X-Men film) in X-Men Unlimited #35. After this he'll be back to X-business starting with New X-Men #127.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers: Illuminati #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Dr Strange is sitting pensively alone in the Illuminati's meeting room (in an abandoned Stark factory) waiting for the others. Mr Fantastic joins him and asks if he's OK. Stephen Strange says that his lover Clea has left him to rule the Dark Dimension. It takes some hints for Reed Richards to recall who she is. Iron Man joins them and Reed explains Stephen's 'problem'. Tony Stark commiserates because she was very attractive, which doesn't go down well with DrS.

Stephen asks them how much attention is needed to keep a woman happy. But it is Prof X who answers, having entered with Black Bolt. Charles Xavier opines that no amount of attention is enough, and Strange adds that Xavier's experience extends to dating an alien (ie the Shi'Ar Lilandra Neramani). Charles is doubly-shocked - that his love-life is discussed online and that the Sorcerer Supreme goes online. He can access the Astral Plane! But Stephen says the Astral Plane doesn't get hockey scores.

Tony says he envies their long term relationships. He puts in a lot of effort but can't make it stick. Blackagar Boltagon pretends to make himself sick and telepath Prof X says that BB is mentally laughing and saying his wife Medusa never lets him get a word in (which is of course a joke). Tony comments that Reed's wife Sue (Invisible Woman) is great. Reed agrees but adds that she keeps wanting to interrupt his experiments, and when he ignores her she leaves the building. And he says he knows where she goes, looking meaningfully at Sub-Mariner who has just completed the group. Namor tells him that Sue feels trapped but she'll never leave him no matter how hard Subby tries to persuade her. Tony tries to break the tension by claiming to top all their tales by admitting to having slept with Madame Masque.

Then they get on to why he called the meeting in the 1st place. Noh-Varr/Marvel Boy, a Kree (from an alternate timeline), came to Earth and declared war on mankind (in the Marvel Boy mini-series). He's now imprisoned in the Cube but he's still dangerous. He might escape, or the Kree might demand his release. Namor suggests they beat him into submission. Tony suggests Prof X 'change' his mind. Xavier protests that he doesn't do that sort of thing. And he reminds them that if he *did* do that kind of thing then he and mutants would be ruling the planet instead of being outcasts. And anyway minds aren't that easy to mess with successfully. So they decide to just talk to MB.

But what we see 1st is Sub-Mariner visiting Marvel Boy in his cell and beating him up as he 1st suggested. But then the scene changes and Noh-Varr is with Prof X and Black Bolt in the Inhumans' home Attilan. Xavier tells him how the Kree created the Inhumans thousands of years ago to be weapons. Noh realises that this is an illusion created by PX. And because this is an illusion BB is able to speak and tell him he is king of the Inhumans. Then we're back to Namor beating the message into him.

Next up is Mr Fantastic in his head courtesy of Prof X. Noh and Reed are on the roof of the Baxter Building sharing a memory of Reed's of the original Captain Mar-Vell. The Kree remembers him as a traitor to their race during the Kree-Skrull War. MrF remembers him as someone who saved both the humans and the Kree from destruction. He goes on to admit that humans are a foolish squabbling lot but Mar-Vell saw the potential of greatness within us. Noh-Varr however sees all the more reason for the Kree to conquer them and make use of that potential. Richards persists in believing the alien could use his powers for good.

Marvel Boy expects to go back to being beaten up by Namor. But instead he finds himself having a cosy chat with Iron Man who tells him he understands having more intellect and power than everyone else. But he now faces a choice. He could be a hero (and we see him in a Captain Marvel uniform with the Avengers) or he could remain stuck in his cell ...

... which is where he now is apparently with all 5 of the Illuminati. He asks if they'll let him out if he says he'll be good. But Prof X says that he should *earn* his way out, and they leave his superior intellect to figure that out.

An epilogue in the Baxter Building shows Reed and Sue watching over their sleeping son Franklin. Reed gives his wife a choice for tomorrow. Should they go on a date or a family picnic, or both. We don't hear her answer but she looks happy. Tony Stark stares at his Iron Man mask and a presumably non-alcoholic drink. And Dr Strange levitates and meditates. While Noh-Varr contemplates the name Captain Marvel.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Marvel Boy
Marvel Boy

Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

Plus: Illuminati.

> New Avengers: Illuminati: Book info and issue index

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