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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Hi! I’m Octo! And when I start a thread like that, you know it’s going to be a big undertaking!

If you asked me point blank, I’d admit that the Avengers isn’t my favourite superhero team. Heck, they’re not even my favourite superhero team created by Marvel in the 1960s in response to The Justice League. I like the team just fine, but it’s always been the bronze medal finalist in my heart in terms of Marvel team books

However… Kurt Busiek is also very close to the top of the heap in terms of being my favorite comics writer, likewise, George Perez is one of the finest artists to ever work in the Laser Soap Opera genre, and the two of them worked together on a pretty healthy sized run of Avengers, that transformed the book from “Where we put the guys who ain’t Spider-man or X-Men” to one of the cornerstones of the Marvel universe.

And despite that pedigree, I’ve read, like… two issues of it, so I’m going in basically blind here.

The Busiek Run kicked off shortly after the… truly misguided attempt by Marvel to reinvigorate their poorly selling, long running books by giving full creative control to all of them to Rob Liefeld, and then immediately and drastically backpedaling when it became clear that nobody asked them to do that, and for a good reason.

In Universe, it follows some time after the battle against Onslaught, where all the Avengers and FF were seemingly killed after being enveloped by a mysterious energy released as Onslaught died. They were actually all kicked into bespoke reboot universes where they loved rich full lives… for about a year when some nonsense involving Dr. Doom and Thor wound up popping everyone back. With the Avengers separating since, clearly the other superheroes of New York proved themselves capable of doing all the heavy lifting in the meantime.

You can read all about it in Heroes Reborn: The Complete Epic, but… you shouldn’t bother. “The Avengers ain’t been around in a minute” is the important bit of backstory here.

And now; on the the front story! Once I read the first issue! Later tonight!

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption


Dee-doody DEE

We’re kicking things off with a bang in the double sized first issue; the aptly named And There Came a Day!

Well, it’s one of those deals where every act change has a title, but that’s the most accurate one for the kick off to a new Avengers run. You could also call it Once an Avenger or Avengers Assemble or even To Face a Foe, if you want.

Anyway, we kick things off with a cold-open that partly exists to let George Perez show off why, exactly, he's one of the best damn comic artists to ever live; as we're shown several former Avengers (Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Crystal, of the Inhumans) are out on a lunch date, complaining about the ludicrous amount of paper-work one has to put up with when a giant psionic demon boots you out of the universe, and then you suddenly reappear one year later like nothing ever happened.

There's forms for that kind of thing, apparently.

Anyway, their pleasant lunch is interrupted by a hoard of furious air-borne trolls.

As is the lunch of damn near every B-and-lower tier superhero who has ever shown even a passive interest in Avenging anything;


Everyone from Black Panther down to D-Man gets attacked by monsters largely out of Norse mythology, all across the planet, simultaneously. And the monsters all disappear at the same time. nd more to the point, even if there was a group of people around, the monsters all specifically only attacked former Avengers. The entire New Warriors team showed up, and were largely ignored except for the one guy who Captain America on his speed-dial.

Anyway, the mosnters all disappear, leaving a sizable chunk of Earths superhero population to go "Whu?"


And we cut to Avengers Mansion, the present home base of the Avengers, where four of the original members of the team (Captain America, Iron Man, Wasp and Giant Man). We also get an info-dump in the form of a news report getting everyone up to speed on why, exactly, the Avengers haven't been aorund (Heroes Reborn happened, and then Thor and Dr. Doom said "Oh... nah", and then Heroes Reborn immediately stopped having happened).

The News Report also mentions that, yes, technically, The Hulk was a founding Avenger, but he also immediately quit the team, since it was a group that was formed in order to beat him up, specifically, and he didn't see that as being a healthy environment for him, emotionally.

Anyway, the OG Avengers are sitting around, enjoying a nice cup of tea, provided by Tonys butler, Jarvis, as they try to work out why everyone with an Avengers membership *except* them, was attacked by monsters out of Norse Mythology, and also being kind of bitter that nobody else thought to do any Avenging while they were all away; it's not like every superhero was zapped away by Onslaught.

To be fair, the Thunderbolts were definitely doing a lot of Avenging. You can read the other thread I made to see how well they did.

Anyway; Janet mentions that since all the monsters were from Asgard, Thors missing, and this is the start of a new Avengers run, this situation is probably Lokis fault. And, honestly, pretty compelling argument; especially when a disheveled Thor crashes in through a window screaming that the Earth is in danger.


Janet also managed to sneak in a Midgard* [*Earth] joke, which I always appreciate.

Thor doesn't really elaborate on what, exactly, the danger threatening Earth is, but the Avengers give him some Mutton and Mead (the implication being that the Avengers Mansion fridge always has mutton and mead on hand for when Thor is a day) and after he's calmed down a bit, he mentions that yes, the world is in peril, and it's the kind of peril that requires a lot more than 5 of Earths Mightiest Heroes...


They need ALL of them.

Cap BCCs the entire Avengers company when he calls for an Avengers Assemble, and brings in every (living) person who has ever Avenged, or thought that Venging might be a viable career path, which I honestly think was Busiek daring Perez to draw this page and make it coherent.

And of course he could. He didn't even need to draw everyone fighting a gigantic robot made of outer space in the middle or anything; this was a warm-up for him.

Anyway, once every Avenger who could viable show up has (the Fantastic Four admit that most of their number HAVE been on the team at one point, but they've got their own comic to worry about, and Hulk left an angry voicemail asking to be taking off their calling list and that he has no interest in any crossovers), Thor finally explains why the world is doomed.

After Thor fought with Dr. Doom in order to end the Heroes Reborn timeline, each Hero who had required rebirthing found themselves back where they started from; and in Thors case, that meant the Eternal Palace of Asgard. Which, normally, would have been fine, because, you know... that's his house. But in this case, his reception wasn't as warm as it could have been, since Asgard, apparently, was completely destroyed, and empty of any life; from God to Monster, and the Bifrost Bridge that connected Asgard to the rest of the universe was shattered.

All of which would have been pretty bad on its own, but one thing made it significantly worse;


The Twilight Sword, the most apocalyptically dangerous weapon ever created, forged by melting down an entire galaxy for raw materials, is missing. The raw magic that runs through the Twilight Sword is so powerful that unsheathing it would immediately destroy and replace the entire universe. It's also the size of a large apartment building

So... umm... definitely something that's thankfully easy to keep track of.

Also bad, but less bad is that the Norn Stones, Asgardian gems that can grant some pretty intense magic powers (like the Infinity Stones, but... lesser) have also gone missing, but Thor knows how to track them; they've been scattered around Earth, and the magic that powers them also opened up a pathway to Earth that also attracted everyone who at least a C+ in Magical Evil to the planet; which is why so many Avengers suddely got attacked by monsters.

It doesn't quite explain why only Avengers were attacked, but, I'm sure there's a solid explanation forthcoming.

Anyway, Thor and Cap come up with a plan, and it's a pretty simple one; split the (greatly expanded) Avengers into five teams; send each team after one of the scattered Norn Stones, and collect them to try to work out where the Twilight Sword went. Probably to Loki... this all really feels like a Loki kind of plan. It's also a pretty basic, GI Joe plot, really...


Justice is new to Major Superhero Teams and doesn't quite know how to handle himself, immediately ingratiating himself to me.

Anyway, the Avengers do their plan, each group heading to the far corners of the Earth in pursuit of the Norn Stones (Captain Americas team, including Quasar, Crystal, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hercules and... umm... D-Man) but hit some unexpected snags. For one thing... a sudden tornado made of red lightning over Britain that requires the combined super-strength of Quasar and elemental control of Crystal to defuse.

Also, they just... find the Twilight Sword, which is presently just stuck into the ground outside Tintagel Castle.

Huh... kind of... thought that whole Norn Stone thing was going to need to get resolved first.

The team tries to speed-run this comicbook arc by grabbing the Sword immediately, but find it defended by a hoard of rock-monsters that abduct Wanda before she can react, and the actual villain of this storyline.

It's Loki, right?

It's definitely Loki...

This is a story about a new Avengers team coming together, armies of monsters from Norse myth, Thor's really concerned and stuff from Thor comics is the main focus, who else could it be but Loki.

You name me ONE OTHER incredibly ostentatious mythological arch-mage who wears a lot of gold and green and hates the Avengers just as much as they love theatricality.


Ah... well... okay... yes... that'd do it.

Morgan La Fey, as Quasar helpfully explained in that image I just linked, is... umm... the one from Arthurian Myth; she was basically the evil version of Merlin, wanted her weiner-kid, Mordred, to take over Avalon, but was thwarted. Basically the same deal here, except that she never really stopped trying, even after 1400 years of steady failures, and even though she's already a dominating warlord in one of the magical Otherworlds attached to Britain.

Britain, in the Marvel Universe, is basically built on the magical equivalent of a freeway turnpike; lots of Magical Demi-Planes are attached to it.

Morgan explains what her plan is and it's... pretty involved, I'll give her that. that she recently learned that the Celtic Magick she wields is, in fact, surprisingly similar to Asgardian Magic; not a 1:1 match, but close enough that she can do some real damaging things that really shouldn't have been possible otherwise; like summon beings from the Nine Realms, steal artifacts like the Norn Stones and Twilight Sword or shatter the Bifrost. The only thing she COULDN'T do, even with the Norn Stones boosting her power, was actually draw forth the Twilight Sword and rebuild the universe in her image; that requires ACTUAL Asgardian Magic to pull off. So she puts together a straightforward, 6-point plan;

1. She summoned armies of monsters to attack random former Avengers
2. This would inspire an enormous Avengers team to be assembled
3. She would then DIVIDE this enormous Avengers team by making some obvious macguffins to hunt down
4. She would personally show up, along with her weener-kid Mordred, to whichever team happened to have The Scarlet Witch in it
5. She would capture and torture Wanda until she released her Chaos Magic, because Celtic Magic + Chaos Magic = Asgard Magic
6. She would use Asgardian Magic, boosted by the Norn Stones, to draw the Twilight Sword and turn the Earth into a Medieval Fantasy Kingdom.

So she does (Quicksilver does get a chance to beat up Mordred a bunch trying to save his sister, at least), and Cap doesn't even have time to stop to think "Aw crap" before Morgan draws the sword, rewrites history and FINALLY takes over the Earth.

Man... he just got out of a rebooted universe.

NEXT TIME: The Knights Who Say "Fe"
Kurt Busiek's anecdotes about Perez on this run are really funny. Basically all of them are some variation on, "I knew I was asking a lot, so I tried to at least make this part simple and wrote this as a zoom in on one character, and then Perez asked me if he could instead draw a million characters."

(This particular page was planned as a spread because that was the whole gimmick of the first issue, that it would feature every Avenger ever, consciously linking itself to the past as opposed to Heroes Reborn's misguided break from continuity, but in general that was the dynamic on their run.)


Here's some of Busiek's memories about this:

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Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
I recall hearing that Perez wanted to do Avengers because he wanted to prove to everyone he could do a team book with lots of spectacle in it.

This being after Teen Titans, CoIE and Infinite Gauntlet

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
This book opens with a full page image of four people getting attacked by dozens of distinct winged goblins amidst a field of explosively shattering glass, with every shard of glass and strand of hair on each of their heads being individually hand drawn, and George felt like he had to prove himself.



Summon for hire
There are many possible questions here, but I have one question, and it is “who the hell is D-Man?”

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption

Okay, once again; starting off by heaping praise on George Perez; *look at that cover*; not only do we get dozens of characters crammed into a single image, they’re all completely redesigned and still Immediately recognizable.

Well, Thor and Iron Man are basically the same, I guess…

Anyway, we’ve got people being sick of alternate realities, Kurt deciding to rename every character, and Mordred channeling Scott Evil in this… The Call

Last time, as you no doubt recall (and this story really assumes you recall it), the evil sorceress Morgan La Fey (from… history? Oral tradition?) finally succeeded at doing something she’d been trying to do for 1400 years and conquered England, and by extension the world, by exploiting standard superhero crisis response behaviour and kidnapping the Scarlet Witch to use her Chaos Magic, as well as the stolen Twilight Sword of Asgard, to give Morgan enough of a power boost to reshape the universe according to her own will.

Now that i think about it, it was basically Hans Grubers plan from Die Hard, just with more Nornstones and fewer exploding helicopters.

Anyway, an indeterminate length of time has passed since then, and the world is indeed a 1400-year-old sorceresses idea of perfection; an Anglo-centric medieval fantasy kingdom. Though I guess if Morgan is Celtic it shouldn't really look so much like Britain... and we open on a couple of drunken louts who are on their way to being kicked out of a bar and make a real societal nuisance of themselves by accosting a couple of women... when those women turn around and reveal they have bright green and red skin, respectively, and are also belting out enough radiation to make sure these guys entire family trees are about to shrivel up; and you might think that they are, in fact, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel (or Binary, or Warbird, or whatever she was calling herself at the time) of the Avengers.

And you'd be wrong because they're The Jade Giantess and Lady Marvel, and this is a world without any Avengers; this is a world with The Queens Knights of Vengeance (definitely a good band name); and they're not alone;


Do not know who "Sir Fulminator" is, it's possible that this is the one single instance of the script calling for a character and George not penciling him in.

Anyway, just the sight of the Queens Vengeance is enough to make the jackasses reconsider their terrible decision before they pursue them any farther, and instead they should focus on their other hobby; discretely furnishing a rebel army who opposes Morgan La Fey so... good for everybody, really. And Thor Donor the Mighty decides to head back to Morgans fortress; Tintagel Castle because somethings been bugging him lately.

At Morgans fortress, we meet the sorceress and her Stupid Weener-Kid Nephew Mordred briefly recapping the previous issue, for the benefit of any readers who missed that one and is likely very confused, and Mordred, perhaps wisely, points out that while, yes, Morgans plan to conquer the world and rewrite history worked, so, y'know, good job there, everything she's done since then has been incredibly shortsighted, even by the standards of someone who has over a solid millennium of constant failure to live down to. So maybe she should have used some of that reality-warping semi-omnipotence to, like... kill the Avengers instead of just changing their names and outfits and calling it a day. Also maybe she shouldn't have conjured a rebel army to oppose her just so she'd have something to do. Morgan didn't get where she is by listening to her little stupid weener-nephew, even when he raises some good points, and tells him instead to quit whining, she's doing important work; sitting on a chaise-lounge drinking wine.

That's when Thor wanders in to the throne room and asks Morgan, point-blank why, exactly, he, a Norse God of Thunder, is currently subservient to a sorceress from Midgard*, because he definitely knows that he is, but really can't think of why that's the case. Luckily, Thor readily accepts her explanation of "Because I have this sick-ass castle" (she says it slightly fancier than that) and Mordred uses it as further evidence that, yeah, Morgan La Fey is... tremendously bad at being an evil overlord.

Meanwhile, down int he depths of the Castle Dungeon... that's where Scarlet Witch currently is, still being constantly tortured and being drained of her Chaos Magick in order to give Morgan enough razzle-dazzle to keep her domain functioning properly. Which sucks for her, yes, but, as the narration points out... Chaos Magic, as per its name, is pretty hard to predict, and Morgan la Fey, for all her centuries of life, never really bothered studying it, let alone to the degree that Wanda has. So while she can't stop Morgan from siphoning it out of her, she is also able to add a little extra to it, such as a cry for help to any Avengers who might not be completely on board with being a brutal enforcer of a magical God-Queens will.

Completely unsurprisingly; it's Yeoman America who first realizes "Wait a second, I'm not a Yeoman, I'm a Captain!" (oddly, it's not the "America" part that got renamed in Morgans world) and furthermore, bowing to monarchs is completely outside of his wheelhouse and Morgans control over him immediately breaks. And, as his first action after that is to seek out the OTHER prominent Avenger who hates taking orders;


So realizing that by confronting other Avengers with a strong sense of association with the Avengers, Hawkeye and Cap track down the rest of the Queens Vengeance and tries to similarly break Morgans control over them; to mixed success.

Hawkeye has some degree of success, convincing Monica Rambeau (I legit forget what name she was using at the time), Wasp and Quasar of their true identities and turning them against Morgan. Steve tries to convince Tony... and fails because Tony is currently one of the most powerful men in all the kingdom and has his choice of Comely Wenches at his Beck and Call and everyone is deferring to his expertise because how could ANYONE question Iron Mans judgement and that's... basically how he lives his life anyway so he refuses to acknowledge that anything is amiss.

So, naturally, negotiations dovetail after that, and Tony calls in the rest of the Knights of Vengeance to deal with the rebel element in their midst, which Steve takes as an opportunity to give a proper Captain America Speech to everyone, to convince them all of how great it is to Avenge but not be Vengeful (that's the gist) and is starts to work on almost everyone, especially Vance Astro (alias Justice, but that name isn't nearly as cool as Vance Astro), which Hawkeye notes is pretty unusual, because Vance is the only guy here who has NEVER been an Avenger, he was just a tagalong with one other F-Lister.


Anyway, any potential insurgencies Cap may have been planning falls apart because one of the holdouts is Namor and NOBODY TELLS NAMOR WHAT TO DO! Even when he's being told not to let other people tell him what to do, and if anyone is going to be determining which Imperious is Rex, it's the Imperious Rex!

God damn it, Namor. This is why you aren't invited to more teams.

Anyway, this breaks up the flow of Caps speech and a fight between the Avengers on Caps side, and the Queens Vengeance on Morgans, and, as expected, George Perez just completely fills a page with The Most Stuff Possible;


Regrettably, Spider-Woman wasn't prominent in any of the pages; she got my favorite redesign by far.

Anyway, despite Thor showing up and dramatically declaring that he definitely remembers not liking Morgan La Fey very much at all now, Caps side of the conflict is vastly out numbered and out-gunned and has to beat a retreat, and as powerful as Thor is, he can't take on Morgan as she's cooking with borderline omnipotent gas, so they have to all retreat and regroup. Which Morgan takes as a clear victory for Team Evil.

But, unbeknownst to her; or anyone else, Wanda is still using her magic to call for herlp to anyone who could get the lead out and free her from her torture dungeon...

And someone pretty close to Wanda just heard it...


Her long deceased ex-Boyfriend, who also shares a brain with her ex-husband, Wonder Man!

NEXT TIME: It's a Wonderful life



Do not know who "Sir Fulminator" is, it's possible that this is the one single instance of the script calling for a character and George not penciling him in.

That's Miguel Santos/The Living Lightning/Lightning, and he's there! Look in the top-left, behind Sersi. I think because Thor is at the front of the pack he's easy to overlook as maybe being some rule of cool Thor lightning added for atmosphere, but there's a guy in that lightning!

(He'll have a dozen-ish appearances over the course of the run, which is why I remember him. I did not know who he was before reading this after wanting more Busiek due to reading Astro City...)
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Power is fleeting, love is eternal
Is it just me, or does medieval Hawkeye look a lot like Green Arrow, only purple?


Arm Candy
Monica Rambeau (I legit forget what name she was using at the time)​
I think she was going by "Photon" at the time. The mantle of Captain Marvel had, by then, been taken up by Genis-Vell, son of the original Captain Marvel.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
I see someone calls her Photon in one of the pictures I linked, in fact. We can call this mystery… solved
She's never really central to this run, but reading how Busiek handles Monica Rambeau in a fleshed out way even as a background character over the course of this run (1998-2002) really soured me on how she was treated in Next Wave just a few years later (2006). Next Wave was something I thought was really funny when it came out and just took it at its word that its cast were mostly nothing characters, but coming back to it with more familiarity with Tabitha Smith/BoomBoom from her written as a real character years (X-Factor/X-Terminators/Fallen Angels) and Monica Rambeau in Busiek's Avengers kind of ruined it for me, even setting aside everything about Warren Ellis as a human being.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
It was kind of gratifying that the big villain of Ewings Mighty Defenders wound up being a thinly veiled Warren Ellis, and him receiving a tremendous beat-down from Monica because of that

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Fata Morgana

We’ve got Morgan going full Wine Aunt Meltdown, clumsy deception and enough Kirby Krackle to last a hundred winters in… Fata Morgana.

Anyway, as we left off (and as helpfully recapped by an extreme closeup of a screaming Morgan), Celtic Magical Demi-Goddess/Petulant Wine Aunt Morgan La Fay successfully kidnapped the Scarlet Witch in order to boost her own power enough to draw the Asgardian Twilight Sword and remake the world in her image; a politically unstable generic fantasy kingdom, along with her stupid wiener nephew Mordred. To that end she also gave new costumes and code names to the Avengers, and just a l’il bit of mind control, as a treat, to serve as her personal guard. But Wanda didn’t like being held captive in a dungeon and siphoned of magic so she broke the spell on as many people as she could (like… four) and also managed to somehow resurrect her old boyfriend, Simon Williams; The Wonderman.

And that means it’s time to do a brief character recap!

Simon Williams (or Wonder Man, as said) is one of those characters I love the latter day existence of but he’s… pretty low on my list of favorite Marvel characters otherwise. He was originally a minor league Avengers villain; Just Some Guy that the original Baron Zemo souped up with some Mad Science to turn his body into Pure Ionic Energy (meaning super strong, nigh invulnerable, and Kinda Sparkly). Simon wasn’t a bad guy however, and the process that enhanced him was also steadily killing him, and he needed Zemos help to keep himself from disintegrating. He eventually reformed (literally and metaphorically) and spent the ensuing decades being dead, and hooking up with Wanda, on and off again. His mental patterns were eventually used by the evil robot Ultron to make Ultrons Non-Evil Son, Vision, who eventually married Wanda since… y’know… same brain so same guy. Most recently, Simon quit the superhero game altogether because he’s a staunch pacifist, and went to work in Hollywood, where he has a lucrative career of starring in low budget garbage movies; making him an in-universe Eric Roberts. Except indestructible

So we open on Yeoman (ne Captain) America and his rebel faction of Avengers, Hawkeye, Wasp, Spectrum, Quasar and VANCE ASTRO doing some training drills in the forest outside of Morgan’s stronghold. Cap doesn’t really have any kind of long term plan in place here, just confidence that, as befits her status as a Hot Mess Wine Aunt, Morgan is certain to completely screw up some vital part of ruling the world at some point, so they’ll be able to hop in and take her down easily when they do.

And he doesn’t have to wait long as we cut back to Tintagel Castle where Morgan is having a complete meltdown when she learns that one of the lynchpins of her conquest of the world (Wanda Maximoff, and her continued torture) has disappeared.

She also has a more literal meltdown when she burns the jailor who was supposed to be keeping Wanda under lock and key to ash when she learns she’d disappeared. She also burns a peace ambassador from the Deviant Nation of Lemuria to death because he happened to be nearby when she was having a rough day.


Goodbye, Kro, you had the coolest sunglasses of anyone in Eternals.

Anyway, Mordred points out that incinerating peace ambassadors from powerful nations is a pretty bad one as far as ideas for keeping a kingdom afloat are concerned, but Morgan is having none of it and tells her stupid wiener nephew that Aunt Morgan is having a day, and decides the best course of action is to appear as an ethereal giant in the sky to taunt the Avengers and say that sure they may have stolen the key to her domination over the world but… well… they better bring her back. Or she’ll be real mad!

I swear, Morgan went from “Avengers villain I’m only kind of aware exists” to “top shelf, I love this lady” inside of two issues.

Cap, correctly, figures “Oh sweet, she screwed up real bad already. That didn’t take long at all!”, and decides to head on to the next part of her plan; storming the castle and punching a magical Demi-goddess in the face until she ceases to be a problem.

Meanwhile, we cut to Wanda and see what actually did happen to her; and as you may have surmised, when she inadvertently summoned her long dead boyfriend back to life (albeit much more sparkly than the last time she saw him),he broke her out of jail, and went on to explain what he’s been up to.

Turns out that way back in the early days of joining Force Works (as Tom Brevoort helpfully explains in a narration box), Simon Williams dunn got exploded by a Kree super-weapon disintegrating his body. Luckily, as it turns out, since Simons body was already made of pure Ionic Energy, there really wasn’t anything there to disintegrate, and it just took him a good long while to rebuild himself. Wanda’s cries for help gave him the slight boost he needed to finish the job. Unfortunately that’s still not quite enough so he’s made entirely of Kirby Krackle now and tends to fade away a lot. Still; you could do worse than have a Super Strong Sparkly Ghost BF. And Wanda and the semi-incorporeal Wonder Man head to Tintagel to give Morgan a sound whuppin’ on their own.

At the Castle, Hawkeye suggests that since they're a rebel band operating out of the forests owned by a despotic monarch they're trying to overthrow, and they have a very good archer on the team, they might as well go full Robin Hood and infiltrate the castle by dressing like monks and beggars to get past the guards.

...and they're immediately recognized because there's a super jacked Nordic thunder god and a guy made of outer-space in their party; they really can't disguise themselves super-well.


And man, you just TRY to tell George Perez he can't cram several dozen characters into each of five panels.

The fight is, unfortunately, not going great for the non-brainwashed heroes; not only are they pretty severely outnumbered, even if Thor, Quasar and Spectrum are on their side, and Morgan pops in again to inform them that defying her is a hopeless gesture; her magic made this world.

Mordred, again, points out that she should really use that reality-warping magic to, perhaps kill instead of taunt the Avengers because, you know... it could. And having fewer Avengers around would do a way better job of establishing a long-term victory. And Morgans had about enough of listening to her stupid wiener nephews defeatist attitude and explodes him with a magic bolt... mainly to show that, you know... she CAN do stuff like that, I guess.

Luckily, between the Good Avengers fighting the Mind-Controlled Avengers, Morgans passionate (and presumably, badly slurred) threatening speeches and her a'splodin' her nephew, the fight has taken long enough for Wanda and SImon to reach the castle; and Wanda points out that it wasn't Morgans magic that made the world, it was hers; and she proceeds to thrown-down with her.


The two are evenly matched, however; while Wanda is vastly more powerful, Morgan has the advantage of wielding the Nornstones and Twilight Sword as well, on top of the fact that she has several centuries more experience. But between the sheer effort Morgan has to put into fighting Wanda, along with Simon helping by sucker-punching her, and Wanda getting a LOT more passionate after one of Morgans stray bolts strikes and destroys her OTHER on-again-off-again husband, Vision, her control over the rest of the Avengers is broken;


With the assembled FORTY Avengers freed, the lot of them join their power to Wanda (that's what they say they're doing, it's more like a series of supportive back-rubs); and that juices her up enough to completely destroy Morgan Le Fay forever!


Or until the next time a writer wants to use her. Probably in Excalibur or Dr. Strange or something.

Once again, want to stress that George Perez felt like he had to prove himself with this comic

The moment Morgan exploded the world, and the Avengers' outfits, immediately reverted back to their previous state, and some quick triage support is given to Vision (he survived, but is viciously injured) and Thor heads off to Asgard to put the Twilight Sword and Norn Stones back, and try to figure out what happened to the rest of the missing Asgardians (find out in next months Journey into Mystery, true believers)... and all that's left is trying to figure out how to whittle this line-up down because 40-some Avengers is a bit unwieldly...

NEXT TIME: Assemblage
and all that's left is trying to figure out how to whittle this line-up down because 40-some Avengers is a bit unwieldly...

If anyone is wondering whether or not this issue ends with the most referenced way to end any reboot arc, the answer is of course yes:




Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
The superhero comics publishing landscape on the Marvel side in Finland was never able to sustain more than the most popular properties for their own monthly books, which meant Spider-Man (from about 1980 on) and X-Men (from about 1985... until 1995 when franchise troubles canceled it even over here, and it took the movie/Morrison to make people interested again). The rest were heavily curated and were released on a if-it's-good-enough basis in anthology publications--roughly the division was that the prosaically titled "Comic Book" magazine put out more street-level stories like Wolverine or Daredevil (this is where I encountered the Miller and Nocenti runs) and a book simply titled "Marvel" covered the more "cosmic" corners of the line, along the lines of the Fantastic Four, Thor, and the Avengers (later they consolidated both titles into an extra-thick publication titled "Mega Marvel" that combined the disparate forks).

The stories that ended up in those books for the Avengers I don't think were chosen on a narrative basis, but simply through visual merit, so a lot of it comprised the run from the mid-'70s on with Pérez's pencils, and later in the decade, John Byrne's. All of that stuff defined the book and team for me as I understood the small fragments of it I managed to find, and simultaneously (roughly--comics publishing over here operated on about a two-year lag for most books, so the Busiek stuff started coming out in around 2000) this run further cemented that association on a writing basis too, and certainly didn't hurt that the same artist was there to solidify those connections. I've read more, though not all of Avengers since, but in that limited frame of reference this is probably as good as it ever got.


Power is fleeting, love is eternal
I just love that medieval Machine Man running with his limbs extended. Pérez is so great.

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
Forgot to mention that Medieval Machine Man is named “Sir MacHinery”

Which I’m sure is the name Busiek was most proud of

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
As I noted before, I’ve read, like, one other issue of this run, so I legit have no idea who the core members of the team are supposed to be outside of three people.

So, and nobody correct me if I’m wrong, but my predictions are;

Captain America
Iron Man
Fire Star
Scarlet Witch

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption

We’ve got fantasy draft picks, complicated marital strife, the worlds friendliest actuary and the best day of Whirlwinds life in… Too Many Avengers

And we kick things off with Beasts concerns from the end of the last issue being born out; there are way too friggin’ many Avengers right now.

As illustrated by the fact that, like, two dozen of them show up to thwart a bank robbery by the spinister Whirlwind; the worlds twirliest supervillain… and they all literally trip over one another trying to apprehend him, giving him a perfect chance to escape with big dollar-sign sacks.


Getting schooled by frickin’ Whirlwind of all people is perhaps the lowest point the Avengers have ever known as an institution. And also the highest point for Whirlwind, a villain who once called himself “The Human Top”.

Anyway, the complete embarrassment of an attempt at some bush-league superheroics has both the public and Cap himself say “Let’s… make this team more manageable, eh?”, and so, with the side of the suspiciously helpful government liaison Duane Freeman (so helpful and friendly that Tony immediately distrusts him; there’s no way any bureaucrat could possibly be this obliging) they start the process of figuring out who the main team of Avengers is going to be starting now.

Duanes active duty roster spreadsheet has a toggle for whether a superhero is currently Alive or Dead, which delights me.

Tony, Cap and Thor immediately make the cut as their grandfathered in as Founding Avengers (this is a Kurt Busiek comic, so, yes there’s acknowledgement that Cap wasn’t technically a founding member but close enough), but Wasp and Hank Pym opt out; Hanks too busy with his research and Janet with her multinational fashion corporation. Also with her flirting with every single dude that enters her line of sight.

She also mentions that she’s trying to romance Hank into marrying her again, but admits he’s “a little gun-shy after what happened last time.”

Boy is that a way to put it…

Anyway, much of the issue is spent showing why each of the Avengers who showed up for the whole Morgan La Fey thing had to opt out.

Some highlights;
Vision is still recovering from having been blown in half, but he uses the Avengers Mansion computer to communicate with Wanda… in order to break up with her (he tries to phrase it nicely… doesn’t have the effect he was hoping for)

D-Man goes back to the homeless community of Zero Town since they need someone to protect them more than the rest of the city does (Jarvis gives him a heap load of supplies before he leaves)

Starfox tells Tigre about a sex planet he visited once and she immediately demands a piggyback ride to visit it

Moondragon hears her uncle talk a bikini-clad catlady into visiting a sex planet with him and says “Eww”

Hawkeye is indignant that not only is he not considered a Founding Member, he doesn’t even have a guaranteed place on the team

Vance Astro (I refuse to use his superhero name when it says “Vance Astro” on his drivers license) and Firestar decide that since, like, the entire superhero population of New York is waiting to see who’s going to make the cut and make up to the big leagues of Avenging… someone should, you know… be out there actually dealing with the supervillains. Like the guy who makes wind-tunnels by spinning his body and is covered in knives, And is feeling recently emboldened after beating up 40 avengers at the same time. For example.


And most of the other candidates opt-out of candidacy for reasons that range from “I have pressing personal and/or professional obligations” to “Nah”

The other character who is in the running and gets a lot of focus in the issue is Carol Danvers; who is trying to bolster her chances by having Hank McCoy give her a physical to show that she’s by far the strongest superhero on the planet. She isn’t; however. The weird alien experiments that have her a gargantuan power-up for the ten minutes she was on the X-Men back in the 80s has finally worn off and, in Hanks words, she’s “merely incredibly powerful; not *phenomenally* powerful.”

Later this would be explained that Carol needs to absorb outside sources of energy to gas up to access her Binary form, but this felt a bit more like Kurt trying to bring her down a notch for the sake of balancing the team a bit more.

Furthermore, she also had Hank brainstorming new code-names for her in order to give her a bit more zazz for presenting herself. This proved itself to be a bad idea because all of Hanks suggestions were uniformly awful.


They also kind of count like Pacific Rim Jaegars.

Affecting Carols chances of getting into the Avengers *considerably* more than a stupid code-name from the X-Mens resident Affable Monster, is what happens shortly thereafter, when Iron Man takes a brake from the debates and spots Carol in the Avengers Mansion in-house bar, which she immediately tries to blow off with a very weak excuse about making sure the bar was fully stocked for the press-corps that's sure to be showing up after the team is finalized.

Tony, being a recovering alcoholic himself, is quick to acknowledge that someone walking into a bar isn't a concern; somebody desperately making a lie as an excuse for why they're in a bar, however, very much is. Unfortunately, because half the letters in AA stand for "Anonymous", he can't actually voice his concerns when Carol is presented as a candidate, and the rest of the team is quick to vote her in because she's a cosmic power-house and trained pilot, and they're still pretty ashamed of how they treated her the last time she was on the team and figure they owe her at least that much.

Anyway, putting a pin in that thorny bit of operatic drama for an issue or so, we go back to Vance Astro and Firestar, who have successfully tracked down Whirlwind (not difficult; he's the guy who looks like a tornado robbing banks) and opt to have a rematch against him to make up for the fiasco/incredible triumph earlier in the day and, as befits every single Whirlwind appearance going back to his Human Top days; it's... a complete embarrassment for him; and the two of them knock him right the frick out in a fight scene that takes place off panel, and ends with him unconscious and thrown through a wall.


Which is an accomplishment that gets what I have to assume is a sarcastic slow-clap from Hawkeye. Turns out skipping Avengers try-outs to stop a clear and present danger; proving that heroism is something you do not something you have to prove to others. would have been an excellent idea under normal circumstances... but the founding members of the team are just not paying the slightest bit of attention to anything outside their board room, and they all kind of... forgot Whirlwind is out there doing crimes (who could blame them?); and Hawkeye is literally the only person who is aware they did anything.

He promises to put in a good word for them at least.

Anyway, eventually the try-outs and interviews are over all the spots are filled; and Cap holds a surprising dry and stuffy press conference so everyone will know who the active Avengers defending the world are...




NEXT TIME: The Just-ish League