Characters Appearing: Ares, Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Bova, Captain America, Exodus, Henry Pym, Hera, Hercules, High Evolutionary, Jarvis, Luna, Marilla, Neophyte, Quicksilver, Scanner (Acolyte), Taylor Madison, Vision
Issue(s): Avengers #380, Avengers #381, Avengers #382
The issues are mostly a Quicksilver and Crystal story. Quicksilver gets word from Fydor, a friend of Bova's, saying that she is sick, so he takes Crystal to Wundagore Mountain in the "troubled Balkans". Bova wants to see the High Evolutionary once again. Quicksilver believes that the Evolutionary left Wundagore long ago, but Fydor says that he's returned recently (as seen in recent issues of Thor).
So Quicksilver and Crystal head up the mountain. On their way there, they run into the Acolyte named "Neophyte", who is paying respects at the grave of Magda, Magneto's wife. Quicksilver and Crystal learn that the Acolytes consider Wundagore Mountain a sacred place because of the grave (it seems uncharacteristic for them to place importance on the grave of a human woman, but the Acolytes' motivations have never made sense to me).
Quicksilver and Crystal continue on, and are attacked by the High Evolutionary and some of his Deodato-style, hyper-muscular New Men.
As the footnote tells us, these things are actually called Animutants, but Quicksilver will ignore the footnote and continue to call them New Men, and no one corrects him.
The High Evolutionary is attacking because he's received a threat from Exodus of the Acolytes, and now the son of Magneto has suspiciously shown up. But Quicksilver eventually explains that he's just here for Bova, and the Evolutionary agrees to go down to Bova's house to see her. He determines that Bova's illness is artificial. It turns out to be the work of Exodus, who transforms Bova's friend Fydor into a monster which blows up Bova's house.
And that, with the art having gotten increasingly sloppy...
Not sure if you can see the breach past my giant forearm...?
...is how issue #381 ends, after only 15 pages. The rest of the issue is filled with pin-ups and a double-paged lettercol with a note saying that this was all done in order to "bring the AVENGERS back on schedule - for good".
The main story in issue #382 is also truncated (14 pages this time). Everyone survives the explosion, and a messy fight ensues.
They seemingly beat the monster, but when it reverts back to Fydor, he says that the creature was actually just recalled by Exodus (who is long gone). It's more of the kind of inconclusive nonsense you expect from Bob Harras' Avengers run.
As for subplots, Black Widow notices that Captain America's powers have waned, and also that he's very handsome!
Hercules' former girlfriend Taylor Madison gets a new roomate who turns out to be Hera. She disguises herself as Taylor and lures Hercules out on a date. Ares (out of sight of Herc) scolds Hera for doing things that might attract the attention of Zeus, but Hera reminds him that they've made a wager to make Hercules suffer.
The rest of the issue is filled-in with a back-up story by Ben Raab, Jeff Matsuda, and Klaus Janson. I think its job is to make the preceding story look good.
The story has the Avengers exploring what appears to be a replica of the Avengers Mansion, inside a "chronal-displacement field". They find a mysterious door that they can't open.
There are no footnotes or other explanations about what this mansion is in the first place or why the Avengers are exploring it. So if you picked up these issues for Deodato's first art at Marvel or for the (god help you) connection to the X-books via Exodus and the Acolytes, you would have no idea what this story was about. (From what i can gather, the differences are a result of how Ute restored Avengers mansion in Avengers #375 after Sersi destroyed it in #373).
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP have this between Thor #482-483 for the High Evolutionary but it seems like it could take place any time after Thor #475 that the High Evolutionary is free (preferably while Thor is not around).
The Black Knight briefly appears in Crystal's bedroom mirror in issue #380.
There's no footnote, but per the MCP this coincides with a scene from Ultraforce #10 (but see the Comments).
The MCP list Immortus as behind-the-scenes for the back-up in #382. The mission that Cap calls the Avengers to at the end of the back-up doesn't seem to be anything specific.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I’m curious to why you’ve skipped Avengers #370 to 379? I know those stories were bad, but we’d still enjoy your colour commentary on them.
Posted by: Matt | January 24, 2018 4:57 PM
Pros and cons: Per fnord's notes, he's skipping issues he doesn't have physical copies of. It's a shame, since the Gatherers Saga is some of the better stuff from this period, but on the other hand, I'd rather he maintain his momentum and enthusiasm whenever possible...
Posted by: Andrew | January 24, 2018 7:37 PM
Issue 380 (actually issue 378- the plot was delayed by inventory stories) was solicited as basically "Pietro learns that Magneto, the man he called father, might not have been the man he claimed to have been". This leads me to wonder if Harras was planning on retconning Magneto into not being the twins' father two decades before it actually happened. I have to wonder if higher-ups stopped him for some reason and that's the reason for the inconclusive ending.
Posted by: Michael | January 24, 2018 8:25 PM
Avengers 380 & 381 must have been my first exposure to the High Evolutionary and the Wundagore mythos. I expect I'd see many flaws if I reread them, but this high-concept stuff (which I now know is a Jack Kirby specialty) grabbed my attention. Using Bova's friend as a living bomb was an unexpected and nasty trap. I didn't have 382 to see how the story concluded, though.
Posted by: Mortificator | January 24, 2018 8:43 PM
If Tom Palmer would have stayed on inks, the art would have had more going for it. Compare that first shot (which is clearly inked by Palmer) with the other examples of art from the storyline.
Posted by: Wis | January 24, 2018 9:51 PM
While the writing of Bob Harras had been bad, good art had compensated for it up to Avengers #375. After Avengers #375 the series really went off the rails and Mike Deodato's art can't help it.
Posted by: Steven | January 25, 2018 12:14 PM
Does Black Widow’s infatuation with Captain American goes anywhere?
Posted by: Lecen | January 25, 2018 12:47 PM
It was swept under the rug, much like Sersi’s attraction to Cap.
Posted by: Matt | January 25, 2018 1:19 PM
From what I recall, in the mid-1990s Mike Deodato Jr was *really* overextended. He was The Next Big thing and he was getting offers from pretty much every comic book publisher. I believe that as a result on most of the Avengers issues he worked on he only did layouts, with Tom Palmer providing finishes.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 25, 2018 2:25 PM
Yes, by the heady days of "The Crud-Thing", I mean, "The Crossing", there will be art credits that simply read "Deodato Studios", rather than crediting Mike himself. Very rushed indeed.
You've posted that scan with the giant forearm twice. I assume that's so we can marvel at the vast expanse of Quicksilver's throat as he tilts his head back about 90° so he can see around said forearm. Good call. ;)
Posted by: Dan Spector | January 25, 2018 7:39 PM
We saw Magda's grave previously in X-Men Unlimited 2. The dialogue makes it clear it was built by Magneto- it's possible he built the grave on Wundagore just because that was the last place she was seen.
Posted by: Michael | January 26, 2018 11:10 PM
Thanks Michael. I've added a comment there and a reference here.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 30, 2018 12:22 PM
I agree with Michael in that the Black Knight scene was probably not specifically meant to reflect Ultraforce V1 #10. Publication dates aside, it is very generic and has Dane asking for Crystal by name, which does not happen in the Ultraforce issue.
One could still make it fit between panels, I suppose.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2018 12:30 AM
The MCP list the Black Knight's appearance as "A 380 ~ ULTRAF 10 (19)" which is how they denote when the same scene appears in two issues. I took Michael's comment as informational; i.e. when Avengers #380 was written it wasn't intended to tie in with Ultraforce. But that didn't preclude a scene being written for Ultraforce #10 that was intended to match the Avengers scene. I haven't read any Ultraforce and probably never will, but it sounds like you have, Luis, and you're saying it's not the exact same scene?
Posted by: fnord12 | March 8, 2018 3:59 PM
I have the book in front of me now. It's exactly the same, word for word. I'm not sure what issue Luis is looking at.
Posted by: clyde | March 8, 2018 6:54 PM
But like Fnord said, they could have easily written the scene to show that it was the same event. There's no law that says that time has to operate the same in both universes.
Posted by: clyde | March 8, 2018 6:56 PM
And just to confirm, yes, I meant when Avengers 380 was written, it wasn't intended to tie in with Ultraforce.
Posted by: Michael | March 8, 2018 8:54 PM
Sorry for my previous mistake. There is a scene at, IIRC, Ultraforce V2 #08 that I somehow confused with that of V1 #10. Dane's words and attitude are indeed the same as in this Avengers storyline.
I still hold doubts about the planning.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2018 9:33 PM
Comments are now closed.
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