Avengers annual #19 (Acts of Vengeance)
Issue(s): Avengers annual #19 (Acts of Vengeance story only)
Since the majority of this story is just flashbacks to all of the events of Acts of Vengeance, i'm not going to be covering it in detail. But i'll point out a few things that seem like they are delivering new information. One point is that She-Hulk wasn't around during the attack on Avengers Island because she was fighting Pseudo-Man (She-Hulk #10-11; note that i do have it relatively near Avengers #311 but there was a lot of stuff going on simultaneously at that point). Thor has a less acceptable excuse.
We also learn that the Awesome Android was left behind to fight the reserve Avengers in Avengers Spotlight #27 to cover the escape of the rest of "Heavy Metal".
It's said that Captain Marvel caught Klaw after Quasar failed to stop him in Quasar #6. Obligatory pro-CM/anti-Quasar rant from fnord: Oh, sure, not only does Quasar replace Captain Marvel in the Avengers and get a solo book, but she has to clean up after him off panel!
It's said that the Avengers' "first concerted effort as a team" happened in Cloak and Dagger #9, and while that was happening, Freedom Force attacked the Avengers' subbasement in Avengers #312. That doesn't square with a statement in C&D #9 that said that the X-Force program was activated because of Freedom Force going rogue in Avengers #312, so i have to assume the two events were really happening simultaneously. This issue doesn't take the opportunity to explain why these members of Freedom Force went after the Avengers, something that i felt was lacking from Avengers #312.
It's said that Wonder Man and the Wasp's public appearance in Avengers Spotlight #28 was due to Cap dispatching them to do some PR work after fighting the Controller.
It's strongly suggested that Dr. Doom did participate in the crossover, despite the use of a Doombot later on.
Jarvis' on again, off again eyepatch is explained as his doctor telling him to go without it for two hours a day.
And now we get into some post-Avengers West Coast #55 information. It's said that Henry Pym and the Vision were out of range when Captain America told the Avengers not to pursue the other villains. And that's when the Wizard was captured and it was confirmed that the Red Skull in that story was a robot (since the real one was trapped in a bomb shelter by Magneto).
In the end, they say it wasn't all that bad. After all, it was only Stingray that got injured.
It's also suggested that in the future the Avengers start engaging preemptive strikes against villains instead of waiting for them to attack, and that they bulk up their defenses (the latter being a bid for Thor's alter ego)
The preemptive thing certainly doesn't get implemented right away. But that suggestion plus the fact that it's noted that the Kingpin got away brings to mind a point. Why don't they go arrest him? They know he was involved. I have to imagine the testimony of the combined East and West coast Avengers would hold some weight in court. They also have the Wizard prisoner, and he's not a guy that would exactly be loyal to a local crimelord. Maybe some of the other super-villains in the Vault would testify as well. Seems like a good opportunity to at least try to bring the guy down after all this talk of being proactive.
As i mentioned, this story isn't really a "story". But i like this sort of thing in a functional sense. It's a nice example of how retcons can be used to "grease the wheels", so to speak, to help address some continuity questions, like the appearance of the Red Skull in the final part of Acts of Vengeance. I also like the attempt at a consolidated view, like trying to say that the Avengers weren't around for Freedom Force's attack on Avengers Park because they were busy with the Jester's group. Unfortunately that wasn't researched properly and there's still a flub there. And more could have been done to explain missing motivations and flesh things out a bit. It's kind of funny to see things played down a bit at the end, saying that well, things could have been bad if the archvillains had learned to cooperate. You'd think Marvel would want to go the other way and sell the fact that it was a big deal, since in the actual comics it didn't really feel like the villains had an end game. But i still like the idea of doing a kind of review after the event is over.
Just a note: this story has the Avengers trying to piece things together as best they can in the aftermath, so i wouldn't take it all as gospel. For example, it's said that after Magneto fought Spider-Man, he stopped attending the cabal meetings. But that's not the case. Magneto appears in cabal scenes in later Spider-Man issues of the crossover. So it's clear that the Avengers have some facts wrong.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place in the immediate aftermath of Acts of Vengeance (a "few hours"), but it's not the only story to do so (e.g. the Magneto plot that begins in West Coast Avengers #55). The fact that the Wizard was captured immediately after Avengers West Coast #55 seems to be a contradiction of his capture in Avengers Spotlight #29, but we can assume he was captured, escaped, and then tried to activate a teleportation device given to him by Loki in advance, and wound up at the Vault. The breakout in Avengers Spotlight #26 is said to have only happened "two Sundays ago". That's more specific than some other Acts of Vengeance stories that are said to take place over "weeks" (e.g. Avengers Spotlight #28), and it also seems to indicate a shorter period of time.
References: This story is basically a reference to nearly every Acts of Vengeance issue. You can use the Advanced Search to find all stories that were part of the Acts of Vengeance crossover.
Crossover: Acts of Vengeance
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
This does illustrate how pathetic the results were for the villains. One part-time hero injured.
Posted by: kveto | July 7, 2015 5:03 PM
I've had complaints about the Kingpin for years. It's not just "untrustworthy" heroes like Spidey or DD who've had run-ins with him. Well-established heroes have too.
Posted by: Thanos6 | July 7, 2015 6:59 PM
Yeah, you're right fnord, why didn't the Avengers go after the Kingpin? Cap name checked him here, so they KNOW he was involved and who he was involved with. I'm 99% certain that the Wizard would roll on Wilson Fisk gladly. This would have been the perfect time for the Avengers to remove the Kingpin from power (most likely permanently) and even be around to step up city patrols to stamp out any potential gang wars and such (by calling in the numerous reserves).
I mean, knowing the dark times ahead for the Assemblers (story wise), removing the Kingpin from his throne would have been a far more interesting ongoing storyline!
Posted by: Bill | July 7, 2015 6:59 PM
A salute to Gruenwald for actually filling in these continuity holes.
Current marvel editorial would just ignore it, and mock anyone who asked as being an obsessed fanboy.
And good point on the Kingpin, illustrating why he doesn't work interacting with the larger MU. Even psycho Cap-on-drugs was oddly hands off with him during Streets of Poison.
Posted by: Bob | July 7, 2015 7:19 PM
Looking over the links, Kingpin's main connections obviously are Spider-Man and Daredevil as well as those who may have had some connections to either of them (Punisher, Cloak and Dagger); but he also has had a few other run-ins with others like Cap (and this was before Streets of Poison) and even Heather/Vindicator of Alpha Flight. Obviously a crime lord of his caliber trying to stay off the radar of the big guns of the universe is smart thinking for him, thus why its usually only street-level heroes that have more at stake with Kingpin than the Avengers and other "more powerful" types. It would be interesting to see what would have happened if you had more powerful heroes helping the street-levels deal with Kingpin's empire, but it would have probably just left an opening for someone else or lead to questions of why heroes this powerful want to deal with street-level crime with so many other problems in this universe to deal with.
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 7, 2015 7:20 PM
Fnord, the same "why don't they arrest him" question applies to the Skull. And Gruenwald specifically had Cap refuse to arrest him in Cap 370, so there's really no excuse for that one.
Posted by: Michael | July 7, 2015 7:59 PM
Yup, the Skull is still operating out of the Smith building, post Cap 350, even after Cap informed the Commission and the government abut him being there.
Posted by: Bob | July 7, 2015 8:04 PM
One other dumb thing about this backup- remember, it takes place while Hercules is fighting Ulik:
Posted by: Michael | July 7, 2015 9:46 PM
Although I would have loved to have seen Monica's fight with Klaw play out on-panel, I did appreciate this little cameo here, reminding us that she IS still active as a part-time hero, despite not being an active Avenger anymore.
Despite his role in getting Monica dropped from the AVENGERS book, I don't think Gruenwald had anything against Monica (he just wanted her out of the chairman spot so Cap could be leader again). Between the end of Roger Stern's AVENGERS run and the start of Kurt Busiek's, Gruenwald is probably the writer who uses her most frequently; she makes multiple guest appearances in QUASAR, as well as little cameos like this one here, and some in his CAP run, etc.
As for poor Stingray...well, for a while it seemed to become something of a tradition for Stingray to get knocked out or injured whenever he fought alongside the Avengers. I think he got knocked out in the fight with Heavy Mettle; he got knocked out in Acts of Vengeance; he got knocked out (and concussed) in The Crossing Line...
Posted by: Dermie | July 7, 2015 10:44 PM
Piggybacking off of Ataru320's comment about Cap's earlier encounters with the Kingpin, I had wondered why Cap had not followed up on the Kingpin's involvement with Nuke in Daredevil #233. Cap's initial investigation gives him enough information to start to track Nuke down and to uncover Daredevil in his civilian identity, but after Nuke is captured, Cap doesn't bother to follow up on why Nuke was deployed in Hell's Kitchen.
Under DeFalco, it is interesting to see that there were some story consequences that Marvel editorial would decide to not examine, despite how the internal logic of some stories would dictate otherwise, as with Cap pursuing the Kingpin to bring him to justice. Such oversights are the sort of thing that Englehart, Stern, or Byrne would usually want to address (or that Busiek, for that matter), as they seemed concerned about the internal logic of the Marvel Universe, as well as as its continuity.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 8, 2015 6:42 AM
Not following up on Nuke by going after the Kingpin makes sense, since we saw that Steve DID follow up, only he went after Power Broker and not Kingpin, and shortly after that was over the government removed him as Cap.
Posted by: Michael | July 8, 2015 7:52 AM
Or to be more precise, he was following up on Super-Patriot, realized that GI Max and Nuke both came from attempts to recreate the super-soldier serum, and then got fired as Cap.
Posted by: Michael | July 8, 2015 7:59 AM
From a criminal law perspective, it's pretty clear that Kingpin owns the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York Attorney General. It's less clear what control he could have over the U.S. Attorney's Office, but I expect the Kingpin's state-level connections, combined with doing favors for the U.S. intelligence community, and the fact that he's a stable, known quantity, likely combine to keep the prosecutors quiet. Sure, Cap or the Vision or someone can make a citizen's arrest, but that doesn't mean the government has to take the case to trial. Kingpin hands over some mid-level goon or squeals on one of his rivals like Silvermane, and walks.
Posted by: James N. | July 8, 2015 9:58 AM
Michael, thanks for the responses. I think that the point you bring up re-emphasizes for me how strange it is that Cap didn't subsequently continue his investigations, at least after he regained the Captain America identity. He knows that there are unanswered questions and that the government is involved in some sort of criminal operations with Nuke.
And Gruenwald has three opportunities to build off of that storyline -- using "Acts of Vengeance", or "Streets of Poison", or this epilogue in the annual as a springboard to position Cap again the Kingpin. As with the Red Skull example you bring up -- which I completely agree with -- it feels that the logical consequences of a storyline are being deliberately ignored, for unclear reasons.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 8, 2015 12:48 PM
James, great comment! You are describing the story that I would have liked to have read instead of Cap being transformed into a werewolf...
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | July 8, 2015 12:50 PM
On another note: Vision looks strangely gaunt in this story...
Posted by: Piotr W | July 8, 2015 1:31 PM
I found this really useful at the time as I was only reading the Avengers books and this pieced together the whole story for me.
But, really, Cap? Worse than the Masters of Evil takeover? You said at the end that basically the island sank and Stingray was hurt.
In MoE, the mansion's security was completely breached, Hercules was beaten near to death, Jarvis was beaten near to death and you and Dane were severely injured. You were actually completely and utterly defeated for a few issues. But this was worse? What are you smoking?
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 29, 2015 9:10 PM
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