Avengers West Coast #55
Issue(s): Avengers West Coast #55
Then, conveniently, the Wizard reveals a hidden teleporter hidden under his thumbnail and escapes his cell.
The other arch-villains are all wondering how long Dr. Doom has been a Doombot.
But when their mysterious lackey hears that the Wizard used the teleporter to return, he starts freaking out. He reveals that he's really Loki.
The robot Red Skull is surprised by this turn of events, and Kingpin smartly decides that it is time to duck out.
Loki's concern is that Thor will detect and follow the teleportation trail left by the Wizard, and that's exactly what happens.
It's worth mentioning that we have all the original Avengers here, appropriately enough considering the story, except for the Hulk. Captain America is often thought of as a kind of retroactive replacement for the Hulk, but it might have been nice to at least have She-Hulk here. I do think it's for the best that grey Hulk wasn't included; he'd already been in Evolutionary War and Atlantis Attacks and in that second event he really wasn't handled well. We wouldn't want him to be associating too much with the Avengers at this point anyway.
Loki reveals that the arch-villain cabal's meeting room is really in the Isle of Silence (or, as Thor correctly guesses, a replica), which is the place from which he accidentally orchestrated the origin of the Avengers.
And that's what this is all about, as we saw in Avengers #300. Loki is upset that his actions resulted in the formation of the Avengers.
The Isle of Silence means trolls...
...and between that and Loki's magic, the Avengers are occupied and have to leave the battle with Loki himself to Thor. The other villains, disappointingly but again smartly, realize it is time to get out of there.
It may be Paul Ryan's inks, but John Byrne's art has not been looking that great. There's a lot that i still like about it, but the linework seems thick and rough. Again, very likely the inking.
Thor defeats Loki pretty easily, knocking him into a crevice and then closing it up around him.
Thor confirms that this won't kill Loki.
Also in this issue, Immortus continues to wipe out divergent realities. This time it's a version with a badass Abraham Lincoln who backhands the gun away from John Wilkes Booth and was probably about to go kick some vampires' asses after that if not for Immortus.
Immortus then returns to Limbo to find that the Scarlet Witch is no longer where he last left her. That's because she's still in space, with Magneto.
Then, at the end, "three hours" and another "forty-five minutes" after Acts of Vengeance ends, the Wasp returns to the West coast compound to find the USAgent a victim of a newly "unleashed" Wanda.
Oh for the love of--! Remember that Acts of Vengeance was supposed to take place immediately after Atlantis Attacks for the West Coast Avengers. And now we're going directly from AoV into this. Couldn't we take a minute to breath, please? Some of these characters appear in other books, you know. At least Iron Man flew off separately before the Wasp went home.
But ok, i guess regular people don't care about that. More substantially, i think this ending to Acts of Vengeance is a bit of a dud. I think the thematic connection to Avengers #1 is great. Loki was the Avengers' first villain, but he hasn't appeared in the series since the Avengers/Defenders War, and he makes a great master villain. The concept behind Acts of Vengeance was very cool, but its execution was pretty weak. Loki and the arch-villains practically told other villains, "Hey, you should go fight heroes from different books!", and it quickly turned out that the plan was just not working out. I think there's a great sequence to slip into some Untold Tale that shows how important Spider-Man inheriting the Captain Universe powers was to AoV's failure; imagine if Titania, Goliath, and all the other villains he defeated had been free to use in other books. But plenty of other villains were available and they all failed in their attacks, sometimes as nothing more than jokes. And meanwhile the cabal of arch-villains sat around and did nothing except bicker with each other.
The larger problem is that there was no core story. Like with Fall of the Mutants and Inferno, there was a difference in the trade dress between the core stories and the tie-ins. But in practice, the "core" stories were no different than the others. No larger story developed in those titles. Even the John Byrne written issues, while they may have taken place sequentially, didn't develop any specific Acts of Vengeance plotlines (Byrne seemed more interested in developing the Scarlet Witch story, using Magneto for that purpose). So basically the Avengers deal with some random attacks, and then in this final issue Thor flies in, says that Loki was behind it all, and then defeats Loki. Acts of Vengeance allowed for some fun mixing and matching and a few other memorable moments, but it wasn't really a story at all in any meaningful sense.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I am pausing here only to allow for the possibility that Iron Man, Wonder Man, and the Wasp's appearance in Avengers Spotlight #29 takes place somewhere during this issue, although i am placing it afterwards. In the middle of this issue, before the main contingent of Avengers go to fight Loki, there is a scene of USAgent and Wonder Man approaching the house that Magneto lifted into space, and then an explosion. At the end of the issue we see the Wasp find USAgent, but not Wonder Man. USAgent tells the Wasp that Wonder Man is dead. At the beginning of issue #56 we'll see that Wonder Man has been captured as well. The Wasp and Wonder Man are both at the Vault supervising the prisoner delivery in Avengers Spotlight #29. It seems unlikely that Wonder Man is appearing there after being blasted out of space (without telling anyone about it!).
Crossover: Acts of Vengeance
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showAgatha Harkness, Captain America, Ebony, Falcon, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Immortus, Iron Man, Kingpin, Loki, Magneto, Mandarin, Mockingbird, Red Skull Robot, Scarlet Witch, Thor, USAgent, Vision, Wasp, Wizard, Wonder Man
If you allow for the fact that this crossover was just a chance to see a bunch of chaotic battles, it was fun. Otherwise, it was a disaster. It was more like Loki was punishing the people who had to sit through this awful crossover.
Posted by: clyde | April 9, 2015 12:13 PM
I have a guilty pleasure love for this crossover because it is so simplistic and dumb; it's just an excuse for random battles between folks who don't usually fight, which is good fun. Now as part of an ultra villain cabal thing...no, it doesn't work at all. What would have worked I guess is if Loki or whoever was manipulating all these events not so much as part of an undefined "master plan to get the Avengers," but just as a series of subgoals to cause chaos and distraction...if it hadn't been played to death, some sort of alien force testing our heroes' ability to adapt would have sufficed.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | April 9, 2015 3:16 PM
Note that Byrne seemed to forget Simon didn't need to breathe, since he had Simon wearing a helmet in outer space.
Posted by: Michael | April 9, 2015 7:49 PM
The space stuff hasn't happened yet. However, while Wonder Man doesn't need to breathe, he would still need a helmet in space so he can communicate with everyone else via communications link-ups.
Posted by: Bill | April 9, 2015 8:35 PM
There is a short space scene in this issue when Wonder Man and USAgent fly up to Magneto and Scarlet Witch's house and then in the end scene are shown to be defeated. Didn't realize it would be a topic of conversation, so i didn't mention it. Sorry.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 9, 2015 9:04 PM
I was so excited about Acts of Vengeance when it was first advertised, and was disappointed by the time it ended for the reasons you described. Maybe there was not enough time to truly think of good stories after the first brainstorm - they should have given it another year. Also a few ground rules would have been good (#1 being, "No, you can't use Dr Doom in your book at all.")
There's a few pearls here and there, but overall disappointing.
Posted by: Chris | April 9, 2015 9:47 PM
Speaking of brainstorms needing another year, or decade, to be prepped I can't wait for Maximum Carnage!
Oh and Clone Saga.
Posted by: david banes | April 10, 2015 1:05 AM
david banes, I tried to get back into comics properly in the early 90s and picked up Clone Saga and then I picked up Maximum Carnage. Those two stories was enough to make up my mind that collecting comics wasn't for me and I was better off staying as a casual reader. Nuff said.
Posted by: JSfan | April 10, 2015 6:01 AM
I think the biggest problem with Acts of Vengeance (and likewise Atlantis Attacks) looking at it from the perspective of this website is that there wasn't the neat collective such as what the X-Books had for Mutant Massacre, Fall of the Mutants and even (sort of) Inferno to make it work out the way it could have. When the bigger stories started, it was at first confined to mostly one writer in one book as a major mini-series, as we saw for the most part with Contest of Champions and Secret Wars. By the time of the Mutant Massacre, you have Claremont and the Simonsons working together, allowing for the X-Books and even some slight associates like Thor and Power Pack getting involved to create an illusion of it being important while having tight control.
But these two really just want to take what worked with the mutant books and make it linewide with all sorts of writers and artists and whatnots going in all sorts of directions, from those who are with it and want to make sense of it all (Dwayne McDuffy) to those who flat out ignored it outside having tangential threads that sort of make it work (the X-Books) to those that mocked the idea for being overblown and trying to throw everything off they want to do(Peter David's Hulk, Simonson's F4). If there was greater coordination between writers and no mandate, it could have been something more...instead it is just a weird experiment that worked for some things but not others.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 10, 2015 9:28 AM
Listening to the comments on this, it seems like everyone liked the concept but agrees the story didn't work. It makes me think that Marvel should have just embraced the randomness of it. Loki is a God of Mischief. Just let him come to Earth and stir up trouble just for the sake of it, and if it results in some serious losses for the team he accidentally created, well, good! Instead of a big confrontation with him at the end, he could have just slunk off thinking, "Heh heh, that was fun."
Posted by: fnord12 | April 10, 2015 9:45 AM
Personally, as I think my comments on the mutant books make clear, I don't think Mutant Massacre and particularly Inferno worked at all well, to a large extent because they were so ambitious and fell so short.
For all that the seams are visible in Acts of Vengeance, it is to a far lesser extent than in Inferno or Atlantis Attack, and therefore it seems to be a far more succesfull event than any of the other recent ones.
Then again, that is because I do see it as far less ambitious as well. The setup has plenty of built-in excuses for certain inconsistencies and IMO does embrace them, as evidenced for instance by the pathetical insistence of the cabal in being oblivious to the manipulations from Loki and claiming individual leadership even while they are defeated in this issue.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | April 10, 2015 10:38 AM
I think even with the problems in the mutant books, there was a bit more coordination since less authors were involved in them. While the Mutant Massacre and beyond probably had its problems, it at least was more or less a small section of the company writing it and it feels like it gets a bit more done, mostly by necessity due to how extensive a lot of what Claremont was doing had to be cleared up.
Here, we have practically the entire company and nearly all the lines involved in Acts of Vengeance and it just feels like it goes in so many different directions that no one knew who was doing what and how. It really wasn't "needed" like Claremont's crossovers (Mutant Massacre/Fall of the Mutants/Inferno), more just an excuse to shake up the villains and some of the rivalries; and the differences in the perspectives of the "cabal" does feel like the differences in the approaches by the various writers trying to make it work.
I do believe that fnord did have a good solution: just have Loki "stir up trouble" by shifting all this around and screwing with the universe for a laugh instead of that whole "I want revenge for starting the Avengers" motive and maybe it would have felt more successful.
Posted by: Ataru320 | April 10, 2015 11:19 AM
I never understood the point of "Acts of Vengeance" in the first place. Heroes fighting villains that they don't usually fight, ok, but it begs the question why they don't? It goes back to old questions like 'where were the Avengers when Galactus showed up?' Why is Spider-Man the only superhero around for miles when Doc Ock or a Goblin starts doing sinister deeds?
And the name just never made any sense. If supervillains are really going to pull an "act of vengeance," it's going to be with a couple dozen of them ganging up on Daredevil, and then on Spider-Man, and then on Power Man/Iron Fist, and then... And that's without Loki manipulating everybody.
Similar to what Luis and Ataru said, I think the editorial staff was trying to prove they could replicate the success of the mutant crossovers without realizing that the only reason the mutant books could cross over was because they were done by a much smaller group of creators. "Too many cooks spoil the broth" may be a cliche, but cliches have truth in them.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 10, 2015 2:18 PM
"The robot Red Skull is surprised by this turn of events, and Kingpin smartly decides that it is time to duck out."
Er..say what? Did Von Doom have a Doombot garage sale and every villian took advantage of the bargain?
Also did this seem to anyone else to be more of a "DC" story? Things like the Grand League of Super-Villians meeting, and the gimmicky nature of the crossover seem just seems more in line with DC than Marvel.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | April 11, 2015 3:50 PM
"Er..say what? Did Von Doom have a Doombot garage sale and every villian took advantage of the bargain?"
Wouldn't you?? LOL!
Posted by: Bill | April 11, 2015 5:52 PM
I agree that AoV was not a great storyline. But, at the time, I appreciated it much more than say Atlantis Attacks. That's because I collected all the Avengers titles and could follow the core storyline to its conclusion while in AA, you had to buy all those other issues to find out what the hell happened.
Personally, I really liked this issue, partially because it meant that the final battle with Loki was drawn by Byrne. Absolutely love his Thor smashing through the ice and his confrontation with Loki.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 28, 2015 8:04 AM
Comments are now closed.
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