Issue(s): Avengers #345
But of course, they are the Avengers, not Kree spies, and it's a pretty powerful group of Avengers too.
Later in this series there will be a pivotal moral dilemma for the team. That is foreshadowed here.
It turns out that at least one person in the Shi'ar fleet, Hobgoblin, knew better than to attack the Avengers, but he's actually working against the Shi'ar (despite being a member of their Imperial Guard).
The Avengers breach the Shi'ar ship and force the praetor to surrender (with Sersi again threatening to kill him if he doesn't).
At this point, on Earth, Cap is back with the East coast team, and he's summoned the West coast team and all available reserves. As Cap notes, this is right after he (and/or Bob Harras) just got finished talking about how the Avengers team had gotten too large and indiscriminate, and so had pruned it back a bit. Now the likes of Gilgamesh are resurfacing.
I actually don't mind Gilgamesh, and i'm also happy to see Monica Rambeau appear again. But neither character will really do much in this storyline. Harras' idea to trim the team down made sense because it created more room for characterization. We have different expectations for big events like this, though, and i guess it's ok to sacrifice characterization to see a huge team of Avengers.
If you squint at the scan above you'll see that the debate about killing continues. Cap is also upset because Henry Pym has shrunk down Doctor Minerva and Captain Atlas to hold them captive, which reminds Cap of the Collector. Another objection comes from Mockingbird, who doesn't think it's the Avengers' business to interfere in a war between two alien races, but the fact that their warp gates are disrupting our sun ends that argument.
Cap proposes to try to get the Kree and Shi'ar to end their war. The Avengers are split into three groups, with one group acting as an envoy to the Kree...
...one going to the Shi'ar, and one remaining on Earth.
There is a swap from what is shown above. Hawkeye isn't happy about being left on the home team, so Henry Pym gives him some Pym particles so that he can become Goliath (a explicit callback to the Kree-Skrull War). That increases his power level and Cap therefore agrees to swap him with USAgent.
Additionally, Quasar will remain in space, near the warp gates.
At the end of this issue, Deathbird shows up at Empress Lilandra's court. It's presented as being menacing, but we know from her last appearance in X-Men that she's renounced her attempts on the Shi'ar throne, and as we'll see this isn't a reversal from that.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 172,679. Single issue closest to filing date = 173,700.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part five of Operation: Galactic Storm. It continues in Iron Man #278.
Crossover: Operation Galactic Storm
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showBlack Knight (Dane Whitman), Black Widow, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Crystal, Deathbird, Falcon, Forgotten One, Hawkeye, Henry Pym, Hercules, Hobgoblin (Shiar), Iron Man, Kismet (Her), Lilandra, Living Lightning, Mockingbird, Peter Corbeau, Quasar, Scarlet Witch, Sersi, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Starfox, Talia Kruma, Thunderstrike, USAgent, Vision, Wasp, Wonder Man
Great call backs to Gryich giving his government formed Avengers.
Posted by: david banes | January 28, 2016 1:43 PM
Never quite understood why they left She-Hulk behind on Earth. She has power and experience. I think she'd be nothing but an asset for one of the two space-bound teams.
Gilgamesh could've been useful too, but he really is lacking in experience (and no-one is particularly familiar with him). Plus, he couldn't be away from Olympia for too long or he'd fall ill.
Living Lightning seems to have been fast tracked on the basis of his powers. He certainly doesn't have much experience and is redundant next to Monica (well, since most writers will ignore her powerset change). But I'm guessing leaving him on Earth would then make the Earth team just look like the regular West Coast team but now with Gilgamesh.
I have always liked that U.S.Agent initially gets included by Cap though. The character is usually treat with scorn by characters (and readers), but Cap recognises his strength and ability to be a team player here.
Why he was bounced specifically is a bit weird, since Dane is coming off as the weakest looking of that team (really only having experience and scientific background). I'm guessing Clint probably specifically requested John get dropped.
In the end, I can't imagine John's presence on the team having worked at all. He's not been into outer space before and he'd very obviously ruin a lot of plans with rashness and be siding with Iron Man on the Supreme Intelligence debate. So ultimately it definitely worked best to keep the character away rather than reignited the tired Cap/U.S.Agent rivalry. And the result is we get the exact opposite of that with a nice "you're alright you" moment at the end of the crossover instead.
Posted by: AF | January 28, 2016 2:04 PM
It's interesting how Cap divides the teams. Putting both himself and US Agent in the same force seems like a mistake to me, since they both have the same fighting profile.
The Shi'ar force gets more heavy hitters, presumably because the Imperial Guard is a stronger superhuman force than the Kree can muster (at least when the Guard isn't being drawn by Jim Lee).
Posted by: Mortificator | January 28, 2016 3:27 PM
One odd thing is that the Black Widow was left off all of the teams. One can assume that she is manning the fort at Avengers Mansion while everyone else is away, but they never actually address it.
I LOVED that Monica was assigned a leadership role here, despite having been off the active roster for nearly 50 issues. It makes sense, since she has the leadership experience to justify it--but it is just great to see that Harras acknowledged that, rather than making her take a backseat to someone else just because they happened to be an active member at the moment.
As AF points out, putting her and Miguel on the same roster seems a bit redundant in terms of power set--but presumably they wanted to keep Miguel with people he has experience working with (Simon and Wanda) to make things easier in the field rather than throwing him in with a total bunch of strangers in a high-stakes situation.
As for She-Hulk being left on Earth...yeah, that one is really strange given her experience with the FF and Avengers. My only guess there was that it was to help balance the power out among the groups--they wanted an experienced heavy-hitter like Jen on Earth in case the Earth team ran into problems.
Posted by: Dermie | January 28, 2016 7:33 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if the teams are broken up based on the needs of the story (and the titles each group will appear in), not on how it actually makes sense to break them up. I may be wrong, but I don't get a sense there's much of a focus on working out strategy in team books.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | January 28, 2016 7:38 PM
I never understood who Hobgoblin was supposed to be working for in this issue. The Skrulls? The Supreme Intelligence?
Posted by: Michael | January 28, 2016 7:55 PM
Morgan, I think you're right. If memory serves (and we'll find out soon enough) the Avengers that go are split about how to deal with the big moral dilemma at the end of this. Some side with Cap, some with Iron Man (sounds familiar). I'm willing to bet that they picked who would go into space at least in part on who they thought would side with whom, while still keeping with it being a galactic story (so Mockingbird would reasonably have no place up there, for example, despite the likelihood she would side with IM).
Posted by: Robert | January 28, 2016 8:04 PM
Why didn't Spider-Man show up when they called in the reserves?
The Hulk reconciled with the Avengers during Infinity Gauntlet, so why couldn't he participate in these events?
Posted by: Steven | January 29, 2016 1:14 AM
Spider-Man (and Namor) not being around is acknowledged in Captain America #401.
Posted by: AF | January 29, 2016 3:22 AM
And the Hulk opted out (sort of) in Cap #398.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 29, 2016 10:24 AM
And for what it's worth the following are also referred to in Cap #401: Ant-Man (Scott Lang), Beast, Hellcat, Jocasta, Moondragon, Quicksilver, Rage. (they are just names on a screen saying "Unavailable"/"Inactive"/"Deceased" but hey it's nice acknowledgement)
And these appear in West Coast #83 and it's said they were minding the West Coast Compound during Operation Galactic Storm: Machine Man, Quicksilver, Tigra (and a de-powered Human Torch shows up to get their help).
I always thought it was one of the best things about the story.
Posted by: AF | January 29, 2016 12:44 PM
It does seem odd for Dane to be part of the Kree-bound team (as AF noted, he seems to be the "weakest" of that group), but it was probably Harras's way of laying the groundwork for Dane and Crystal's eventual closeness. And also a way for Sersi to get to work alongside him (Dane) too.
Posted by: Shar | January 29, 2016 2:06 PM
The Black Knight does have some deep space experience from Stern's run.
But i kind of think the idea of Black Knight stabbing the Supreme Intelligence's brain, a memorable visual, came up first and then they worked backwards from there. I suspect that's why he suddenly had a new (non-cursed) sword with little explanation, too.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 29, 2016 2:14 PM
Fnord, personally I wonder whether they'd decided on Proctor's secret at this point. Because that plays into both Dane getting a non-cursed sword and Dane's willingness to kill.
Posted by: Michael | January 29, 2016 11:16 PM
I gotta say this art is a lot better than I expected. Either Epting is better than we knew or Tom Palmer just makes everything he touches amazing... but the Brim suspects it's BOTH! this looks like a good arc and with good art
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Comics CEO | January 30, 2016 3:26 AM
I think Hobgoblin's role in this issue was Harras getting him confused with Raksor, the Skrull from the Dark Phoenix saga, who while not an official member of the guard, took the "Chameleon Boy expy" role for that single story.
Posted by: DAMartin | March 5, 2018 10:58 AM
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