Characters Appearing: Black Knight (Dane Whitman), Captain America, Crystal, Deborah Ritter, Donald Ritter, Dragona, El Toro Rojo, Ghaur, Henry Pym, Hercules, Karkas, Karygmax, Khult, Kingo Sunen, Kro, Ransak the Reject, Sersi, Tantalus, Varua, Vision
Issue(s): Avengers #370, Avengers #371
The Avengers receive a priority alert from Deviant Lemuria. Black Widow and the Vision are needed to oversee the shutdown of the West Coast Avengers, but the rest of the Avengers are sent to investigate. They are attacked by Brother Karygmax and his Deviant Horde.
The Avengers are overwhelmed and fitted with brain-mines.
Karygmax has also brain-mined Varua, one of the Young Gods.
Sersi manages to resist the brain-mine and escape (her arm is disintegrated during the escape but she grows it back). She flees to the Pentagon, where Kro is apparently working on a project to integrate Deviants into society. Kro tries to contact Erishkigal, but finds that she's unavailable (probably due to the fallout from Quasar #49-50). Kro instead contacts her sister, Dragona...
...and a few other Deviants, including a guy named Enigmo who is fighting in the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation.
We get a glimpse at the titular character from Herdling's upcoming Blackwulf series as Kro recruits Karkas and Ransak.
Kro also passes Metabo (who, as AF notes in the Comments, previously appeared in Thor #286).
The other two on that screen are Kro and Athena's children, twins that merge into a single entity called Tzabaoth.
Also recruited is El Toro Rojo, who surprisingly was not at the UCWF.
Together, this group is called Delta Force. They go to try to rescue the Avengers. But it turns out that Sersi's escape was allowed by Karygmax. This was all a plan by Ghaur to get these Deviants here.
Some of the Deviants are made to fight the brainwashed Black Knight and Giant Man in the Deviant arena.
But when the Avengers are made to kill the Deviants, it breaks the brain-mines' control over them.
Meanwhile, Ghaur forces the creations of a Uni-Mind with Varua and the Avengers that he selected. Which he then wears on his head.
It gives him the powers of all the characters in the Uni-Mind. Which makes him pretty powerful, but relative to the cosmic mind-blowingness of a regular Uni-Mind, it seems more gimmicky.
The Black Knight's eyes - red because of his whatever whatever (Gan-Josin) with Sersi, briefly turn normal and then red again, and then a replica of his energy sword manifests out of nowhere. He uses the sword to disrupt the Uni-Mind; it turns out the sword was created by Sersi. However, merely by having returned from his previous "death", Ghaur is made ruler of Lemuria again, and the Avengers are kicked out.
At the end of the issue we see a Lord T and a Lord K (earlier, these two were seen talking to Karygmax) bragging that they've driven a wedge into the Deviants.
That would be Tantalus and Khult, although they look nothing like what they'll look like in the Blackwulf series.
For a fill-in, this was pretty great, with Glenn Herdling doing his continuity thing to give us some lesser used Deviants as well as another obscure character, Varua (even though her presence feels very incidental and unexplained). It does feel very quickly wrapped up, especially because a lot of space was devoted to "gathering of the team" scenes for Delta Force. And i'm actually surprised how little of what is here has to do with Herdling's Blackwulf series. If i read this in realtime knowing about the upcoming Blackwulf series, i would have expected that Delta Force would have played a large role in it (when in fact they don't appear in it at all). On the other hand, i at least would have known that Blackwulf and Tantalus were Deviants, something that wasn't clear after i read Blackwulf #1. Overall, though, this was more fun than the actual Bob Harras run that it's filling in for.
I'm a little surprised about the SOO numbers below. The average is somewhat higher than last year (~175k), but the "closest" number, which i assume would have been part of Bloodties, is lower.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 188,683. Single issue closest to filing date = 130,300.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: At the start of this issue, the Avengers are repairing damage done to the Mansion by the Genoshians "last issue". Which doesn't necessarily mean that last issue was the most recent Avengers appearance.
This takes place after the West Coast Avengers were disbanded. Black Widow and Vision don't participate in most of this adventure because they are needed to oversee the West Coast shutdown operation, which suggests that this takes place at the same time as Force Works #1. Although it's possible that the shutdown operation was a multi-day affair and they're not yet up to the step that causes them to appear in that issue.
Kro's computer image of Blackwulf shows Lucian, the second person to be Blackwulf. Which would suggest that this story takes place after Blackwulf #1, when Lucian became Blackwulf. But that's basically impossible due to the dependencies associated with both the Avengers and Blackwulf series. So i suggest that Kro is using some kind of advanced prediction software and has already determined that Lucian will eventually become Blackwulf.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Apparently Tzabaoth is a word from Kabbalah, and means something like "God-Force". And on the weekend he plays in a Ozzy Osbourne cover band, Black Tzabaoth.
Posted by: Andrew | March 7, 2018 3:38 PM
Slight problem- the Blackwulf seems to be Lucian, not Pelops. Does that mean this takes place after Blackwulf 1?
Posted by: Michael | March 7, 2018 3:46 PM
Wow. For a stub-like entry, it has more detail than I expected. I hope the rest of the entries are at this level.
Posted by: clyde | March 7, 2018 3:47 PM
This doesn't come across as a "stub" entry to me at all, it's almost indistinguishable from fnord's normal entries (aside from *maybe* shorter paragraphs and more reliance on scans?). So either he picked up actual copies of these issues, or he can't turn off his penchant for detail even when he says he will. ;)
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 7, 2018 4:01 PM
@Morgan (& clyde), it's the latter, but this may be a special case since i'm interested in what Herdling was doing with the Deviants. I reserve the right for my later semi-stubs to be stubby. But it's also possible that i won't be able to help myself. :-)
Michael - good call. Although looking at shifting this down, along with Force Works #1, makes me nervous, especially since i haven't analyzed Force Works #2-5. But yeah, that's meant to be Lucian, and also Pelops' identity as Blackwulf wasn't supposed to be known, so that can't even be written off as an art error. I'll keep this in mind while i go through the rest of the Avengers issues.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 7, 2018 4:06 PM
Metabo is from Thor #286.
Posted by: AF | March 7, 2018 4:29 PM
I don’t know if it would be cheating to guess that Kro could have had reasons for designating Lucian as Blackwulf even before he took the name. Maybe he wrongly surmised that the Pelops Blackwulf was really Lucian, or maybe he knew something about the Blackwulf tradition and had reason to think Lucian was part of it.
Based on the misrepresentations of T. and K. at the end, I’d say it’s fine to chalk the image up to erroneous art, too, and to say it really is Pelops, whose stability we don’t really know that much about.
I’m puzzled by how the art got T and K so wrong. I never connected those two with Tantalus and Khult when I read this in real time, but in retrospect it’s obviously them.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 7, 2018 10:03 PM
Enigmo reappears many years down the line in an arc of THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL series. Fnord, I'm not sure if you want to give him a "characters appearing" tag?
Posted by: Dermie | March 7, 2018 10:09 PM
As noted in the Appendix site, the Ritter twins turn out to have a second joint heroic identity and alias about four years later, in the John Ostrander Heroes For Hire series. Apparently he did not read this story.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 8, 2018 12:14 AM
Was there an explanation given for how Ghaur came back? I don't remember one when I read these.
Posted by: Thanos6 | March 8, 2018 2:39 AM
I remember this story, but I never realized that those were supposed to be Tantalus and Khult at the end!
Posted by: Berend | March 8, 2018 2:55 PM
Reading these two issues and the Thunderstrike issues that foreshadow the Blackwulf series, I'm glad I finally picked it up.
Posted by: clyde | March 8, 2018 2:57 PM
@Dermie - it looks like Enigmo's appearance in Squirrel Girl might take place after Secret Wars 2015, in which case it's out of scope for me. Does anyone know for sure?
@Thanos6 - Ghaur says "The blood shed by Sersi when she lost her arm provided sufficient ectoplasm to summon me back to this Earthly plane". :-/
Posted by: fnord12 | March 8, 2018 3:51 PM
@fnord12: Wow, even by comic book standards that's such a lame explanation for a revival. I must have immediately erased it from my memory the first time I read these issues.
Posted by: Thanos6 | March 8, 2018 8:54 PM
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