Avengers annual #12
Issue(s): Avengers annual #12
The world governments are alarmed because when the Fantastic Four helped the Inhumans move to the moon, it alerted the word to their presence. And now there is concern that they are occupying a strategic military position. The argument that the Inhumans were always capable of attacking humanity but never did so while on Earth, and are even less likely to do so now that they aren't even on the planet, doesn't make much headway.
But the Fantastic Four aren't charged with anything, and the Security Council agrees to send the Avengers up to the moon to secure a non-aggression pact with the Inhumans.
Things go very well at first.
A little outrage on the Inhumans' side that the Earth would be worried about them. But no misunderstanding fights or anything like that.
A little background here: Prior to the Inhumans' move, John Byrne wrapped up a bungled and long-unresolved storyline where the Inhumans were at war with the Enclave. In that story, which was told in flashback and mostly off-panel, Maximus had allied himself with the Enclave but eventually switched sides, turning the tide of the battle. And he passed out during that battle, and the Inhumans show in this story that he's been kept in a "living diamond" type holding device ever since.
But when the Inhumans show Maximus to the Avengers, Lockjaw starts getting agitated.
And the Avengers start noticing that Black Bolt is acting a little funny. And then the Avengers get word from Earth that meteors are being launched at it from the moon. And at this point we do get our misunderstanding fight...
...until it's revealed that Maximus has actually switched minds with Black Bolt (and that, apparently, even means that Maximus can talk while in Black Bolt's body).
It turns out that Maximus has even revived his alliance with the Enclave, although those scientists fold with no fighting once the Avengers show up.
The Avengers are sent home with the not-quite-reassuring message that Maximus is the only Inhuman that wants to bombard the Earth with asteroids, and he only takes over the Inhumans the first Thursday of every month.
There's the potential for a good story in here. The world governments officially (the Chinese say that they had hear rumors about them, which covers a story from Amazing Adventures #1-2, and more generally any government might have known about the Inhumans and simply not sharing that info with the others prior to this) learning about the existence of the Inhumans should be a momentous occasion. It's unfortunately handled with the worst of Bill Mantlo's histrionic tendencies. And i'm not quite sure that Russian and China would agree that the Avengers, including Captain America, should be their ambassadors. Things get worse on the moon, with Maximus involved in yet another takeover attempt. And his on-again off-again alliance with the Enclave has even them confused about what's going on. Top all that off with some awkward facial expressions and poses from Jackson Guice, and Bill Mantlo's stiff and expository scripting.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is a conundrum from a placement perspective. Starfox is a member of the team (and is introduced along with She-Hulk and Captain Marvel as the team's newest members), but the Vision is active, placing this in the gap in Avengers #232 before the Negative Zone barrier storyline, which disables the Vision, begins. But the FF are wearing their new black/navy blue costumes, placing this after they return from the Negative Zone, a storyline that concludes with the Negative Zone barrier crossover with the Avengers, at which point the Vision is disabled. And the Vision remains disabled until Avengers #242, which leads directly into Secret Wars, after which She-Hulk is a member of the FF and the Thing is gone. One option is to find a gap in Avengers #242, which is possible, and then explain away the absence of Hawkeye and Mockingbird here (which is doable) and the difference in the Wasp's costume (granted, easier to do than the FF's). That would also extend the period where Maximus was masquerading as Black Bolt, affecting Thing #3 and probably Dazzler #32. The MCP, following the 1995 Marvel Index to the Avengers, places this before the Fantastic Four's Negative Zone adventure, ignoring the costume change. And while i'm uncomfortable with that, stuffing this between pages of Avengers #242 and interrupting the flow to Secret Wars isn't very appealing either, especially since it would affect Black Bolt's appearances in the Thing and Dazzler. So i'm going with the MCP's placement, between (most of) Avengers #232 and Avengers #233, and before Fantastic Four #251.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showBlack Bolt, Captain America, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), Carlo Zota, Crystal, Gorgon, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Iridia, Karnak, Lockjaw, Luna, Maris Morlak, Maximus, Mr. Fantastic, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Stallior, Starfox, Thing, Thor, Triton, Vision, Wasp, Wladyslav Shinski
The problem with placing this Annual during Avengers 242 is that Sue doesn't seem to be pregnant during this Annual.
Posted by: Michael | August 5, 2013 7:32 PM
That's true, but we know from Spectacular Spider-Man #89 that she hides it well. ;-)
Posted by: fnord12 | August 5, 2013 7:39 PM
I'm pretty sure that this issue is first time the Enclave are positively identified with the "Beehive" scientists who created Adam Warlock. Prior to this, the Enclave are just off-panel mysterious menaces and the Beehive guys were last seen with their original setup in Hulk Annual #6. Stern does some nice work tying off loose ends here if that's the case.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 4, 2015 8:27 AM
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