Avengers annual #18 (Atlantis Attacks)
Issue(s): Avengers annual #18 (Atlantis Attacks story only)
An unusual group of Avengers react to the attacks.
It's unusual because, despite that footnote, Sersi didn't actually join the Avengers in issue #309. This is also a pretty lackluster first on panel reunion of the Golden Age Human Torch and Captain America. Part of the problem here is just that Michael Higgins is handling the writing here in a very plot driven, characterization negligent way, but the larger issue is a miscalculation on the part of John Byrne, which he will address in a back-up feature in Avengers West Coast #56, showing Cap recruiting Sersi to help with the Atlantis problem and then the Human Torch showing up. In fact, let me just sneak in those scenes here.
There, now we can stop complaining and move on. To complaining about other things. For example, here's the Thing, apparently back in his classic rocky state.
This will later be ruled to be an exo-skeleton.
And hey, what's Tigra doing here. Wasn't she shrunk to tiny cat form and loose on the grounds of the West Coast Avengers' compound?
Actually, this is explained by a page in AWC #56, too, although in her case it's not as simple as just inserting some scenes.
While i'm complaining, what's up with Ron Wilson's art? Wilson is usually a reliable guy, but the art here looks sketchy; it's not his usual big strong bulky style.
You'll notice several of the people above suddenly getting weak. It also affects our mystery armored guy.
It's basically everyone that has previously worn a serpent crown or recently received a Mark of Set (i.e. She-Hulk). And the fact that it affects Armored Guy pretty much confirms that he's the Sub-Mariner.
Based on the number of Attacks, Captain America calls in the full contingent of Avengers.
The poses in the above panel, especially the Hulk's and Sersi's, really suck. So does a lot of the dialogue, especially the Hulk's again. I also think it's funny that the West Coast Avengers have given USAgent the slip again, and Reed, Sue, and Ben told Johnny and Sharon to stay home just because they're technically not Avengers. "Sorry guys; it may be a national emergency, but it's a national emergency that the Avengers are going to respond to. Besides, we already have a Torch."
In addition to the Avengers that appear in that splash, there are a few more that subsequently show up, including the Wasp and Henry Pym, who were apparently hard to locate. But definitely not Tigra, no matter what you think you see!
The Thing and Quasar wind up staying behind, too sick to help out. The rest split into groups to face the four Atlantean assault points.
The group attacking Arno's contingent has to face Orka.
Tyrak himself is capable of fighting the Avengers.
And then for some reason Moondragon shows up with Rick Jones and activates the powers he used to stop the Kree-Skrull War, just to take out some Atlantean grunts.
U-Man's team only has a cannon to help them fight the Avengers, and they basically use it to buy some time to retreat. Probably not how U-Man hoped his first modern day appearance would go.
And his team even gets eaten by a sea monster as it retreats, thanks to the Sub-Mariner, who also takes out Krang by himself.
And that's basically how the issue ends. Attuma says he knew all along that the plan was folly and he wonders what Ghaur and Llyra's true intentions were. And the Avengers decide to just sit tight and wait for Atlantis (etc.) to make their next move.
The final panel does appear to show U-Man about to lead a new assault on Avengers Island...
...but nothing like that comes to pass.
This is a childish, poorly written and drawn adventure story. At the time i'm writing this, Marvel recently had put out a teaser image for a new Secret Wars, and with that came a renewed round of criticism of the original Secret Wars for being nothing but a marketing-driven clash of heroes and villains that had no characterization or deeper meaning. I disagree quite a bit with that criticism, but it's actually a great description of this crossover and especially this issue. It's just a big fight between (metaphorical and almost literal) stick figures.
Also in this issue is a continuity fixer upper explaining how Quasar got inducted into the Avengers, another scene that had been neglected recently. Despite some mocking about the scenes from Avengers West Coast #56 earlier, i accept that these sorts of things are necessary. Since comics came out on a monthly basis, mistakes and missed moments can happen, and continuity inserts like these are the grease that helps the wheels of continuity along. Around this time, Marvel put stuff like this in annuals and even as back up features in Marvel Tales reprint issues. Mistakes will be made, and i like that an effort was still made to correct those mistakes. But since that story takes place circa Avengers #303, i've placed it in a separate entry.
This issue also has a feature with Captain America reviewing the files on various Avengers, and of course the Saga of the Serpent Crown segment.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part eight of Atlantis Attacks; part nine takes place in New Mutants annual #5. This takes place after Avengers West Coast #50-53. It also takes place after Monica Rambeau's powers are restored in the Captain Marvel #1 oneshot. Madame Viper is shown in one panel, labeled "Elsewhere", reacting to the same wave that affects the other former Serpent Crown wearers. It's confirmed in Thor annual #14 that Viper was captured in Daredevil annual #4, so "Elsewhere" must be a prison somewhere. A back-up feature showing how Quasar was recruited into the Avengers is covered in a separate entry.
Crossover: Atlantis Attacks
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): show
FNORD - when you wrote "At the time i'm writing this, Marvel recently had put out a teaser image for a new Secret Wars", do you have a scan of that ad? I don't remember seeing it anywhere.
Posted by: clyde | October 19, 2014 6:37 PM
Note that Monica seems to have her classic powers in this story, not the new powers she got in the McDuffie oneshot. The McDuffie oneshot came out after this Annual and apparently Higgins hadn't been told about her power change. Unfortunately, this started a trend over the next several years of Monica either having her original powers or her McDuffie powers depending on the writer.
Posted by: Michael | October 19, 2014 6:38 PM
Clyde, here's the Secret Wars tease along with some of the commentary i refer to. Marvel has now also announced other recycled crossovers, so i think all is not what it seems; i just brought it up because i thought the Secret Wars commentary was a good compare/contrast for Atlantis Attacks.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 19, 2014 6:45 PM
Ron Wilson drew this? Yikes! I expect much better from him.
Posted by: Bill | October 19, 2014 7:08 PM
Luckily, even though Higgins wrote the wrong power set, the way Monica was used here at least looked somewhat consistent with her new powers--since it looks like she's flying at them as some sort of human battering ram. That makes more sense with her super-strength powers rather than her energy powers...where if written properly, she'd have dehydrated the entire force of Atlanteans by herself as soon as she arrived, rather than letting Iron Man and Vision do it.
Posted by: Dermie | October 19, 2014 9:37 PM
I remember wasting money on this issue. They'll do the whole Atlantis attacks thing better in the future (the submarine plot).
An interesting note with Sersi flirting so obviously with cap. Its pretty consistant with his personality. Woman have to throw themselves at him to get his attention. So in a way, it makes sense that the more forward ones are after him. It did feel like at the time, the Avengers was setting Sersi up as a love interest for cap while in his own book it was Diamondback.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 20, 2014 4:44 AM
I only bought three Atlantis Attacks annuals real-time and this was one. Another one with a John Byrne cover and crap art inside. This time from the normally reliable Ron Wilson, who was apparently suffering from the same affliction that affected Paul Smith around this time.
Posted by: Robert | October 20, 2014 2:52 PM
Meh, if Doctor Doom can use time travel to go to the Secret Wars and Medusa can briefly escape captivity to see the original Captain Marvel die, then I'm sure there's a better explanation for that orange striped catgirl that happens to be in this mini-series than whatever Byrne says.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 21, 2014 9:15 PM
Seeing is how this is the first time the Hulk has seen Rick Jones since the gamma bomb went off in Middletown, you'd think he'd have had a little more of a reaction then some grumbling in a faceless caption box.
Posted by: Bob | July 9, 2015 2:46 AM
Even more bizarrely, it's not mentioned in Hulk 374-375, when Rick reunites with Bruce.
Posted by: Michael | July 9, 2015 11:33 PM
"Seeing is how this is the first time the Hulk has seen Rick Jones since the gamma bomb went off in Middletown, you'd think he'd have had a little more of a reaction then some grumbling in a faceless caption box."
IMO, the "Grey" Hulk could care less about Rick or almost anyone from his past (except for Betty).
Posted by: clyde | July 16, 2015 1:10 PM
Oh, now I realize, since Rick was entranced, he didn't remember meeting the Hulk. That could have been explained more clearly.
Posted by: Michael | July 16, 2015 11:02 PM
I feel like I owe the X-Men Annual an apology now that I am reminded of this issue.
I hated Atlantis Attacks. It was crossovers like Millennium that had driven me from DC. Now crossovers like this were driving me from Marvel. This time, at least I couldn't be bothered to care what happened in the issues I wasn't buying (except the AWC Annual, which actually left off on a cliffhanger and I suppose thanks to fnord I'll finally found out what happened).
But the backups in this issue at least made it interesting. They had better art and writing than the main story and I really liked the idea of Cap going through all the files. That's just my personality.
I'm glad fnord showed the Byrne apology. I've mentioned it in some other issues. I wish Marvel did more of that. Instead, now it just seems they can't be bothered to care.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 6, 2015 1:43 PM
These days, not only do they not care, they smugly mock anyone who points out their mistakes as the tired stereotype of a fanboy living in his parents' basement.
Posted by: Bob | September 8, 2015 1:10 AM
Prior to this issue, Tyrak had been constantly depicted as a legitimate threat able to defeat entire teams of Avengers... here he gets pushed over by Wonder Man after 2 pages.
Posted by: AF | January 13, 2016 4:10 PM
Although almost everything included in this annual comes out looking bad...
Posted by: AF | January 13, 2016 4:12 PM
Mark Bright should have been drafted to pencil this story. The man can do crowd scenes like no other artist.
Check out the preceding Avengers annual. Just beautiful stuff.
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | December 14, 2016 5:51 PM
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