Characters Appearing: Ast (Time-Keeper), Brideshead, Captain America, Deathunt 9000, Immortus, Iron Man, Kang, Marcus Immortus, Ravonna, Tempus, Thor, Thunderstrike, USAgent, Vort (Time-Keeper), War Machine, Zanth (Time-Keeper)
Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1-4
Issue(s): Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #1, Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #2, Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #3, Avengers: The Terminatrix Objective #4
Just including Ravonna in a story requires a heavy amount of exposition. For most of Marvel's history, she was in a death-like state, a prop for Kang to pine over. But she was used to wrap up confusing mis-use of a different character, Nebula, who was posing as "a" Kang. In the same story that revealed all of that, Kang wound up in a death-like state and Ravonna is now posing as him (this time as the one true Kang, not just "a" Kang). She's also now to be referred to as the Terminatrix, although i think it's a bit much to say that she's "better known" by that name.
Also, "time tramp"?
All of this is understandably a bridge too far for Kang's lackies, the Anachronauts.
Ravonna has been surveying the domain that she's taken over from Kang, and she's found that lurking at the borders of it is a creature called Alioth.
Ok, i guess she is better known as the Terminatrix.
Terminatrix is upset to learn about Alioth because there were no mention of it in Kang's records (delivered to her by a sentient computer called Brideshead). Terminatrix is feeling generally overwhelmed by her new responsibilities as ruler of Kang's domain.
Meanwhile, a woman named Revelation summons the Imitation Avengers.
She wants them to stop Terminatrix.
The script seems a little vague about which characters have worked together before.
USAgent and War Machine are actually currently on the West Coast Avengers together.
Terminatrix is currently in a meeting with some of the other Council Kangs, discussing a war with the Congress of Realities. I'm assuming that's the same group that we saw in Quasar #50 (and Man-Thing #1) since Gruenwald wrote the Quasar issue.
Note that the Congress hold ten times the "territory" as Kang's domain. Kang the Conqueror? More like Kang the Piker!
The Imitation Avengers show up and attack Ravonna. She escapes through time and then summons the Authentic Avengers to protect her.
Really cheesy dialogue from Revelation there.
The Imitators show up before Terminatrix can convince the Authentics to help her, but she uses time travel to correct for that.
This is the sort of thing you don't see much of in time-traveling villain encounters - a character getting defeated and then coming back a second later after (in their own time) having rested up and gotten some new weapons or whatever. It's nice to see here.
So we get our Imitators vs Authentics fight, with each side believing that they are fighting for the good guys. Again, the scripting is all vaguely worded so it's unclear when these things are happening. There isn't really a time in the Iron Man series when War Machine would think that he was past the clashing stage of his relationship with Iron Man, for example.
The fight doesn't actually last that long because despite "knowing" that their sides are right, the Avengers don't really want to fight each other. They call a truce ("Warmup Machine" is the worst insult ever)...
...and then get attacked by some robots and then like a million Kangs and god knows what else (Keystone Cops, and i am not kidding).
Meanwhile, Terminatrix is approached by Immortus' son and everyone's favorite paradox incest rapist, Marcus.
He keeps calling her "mum" which makes me wonder just how many women he's impregnated with himself so that they can give birth to him and then he can grow up to make them fall in love with him.
Terminatrix is captured and delivered to Immortus, who apparently has a collection of all Ramona variants. That apparently includes "hot female Grandmaster" version, which makes me wonder what exactly was going through Kang's head in Avengers #69-71.
The story is that Immortus and his Ravonna are dying of old age. And he wants one of the captive Rammonas to cut Ravonna's life support at the same moment he dies. Doing so will, i don't know, power up Tempus for some reason, i don't know. I just wanted a story where Captain America punched USAgent in the face.
Terminatrix-Ravonna volunteers to do the job. And after she does it, she escapes Marcus and flees, but she runs into Revelation, who claims to be "your daughter. Your sister. You".
This all has something to do with Alioth.
I already wasn't trying to follow this, but once you're trying to depict time as a geographical map you have lost me forever.
The Time-Keepers had been debating waking up the real Kang...
...but it seems like Revelation has convinced Terminatrix to do it
Alioth attacks, and the Avengers get swallowed in him and see these terrifying whales.
Terminatrix and Revelation rescue the Avengers and convince them that they have to fight Alioth to save all of reality. Kang himself shows up (um, i think? That is some costume.) to explain that he's never really cared about fighting the Avengers.
He gives them a "Chronokey" which is said will help them beat Alioth.
The Avengers enter the Alioth cloud again, and after a minute of trying to convince Thor to stop using his hammer and try the key already, they deploy the key which becomes a statue of Tempus and then the actual Tempus and is this real life or am i dreaming?
I mean couldn't it just have started off as a statue of Tempus?
The Avengers then depart, leaving Tempus to battle Alioth forever at the edge of time.
This also seems to have resulted in wiping out all of the Kang council (again).
Kang sends the Avengers home, and then approaches Terminatrix, thinking he's gonna get some lovin'.
But she just stabs him in the back.
She says when Kang recovers, they can rule their timezone as co-equals. Good for her.
This barely qualifies as an Avengers story since the focus is so much more on Ravonna and the other Limbo characters, and the Avengers are either manipulated or mindlessly fighting the whole time. It certainly doesn't do anything with the gimmick of having Imitation and Authentic Avengers. It could have been any configuration of Avengers or really any random collection of heroes and it wouldn't have made a difference. Dialogue and character moments have never been Gruenwald's strong suits, and i think the catnip of playing with all of the obscure Kang related stuff was too much for him to even consider bothering with (what seemed like it would be) the core concept of the goofy cast choices.
I think events here are revised/retconned in the Avengers Forever series, but i'll make those notes when i get to it.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This should take place after the back-up story in Avengers annual #22 when the Anachronauts were still working for Ravonna. As with Thor Corps, the question of where this takes place in Thor's chronology is probably the most pressing consideration. The MCP has this taking place after Blood and Thunder, during Thor #472. But see below.
Thunderstrike and USAgent, when they first get summoned, are in mid-sentence, as if they are being pulled from appearances in other books. But as far as i know, that's not the case.
War Machine's sensors confirm that Tony Stark is actually in the Iron Man suit, suggesting that he's pulled from time.
The MCP seem to ignore this and place the story during Iron Man #295, directly after Infinity Crusade (Iron Man #294-295 are unofficial Crusade tie-ins, and then there's an epilogue that takes place after Crusade). I'm going to follow the MCP and place this after Infinity Crusade (and tag Iron Man's appearance as a real chronological appearance), and assume that War Machine's sensors are faulty (presumably Stark would take measures to ensure that his enemies didn't become aware that he was just controlling an empty suit; just don't ask me how he could control the suit across the timestream). But since i'm placing this not too long after Infinity Crusade for Iron Man, i'm doing the same for Thor and Cap, and that means that Thor is appearing in the same gap in his series as he did for Thor Corps, as opposed to after Blood and Thunder.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Thor and Thunderstrike were very busy this time of year - two time-travel adventures in a short span of "time";).
Posted by: clyde | February 20, 2017 3:05 PM
I remember being completely confused about the ending. There's a scene at the end fnord didn't post where Kang and Ravonna seem to be together in the early 20th century, suggesting Kang has recovered and they've reconciled... or not? And are there two Tempuses- one created by Kang and another by Immortus? Or only one?
Posted by: Michael | February 20, 2017 10:00 PM
This is yet another storyline from the 1990s that I own, and I know that I've read it, but, except for the ending where Ravonna stabs Kang in the back, I don't remember a single thing about this miniseries.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 21, 2017 8:53 AM
Avengers Forever did indeed rewrite chunks of this.
So Mike Gustovich finally learned to draw female faces. Maybe being separated from Roy Thomas finally did it...
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 21, 2017 10:53 AM
I don't think Avengers Forever "rewrote" this, as much as wave a hand and mutter "Space Phantoms." Which is about as much attention as this mess deserves.
Posted by: Andrew | February 21, 2017 7:36 PM
I'm hoping Gru meant "tramp" like "hobo", but it's still pretty weird.
Posted by: S | February 23, 2017 12:38 AM
I dug out my copies of this miniseries and re-read it today. It's actually better than I remember it to be.
My main criticism is that (as fnord observes) this is basically Terminatrix / Ravonna story with the Avengers playing an almost-incidental role. Really, you could have used almost any six members of the Avengers and this story would be pretty much the same.
I can actually understand why Gruenwald wrote it this way, though. In these pre-Thunderbolts days, I seriously doubt that Marvel would have published a miniseries starring Ravonna and Kang. Gru obviously wanted to tell Ravonna's continuing story, but knew he'd never be able to get it approved. So instead he came up with the "original Big Three of the Avengers versus their 1990s legacy heroes" as his pitch to get it okayed, but it's really clear that his interest is in what's going on with Ravonna and Kang. Reading this miniseries, the portions with those two were actually interesting, even if all of the continuity and time travel mechanics did cause my eyes to glaze over a bit. But each time the story shifted to the Avengers themselves I really lost interest.
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 22, 2017 8:19 PM
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