Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Destiny War - Untimely Heroes!

"The Destiny War" in Avengers Forever #3 rages as the Avengers (see the previous installment for who they and where they come from) become acquainted with one another, though Yellowjacket still seems to not realize another Hank Pym is in the room. Immortus invades Chronopolis and defeats Kang's armies. The Avengers flee with Libra and Immortus converts the timeless city into a great gem called "The Forever Crystal". It will become a tool for him to use to prune the disparate timelines which worry him.

Jeff Smith
In Avengers Forever #4 (which came with an assortment of alternate covers), the Assemblers escape in Kang's Sphinx-like time ship and and safely outside of time gather their wits and scheme up a plan to counter Immortus. The identify different points in the time where it seems that Immortus might be up to no good and divide the team to head to some of those to discover the problem and solve it if possible.

Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino

Captain America and Giant-Man find an alternate world where "The Avengers" are the Black Panther, Thundra, Jocasta, The Crimson Dynamo, the Living Lightning, and most strikingly Killraven. These Avengers are among what's left of mankind and battle ferociously against the minions of the invaders from Mars.T'Challa recognizes Cap and Giant-Man and realizes they are part of the Destiny War.

John Buscema and Tom Palmer
Meanwhile Songbird, Yellowjacket and Hawkeye head to Earth's Old West and discover dinosaurs are roaming the vintage western streets. They disguise themselves to blend in, but it has minimal success. Hawkeye realizes they are in the middle of another time traveling adventure which involved Kang and Thor and the Marvel Western heroes Rawide Kid, Kid Colt, and Two-Gun Kid among others. The team head into the hills so as to not interfere.

Frank Quitely

Wasp and Captain Marvel end up in the 1950's at a California carnival. They too disguise themselves to blend in but are quickly detected by the heroes of the day, Marvel Boy, Venus, Human Robot, Gorilla Man, and 3-D Man. These heroes call themselves "Avengers" too.

From his vantage point inside the time Sphinx Rick Jones watches his comrades across time. He sees Giant-Man and Captain America help the freedom fighters battle against the Martian forces. It's a deadly and bloody battle. The 1950's Avengers meanwhile capture Wasp and Captain Marvel until thanks to the loving power of Venus they cool down long enough to realize that something is wrong with Richard Nixon, not the usual stuff but he's a Skrull. The Western team of Hawkeye, Songbird, and Yellowjacket find themselves trapped in a cave but escape and are confronted by the heroes Reno Jones, Kid Cassidy and the Black Rider. But Hawkeye soon tips to the fact these latest heroes are in actuality Space Phantoms, the servants of Immortus. Likewise Wasp and Genis-Vell discover the FBI of the 1950's has been infiltrated by Phantoms too. Though they do succeed in unmasking the Skrull-Nixon, the arrival of Immortus forces them to withdraw as the timeline of the 1950's Avengers is washed away by the Forever Crystal and so might Wasp and Captain Marvel be if they don't move quickly.

Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid and Night Rider make the scene.
The debut of T'Challa of Wakanda, the Black Panther.
The debut of the Femizon Thundra.
The debut of Killraven and his desperate war against the Martian invaders.
Debut of the Living Lightning, briefly a member of the Avengers.
Jocasta, the bride of Ultron.
The 1950's Avengers, a clever notion that became The Agents of Atlas.
These stories are everything I love about time travel stories, a rocking adventures with all kinds of misdirection. The heroes in these kinds of stories have to live by their wits more than their brawn and think their way out of the threats they discover. It was really cool to see some familiar timelines such as the Old West haunted by Kang, the 1950's Avengers, one of the greatest What If? adventures as well as a new way of thinking about Killraven's battle against the Martians from H.G. Well's novel. There are hints of other stories untold (Jocasta is pregnant for instance) and call backs to some of the best of what Marvel offered over the years. Big time fun indeed.

More to come next time.

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  1. I had this series as it first came out, loved that period of time for comics 😎 your title 'Untimely Heroes' even took on a bit more meaning as they showed characters from before they officially became "Marvel Comics", ie: Timely, etc. in my opinion too 😊

    1. I'm glad you noticed my "Timely" riff. I don't know if I'll have time this month to get to it, but of course Marvel did some stuff with Kang as a Mr.Timely I think.

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