Three aliens have set up a base on Mars and are planning on drastically altering the Earth, by either evolution or destruction. They easily countered and captured the core team of Avengers, so only Captain America was left to deal with the threat. He assembles the bigger team of Avengers and they head to Mars.
On Mars, Ex Nihilo’s “new man” (Adam) is hatching. Meanwhile his sister, Abyss, is flirting with Thor and offering him a way out. They could start over as husband and wife, leaving the Earth behind to its fate. Adam is born (bursts out of his pod), but something is wrong. He is speaking in builder’s code and he shouldn’t be able to do that. Ex Nihilo is thrilled though, he has truly created something new, something unexpected.
Equally unexpected, the Avengers attack! Captain America gets some payback of Aleph whilst Hyperion blasts Ex Nihilo. Abyss sets Hulk (still under her spell) on Hyperion, allowing Ex Nihilo to release more new lifeforms from pods (wolves and birds) to join the fight. Cue all the Avengers appearing and a few pages of fights showing off the new characters’ power sets, apart from Captain Universe who seems pretty out of it. Spider-Man and Wolverine free the captive Avengers, allowing Thor to lift Mjolnir, zap the three aliens and free Hulk from his brain washing. Falcon manages to use his powers to tell the birds to go away but things still look pretty even between the two forces. This is when Cap U pulls herself together and calls truce. Ex Nihilio and Abyss recognise the Universe herself and bow in reverence, as she tells them not to destroy or transform inhabited planets anymore. Aleph is not convinced and goes to attack Cap U, but she turns the attack around destroying Aleph.
With the fighting over, there are just a couple of things to wrap up. Adam is going back to Earth with the Avengers – he was made to be a human so that’s where he belongs. Ex Nihilo and Abyss agree to stay on Mars and create/destroy as much as they like there, but only there. Before they leave, Ex Nihilo asks Cap A why he thinks Cap U appeared to save the Earth, after all he has been creating and destroying worlds for quite a while and yet she picks this one to save. Cap A doesn’t know but if he has to guess, he’d say it’s because it’s an Avengers World.
So a few things to address in my review.
Firstly, describing Ex Nihilo's team as aliens in the earlier reviews, may have been wrong. They are clearly Gods, well at least in the same sense that Thor is. Secondly, Aleph is not the impartial umpire I initially thought it was. Clearly its role is destruction, so that leaves Abyss as unclear – perhaps death, the opposite to the life supplied by her brother.
Right, onto the story and it was okay. It’s still early days with this incarnation of Avengers and so there are still a few things that needed to be introduced. Mainly the new characters and what they can do and this was pretty much achieved during the fight. Falcon can communicate with birds, Smasher is part of the Imperial guard, Sunspot (a bit of a ladies man) and Cannonbolt watch each others backs and Hyperion is pretty much a power house. Some readers may already know these things, some may not, but now all are up to speed. I'm not sure I like the “uniforms” that some of the Avengers wear. Manifold, Cannonbolt, Sunspot and Shang Chi have jumpsuits which whilst tailored to them are quite similar. I really don’t think its suits Shang Chi at all, yet to decide on Manifold. Equally if there is going to be an Avenger’s uniform, then put them all in it! Back to the story and its resolution. It worked out all quite simply in the end, but it fitted the story and wasn't just a cheap finish with a few pages to go. Hickman set it up that Ex Nihilo and Abyss came from a race that worshipped the Universe and of course if the embodiment of the Universe shows up, you’re gonna do what she says! Aleph disagreed, but then as Cap U pointed out that the system (i.e. Aleph) is broken so destroys it. This leads to a potential problem with Cap U; she’s the embodiment of the Universe and so is just too powerful. There’s no good in setting up stories of peril and suspense when she should be able to fix any problem with a snap of her fingers. Generating any drama when she’s around may prove difficult. It may also remove the need for a whole team of Avengers if she’s just that good. Hickman may however have started to address that by having her host take over from time to time and cause Cap U to space out. We saw signs of this in this issue, so hopefully she won’t be all-powerful. Smasher and Hyperion seem pretty strong too, up there with Thor. Power houses are all well and good but their presence on the team raises questions as to the need of those like Spidey, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Shang Chi on the Avengers. Marvel have teamed the powerful, with the not so powerful for years now, so hopefully they know what they are doing!
Speaking of Spidey, how was he used this time? Comic relief again, teaming with Wolverine (popping the middle claw) to free the captive core team. Everyone getting face time in a cast of so many will be difficult, hopefully Spidey will shine in later issues and not just used to raise the laughs.
The art is solid again, some nice big panels, action shots and group scenes.
Story one complete, with a few loose ends to lead into the next few issues. What will happen to Adam? What will be the next big problem?
Keep an eye on the builder’s code that Adam spoke…