Avengers Next #4

 Title: Avengers Next
 Posted: 2007


A powerless Kevin Masterson has been kidnapped by Ulik and a teleporter named Warp who work for a mysterious old crone. American Dream doubts her leadership and a place for the Avengers in the world on top of coming to odds with the daughter of Thor, Sabreclaw wanting to join the team and the reactivation of Ultron. The Avengers travel to an island where they are expectedly ambushed by the villains and Ultron, but manage to defeat them and escape the island as it sinks; rescuing Kevin in the process. Or so they thought. While airborne, Kevin is revealed to have been the crone in disguise and she destroys the Quinjet before any of them can react.

Story 'Cry, My Beloved Homeword!'

  Avengers Next #4
Summary: Spider-Girl appears
Editor: Molly Lazer
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Lim
Inker: Scott Koblish

After the altercation with Thena and learning about Sabreclaw's membership, Nova and Earth Sentry traveled to Washington, DC to bring Mainframe back to check on his team. He's filled in on the latest by Jarvis, who informs him the Quinjet's transponder has gone dead.

The Avengers, however, are not; merely in stasis having been whisked away by Warp at the last second into their volcano hideout. While the crone sings his praises, Warp inquires about the ransom they were supposed to seek for the heroes. Ulik tells him they just want their world, but the crone reassures him otherwise. Warp accepts that. For now.

Elsewhere, Mainframe and the two other heroes set out to check the wreckage of the Quinjet for survivors. While there, Jarvis informs him that the device Stinger and Katie Power, formerly of Power Pack, designed had picked up another of Warp's portals and is attempting to get a lock on him. Warp retrieves Kevin, trying to escape, and takes him to his partners. There, the crone reveals to him her plan to do Odin and Thor one better and restore Asgard to its former glory by transforming Earth into it. She plans to use energy matrix clones of the Avengers to empower the plan.

The other Quinjet closes in on the volcano as the crone realizes that instead of J2, they have Zane Yama in stasis. Nobody can explain how he got there, but she surmises he's a changeling like Thunderstrike was. Shrugging it off, she activates the energy clones of the rest of the team and sends them on their way to steal the energy of the other superhumans in the world. They encounter the rescue party in the air and the heroes are blasted, increasing the number of energy clones.

On the ground, the crone revels in this fact as she frees Thena and entraps her in ethereal force bonds. Before she can use her in her plot, Mainframe strikes down at her, the clones having no effect on someone who is just a machine. Before he can attack, Ulik sends him off course with a massive boulder. While those two slug it out, the crone uses the surplus power in her device to turn a pool of lava into a pool of magical force. When Thena asks her who she is, she reveals she is really Sylene, daughter of Loki and Thena's cousin. Thena threatens to stop her, but Sylene shrugs it off and throws her into the pool she created, citing her as one of the ingredients of her plot. Warp is taken aback by this turn of events, and whisks himself and Kevin away. Sylene curses him for taking away the changeling she needed for her spell, but suddenly remembers Zane in the stasis tube. She throws him in instead, changing him back into J2 and completing the spell. All over the world, reality as we know it phases and shifts into the world that was once Asgard, changing places and people to match. Back at the volcano, Ulik finally gets the upper hand and destroys Mainframe. A new body is assembled in the satellite orbiting Earth and Mainframe heads to the nearest window to see the scope of Sylene's victory.

Warp arrives with Kevin back at the mansion and Jarvis apprises them of the situation. Warp wonders what they can do; a teleporter, an old man and a powerless hero. Kevin tells him they'll do the Avenger thing: save the world no matter what.

General Comments

The pace really picks up in this issue. If you had followed all the clues, the identity of the crone was fairly obvious. The only thing anyone should have gotten wrong was possibly the gender, but given this is a title ripe with legacy characters logic kind of steered that way. Also, it was nice to see tie- ins from events from the previous issues finally take shape in this one. The only flaw in the story is we never see what happened to Katie. She's not in stasis with the others, she's not made into an energy clone, and she's not seen sneaking around anywhere else either. Despite that glaring oversight, this was another great issue and leaves you wanting to see what happens next.

Overall Rating

4.5 Webs. The mysteries are all revealed, now it's time to save the world.

 Title: Avengers Next
 Posted: 2007