Kang has told the Avenger's that their future children are going to end all of existence and they have to travel to the future to stop them... but Kang doesn't seem to be telling the whole truth... or maybe not even anything resembling the truth!
Upon Wolverine's recommendation, the Avenger's enlist the help of Noh-Varr (Marvel Boy) to build a time machine that can scan possible futures and also transport the Avenger's to the future. Tony and Noh-Varr build the machine and the Avengers scan future possibilities, when they find the future that Kang warned them of, something goes wrong and the conclusion is that the time-stream is broken. The last picture of the future is of a threatening future Hulk (possibly Maestro). They conclude that there is something definitely wrong and while they don't trust can, they must act!
Then Wonder Man attacks. As he warned Steve Rogers last issue, he thinks the Avengers cause more problems than they solve, so he's come to break them up forcefully. There's a fight, but then Wonder Man disappears, after smashing the time machine, for no apparent reason.
The Avengers sift through the debris and are about to set about "helping" Wonder Man, because he's clearly gone a bit nuts and also fix the time-stream. But, some alternate/future version of Apocalypse and his horsemen appear.... cue cliffhanger!
This issue is pretty hectic, with a lot going on. I hope that all these seemingly random events tie together or have a reasonable explanation, otherwise it just seems like lazy writing, where things are just slapped together for no apparent reason. Normally Bendis does have a plan in mind, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I have two problems with this issue that annoyed me. First of all, the introduction of Noh-Varr. Why would the Avengers turn to him for time travel tech? What about Reed Richards? Steal something from Dr. Doom? The X-Men often have some time-travelling tech or mutant with that ability around. As far as I know, Noh-Varr isn't renowned for that sort of stuff. It just doesn't make that much sense to introduce Noh-Varr to the team for this reason and why would Wolverine think of him? Anyway... the other thing is that Tony Stark just comes across really badly in this issue. His characterisation seems to shift wildy. At one point he's extremely flippant and trying to convince Noh-Varr to work for him. The "buy you a pony" line is very cringe worthy. At another point he's genuinely concerned for Wonder Man. The consistency doesn't seem to be there and Tony just comes across as a tool most of the time.
On the plus side. I am truly interested in the main storyline and what is going of with Kang and the mysterious future Hulk. The truly awesome thing about this book is John Romita Jr's art. It's some of his best work in my opinion. The pages of Tony and Noh-Varr working on the time machine are gorgeous. The battle with Wonder Man is powerful. He portrays Iron Man's tech well and he is the artist for Thor in my book.
Spidey Note: Spidey is relegated to mostly background one-liners again this issue. I guess he gets more to do that Spider-Woman at least! I know in a team book it's hard to give all the same characters "face time", but I do hope that more of a case, in terms of stories, is put forward for some of these characters to be on the team. I mean, you could of basically had Hawkeye say everything Spidey said and removed Spidey all together...
3 webs for the story, but the art is worth the cover price alone. So 4 webs!