Posted - November 6, 2015

Previous: Avengers 39 & 40

Avengers 41 & 42 : Earth Must Die

Last issue, we were made witness to what seemed to be the death of Namor, the Submariner. We'll get back to that shortly because something bigger is unfolding.

Bigger in the sense of having a greater potential impact on the Marvel universe. It's harder to get bigger than the imminent destruction of the Earth - and not by an Incursion event - and that seems to be what is happening.

I have a writeup about Secret Wars Prelude and in that article I noted that one solution for avoiding a universal collapse would be to destroy the Earth, therefore preventing an incursion. This is exactly what the star-faring races in the Marvel Universe have realized.

Gladiator rallies the other races of the universe against the Earth

Let's see. Shi'ar takes the lead. There allies: The Annihilation Wave, the Brood, the Skrulls and the Kree. We're missing the Badoons - the only advanced race that inhabits the Milky Way galaxy with us. Nonetheless, this is massive firepower, all agreed that we have to be destroyed.

This is not an easy decision as can be seen in this discussion from the Shi'Ar throne room. The superguardian known as Oracle makes an appeal for Earth.

Oracle appeals for the Earth and for Shi'ar honor

Bottom line is that the Shi'ar owe the Avengers. That being so, destroying the Earth is simply an honorless act. Not so long ago, the leader of the Shi'ar was the Empress Lilandra, consort of one Professor Xavier. But Lilandra is not the Empress anymore and Charles Xavier - a member of the Illuminati - is no more. The current Emperor is Gladiator and this is what he thinks.

Gladiator must do the ignoble for the Shi'ar Empire's survival

The Shi'ar predicament is this: Destroy the Earth and save the universe or Let the Earth live and preserve your honor. This is not unlike the question that ripped apart the Avengers: Destroy another Earth to save your universe or refrain from destroying another world, keep your honor, but risk annihilation.

The multiversal collapse is a time for hard questions not just for space-spannig empires or Earth's Mightiest Heroes but for individual heroes as well. Witnes the predicament of one Smasher.

Smasher is being recalled to the Shi'ar Imperial Guard part the first
Smasher is being recalled to the Shi'ar Imperial Guard part the second

Smasher is a member of the Imperial Guard, a superguardian, with duties toward the Shi'ar Empire. Yet she is also a human of Earth. Not only that, Izzy is married to Sam - no less than the Avenger Cannonball - and, perhaps most important of all, she's a new Mom. And look how cute her kid is.

Smasher's extremely cute kid what's-his-name

"Mubba". How can you resist something like that?

As I said, hard choices.

Bottom line: This is headed toward the Earth.

United armada on its way against Earth

Don't you just love the anticipation of a really big comicbook fight?

Okay, okay, now the subplot that was left hanging from last issue. Let's talk about Namor. Specifically: Is he dead?

In a word: No.

Corvus Glaive talking to the Submariner

Think about it. Stabbed near the heart and then shouted at - shouted at, mind you - by Black Bolt. Yet here he is, almost recovered. I have massively underestimated the resilience of one of Marvel's oldest heroes characters. I still don't understand how that knife could penetrate Namor's steel hard skin though?

All this aside, the Cabal has a serious problem: The A.I.M. shield is in place in the Incursion point between worlds and they are stuck in the wrong side of the incursion. What to do? Evidently nothing. Nothing need be done because something happens (isn't life like this?). And that something is a second Incursion - meaning three planets/universes will meet today. Black Swan says it is a truly rare event. I don't label it that. Change "rare" to "convenient" - too convenient for my taste. Clunky writing.

But there it is and the Cabal escape via the second Incursion Point.

The Cabal rushing to escape via a second incursion point

Notice something off about the panel above? Namor is isolated from the others. That bears talking about. Let's rejoin the Submariner in a quiet moment.

Black Swan talking to Namor at a quiet moment

Namor has become the loneliest figure in the pages of the Avengers. Hated by T'Challa and accused by Steve Rogers (someone Namor has shared many battles with) and all who stand with the former Captain America. Now, Namor is mistrusted by the Cabal. Suspected - rightly - of trying to abandon the Cabal to their doom (see last issue). Lonely indeed. Namor was always the most arrogant of Marvel's heroes, he appears now neither hero nor villain.

Going back to the Incursion Point run. The Cabal has jumped all the way to Universe 1610 (Ultimates universe) and met up with.

The Cabal meet the Reed Richards of the Ultimates universe

Reed Richards. The Reed Richards of Universe 1610. This is not a nice guy, far from it, as Secret Wars Prelude attests. Unfortunately, the Nick Fury of the Ultimate universe is in denial of that, too worried about the Incursion. Or is simply too naive to see it?

In the Ultimates universe, Nick Fury is in denial about what Reed Rechards reall is

Richards himself admits that "he is who he is".

Reed Richards of universe 1610 says he is who he is

Looking at that chance meeting with the Cabal I don't know who is more dangerous this Reed Richards or Thanos ?

Before we leave, let's take a look at two more things. Or rather, two more groups: The Illuminati and Nation X. Remember, the end of the world is at hand with no clear solution, so everybody is getting proactive . . .

First, Nation X:

Cyclops talking about a mysterious resurrection

What a mysterious conversation. Take note of Cyclops saying he's through playing superhero. The key word her is "Resurrection". We'll leave Mr. Summers to his smoke-and-mirrors routine for now.

The Illumnati are more straightforward. They've divided into two teams. The first team is on "the ground" - the Moon's ground, that is.

The Avengers on the Moon

They are here to "harvest" (ick) the skin from the dead corpse of the Living Tribunal (what an oxymoron).

The Living Tribunal lies lifeless on the Moon

This would surely have something to do with the ship Reed and T'Challa are designing.

Reed Richards and the Black Panther in front of the schematics of the life raft they designed

Read 'ship' as in 'life raft'. More troubling: When are life rafts used? After the ship has gone down. It seems the Illuminati have accepted that the end is nigh.

And that's it for now. A deadly armada on its way to Earth, the Cabal in the Ultimates universe, and worst case scenario activities from both Nation X and the Illuminati.

Next: Avengers Forever