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New Avengers vol 1: Everything Dies s/c

New Avengers vol 1: Everything Dies s/c

New Avengers vol 1: Everything Dies s/c back

Jonathan Hickman & Steve Epting


Page 45 Review by Stephen

“Goddess, oh goddess.
“Save me from what this world demands.
“Save me from righteous men.
“Save me from thinkers.
“Save me from summoners.
“Save me from midnight kings…
“And the devil himself.
“Oh goddess, save me…
“Save me from what we are about to do.”

Both Jonathan Hickman’s AVENGERS books are about Big Ideas, eloquently and indeed ominously expressed. This one will have you shivering, even more so on the second read-through once you realise all of its awful predictions comes true.

They’re certainly not about the supervillain du jour although, unexpectedly, a couple of very big players do pop their helmeted heads round the multi-dimensional door, and that last page bodes well for no one. Of the two, however, this boasts the closest relationship to its previous incarnations in that there is a set team and sense of family. It’s just that this particular family is The Illuminati (see NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI and – even more relevant here – AVENGERS VOL 2), so there’s a lot less trust involved given a) their past, b) what is at stake and c) the drastic solutions proposed.

The still-covert Illuminati are now Reed Richards, Captain America, Iron Man, Dr Strange, Black Bolt, the Beast, Namor the Submariner… and the Black Panther who previously, quite adamantly, refused to join. It is he who summons them now, even though Namor was last seen slaughtering thousands of his Wakandan subjects (see AVENGERS VS X-MEN).

I keep saying “see” but that’s merely a service: Jonathan Hickman is a keenly intelligent writer and will show you all that you need to know as you go along while chilling your blood to sub-zero.

In addition, Steve Epting’s art is so beautiful I could almost cry. His Black Panther is everything I cherished in John Buscema, John Perez and John Byrne’s interpretations but, if anything, he is here lither still. And when he confronts Namor in public with not threats but a promise, his eyes blaze with the fiercest of intensities.

Epting’s ability to convey scale is well off the… scale, and it needs to be for what the Black Panther witnesses is a giant purple planet – and it is another Earth – bearing down on our own on a collision course of mutual destruction. From this parallel Earth descends a white-haired woman with cohorts, one of whom bears the trigger for a bomb. The bomb is an anti-matter bomb and has been armed on the alternate Earth. It is detonated.

But according to this white-headed woman – now their captive and called the Black Swan – this is only the first such Incursion. Every single Earth in the multiverse is headed for collision, one after the other, each destroying the universe it lives in. Something has triggered a mass, multi-dimensional implosion. Her solution was to blow up one Earth to save another. She saved this entire universe’s lives, and indeed the one she came from )give or take its planet Earth). Will The Illuminati be prepared to do the same?

“It breaks hope – it crushes what makes us decent and steals what little honour remains. You have no idea what is coming.”

They don’t. And, one by one, the Black Swan is proved right on every single count.

Friends fall apart, and more dramatically than you can possibly imagine.
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