Friday, October 10, 2008

Avengers Forever: Part 1 of 2 (Marvel)
Exiles #31 When: October 2003
Why: Judd Winick How: Jim Calafiore

The Story So Far...
The Exiles: chosen by the mysterious Timebroker to set right anomolies in the fabric of time and space. Recruited from a host of doomed dimensions, the group is transported from reality, to reality, charged with discovering the source of the shift, and fixing it.

With the departure of Blink (Earth-295); Mimic takes official lead of the team as they enter Earth-3931.
Here they discover a San Francisco reduced to a ghost town, the result of but one of many attacks by this Earth's greatest threat - the Avengers!

With the knowledge that history deviated during the Second World War, when Captain America was bitten by Baron Blood; the team seeks out the advice of Kenneth Chrichton - son of Montgomery Falsworth, and this world's Union Jack - in fulfiling their command to 'stop the Vampire King from releasing the enchantment that will enslave a city.'

Union Jack informs the team of a break-in at SHIELD, where the vampire Avengers acquired an ancient totem capable of mass transforming humans into vampires with the Macodibe Enchanetment. With intelligence on their side, the team arms themselves with hunting paraphernalia, and prepares for battle...

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Mimic 5 (Superhuman)
Intelligence: Goliath 6 (Professor)
Speed: Captain America 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Mimic 5 (Marathon)
Agility: Nocturne 5 (Cat-like)
Fighting Ability: Captain America 6 (Warrior)
Energy Power: Polaris 5 (Lasers)

- The Exiles are: Mimic, Nocturne, Morph, Sunfire, Sasquatch, and Magik.

Under clandestine circumstances the original grouping of the Exiles was plucked from their respective realities by a being calling himself, the Timebroker. In truth, this was the manifested representation of a race of aliens who had inadvertently damaged timelines whilst discovering Panoptichron; a monitoring station that observes the infinite sprawl of the multiverse.

Unable to extend their influence personally, the Timebroker(s) first recruits into the interdimensional Exiles were: Calvin Rankin (Mimic-12), Clarice Ferguson (Blink-295), Magnus Lehnsherr (Magnus-27), Talia J. Wagner (Nocturne-2182), Kevin Sidney (Morph-1081), and John Proudstar (Thunderbird-1100).

- The Avengers are: Captain America, Falcon, Wasp, Goliath, Polaris, and Hawkeye.

Plotting against his half-brother, the Norse god of mischief, Loki, uses illusions to manipulate the rages of the green goliath known as the Hulk!
The scheme is intended to draw Thor into a combative trap, but Loki's plans come unravelled when a distress call from Rick Jones is picked up not only by Thor, but also the Wasp, Ant-Man, and Iron Man! Despite initial misunderstandings, the unlikely team forms an alliance and easily defeats the god of mischief - thus, the Avengers are born!

Though their adventures would see the roster subject to change, the growing number of associated heroes would only lend credence to the claim that they are Earth's mightiest heroes! United, the many iterations of the Avengers would face foes of minor, or cosmic natures, always willing to put their lives on the line for the greater good, a philosophy embodied by charter members like iconic early recruit, Captain America.

On Earth-3931; a tear in Captain America's chainmail famously changes the course of history, when Baron Blood successfully turns his nemesis into the walking dead, during World War II. The tainted Steve Rogers successfully killed the Baron and replaced him as vampire king. Eventually he comes to lead a vampiric version of the Avengers, with whom he lays waste to the world.

Math: Avengers Ranking: Captain America (#7)

What Went Down...
On the rooftops above San Francisco; the Avengers assemble on the lands that were once long ago the ancient temple of High Lord Kolock. Mere steps from enslaving humanity, the Avengers' plan go awry. Polaris is the first to fall beneath the pierce of a wooden stake, fired at range by Magik!

The team launches into battle with their unsuspecting foes, Sasquatch using her immense powers to ground the Falcon, while Morph does his best to swat Wasp!

Captain America mistakes Mimic for this world's heartless mercenary, as the new leader of the team combines the absorbed powers of Wolverine and Colossus, to slash at the Captain's invincible shield! He has little luck, feeling the full blunt force of the artifact as propelled by a Vampire King's strength!

A Goliath-sized Hank Pym man-handles Mariko, unaware of the mutant powers of Sunfire. Wrapped in his giant hands, she explodes with the intensity of a raging inferno, bursting free only to take one of Hawkeye's arrows to the soulder!
Magik arrives to lend a hand, throwing a kick at the archer, but his enhanced vampire strength is more than enough to punish the impetuous Russian.

Meanwhile; Heather Hudson, her world's Sasquatch, has both the Falcon and Goliath to contend with! Having recovered from Sunfire's heat-blast, Pym pounds his giant fist across Sasquatch's face, while Falcon uses his own vampire muscle to restrain the beast as best he can. In an effort to even the odds, Sasquatch pounds her foot down, sending the trio toppling to the floor below.

The scuffle between team leaders continues as a frustrated Captain America seeks answers from his heroic counterpart. Mimic lodges his objection to their plan to reduce humanity to mindless hordes, doing so with a Cyclops optic blast, and gashing slash at the Captain's shoulder! Though effective, it fails to slow the super-soldier, who uses his good arm to swing the shield into Mimic's throat!

Sunfire does her best to contend with the onset of Hawkeye, but is unable to hit the target with her flamethrowing. He takes great delight in sinking his fangs into the young Exile's throat, and in doing so, leaves himself wide open to a staking by Nocturne!

While Nocturne tends to her fallen teammate, Captain America gains the upperhand against Mimic! With a driving slam of his shield he topples the mutant, leaving him prone to a stomping from the once great American hero!
Rankin catches the shield before it drives downward into his body and retaliates with a stiff uppercut and a slash of his claws.

With tremendous reticence Mimic finds an opening - putting his retractable claws to a use familiar to their owner. The slash cuts through flesh and bone, removing Captain America's head in one fell swoop...

... Alas, the Captain's decapitated body begins to twitch and squirm, rising to retrieve it's head! As severed flesh meets severed flesh, the Vampire King begins to stitch himself back together, and in a mere instant, rises to fight once again!

The Hammer...
I think it's fair to say each Exile had enough involvement in the fight to share in a majority victory. Despite Captain America's resurrection, the killer blow struck by Mimic still stands!

October '08 in the Infinite Wars has thus far been all about vampires, but in following the fanged exploits of the Marvel Universe, we've almost inevitably wandered off the path into parallel potentials!

I know I'm not alone in being a big fan of the classic 'What If?' model!
We try to hover mostly around the core universes for the simplicity of their statistical value, but as a reader, there's much to be gained from a series like What if? or Exiles. As much as they're about the exploration of alternate universes, each issue has the potential to inform a fan on key events in the decades of stories that make up the Marvel Universe!

In documenting the many Secret Wars on Infinite Earths, we've encountered and accumulated a small catalogue of examples that follow the design that made the second series of What If? and issues of Exiles particularly enjoyable.

With the ability to feature the company's biggest stars, in some of their most significant incarnations, these series have an immediate appeal. High concepts can draw in even the most naive fans, whilst also educating them on key events described as crucial reference points to the creation of these new worlds.

I'm not sure this adheres strictly to our Spooktober agenda, but I image you could find a few furrowed brows who'd gladly tell you 'continuity' is too hard.
Remember to talk down to these poor fools who somehow think the minutia of sixty-years of history is required before opening the cover of stories that don't appear to meet any specific criteria, but probably don't have Spider-man on the cover. Their arguments are inconsistent; their brains tiny; and their hair probably unnecessarily unattractive. Do not to make eye contact, or give them any food.

If you've successfully managed to sneer away any distractions, or yourself are now ready to tackle the fictional premise of the 'alternate universe,' read on!

Earth-952: When the Silver Surfer fails to betray Galactus upon his arrival on this Earth, the FF flee, leaving him to battle the Avengers and Dr. Doom.
In this reality; Uatu's intervention results in his death, as does the Avengers' attempts to banish the world devourer. Only Wasp survives to aid the Fantastic Four, who ultimately leave behind their barren world to serve Galactus as heralds charged with locating non-sentient planets for consumption.
Based on events from Fantastic Four #48 (1966).

Earth-1610: Attempts to recreate the super-soldier serum that immortalized Captain America is responsible for giving birth to a host of heroes and villains, each a failure of replication, but unique powers in their own right. SHIELD controls much of these operations imprisoning the evil, and incorporating the managable into their hero initiative, the Ultimates. They, along with Professor Charles Xavier's secret group of mutants, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, are this world's first major superhero teams. Independent heroes like Spider-man, Daredevil, Punisher, Hawk-Owl, and others, also populate this world of heroes.
Inspired by the 1960s origins of the Marvel Universe.

Earth-2149: A zombified Sentry escapes heaven, only to arrive in an alternate universe, where he quickly lays waste to the Avengers and begins the infection of an entire universe. Ash Williams, Spider-man, Punisher, Dazzler, Thor, and a host of other heroes attempt to halt the spread of the zombie plague, but all eventually fall. Magneto and the Acolytes are among the few survivors having secretly made a deal with the interloping Sentry. With the world in ruins, the super-powered zombies attain a new level of power when Silver Surfer and Galactus arrive on this world, only to be devoured themselves.
First seen in Ultimate Fantastic Four (2005); Based loosely on 70's Marvel.

Earth-9140: The X-Men's battle with Dracula ends with their deaths when Storm fails to redeem herself under the vampire's control.
When Dracula attempts to raise the defeated X-Men three nights later, he finds Wolverine uniquely resistant to his charms, and is subsequently replaced as Lord of Vampires. Wolverine's sinister rule goes unchallenged as he strategically kills or turns chosen heroes in New York City, while the Avengers are kept out by a quarantine. Here, only the Punisher remains to combat evil with the spiritual guidance of the deceased Dr. Strange.
Based on events from X-Men #159 (1982).

The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 4

Want to make a quantum leap of your own?
Explore the universes by checking out this issue, or any other issue of Exiles, collected in paperback via the Amazonian Gift Shoppe! By using purchase links provided on the site you not only benefit from Amazon's prices and service, but also sponsor future entries in the Infinite Wars. Yay capitalism!
To better navigate the Infinite Earths be sure to check out the Secret Archives for all the issues reviewed on the site, and stay tuned for more, including another more thorough look at the alternate worlds visited previously on the site!

No comments: