You may not know it about me, but I’m an incredibly huge Marvel fan. Not necessarily a Marvel fanboy, but I’m getting pretty close. All of this is due to a magical comic book odyssey I took a few years back where I read over a hundred comics collections and graphics novels in preparation for a class exclusively on comics (side note, I still didn’t accomplish my goal of being “That Guy” in classroom situations where I have something to say about everything). During this time I got the chance to dip my toes into both DC’s elaborate universe and Marvel’s current continuity. Easily, I prefer Marvel’s universe, which is an article for a different day. Instead, I’m going to hold your hand for a few months and lead you down the road of milestones in Marvel’s current run. Join me, will you? Because today we start at the point in Marvel’s timeline where things snowball into the issues coming out today: Avengers Disassembled. Let’s start this Comic Book Club.
Prior to reading Avengers Disassembled, a volume that collects Avengers #500-503 and Avengers Finale, I knew extremely little about the Avengers other than Captain America is a huge part, as is Iron Man, and a lot of random Marvel characters are peppered in as filler. In this volume we discover that the Avengers are facing some hard times when it opens upon Tony Stark, dressed in his Iron Man armor, telling off the US government while apparently drunk, a fact he denies since he’s been sober for a while in the continuity.
Turns out that everything is caused by the Scarlet Witch, or known by her real name as Wanda Maximoff (Magneto’s daughter), as she has a mental breakdown and freaks the hell out. Her power, turns out, is to control reality a little bit. That is until she flips off the “how ‘bout we control ourselves” switch and self-destructs the Avengers within about one awful day.
First, a guy named Jack of Heart shows up at the mansion’s doorstep. He, by the way, is dead. When Ant-Man (currently Scott Lang, but there are many Ant-Mans in the Marvel universe) approaches the zombified Jack, Mr. Of Hearts detonates without any real warning, exploding Ant-Man along with him. Then things get even weirder.
When the Avengers on-site rush out to figure out what the hell just exploded and why, the Vision, a part robot man that is also Wanda’s husband, suddenly flies out of nowhere in a Quinjet, short-circuits, and unleashes a modest army of Ultron robots (Ultron was a super evil robot made by Hank Pym, more on him later). As everyone battles, She-Hulk loses her mind and becomes a berserker, resulting in her tearing the Vision in half (a very cool panel by the way). This leads to, what else, a huge fight with everyone against She-Hulk.
Think we’re done? Oh no, the Avengers are not disassembled just yet. Next, as all sorts of Marvel heroes from all over arrive at the mansion, a fleet of Kree warships shows up and further complicates things. This results in Hawkeye becoming dead as well. Those keeping track, the score of dead Avengers is now up to three, not including the fourth zombie Avenger that came back to blow up.
To sum up, this is where Wanda’s broken psyche will come into play. This mental breakdown is what caused everything to begin with, so Wanda is escorted away by Magneto so that he can try and help her. Why is she so crazy now? Because a few years back she lost her children, or rather, magical constructs she wasn’t aware she had just dreamed up. It’s all complicated and part of backstory that I haven’t read, so just believe me when I say it’s effed up and that now Wanda believes the Avengers are the ones who killed her children.
Doesn’t matter (okay, it does, as it’ll lead into two Comic Book Clubs from now), the plot remains that Tony Stark can’t rebuild the Avengers mansion again because his company is circling the drain and so the Avengers say official goodbyes and part ways, hence, “Avengers Disassembled.”
This is just the jumping ground for what comes next, but I’ll save that until next time. For now, go ahead and read Avengers: Disassembled and get ready for the whirlwind of Marvel continuity that’s about to be unleashed!
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