I have been an unashamed fan of the epic that Jonathan Hickman has been weaving throughout Avengers and New Avengers these last few years. I love the scale. I love the moral dilemmas it has created among the world’s greatest heroes. Tomorrow we will see the release of Avengers #35, which is the start of the third act in the story called ‘Time Runs Out’. It will see both books jump forward in time (past the up-coming AXIS event) to the day of the Final Incursion, where two Earths from parallel universes try to occupy the same space and in order for both universes to survive, one of those Earths must go. So, here is a list of some of the plot points that are going to be critical as Everything Dies.
5. The Cabal
“Brothers. Sisters. All the angels have fallen and we devils are all that remain.”– Namor, New Avengers #23
In one of the most chilling scenes in New Avengers, Namor created a new Cabal. Once, the Cabal was the group Norman Osborn work with to control the world during the Dark Reign, of which Namor had been a member. This new Cabal is something much…more. After most of the Illuminati decide they cannot murder billions to save their world, Namor forms this incredibly powerful team, consisting of himself, the Black Swan, Maximus Boltagon, Terrax the Enlightened, Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight and to top it all off, Thanos.
This is clearly a group that will not have the same moral dilemmas that Stark and Reed’s group had. They are killers, tyrants and madmen. How this group is going to effect the coming events is going to be interesting. Horrifying, but interesting.
“Defending a planet requires having the ability to break one.”- Avengers #7
An old concept that Hickman brought back in the pages of Avengers was from an old imprint called “New Universe” which took superheroes towards a harder science fiction element. One hero is called “Star Brand”, a planetary defense system created in times of great change. Essentially, the near-power of God given to a lonely college student, Kevin Connor. The young man was essential in defeating the Builders during Infinity and he has been an important part in the Avengers since.
The power to destroy worlds has been an important part of the story dealing with the Incursions and it seems young Kevin still has a part to play.
3. Agents of the End Times
“The Black Priests descended from their Earth to ours. No one was spared, no one escaped…”– Black Swan, New Avengers #5
The Illuminati aren’t the only ones in the multiverse that know about the incursions or using them to achieve their own ends. We have seen the Black Priests, magic automata that kill anyone that try to prevent incursions, and the Mapmakers which mine the multiverse for resources. While we discover what the Mapmakers are, the Black Priests are still an enigma and we know next to nothing to the other group that has been alluded to, the Ivory Kings. Future solicits have shown the Black Priests, no doubt the other two groups will be examined further.
2. Rabum Alal
“Rabum Alal is coming for everything. And when you understand what he is—when you understand who he is, you’ll know that I was right and you so completely wrong.”– Black Swan, New Avengers #15
Speaking of unknowns. This is still one of the biggest questions surrounding the story: How did the incursions begin? We only know what Black Swan has told us, that it was the birth of Rabum Alal that destroyed an Earth, which began the contractions in the multiverse and subsequently the incursions. That’s all we know about him or her or it or whatever this thing is that Black Swan and her cohorts worship.
“Turns out our friends just happen to be the worst enemies we know.”– Captain America, Avengers #34
I did not like Civil War. There were many reasons for that. And yet, the coming conflicts between ‘heroes’ in these two books I find very compelling. Perhaps it is just the scale of the literal death of the multiverse in comparison to the Superhero Registration Act, of which I was completely on one side of. But the Captain America vs. Iron Man fight in this story has been bubbling under the surface and now we are finally going to see it happen. Another conflict that there is hope to hit its climax is the war between Namor and Black Panther that very recently came to blows but is nowhere near over.
Avengers #35 will be released tomorrow digitally and in all good comic shops. The Avengers vs. The Illuminati, Thanos’ Cabal and Everything Dies. Be there.