In this week’s Marvels X, the Avengers save the day! But these Avengers are the saddest bunch of failures they’ve ever been across the multiverse.
It’s a bit of a passé image at this point: heroes uniting and coming to the rescue just when the hour seems most bleak, and indeed, it is an image ubiquitous across the superhero landscape in this day and age thanks in part to the influence of Marvel’s vaunted Avengers. In this week’s Marvels X #4, Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Well-Bee combine their efforts to summon the saddest bunch of failures the Avengers have ever presented themselves as, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye (now with four arms), and the rest show up to stop a scared boy from assisting a supervillain in suicide by shooting him with a sniper rifle. If you’re wondering why this is happening, it’s because the world of Marvels X is undergoing an apocalypse because the Avengers failed and are continuing to fail to save the world.
Created by Ross and Krueger in the 1999 miniseries Earth X, Marvels X is a prequel to the original series set during an apocalyptic event in which the Inhuman Black Bolt unleashes the Terrigen Mists upon Earth and mutates all normal humans into super-powered, often monstrous beings. While Earth X is largely concerned with the lives of the heroes many years in the future, often brooding upon their overall insignificance and past failures, Marvels X has the apocalypse going on right now, and thus the failures are still ongoing. One of those mutated, Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter, has abducted David, the last ordinary person on Earth, and brought him to his macabre trophy room for unknown purposes.
At the climax of the issue, Kraven has captured Spider-Man in a web of barbed wire, claiming to have killed and beheaded Captain America, and continuously dares David to shoot him with a sniper rifle he had lying around. As Spidey, now older and weaker, tries to talk David down, the boy seems bent on taking justice into his own hands for the death of the inspirational hero. And who should show up just at that very moment to set things right and ask David to help save the world? Why none other than the Captain himself, alive and well it seems, along with his team of Avengers and three-quarters of the Fantastic Four! Simply breathtaking, right?
No. Not really. Given the history of what happens next has already been set in stone by the earlier series, we already know that none of this is going to work out in any way close to what we might hope would transpire. David will not end up providing the key to reversing the mutations of the Terrigen Mists. Many of the Avengers including Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye will be killed in action, as well as Daredevil and Sue Storm, The Invisible Woman. Captain America will quit the Avengers before this occurs, but only out of guilt because he ended up killing a villain, his archnemesis Red Skull, something he urges David not to do here in a cruel twist of irony. On a lighter note, Thor will be transformed into a woman by Odin.
So, while the scene as a whole is a touch strong in cliché in such a manner that it saps the strength from the traditional moment of catharsis, it’s because quite glaringly these Avengers are the saddest bunch of failures they’ve ever been across the multiverse, and their failures are only going to mount as time goes on. But hey, at least Spider-Man is still funny. Marvels X #4 goes on sale today!