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Amadan

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Currently reading

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
New Avengers, Vol. 1: Everything Dies - Jonathan Hickman The "Illuminati" presented in this volume is new to me, though apparently it's been a thing in the Marve Universe for a while — representative from several superhero teams/groups meet in secret to try to "manage" the truly world-threatening crises, unknown even to their own friends and family and teammates.

As much as I liked this book, it was hardly an "Avengers" title, even with the participation of several Avengers past and present. The Illuminati now consists of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Hank McCoy (the Beast, replacing the deceased Charles Xavier), the Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Captain America, Tony Stark (Iron Man), Prince Namor (the Sub-mariner), and Black Bolt, of the Inhumans. Among them they possess the Infinity Gems.

The crisis is the destruction of the entire multiverse. They discover that "incursions" are occurring which cause two parallel Earths to collide, and only one can survive. So the obvious moral dilemma is that by saving their own world, they are dooming another one.

I liked the characters rather more than the story, which seems to be a MacGuffin hunt with guest appearances by everyone from Galactus to Dr. Doom. The "villain," the Black Swan, is very derivative of Galactus's heralds, or the Harbinger from DC's old Crisis On Infinite Earths. With obligatory push-up bustier. I did not find her or her origin story very interesting.

There is a lot of interpersonal tension (like Black Panther swearing he's going to kill Namor, since apparently he killed a bunch of Wakandans), and Captain America, as the voice of inflexible right-and-wrong morality, ultimately having to be "dealt with" since he won't go along with the lesser-of-two-evils approach the rest of the team is willing to accept.

Reed Richards is Mr. Pragmatism, Tony Stark had very little dialog. Stephen Strange is haughty and mystic, the Beast is grimly realistic, and Namor is an asshole. The Black Panther doesn't like anyone, and Black Bolt, of course, says nothing.

I will probably pick up the next volume, just to see how the sudden but inevitable betrayal happens. This is an interesting story filled with some of Marvel's heaviest hitters, but it's really not the Avengers we are familiar with.