Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Avengers Annual #17: The Evolutionary War Part 11

My last two posts were on Fantastic Four Annual #21 and X-Factor Annual #3, two comics I found in the dollar bin at BAM!.  As stated previously, I realized later that I've had this Avengers Annual #17 from the same series since my youth! No wonder these looked so familiar & appealing to me  :D   Lookit this bitchin' cover, will ya!

This issue is the end of the "Evolutionary War" story arc, spanning across 11 different titles, and is an interesting period in that Steve Rogers, stripped of his Captain America status by the U.S. federal government, is now a rogue hero going by a new alias, "the Captain" (I posted about this back in July).  The Avengers have been disbanded, but several reserve members answer an emergency call to the now empty Hydro-base, former island headquarters of the former team of heroes.

When the Hulk captures one of the High Evolutionary's "gatherers", the Avengers learn that a genetic bomb beneath the Pacific Ocean will soon be detonated, dangerously hurtling mankind's biological evolution forward in an unpredictably trajectory. With the help of Hercules, Beast, Hulk, and Falcon, Cap seeks out the warring Atlanteans and Lemurians in the Sunda Strait to put aside their differences and  assist in the fight against the Evolutionary's mad plan to reactivate the ancient volcano Krakatoa in order to fire his bomb.

The Avengers soon discover the ani-men have been enlisted alongside the purifiers in the Evolutionary's plot, and turn them against one another, using the similarly animalistic Beast to spread a quick rumor among the human purifiers. The Evolutionary discovers our heroes' plot, and temporarily cages them- short work escaping for the likes of Hercules, Beast, & the Hulk!

Cap then resolves that the only way to conquer their foe is to use the Evolutionary's instruments to evolve Hercules' powers above & beyond that of the villain. At first the Hulk violently insists that he be the one to undergo the accelerated evolution, but the Evolutionary shows up and simply teleports him to a random, out-of-the-way locale. A battle of the gods ensues, the Evolutionary discorporating from a fatal blow, but not before zapping the technology harness strapped to Hercules' body, causing him to grow/evolve at an uncontrollable rate until dissipating into the great unknown.

With the help of Yellowjacket, Jacosta  takes one for the team by plugging what's left of herself into the ship and taking one for the team, destroying the gene-bomb in the process before the ship reaches Krakatoa & ground zero!

The 11th and final chapter of the history of the High Evolutionary, "Beyond Life", concludes this book, telling a story of the High Evolutionary's dawning awareness of the awesome powers of the Beyonders, who took the artificial planet he created for observation, placing it alongside other heavenly oddities, rendering his finest creation nothing more than "an interesting if primitive experiment by a talented provincial".  Driven insane by the prospect of this idea and unable to destroy himself, the Evolutionary lures the Hulk to smash him into oblivion. The green-skinned goliath obliges, but after he stomps off, we see that it will take more than the Hulk to destroy the High Evolutionary.

Matthew Peterson had all kinds of interesting Marvel contextual/historical tidbits on this issue at MajorSpoilers.Com- go read! I'd certainly buy any of the other eight installments of this story arc, if given the oppurtunity at a reasonable price ( one dollar was good!). I sure love thumbing through these old annuals- there's so much good stuff to read from the past that I wonder why I'd want to buy any new comics-
More Later- Keep It FUN!

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