Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Avengers the Crossing Omnibus Review Part 6: The End

It's the end! Complete with technical issues and poor grammar!

There are times in life when you finish a work of fiction be it television, film, or literature and the results leave you awestruck, filled to the brim with new ideas and concepts, a whole new outlook which seemed foreign to you just hours before. Then there's times when you finish something like The Crossing which leaves you cross eyed, achy, and seeking the comfort of pudding. Under normal circumstances those feelings would have been dealt with in part 5 coinciding with the defeat of the villains and the rise of a new Iron Man, but this is the crossing bitches! Normal story structure means nothing here. Instead of cutting their losses and ending this mess Marvel pumped out four more issues in an attempt to tie up some loose threads while creating a few more. Now sit back and watch this narrative sweater unravel.

Force Works #21

It's a somber day at Force Works HQ as the team views a holographic message from the formerly living Tony Stark. He's got some basic platitudes about believing in the cause and how the future is always bright and full of possibilities. Doesn't seem like much of the team buys into it since the final week of his life involved multiple homicide.

The next order of business is much more interesting/confusing. Remember Suzi Endo? The pretty Asian lady who moonlights as cybermancer and turned out to be Tony's evil henchman while also somehow being locked inside a cryogenic chamber? Well she's still around....both of her. Apparently Tony had his own gateway for dimensional/time travel and he employed the Suzi Endo of another time and or place to do some of his dirty work. I can hear you asking, “why did he bother inviting regular/good Suzi to join the team then?” Good question. I initially though we might have a situation where good Suzi was the one who created the tech which would have forced Tony to take her captive in order to gain a power suit for his Suzi. I was giving the story far too much credit as the actual answer is that the suit was made by bad Suzi as well, they just invited the regular one over so they could freeze her, thous keeping her from screwing up the dastardly plan. Why they didn't just kill her instead of bothering with refrigeration bills, we'll never know.

Elsewhere in the building, love is in the air as we learn that Century has fallen for Scarlet Witch. Normally I wouldn't think of a fictional character as lucky but our gray alien friend hit the jackpot when he slipped into obscurity before his dream girl went all crazy pants. Trust me buddy, that's one honey pot you don't want your paws in. Spider-Woman and the teams tech guy, Fisher share a few knowing glances of their own. Now this guy has realistic goals. Single mothers in spider tights make for achievable love affairs.

Eventually all this lovey dovey stuff gets kicked to the curb as Stark's magic doorway opens, allowing two intruders to bust into the joint. One is a bio-organic and somewhat nice version of Ultron and the other is an extra douchy version of Wonder Man, the regular version of which was apparently dead at the time. All these future people claim that horrible war and destruction await us in the future but of course it's all just as vague and meaningless as Kang's talk of a greater threat. Force works tussles with these intruders who eventually free their Suzi. In the confusion, nobody notices that the time gate starts pulling our universe into it. Yeah, it's that kind of party.

Force Works #22

The final issue of Force Works is a tad messy. It kicks off with the team trying to figure out the whole reality eating time gate issue while a trio of temporal intruders run around the base looking for the cybermancer suit. A good deal of this first chunk revolves around developing these misplaced folk. In particular we get the quite unique version of Ultron that's more of a wise cracking sidekick. Guy cares about the environment for some reason and we even see him fear for his life at one point, and rightfully so since his people start to fade from existence. Best guess is that their time-line is being destroyed by.....let's say salamanders (it's more answer than we get in the story), and the trio vanishing like a bad flashback is a side effect. The Force Works team tries to save them, after assaulting them, that is.

Sadly everyone's efforts amount to nothing as the time travelers are scrubbed from reality. The portal they used to enter our world however continues to grow in strength until regular Suzi Endo launches the cybermancer suit into it. Seriously, that was it. They just needed to throw stuff back into the time gate until it went boom. With all that out of the way, the team sits down for coffee (cause that's what heroes do in the crossing) and discuss their future plans. Everyone decides to take a break and maybe reform Force Works later . Spoiler alert! They never do. Spider-Woman wants to check in with her boyfriend from another time line, she doesn't. Century wants to travel, he disappears into comic book limbo. Fisher wants to test out some new technology, also in limbo. Scarlet Witch wants to check in with the Avengers, only to immediately forget this team and cause lots of trouble. U.S. Agent would go on to a few more books over the years and eventually lose an arm...I think...he might have gotten it back. The team never reforms properly but at the very end they run off together to take on one final threat while the A.I. Plato comments on how they'll be better than okey. Poor bastard doesn't realize no one's coming back for him.

War Machine #24

Those of you with good memories might recall several cutaways to a side story about one of Rohdey's lady friends suddenly aging. Guess the writers thought it was finally time to do something with that particular plot thread. Here's the details in short. Before the crossing began, James and Sheva were caught up in something called a time quake which left them both with temporal tissue damage. Cause, ya know, that's a real thing. Said damage has left Sheva in a state of rapid aging. Doctors try to figure out why Rhodes shows zero signs of the condition and he's apparently being safeguarded by his fancy new alien technology. While all this is going on, Sheva has flashbacks like when she first encountered War machine. An event which gives us one final ass shot for the feature, huzzah!

Another woman named Rae who I guess was in a romance with James shows up to check on their aging friend but doesn't miss the opportunity to nag our hero. In the process she drops the bomb that while she was visiting his racist parents they revealed that James has a son with an old girlfriend. He takes the news like a champ.

Sheva magically returns to her actual age long enough for Jim to take his shirt off for her. Then she suddenly ages even more than before and eventually croaks. Oh and Shield wants a piece of the warware suit.

War Machine #25

For a final issue of both a series and an event, this is one sparse little tale. War Machine smacks down the Shield agents who are trying to take his technology, says goodbye to his job and coworkers, hooks up with Rae, packs his bags, beats down Shield agents again, then drives off into the sunset with his lady. Naturally there are a few more details than that but it doesn't matter as all this was soon pushed to the side and forgotten. Gotta point out my favorite bit though where Jame's decides that he can't go in search of his possible son until he finds himself. Guy must have never found himself cause that kid's still waiting for a daddy.

I keep forgetting to note that at some point in the story, think it was back in Stark's Satellite, James learned that he was bonded with the warware until death. Felt that worth mentioning since it didn't take long for him to be free of it and he's still alive & well.

So yeah, that's it. The crossing is an interesting specimen not only for it's poorly plotted antics but for it's historical context as well. In an effort to boost the sales of Avengers and Iron Man titles, Marvel made a mess so bad that the clean-up operation was almost immediate. Force Works wrapped up with little fanfare. That team has never seen a resurgence with several members still floating in the comic either. War Machine faded into the background of other books eventually losing the space armor and never bothering to look up his kid. Teen Tony only lasted for about half a year before the events of Heroes Reborn returned an adult Stark to the pages. Wasp got to be a human once again in just over a year I think. Many of the small support characters like Tuc or Deathunt were never heard from again. As if all that wasn't bad enough, Avengers Forever did it's damnedest to reduce these events to the level of a fever dream.

Seeing as I've labeled these articles as a review, I suppose it's only fair to comment on whether or not any of you should spend your time seeking it out. Depending on your tolerance for stupidity I'd say maybe give it a shot. There are lots of bad comics, and plenty of shitty comic events to choose from, but the The Crossing is special in how it blends greed and laziness together. The majority of it can be blamed on Bob Harris who was Marvel's editor-in-chief for some of their worst years, currently he holds the same position for DC (poor bastards). Terry Kavanagh works with him and as a team write like drunken children. Abnet and Lanning have their parts to play as well but it frequently feels like they're just along for the ride. There's so much melodrama and silly plotting that could still be delved into so if you find my recaps to be entertaining, the real experience will prove to be absolutely fascinating.

I recently got a trade that collects the Iron Man and Avengers issues that follow this mess. We'll be taking a look at those fairly soon in preparation for something much bigger. Soon after the crossing failed, Marvel attempted another rotten cash crab with an event called Onslaught. And wouldn't ya know it's getting an omnibus this summer and I can not wait! Of course recaps will be in order though I plan to do them in smaller, more frequent chunks. Stay tuned folks. The Crossing may finally be over, but we're on this train for the long haul.

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