- So lemme get this straight. The Avengers got led around... by a stick?
- -- Yellowjacket
Appearing in "Into a Limbo Large and Broad..."
- Lord Immortus (Nathaniel Richards) (Main story and flashback)
- Immortus's "Army of the Ages" (countless warriors from every era of mankind)
- Vision (Only in flashback)
- Human Torch (Android) (Only in flashback)
- Professor Phineas Horton (Only in flashback)
- Ant-Man (Scott Lang) (Mentioned)
- Mantis (Only in flashback)
- Thor (Only in flashback)
- Iron Man (Only in flashback)
- Equinox (Mentioned)
- Ultron (Mentioned)
- Ringmaster (Only in flashback)
- "Limbo Bugs" (First appearance)
Appearing as mental apparitions/"ghosts":
- Nick Fury
- Angar The Screamer
- Songbird's mother, father and ex-boyfriend, Mike
- Hawkeye's Bow & Trick Arrows
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Iron Man Armor MK III & Iron Man Armor MK V (Only in flashback)
- "Synchro-Staff" (Space Phantom) (Behind the scenes)
- Chronal Disruption Device
- "Anomaly-Detecting Dingus"
- Kang's Sphinx
Synopsis for "Into a Limbo Large and Broad..."
Gathering in the hangar bay of Kang The Conqueror's replica Sphinx, the Avengers ready for a surprise assault on Immortus's fortress in the otherdimensional realm of Limbo. Engineering more easily-portable modules from one of the larger time-travelling Chronospheres, Giant-Man fashions equipment allowing them to make the journey while Songbird creates a solid-sound stealth glider as the team's "vehicle". Left behind again is Rick Jones, who must remain outside of Immortus's reach for still-unrevealed reasons. As the Avengers depart, Captain Marvel admonishes their young cohort quite sternly, if not cryptically, that no matter what, Rick is to stay in the Sphinx!
Exiting the command ship and breaking through the dimensional barrier, the Avengers witness an array of images similar to the last set. However, these are more personal to the team, containing seemingly-contradictory declarations from Dr. Pym himself over the years regarding their erstwhile android teammate, the Vision. Hawkeye is momentarily taken aback as they witness a curious adventure from his future wherein the team is led through the origin of then-associate Mantis by a talking stick Immortus refers to as a "synchro-staff". Finally, the most vexing tableau appears as an escapade from the team's earliest days that no one remembers- including the three members of their party whom are also present in the "missing reel" apparition!
Emerging in Limbo, the Avengers attempt an approach on Immortus's fortress, however given the impermeable nature of the dimension, its appearance is ever-changing. Finally landing on an outcropping, the heroes disembark with Yellowjacket utilizing his chronal anomaly detector from the Old West excursion while Captain Marvel recalibrates his Cosmic Awareness. No sooner getting their bearings, the corridor suddenly inverts in a disorienting "M.C. Esher-esque" fashion, spilling the Avengers off into multiply-improbable directions.
Each lands in some manner of death-trap/dungeon/obstacle-maze. Hawkeye regains his footing in a darkened cavern. Igniting a flare arrow, he discovers he's surrounded by gigantic statues of himself from various points in time with some in ruins. Before given an opportunity to speculate the significance, Immortus's colossal brute henchman, Tempus, springs forth and attacks.
Captain America appears in what looks like the bowels of a classic European-style castle. Attempting a locked door, Cap's attention is caught by the voice of his old friend, Nick Fury. As Fury tells Cap it's pointless to struggle, the Sentinel of Liberty counters with disbelief as to how the career master spy could possibly be there. Elsewhere in the fortress, Giant-Man and the Wasp battle severe winds and mysterious false echoes of conversations past to find one another.
As his older, more gun-shy self and the woman they love endure their hardship, Dr. Pym's younger, amnesiac and mentally-unstable Yellowjacket persona has a startling realization. Instead of a physical and mental trial, he is cast into a control room full of monitors not unlike the one aboard the Sphinx. The screens depict several scenes from his future that unequivocally drive home what the others have been telling him all along: Yellowjacket didn't murder and replace Hank Pym. Yellowjacket is Hank Pym! Finally arriving at this self-evident conclusion, Yellowjacket decides to do something about it all the same...
Songbird stands trial by ghostly apparitions of all the people in her life she's ever felt guilty about. As she begins to succumb to despair from her imagined torments, Captain Marvel comes upon her and urges her to fight. Helping her to focus on reality, Marvel impulsively kisses Songbird. Potentially overstepping himself, he then reveals that in his future the two of them are a romantic couple.
Back at the Sphinx, Rick is growing impatient and unable to monitor the Avengers due to foggy interference. Taking Marvel's dogmatic cautioning as a rebellious dare, Rick makes for one of the remaining Chronospheres...
In Limbo, as Tempus battles Hawkeye, the giant blasts the Archer with eyebeams meant to devolve an opponent. Although briefly exposing Barton, Tempus is undone, discovering that in his most recent past, Hawkeye possessed the size-changing abilities of Goliath. Evening-up the fight tremendously, Barton destroys Tempus with his own giant warclub.
Cap continues his discourse with the complacently chameleonic Fury until he finally has enough. Disputing whether their various deeds over the years has truly meant anything, Cap finally storms off and rams down the immense door with his shield. Down a corridor not far away, Libra looks on in approval that Cap's successful struggle has righted "the balance"...
In Immortus's throne room, Yellowjacket pounces on the time-lord from the rafters. Freezing Yellowjacket in midair, Immortus then seals him pleading in a stasis tube.
The Wasp and Giant-Man manage to find one another, countless hordes of Immortus's "Army of the Ages" on his heels. Realizing their assault's a bust, the Wasp signals the others to rendezvous for extraction. The team eventually meets up and battles their way back to the portal. Once back at the Sphinx, they realize that not only is Rick no longer onboard but that Yellowjacket remains MIA in Limbo. However, all is not lost as Hawkeye reveals that while shrinking down and finding his belongings amongst the wreckage of his fight with Tempus, he also found the all-knowledgeable... Synchro-Staff!
Back in Limbo, Yellowjacket cuts a deal: he'll help bring in the Avengers providing Immortus fixes things so Yellowjacket remains exactly how is now AND gets "the girl"...
- Reunited at last from their adventures in different time periods, the AVENGERS assemble to piece together all they have learned about IMMORTUS' plan - and discover what it all means for the future of humanity!
The "Chronoflash" images appearing in this issue are originally seen in/inspired by:
- Avengers Vol 1 #58 (The classic "Even an Android Can Cry" teary-eyed pose from the Vision)
- Avengers West Coast #50 (The "reunion" meeting of the Vision and the android Human Torch)
- Marvel (Mystery) Comics #1 (Professor Phineas Horton studying human organs to replicate synthetic ones for the Torch's creation)
- Avengers #134 (The Avengers getting led around by the "talking stick" Synchro-Staff)
- Avengers Vol 1 #10 (This issue is the first clue the Avengers ever have to their initial encounter with Immortus. Due to a spell enacted by The Enchantress at the end of that issue, the entire events are erased from memory. The next time the Avengers meet Immortus (circa "The Celesital Madonna Saga"), he benefits from this blank slate- portraying himself more as a benevolent old wizard, omitting his penchant for playing divisive Machiavellian schemer. The entire scenario is gone into in greater detail in next issue)
- Avengers #60 (Costume under the costume: Yellowjacket discovers he's really Golaith as the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime crash the Pym-van Dyne wedding)
- Avengers #161 (Wasp relays a story of Hank having a mental breakdown in his home lab)
- Avengers #227 (Hank Pym in jail)
- Rick Jones makes a reference to popping back to 1999 (the original year of this story's publication) for some White Castle hamburgers.
- This comic was re-released as The Avengers United in September 2002.
- Avengers: Forever #6
- Avengers #10
- Avengers: Forever #4
- Nick Fury's actual appearance in this issue is entirely a point of speculation and conjecture. Despite his denying being a Space Phantom, it would certainly be a more plausible explanation toward the character's rapid succession of appearances- switching from World War II-era "Sgt. Fury" to fedora and trenchcoat CIA operative to his more famous SHIELD command uniform- in the space between panels. It is also possible that "Fury" could very well be a hallucination of the demoralized Captain America made manifest by Immortus's machines or the properties of Limbo. Another theory could be that given Fury's unnaturally-prolonged life and stunted physical aging brought about by the Infinity Formula, this is in fact a hitherto undocumented side-effect, anchoring some aspect of him to the nexus of all time.
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