Appearing in "The Hope... and the Slaughter!"
- Wonder Man (Simon Williams)
- Moondragon (Heather Douglas)
- Starhawk (Stakar Ogord)
- Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
- Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)
- Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)
- Black Panther (T'Challa)
- Yellowjacket (Henry Pym)
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Quicksilver (Pietro Frank)
- Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff)
- Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank)
- Vance Astro (Behind the scenes)
- Heimdall (Cameo)
- Uatu (Cameo)
- Eternity (Cameo)
- Odin (Vision)
- Zeus (Vision)
- Mephisto (Vision)
- Murphy (First appearance)
- Peter (First appearance)
- Parkinson (First appearance)
- Fantastic Four (Mentioned)
- Aleta Ogord (Mentioned)
- Ultron (Mentioned)
- Wasp (Janet Van Dyne)
- Elders of the Universe (Referenced)
- The Collector (Taneleer Tivan) (Referenced)
Races and Species:
- Unidentified alien species
- Human-Olympian Hybrids
- Human-Kree Hybrids
- Olympians (Vision)
- Demons (Vision)
- Abstract Entities
- Insects (Mentioned)
- Fleas (Mentioned)
- Prime Marvel Universe
- Quicksilver's Suit
- Black Widow's Suit and Black Widow's Gauntlets
- Scarlet Witch's Suit
- Wasp's Suit and Bio-Synthetic Wings
- Yellowjacket's Suit
- Iron Man Armor Model 4
- Captain Marvel's Suit and Nega-Bands
- Panther Habit
- Ms. Marvel's Suit
- Hawkeye's Suit and Hawkeye's Bow and Trick Arrows
- Captain America's Uniform and Shield
- Power Cosmic
- Uru (Mentioned)
Synopsis for "The Hope... and the Slaughter!"
Twenty-two superheroes back away from the nigh-omnipotent Michael (whom they’ve come to realize is the villain from the future, Korvac) in all his cosmic glory as well as his beloved Carina. Michael tells the Avengers that by exposing him, they have ruined everything he hoped to accomplish. Before their arrival, he had veiled his existence from the great powers of the universe, but a battle between them will certainly draw their attention. He relates his certainty how the Asgardians, the Olympians, Uatu the Watcher, and even Mephisto and his damned forces will join together in unison to oppose him.
Lost in his own thoughts of sorrow and regret, Michael ignores the Avengers. The heroes themselves do not dare to make the first move. Meanwhile, Moondragon telepathically summons the Guardians of the Galaxy to the battle.
The Guardians arrive, much to the alarm of neighborhood residents who are unaware of what is going on inside the house. Charlie-27 knocks down the door. But Michael is unimpressed to see his former enemies. Projecting an image of Drydock, their orbiting space station, on his ceiling, Michael projects a blast of energy that utterly destroys it. (A narration caption reveals that Vance Astro dies screaming in the explosion.)
Furious at the death of Vance, Nikki attacks Korvac. He swats her aside, killing her instantly. Quicksilver then attacks but he too is killed immediately. The rest of the Avengers and Guardians follow Pietro's lead, attacking en masse -- all except Moondragon who stands away in the corner transfixed and overcome by a silent horror.
Wave upon wave of heroes rush at Michael, but he quite easily picks them off one by one. The battle is more like a massacre. Throughout all of it, Michael waxes dramatically as he laments the loss of the noble, heroic Avengers whom he actually admired. Meanwhile, Moondragon observes with the ongoing melee from the corner with tears in her eyes.
As their numbers dwindle, Iron Man decides it is time to change tactics. He orders Black Panther to take Carina hostage. He hesitates, however, since he feels taking a hostage is dishonorable. Yellowjacket grabs hold of her instead. Carina fails to defend herself and Yellowjacket realizes that she is actually terrified, but not of him or the Avengers. Enraged that Carina is being threatened, Michael lashes out and kills Yellowjacket.
Captain Marvel thinks to himself that from Korvac's perspective they are moving in slow motion. His cosmic senses can perceive it, but he has no solution to this problem.
Finally, every one of his opponents is either dead or knocked out. As he powers down and resumes the form of a normal human, he states that those still living he will terminate mercifully. He fails to note, however, that Captain America has revived. Cap takes him by surprise and manages to get a few good blows in. He declares that while there is still one Avenger left, they will continue to fight him. But Michael rallies himself and kills Cap as well.
Wonder Man has also regained consciousness by now and attacks as well. As he pummels him, he confesses that he shrank away from Michael, fearful of dying. But seeing Cap in action has instilled him with the courage to keep fighting, regardless of the possible price he’ll pay. Nevertheless, Michael takes him down too.
While Michael tangled with Cap and then Wonder Man, four heroes -- Iron Man, Starhawk, Thor, and the Vision -- regain consciousness and attack him as one. The assault overwhelms Michael and he turns to Carina for support, but she hesitates and recoils from him. At that moment, Michael inexplicably falls dead.
The four remaining heroes are baffled by his abrupt death. Despite the amount of sheer power they pummeled him with, he should have been able to withstand it. Yet, it seems he had abruptly lost the will to live.
Suddenly, Carina manifests her own cosmic power to attack them. The Vision, Starhawk and Iron-Man all fall before her. Thor is the last Avenger standing, facing off against her. He claims he will not hesitate to strike her down, but actually does. Carina herself forces Mjolnir to strike her down with a bolt of pure energy. In her dying moments, she stumbles toward Michael. She falls dead just short of grasping his hand.
Thor and Moondragon are the last two standing. Moondragon tells Thor that Carina wished to die, explaining as well that in the heat of the battle she probed Michael’s mind. By her own reckoning, Michael was not evil as they had all assumed and that he did not wish to rule them or interfere with their free will. He wished only to free them from the capricious whims of Eternity. Thor asks whether they should have died instead of him. Moondragon replies that his fate was inevitable but that the Avengers are to blame for it.
Moondragon also goes on to reveal that just before dying, Michael used his power to restore the Avengers to life. They are all alive although their injuries are grave and they need immediate medical attention. She reveals that she is aware of Thor's secret identity as Dr. Donald Blake and he transforms into his mortal form and goes to work saving the lives of the heroes.
Meanwhile, Moondragon erases Thor / Blake’s memory of what she has revealed to him. Thor will recall nothing of the Avengers' terrible deed. He and the other Avengers will believe that they won a great triumph. Only she will remember forever.
- Wenzel is credited as Dave Wenzel.
- Inks (issue pages): Marcos pages 1-21, Villamonte pages 22-31.
- Letters (story pages): Typeset page 1, Wohl pages 2-18.
- Deaths of all of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, minus Thor and Moondragon, and their rebirths.
- It's not exactly clear where or how the Avengers and Guardians realized that Michael was also Korvac. Although this fact was revealed to readers in #175, the Avengers were not privy to that information and only knew they were on the hunt for a cosmically powered being they dubbed "the Enemy." Even Starhawk's inability to see Michael (which clued them in that he was the Enemy) wouldn't automatically lead to them realizing he was Korvac. Yet when the Guardians arrive, Nikki remarks that she wouldn't have recognized their old enemy.
- Barring one minor cutaway scene (Moondragon summoning the Guardians and their arrival outside the house), this entire issue is one story-long fight scene set in a single room.
- This issue notoriously left several major plot threads unresolved. Most prominently, the story ends with the largest assemblage of Avengers to date (including all of the Guardians of the Galaxy and several other hanger-on characters) all gravely injured and at death's door. The next issue will be a Beast solo story followed by a two-part filler story. In #181, all of the combatants from this issue will appear in perfect condition, fully recovered from their dying. (This was due to new series writer David Michelinie's desire to take the series in a slightly new direction.)
- Drydock is shown being utterly destroyed. In Ms. Marvel Vol 1 23, however, the titular heroine will visit Drydock (and team up with a resurrected Vance Astro) which shows not a single sign of damage. That issue has to take place in this issue's future since it depicts Ms. Marvel in her new costume while this story shows her wearing her original one. While it's possible that Michael rebuilt Drydock in his dying moments, it seems odd that he would bother reconstructing the massive space station while he left the Avengers and Guardians all on the verge of death.
- While this storyline brought back most of the former Avengers at this point in time, the majority of their appearances are basically glorified cameos. Moondragon, however, is given a rather significant role in the final three issues of this storyline. The developments in this issue, in particular, seem to indicate that writer Jim Shooter had plans for the character, but she was summarily dropped along with the rest of the returnees (she appears in #181, but doesn't even get a line of dialogue and simply departs with all the rest of the old heroes.) Several years down the line, Jim Shooter will undertake another stint as the series writer and will bring her back in an antagonistic role. Her arrogant belief that her actions are justified by her intentions seems to stem from her development in this storyline, though it won't be directly referenced.
- Despite the action-packed brawl in this issue, the resolution to the Korvac story is a letdown. This confrontation had been building up for more than a year and is over in the space of one issue. Michael/Korvac is ultimately a wooden and two-dimensional villain who doesn't actually accomplish much villainy (apart from defending himself from his attackers). His actual intentions and goals are only mentioned in the vaguest possible ways and it is never clear what he actually intended to do with his omnipotent might. That said, Moondragon's defense of him rings a bit hollow as he was shown to be quite willing to murder anyone who opposed him. His assertion that the Asgardians and Olympians will join forces with Mephisto's demonic armies to combat him likely wouldn't come about if his intentions really were as innocent as he claimed they were.
- As seen on page one, This is Story# LG155.
- This issue contains a letters page, Avengers Assemble. Letters are published from Mike Christiansen and Commander Quotey (And His Lost Marvel Madmen).
- This issue also contains an advert for Hostess Twinkies featuring Daredevil Vs. McBrain.
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