Avengers Undercover #4

Hopeless, Walker, Gorder, Beaulieu

SPOILER ALERT!

I will most certainly be SPOILING!

Cammi has a good head on her shoulders. The very first thing she considers is the most pragmatic, considering the events that bind the Survivors together. In the aftermath of Hazmat’s lethal and radioactive outburst, Cammi is immediately worried about the cameras. Because this mansion was the home of one of Arcade’s Murderworld dinners, and as Cammi puts it;

“So, unless Arcade turned over a new modesty leaf and this thing hasn’t been streaming live in HD all over the world, it’s run time!”

Her fears are immediately confirmed as the wall to the mansion crumbles from behind her revealing SHIELD agents falling from a helicarrier.

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Here is something kind of interesting. SHIELD really is planning for every contingency these days. Niko tries to teleport the Survivors to safety, but some of their agents are necromancers, suppressing her magical abilities. Even their heaviest of hitter, Bloodstone, is handled relatively summarily. Here is something that bothers me though. The monster is subdued, but they don’t show how, it just looks like an explosion. The next panel focuses on a faceless SHIELD agent. These choices are stranger to me. It makes me wonder, who is under that mask?

The next scene is amusing mostly for the people who come to visit the Survivors in their cells. Most amusing is the young Mollie from Runaways condemning Nico while she rants to Chase. On my second time through the issue, I am struck by Death Locket, an image so very easy to pass right over, standing alone in her cell with no one visiting, looking heart broken. The more they show her in brief flashes and images, I feel she may be the member of the Survivors to become a Master of Evil.

The scene is mostly made up of a touching conversation between Cammi and her mother. Most conversations don’t end in half the conversationalists bursting into fire, but this one does.

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The fire is Daimon Helstrom’s magic teleporting the Survivor’s back to Master’s of Evil compound, to a crowd of cheering pre-villains. The group ends up in Tower Zemo heading towards a rather lavish four-course meal. Again, Daimon makes allusions to helping Nico with her magic.

Now, if you’ve been paying attention to this series,  you’ve been seeing a decidedly insidious recruitment plan. First, the party where everyone got to see the cool and accepting nature of the Master’s of Evil. Then they gave the Survivors what they wanted, a crack at Arcade. The next step was saving them from the consequences of their actions. These steps have been a lot like a drug dealer or pimp grooming a customer or hooker. So obviously, the pitch was coming.

The location for the pitch could not be more manipulative for two reasons. First, Zemo is showing a great deal of trust by inviting the Survivors into the heart of his tower. The trust is an illusion, of course, when all of the actual Masters can defeat the Survivors with relative ease. Second, the pitch is taking place over an opulent meal, at a antique table, literally surrounded by bars of gold.

Zemo, one of the all time best monologue speakers, makes the argument that the difference between his organization and normal super heroes is that the Masters believe the exceptional should have the same right to benefit from their powers as any athlete, genius, or beauty should be able to benefit from their unique skills. When the Survivors point out that they are called the Masters of Evil, Zemo responds in an impressive way.

“Evil is the name THEY gave us.  We simply choose to own it.”

This pitch has been a long time coming. This series has really been so focused on tying up the loose ends, and though it has, it has also felt like misdirection. Because this concerted attempt at corruption has been the point, ever since the announcement that one of the Survivors would actually cross the fence by the end of the series. I loved every second of this issue, and the suspense created from the slow building to this invitation to the Masters of Evil was both thick and palpable. Bring on next month!

My rating 5 /5.

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