Monday, January 16, 2012

The Terminus Factor, conclusion: Avengers Annual #19!

I couldn't tell you if this was drawn with reference or not.
The conclusion of the Terminus Factor, Avengers Annual #19, "Beat Me in St. Louis" Written by Roy and Dann Thomas, pencils by Herb Trimpe, inks by Jeff Albrecht. The east coast, west coast, and Great Lakes squads of Avengers rush to St. Louis to stop the 300-foot tall, four-armed Terminus from draining the energy or the life out of the entire continent. At the time, Hawkeye and Mockingbird had been trying to whip the GLA into shape to be a proper branch; they gave up on that notion pretty quickly. In fact, Hawkeye had already gone back to the WCA; but the GLA do delay the levitating monster. (Why Terminus is floating and not merely stomping things, I have no idea; except maybe it's easier to draw, and comics used to be all right with not having a six-figure body count.)

Meanwhile, in space, Thor is floating helplessly without his hammer. But, he made arrangements before he left, as he angles his body to be drawn into a small planetoid's gravity...landing like a rock.

The proper Avengers arrive (even though Captain Marvel and Quasar alone probably could've been there in seconds...) and the fliers try to get to Terminus, as the ground-bound members get bystanders to safety. Quasar tries the tactic he and the cosmic-powered Spidey used, making a platform and pushing Terminus off the planet; but Iron Man can see the new version is "twice as tall...with many times the mass!" And growing, as it begins to draw energy.
If you thought Superman defeating Darkseid with a song was impressive...
Regaining consciousness, Thor finds the planetoid has just enough of an atmosphere to carry sound, so he can speak, shouting something that seems to carry through can carry through space, but he couldn't just shout it out in hard vacuum? OK, whatever...
Thor is just belting it out in the middle panel.
Getting nowhere, Quasar calls an audible, the Avengers attacking from multiple sides. It seems to work, as Terminus is launched into space. Quasar and several of the Avengers are trapped in an air pocket, and pulled up with it. Back on the ground, Hercules thinks he can hear Thor: he recalls the thunder god seemingly praying to the then-missing Odin earlier. (Which I don't think we saw!) Pym guesses Thor may have removed one of the enchantments on Mjolnir.
That second panel looks familiar...
Terminus flies straight at the planetoid, and Thor fears for the Avengers there, but Quasar saves them. The collected heroes wrestle away Terminus's lance, and Quasar quantum-jumps it even further away; without it, Terminus can't absorb enough energy to maintain its form, and implodes into a black hole, then nothingness. Mjolnir finally returns to Thor's hand, as was his plan all along; and Thor returns the heroes to earth.

The end ties up everything, but the fourth chapter was stronger. In their defense, though, they had to work in something like 23 Avengers here. Well, they didn't have to, but you know what I mean. It's weird for Thor, of all people, to be the one with the game plan here. (If you're curious about 'audible' and 'game plan,' I'm watching the Broncos/Vikings game now...) We might check out the back-up features some other time, though: there's a Mark Gruenwald Acts of Vengeance! epilogue, and an early Kurt Busiek character piece.

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