Quote:The earlier parts of the Gatherer arc make it seem it's going to tie into the Celestial Madonna story.
Okay bear with me on this everyone and feel free to weigh in:) There're a few things worth noting about the original crossover, The Crossing.
That is, while Malachi & Tobias are obviously intended as the sons of Vision, their solar eyebeams possessing a creepy similarity to the android who cries, wondering if anyone's given thought to the idea that their mother was intended as Mantis and not Wanda (and that they were not in fact Thomas and William as fans surmised at the time)? Recall, while Kang refers to them throughout the crossover as his adopted sons, at no point does "She Who is This One"!
Recall too how the continuity implant from Avengers Forever series that Kangâ€™s allies were a bunch of Space Phantoms just doesnâ€™t work. Take for instance the powers of Space Phantoms. When Space Phantoms returned to Limbo it was regularly pointed out that they always materialised in the exact location their subject had been shunted to there, something never shown in either The Crossing or Avengers Forever for ANY of the characters they were revealed to be masquerading as; and in fact The Crossing regularly showed Luna, Malachi & Tobias, Elder Cotati/Swordsman and Mantis stepping directly back into Limbo through portals from Earth with nary a subject in sight. If this wasnâ€™t enough, youâ€™ll find a scene in Iron Man #325 where Kang joins his adopted son, Tobias, in a rigorous combat training session, and only the two of them are present. At the end of it, Kang berates Tobias for being too soft and unprepared to be a fit heir to himâ€¦ Well, if they actually were Immortus and a Space Phantom as Busiek contends, why would they keep on pretending under such circumstances, with nobody to fool around?!
While The Crossing unfortunately ended up a disaster for all the reasons we know (but also I suspect in part, due to the Heroes Reborn reboot) it raised some fascinating plot points, including:
1. Why Kang was opposing the Elder Cotati and the Priests of Pama â€“ and married to Mantis â€“ when in Fantastic Four #325 he was allied with them against her?
2. Why for that matter would Kang be intent on erasing Vietnam from history when this was his new wifeâ€™s birthplace, the location of the Temple of Agaphaur where she trained to become the Celestial Madonna, and most important of all where his agent, Tony Stark, became Iron Man?
While attempts to address this occur in Avengers #395 when Mantis reveals she joined Kang "to take revenge on the Vision for spurning her for the Scarlet Witch, driving her to marry the Cotati Swordsman and giving birth to the Celestial Messiah", why did she show no signs of being pissed at him, or Wanda for that matter, when they were teammates in West Coast Avengers during Englehart's own run? The last time weâ€™d seen her (i.e. Fantastic Four #325 and Fantastic Four Annual #25) she was intent on getting her son BACK from the Elder Cotati, so the seeds were obviously planted there for her turning against them. But why regret conceiving her son and go on to join Kang who had most recently been their ally?
3. At the time it made me further wonder whether it all alternatively suggested that Mantis had approached Kang after Fantastic Four #325, offering herself in place of his beloved Ravonna, in return for him wiping out all traces of her life, including the Temple of Agaphaur, DuQuesne, etc. (the deal also perhaps including Kang rewriting her history so she had conceived children to the Vision instead, since it was pretty obvious thatâ€™s who Malachi and Tobias were intended as and not Thomas and William as most fans thought at the time).
The only problem this raises is why Kang would switch sides to become her ally, or marry her for that matter, when she would attempt to undo the birth of the Celestial Messiah which he was intent on securing, or more recently undo her marriage to him and end up with the Vision after all!?
4. Then thereâ€™s the still unresolved plot point from Force Works #18, a chapter of The Crossing storyline constructed in 1995 under the auspices of then-Avengers group editor, Mark Gruewald, which has Suzi Endo and Rachel Carpenter (Spider-Woman II's daughter) discovering temporal radiation emanating from a previously-unknown sub-basement containing Virgil, a "global chronography analysis and control suite" created by Timely Industries, a company founded by Tony Stark in 2009. We know "Victor Timely" to be one of Kang the Conqueror's aliases from the early 20th Century. That is, in Avengers Annual #21, written by Gruenwald, Kang journeys back to January 1, 1901 to found the town of Timely in Wisconsin under this same alias, slowly releasing technological innovations through Timely Industries. If Timely Industries wasnâ€™t founded until 2009, it must have been constructed to exist in numerous time periods at once, an anachronism back in 1901. While this is somewhat head-exploding, and a really awesome concept, the corollary that should really bake every continuity nerdâ€™s noodle out there is that Mark Gruenwald not only had KANG THE CONQUEROR revealed to have founded Timely Industries but had TONY STARK revealed as founding this same company. Gruenwald, whose particular remit was keeper of continuity NEVER made these sorts of errors so he must have intended to retcon Kangâ€™s identity as Nathaniel Richards and reveal that Tony Stark eventually goes on to become Kang. The question then becomes if Tony was so obsessed with preventing people from using his technology in Armor Wars, why would he then go to the trouble of going back in time to foment Marvel's technological revolution from 1901?
As for why and how the Celestial Messiah becomes the menace Kang & Co. claim, how does he come to be such a threat to TIME (and where does Alioth fit into all this)?
Then thereâ€™s the question of how the Gatherers plot ties into all this when you consider it was during this tale that the Watcher called forth by Proctor restores the Avengers Mansion but with the mysterious door in its basement. The mansion was identical to the lost one (Beast even found his lost Mickey Mantle baseball card) except for some minor changes like computer settings and quinjet codes which suggested the mansion came from a parallel universe. This then raises the issue of whether the door was already in that mansion before Ute brought it to Earth, whether Kang chose to place the door there at that time, or whether the Gatherers coming to Earth was also Kang-related. If so, how/ why?!
Thereâ€™s also the question of Proctor's tale highlighting the issue originally introduced in Avengers #2 that two alternative versions of the same character couldn't exist for long in the same reality, when Space Phantom duplicated someone that subject was transported immediately to Limbo. Where could it have lead for the specific purposes of this plot?
Re: Moonraker/ Slade Truman joining Force Works and later being revealed to have been taken over by Gustav Brandt/ Libra, how and why? He kept unknowingly negating events that had already happened (similar to adult-Luna doing so when she earlier appeared to Hercules). How could this tie in? Who else do we know capable of negating events? If both were opposed to Kang, and working for his enemy, does this suggest it was Immortus if the events were then being erased? If so, who was Immortus working for?
And why truly did Neut kill Gilgamesh? If Gilgamesh had been training Kangâ€™s army surely he would have known how important it was to hide this from the Avengers also! So why go after him so viciously for this when he hadn't sold them out to the Avengers?