A Brief History of Kang, Part 34: The Crossing: Prologue

By Lonni Holland

Delayed but finally here: the next installment in the History of Kang. He doesn't appear throughout all of it but his hand is behind it (apparently, at least). I'll be keeping my comments and analysis to a minimum, as there are rampant theories about the events of the Crossing as well as numerous dangling plotlines. Since it has been rumored that Onslaught disrupted the intentions of the creators to clear up these points we may never know how the story was to have ended but we do know where it started.

It began in February of 1995 when eleven Merry Marvelites joined together to dream things up for the ailing Avengers book family of books. The Crossing spanned four months of regular issues of four different titles as well as three one shot specials plus several issues of foreshadowing. In the words of Mark Gruenwald from his Mark's Remark's introing the book:

"Those of us who work with heroes who have long, rich histories are always in double jeopardy. We must think of new things to do with our characters which will both gain the attention of new readers as well as satisfy old readers that we are not selling our heroes down the river for the sake of a sensationalistic storyline."

The Crossing should have been all things to all people, but somewhere along the line it failed.

Join me now for the five issue prologue to 'History in the Breaking' - the Crossing.

Avengers 390
"Campfire Tales"
Story: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh
Script: Bob Harras
Pencils: Mike Deodato
Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Paul Becton
Letters: Bill Oakley
Editor: Ralph Macchio
EIC: Mark Gruenwald

Relaxing at an Adirondack's cabin that Tony Stark has loaned to Swordsman II and Magdalene are Quicksilver, Crystal, their daughter Luna and the child's nanny Marilla, Deathcry and Hercules and the Inhuman's dog Lockjaw. Herc chases the dog into a secluded glade and meets a young man who has a set of cards with an Avengers logo on them. They return to the cabin and the boy introduces himself as Tuc and proceeds to produce the odd Tarot cards, revealing pictures of the Avengers themselves on them. He casts an odd and disquieting fortune for them, including an ominous one for Marilla, then vanishes, only to later reappear in little Luna's window and greet her as big sister and claim that he did all that he could.

Meanwhile, we have also learned that Janet Van Dyne is now bankrupt, although it is unknown why it has happened.

Force Works 15

(I don't have access to this issue but I can cover the relevant stuff...) All is well at the FW HQ (aside from the blue orange juice at breakfast). Wanda is leader and Spider-Woman is happy with her lover and long time teammate Moonraker. Only one thing mars this bliss, her daughter Rachel has never seen Moonraker before this morning.

Iron Man 319
"Shadows Call"
Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Artist: Tom Morgan
Colors: Ariane
Letters: Phil Felix
Editor: Nel Yomtov
EIC: Mark Gruenwald

In his arctic bunker, Tony Stark runs through a holographic simulation of past adventures and prophetically wonders 'when & where I became a pawn in the game of heroes and villains'. Little does he know what lies ahead. Tony finds himself standing at the bar but doesn't give in to temptation, instead he turns off the holo tapes only to see images of his mother and father both. He argues with his father but seems comforted by the presence of his mother, while admitting to himself he knows it isn't real but he needs it.

Later, Stark is awarded the Starcore satellite project and he thinks that Dr. Corbeau was easy to fool, but that Gyrich may be a problem. His friends look on and worry about him. Back at Force Works there are more indications of trouble with the team but Tony is oblivious to them. He leaves and calls Jarvis and arranges for the Avengers reunion.

War Machine 18 & 19
Writer: Dan Abnett
Pencils: Fred Haynes
Inks: Johnny Greene
Colors: Ariane
Letters: John Costanza
Editor: Nel Yomtov
Milk & Cookies (or EIC): Mark Gruenwald

Having lost his armor in an adventure in the past, and having killed a man in the bargain, Rhodey is disconsolate and considering quitting the superhero game. For some unknown reason he decides to take a Canadian fishing vacation. He arrives in Maitlin Lake during a UFO scare and finds the place crawling with secret agent types. One of them, an attractive woman named Skye, approaches him. He gives her the brush and heads off fishing only to find that Hawkeye has followed him. Clint is concerned that Jim may quit.

As the two of them talk they hear a scream. It's Skye and she is babbling about something horrible behind her. She drops a small tooled metal object that Hawk retrieves and notes it is inscribed Timely, WI... Just then they are attacked by a huge green-eyed monster. No, it's not jealousy but it rather resembles a Tyrannosaurus with a thyroid problem. Clint tells Jim to grab the girl land run as he tries to stop it. Blast & net arrows have no effect and Hawk is quickly taken down but the beast shows no interest in his unconscious body as it turns to seek its true foe.

As he escaped the creature, James Rhodes meets another alien being, this one resembling a small sentient sun. It touches him and he absorbs the Eidolon Warwear, a new costume (more details about this later). He defeats the beast. Clint returns to find Rhodey roughly questioning Skye since it appears she knows something about the new armor. The beast attacks again and Rhodey takes it down. He swears Clint to silence for the moment about his new look and he & Skye decide to drive back to LA. Clint says he is going to an Avengers reunion and remarks that it should be fun. Ah, Clint! Well, you've been wrong before.

An innocent enough beginning to a supposed epic but there's more to come.

No Kang appearances except in a flashback panel in Iron Man, but his presence will soon be felt. Watch out for the super duper all foil, scratch and sniff wraparound covered double issue of Avengers: The Crossing coming to a monitor near you & the Avengers' world will never be the same.

Lonni - the Crossing Custodian