Comicbook / Jonathan Hickman's Avengers

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In the last days of life, before a season of death... we were Avengers.
"Goddess, oh goddess. Save me from what this world demands. Save me from righteous men. Save me from thinkers. Save me from summoners. Save me from Midnight Kings... And the devil himself. Oh goddess, save me... Save me from what we are about to do."

An Avengers storyline written by Jonathan Hickman, told in two series, Avengers, and New Avengers. Beginning in 2012 with the Marvel NOW! initiative, and ending with Secret Wars (2015) in Summer 2015. The event comic Infinity is also part of this storyline. The books focused on two main storylines: Avengers focused on the titular team expanding to adapt to ever-growing threats, while New Avengers focuses on the Illuminati and how they deal with the approaching end of everything. However, as the two books continue, it becomes clear that the two are far more intertwined than they initially appeared...

Tropes relating to Infinity and Secret Wars (2015) can be found on their respective pages.

Tropes used in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers include:

  • Abusive Precursors: The Builders are this in spades. In Infinity, they destroy entire planets for the crime of getting in their way on the path to Earth, which they want to destroy to save the universe.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Great Society is alternate Earth's super team that is based on Justice League of America (or possibly the original Marvel Alternate Company Equivalent, Squadron Supreme). The Justice League equivalency becomes thematically fitting when they encounter the Illuminati. The Illuminati's Grey and Gray Morality is contrasted with the Great Society's black and white one: the former team considers destroying the other team's Earth to save their own as a realistic option, while the latter sees this as unthinkable. This contrast between morally ambiguous and morally clear-cut heroes is often said to be thing the main difference between the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Lampshaded by Sun God during his clash with the Hulk.
    Hulk: (while pounding) HULK IS STRONGEST ONE THERE IS!
    Sun God: (catches his next strike) Maybe in your universe, Monster...
    Hulk: (surprised) Rrr?
    Sun God: (blasting him unconscious) But not in THIS one!
    • Invoked by the Black Swan when talking about the Builders after Infinity. Compared to the Mapmakers, the Black Priests, or the Ivory Kings, the Builders are the least of the Avengers' problems.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Black Swans, for Rabum Alal.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Odinson loses an arm to one of the Beyonders.
  • Another Story for Another Time: Tony gives this explanation to Reed when discussing what he was doing in space during the time skip between issues while remembering meeting the Watcher on the moon, and finding the corpse of the Living Tribunal.
  • Anti-Villain: Molecule Man is not just the only human character who knows what's happening to the multiverse, he also comes up with a plan to counter it. The downside is that said plan involves the death of almost all the universes in the multiverse.
  • Apocalypse How: Every incursion means that Class X (planetary destruction) is the least horrific thing that could happen. An incursion that goes on to its fatal result means Class X-5 (multiversal destruction) will happen, and the whole system seems to be marching with horrible inevitability toward Class Z (the end of everything).
  • Arc Words: Plenty. Sometimes it feels like every second sentence in the story are Arc Words.
    • "We were Avengers"
    • "An Avengers World"
    • "Everything dies"
    • "The System is Broken."
    • "First there was nothing, then there was everything"
  • Arc Villain: Every enemy both teams have faced thus far are merely this compared to The Beyonders.
  • Ascended Extra: The Beyonders were originally created just to help wrap-up a few dangling plotlines from Adam Warlock's cancelled series, and were not even seen, only mentioned. They had only a few further mentions over the next three decades until this.
  • Back from the Dead: Corvus Glaive
  • Badass Boast: Dr. Doom gets one when the Mapmakers' minions invade his home in Latveria
    Dr. Doom: FOOLS! The very worst of men know better... Gods know better. Who is behind such folly?
    • The final issue of New Avengers has possibly the biggest:
    Doctor Doom: Fools. I am Doom, the Destroyer. I have broken worlds to taunt you. I have shattered universes to mock you. I have taken what is yours, and made it mine. Face me at your own peril, if you dare face me at all.
  • Bad Dreams
    • How we see that Captain America distantly remembers being mind-wiped.
    • Black Swan weeps and cries for help in her sleep, showing that she still has a heart.
  • Bad Future: Cap encounters several due to the Time Gem, including one where Ultron has taken over the entire planet.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Avengers issue 6 focuses on several people at a college, suggesting that they'll be gain superpowers from the White Event. Instead, it goes to the young man present in every scene.
    • Avengers 24 focuses on what seems to be the Founding Avengers team, just displaced in time. As it turns out, they're actually Evil Counterparts, with the Hulk as their lobotomized Dragon and an evil version of Jarvis as their Iron Man.
  • Big Good: Captain America is this for the Avengers until the Time Runs Out, when he starts carrying the Conflict Ball.
    • Sunspot takes over the position during the arc, trying to get the other two sides to work together.
  • Bigger Bad: Rabum Alal, the Great Destroyer, who apparently caused the first Incursion just by existing. Everything that happens in the story is his fault. It's 32 issues before he's revealed to be mainstream universe Doom, and eventually, he is also revealed to be an Unscrupulous Hero who intentionally is a Hero with Bad Publicity so he can have the Black Swans kill Living Weapon Molecule Man in all realities, with the evil Black Swans being a Renegade Splinter Faction, making this a Subverted Trope. which leads to...
    • Big Bad Ensemble: Rabum Alal is fighting against Ivory Kings & they both want the same thing, destruction of the multiverse. However the reasons behind Rabum Alal's actions are for the preservation of the multiverse, with the renegade Black Swans being the only evil ones. The Ivory Kings are doing it because it's an experiment.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Black Swan peppers her speech with Sumerian. Most of it is translated, but not all.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hulk, courtesy of Abyss, throughout the first three Avengers issues.
  • Broken Record: Nightmask, at least at first, never stops saying "the System is broken". Bruce Banner eventually lampshades it.
    Banner: I can't be the only one here who finds that unbelievably irritating.
  • The Bus Came Back: A few:
    • Iron Lad, after a bit part in The Children's Crusade, shows up with his gang of Kangs from the future.
    • Pym returns, having disappeared into the multiverse before even Infinity happened.
  • Call-Back:
    • Nightmask's first words "It's Coming. The White Event." are a play on the original teaser ads for the New Universe line, which simply read "It's Coming. The New Universe."
    • In order to observe other worlds, Reed Richards uses the Bridge.
    • The future version of Franklin Richards reappears in Avengers 24, and again in the Original Sin issues.
    • Molecule Man refers to a "great culling of Dooms", a reference to the Council of Reed's policy in Hickman's FF.
    • When Cap and Iron Man approach Manifold, he mentions how the last time he played super-hero, it didn't end well.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The alternate version of Terrax from one of the Counter-Earths, who is defeated and imprisoned into Earth-616 by the Illuminati.
    • Another alternate Earth has the Mutant city of Tian, which appeared in Hickman-penned issues of The Ultimates. The version shown here was far more successful, up until the Incursions started.
  • Can't Catch Up: Averted by Doctor Doom, who learns of the Incursions long after the Illuminati, and manages to figure out much more about them than the group did, in less time.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: The Avengers have Quintjets capable of going from Earth to Mars in the space of a few hours, at the most.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The fact that the Time Gem survives when its fellow Gems shatter becomes important in The Avengers.
    • In Black Swan's origins, the Black Priests attacked her world. This is because it has an entrance to the home of Rabum Alal, which the priests are after.
    • The hammer of Thor.
    • Sunspot befriending a handful of AIM agents and hiring them as his moles. He later buys out the entire organization, ousting its leader and using their resources to try and save the universe. This would later become the basis for New Avengers (2015).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Hulk from the evil Avengers.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Captain Universe, due to the human the uni-force is controlling being a brain-damaged car-crash victim. She's just as likely to help as she is to witter on about pie.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Black Widow's suggestion for extracting information from an A.I.M. agent.
  • Comm Links: Each of the Illuminati has a device hidden within his palm to confirm their identities and for short communications with one another in times of crisis.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Captain America for not wanting to destroy other Earths. The Illuminati eventually come around to thinking he was right, save Namor.
  • Composite Character: Composite Concept, but...The White Event in Avengers mixes examples from both the original version (purple lightning bolt headed towards Earth), and the New Universe version (the sky turning white, captions declaring "The White Event").
  • Continuity Nod: During the time travel arc in Avengers #29−34, Captain America utters the words "Avengers forever". Like the limited series of that name, this arc explores the idea of the Avengers' influence extending through time and space.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Humanity is alone, insiginificant and doomed in the vastness of the multiverse - and not even their greatest superheroes can save them. (Although Secret Wars (2015) mitigates this into becoming Lovecraft Lite).
  • Crime Fighting With Cash: Sunspot, who befriends a bunch of AIM scientests and then hires them as his personal moles in the orignization. He later buys out the entire organization.
  • Curse Cut Short: Starbrand's last words.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The Cold War between Wakanda and Atlantis which after the first New Avengers arc escalates into full war with attacks from both camps. Even after Namor with T'Challa tried to broker a peace in secret, T'Challa's sister and current Queen Shuri has Wakanda launch a brutal attack on Atlantis just before the Infinity tie in starts. Namor after being confronted in the rubble of his city by Proxima Midnight and her forces surrenders and when questioned about the location of the last Infinity Gem tells her it is in Wakanda.
  • Deface of the Moon: In the last issue of Avengers, Iron Man shoots off a chunk of the moon destroying the alien fleet.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Mighty Avengers, during Time Runs Out, despite having several heavy-hitters and long-term Avengers (not to mention several scientific geniuses among them) are reduced simply to Steve Rodger's flunkies, and never say a word; their role in and opinion on things is only shown in the last two issues of their own title.
  • Despair Event Horizon: New Avengers Issue 21: Dr. Strange in a berserk frenzy kills the Great Society, save Sun God who is mortally weakened, the Illuminati prepare to destroy the other world but none are willing to do it. T'Challa steps forth once again but even with the urging of the spirits of his ancestors and father can't bring himself to do it, causing the spirits of his ancestors to banish him from ever joining them in the afterlife for kings of Wakanda. In the end Namor does the unthinkable that none of the rest were willing to do. When the next incursion begins, none of them have any will to fight it save Namor who unleashes the Cabal to stop it.
  • Dirty Business:
    • Incursions force people to choose to destroy another Earth to spare their own. The first few are resolved for the Illuminati by others, but Black Swan repeatedly warns them that they won't be able to keep their hands clean forever. They aren't.
    • As shown in the 'Time Runs Out' arc, after the Cabal unveil the truth of the situation to the world, the world governments pretty much let them have run of Wakanda because they are willing to do what most other heroes or villains want no part of.
  • Disaster Dominoes: One universe's early destruction has set off a chain of universes collapsing into each other, threatening to destroy the entire multiverse.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Ultimate Nick Fury's reaction to an Incursion.
  • Downer Ending: Avengers ends with Tony and Steve trying their level best to kill one another, while the Avengers resign themselves to the fact that they can't save their universe, as the Ultimate Universe's S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks their Earth in an act of what they believe is self-defense. New Avengers ends with Doom accidentally destroying all but twelve universes in his attempt to kill the Beyonders.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: New Avengers begins with a group of Wakandan teens and Black Panther discovering an incursion — an area where two colliding universes overlap.
  • Driven to Suicide: Almost. In New Avengers #23, Tony gets ready to repulsor his own head off.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him / Back for the Dead: During "Time Runs Out", Namor and the Cabal violently murder the cast of Supreme Power.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The first issue of New Avengers ends with one and two more occur before the end of the first six issues.
  • Easily Forgiven: Defied with Namor. Black Bolt and T'Challa try to kill him and make sure he knows that there is no redemption for him.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: The last few issues of Time Runs Out has the greater galactic powers trying to destroy Earth to save their universe. They don't succeed.
  • Enemy Mine: Namor and T'Challa. Since the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, they rule kingdoms that are at war with each other. As soon as he calls the team in, T'Challa takes some time out to inform Namor that when the current crisis is over, he plans to kill him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Black Swan disapproves of the Mapmakers.
    • Dr. Doom is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of killing millions of incarnations of the Molecule Man.
  • Everybody Lives: Sun God and the Great Society strive to this as much as possible. Sun God even gives as version of Reed's 'everything dies' speech to his fellow heroes.
  • Evil Albino: Black Swan aka Yabbat Ummon Tarru. Her color scheme is inverted (black skin, white costume) when the Avengers discover that she is Rabum Alal's servant and she stops pretending to be on their side.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Black Swan is a servant of Rabum Alal, the entity responsible for the whole incursion mess. All of her talk about how destroying Earths is a necessary evil was bullcrap. She just wants to feed more universes to her master. And then the final issue of New Avengers reveals that that's a lie as well, and she hasn't been Rabum Alal's servant for a very long time.
    • Ultimate Reed Richards. All his talk of reformation after Cataclysm was bull, and he's destroyed multiple Earths by the time he's seen.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Avengers #24 introduces a group of Avengers from another world, who are, save Hulk, evil.
    • As of New Avengers #23, Namor reforms The Cabal, consisting of himself, Black Swan, Terrax the Truly Enlightened, Maximus, Proxima Midnight, Corvus Glaive, and Thanos to take action against the Incursions.
    • Avengers #40 has Ultimate Reed Richards, who has been aware of the Incursions for a long while, and resorted to destroying each alternate Earth as they come as his first resort.
  • Eviler Than Thou/Gone Horribly Right: The Cabal. Namor gathered bunch of extremely powerful madmen to do what the Illuminati turned out to be incapable of doing - destroy alternate Earths before they destroy Earth-616. He didn't count on them enjoying their job a little bit too much. He is Necessary Evil, while they delight in slaughtering each Earth's defenders before killing everyone else.
  • Evil Versus Evil: According to the Black Priests, Rabum Alal and the Ivory Kings are fighting one another.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: The heroes really don't want to play it straight, since they're aware that, even if the other world isn't theirs, it still means murdering every single person on it.
    • A few issues actually have the Illuminati watching different alternate worlds meet their end at the hands of nearly invincible threats they themselves have been fortunate to not yet challenge directly yet.
    • Played straight when Namor finally destroys the Great Society's planet. And even straighter when he reforms the Cabal, who go on a rampage.
  • Expy: The Great Society is clearly the Justice League. Sun God in particular is very much presented as being Superman, from his iconography to his powers to his morals, with some additional shades of Hyperion...who is himself Marvel's biggest Superman Expy and is present throughout the rest of the run. Sun God even has a degree of Ho Yay with the Batman analogue The Rider, whose real name is Wayne. It's not subtle.
    • The rest of the team consists of Boundless, a female Flash expy, the Jovian, a Martian Manhunter expy (only from presumably Jupiter), The Norn (an expy of Dr. Fate), and a female Dr. Spectrum, who is a Green Latern expy.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Any Black Swan who wishes to see their Rabum Alal, due to their religious beliefs dictating that they cannot see him.
    • Captain Britain, when he appears in Time Runs Out, having lost an eye to the Mapmakers.
    • Hyperion, courtesy of a Beyonder.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Zigzagged. After meeting the Great Society, Namor appears to undergone one, forming a new world-destroying Cabal. However, as a post-time skip issue reveals, he's sickened by what they do.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Discussed between Captain America, Kang and Immortus. According to the time-travellers, Cap did originally try to find out who was behind the Incursions and stop them, but all his efforts failed.
  • The Fatalist: Black Swan, though she comes across more of a Straw Nihilist, with her constant proclamations that everything will die and there's no point fighting it.
  • Flash Forward: A few scenes in the first arc depict some of the struggles the Illuminati would face in trying to stop the Incursions. And yet none of these took place.
    • As of the "Time Runs Out" story arc, both Avengers and New Avengers undergo an eight month Time Skip.
  • Flying Brick: Starbrand starts at this, and moves on from there. A hit from Mjölnir barely registers, and he's able to send the Hulk flying into orbit.
    • Being a Superman expy, Sun God is naturally this, being able to fight evenly with the Hulk.
  • Foil: The Great Society are a good version of the Illuminati. They also tried the Infinity Gauntlet trick, but kept their member who did it (though their version of the Infinity Gauntlet, the Wishing Cube, did end up also being destoryed when they stopped an Incursion). Also, they are all opposed to destroying other worlds. Even Black Panther calls them "righteous men", because they are just so good.
  • For Science!:
    • A group of A.I.M. scientists sneak into one of the Origin Bomb sites, extract some matter from what they find and inject it into a guy, just out of curiosity.
    • The reason why the Ivory Kings are destroying everything, and violently killing anyone who tries to stop them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The opening monologue of Avengers mentions "The Light" (The White Event), "The War" (Infinity), and "The Fall" (Secret Wars (2015)).
    • Some of Nightmask's first words, rendered in Builder Code, translate to "It's coming. The White Event."
    • The Jovian's "Reason You Suck" Speech to Namor has elements of this. It foreshadows what the new Squandron Supreme (including the Great Society's only survivor, Dr. Spectrum) does to Namor and his beloved Atlantis as retribution for what he did to the Great Society's Earth.
  • For the Evulz: Everything the Cabal does.
  • From Bad to Worse: The situation in a nutshell. First, the multiverse is dying. And there are people working to make everything end even faster. Then Ex Nihilo's actions cause the Builders to try and destroy Earth, meaning the Avengers are distracted trying to stop them. Then Namor reforms the Cabal. And Captain America starts chasing the Illuminati. Then the universe just starts dying.
  • Future Me Scares Me: After the destruction of the Great Society's world, Beast goes to meet his teenaged self for some advice and maybe consolation. Instead he gets called out by his younger self for bringing the Original Five X-Men to a world that's about to be destroyed, and for becoming so morally misguided that he would be a partner in destroying an inhabited planet.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The events of the first issue of New Avengers, being unable to save the teens with him and watching a world be destroyed, causes Black Panther to assemble the Illuminati. He has always been shown to be vehemently against the notion, so the fact he is joining and actually forming them shows how bad everything has gotten and how serious he is taking it.
    • When the Infinity Gauntlet breaks, the Illuminati realize they must be willing to at least consider destroying entire worlds to save the rest. The lone dissenter to this is expelled.
    • They ultimately realize they could not condemn billions to death no matter the stakes, when confronted with an alternate Galactus that was willing to do what they had spent the entire issue planning on doing and destroy the alternate Earth that would collide with theirs to save the rest of his universe. However, they did let him have his world when it was clear there was no time left to save it and later did the same with a Builder from an alternate dimension.
  • Good Versus Good: The Illuminati vs. The Great Society.
  • The Heart: Captain America. His determination to stay this in the face of universal destruction is why they kick him out.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Namor attempts to redeem himself by trapping the Cabal on the Mapmaker's world and blowing it up. Afterwards he planned to turn himself in. T'Challa and Black Bolt however wouldn't have it and made sure he would be blown up as well.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: After it seems that the Beyonders take over as the main villains during the run, Rabum Alal, who is revealed to be Dr Doom, kills them off-screen and uses his new powers to become god.
  • Hive Mind: The Black Priests are a thousand minds operating in unison, as an alternate Professor X learns.
  • Hope Spot: New Avengers Issue 3; The group reassembles the Infinity Gauntlet in order to push an oncoming universe's Earths away from their own. With Cap wielding it the plan appears to work... but the Infinity Gems are destroyed, leaving the Illuminati without their greatest weapon and no way to stop future Incursions.
  • Humans Are Special: A recurring theme of Avengers. One Ex Nihilii even asks Captain Marvel why all the important things in the universe end up on Earth.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Nothing goes right for T'Challa. So far, he's seen the brightest young minds of Wakanda die, had to work with the man who nearly destroyed his country twice for petty revenge, seen his country invaded by nihilistic aliens, being exiled from his nation's capital city, and being banned from seeing his ancestors in whatever afterlife he ends up in due to his inaction at a critical moment which ultimately leads to Namor's exile along with Wakanda becoming the center point of the Cabal's territory due to them taking over the Illuminati base.
    • Technically, since the start of New Avengers nothing has really gone well for any of the members of the Illuminati both in the New Avengers book and for those that appear in other books this is even before Namor forms the Cabal and Captain America remembers what happened and begins to hunt them down with the Avengers.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Black Swan's justification for her actions.
    • Something of a recurring theme as most of the members of Illuminati when questioned by others who don't know their true purpose (or are just finding out) of their actions by others go on to echo.
  • Implacable Men: The Black Priests. The combined powers of Black Bolt, Magneto, Professor Xavier and Captain Marvel of an alternate universe don't slow them down.
  • It Only Works Once: Most of the initial plans the Illuminati have in New Avengers issue 4 for taking out another world in a incursion event have this drawback.
  • Jerkass
    • In Avengers, the Superior Spider-Man spends most of his screen-time being as rude as possible.
    • Namor, as is standard.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Namor in New Avengers Issue 21, regarding destroying Earth-42900001, explaining his actions as the only plan they had actually come up with in a very limited amount of time:
    Namor: These lines you won't cross... These things you won't do... They shame you. How dare any of you put yourself—your damned morals—above the lives of every living thing? The truth is, you people aren't worth that... And neither am I.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The biggest problem for the heroes is that they have no idea why the incursions are happening, or how to stop them without resorting to destroying the other earth. Luckily, Black Swan has some answers. She's just not trustworthy.
  • Killer Robot: Aleph, the Builder-creator robot, who just wants to raze the Earth and doesn't really care if anyone's living on it.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Illuminati do this to Captain America when it becomes obvious that he won't consider crossing the line of destroying an alternate Earth to save the universe.
  • Last of Her Kind:
    • Abyss. All the other Abysii died out when the Builders turned away from building.
    • Black Swan is apparently the last of her order. However, since the Illuminati only have her word for it, this might not be the case. It isn't. There's an entire order of Black Swans, very much alive and active.
    • Captain Britain and Spider-UK, meanwhile, are the last of the Captain Britain corps left after the time skip. The Ivory Kings found them, and wiped the entire corps out.
  • Last Stand:
    • Shuri, versus Proxima Midnight, in order to make sure T'Challa escapes from a trap.
    • Thor and Hyperion, versus the entirety of the Ivory Kings. The narration assures that they die.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste:
    • The Mapmakers use Incurisons to loot other Earths. And then kill every living thing on them.
    • A.I.M., who use the Incursions to grab whatever they can from dying universes simply because they can.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The explanation behind Rabum Alal in the final issue of New Avengers. Yes, Doom has been destroying universe after universe, but that's to prevent the Beyonders using Molecule Man to destroy every single universe at once.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Issue 2 of Avengers introduces one of the largest Avengers teams ever seen - and by Infinity, they recruit even more members.
  • Madness Mantra: The living brain that Nightmask and Starbrand encounter starts ranting about how "the System is broken". Its last words are just "broken".
  • Mercy Kill: Black Swan claims this of what she did to Manifold, on account of a Manifold's powers not working outside their own universe, though she is both a fatalist and a liar and didn't need to kill him anyway.
  • Necessarily Evil: Major theme of New Avengers.
  • The Needless: Hyperion doesn't require food or drink.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The Illuminati bring the Infinity Gems out of hiding in the hope that the Infinity Gauntlet can resolve incursions without the need to destroy the other Earth. It works... once... and then breaks, but not before alerting Galactus, the Watcher, and Thanos to its presence.
    • T'Challa's decision to hold off on destroying an alternate Earth long enough for Namor to suffer allows the Cabal to escape to Earth-1610, and right into the hands of the Maker.
    • In as much as he's a hero, Doctor Doom's attempt to kill the Beyonders is what wipes out what little was left of the Multiverse.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Avengers ends with Captain America giving Tony one.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Dr. Doom invites Reed Richards and Tony Stark to his home for dinner in order to get information from them on the Incursions.
  • Noodle Incident: The Great Society makes clear they've encountered an Ivory King, better known as the Beyonders, Eldritch Abomination cosmic beings living outside the Multiverse that initiated its destruction in the first place, and killed the Living Tribunal along with every other metaphysical defender of reality. That they survived an encounter with one when later on Hyperion, Thor, and Starbrand couldn't do the same, much less somehow defeated or destroyed it, is near-incomprehensible.
    • They also managed to stop one of the incursions via a method they "don't talk about".
    • One method is described to some extent; it involved the usage of a "Wishing Cube", formed from six planes of Forever Glass (apparently, that universe's equivalent of the Infinity Gems)
  • No-Sell: The Aleph, a robot designed to slaughter entire worlds, shoots Captain Universe with a full barrage point blank. It doesn't do a single thing.
  • No Sympathy: When Black Panther points out the reason the Illuminati had so little to work with during the time skip is because their former friends were chasing them, Hawkeye just sneers at him for it.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Mapmakers who are revealed to be a group of high powered and upgraded Super-Adaptoids in a arc of the concurrent volume of The Avengers, if you don't clear out their minions quick enough before the location of an Incursion is sent to them, they come to insure the destruction of all life on the planet themselves and it only takes a handful of them to do it.
    • Maximus,who seemed to have turned over a new leaf to help Black Bolt only to wind up joining The Cabal later on.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When the Infinity Gems break.
    • Black Swan's reaction on seeing a blue-lit Incursion.
    • In New Avengers issue #8, when Tony and Reed see Thanos' invading army.
    • New Avengers Issue #29: When Hank returns from the Multiverse, with the Ivory Kings following after him.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Who or whatever Rabum Alal is, its goal is the destruction of everything that lives.
    • According to Doctor Strange, post Time Skip, this is what the Ivory Kings want as well.
  • Only Sane Man: The group of Avengers who refuse to help Old Man Rogers chase the Illuminati during Time Runs Out. Steve ignores them until they force him to listen.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The resolve and maturity that Sunspot of all people displays when Time Runs Out really brings home how seriously things have already gone off the rails.
  • Orphaned Etymology: The Alephs were created millions of years ago, but somehow they're still named after the first letter of Earth's Semitic languages, which obviously didn't exist when the Alephs first came around. Technically, the same applies to the Ex Nihilii, but in their case it can be handwaved that the phrase "ex nihilo" is the closest Earth equivalent to what their name means in their original language.
  • Out of Focus: Reed, during large parts of the story. By the end of Time Runs Out, however, its him, his family and T'Challa who have created the Life Boat, and who end up taking central roles as the Secret Wars commence.
  • Paint It Black: During Time Runs Out, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye and The Invisible Woman all don black versions of their usual outfit.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Shuri, who responds to Namor's destruction of Wakanda with an equally devastating attack on Atlantis.
  • Power Degeneration: Nightmask's powers come Time Runs Out, as each use slowly causes him to de-age. This is because they're a universal system that has broken. It eventually kills him.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner/You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Black Swan to an Alternate reality version of Manifold, after he protests that she told him he would live.
    Black Swan: I said nothing of forever.
  • The Promise: Black Panther promises to execute Namor for what he did to Wakanda once the problem they are dealing with is over.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Wolverine is removed from the Avengers roster in 24.Now on account of losing his healing factor, and then because of his death.
    • Spider-Man isn't present during Time Runs Out because he's joined the Mighty Avengers.
  • Psycho Rangers / Evil Counterpart / Legion of Doom: After Namor is expelled from the group, he reforms the Cabal, partnering with Thanos, Black Swan and other villains in their sway to destroy worlds in order to end Incursion events.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Black Swan subscribes to this, as her remark when T'Challa blows up an alternate Earth shows.
    Black Swan: Now, you are all men.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: During the fighting between the Great Society and the Illuminati, the Jovian (the Martian Manhunter expy) gives one to Namor.
    The Jovian: I may have never seen you before... But I've seen your kind: flawed men feigning nobility. Any pain I feel is out of pity... I feel sorry for you. And the wretched end you must have waiting for you.
    • Boundless also gives one to Iron Man as she tears apart his armor:
      Boundless: Mr. Smart Person here thinks he's so very smart that he can outhink everything. But you can't process and respond to information at the speed of light, can you? Of course not. It doesn't matter how good your hardware is, your brain just doesn't work that fast, tin man. You should really think about an upgrade. Become a better man. Be someone else.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Black Swan has incursion detectors in her eyes that cause them to glow red when "Rabum Alal" approaches.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Within the pocket zones created by the incursion events. Except when they are blue
  • Redemption Equals Death: Thor Odinson, the Odinson, becomes worthy of Mjölnir less than five minutes before he commits a Heroic Sacrifice alongside Hyperion against the legions of Beyonders.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: According to the last issue of New Avengers, The Black Swans that destroy Earths are this. In actuality, they were meant by Doom to be a band of assassins who kill Molecule Man in various worlds to prevent him from becoming a Living Weapon to destroy reality. Unfortunately, a religion's teachings are bound to be misinterpreted.
  • Retcon: Prior to this run, Shang-Chi was a 'peak-condition' human superhero, like Hawkeye. Hickman then gave the man chi manipulation powers, essentially turning the Master of Kung Fu into a slightly weaker Iron Fist.
  • Retool / And Now For Something Completely Different: New Avengers Vol 3 is completely different from the previous volumes in both tone and content.
  • The Reveal:
    • Avengers #35: Sue Storm is is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. to capture her husband.
    • New Avengers issue #29 reveals the Ivory Kings are The Beyonders.
    • Issue #30: Rabum Alal is Doctor Doom.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Old Man Rogers (the former, rapidly aged Captain America) is pretty much the Captain Ahab of this story after the 8 months skip. This is the reason why many of his fellow Avengers turn their back on him.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Black Panther witnesses Black Swan destroying a planet. The realization that this planet was another Earth is what drives him to call the Illuminati.
  • Secret Keeper: The Illuminati obviously don't tell people about their members or existence.
    • T'Challa's warriors didn't tell Shuri about Namor's presence. After Infinity, they get fed up and tell her.
  • Sequel Series: To Hickman's Fantastic Four run. Black Panther and Reed Richards' bond was established there, as was the imminent threat of something destroying the Multiverse.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: The Ex Nihilii and Abyss sacrifice their lives to kill one Beyonder... leaving Thor and Hyperion to face the several hundred more left.
  • Sense Freak: Black Swan, due to having gone a long time without eating much in the way of food before her capture. She's intrigued by ordinary French Fries.
  • Serious Business: Doom insists that every child in Latveria has a Good Night's Sleep, apparently.
  • Seriously Scruffy: After the eight-month time skip, the pressure the Illuminati and their allies have been under is signaled by their bushy beards: Reed Richards has one, so does Hank Pym, and even the normally clean-faced Captain Britain now rocks a serious beard.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The multiversal exploration team attempt to find out where the Ivory Kings are, and how to save their universe. They all fail, and die, and they don't even slow the Ivory Kings down.
    • The series in general. The Illuminati and the Avengers don't accomplish or solve anything, and Tony never expected to, he just wanted to give Steve hope. As a result, every universe other than the Ultimate and regular Marvel universe dies.
  • Shoot the Dog: The Illuminati turn on Captain America and expel him from their number. This is only the first dog they will have to shoot.
    • An alternate version of Galactus eats his universe's version of Earth in order to save that universe.
    • As it turns out, this is what The Black Priests have been doing all along.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Captain America, faced with the option of letting the Illuminati run free, gives a speech to Kang, Immortus and Iron Lad about how he refuses to give up hope. Kang's response is simple.
    Kang: No one here...cares.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Black Swan. Justified since it is either a title or the name of any member of the 'order' of Black Swans to which she belongs.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The Black Priests.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Attempted by the Illuminati during the Time Skip, when they tried to get the assistance of the cosmic higher-ups, only for them to vanish mid-conversation. Because they had been attacked and killed by the Beyonders.
  • Superpower Lottery: Black Swan's a winner.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Black Swan's opinion of the Illuminati, since they can't understand her methods of explaining things (which are admittedly not at all clear to anyone but her).
  • Take a Third Option: Rather than side with Steve, who's become obssesed with taking out Tony no matter the cost or Tony, who hid the danger the world was in from everyone out of arrogance and who's team has gone to increasingly desperate lengths to stave off the incursions. Sunspot decides to choose neither, gathering what Avengers refused to stay with Steve, trying to get both sides to work together while a handful of the most powerful avengers dive into the multiverse to find out what's destroying it and take it out once and for all.
  • Taking You with Me: Starbrand, though definitely not by choice.
  • The Team: The Illuminati
    • The Leader: Black Panther, who assembles the Illuminati.
    • The Lancer: Tony Stark, who is pretty much Second in Command, and Namor who serves as T'Challa's Foil due to their mutual hate.
    • The Big Guy: Black Bolt, Namor and Hulk.
    • The Smart Guy: All the scientists (Black Panther, Reed, Tony and Beast) and Doctor Strange, who is the lone representative of the mystic perspective.
    • Token Evil Teammate: Namor, who doesn't regret his crimes against Wakanda one bit, is only in it to save his own race and is the most cynical of all the members. Not to mention he almost finds joy in finding ways to be a complete dick to everyone else.
      • Maximus is a straighter example of this, being a literal madman.
    • The Heart: Captain America, who strictly refuses to even consider blowing up other Earths and calls the others out on that. This is what gets him kicked out.
    • Sixth Ranger: Bruce Banner after putting all the pieces together.
      • Time Runs Out adds Captain Britain, Hank Pym and Amadeus Cho.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Namor decides to just attack the Great Society, upon realizing that they had no plan, nor any more experience then the Illuminati in stopping Incursions and that trying to talk to them about giving up their own world was not going to work.
    • And again, after winding up on Earth-1610, he decides to go completely evil.
  • Those Two Guys: Played straight with Cannonball and Sunspot, and Thor and Hyperion. Averted (eventually) by Steve and Tony.
  • Time Skip: The Time Runs Out arc.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Mainly due to the advertisement of the new 2015 Marvel event saying how the end of this volume and the current Avengers volume leads right into the new event and the end of both Marvel's 616 canon universe and the Ultimate canon universe.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Gladiator, during Time Runs Out, when the Avengers manage to do a lot of damage to his attempt to destroy Earth.
    Gladiator: How many times will we underestimate humans?
  • Unreliable Narrator: Almost everything Black Swan says is half-truth at best.
  • Verbal Tic: The A.I.M. scientist with the prominent stutter, from Hickman's work on Fantastic Four, returns.
  • Wait Here: Black Panther tells this to Wakandan teens in New Avengers issue 1. They don't listen.
  • Watching Troy Burn: During the Infinity tie-in arc, Namor is left doing so in the remains of Atlantis after Wakanda's attack and just before Thanos' forces arrival.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: How the Black Priests destroy every world they descend upon and why they need multiple members to bring it about. The word they say on each one is 'Life' with one Black Priest for each letter.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Strange describes the Black Priests as such after joining their ranks and becoming more or less their leader.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Namor despite knowing exactly what they are, releases and joins some of the most evil and powerful beings in Marvel to destroy the other Earths. The Cabal do go around doing this, but they're always make sure to commit a host of atrocities on top of that, which horrifies Namor. When Namor objects, the Cabal knows he's the least powerful amongst them and they tell him where he can stick it. When he approaches his some-time ally Dr. Doom for help, Doom calls him out on this and refuses - saying that Doom is no one's 2nd choice.
    • Tony Stark gets one Post-Inversion from Black Widow and Spider-Woman while he was being held captured by the Cabal.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Black Swan, though she insists she only does what is necessary.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Marvel's other big event circa 2006, Civil War. Only this time the sides are inverted: Tony and the Illuminati are on the run here; in Civil War they were in charge. Cap is the righteous moral crusader here: in Civil War he was the fugitive trying to justify his solution. None of the characters make the connection. Somewhat more epic levels of the What the Hell, Hero?, though.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Tony right before he and the rest of the Illuminati wipe Steve's mind.
  • The Worf Effect: The Avengers get their asses handed to them by Ex Nihilo and Abyss when they first meet.
    • Just so we know how badass the big bads of the series are, we see them defeat The Living Tribunal, which is something no one in Marvel comics has ever managed to do before.
    • New Avengers also has a rare case of this happening to an object. In previous stories, the Infinity Gauntlet was the ultimate Infinity +1 Sword of the Marvel Universe, capable of handling any threat whatsoever. In here, the Gauntlet is just enough to stop one Incursion before five of the six gems break, making the Gauntlet useless against the Incursions that follow.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Black Swan has no problem ordering the death of minors.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In New Avengers #2, Reed Richards explains that there are infinite amount of parallel universes, and the Incursions are gradually destroying them, two universes at a time. Within a few months there are only a few hundred parallel universes left, most of which are then destroyed all at once. However, if there are actually infinite universes, it would take an infinity to reach that point, not months.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: In New Avengers issue 6 Black Swan approves when she learns that the Illuminati has successfully reverse-engineered and replicated her detonation device. Beast makes it clear that they were desperate and want to avoid using them. Later after Black Panther reluctantly destroys a dead Earth, Black Swan commends him much to his dismay.

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