In the aftermath of saving the Galaxy and Earth from the Builders and Thanos, the Avengers have very little time to settle as new threats emerge; namely, the Avengers!
On the rooftop of Avengers Tower in present day New York, Thor is grilling a BBQ for his fellow heroes. In the year 3030, a future Iron Man is readying himself for a time travelling trip back to our present day, whilst an adult (and somehow immortal?) Franklin Richards has reservations about it.
In the midst of the BBQ, Iron Man 3030 appears and gives the present day heroes a warning; a rogue planet is hurtling through the cosmos - destination Earth. Earth's mightiest heroes have several weeks to come up with a plan.
This is not to be confused with the parallel worlds colliding with ours in the current New Avengers storyline, although that plot is intermingled with this story. This is another chunk of planetary rock that is heading our way. The story implies that it's been shot from somewhere, only time will tell where from or by whom.
Meanwhile, AIM are doing a little parallel world playing of their own. They have constructed a portal that can open doors to the multiverse. Their first contact coming through the portal just so happens to be a parallel world's Avengers team. And they're not very friendly.
AIM scientists have also created a group of adaptoids - artificial humanoids that have been infused with the genes of our current Avengers heroes (tissue samples taken during an earlier confrontation a couple of volumes ago). As part of their beta-testing, they unleash them in NYC where the parallel Avengers team are headed. Cue standard fight scenes and the adaptoids withdraw back to AIM HQ after killing parallel Hank Pym, which draws the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and our Avengers.
The two Avengers teams engage each other and here we begin to understand the differences between them; Thorr has a more oppressive, ruling approach to the citizens of Midgard than our own Odinson, Jarvis the Iron Man is a ruthless killer of Starks, the Hulk no longer gets angry and his transformations are rotationally controlled by his team mates, and all led by General America.
Speaking of the Hulk. Bruce Banner confronts Tony Stark and quizzes him about the collapse of the Multiverse (for more on that, you're going to have to read all the current New Avengers volumes). He deduces that Stark and the Illuminati have reformed and that the current Avengers roster has expanded so much because Tony needed a much bigger team to cope with whatever demands were out there giving himself and the Illuminati time to work out how to deal with the multiverse collapse.
This in turn leads to Stark inviting Bruce into the Illuminati. That cannot be good, right?
The volume concludes with the evil parallel Avengers using AIMs multiverse portal to seek a new world, whilst the adaptoids have also headed through the portal and have adapted to become Mapmakers. Readers of the New Avengers will know that this is also not a good thing.
This is a tale that inter-weaves with what is going on in New Avengers. If you haven't read that, then you may find yourself scratching your head a bit, especially in the last chapter throughout Banner's and Stark's tete-a-tete (actually the best scene in the book). This collapse of the Multiverse that has been the theme of NA is now prominent in this Avengers title. Something tells me that the first part of this story (with future Iron Man and how they deal with the rogue planet) is all connected as well, although it is not overly evident at this point in time.
The artwork is shared between prominent artists Esad Ribic and Salvadore Lorocca who are both differing in style but nonetheless excellent. I've been reviewing these Avengers titles for a while now and whatever Jonathan Hickman's plan has been, he has had me hooked since his reign began. Things have been picking up momentum and I'm really enjoying his work and the direction he is heading. Something tells me that the Marvel (multi)Universe is not safe for the Avengers.