The sixth issue of Marvel Action: Avengers brings ‘The Ruby Egress’ storyline to a close as the titular group of heroes face off against the evil Count Nefaria.
With the powerful Ruby Egress in his possession Count Nefaria is using it to create an army of creatures to aid him in taking over the world. Luckily, the Avengers have assembled to stop him, although three of their number, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Thor, are trapped within the Ruby.
Inside the Ruby Thor has succumbed to thrall of Nefaria’s power, and has allowed his centuries of accumulated anger to overwhelm him. Drawn towards a portal that will return him to earth, though under Nefaria’s control, the others have to find a way to stop him. At first Doctor Strange tries reasoning with him, and then Captain Marvel drops a giant sea monster on him, yet all this does is slow him down.
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It’s not until Captain Marvel appeals to him as a fellow warrior, as an honourable soldier, do they begin to break through to the hero within. This is easily the best moment of the issue, where Carol challenges Thor to realise that he hasn’t abandoned his hammer because he doesn’t need it, but that it has abandoned him because he is no longer worthy. Thor, a character who is all about honour and being worthy to wield his power is snapped out of Nefaria’s control because he realises that he has lost this and needs to regain it.
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In contrast to this, the rest of the team are in the real world, with Nefaria, engaged in a battle against him and his legion of monsters. Whilst each of the members of the team get a moment of focus during the fight no one in particular stands out here. Black Panther, Iron Man, and Black Widow all play important parts in combating Nefaria, and use tech to do so, but none of them do anything especially stand out. The two men both grapple the Count from behind, and Black Widow hits him with a special glove. As far as comic book fights go it’s not the most spectacular you’ll have ever seen.
However, it does appear by the end of the issue that this whole story arc has been something of a test, a challenge set out by the villainous organisation A.I.M., who were featured in the first story-arc of the series. We once again see Madam Masque, who is conversing with some unknown figure, discussing the oncoming arrival of the ‘fear eaters’, a swarm of creatures that are heading towards Earth from outer space. How the Ruby Egress story, the initial story arc, and the upcoming invasion all tie together may only be set up in the last page of the issue, but it’s a good mystery to end on, and an exciting preview of things to come.