This week’s Avengers #676 from writers Mark Waid, Al Ewing, and Jim Zub and artist Pepe Larraz solves two of the biggest mysteries of Avengers' "No Surrender" - who is Voyager, and why was the Earth stolen? – but opens the door to even bigger questions as the weekly series rolls on.
Spoilers ahead for Avengers #676.
Picking up where last week’s Avengers #675 left off, Avengers #676 opens with Beast spotting a still unrevealed anomaly in the comatose Jarvis’ body-scan. Moving on from there, we finally get an introduction to Voyager, who offers her support to Falcon, Rogue, and Sunspot as the rightful leaders of the assembled Avengers teams. Other Avengers reminisce about Voyager, with Sunspot recalling her place as a founder of the team, Quicksilver recalling her remaining with the team when he and Scarlet Witch joined and the other founders exited in Avengers #16, and Wanda herself recalling Voyager being the one to say “Even an android can cry!” when Vision joined the Avengers in #58.
Finally, Hercules recalls the moment Voyager was lost to the Avengers, identified as Avengers #70, in which Kang manipulates the Avengers into fighting the Squadron Sinister - a team of evil Justice League analogues working at the command of the Grandmaster. In the altered flashback scene, Kang summons Voyager to fight a member of the Squadron Sinister who calls himself “Victory, the Electromagnetic Man.”
In keeping with the Justice League-analog theme of the original Squadron Sinister members, Victory is a twist on Triumph – a character with a similarly-retconned “forgotten history” origin as Voyager, and who was co-created by Avengers: No Surrender co-writer Mark Waid in 1994’s Justice League #42.
Voyager and Victory do battle, with both being shunted “out of phase” with the Earth (incidentally, this is exactly the same as Triumph’s origin story). Presumed dead by the Avengers, she (like Triumph) appears to be entirely forgotten by the team due to the same effect that kept her trapped for, in her words, “a decade or more.” According to Voyager, she became unstuck when the planet was taken where ever it now resides.
With Voyager’s story told, the Avengers struggle to come up with a plan. With no satellites orbiting the Earth, communication networks and most advanced tech is down. Magic is functioning strangely thanks to the changes in the Earth, and the Avengers can’t agree who should lead them.
As Earth’s Mightiest Heroes argue over the direction they should take, across the world two new groups arrive: the Black Order and the new Lethal Legion. Both villain teams immediately clash before their conflict is ceased by a pair of unseen voices, who remind the two squads that they have been brought to Earth for a contest, and the rules set forth by the two opposing, unrevealed masterminds must be followed.
Earth is to serve as the contest’s battleground - similar to Kang and the Grandmaster’s contest which resulted in Voyager’s disappearance - and has been stolen for that purpose. The Black Order resolves to remove the planet’s “natural defenses” - the Avengers - prior to the start of their fight with the Lethal Legion.
Back at Avengers Mansion, the team is still arguing, but Voyager, Falcon, Rogue, and Sunspot have moved to a different area to begin formulating a plan, discussing splitting back into teams. As they make their plan, the Black Order appears on their security monitors. Falcon realizes they are directly over the Mansion just in time for the Black Order to decimate it with a massive orbital strike that levels the entire area, ending the issue.
"No Surrender" continues in Avengers #677, on shelves January 24.