AVENGERS #396, CAPTAIN AMERICA #449, IRON MAN #326, THOR #496 (1996): First Sign

I lived in Brooklyn and often worked in Manhattan, so I feel the pain of the premise of this story: Brooklyn and Manhattan are (once again) separated by a force field—with NYC being in a bubble. 

This has happened about a half-a-dozen times in Marvel history, but one cool thing about how it happens in this story is that Captain America and Sharon Carter happen to be standing on the Brooklyn Bridge at the time, and the field appears between them—trapping Cap inside.

The field is the creation of a new Zodiac.  Why are they doing it?  Well, that’s where we get a bit contrived…The field blots out the ability of the stars to control the lives of the people inside the bubble. 

Here’s the next bit of contrivance: Manhattan is the home of probably 80% of Marvel’s heroes (and villains).  But for some reason, only Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America are inside the bubble.  Everyone else was out of town.

And that’s the story.  The “big three” versus a newly constituted Zodiac.  Actually, the big two-and-a-half.  Iron Man is a teenager because grown-up Tony Stark died and pulled himself from the past into the present.  (Sigh.)  Actually—the big one-and-a-half. Thor doesn’t have his powers anymore. 

As you can imagine, the rejiggering of Iron Man and depowering of Thor reduces the impact of this story. 

There’s lots of “big” visuals and attempts to make this story “matter” but…It’s part of the worst time to be reading about these three characters, and a big crossover story doesn’t make the comics themselves any better.

Iron Man (Iron Teen) figures out how to teleport some additional help inside the bubble, and the whole thing ends in Avengers #396 as they defeat the new Zodiac (who are never seen again).

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