What Goes Around...
Half-way through the epic crossover, Quasar is given another transitional episode. His repeated failure at preventing the Shi’ar and Kree from using the stargates causes us to wonder why exactly he was left behind, since he isn’t doing much good – not that we blame him or doubt his efficacy as Protector of the Universe: one being against two interstellar fleets is a bit much to ask. With Her’s help, though, he does effectively defeat Starbolt and Neutron, though too late; using what is becoming standard Avenger tactics: some hit-and-run maneuvers combined with warping his enemy away from home. Quasar manages to track down the Shi’ar vessel, but not before they drain Atlas of information and beam the Nega-Bands back to the homeworld (hence the title "spatial deliveries"). Page 9 of the issue clarifies what appeared to be a dropped plot thread in AWC 81: the Shi’ar rescue team did in fact escape from Avengers, most likely while they ran out to see U.S. Agent prove he’s not Indiana Jones (he’s not even Encyclopedia Brown). It’s tough to outmaneuver alien empires with interstellar transportation capabilities.
The middle of the issue is a bit awkward, though it matches Quasar’s awkwardness in a way: barging straight into the Shi’ar vessel, Quasar demands the return of Atlas and the Nega-Bands, threatening (as he learned from Sersi in Avengers 345) to take them all on. Unfortunately for Quasar, he is dealing with the Imperial Guard this time, not a crew of mortal Shi’ar soldiers. As mentioned above, he is already too late to do anything meaningful, so he takes Atlas and heads to the heart of the Shi’ar Imperium in an attempt to regain the Nega-Bands. Returning to the pattern of continuing the lives of the supporting characters, we find Quasar’s secretary Kayla still falling apart psychology, perhaps related to the alien stalking her outside.
The scene oscillates to Chandilar, homeworld of the Shi’ar, picking up the trail from Thor 445. Thor gratefully lets Captain Marvel do the negotiating with Prime Minister Araki, until his newfound impudence rears its head again. Continuing his descent into Gladiator-mode, Thor threatens to bring the planet down around their ears, infuriating everyone. Thor defends himself with the “it got the job done” reasoning, sliding further into pragmatism and away from the moral high ground the Avengers are quickly abandoning.
Just outside, Quasar has finally made his way to Chandilar, with Captain Atlas in tow. Continuing the unusual nature of the issue, Binary (the former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers) shows up to confront Quasar; though she is a Starjammer (enemies of the Imperial Guard), she is working with members of the Imperial Guard in the effort to delay Quasar’s interference. The Imperial Guard captures Atlas again for a time, though Shatterax rescues him at the close of the issue. Soon Quasar gets hoisted on his own petard, as the Imperial Guard do to him what he just did to Neutron. With Quasar out of the way (for now), Lilandra learns the secret experiment with the Nega-Bands is now a success: billions of Kree are in serious trouble. The odd, unexplained elements mar the issue somewhat, but the story moves along and increases in menace. The Avengers continue their descent into misrule and can’t manage to do anything successfully, but the readers are still treated well with a high-quality story.