Gigantic week, yo!
Today, we check out X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- X-Men vs. Vampires #2, Shadowland: Moon Knight #3, Thunderbolts #149, Avengers #6, Uncanny X-Men #529, X-Men Legacy #241, and Blast to the Past for Avengers #'s 21 & 22. Enjoy and spread the word!Spoilers Ahead!
We've got a long way to go for this one so let's not waste any time with extra words and phrases. Many thanks go out to sdsichero and bkthomson for getting us back on the road again!Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
Three, Two, One, Go!X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- X-Men vs. Vampires #2Writer: Mike BensonArtist: Mark Texeira
In this issue:
• Gambit picks up a vampire girl at a bar and then starts a high speed chase through San Francisco with her and some of her vamp friends.
• Remy takes the vampires out one-by-one until all that's left is the initial vampire.
• They end up on a bridge and cause trouble in traffic. In particular, a semi full of horses loses control and crashes, releasing its precious cargo.
• Since Gambit just lost his motorcycle, he switches to horsepower and somehow catches up to his opponent.
• Lebeau leaps off his horsie and carries the vampire and himself into the water below.
• The vampire appears to recover first and swims over to drink some blood.
• Gambit charges up her collar and the vampire's head pops off.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Remy Lebeau is the mutant thief and X-Man we know and love as Gambit. His nineties popularity has faded just like every other nineties creation but there's still something about the dude that makes him interesting. This story, however, is kind of blah. Watch and see!
Vampires are all over San Francisco but it seems that some of the X-Men have forgotten that they're fighting a war for survival against the things. Some of these stories are chance encounters with the undead bloodsuckers. Sometimes, our hero of the moment is a lot more surprised by the attack than they should be. Gambit, on the other hand, rarely gets a look of surprise on his face even when he's freaking out. That would ruin his cool.
And so, the mutant thief ends up in a San Francisco club called Bedlam where he runs into a hot, half-dressed lady who just so happens to be a vampire. It seems like Remy was sent on a mission to kill this girl but he's one of those guys that likes the ladies maybe a bit too much and nearly gets pulled in by her charms before remembering that he's supposed to be out killing her kind with a vengeance. He pulls a stake on his target but finds himself surrounded by her crew.
Suddenly, the hunter becomes the hunted. Just as suddenly? It's a high speed motorcycle chase through the streets of San Fran. Gambit is a bit more reckless than you'd expect a hero of the city to be. Maybe it's the old thief coming out. Anyway, when he has two vamps right on his tail, he spins around and races right through them, activating some buzzsaw attachments on his motorcycle like he was Speed Racer on a bike. The saw slices right through their wheels and the two vampires slam right into a trolley. That's when they explode. It's possible this kills or injures some people but Gambit is off to take care of some more motorcycle vampire chicks.
The next vampire comes at him with a sword but he uses those same buzzsaw attachments to slice through this one's neck. The vampire didn't even try anything with her sword.
Before Remy takes out the last two vampires, I have to mention what fills up these mostly wordless pages. Gambit is narrating the scenes as though this fight is some metaphor for a relationship. This might seem more clever if it wasn't used JUST LAST ISSUE in Dazzler's clubbing story. Hell, even then it wasn't that ingenius. I really don't blame the writers because it's not like the same guy wrote both stories. I blame an editor who should have realized that someone reading both issues might not enjoy getting the same narration for two different stories.
OK, since the two vamps don't value working together as a team, the last two split up to "lead Gambit into a trap." One follows LeBeau while the other speeds ahead to cut him off. Gambit and his tail jump their bikes off a police vehicle. Remy does a flip and tosses some kinetically charged something-or-others. They all hit the vamp girl straight on and she bursts into flames, hitting the ground as ashes.
That leaves one last vampire girl and it just so happens to be the first one that Gambit met. She doesn't really cut him off and the two end up racing towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Because of this motorcycle battle, traffic is in a panic and it's amazing that only one vehicle has trouble. Unfortunately, it's a big one. A semi truck jackknifes on the bridge just as Gambit crashes his motorcycle. Both events seem kind of unrelated. As Remy Lebeau lands from his leap to safety, the semi's cargo starts spilling out onto the road. It's horses and they don't seem all that injured despite the sideways nature of the truck.
That vampire girl didn't waste anytime getting away from Gambit. It seems she finally decided that this guy probably isn't worth it. Even though she's on a motorcycle that should easily outrace a spazzed out horse on a pretty clear road, Gambit catches up on his stolen steed. Remy leaps off his horse and pulls his vampire opponent right off the bridge and into the straight below.
The fall seems to get the best of Gambit and he lays face down in the water. The vampire is a little harder to get down and she swims over to the mutant, thinking he'll be an easy drink. Not so much. Gambit was just playing possum. He puts a finger to her collar and kinetically charges it. When it goes up, it takes off her head.
Mission done! Gambit returns to shore with a smile on his face.Writer: Simon SpurrierArtist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
In this issue:
• Rockslide and Armor are on a supply run to San Francisco right in the middle of the Vampire War.
• They encounter a vampire whale.
• After a brief fight proves that a wooden stake isn't going to be much good, Armor notices their supply of garlic.
• Some of those garlics are stuck to Santo. Armor pushes him over board and he's eaten by the whale.
• Garlic is bad for vampires. The whale explodes. The crew cheers on Hisako for her quick thinking.
• Rockslide wakes up from his dream. It turns out he'd been reading Moby Dick and maybe he forgot to pick up some extra garlic.
Even in the middle of a war with the undead, someone's got to go out and pick up the groceries. This time, it's Rockslide and Armor. They charter a boat called the Pequod II and make a trip to the San Francisco mainland for supplies. On their way back, trouble hits.
Yes, it's a vampire whale.
Those people falling overboard right there? They are now vampire whale munchies.
Rockslide goes right to work, jumping off the ship and punching the giant vampire aquatic mammal. The thing swats him away. When the whale comes in for the kill, Santo explodes. The whale is actually damaged in the attack but is able to heal itself in seconds.
In the cargo hold of the ship, some of the vegetables escape their crate. This is where Rockslide puts himself back together and some of the vegetables get mixed up in his makeup.
Santo returns to the deck just in time to watch Armor toss a giant wooden stake at the vampire whale. It bounces off the whale's hard exterior. So that's not going to work.
The vampire whale charges the small ship and our heroes seem defenseless. Hisako notices that Rockslide has carried some veggies to the deck and some of them happen to the vampire bane we know as garlic. Armor pushes her partner into the water. The whale stops its charge to eat up the X-Man.
Inside the vampire whale, Rockslide explodes and the whale sinks, possibly dead. On the ship, the crew cheers, congratulating Armor for her victory.
And... it's all a dream. Santo wakes up on the deck of the supply ship which may or may not be called the Pequod II. The book, Moby Dick, falls from his hand. Rockslide checks the mission briefing which tells him to pick up an extra helping of garlic. He slaps his forehead. Something tells me he forgot to get as much garlic as possible.
I hope they don't get attacked by a vampire whale. That'd just be embarrassing.Writer: Howard ChaykinArtist: Howard Chaykin
In this issue:
• Xi'an Coy Mahn worries she's packing a few extra pounds and goes to a Waist Watchers meeting.
• At the meeting, she meets Loretta, a tubby lady who just can't lose the weight. Even though the rest of the ladies are more attractive, Karma ends up being drawn to the only one in the room who isn't spacing out.
• It's probably because Loretta is a vampire who is feeding off the rest of the Waist Watcher girls, taking away their fat? That's what I'm reading.
• There's a fight between Loretta and Xi'an. Karma ends up kicking the vampire out the window where she promptly bursts into flames.
Life is tough for the original New Mutant, Xi'an Coy Mahn. Not only did she lose a leg in the most recent X-Men event, Second Coming, she's also starting to gain a little extra weight. This would probably be unnoticed except Howard Chaykin seems to draw all his women a little meatier if only when he's doing extreme closeups of their faces. Xi'an has a fat face in this comic. Otherwise, she looks fine. I mean, with the workout she gets on a typical New Mutants mission, she probably has little chance of actually gaining weight.
As a matter of fact, I'd blame unusual scale readings on her brand new metal limb on which she's painted red marks where toenails would probably be.
Anyway, when the Shadow King possessed her body, Xi'an became a round fat girl and only lost the weight after crossing an Asgardian desert with the help of the Fates. She's very sensitive to weight gain. Instead of taking her concerns to the Utopia gyms (you know they have to have, like, ten of them on the mutant isle), Karma heads into San Francisco and right to the local Waist Watchers.
None of the girls at Waist Watchers actually look like they need to be there with one exception. Xi'an finds the girls pretty good looking but one in particular catches her attention and it's not one of the skinny ones. She actually finds herself drawn to Loretta, the fat lady in a sea of thin. Part of this might be pity but another part is some odd feeling in the air that she doesn't notice yet. She just thinks she's being nice and lets the more attractive girls leave so she can focus on Loretta.
When everyone else leaves, Karma asks Loretta if she noticed that all the other girls seem to dream their way through existence. Well... it turns out that the girls are all on weight loss connected to the blood stream and Loretta is sucking out all their blood. It's the reason that they are thin and why she can't keep the pounds off.
Loretta vamps up and it's fight time. Xi'an is off her game because she never expected a VAMPIRE in a city being taken over by the creatures. The two toss chairs around until Karma finally tries using her psychic control powers on the fat vampire. This is not as cut-and-dry as it usually is because the vampire has psychic abilities of her own. It's one of the reasons the Waist Watcher girls are all so out of it.
The two fight back and forth for mind control but Xi'an eventually carries the vampire out the window with one good kick. This is bad for Loretta because it's still sunny outside and that direct sunlight is no good on a vampire not wearing one of the light bending pendants. The fat vampire goes up in a burst of flame. As the ashes blow in the wind, Xi'an Coy Mahn wonders if the other Waist Watchers clients will be happy with the vampire's death or if they'll be upset that they need to work at keeping thin now.
Can't they be a little of both?Writer: Mike W. BarrArtist: Agustin Padilla
In this issue:
• Angel tracks down a vampire killer with a little help from Emma Frost.
• When he finds the vamp, the undead creature claims to only feed off bad people. This isn't good enough for Angel.
• During his fight with the vampire, Angel turns into Archangel for a moment but fights back his more awesome form because he doesn't want to enjoy killing a vampire or something.
• After staking the vampire, Angel flies away, trying to not enjoy his victory against the undead.
Warren Worthington III has had several identities in his time playing hero in the Marvel Universe but his fan favorite form was that of the metal winged Archangel. Back in the X-Factor days, Apocalypse got his hands on a wingless Angel and turned him into his Horseman, Death. After breaking free of Apocalypse's control, Warren fought against his more violent nature and soon plugged back into X-Factor and later, the X-Men. Over time, he lost the cool metal wings. Some time after that, Worthington got his caucasian complexion back. It seemed like his time as Archangel was a distant memory.
Then someone remembered how much cooler Archangel was and gave Warren a multiple personality complex in the pages of X-Force. Now, Warren could change back and forth between his Angel and Archangel forms. The downside is he found it even harder to reign in his violent rages as the metal winged member of X-Force.
Warren is finding that his darker side is even fighting him when he's Angel so it's starting to become a real issue even though he's far from admitting that to anyone.
It's daybreak and Angel has been called in by the police to investigate a murder. Just the call gives Worthington all the information he really needs. The cops aren't going to call in the X-Men unless this is vampire related. This one has a twist. The victim is a criminal. The police brought him in for a murder just a week ago but weren't able to get enough evidence to keep him. They don't really miss this guy but it's a vampire thing so it's best to bring it to the X-Men's attention. And, y'know, murder is bad, I guess. The officers of the law don't really seem to care all that much about that part, though.
As Angel flies into the sky, the police talk about mutants taking care of the vampire menace. Basically, they decide that it's better the X-Men than them.
After a day of fruitless searching, Warren calls up Emma Frost and has her look for the vampire. This MUST happen after the big vampire war reaches its inevitable conclusion because the map for blood suckers is pretty clear. Emma is only getting one hit and tells Warren the location.
On the way to the Sunset District, Angel has an internal dialogue with his darker half as they debate killing and all that fun stuff. When he reaches his destination, all he has to do is find someone chasing someone else and there's his vamp. When Warren confronts his vampire target, the vampire claims that he only goes after bad guys. He's trying to find a way to get a good meal and do a good deed at the same time.
Worthington doesn't let the guy go because killing is still wrong, right? Well, his more Apocalyptic parts would argue with that. Even in a morally ambiguous state of mind, Angel knows that this vampire can't live to see another night of killing. It's fight time.
And for a vampire who claims to just want to take out bad guys, this one attacks the X-Man with joy on his face. For some reason (mostly sloppiness) Angel isn't prepared for a vampire attacking him. In his confusion, he switches to Archangel.
While this gives him an advantage in his fight with the vampire because, hey, killer wings, Warren is having a stupid internal fight with his darker half and suddenly can't let Archangel kill the vampire. Because that would be too easy. No, Warren has to kill the vampire as Angel to prove some sort of point. What is that point?
It's probably something about doing things the hard way.
Worthington forces himself back into Angel form just in time to get scooped up by the vampire. This time, though, Warren has his head back in the game and the fight doesn't last too long before the big bad vampire gets staked.
Even though most vampires in the Marvel Universe don't turn to dust when they're staked, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show is hard to forget. This guy dusts out, leaving Angel alone with his thoughts... which are filled with Archangel thoughts as well. The dark side of his nature talks about how awesome the kill was but Angel can't bring himself to see that as enjoyable. It was just necessary.
He flies off.Writer: Chris ClaremontPenciler: Bill Sienkiewicz
In this issue:
• Kitty tries to save Storm from Dracula. It doesn't work out as well as she'd like.
• After Kitty convinces the other X-Men that Dracula is real and has kidnapped their leader, the team tracks Ororo to Belvedere Castle.
• They fight Drac on the lawn.
• While her teammates battle the Lord of the Vampires, Shadowcat slips inside the castle for an encounter with Storm.
• Outside, the X-Men are defeated and Ororo joins Drac in his victory... before taking up the fight against Dracula.
• After fighting across the park and into a nearby restaurant, the Lord of the Vampires decides to depart.
• Storm returns to Misty Knight's and thanks Kitty for her help.
Last issue, we went over the first half of Uncanny X-Men #159. Now, we hit the stunning conclusion of the X-Men's first run in with the Lord of the Vampires!
Storm is in the thrall of Dracula and on her way to becoming a vampire herself when her friend, Kitty Pryde, phases into the room armed for a vampire fight! Kitty noticed the signs Ororo was giving off and decided a vampire made sense. That just proves she lives in the Marvel Universe, where crazy stuff happens all the time.
The problem with Kitty's plan is that she brought a cross as her main weapon. Religious items only work if you've got the prerequisite faith to back them up. Shadowcat is Jewish so the cross holds no real significance. The Lord of the Vampires moves right past the it and puts the young mutant in a choke hold. Around Pryde's neck is a tight-fitting Star of David necklace. When Drac's hand closes on Kitty's neck, it touches the Star and burns. He quickly lets go and backs away in pain.
Kitty tries to rally with a little help from Storm but the X-Men leader is still under Dracula's power. She gives Shadowcat a punch to the face and flies off with her master.
All this has finally caught the attention of the other X-Men who race into the room to see what's going on. They've missed the big battle and now need some convincing that Lord Dracula has really made off with their leader. Wolverine is the hardest to convince, even after Kitty displays the "D" monogrammed scarf. Nightcrawler already knows of Drac and other vampires from growing up in Germany, so he's on board right away. Regardless of their belief in vampires or not, their boss just flew out into the sky when she SHOULD be in bed resting.
Wolverine's an expert tracker but New York makes it very hard to locate one person by scent alone. Nevertheless, the night finds them in Central Park looking up at Belvedere Castle. Storm is inside. All they have to do to reach her is defeat Dracula and his creatures of the night.
Wolverine, Colossus, and Nightcrawler try their hardest but Dracula proves a difficult opponent.
After getting trounced, Wolverine makes a cross with his claws. Just like Kitty, Logan's not a Christian believer so this isn't any more effective than Pryde's attempt. Logan gets tossed into a tree. Finally, Nightcrawler makes a cross with two stakes and Dracula reels back in pain.
The vampire is hurt but the fight goes on. Drac starts hurling unholy lightning at Kurt. The X-Man has to drop his impromptu cross and teleport ahead of the lightning, barely avoiding it.
You may be wondering what happened to Shadowcat. She left the guys to fight Dracula and made her way inside the castle. Kitty is looking for Ororo but she finds an empty casket instead. Thinking it might be Dracula's, she pours Holy Water inside. Pryde smiles at Drac's possible fate and gets ready to continue her search for her friend.
Storm finds Shadowcat first. The X-Men's leader back hands the youngster across the room. Kitty gets a good look at Ororo and sees fangs and red eyes. She runs through her vampire lore and knows that the mutant can't be a vampire just yet. That would require three days in a grave according to the old rules on vamps. So Storm is still in the land of the living but is already changing. Kitty phases past her friend and recovers her dropped stake.
After putting up a brave front, Pryde drops the stake and puts her fate in Storm's hands.
In Central Park, Dracula's fight with the rest of the team is drawing to a conclusion. Wolverine and Colossus rush the vampire but Drac is hardly phased. It's only when Nightcrawler teleports in with Draculs's lightning following that the Lord of the Vampires gets a bit surprised. That lightning hits everyone... but it's still Dracula left standing when the smoke clears.
Ororo Monroe walks up to the conquering villain and asks him what his intentions are with his fallen enemies. When Dracula tells her that they are all to be killed, Storm shows her true colors and attacks her former master. She's also suddenly in her X-Man costume. Don't ask.
Drac switches to his man-bat form and this fight goes airborn. Soon, they've left Central Park behind and crashed a nearby restaurant. The Lord of the Vampires continues telling Storm that she's forever changed. Storm keeps on saying that she'll never be in Drac's powers again. This isn't something Dracula is used to hearing.
The vampire grabs a woman from the crowd and makes to bite her throat if Storm tries to stake him. Ororo drops her weapon but announces that even if Dracula makes her into a vampire, she'll fight him forever. Probably some time after that. Drac believes her.
He drops his intended victim who has slipped into blissful unconsciousness. Dracula declares that Ororo is one of the few women he has ever been attracted to. Apparently, this vampire likes 'em boring
. Anyway, he respects her too much to force vampirism on the X-Man. Drac takes to the air. Storm shouts that she'll follow him but the Lord of the Vampires tells her to accept this small victory because the big win is beyond her. They won't meet again unless he desires it. Ororo doesn't continue the fight.
The sun rises as the Windrider returns to the X-Men's temporary home at Misty Knight's place. The rest of the team is there to greet Storm. Kitty notices that Ororo is handling the sunlight just fine. It looks like Dracula's curse has been lifted. The two hug dearly and Storm thanks Kitty for everything she just did.
The mutants head downstairs where Misty, Colleen Wing, and Harmony are waiting. The entire adventure is retold which is probably hard for Ororo but she bears through it.
After the real-life story is concluded, the X-Men get a call from Moira MacTaggert on Muir Island. She needs the X-Men to pick up Cyclops and return to Scotland. Professor Charles Xavier is in a bad way.Shadowland: Moon Knight #3Writer: Gregg HurwitzPenciler: Bong Dazo
In this story:
• It's Shadow Knight versus Moon Knight! Randall Spector gets in some eye blasts and escapes.
• Jake returns home where he eventually makes contact with Khonshu and agrees to work with him again.
• Khonshu tells him that the Sapphire Crescent is in New Orleans.
• It's always Madi Gras when you head to New Orleans.
• Marc finds the Sapphire Crescent at a fortune telling shop. He buys it. It's promptly stolen by Randall.
• Spector chases his brother and yet another fight breaks out.
• After Randall is pretty much defeated, he goes all suicide bomber.
• Out of any other long distance weapon, Marc uses the Sapphire Crescent to kill Shadow Knight. The body and the Crescent drop into the ocean.
• Khonshu's statue is given a place of prominence once again.
• Shadowland finishes up.
• Bruised up after that battle, Moon Knight tells Marlene that he's Marc Spector again.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Moon Knight has had a crappy mini-series. After a number of good things happened in his life, everyone but him seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. His pregnant fiance was hit by that shoe when a man fancying himself the new avatar of Khonshu, Shadow Knight, targeted her with the Profile's direction. Last issue, Jake found out the Shadow Knight is his younger brother, Randall.
Since that had been telegraphed the entire mini, the only one surprised was Moon Knight.
So, yeah, the Spector family has issues. During the opening fight in this issue, Randall runs through how Marc made him the man he is today. Really, I don't think Randall hates his big brother. I think he just really wants Marc's job... and he's insane. After taunting Moon Knight and showing off his eye beams, Shadow Knight takes off, leaving Marc with a lot of unresolved issues.
It looks like Marlene is back on her feet after Shadow Knight's vicious attack. Moon Knight has returned home but has spent the whole day in his study. In the dark. MArlene asks him who he is today but Marc isn't answering to any of his many names. In fact, he's not saying much of anything.
Meanwhile, Shadow Knight has been busy killing people and using the blood to write messages to Khonshu. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
Which kind of runs in the family. Marc Spector has a wierd multiple personality thing going on. He also worships Khonshu, though lately he's tried to deny the Egyptian god's influence. Last issue, he stopped just short of picking the practice back up. This issue, the god's statue is uncovered. Marc is ready to take back the mantle as the avatar of Khonshu. The turning point was still the attack on Marlene.
The first thing that needs to be discussed is the Sapphire Crescent. This is the item that has the power to kill the Beast of the Hand so it connects this series back up to the Shadowland story. Khonshu goes through the history of the artifact but what we really want to know is where is it now.
It's in New Orleans; and wouldn't you know it, it's Mardi Gras. Marc walks the crowded streets towards his destination and runs into a man in a white hood and top hat with an odd mask who asks to read his palm. Spector turns him away but we all note this man's appearance for later.
Moon Knight's goal is in sight when he hits the Full Moon Mystic. It's a fortune teller joint. He walks inside. The fortune teller makes him sit down and starts reading his palm. Behind her is the Sapphire Crescent. Marc buys it off the old lady and packs it up for a quick trip back to New York. He puts in a call to Steve Rogers to let America's Top Cop know that the Beast of the Hand will be falling soon.
Steve, Beast, and War Machine are preparing for another Secret Avengers mission but Rogers tells Marc that he'll tell... Ghost Rider. I guess Steve talks to Johnny Blaze. Who knew?
Remember that dude in the white cape and top hat? Sure you do. He bumps into Marc Spector and suddenly the Sapphire Crescent is gone. Moon Knight knows that it was his brother who must have followed him.
This begins a chase through the still crowded streets of New Orleans until Marc finally catches up to Randall. The crowd gives the two room to fight, especially after Shadow Knight fires off some eye beams.
During this fight, Randall reveals that he's been getting missions from the Profile. Marc tries to tell his brother that the Profile isn't connected to Khonshu but Shadow Knight isn't in a listening mood. He's committed in many, many ways.
Marc recovers the Sapphire Crescent but then he has to hold onto it. Shadow Knight tries attacking him but isn't all too concerned about hitting bystanders. In fact, when Marc runs off, Randall just starts eye beaming the crowd.
The older Spector brother didn't go far. He jsut went far enough to get suited up for the occasion. Marc returns to the fight as Moon Knight. When he starts tossing crescents at Shadow Knight, Khonshu is pleased.
It looks like this is going to be MK's fight with ease but Shadow Knight is still tossing his own crescents at festival goers. When a scantily clad partier falls before Marc's feet, he's reminded of how Randall hurt Marlene. If there were kid gloves on before, they're off. Nevertheless, Khonshu reminds Moon Knight of his duty to his god.
Spector chases Shadow Knight to a dock and opens up with the last of his crescents. Randall is bleeding but he doesn't plan on going down alone. His suit falls apart, revealing tons of dynamite. Shadow Knight's finger is hovering above the trigger.
No choice. Moon Knight uses the last crescent in his arsenal, the Sapphire Crescent, to slice right into his brother's neck. The villain and the prize fall into the water and it doesn't look like Moon Knight is eager to recover either.
We pick up the story back at Marc's mansion. He's putting his statue of Khonshu back in its place of honor and talks about how things just weren't right when Khonshu was gone. That's not what he was saying back in the first issue. I'll let you draw your own conclusions to that.
Khonshu, of course, is happy as a peach.
At this point, Moon Knight rejoins the action in Shadowland and takes a club to as many Hand ninjas as he can. He's loving every minute.
When all is said and done, Marc Spector walks out of Shadowland bruised but alive. He goes back to living in his mansion and sleeping with his fiance. Only one other major change happens.
One night, Marc leaves the bed to stand in the moonlight. Marlene calls him back to bed using his Jake Lockley name. He tells her he's back to Marc Spector. Jake is dead.
That look in his eyes is kind of crazy...Thunderbolts #149Writer: Jeff ParkerPenciler: Declan Shalvey
In this story:
• The Thunderbolts face a relentless onslaught from the Hand.
• Juggernaut, Songbird, and Crossbones start having some personal wins.
• Songbird brings the injured Fixer up to the surface, leaving the team of convicts unattended.
• The team discovers a secret passage into the Hand's underbase.
• The Thunderbolts discover the lower dungeon and fight more Hand to get in.
• Moonstone wrestles a dragon.
• Ghost frees the prisoners.
• Crossbomes gets a super power.
• When he encounters Officer Kimbro, Crossbones uses the last of his power to kill the cop, blaming it on a ninja. Only Ghost knows the truth.
• Songbird is in trouble for leaving the criminals unattended. Luke Cage has to tell Lacy Kimbro the fate of her kid.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Luke Cage was contacted last issue by Lacy Kimbro who told him that her kid, Officer Darris Kimbro, had been taken prisoner by the Hand. Darris wasn't taken to the regular dungeon in Hell's Kitchen and he wasn't taken by regular Hand ninjas. No, these are the Underhand, super ninjas, and he's been taken to a special prison much deeper than the one in Shadowland.
Since Luke Cage is really busy in the main Shadowland series, he brings in the Thunderbolts for this mission, leaving the Fixer in charge while he takes the fight straight to Daredevil. When the T-Bolts run into the Underhand, Norbert is the first to get run through. Songbird, who is also babysitting the team, is using a sonic shield to keep the ninjas from doing the same to her.
Basically, the team of convicted super felons is left unattended. Moonstone is enjoying her freedom but most of the rest of the team is just trying to stay alive. Man-Thing is chopped into little bitty pieces which for him isn't necessarily life threatening. It's also not winning. Moonstone actually takes offense to this and attacks the ninja responsible.
In another part of the battle, Juggernaut is being pummeled by what looks like one lone ninja. If you remember last issue, you know that this is actually a combination of a couple dozen ninjas, so that might explain Marko's current situation. It turns out Juggernaut just wanted to get in close to this Underhand ninja before delivering the killing blow.
Songbird sees Fixer in trouble and then sees Man-Thing's head floating in the sewer water. It's getting out of control. She switches tactics, using her voice as a sonic scream instead of her usual solid sound devices. Ninjas start falling.
Crossbones is in his own section of the fight. He's using his flamethrower to have a private party. Lots of dead Underhand ninjas.
It looks like the fight is finally turning around. The remaining ninjas teleport away. Ghost tracks them.
Songbird checks on Fixer. It's not looking good. Melissa decides to take Norbert to the surface, telling the team to wait here until she returns. Before she leaves, Fixer remarks that Songbird was using her Screaming Mimi powers back in the ninja fight. I don't know if that's supposed to mean a change in her personality but you use whatever powers you're given, right?
The remaining team members don't sit still long. Moonstone tells them that the Thunderbolts program will be suspended when the government learns that Songbird left a group of criminals unattended on an unapproved mission. The only way to keep this thing going is to complete the mission.
Ghost tells the team where the Underhand teleported off to and Juggernaut smashes open a hidden tunnel that leads deep down to the ninjas' hidden dungeon. They bring along Man-Thing's head so that their means of transport can regenerate. The Thunderbolts walk down the tunnel until it opens up and they see the Underhand's base below them, Temple of Doom-style.
Since the ninjas already know they're here, this is no time for subtlety. Juggernaut and Moonstone start fighting the ninja army while Crossbones and Ghost infiltrate the dungeon and rescue the prisoners.
Since these ninjas specialize in magic, the fact that Moonstone is facing a dragon shouldn't surprise us. She regrets having agreed to this plan but still manages to throw the giant stone dragon around the room. In fact, the dragon makes a great club to kill whole swarms of ninjas.
Inside the base, Ghost detects the prisoners above them. He heads right up. Crossbones is stuck fighting his way through the ninjas. He switches to his flamethrower again and spreads death all around the room. Also flames.
Ghost phases right to the prison left in time to see most of the guards leave to join the fight. The Thunderbolt grabs some well-placed weapons and hands them to the prisoners. Once they're freed from their cages, they make short work of the single guard.
Down below, Crossbones is running out of bullets. He switches back to the flamethrower until a ninja cuts off his fuel source. That leaves the racist T-Bolt with no weapon left. He waits for the ninjas to close in.
And then he starts firing a blast of destruction from his face!
A couple issues ago, C-Bones was exposed to mutated Terrigen Crystal Mist. The doctors gave him a clean bill of health but we all knew better. This is the man's brand new super power and he couldn't be happier. The villain cuts a swath of death on any Underhand ninja he sees.
Crossbones thinks this power is his ticket out of the Thunderbolts and back to the business of being a full time racist bad guy. Dreams of putting Luke Cage in his place dance in CB's eyes as he takes out the last of the ninjas.
Meanwhile, the prisoners have descended from the upper levels and all they hear is fighting. Officer Darris Kimbro takes it on himself to go check out the situation. When he sees Crossbones, Darris asks if he's facing a friend of foe.
Definitely "foe." C-Bones still thinks he's getting out of the Thunderbolts so he uses his newfound power to shoot right through the policeman's chest, killing the one guy they had come to rescue in the first place. Of course, Ghost is right around the corner and at least hears all of this.
With that last death behind him, Crossbones' new power fizzles out. We'll see if it shows again. For now, it's too unreliable to count on. It looks like Crossbones will be working for the Thunderbolts for the foreseeable future. That means blaming Officer Kimbro's death on the Hand.
The T-Bolts will have to be satisfied with rescuing a bunch of other prisoners and taking the Underhand down. Since they're villains, that's a pretty good day.
Aftermath time! Fixer lives! His mechanics saved him from the sword wound just like they saved him from a broken neck back in the day. Just with more nanites this time!
Songbird is in a bit of trouble, having left the Thunderbolts unsupervised while seeing to Fixer. The fact that the T-Bolts completed the mission goes a long way in helping her case, though, so it'll likely be a slap on the wrist kind of thing.
Luke Cage is another matter. He has to bring news of a dead son to Lacy Kimbro. Cage also has to answer for this unauthorized mission and with whatever just went down in Shadowland. Luke's in a different place now than he was when the Heroic Age started.Avengers #6Writer: Brian Michael BendisPenciler: John Romita Jr.
In this story:
• Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine and the Protector talk to Future Ultron about throwing the fight against Kang the Conqueror.
• We cut a few miles away where Kang is returning from his trip to the present. Hulk and Old Man Tony complain about who's responsible for this post-Apocalyptic future.
• The Next Avengers go out to watch Ultron and see the robotic dictator get destroyed by Kang and a collection of Marvel heroes and villains.
• Kang sends his allies home, laments about how easy this battle was, and eventually takes his leave of this time period.
• In the present, everything is back to normal except that Killraven remains.
• Old Man Tony tells current Tony Stark that he is responsible for fixing the future and hands him a doomsday device to help out. The Avengers go home.
• Kang turns into Immortus and kills Hulk, Iron Man, and Spider-Girl before being killed by the Next Avengers.
• The Avengers celebrate their first successful Heroic Age adventure and invite Protector onto the team.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Ultimate Ultimate Ultron! This is the robot entity who has finally evolved himself to the point where he has single handedly conquered the world. This version of Ultron is kinda sorta from the Next Avengers direct-to-video release. Since his upcoming battle with the time travelling Kang the Conqueror will tear space/time a new and exciting hole, this is where Iron Man, Captain America (James Barnes), Wolverine, and the Protector time travel. They plan on stopping this before it starts by asking Ultron to throw the fight.
Tony explains what's at stake, but he's lacking some details which makes Ultron question the whole story. He also suggests Wolverine put the claws away since they'd prove useless in attacking him. Logan figures Ultron whouldn't worry about it since they probably won't hurt the metal dictator. Those claws are just a comfort to the old Canucklehead.
After the story is explained, Ultron demands to see for himself how F'd up the time stream has become. When all he's offered is an escorted trip through time, the big guy suspects a trap and blasts the Avengers. Fortunately, Iron Man and Protector erect a shield in time to survive this attack.
The trip through time is taken off the table. Tony gives one final plea to save the timeline before the team teleports away.
We move over to the care where Future Hulk and the Next Avengers are headquartered. The first page of this is taken straight from the final page of Avengers #1. Kang returns from his trip through time. He came to the present to enlist the aid of the current Avengers. Hulk gets and update from the Conqueror adn then muses on how smart the Avengers will see him as the future Spider-Girl cheers him on.
Old Man Tony wonders why Hulk feels this way and gets Ultron's creation laid at the Avenger's feet. Tony can't see Bruce Banner, the creator of the Gamma Bomb, taking the high ground. They've all done some terrible things.
We focus on Kang talking about how his younger self is going to arrive soon to tear reality a new one with his whole agenda against Ultron. Pym Jr. asks Kang why he doesn't just talk to his younger self but the older Kang claims that his younger self is completely unreasonable. The Conqueror admits to having many, many psychological issues.
With that, Tony Stark sends the Next Avengers out to watch Ultron. Hulk keeps Spider-Girl with him. The Next team leaves the cave and crawls over in position to watch the biggest, most dangerous villain they'll ever see.
During their recon, it looks like Ultron notices them. The team is about to beat feet when Ultron finds something else to occupy his attention. A younger Kang and his army of heroes and villains from all over the time stream are here to end Ultron's tyranny. It's an interesting mix. Dr. Doom, Magneto, Quasar, Titanium Man, Cyclops, Moon Dragon, Captain Marvel, Phyla-Vel, Pulsar, Vision, Hercules, Silver Surfer, Ms. Marvel, and an army of dudes in crazy armor. Everyone strikes at once. The Next Avengers duck for cover.
The first attack doesn't even phase Ultron and the world dictator walks toward Kang's army with murderous intent while the Conqueror prepares a second assault. Suddenly, Ultron seems to pause and allows himself to be destroyed.
Now, we're dealing with a time traveller here so we have to acknowledge the significance of this. If Ultron comes back, Kang will know. Ultron didn't need to just lose this fight. He had to give up earth. Like Iron Man said, he could go to another planet or something but he couldn't just fake a loss here or Kang would return.
This was a whole lot easier than it was supposed to be, though, and everyone knows it. Doom claims that Kang must have had an ulterior motive for this gathering but the Conqueror sends everyone back to their own timelines to avoid the confrontation. Kang hangs around for a while. The Next Avengers keep listening.
Kang picks up the head of Ultron in an homage to both Avengers #65 and Hamlet. This wasn't the fight of his life that he expected (and wanted) it to be, and it's left him unsatisfied. He tosses Ultron's head to the ground. Maybe this wasn't his ultimate battle but he is still Kang the Conqueror and if there's on thing he has, it's time. He re-enters the time stream.
With Ultron destroyed, Kang never had to bring back multiple variations of heroes and villains from different times until time was shattered. Everything returns to what passes for normal in the MU. In the present, Thor finds that he's not facing a time-lost Galactus but clear skies. The streets still show the passing of the time invaders that so recently filled New York and the Avengers complain about the clean up.
Then they notice that not everything has returned to normal. Killraven remains. This is interesting because in Cap Reborn and Iron Man, we've seen what look like MArtian Walkers atacking Earth in the near future. Since those things are something Killraven has faced many times in his own adventures, his remaining in the present may speak to a future event. Possibly Fear Itself related? Time will tell.(SUPER'S NOTE: The "walkers" we see in Iron Man apparently are creations of Tony Stark but that doesn't mean that the Martians didn't steal the design for their future conquests. Again, time will tell.)
Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, and the Protector don't go straight back to the present but instead meet with the future Avengers. This takes place two days after Ultron's destruction. Old Man Tony fills them in on Ultron's defeat and the younger Kang's departure.
Kang thanks the Avengers for fixing his mistake. Hulk doesn't think this is good enough by half and berates the Conqueror for his insolence. While everyone else celebrates this victory, Old Tony takes his younger self aside for a private conversation.
Tony Stark is all that remains of the original Avengers (ok, Hulk was also on that team but he never really cared much about the franchise). He's not happy about it. While he complained about Hulk blaming the Avengers for this future, it's something he DOES agree with if only to his past self. This needs to NEVER HAPPEN. Ultron needs to be stopped before this happens. It's up to the younger Stark to fix everything no matter the cost.
With that, he slaps the doomsday device that Kang had in the first issue (the one that Tony himself had designed). It's a message about how far Iron Man might have to go and it says "Civil War 2- Electric Boogaloo." It unsettles Tony and he wants to get out of here. Now. The Avengers say some quick good byes and return to their own time.
Now, let's all remember that future Tony probably got this same speech when HE was present Tony. The only difference to this is the Protector.
We remain with these future Avengers after the present team leaves. The secret these people kept from the present Avengers is teased at: they all hate James Barnes for something he'll do after this moment. They kept on a good pokerface while Cap was among them, though. Hulk again uses this as a moment to berate the too-quiet Kang, who he now calls Immortus.
Kang has used his time with the Next Avengers to his advantage. He now knows how he is defeated. He can use that. after all, he has all the time in the world.
In one move, Immortus (because that's who he is now) kills Hulk and Spider-Girl while wounding Iron Man. Tony isn't able to rebound from this attack before a sceond strike kills him.
The Next Avengers won't go down, though. They are stunned by the loss of their mentor but not enough for Immortus to capitalize on. His attacks are deflected and he's not prepared for thses kids' counter attack. Again, we play out panels from the first issue where Immortus is killed by the Next Avengers. This time, the battle is more logical and the Next Avengers' seemingly flippant comments are more justified by the context. This man just killed the man who was like a father to them. This is vengeance.
In the present, the Avengers hang out in Avengers Tower and enjoy some quiet time in between adventures. The Protector is officially added to the roster.
Looking out the window and eerily quiet is Tony Stark. He looks at the doomsday device he carries in his hand and thinks about what it'll take to save the future.Uncanny X-Men #529Writer: Matt FractionPenciler: Whilce Portacio & Harvey Tolibao
In this story:
• Sam Guthrie fails to keep the new mutant, Teon, in line.
• Rogue, Hope and the rest of the five lights fly to Teon in Miami Beach.
• Emma recruits Fantomex into her scheme dealing with Sebastian Shaw.
• Fantomex convinces Madison Jeffries to ask Danger out.
• Some scene in Chinatown happens.
• Rogue, Hope, and crew get to Miami Beach and are attacked by Teon.
• After some fighting, Hope uses her power to fix Teon's powers, whatever they are. He heels to Hope like a dog. Arf.
• People on Utopia are getting sick.
• Kitty Pryde puts on a suit that allows her to interact with the world.
• Fantomex steals Sebastian Shaw out of Danger's X-Prison.
• Danger isn't there but she knows what's going on.
• Emma babbles on about her two gray hairs.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Remember back when Generation X was introduced during the Phalanx Covenent? Say what you will about that storyline, it had a beginning, middle, and an end. This is the final chapter of the Five Lights story and it has meandered on for four issues. It DOESN'T EVEN END. It continues on into the first issues of Generation Hope. The subplots? They keep on going into the next storyline.
There is lieterally nothing resoved here but it's technically the end of the story arc so this is where I step off the ride.
Now, it's not the first time a story has continued on to another book but let's face it. It's NEVER satisfying. BAD UNCANNY X-MEN! BAD!
Anyway, I suppose I should get this started.
There are five lights! At the end of 2010's mega X-crossover, Second Coming, Cerebro gave us five new mutant signatures. In the pages of UXM, the X-Men have been tracking down those mutants and finding that their mutant abilities are kind of broken. It's only after Hope interacts with them that the powers are fixed.
Here's the latest: Teon. He started off in Kiev but through some circumstances usually involving women, he's quickly traveled to Miami Beach. Here, he pretty much does the same thing he was doing in Kiev: speak as little as possible, pick up successful women, and fight any guy that steps up to him.
Cannonball finds him taking on three guys on a rooftop after they took issue with him making out with a girl. Sam tries to catch him but Teon jumps off the building and escapes. Frustrated, Cannonball calls up Rogue and Hope to tell the team to hurry up. Rogue tells him to keep tracking Teon until they arrive. That's the last we'll see of Mr.Guthrie in the story so don't expect him to show up when Teon appears later in the issue.
The Generation Hope team actually went to Kiev to find Teon only to discover his tanscontinental escapades. Now, they're on the way back to the states so it's been a LONG time sitting on the X-Jet. That means the kids are getting tired of being cooped up and are going a bit stir crazy. Hope tries calming them down and is pretty positive about this mission despite the runaround. The three new mutants are still ready to jump off the walls.
Back on Utopia, Fantomex is enjoying a sleep in his sensory-deprivation tank when Emma Frost wakes him for a very special off-the-record mission. The former White Queen plans on dealing with the Sebastian Shaw issue and it involves a prison break and a bit of kidnapping. Fantomex is essential. It doesn't take long to convince him.
This leads Fantomex to the X-Club Lab where Madison Jeffries is obsessing over Danger, the X-Men's cybernetic warden. Fantomex tells Jeffries that it's time to date that living personification of the Danger Room and uses his hypnotic powers to make sure Madison takes the advice.
In some Chinatown somewhere in the world, five dudes in sunglasses exit a bus and get big smiles on their faces. As they walk into the crowd, they start to glow.
Yeah, I don't know what that's about, either. I looked it up on multiple sources and no-one even mentioned this bit. Maybe it's a plot element that leads into the next Uncanny story or maybe it'll be followed up in Generation Hope. As it stands, it's just confusing.
The Gen Hope team has reached Miami Beach and are stretching their legs in a hotel room after being cooped up on the X-Jet for far too long. They go over the details on what they know about Teon and come to the conclusion that he's going after "Alpha Women."
Before they've done talking, Teon busts into their hotel room. It looks like he's found the strongest Alpha Female in Miami Beach: Hope. Now he doesn't know whether to attack her or have sex with her. Maybe he'll pee on her. Who knows?
Back on Utopia, Danger goes about her tasks as Warden of the X-Jail. Part of that involves rehibilitation, like feeding holographic images into Scalphunter's cell of all the people he's killed. Enter, Madison Jeffries! He's got a basket of food and awkwardly asks Danger to a picnic. She mentions that she doesn't eat. Jeffries smiles and takes this as a "maybe."
In Miami Beach, Teon still hasn't decided what he's doing here or what his mutant power is. Hope things he's invading her personal space a little too much and gives him a punch to back off. Gabriel Conuelo takes that one step further and races at Teon with super-speed to protect his mutant messiah. That gets Gabe kicked in the groin.
Next up is Idie Okwanko who sets the new guy on fire to keep him away from Hope. Laurie Tromette removes Teon's burning coat. Rogue tries to hold the mutant still so that Hope can stabilize his powers. Teon's strong so this proves difficult.
But not impossible. After a moment, Hope's job is done and whatever Teon's problem was is over. He still doesn't do a lot of talking but at least he's made a decision on what to do about Hope. She's not here to fight or to have sex with. She's here to be his master. He goes all puppy dog on her.
Hope is fine with a human being as a pet and is ready for a trip to Japan. This is where this particular story thread leaves Uncanny X-Men and heads over to the premiere issue of Generation Hope. I wish it well. Goodby, unresolved story! I hope you find your way.
Now, it's time to surprise everyone with a brand new plot line. It looks like people on Utopia are starting to fall ill. Doctors Kavita Rao and Cecilia "I think I died in Weapon X" Reyes have differing opinions on this sudden bout of the flu. Rao thinks it's the start of a plague since it's not flu season. Reyes thinks it's just life as usual on a tiny island. Neither are certain of anything, though. I'll solve this mystery for you. This sickness is sinister in origin and indeed the beginning of an epidemic. It'll continue on in the next issue.
Kitty Pryde has been stuck intangible since being rescued from her magic bullet prison. She was also unable to talk to anyone. That's all changed now that the X-Club has given her a phase suit. Kitty can walk and talk now, even though she needs to use what looks like a modified space suit to do it.
She's doing a lot of talking now. I mean, Pryde's been in a world of silence for far too long. Now that she can hear her own voice, it's kind of difficult to stop using it. After babbling on about how her powers work, she asks an annoyed Emma Frost how the Sebastian Shaw plan is going, besides SLOWLY. Frost responds by saying she's glad to be separating Shadowcat and her boyfriend to get this plan started. Yeah... that probably didn't actually answer Kitty's question.
Down in Danger's prison, Fantomex mentally contacts Emma and tells her to meet him at his sentient ship, Eva. Sebastian Shaw has been successfully napped. F tells Emma how the fake Sebastian (an Eva clone) is in place.
As the Black King Kidnapping Crew (TM) fly off to do whatever they intend to do with Shaw, Danger and Madison are enjoying their picnic. So, yes, Danger didn't say "no." For her part, Danger knew what was going on and let Emma do it. She explains this to Jeffries, who is kind of an unwitting accomplice. When Madison asks why she let Frost complete the kidnapping, Danger tells him that this is sort of a test to discover if the former White Queen is a good girl or a bad girl.
On board Eva, our team thinks they've gotten away with the heist. Fantomex explains how the fake Sebastian Shaw works but we hardly care because it was made to fool Danger who we now know isn't fooled at all.
Emma goes on about two gray hairs Cyclops found on her head a couple nights ago. It's not that she's self-conscious about going gray more than she's frustrated about all the lives that have been so recently lost. To this end, she's named her two gray hairs after an old almost forgotten friend who died during Second Coming (off panel and only mentioned here) and Nightcrawler. It seems she was more fond of Kurt Wagner than we actually saw on-panel.
Most people would just pull those hairs out.
It's also worth mentioning that neither hair is named after Cyclops' son, Cable, who also died during Second Coming. He and Emma probably didn't get along very well.
And that, my dear readers, is the end of the Five Lights story in Uncanny X-Men. All of the story threads are continued after this issue but this is the taste of the book you're getting in Super Reads. I only started on it because the first chapter had that Heroic Age banner and this is the point I'm jumping off. If you liked any plot point, you can follow it into either Generation Hope #1 or Uncanny X-Men #530, which begins the Quarantine story-arc.X-Men Legacy #241Writer: Mike CareyPenciler: Clay Mann
In this story:
• Quitado starts phasing into Mumbai. The young X-Men decide to go to the rescue and have philosophical differences with Paras' father and Luz.
• Rogue frees herself from her death trap and steals Perro's powers in the process.
• Magneto gets loose as well and carries Vaipala with him. The Children of the Vault try to stop him but Magnus is the Master of Magnetism. It's a good power to have in a situation like this.
• Luz joins the younger X-Men to save Mumbai and rescue their friends. Magneto is doing a pretty good job until he has to face someone without iron in their blood. Then he needs rescuing by Rogue.
• Cadena holds Vaipala's life in her hands, forcing Mags and Rogue to surrender.
• They're taken away by some guards who turn out to be the X-Men wrapped in Luz's light disguises. They promptly disappear.
• Luz surrenders to Cadena.
• The X-Men fight their way out. Indra ends up killing someone to save Rogue.
• The city of Quitado is separated from Mumbai and set adrift without an anchor to any realities.
• Paras finally tells his dad to shove it and returns to the X-Men.
• On Quitado, Luz makes a light image of Paras and tells "him" that she'll be coming back.The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
The Children of the Vault are as arrogant as they come. These are advanced humans (not mutants) who basically shunted off the toxic waste from their reality phased city into Mumbai because they didn't give a damn about the humans living there. They use whoever they want for whatever purpose they want with little thought given to whether the individual. That arrogance just cost them big time. The Children's reality phased city of Quitado has a new power engine called Angelfire that runs off the specific powers or it's citizens. All they needed to get it online were a runaway citizen named Luz who could create things out of light and the mutant Master of Magnetism named Magneto. When they popped these last two into the machine and turned it on, they realized too late that the Luz they had wasn't the genuine article. This caused all sorts of chaos, most important being the city phasing into the visible spectrum and sinking half-way into Mumbai.
The fake Luz was Vaipala, a regular human resident of Mumbai who's only distinction was that she was engaged to marry Paras Gavascar's older brother until he fell into a coma during one of the crazy electromagnetic storms that we now know were the by-product of Quitado's usual power source. With the older Gavascar unable to fulfill his committment, Paras was called back to India from the X-Men island, Utopia, to fill in. Vaipala agreed to take Luz's place just to live a more interesting life. Someone didn't like the whole arranged marriage thing.
Besides Vaipala and Magneto, the Children also took Rogue prisoner for the crimes she committed against the CotV during their first play at world genocide back in the Supernovas storyline that began Mike Carey's tenure as an X-writer. Rogue was sentenced to die with Perro carrying out the sentence. Most of the people of Corridor hooked up to their version of the net to watch this happen live through Perro's eyes. His method of killing was to crush her with gravity, his enhanced power.
So now you're caught up. Let's go.
The only mutants not brought to Quitado are the younger set: Paras, Anole, and Loa. They ask Luz to explain what is going on with Quitado phased in the middle of Mumbai and the Child of the Vault pretty much gives an explanation as I gave it above. Even though they don't know what they're going to do, the younger X-Men decide to suit up and go to the rescue.
This is something that Paras's father, Rav, will not allow. As Indra tells his pop, he really has no choice in the matter. This is something the mutant will do no matter what his father thinks. You can tell that through this whole arc Paras has been getting more and more irritated at his father's actions so this was pretty much inevitable. Rav Gavascar is a dick.
Luz is another problem. She won't help because it will cost her dearly if she returns to that city. They'll just hook her up in Angelfire and that'll be her life. Paras responds to her as well, telling her that doing the right thing may carry some personal sacrifice but doing nothing because you're worried you'll suffer is no better than his father doing nothing because it doesn't benefit the family unit. Regardless, the X-Men are going to do whatever they can.
In Quitado, the big screens are filled up with images of Cadena telling the people of the city to calm down. Things are already being fixed so they need only wait this confusion out.
One thing that won't be fixed is Rogue's execution. That's already gone off the rails. Perro was knocked down when Quitado crashed into Mumbai and he's still disoriented when Rogue offers him a hand up. It's only when he gets to his feet that he realizes what he's just done.
Rogue has touched his skin and now has his powers. She punches him across the expanse. Turning to the "camera," she tells her captive audience that they won't be witnessing her death today but there's certain to be other exciting things happening so they're welcome to keep watching.
It's escapes all around. Magneto has freed himself from Angelfire and managed to get the unconscious Vaipala out of her chamber as well. The Children in the room are busying themselves with switching power back to the old systems but Magnus isn't letting the, using his electromagnetic abilities to their fullest. When Cadena and her warriors notice him, Magneto gives them an ultimatum: just let him and the girl go and he'll allow them to switch their power back on even though it'll cost a city full of humans to do so. After all, he's Magneto and doesn't care about mere humans.
That girl he's holding gives away his bluff. When the warriors try to attack, he uses their own metal weapons against them.
Rogue walks into a crowd of Quitado citizens. They are in a frenzy to kill her because she's still public enemy number one. Anna is rocking crazy gravity powers, though, so no-one can get anywhere near her... unless she wants them to. She grabs one citizen and asks directions to Magneto.
In Mumbai, the younger X-Men have been driven as near to Quitado as their driver, Marut, is courageous enough to drive. It's enough and they thank him for the lift. As they rush the city, Luz joins them and gives them a better plan than just charging in. Her plan is much more subtle.
Magneto has put down Vaipala so he can get his combat on against the Children of the Vault. This goes pretty well for him until an opponent faces him who doesn't have iron in her blood. Piedra Dura puts him in a chokehold and all would be lost if Rogue weren't nearby to back him up. Piedra might not have blood but gravity still has it's effect.
It's just too bad that Magnus put down Vaipala. Cadena doesn't miss a beat, taking the human prisoner and forcing Rogue and Magneto to surrender to keep V alive. Magnus might not have stood down if Rogue wasn't in the room but she IS in the room so that's how it goes down. Cadena hands the two off to the guards. She has more important things to deal with than killing two mutants and needs to focus on that business before pleasure.
She turns around to deal with Quitado's power problems and the X-Men disappear along with the guards. This is noticed by another Child of the Vault and it infuriates Cadena. It turned out that those guards were actually Indra, Anole, Loa, and Luz with light disguises on. Why they went immediately invisible instead of leaving the room and making their escape is... well, you can't always do the smart thing. I certainly don't.
One of the Children realizes that it's a light bending trick and Cadena orders her warriors to fire at the area of bent light when Luz appears from that area and surrenders. She thinks this might buy the X-Men their freedom but Cadena is too furious to let them go. Even after Luz surrenders, she demands to know where the X-Men are. Luz shows Cadena where the mutants are via a light transmission.
Not only do the X-Men need to escape, they have to find a way to separate the two cities so that they don't destroy each other. Luz told them how to do that and they're following her directions to the Anchor House. On the way, the team fights what Magneto describes as unliving guards. That means they can whale away to their hearts content without feeling guilty about it in the morning.
They also fight some living Children of the Vault after Cadena calls in her troops. Dudes like Olvido are easily taken down by a chamelioned Anole but Rogue knows they're pressing their luck. She orders the rest of the team forward while she turns to slow down their pursuers. This is not a fight Rogue believes she can win but that's what sacrifice is all about.
It's not long before the Children of the Vault have her at their mercy. One is about to stab Rogue in the back with an energy knife when Paras shows up and kills the attacker. This is totally against his religion and he's supposedly pretty devout. Hell, he wouldn't have to be that devout. Most people draw the line at killing and he's too young to be a mutant cop. It's not something Indra wants to talk about right now.
In the Anchor House, Loa weakens the shields with her powers and Magneto finishes things up with a magnetic attack. The Anchor is breaking and that means that Quitodo will phase out of Mumbai and be lost in time and space. The X-Men make sure they're on one of the Mumbai parts before Quitado disappears.
Even though the Children of the Vault are lost in space/time, Rogue bets that's not the last we'll see of them. Good villains are hard to find, after all.
When all is said and done, Paras Gavascar does NOT get married to Vaipala. He's not staying behind to fulfill his family duty because he now sees how important his duty to the world is. Indra's father tries to make him see how being a dick is the right choice, even going so far as to say that he doesn't know what real evil is. Considering what Paras has seen and fought for, that's a stupid thing to say and Paras calls his dad on it. No, he knows exactly what evil is and hiding in the sand is not the right decision, Hindu or not. You can debate that thought all you want but that's how Indra feels.
This is obviously going to put him at odds with his family and since Quitado's leaving didn't bring everyone out of their comas, it leaves Vaipala without an arranged husband. Maybe she likes that thought. She obviously wasn't all that interested in marrying Paras. Still, the two say their good byes and Indra even says he'll visit if and when he ever comes home again.
Quitado is lost but its citizens are still alive. One of them we actually care about. Luz. She might be hooked up to Angelfire now or she might just be in a cell. Either way, she's resting. With her light powers, she makes an image of Paras and tells that face that she'll be back. Mwahahaha.The Avengers #21Writer: Stan LeePenciler: Don Heck
In this story:
• Hawkeye changes a transistor and gets chewed out by Captain America. This leads to Avengers in-fighting and hijinx.
• Erik Josten, one of Baron Zemo's former soldiers, survives in the Amazon. The Enchantress helps give him the same power set as Wonder Man.
• The new Power Man and the Enchantress begin their plan to DESTROY THE AVENGERS!
• Thus begins a plot to discredit the Avengers by setting them against illusions only they can see and hear.
• Power Man fights Captain America but even when Cap wins, he loses. Power Man was actually stopping some bad guys at the time.
• When the rest of the Avengers head to Power Man's place, they get arrested for trespassing.
• The Mayor orders the Avengers to disband.
October 1965! The month that saw the release of Amazing Spider-Man #29, Fantastic Four #43, Daredevil #10, Sgt. Fury #23, and Tales of Suspense #70 also gave us the first appearance of Erik Josten, the first Power Man. Like many of Marvel's eventual heroes, Josten started his Marvel career on the wrong side of the law. Unlike those heroes, Power Man took a LONG time to redeem himself. In fact, his eventual turn to heroism is one of the more surprising turns from the Thunderbolts run.
But before we get to his first appearance, we watch as Hawkeye changes a fuse in the complicated array of machinery in Avengers Mansion. This is a great moment of self-empowerment but it's also against the rules! Cap sees Clint doing this technical work and yells at him. This kind of thing is supposed to be handled only by Tony Stark, not the resident archer!
If you know how this era of the Avengers went, you can figure how this plays out. The Kooky Quartet was like a more self-destructive version of the Fantastic Four and they would use any excuse to yell and try and kill each other. The surprising thing about this particular encounter is that Quicksilver (yes, him!) breaks up the fight. It's amazing when Pietro is the voice of reason.
This isn't over. Hawkeye keeps spouting off until Scarlet Witch tells him to knock it off. This is all about leadership of the Avengers and that job is Cap's. When there IS a vote, Wanda's vote is going to go to her brother so it's pretty easy to see who would lead the team. Clint says some less than kind words about Pietro and ends up eating a hex bolt. Don't mess with family, yo. Steve berates Scarlet Witch for her brash act and Wanda does a bit of swooning over the patriotic Avenger.
OK, we can move down to the Amazon, now. Back in Avengers #15, Captain America fought his final battle against Baron Zemo in this rainforest, ending with the death of the villain. Since then, Zemo's army has broken up and left the area. Only one soldier remains: Erik Josten. The man believes himself to be wanted by Interpol for crimes committed all over Europe. He's staying put even though the jungle has exacted it's toll. Josten leans on a crutch, his uniform is in tatters.
His only hope of leaving lies in Zemo's abandoned headquarters. You may remember in Super Reads 119 we covered Avengers #9, which featured the first appearance of Wonder Man, created by Baron Zemo's genuis.
The machines that worked this miracle are still operational and Josten plans on using them to give himself super powers. The problem with this plan is that Erik Josten doesn't know how to work Zemo's machines.
Enter: the Enchantress. Amora happens to be looking on the headquarters of her former ally and sees this soldier's plan. She remembers how powerful Wonder Man was and thinks someone like Josten would work well for her goals. The Enchantress appears before Erik Josten and offers to man the equipment. Erik eagerly agrees.
When the proces is over, Erik Josten has the same powers as Wonder Man but none of the moral character. Since this is a game of super-heroes and super-villains, the Enchantress gives Josten a proper name, Power Man, and tells him to find a costume in the next room. Apparently, Zemo had some unused villain costumes lying around. The new Power Man doesn't see the point of all this. It's all kind of cheesy but he goes along with it, partly because he's infatuated by Amora.
Their first target? The Avengers.
A call comes in to Avengers Mansion from the Teen Brigade: a monster is attacking Sutton Place. Captain America, Hawkeye, and the Scarlet Witch race on down to face this challenge. When they get there, they begin attacking almost immediately, despite Cap's call for caution.
No attack does any good. Arrows pass through the beast. Hexed buildings fall on it with no effect. Eventually, the police show up, but they aren't here to help the heroes. They're here to figure out what the hell the Avengers are doing. No-one else has seen this monster giant, who has now disappeared even to the Avengers. All the public sees is the premiere super-team tearing up the streets. Cap takes the team home. In a building above, the Enchantress and Power Man laugh as the first part of Amora's plan succeeds.
One day later, Quicksilver receives a call about someone sabotaging subway rails while placing the the blame on the Avengers. Pietro races off at top speed to find the damage with the rest of the team speeding after at their own pace. Quicksilver finds the tracks bent to impossible degrees. Before he can move to stop any traffic from passing though this section of track, the man responsible, Power Man, sneaks out of the shadows, knocks Maximoff unconscious, and leaves.
The Avengers arrive at the location quicker than they expected. This is because of the Enchantress's magic. She needs them here for the next part of her plan. They don't have enough time to figure out how they got here so quickly. They see Quicksilver unconscious on the track and a train speedily approaching. After confirming that the train is an empty runaway, Hawkeye lets loose a blast arrow and forces the train off its track.
This saves the life of a fellow Avenger but bad news is already on the way. Authorities arrive, again trying to figure out what the Avengers are on. Their explanation is only half-believed. Power Man and the Enchantress watch from their place of concealment. Josten is anxious for a real chance to prove himself, something Amora assures him will come soon enough.
At Avengers Mansion later on, the team wonders what this plot will bring next.
Fortunately, theyve been able to pay for all the damage done thanks to benefactor, Tony Stark. The conversation falls back into in-fighting. Ah... these guys love to argue and bicker.
We move ahead one more day to see Power Man get his first real taste of action. Josten attacks a group of guards to secure some "vital papers." Through the Enchantress's magic, Captain America finds his one-man helicopter drawn to the area. When Steve sees Power Man attacking uniformed men, he leaps right into the fight.
Captain America is out-powered right from the get-go but his battle prowess and quick reflexes lends him at least some chance. Amora uses her abilities to put Cap's timing off by seconds. It's enough to getSteve hit again and again but the World War II hero doesn't give up until Josten lands a good punch to Rogers' head, knocking the Avenger out cold.
That may be enough humiliation but it also turns out that Power Man was actually playing hero. Those uniformed guards were wearing counterfeit uniforms and were stealing these "vital papers" for their own ends. The next set of authorities congratulate Power Man for his assistance and wonder why Captain America was trying to stop the new hero.
When Steve returns to Avengers Mansion, Hawkeye's already reading the story of his boss's embarrassing exploits in the paper. Clint and Steve lock horns until Rogers is called away to take a call from the mayor.
Clint takes the pause to go out and defend Cap's honor. The paper gave the location where Power Man hangs his hat and Barton decides to pay the man a visit. It's a nice mansion and Clint wonders how a man on a super-hero's salary could get one of those. He's never heard of Bruce Wayne... or Tony Stark. Hawkeye kicks down the door and enters a darkened room.
The Attack is almost immediate. Power Man shatters all but one of Hawkeye's arrows. This last one, Clint holds, ready to fire, trying to get some sort of confession from his opponent. Power Man gives nothing away.
Clint Barton won't be the only Avenger trying to defend the honor of the Avengers Chairman.. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff exit the musical, Dolly, and then split up, both intending to investigate Power Man's residence without the other. Quicksilver, of course, gets there first. Unfortunately, he doesn't arrive in time to prevent the defeat of his fellow Avenger.
The mutant speedster doesn't do so well, either. While his speed gives him an advantage, the Enchantress is using her power to slow Maximoff as best she can. The fact that Power Man is nearly invulnerable gives him a clear advantage as well.
By the time the third Avenger makes the scene, the fight is over. Both Hawkeye and Quicksilver have been arrested for trespassing and Wanda is turned away by the Police.
These antics have caused public opinion of the Avengers to plummet. The mayor's office sses these super-heroes as a legitimate threat to the city and after minimum debate, the mayor orders the team disbanded.
When the Avengers get the news, they pretty much break right into fighting each other with words. Steve takes the blame for everything but even that gets Hawkeye angry. The whole team had a part in this loss, and they all share the blame equally.The Avengers #22Writer: Stan LeePenciler: Don Heck
In this story:
• More infighting from the disbanded Avengers! Woo?
• The Avengers try to get jobs in the private sector but fail because the Avengers name is a black spot on their record.
• The Circus of Crime hires Clint, Pietro, and Wanda for their own purposes.
• When the former Avengers learn that they're working for the bad guys, they defeat the Circus of Crime but are nearly arrested by police for their trouble.
• The public wonders where the real Avengers are.
• Cap tricks Power Man into revealing his part in the Avengers disbandment on audio tape!
• Big battle between Cap and Power Man.
• Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch join the fight.
• Believing herself overwhelmed, the Enchantress teleports away. Power Man surrenders.
• The Avengers are vindicated of all charges against them and are given a Sunday Holiday for their trouble.
• Captain America quits the team in frustration.
The stunning conclusion to last issue's cliffhanger sees Steve Rogers desperately trying to keep his team together after the city ordered them to disband. No-one else is that enthusiastic about staying, though. Captain America even tries to pick a fight with the team but after a page of fighting, they lose their drive to even bicker with one another. They leave their leader alone in the Mansion.
Steve Rogers doesn't know what to do with himself. He still blames himself for this dark day. He was left in charge of the Avengers by the original team and it fell apart on his watch. Steve puts on some civilian clothes and a trenchcoat and takes a walk in the rain, regretting pretty much everything that has happened since he was thawed out of his block of ice.
The rest of the Avengers don't fare well in public life. Their resumes are marred by being former Avengers. Hawkeye tries getting on the Ed Sullivan Show, Quicksilver attempts to join a carnival, and Scarlet Witch auditions as a singer but none of them get hired. Even together, the three are unemployable. Pietro contemplates returning to Europe.
One group is ready to give the former Avengers jobs: the Circus of Crime. They are all out of jail after their fight with Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #22. So far, they've been playing it legit but the money isn't coming in. The prospect of adding the former Avengers to their roster is too tempting to resist. Princess Python sends them an invitation and they wait for the trio to show.
They don't wait long. Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch really have no other alternatives. The three don't know they've just signed up with a group of criminals. They just hope to get paid. The Ringmaster is so excited at his new talent that he can't sleep that night.
Perhaps that is why, the next day, he reveals to the three heroes that he intends to use them in a plan to rob his audience. This doesn't go over well but the Ringmaster still has his hypnosis hat and attempts to control the minds of the former Avengers. It's not good. Quicksilver is too fast to be hypnotized.
What follows is a good old fight between the heroes and the Circus of Crime. The former Avengers best the CoC with professional skill but not before the Ringmaster runs off to get the police. Since the Avengers were forced to disband and we've got three of their number gathering and attacking people, the police have all the evidence they need to believe the Ringmaster's claim that the Avengers attacked the circus without provocation. The three heroes are forced to flee or be arrested.
All of this causes the Avenger's good name to sink even lower. The public starts wondering what the original team has to say about this fall from grace. In quick succession, we catch up on the whereabouts of the earlier team members. Iron Man fights the Mad Thinker's Awesome Android. Thor is set to return to Asgard with a blackmaling reporter in tow. Giant Man and Wasp... well, no-one knows what they're up to, actually. Pym and Van Dyne had lost their spot in Tales to Astonish two months earlier to Namor the Sub-Mariner. Giant Man and the Wasp were stuck in Marvel Limbo until they returned to the Avengers team. Regardless, none of the former Avengers has any time to react to the low state their team has reached.
Meanwhile, the Enchantress and Power Man revel in their success in destroying the Earth's Mightiest Team of Heroes. Josten even tries flirting with the goddess which might even have been reciprocated if not for the doorbell. At the door is a cigar chomping bald-headed man with business on his mind. When this guy gets a look at the Enchantress, he sees what makes Power Man so special.
The newcomer, a press agent, has a plan to replace the fallen Avengers with a new team of heroes and these two would be PERFECT fits. This idea has merit and both villains entertain the thought of playing hero--they just don't see why they'd need THIS guy to do it. Well, that's the kicker. The cigar-chomping weasel claims that he's the man that brought the Avengers so low.
Power Man falls right for this trap. Josten pulls baldy close and tells the man that it was he and Amora that sent the Avengers on their road to ruin. Erik even drops some details before his smarter partner gets him to shut up. She senses a rat. Power Man swipes away the press agent's suitcase and a recording device falls out of it.
Baldy tears off his clothing, revealing the red, white, and blue uniform of Captain America. The star-spangled hero snatches up the incriminating evidence in his shield which has the unexpected result of accidentally activating Cap's emergency signal-- but more on that later.
Right now, Captain America needs to keep this tape out of the hands of an opponent who bested him just last issue. Steve's advantage this time is that Power Man isn't getting any help from the Enchantress. Amora seems to want to see what her partner can do on his own.
What Cap lacks in super-strength, he makes up in tactics and experience. This makes the fight fun to watch but throughout the whole thing, Power Man remains indestructible.
A fall down a flight of stairs takes Cap out of the battle. Power Man carries the body back to the Enchantress but finds his partner unconscious. The rest of the Avengers have arrived thanks to Steve's unintentional emergency signal and they've been getting right to work.
The three Avengers take on Power Man together but the villain still remains not only strong as hell but invulnerable to any attack. Josten isn't able to defeat the three Avengers but they can't get much advantage themselves.
It's only when Captain America regains consciousness and rejoins the confrontation that the battle starts to draw to a close. Steve claims to have already sent the taped evidence to the nearest police station. Nothing that happens in this fight will make a difference now. The Avengers WILL be vindicated.
The Enchantress see that her plan has failed and puts all the blame on Power Man for not keeping his damn mouth shut. With no reason to stick around, Amora teleports away, leaving her partner to his fate. Power Man could probably have kept the battle going for some time but the fight has gone out of him. He was doing this all for the Enchantress and with her gone, there's no point in continuing. Erik Josten surrenders.
The Avengers talk about what brought them together for this wrap-up of events. They learn how Cap's emergency signal was accidentally activated and then walk Power Man down to the police station.
The tape has already made its way to the Mayor's Office where all charges against the Avengers will be dropped and a day of celebration, Avengers Day, has been set up to make amends to the super-team.
Even though Erik Josten could be held for any number of crimes (hell, he's apparently wanted all over Europe), the police let the man walk right out the door. The Avengers know they'll see the man again.
It should be time to kick back and enjoy a wind but that's not how Mighty Marvel does things. No sooner does the team get a quiet moment to congratulate their leader for his victory... and forgive him for leading them into disbandment... than Steve Rogers tells them all that he's sick of dealing with a group of whiny babies. He's cleared the good name of the Avengers and now he's out. Captain America quits the Avengers.
He'll be back in the next issue, folks. No worries.
It's Erik Josten that concerns us now. Power Man went on to be a thorn in the side of the Avengers and anyone else that stood in his way. In time, Josten's powers were stolen by Count Nefaria. Erik played villain with limited powers as the Smuggler and then gained size-changing powers, fighting as the villainous Goliath.
Goliath joined the Masters of Evil soon after the fight against Onslaught. This wasn't his first time on the team, but this time would be a significant departure from the MoE's normal operations. Baron Helmut Zemo turned the team into a false group of heroes known as the Thunderbolts. Josten became Atlas, a size-changing hero with a brand new face to show the public. Like many of this teammates, Erik found being a hero to be more satisfying than his life as a criminal. While he has struggled the most in his new life as a super-hero, he's mostly kept the course.
Currently, Atlas is in "Marvel Limbo" following Fabian Nicieza's run on the Thunderbolts during Civil War. Some day, Erik Josten will return to the pages of Marvel Comics, but your guess is as good as mine as to whether he'll show up as Atlas... or Goliath.
Wow. This monster was a tough one to get done! I hope you enjoyed reading it!
Until Super Reads even more comics: Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiXhttp://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/features/super-reads/13371-super-reads-125.html/