How does Super wind up tying Secret Invasion in with the magic that was... The Crossing?
He probably doesn't, but you'll have to look inside to find out!
This week, Super takes a look at Secret Invasion 3, blasts to the past for Avengers 94 (a little Kree-Skrull War action) and then revisits the nineties in all it's double-sized goodness and mega number one madness for a look at The Crossing-Timelines... and BEYOND!Spoilers Ahead!
Let's get the good stuff out of the way first? Lost? Confused? Scared? jsalwen? Then you need to look at the menus to your left and click the "Super Reads SI" option to check up on everything previously released for Marvel's mega event.
But if you're awesome and up-to-date, we're gonna give you a look at Secret Invasion 3, Avengers (the first series) 94, and then Super's gonna take a leap of faith look at some nineties comics.
He'll try to be gentle.Secret Invasion #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu
When we last saw the SHIELD helicarrier way back in Secret Invasion #1, it was in a crazy freefall over a populated area and dropping airplanes while it went. Apparently some of those airplanes were held to the deck with sticky glue (I guess they'd kinda have to be) and the helicarrier has crashed into the best place ever: The Bermuda Triangle.
Deputy Commander Maria Hill does a lot of complaining about how they can't keep the damn thing in the air (and seriously... how many times has that thing crashed?) and she leads a team to the deck to figure out what is what.
Well, it looks like Skrull Jarvis is waiting for them topside, asking them ever so nicely to surrender to their new Skrull overlords. Let's all hope they don't take him up on that. Maybe we'll find out two issue from now when they repick up on this plot thread.
But let's travel elsewhere for now. Hey, it looks like we're visiting another plot thread from issue 1: remember when the Skrull Captain Marvel was attacking the Thunderbolts? Well, he's winning and crying as if he were the Sentry or possibly Superman. The valiant Norman Osborn takes that as a sign that he's negotiable to the slaughter of his team and decides to try and talk him out of killing them all. Valiantly.
Probably more on this two issues from now as well.
So what's next? Camp Hammond. That's where the Avengers Initiative Training Camp is located, so if you're following that book, you'll see a lot of familiar faces. For example: There's Skrull Hank Pym fresh from shooting Mister Fantastic in the face... um... two issues ago. There's a theme here I just know it... ANYWAY, he's rallying all these half trained heroes and their trainers to fight an alien menace and he's not gonna tell them WHAT alien menace until it's WAY too late.
OK, now we're finally going to follow up on something that went down only ONE issue ago. Remember that New Super Skrull attack on Times Square that started at the very end of issue 2? It's totally on. The poor Young Avengers are horribly outclassed but like the heroic heroes that they are they aren't gonna turn tail and run. Hulkling (who's the son of the original Captain Marvel and the Skrull Princess Anelle no matter HOW much that doesn't fit timewise) tries to talk to his Skully people but we're dealing with some hardcore religious fanatic aliens here. They aren't really into talking to half-Skrulls unless they know a little Skrullian to get by on.
All is really starting to go badly until those Initiative heroes get there to rally the cause. It's just too bad that they were rallied by one of the invaders...
But before we get to the slaughter, we need to visit the Savage Land again, since that's where all the cool heroes are hanging out. Also, that's where Queen Veranke/ Spider-Woman is.
So what's she up to? First she takes down Echo... which means my theory about Echo STILL being a Skrull invader after the events of New Avengers 39 are completely wrong. Echo goes down HARD and I'm seriously wondering if she'll be able to get up.
Tony Stark is having serious problems. First, he's been infected by a computer virus that's effectively shut down his Extremis abilities while also disabling SHIELD and lots of other government facilities and holding areas. Second, he's running a huge fever because of that virus. Third, he's not thinking straight because of virus and fever. Fourth, Queen Veranke is going to mess with his head and make him think he's a Skrull sleeper agent.
Which makes no sense. Or... DOES it? Let's look into that later.
For now, back to the slaughter in Times Square. Yeah, the battle that looked like it was about to turn DIDN'T. The Initiative isn't making a difference. This is probably because Skrull Hank Pym was making sure the New Super Skrulls were prepared for them.
In the street, the Young Avenger's Vision is effectively destroyed... well, as much as you can really destroy the Vish but it's an effective visual nonetheless.
Then, one of the New Super Skrulls explodes quite unexpectedly.
It looks like Nick Fury's made his move with his new Howling Commandos in tow.
And.... scene. Makes you really wonder what happens next, huh? For now, though, we can only look at what happened... before.Avengers #94
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Neal Adams and John Buscema
When last we saw the Kree-Skrull War, the Avengers were at an all time low... well, for issue 94 at least. They'd lost two members (Wanda and Pietro) and one guest star (Captain Marvel) to the Super-Skrull and Goliath was running out of super growth hormone... um, I mean PYM PARTICLES. Yeah. At the same time three of the original Avengers (yes, I'm including Cap as an original Avenger, deal with it) had rejoined and they had captured the three Skrulls originally introduced WAY back in issue 2 of Fantastic Four. So even their lowest point was a good time for Avengers fans.
So this issue opens with Captain America shooting one of the Skrull in the gut. WITH TRANQS! Cap's no killer. They just need to sedate the Skrull in a way that doesn't involve hypnotizing them into thinking they're cows. Reed and Ben talk the Avengers through their encounter with the Skrulls through two way tv screens (because the FF won't be sullied by actually hanging OUT with the Avengers... ew). Thing still does his best to sound like an internet troll which is pretty hilarious.
But where's the Vision? Turns out he's still tracking the Super-Skrull and his mutant prisoners. Also Captain Marvel, but it's hard to get excited over rescuing a guy who's just going to get himself captured again. Before Vision can stop him, Super-Skrull makes a completely ineffective play at the destruction of the Inhuman's Sanctuary. Vision then figures he's not going to be able to beat the Super-Skrull so he leaves to sulk and write some poetry about how life isn't fair or something. Vision is emo.
Super-Skrull uses this time to escape earth, meet up with some Skrulls circling the planet (the Kree have a force shield around the planet preventing Skrulls from entering but not from leaving. This is why the only Skrulls active on earth were Super-Skrull and the Cow-Skrulls who were already there), and head to the Skrull's home galaxy. Super-Skrull isn't really welcome at home, though. He's an exile so when he returns it's not to a parade so much as a bunch of Skrull laser beams and explosions. Super-Skrull takes all this on using his FF powers as Emperor Dorrek and his daughter, Princess Anelle, look on.
Dorrek puts in a bunch of jibes on his daughter about how she's weak and probably female. It's really hard to tell with Skrulls, by the way. Sure, they may LOOK like a girl, but then they turn out to be dudes. It's like the Crying Game ALL THE TIME on the Skrull Throneworld. Or maybe they're into that. I don't know. I'm not a Skrull.
So, back to the story. Super-Skrull is captured because Emperor Dorrek VII is awesome. He then takes Super-Skrull's prisoners without so much as a "thanks for the prisoners, Super-Skrull." Dorrek's not that kinda Skrull.
Anelle's not all into this whole Kree-Skrull War thing going on and thinks that Dorrek should return the prisoners to earth. Dorrek, of course, is an Emperor so he uses them like any advantage in war. He demands that Captain Marvel creat the Omni-Wave that he created and destroyed last issue. Marvel refuses and so Dorrek sends the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to fight to the death or until Marvel agrees. Which ever happens first.
They eventually end up facing those flora/fauna things the FF encountered back in issue Fantastic Four 37 (which we reviewed a few weeks ago). It turns out that everytime these things are hit, they multiply. Like tribbles with grain. Soon, the mutant twins are suffocating and Captain Marvel reluctantly agrees to make the Omni-Wave in exchange for the two Avengers' lives.
Back on earth, H Warren Craddock continues in his McCarthy mold by interogating the Alaskan researches (which testified against the Avengers two issues ago) in a specially made alien-detection device. McCarthy MAY have had a communist-detection device but history is sort of unclear on this. Craddock has now been given a court order so that he can officially arrest the Avengers and question them since they didn't show up for court on their own.
After a vague warning by Nick Fury, the Avengers are attacked by Mandroids. This gives Iron Man a chance to use his roller skates... um, yeah... roller skates... and then for Triton to appear from a neighboring sewer.
Which ends our Kree-Skrull War for this week.
Now for a special look at one of the plot points in Secret Invasion #3. Inside, Queen Veranke claims that Tony Stark is a sleeper agent and dispite a lot of evidence saying that it's impossible, it can't be true, there's one big bit of evidence that makes it very possible.
That evidence: Tony Stark is DEAD.
What? Really? Read on true believer:Avengers: Timeslide
Writer: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Roger Cruz, Luke Ross, Fabio Laguna
It all continues here at the end of The Crossing. In the Crossing, Tony Stark is basically mind controlled by Immortus pretending to be Kang the Conqueror. Every main bad character that appears within is pretty much a Space Phantom in disquise. Yes, The Crossing was so bad that later storylines effectively neutered the entire thing. What they couldn't get rid of, though, was the fact that Tony Stark went evil and killed people... and some later events we'll get to.
Timeslide was a continuation of the storyline in which a desparate Avengers team decides that it's time to replace evil Tony with a younger version of himself from another timeline. I've read through the thing, folks, and I still can't find where this ever was a good idea.
Anyway, it got the Avengers a nice sparkly two page covered special issue drawn by nineties-flavor-of-the-year artists Roger Cruz and studio which did a fairly good job working in Joe Mad's psuedo-manga style. There are a lot of triangle mouths, though. A LOT of triangle mouths.
So, the run down of this non-Skrull issue will be more brief than Skrull issues because it's basically here to prove a point: The nineties were awesomely bad. I mean, the Avengers went back in time to find this guy:
Pretty awesome, eh? Teen Tony in his first appearance. Now, along the way, the Avengers run across many of the early Marvel heroes before they became heroes. Chief appearance among those is a young Matt Murdock who helps them out the most.
They also stay in the timeline long enough for Tony's parents to die and give him no reason to stick around or anything. It's not like he had a girlfriend or anything. Love 'em and leave 'em. That's my Tony.
To get back, they end up using Doc Doom's time platform. The issue ends on some Doom musing, but it really doesn't tell us anything we ever need to know. All we need to know is Teen Tony came from the past to save the future. With a shiny cover and a $4.95 cover price.Iron Man #325
Writer: Terry Kavanagh & Dan Abnett
Penciler: Jimmy Cheung, Jim Calafiore, & Hector Collazo
In our second two page covered comic, Teen Tony joins the Marvel 616 and is amazed at what his evil future/present self has created. Yes, this is early Jimmy Cheung art and as we all know Jimmy Cheung drawn books are IMPORTANT to Secret Invasion. Does that include books more than 10 years old? We'll find out together as a family.
Now, since most of the storyline is effectively neutered, we can skip a lot of the scenes where Immortus is pretending to be Kang and is surrounded by Space Phantoms (which are pretty Skrull-like, actually. We may need to visit them in a future issue just for the similarities). What we CAN touch on is that a Space Phantom made to look like Mantis comforts evil Tony as he begins to regret his evil ways. Tony also cries blood, apparently. It's the nineties. It was a crazy time.
Also interesting to see is the fact that much like this week's issue of teh Kree-Skrull War, the Avengers are fighting Mandroids. It's always interesting to see parallels.
While that's going on, a team of Avengers and allies (one being Teen Tony) is infiltrating Evil Tony's artic base. THIS is why they needed Teen Tony, by the way. He gets them access. They probably could have found a way around that, but it was much easier to go back in time and pick up a past Tony Stark than get a lockpick or something.
After looking at some beautiful armors, we get down to be big bash between evil Tony and the assembled Avengers. We all know how this is going to go down. Teen Tony's going to get into some armor and the two are going to fight. Evil Tony tries his best to rid us of the mockery that is Teen Tony...
But that would be too easy. By the way, I love both these armored suits. They're pretty cool looking and I'd love to see them again someday.
In the end, Evil Tony is disgusted with the "I can do anything" attitude of his younger and less mustached self and decides that only one of them needs a working heart.
And it's not Teen Tony.The Avengers #395
Writer: Bob Harras & Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Mike Deodato Jr
So Teen Tony is dying, the Avengers are fighting a pointless battle, and it's the nineties. That means this issue has one of those two sided covers.
There's not a lot that really needs to be said about this issue because, as has been mentioned in the last two overviews, this storyline has been almost completely neutered. That's not Kang, that's not Mantis, and they aren't fighting a desparate battle for their survival. What they're REALLY doing is PRETENDING to be Kang and Mantis to foster fear and mistrust in the Avengers by turning one of their founders against them (Evil Tony) and preventing them from reaching back into space like they did during the Kree-Skrull War and the later Kree-Shi'Ar War.
In fact, Tony has been controlled this entire time not by Immortus going back in time and influencing him as has been interated in the Crossing, but because Tony's nervous system at the time was mechanical and easily manipulated. And Tony was STILL fighting back.
So this issue is a big fight scene where Kang is aiming a super powerful weapon at an unknown target. But like I said that isn't really Kang. This issue is only more confusing by knowing most of the facts aren't what they seem to be. :/
So we'll get to what I really want to talk about: The death of Tony Stark. Evil Tony finally broke free from his programing... or was allowed to break free. He then set himself in the path of that super powerful weapon and sacrificed his life to divert it's energies from whatever it was targeting.
And thus died Tony Stark, one of the founding Avengers and chief payer of the rent. But in dying, he made sure that a bastadized version of himself (yeah, Teen Tony) was able to live and thus he was able to cheat death later on.
But first, Teen Tony had to live those 12 minutes:The Invincible Iron Man #326
Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Jimmy Cheung, Hector Collazo, & Steve Ellis
And live he did! Teen Tony became an Avenger and eventually threw together some armor of his own to walk around in.
He got drunk at college parties.
He met his exes that we now a lot older than he was.
And then came another event (not in this issue which is mostly about Tony registering for college classes and fighting hordes of S&M bad guys in bits and pieces of his armor) that would shake the Marvel Universe to it's core.
Long story short: to defeat Onslaught, the Avengers had to sacrifice their lives. Teen Tony proved his worth as a hero by making that sacrifice... and while doing so he forced Doctor Doom to do the same.
Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue, wasn't ready to let his parent go and let everyone that sacrificed their lives live on in another world as Heroes Reborn. Iron Man #1
Writer: Scott Lobdell & Jim Lee
Penciler: Whilce Portacio
Even without a two page cover, there is nothing more nineties than a brand new number one while having the names "Lobdell," "Lee," and "Portacio" appear on your title. It almost explodes in ninties-isms.
And it's also a damn good issue dispite that.
What it does is takes our Teen Tony and somehow ages him. It adds the goatee to the mustache to update adult Tony's look.
All in all, the Tony Stark doesn't remember being Teen Tony. He doesn't remember being Evil Tony. He's completely rebooted as a brand new unencumbered Tony Stark.
It basically paves the way for Tony's return by making the readers realize why they really miss Tony Stark, businessman and adventurer, and why they'll never miss Tony Stark, college student.
By the end of the first issue, the Hulk has downed Tony's helicopter and that heart wound is already back in full effect.
Now he just needs to put the armor on to save himself from death. And then fight the Hulk. It's good times all around.
Now, this goes on for about 13 issues before the Heroes have to return to the Marvel Universe proper. The question is shouted from the rooftops: will Tony be a kid or an adult? People wondered why I was shouting.
The answer to my question, though:The Invincible Iron Man #1 (again)
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciler: Sean Chen
And there is no explanation. Busiek promised that it would eventually be explained but for the time being everyone needed to forget the Crossing ever happened and he'd go about neutering it as much as possible in the mean time.
So we're given a Tony Stark with a goatee and new armor. He's an adult. He's had go to court and legally return from the dead.
His company is already sold. He's not going to fight for it.
Oh, his heart is, once again, whole. Tony's had more second chances in the heart category than any Marvel hero. He keeps getting hearts.
The question is still there, though: why is he an adult? Teen Tony went into Heroes Reborn, became an adult there with no earlier memory, and now we've got an adult Tony that REMEMBERS being a Tony Stark that has already died. He's got a grave and everything.
Even in a certain scene in this very book, they show past armors that he wears. They DO NOT show Evil Tony's armor but the DO SHOW that first armor that Teen Tony put on (that's in the picture up above for Iron Man 325). This IS Teen Tony, but it's also Adult Tony with Adult Tony's memories.
Also, a new slick piece of armor. The ANSWER to why this was adult Tony probably wouldn't be satisfying, but us continuity geeks needed something.Avengers Annual 2001
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciler: Ian Churchill
We finally got our answer years later as a back up story in the Avengers Annual. The main story is about building Hank Pym back up as a character and that lasted... a year? Man, people love to tear Hank Pym apart.
Anyway, this back up story was just a very quick blurb in the scheme of things and it was pretty throwaway.
Through the writings of Jarvis, we come to know that it was Adult Tony that returned from the Heroes Reborn world. He had one big problem though.
He remembered three lives.
He remembered being the original Tony Stark. He remembered being Teen Tony. He remembered being the Heroes Reborn Tony.
To be completely honest, it was probably the only solution that would have even been anywhere near satisfying.
And even then, only just. Tony dug up his own grave and the body was gone. From tests done, it appeared that body had been combined with his own which is why he had that Tony's memory. The other two Tonys faded in time while the first one became prominent.
And this was all because Franklin was trying to correct a big wrong that was... The Crossing.
And this is still cannon because Marvel hasn't made Tony make a deal with Mephisto yet. In fact, in the latest Iron Man profile in last month's Iron Manual, they mention this all in a lengthy paragraph.
So, the alternative theory is that the Skrulls used this time as a prefect moment to replace Tony Stark... which means somewhere there may be a Teen Tony still Teen Tonying.
Why won't this actually happen?
1. Because messing with this storyline creates more headaches than it would ever solve. In truth, I may have lost my Iron Man Fanclub priveleges for even mentioning the the Crossing ever happened. You'd do well to forget it as well.
2. If Tony was replaced at this time, it means that the actual Iron Man doesn't exist anymore or is still Teen Tony. No one wants that especially with a popular movie still in theaters and two regular comic series to fill pages for.
3. Tony's probably not a Skrull anyway. If he WERE a sleeper agent, then it would be easier to simply activate him instead of planting a virus in his systems. Plus, in issue of Might Avengers, the Skrulls wonder why Stark put Sentry on the New Avengers team. Now why this Skrull did with a Skrull name, but STARK.
Most likely, Queen Veranke is absolutely messing with Tony Stark to further her agenda. Or maybe she's bored. I just used it as an excuse to dig through some old comics and explain the wonderful tale about how Tony Stark died, was buried, was replaced, and then returned from the grave thanks to the mutant powers of some little kid.
It's in your brain now and you can't get rid of the nineties goodness.
Until next time: Who do YOU trust?
Posted originally: 2008-06-11 18:26:50