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Super Kills Dark Reign Back!

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LOLtron
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Super Kills Dark Reign Back!

Postby LOLtron » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:26 am

ImageAnd War of Kings! They tried their best to do me in with their mad sickness but I'm alive and getting better!

Today, we check out The Invincible Iron Man #10, Secret Warriors #1, Agents of Atlas #1, Black Panther #1, Punisher #2, Deadpool #7, Darkhawk #1, and then blast to the past for The Hood #1. Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!Image

More number one issues than you can shake a stick at! Wait, let me check that out... no. No, you CAN still shake a stick at them. Yes, people will stare. Back on target: Maria Hill gets some, the god of fear plays video games, a villain gets eaten by a dragon, T'challa learns too much, Frank meets his new tech guy, Deadpool quotes some movies, Darkhawk goes to counseling, and Parker Robbins steals some clothes.

As always, you can easily check up on past articles of Super Reads. If you're reading this on Bludnet, you'll see a link titled "Super Reads SI" on your left where you can check out what happened in every issue dealing with Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, and War of Kings (because I obviously have an addiction). Our syndicated articles might not be so lucky. For you, click here to catch up or remember back on all 37 previous articles. It's perfect for all your reading needs.

OK, let's go.

ImageThe Invincible Iron Man #10
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca

Surrounded by images of American Flags and the Statue of Liberty, Norman Osborn is giving a press conference and it's full of story related information just for you. He dances around his revelation last issue that Tony knew about the Skrull Invasion well in advance and was trying to make a deal with the aliens with some happy political footwork. His words are pretty damning for Tony Stark any way they're sliced. In regards to the Iron Man suits, he throws out the word "classified" but lets us all know that any and all Iron Man tech HAMMER confiscates will be retrofitted and that they ARE going after his suits. He's also interested in War Machine but doesn't elaborate. You can see retrofitted Iron Man armor in the pages of Dark Avengers and his interest in War Machine over in War Machine's own book (and possibly in THIS book next issue)! In the by-gone days of caption boxes, the editor would have blatantly told you to check those books out but, nowadays, I have to do the work for them. Put me on salary, Marvel!

Kat Farrel from the National Pulse makes an appearance. She askes the important question that everyone's been dancing around to look good in front of their new overlord: Is Tony Stark being charged with anything? It actually ticks off an irritable Osborn. He mentions that Maria Hill fled arrest (granted, she was about to be killed), that they've got lots of questions and circumstancial evidence, and, of course, there's always that "classified info" that he can't talk about to bring up as some sort of evidence. So, the answer is... no. Probably nothing, but Norman's good at making no charges sound like a much bigger deal than it really is.

One final question and then Norman needs to run off to make the Iron Patriot armor. Anyone? OK, you, go. What about Stark Industries? It's pretty much dead already after the Stane attacks, Stark-tech failing, and Tony ordering that it be shut down. It will be dead soon enough.

Which leads us to a scene with Stark's chosen executioner: Pepper Potts. She's been put in charge of Stark Industries only to be the one to sign the papers to shut the whole thing down. She doesn't know why but her personal secretary (we'll call him "Jeff") believes it's because she's someone Tony can trust. Tony's lost Stark Industies and every iteration of it thereafter several times. He's rarely one to look back but that doesn't mean he doesn't eventually reaquire all he's lost. This is the first time he's ever had to shut it down, though. It's always been bought out from him, he's been declared dead (you'd be surprised at how many times that happens), or lost the company to foreign investors. This time, he needs someone he trusts to make sure all he, his father, and his grandfather have built ends properly.

Back at Stark's undisclosed location (Funtime, Inc.) and while strapped into his Matrix chair, Tony's giving Maria Hill her mission. She's heading to Futurepharm in Austin, Texas to get a particular hard drive on site. He gives her a jump drive that she can plug into any terminal at the lab and it'll give her detailed info on where to locate this very special hard drive. Hill's not liking the wackiness of this "splitting up" plan of Stark's but Tony's pretty certain that it's time to go a little nuts.

Tony isn't going to tell her just what's on that hard drive but he's going to tell her where that hard drive needs to go. Captain America. For arguement's sake, we'll assume he means the living one, James Barnes. He states just how important all this is before being his usual charming and witty self.

Stark mentions that he's got several Iron Man armories hidden away all over the place so the one you saw in Dark Avengers #1 was just one of many. In fact, Funtime, Inc. is the home of another one. Osborns gonna start shutting down Stark locations by the end of the issue and, at that time, he'll start looking for more armories and be able to detect active ones. Stark needs the armories for their repulsor power terminals. They're used to execute his brain deletion sequence so that Osborn won't be able to get his slimy hands on the Superhuman Registration Act master list. So there will be running like mad in the near future.

The armories have to be destroyed before Norman gets them but first it's time for some nookie.
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Yeah, they aren't looking DIRECTLY at them but those suits have amazing peripheral vision.

Victoria Hand is doing the talk show circuit to promote Osborn's anti-Stark agenda. The ultimatum is set for the next morning at Central Park (now renamed Restoration Park). An exact time isn't announced but "morning" is pretty descriptive, right? They totally expect Tony to give up? Right?

Pepper's watching this circus of an interview and gets so frustrated that she smashes the beautiful HD TV . Then she takes off even more frustration on the rest of her office. Her temper tantrum is fruitful, however. In her anger, she reveals a secret room housing a nice girlie version of the Iron Man armor. For the sake of needing to name everything, we'll call it the Pink Ranger Armor. Guess who it's for? Guess!

At... Restoration Park, Norman, in his Iron Patriot armor, and Victoria Hand stand in front of a crowd of reporters waiting for a Tony Stark that no one actually believes will show up. Victoria mentions that he's late by ten minutes but, as I said earlier, 10 minutes to what? Morning? Maybe they listed a more accurate time on another network. Osborn hams it up for the camera until fifteen minutes have passed before putting on his helmet and addressing the media. He issues a warrant for Tony Stark's arrest for crimes against humanity, collusion with an alien menace, flight from justice, conspiracy, criminal neglect, and treason against planet Earth. At the same time, HAMMER agents begin raids on any remaining Stark holdings. They are brutal. We see many US locations as well as factories and offices in Berlin, Hong Kong, and Rome.

And, of course, they're also hitting the main one in Manhattan. Jeff, our brave personal secretary, asks for a search warrant but only gets a rifle butt to the skull. They then arrest him (forever) and begin to beat him up to find out if he's a Skrull or not. HAMMER agents rush the main office but find no Pepper Potts. They bring Jeff back in, point a gun to his head, and demand he tell them where his boss went. He looks at the open door to the secret room and makes a guess. Apparently, HAMMER agents aren't known for their intelligence or observational skillls. Who doesn't notice an open secret door?

Maria Hill wakes up to find Tony gone. He's left a note and it doesn't say "thanks for the good time, I'll call ya." It actually says "BLOW IT UP RUN LIKE HELL!" The Iron Man suits are all rigged to go up in the explosion. Maria grabs her things, blows up Funtime, Inc. and it's Iron Man armory, and makes her way to Texas.

We end with images of our other two cast members, Tony in his Retro Armor and Pepper in her Pink Ranger Armor, doing their own running. Next issue War Machine! Woo!

ImageSecret Warriors #1
Writers: Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Stefano Caselli

SHIELD is no more. It's dead and replaced by HAMMER. Still, SHIELD has a few facilities that haven't been turned off yet. One of those facilities is Black Ice. It's located in Odessa, Texas and is currently under watch by the Secret Warriors.

Hellfire isn't really focusing on the mission at hand. His place on the team is apparently "the griper" and he's trying real hard to live up to that title. This time, he's not griping about his place in life or how hard it is to be on this particular team. He just needs some loving. He's trying to get some of that from Quake, the mission leader, but she's really trying to focus on the actual mission. She's about to give him a talk when everything goes to hell.

Hydra agents are on the scene and her team has been compromised. They're all in the middle of a huge beat down scrap.

Let's get to know our team in a little more depth before we go any further because these names'll just get confusing to newcomers if I don't. Hellfire, previously mentioned, is J.T. James, the grandson of the Phantom Rider. He's a pyrotechnic that chooses to throw his fire-powers into his chains. Quake, also previously mentioned, is Daisy Johnson, the illegitimate daughter of Mister Hyde. She has vibration powers. Yo-Yo Rodriguez is now known as Slingshot and is the daughter of the Griffon. She has super speed but, just like a yo-yo, she can only go so far before bouncing back to her starting point. Sebastian Druid is... The Druid and is the son of Doctor Druid (yes, that's apparently their last name... they just went with it). He's the magician in the group. Jeremy Sledge is Stonewall and his lineage hasn't yet been revealed. He's got super strength and probably some invulnerability to go along with it but the last part is just a guess to go with the "Stonewall" name. We've got two more cast members to get to but they aren't on scene so we'll get to them when they make an appearance.

For now, our little spies in training are doing their best at fighting off Hydra agents in a chaotic battle. It's about to get even crazier. The Sentry arrives with HAMMER agents in tow. Daisy orders her team to tactically retreat and, with spy teams, you can actually get away with that without calling it cowardly. They weren't actually supposed to be fighting anyone the way it is so to get out of there before they're tagged by HAMMER? Probably a good plan. Meanwhile, Hydra retrieves whatever they were after (looks like a space-coffin inside a metal framework) and a few agents teleport away with it. The rest are getting cleaned up by HAMMER as the Secret Warriors make their disappearing act work.

The Cocoon is one of Fury's secret bases located in New York and, once the Secret Warriors have made their escape from Black Ice, they make their way back to this base and begin celebrating how the just didn't die horrible deaths. It's a short celebration, of course, because Nick Fury, the former Director of SHIELD and current rogue super-spy leader of the Secret Warriors, is not happy with them. They were on a recon mission and got caught in a battle between Hydra and HAMMER. They were seen. Hellfire does his basic griping routine and the two have a staring contest where Hellfire eventually blinks first.

Fury sends the team off to wash up and grab some grub but pulls Daisy aside for debriefing. Before they can talk, though, they run across our last cast member, Phobos. He is the son of Ares and is the god of fear. Fury basically kidnapped him back in The Mighty Avengers #13 but Ares hasn't yet come looking for his kid. Phobos has spent his time wisely by playing Call of Duty on X-Box. He also got bored of playing the computer so he used his godly powers to set up an internet connection and probably an X-Box Live account. After leaving the room, Fury cautions Daisy to watch this fear god carefully. He's twelve years old and a temper tantrum or oncoming teenage emotions could be devastating.

Daisy takes the blame for the mission failure because she told Yo-Yo to get a better look and that's when they got seen. Fury knows because he's been listening in (Fury is a control freak). Fury is more upset because of what this mission was all about. WHY he wanted his team doing recon. Daisy demands some answers and we cut to our first ever-lovin' flashback.

It's one month ago in Chicago. Nick Fury is about to infiltrate another of those not-defunct-just-yet SHIELD bases, The Carousel. This one is their Datacore facility. He does his best Matrix jump from a nearby rooftop and then takes on the three LMD's (Life Model Decoys: Just like real people only not) stationed to guard the base. After entering The Carousel, he makes for the main computer and has a little chat. http://media.theouthousers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/secret_invasion/33/warmachine1.jpghttp://media.theouthousers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/secret_invasion/34/siwarofkings1.jpghttp://media.theouthousers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/secret_invasion/35/deadpool6.jpghttp://media.theouthousers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/secret_invasion/36/darkavengers1.jpghttp://media.theouthousers.com.s3.amazonaws.com/stories/secret_invasion/37/newavengers49.jpgImage

Fury's got back doors into SHIELD that you wouldn't believe. Or maybe you would. He's sort of a paranoid bastard. He asks the computer for all relevant information on previous and current SHIELD command structures, all SHIELD organizations, a list of all active agents, and a list on the last known locations for all deactivated and rogue agents. He gets more than he ever bargained for. It's apparently the first time anyone has tried to get this type of information. Fury makes a copy of everything and then blows up The Carousel.

Our next flashback happened two days ago and it features Marvel's newest hero, President Barrack Obama. Fury's having an impromptu meeting with the newly elected president and everyone wonders why there wasn't a Barrack Obama variant cover. Fury asks why SHIELD was disbanded and President Obama tells him that, after the invasion, SHIELD wasn't deemed controllable. They wanted something that would be held more accountable (HAMMER!? really!?) and SHIELD was an impossible beast to reign in. This was all done under W's watch, but President Obama agrees with what was done. Fury is using his handy dandy lie detecting wrist watch to varify the truthiness of the President's words. Nick leaves a list of SHIELD bases that still need shutting down and informs the President that, if the government doesn't do it, then Fury or people like him will do it for them.

Fury didn't give President Obama the whole list. He only put two bases on the list. One base was already under HAMMER control. The other was Black Ice and that's where Fury sent his team in for recon. It was a test to see if the current administration was clean. This is where it gets a bit complicated.

Hydra, by it's very nature, is frickin' huge and connected. Cut off one limb and blah blah blah. It has influence all over the place and Fury was concerned that it reached all the way to the top. Because HAMMER showed up and secured the base, Fury knows that the very top is still free of Hydra influence. Still, Hydra showed up on the scene. They took something from a SHIELD base but, as Fury explains, they weren't stealing something, they were recovering something.

This is because SHIELD has been a limb of Hydra the whole time. Fury was unwittingly working for the bad guys.

Wonder how that's gonna play out...

ImageAgents of Atlas #1
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciler: Carlo Pagulayan

Man-Mountain is a former super-powered thug that Norman Osborn has reformed and placed in charge of a unit in the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). They aren't about to go into another Waco incident this time. No, right now, they're on a mission to seriously impede the Agents of Atlas. They've got their snitch, a guy named Jason, who's told them about a weapons factory in Eureka, California that's producing super weapons for the AoA (not Age of Apocalypse). The ATF begin to seize the factory only to come up against a few Agents in the flesh... or metal in M-11's case.

For the uninitiated, let's run down the three Agents on the scene. First, we've got Namora. She's the cousin of Namor and was most recently seen having a fling with Hercules over in The Incredible Hercules book. Next up is Gorilla-Man. His real name is Kenneth Hale and he was cursed with immortality and a sexy gorilla body after killing the previous Gorilla-Man. Finally, there's M-11. He's the "Human Robot" because he has freewill and can do cool robot things. There are more members to get to but that's our current strike team.

The battle is short and final. It ends with Gorilla-Man telling Man-Mountain that "Master Woo doesn't deal with low level stooges." At that, he tells Bob to send the ATF to the desert so they can think about what they've done on their walk back. So, who's Bob? He's Bob Grayson, the Marvel Boy. He's got telepathy and a really cool Uranian flying saucer with all the extras.

Our snitch, Jason, isn't done snitching yet, though. The next base Norman Osborn attacks is located off the coast of California. Osborn makes a personal appearance this time just to watch as the target is heavily missiled.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This reaction involves our next Agent of Atlas, Venus. She's not the real Venus. She's actually a siren that was cursed with a soul (yes, it's sort of like the plot of Angel except Venus can run around in the sun a lot more). She can make people do what she wants by simply talking to them. Venus is quickly making her way through the defenses of Avengers Tower and Norman Osborn isn't happy about that. He shouts for the Sentry to come and defend him.

The Sentry's getting a lot of face time this week, isn't he? In the Philippines, the Sentry hears Osborn's call and finishes up his current rescue job and races back to Avengers Tower. Honestly, this isn't one of Osborn's best moves. As soon as the Sentry is on the scene, Venus has him under her power. It actually makes it that much easier for her to find Osborn.

Osborn's got sound inhibitors in his ears so that he can't be affected by Venus's voice and Sentry apparently won't harm him. Norman gives a lot of back story on Venus and the Agents of Atlas that he's learned from confiscated SHIELD files. Basically, he goes over the events leading up to James Woo taking over the Atlas Foundation from Yellow Claw and all about Venus being a mythological monster cursed with a soul.

Venus isn't here to fight. She's here to deliver a message. She activates the pendant around her neck and a holographic image of James Woo himself appears before Osborn. Woo was the protagonist to Yellow Claw way back in the day and that status pretty much remained up until Yellow Claw named Woo his successor in the Agents of Atlas mini-series. Woo was de-aged by Bob Grayson in order to get him back up and moving again after being severely burned and left basically brain dead. Jimmy's here to make Osborn an offer he can't refuse. James Woo wants his operations to continue and he believes that he can help Osborn move some of his less... legal... plans forward. Osborn needs to send people in for some fact finding action before committing and Woo has a request of his own.

He wants that snitch, Jason. Damn Jason! Man-Mountain delivers him to a previously agreed upon meeting place and he and the fact finding team take a ride in Bob Grayson's flying saucer to the Empire of Woo Yen Jet. The Atlas Foundation. Also, all signal locators have been deactivated. Jason is turned over to Atlas and the fact finding is gotten under way in earnest. Still, Man-Mountain is going to make a serious mistake in judgement. The team is told to stay on the path or their safety is not guaranteed and it isn't a full minute until Man-Mountain leaves the path takes off after Jason.

He finds the snitch casually walking around behind the scenes. So what's up? Man-Mountain realized that the Agents had opportunities to nab Jason earlier and never took them. They also went out of their way not to kill anyone. What's the deal, Jason? With that, Bob drops the disquise from Jason to reveal... Jimmy Woo. The whole time, it's actually been Woo giving up his own secrets. He tells Man-Mountain that, now that he knows so much, he can never leave again.

The Agents of Atlas try to threaten him into revealing all he knows on Osborn but Man-Mountain is going to remain silent. He's also going to be eaten by a dragon.
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Lao (the dragon) makes a comment on how Grayson (in his flying saucer) usually has to bring him cows to eat and a superhuman is a nice change of pace. Jimmy is annoyed because he's not really about killing people and certainly isn't happy to feed them to a dragon. The dragon is upset because he doesn't feel that Woo is living up to the promises he made to uphold the legacy of the Khan Dynasty and the Atlas Foundation. Lao has also sent a team to activate a replacement for Woo should he be killed in all this front line work he's doing.

Besides this small incident, the fact finding mission is successful. The loss of Man-Mountain is regretable but understood. He walked off the path. It happens. Osborn and Woo make a deal to work together but there's no trust in it. Just good business. Norman makes plans to guard against any future attacks by Venus.

The Agents of Atlas are celebrating their latest move. Jimmy's enjoying NOT being around Lao and in a place where he can just be himself. Unfortunately, they have to deal with that "second" that Lao activated: Temugin, the son of the Mandarin. He once beat Iron Man with his bare hands and, yes, it was completely ridiculous. Still, it ought to be interesting.

But wait! There's a back-up story! It even features Wolverine!

Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Benton Jew

The year is 1958 and the place is Cuba. This is about a year before Castro's forces enter Cuba's capital and revolution is still very much the name of the game. This isn't really a story about the Cuban Revolution, though. This is a Wolverine story.

Logan IS watching the rebels, though. You see Fidel Castro and Che Guevara through Logan's binoculars. They'll quickly become secondary, though. He smells monkey.

GORILLA. He smells gorilla. Totally different smell. He also smells robot and human. Yeah, it's Gorilla-Man, M-11, and Jimmy Woo. There's questions of who's who thrown back and forth but no one's wasting much time flashing ID's around. In fact, we've only got a few pages to devote to this adventure so everyone runs quickly through the "misunderstanding" part of this team-up and get the fight out of the way. Because this is actually an Agents of Atlas book, Logan gets schooled.

Woo starts asking Logan if he's working for Yellow Claw. Of course, he's not. While the interrogation is going on, Logan's noticing something crawling up Woo's shoulder. He slips out of his jacket and knifes at Woo's kneck. We are obviously led to believe that he's seriously injured Jimmy but... not so much, actually.

Gorilla-Man and M-11's reactions are immediate.
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Jimmy has picked up Logan's knife in the meantime and found what Logan actually hit with it. It's like a little brood thing. Logan actually saved Jimmy's life. The Agents think they've killed Logan and feel really sad about that but, as we all know, Logan doesn't die. Ever. You can't kill the little runt. Don't even try.

While we all wait for Logan to rise from the dead, Jimmy sends his dead insect up to Bob Grayson and Venus in the flying saucer above. Once Logan "gets better" he detects Hendrick's signal and the foursome makes their way to his location. Logan was here to locate a man called Hendricks in the first place. M-11 clears a path.

Hendricks is a bespectacled man with a blonde crewcut. You don't really need to know that much about him because, well, he's not long for this world. He's already been attacked by one of the crazy insect brood things that Logan killed earlier.

And there are a LOT more where that came from. The insect deals are able to mind control whoever they attach onto and the effects are permanent. Everyone escapes to a safe distance to allow M-11 to death ray the lot of them. Logan finishes up by snapping Hendricks' kneck. Jimmy's not too happy about that but Logan doesn't give them enough time to properly react. He's planted a bomb on M-11 and quickly detonates it.

Everyone escapes but M-11 has to be heavily repaired. It's only at this last bit that we learn that the insects were created by Yellow Claw. The threat is considered contained... but we see Castro and Guevara watching them go and they both have bugs attached to the back of their knecks.

ImageBlack Panther #1
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Penciler: Ken Lashley

Queen Ororo isn't hanging out with the X-Men for once. She's actually hanging out in Wakanda and doing Queen stuff. This time, it means meeting with a group of children from the rural areas of Wakanda. They adore her. She asks for questions from the audience and gets an explosion of responses. She decides to start from the beginning. Before everyone can fall asleep (I'm not saying that Storm's history is boring, I'm saying that Storm is boring), the kids noticing something actually interesting: the king is returning.

His jet isn't looking good though. It's actually looking on fire. Before Storm has time to react and summon winds to keep the flaming wreck aloft, it crashes into downtown Central Wakanda. Chaos.

Rescue workers are on the scene quickly and, being Wakandan, they're probably better than anyone else in the world. Storm gets out of their way (slightly) and lets them do their jobs. Once the remains of the ship are open, though, she's quick to enter and learn the fate of her husband. First, though, she sees the painful figure belonging to one of the two Dora Milaje. She's mumbling about how they never stood a chance. Then, Ororo comes upon her husband. It's not pretty.

Flashback: five hours ago. T'challa and his two Dora Milaje are travelling in a much less burning version of their future craft to a meeting with Namor the Sub-Mariner in a very stylish castle owned by the Atlantean. The Black Panther and his associates land and are led into Namor's underwater entrance. Namor is an ally of T'challa so it's a friendly greeting between the two and includes the most special of secret handshakes.

Back in the present, the Queen Mother and her daughter, Shuri, are making thier way to the hospital where T'challa is being treated. They are originally barred from seeing T'challa but Ororo gets them in. The King is badly burned but doesn't look as bad as everyone is reacting. Maybe it's because T'challa hasn't woken up.

Flashback: four hours ago. T'challa and Namor are meeting in private as the Atlantean ruler discusses the way the world works.
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Yeah. Black Panther knew but did not join the first Illuminati. He's gonna make the same decision this time around. Namor wants him to join to be the calming influence when everything eventually explodes around them. Black Panther declines. He even mentions how he and his people took on the most inept of all Skrull Invasions. Namor tries to make him reconsider but T'challa's mind is set. The two say their good byes with a second special handshake and Namor is off.

We return to the present for some uncomfortable conversation. T'challa's in critical condition and in a coma. He's been put into a variation on that Bacta Tank used to heal Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back. Now for the uncomfortable talk. They need a replacement Black Panther. T'challa can not fulfill the role. They must initiate the protocols to choose the next Black Panther... and, I'm just guessing here, it'll probably be a female. Just a guess.

Flashback: three hours ago. This is really all you'll ever need to see to explain what happened to T'challa. He leaves Namor's castle to find Dr. Doom and a robot army waiting for him. It's Black Panther and his two Dora Milaje versus Dr. Doom and a robot army. You don't even need to show the battle. Doom's there to make sure that the Cabal remains a secret from the world. Even though we never need to see how this plays out, we'll see how Doom beats Black Panther in the next exciting issue! Does a Dora Milaje betray her king? It's almost guaranteed!

ImagePunisher #2
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opeña

There are very few issues where you can watch as Frank Castle gets the crap beaten out of him. That was last issue. This issue, he wakes up covered with bandages. He was saved by the dude walking through the door eating the burrito. No, not in your room, in the comic. Frank doesn't take favors well and starts choking the fear into his new tech guy. He demands a lot of information, like "who are you, why did you bring me here, and where is here?"

The new tech guy really doesn't get that working for Frank means that, someday, Frank's gonna have to kill you. It's on the application. Still, he answers the questions like he has a future. His name is Henry. He saw that Frank Castle tried to kill Norman Osborn in the last issue because he has access to an incredible amount of cameras from weather to traffic to everything inbetween. Even Punisher's battle wagon was accessible to Henry. Frank is ready to walk but he hasn't heard Henry's sales pitch.

Henry shows him a new interview with Norman Osborn. Like every Osborn interview, he's surrounded by American Flags, images of the Statue of Liberty, and (this time) bald eagles. It's about as American as you can get without meaning anything. He's telling the interviewer that it was Punisher that made the attempt on his life and breaks it on down with his propaganda from that point on. Now, I'm not Frank's biggest fan, so I'll agree with Osborn. Frank's a bad guy. He may be a bad guy that kills other bad guys but he's still a bad guy. Other than that, Osborn tries to paint himself as a man of principle and the man who cleaned up America (which, if you've been paying attention, was done under Tony Stark, Norman has actually made things worse... he's just not letting anyone get caught).

So get to your sales pitch, Henry! Henry's tracked Osborn's dealings to a lot of dirty things. Drug running, prostitution, third world slavery, etc. It's nasty stuff. What he doesn't have is certifiable proof. That's what he needs a thug like Frank Castle to supply for him. Proof.

Frank gives him the warning. If you hang with me, you're probably going to die. No, really. Check the facts. Henry's read his SHIELD file. He knows. Frank asks him if he's ready to get his hands very, very dirty. Henry is ready. It's time to kill some people.

Time passes. Frank hits a certain pawn shop looking for certain weapons. He's looking for some bigger guns. He's wearing a terrible disguise that just makes him look more shady than usual. Henry's on the outside using satellite footage to track eight hostiles in the area ready to strike when ordered. The shop keeper uses his local detector computer to track all the weapons Frank's wearing, locks down his shop and ducks out of the way.

With the help of Henry's satellite infrared, Frank is able to take out everyone gunning for him. After the fire fight, he orders the shop keeper to open up the back room. It's full of delicious space-age looking weapons and an Ant-Man helmet. You can always use an Ant-Man helmet.

Now it's time to watch him work with his new gear. He takes out some prostitution ring bastards using some explosive arrows (no, he's probably not the latest Hawkeye but he can do a good impression in a pinch) and then uses some green blasters to interupt a nuke exchange.
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The most important deal is that she gets pictures of each crime.

He brings those pictures back to Henry for him to do his part. The pictures are just a little too grotesque for Henry to take and he needs to go throw up for a bit. Getting your hands dirty is different when you can actually see the carnage.

Eventually, all those pictures find their way into the papers. Norman isn't happy about this by any means. It breaks his carefully crafted illusion. It's time for one of the Dark Illuminati friends to deal with this. Enter: The Hood.

ImageDeadpool #7
Writer: Daniel Way
Penciler: Paco Medina

So, what happened last issue? Tigershark was trying to kill Deadpool and just kept failing. In his latest attempt, on a dock, he was interupted by Hydra Bob. Tigershark forgot about Wade and went straight for Bob. While Bob was drowning, Deadpool went for his fallen rifle.

This issue begins with Wade retrieving the rifle and then waiting for Tigershark to come up for air.

It takes him a while to realize that Tigershark can breath underwater and that he's wasting his time. As he's walking away, Bob finally comes up for air. Tigershark left him for one reason or another. Wade won't pull him up until he explains what he's actually doing there. How did he know Wade was even there? Apparently, his latest shenanigans at the homeless shelter were put on TV.

DP tells Bob that first order of business is buying him some tacos. The second order of business is taking care of Tigershark. He'll be back but, this time, Deadpool is armed!

Deadpool then has a ridiculous dream involving a fish headed man, that lady he met last issue, and Huey Lewis all based loosely around the Die Hard plot. This is probably completely normal for him. Die Hard lines are thrown in here and there for the rest of the issue. When he wakes, Bob has the tacos ready and waiting. After injesting copious taco products Wade wants more soda, so he grabs some change from Bob and makes for the door to grab a soda out of the machine down the hall. Bob pulls a gun on him before he can get out the door.

Bob is being forced to work for Norman Osborn. He's not happy about it and asks Deadpool, at gunpoint, to promise to save him. He can think about it if he wants. Deadpool lets Bob know that there's no time to think. Tigershark is on his way down the hall.

Bob throws Wade the gun but Wade says it's useless. No bullets. He never trusted Bob and emptied the gun. He tells Bob to load it with the ammo in the nightstand and then heads to the bathroom to take a digger. That's right. He's going #2. It's that kind of comic.

Tigershark enters the room and demands to know where Deadpool is. Bob tries to convince TS that he already killed him but Tigershark wants to see the body. He storms into the bathroom looking for it.
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Tigershark thinks Deadpool's in the bath. He's not. He's right behind him with the rifle. Unfortunately, Bob trips up all over Deadpool's lines and that's enough to distract our hero from a quick kill. The gun trades hands a number of times and the fight goes back and forth about the same amount. Eventually, Tigershark gets shot up and falls out the window.

Next, it's time to get all the information out of Bob that Deadpool possibly can. He shoots the ex-Hydra agent in the right hand and then does a whole lot of threatening with a little bit of shooting thrown in for good measure. Bob gives up a name pretty easily. Norman Osborn. Deadpool has no clue who that is (but for those wondering, the two met way back in Deadpool #11 when Wade was stuck in the past and impersonating Peter Parker--an awesome issue that you all need to read and love). Bob turns on the TV and it's right there. Norman Osborn: Savior of Mankind. They even show footage of him firing his pink blaster gun at the Skrull Queen and suddenly it dawns on Wade just why Norman's trying to kill him.

Osborn stole the intel that was supposed to go to Nick Fury on how to kill Queen Veranke. The intel that Wade had gathered. Someone needs to get paid for that.

And now: War of Kings!

ImageDarkhawk #1
Writer: C. B. Cebulski
Pencilers: Harvey Tolibao & Bong Dazo

Chris Powell is... well, he's not emotionally well. That's probably normal for a superhero, but it bears mentioning. He's dealing, of course. As Darkhawk, he has a job at Project PEGASUS, he's living back home with his mom and brothers, and he's got no secrets from them nowadays. There are more rules that he's living with now and they've made him relatively happy.

He is running late but one of those rules is sitting down and eating breakfast so he scarfs down something as quickly as he can, kisses his mom goodbye, and then changes into Darkhawk. When he arrives there for work, there's already stuff to get done. He recently helped defend Project PEGASUS from the Skrull Invasion with the help of Nova. The Skrulls loaded the place with booby traps that keep going off causing havok. This time, the explosion ended up shutting off the containment grid around U-Foes, Vector and X-Ray.

Nova's dealing with X-Ray but Vector takes this time to make his escape right in front of Darkhawk. The two get to fight all over the place, mostly in the skies. Vector makes a grab for the gem that gives Chris his Darkhawk powers. Chris panicks and eyebeams Vector causing him to fall from the sky. Darkhawk lands and looks on Vector's fallen form, blaming his gem for lashing out. When Dr. Necker, one of the administrators of Project PEGASUS, arrives on the scene and tries to give some comfort to Darkhawk, he lashes out at her as well. All over, this is a bad day to be Darkhawk.

Necker's not seriously hurt but Darkhawk is still in panic mode. She tries to convince him to calm down and have PEGASUS to have a look at him and maybe they can work out how to keep his powers in control. Darkhawk doesn't want to be anyone's guinea pig, though. He books for the skies.

Mickey Musashi was once the superhero, Turbo. Now, she leads a support group for former teenage superheroes that, at one time, had a mini-series called The Loners. Darkhawk was once in this group but his anger issues and his inability to give up his costumed identity have put a hard wedge between them and him. So, his return to this group comes with a lot of angry emotions. Mickey is pretty angry herself but, once she sees how much he needs help, she quickly softens up. He explains what happened and Mickey does what she can to comfort him.

The two talk a lot about what's going on in his life. They actually go out on something of a date to discuss things. Turbo recommends he get some professional help. They get back to his place and he pulls her in for a kiss only to be... DENIED! Haha. No, it's ok. She just says she's not gonna move that fast on this. He gets himself checked out and they'll take it one step at a time. That's when Chris has a little attack...
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Actually, his amulet is burning red hot. It's never done that before but it might coincide with whatever's crashing into his backyard. They both run to the scene only to find another Darkhawk. This one has blue glowy bits instead of the red ones that Chris has. Chris is only a bit confused considering he believed his amulet to be the last Darkhawk amulet. The new Darkhawk explains that that was what he was supposed to think.

Chris's mom and brothers are, at this point, drawn to the scene but Chris tells them to go back into the house, lock the door, and dial up the Initiative. He then continues to interrogate the new Darkhawk. Apparently, it's here to save him and reaches for his gem. Chris is turned into his Darkhawk form. Stunned by this, he asks how the new Darkhawk was able to do that.

Unfortunately, there's trouble coming and it's not waiting for Chris Powell to catch up. Another thing crash lands but this one doesn't aim for the backyard. It aims for the house. Where Powell's family is. Everything falls apart.

Writer: Danny Fingeroth
Penciler: Mike Manley

As a nice bonus, you even get Darkhawk's first appearance!

It was 1991. The Gulf War was in full swing. The internet was first available for unrestricted comercial use. The Cold War was coming to a close. A gallon of gas would cost you around $1.12. The grunge era was beginning to dominate the music charts. Most importantly, the comics industry was incredibly oversaturated and getting ready to crash famously.

Enter, Darkhawk, the nineties Spider-Man.

Not so fast! First, we have to give some poor schmuck some powers or something. That's gonna take some time. It's probably easier to introduce a villain first and, since Marvel's trying to create an identifiable hero in the lines of Spider-Man, it's only fitting that his eventual villain is Hobgoblin.

Not the original Hobgoblin, mind you. He's currently believed to have been Ned Leeds and dead. This is Jason Macendale, the second hobgoblin. He's looking more demonic than usual because he had his soul fused with that of a demon during the whole Inferno event a couple years earlier. Hobby's flying to his meeting with a Mr. Bazin Philippe. Philippe's been hired by Hobgoblin to procure a certain object but Hobgoblin's impatience is causing Philippe's bill to raise with every priceless Egyptian artifact that our demonic goblin destroys. Anyway, Philippe's best agents are on the job.

...And all they can do is rough up bums in a condemned amusement park. This particular bum's name is Saint John and his condemned amusement park haunt is called Wonderland. Saint John doesn't know where this object everyone's looking for is or, if he does, he's not telling these guys. Bazil is watching all this from his car and chooses another tact. Money. Delicious beer money. He gives a wad of bills to Saint John with a phone number written on the band and hopes for the best.

We're getting closer to our main character with every page but first we're going to meet his mom. Grace Powell is an Assistant D.A. in New York and she's running late. While rushing to the courtroom, some goon steps up and tries to bribe her with more delicious beer money. Being an Assistant D.A. with ethics, she swats away the money, defiantly turning it down. Unfortunately, this is a mob thing and she's got every right to panic a bit after the attack.

Grace gets through her day of cases, heads home, and then worries what might be happening with her husband. Mike Powell's a policeman and that means that they are both in a dangerous spotlight when dealing with the mob. The two have three kids: the teenage Chris and the younger twins, Jonathan and Jason. Yeah, we finally met our hero! That would be Chris.

Mike Powell comes home late enough to worry everyone but at least he's unharmed. They all talk about Grace being threatened by "Bazin's goons" and now we're starting to put the entire plot together and connecting all our characters. Mike brings up leaving the city as an option but it's pretty obvious this family's not going anywhere. Over dinner, one of the twins (Jason) asks if they'll ever get to visit Wonderland before it's torn down and Mike tells them that they'll try to make a trip this weekend if he isn't stuck working overtime.

Unfortunately he IS stuck at work and Chris is stuck taking care of the kids. Some of Chris's friends come over and ask him out for a quick soda and Chris, being a typical teenager, makes a deal with his younger brothers so that they'll be good on their own and, for their trouble, he'll bring back some milkshakes. The twins agree but, being typical bratty kids, they duck out themselves when everyone's back is turned.

This isn't good when Chris returns and his mom is freaking out over her lost boys. Chris admits he messed up big time but thinks he knows exactly where his two lost brothers ended up. Wonderland. Chris heads down to the abandoned amusement park and asks Saint John if he's seen two bratty kids running around. Our friendly neighborhood bum directs him to the funhouse and then continues to drink away his delicious beer money.

Sure enough, Chris finds his bratty younger brothers in the funhouse but they all find even more. They watch as their father, the respectable police officer, takes a bribe from Bazil's goons. The goons get on Officer Powell's nerves so much that he strikes out at them. They quickly beat him down and are ready to kill until Jonathan (one of the bratty twins if there are too many names running around this story for you) runs to the rescue. He's quickly followed by Chris who's working overtime trying to protect his brothers.

The three brothers run away as fast as they can but the flooring gives way beneath them and they fall into a storage area holding unused funhouse props. Chris orders his brothers to hide in a closet. Soon, the bad guys catch up to them. Chris temporarily blocks their path and then looks around for something, anything, that he can use against them. He finds the object that Bazil and the Hobgoblin have been looking for: The Darkhawk Amulet. In an instant, his body is replaced with the body of Darkhawk.

That's right. Replaced. It'll take time for Chris to learn how this all works out and, even then, I'm sensing the story's gonna change in the next issue, but Darkhawk is an android body that replaces Chris's and that Chris has full control over. It's got all sorts of powers built in and many of them get a work out in this upcoming fight. One of them is the chest beam:
Image

There's also the obligatory super strength. That grappling hook on his right arm isn't used in the first issue but it's not just for show. Even as an untrained novice, Chris uses Darkhawk's powers effectively enough so that he's able to defeat Bazin's men though, in the battle, one of them loses their life in an attempt at electrocuting the new super-hero.

Chris panicks a bit when it comes to switching back to his normal self but, before he knows it, he's done just that. Before getting his brothers out of the closet, he makes his way back to where he saw his dad to have a little heart to heart. His father doesn't deny that he was taking a bribe and, beyond that, decides the best thing to do now is abandon his family. Chris returns to his brothers and the three head home after Chris retrieves the Darkhawk Amulet.

The next day, the Wonderland funhouse is demolished. Chris is on the scene trying to learn more about his new amulet but all he gets is a super-hero name from Saint John before the bum mysteriously disappears. Back home, things aren't awesome. Dad has really left the family and Grace is getting threats from the mob at her home. Chris makes up his mind what he's going to have to do. Fight back. He goes with the name Darkhawk and vows to use his powers to make the world a better place or something.

Elsewhere, Bazin is telling Hobgoblin all about his agents' encounter with Darkhawk. Hobgoblin is on the hunt. First stop, Wonderland.

Now, let's get into our REAL Blast from the Past... even though it's more recent than this Darkhawk back issue: The Hood!

ImageThe Hood #1
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciler: Kyle Hotz

A very special thanks to Jay from InvestComics for sending me this issue. I couldn't find it anywhere close so Jay was a very awesome help. Check out his site for great comic investment info (with weekly installments!) and some of the best Press Releases on the internet! :)

Parker Robbins isn't a nice guy. Still, he makes time to visit his mom in the local mental institute and tell her lies about how he's working to be a better person and getting ready to study at the NYU. When an orderly questions him on his inconsistant stories, that orderly nearly gets knifed. Robbins leaves the hospital and meets up with his cousin, John King, at a bar.

King looks pretty rough. He's a recovering drug addict and is supposed to avoid "drinking establishments" but he likes the burgers and the ambiance. Robbins talks about getting his mom set up in a much nicer crazyhouse but doesn't have the money for such things. John may have the answer. He's setting up a job. Apparently, there's a certain warehouse set to receive a big shipment of... something... and, since security at this place is pretty non-existant, the two of them should be able to pull the job with no problems.

Before Parker can agree or disagree to this plan, he spots a local hero. Electro. The Spider-Man villain is in the bar and he is picking up women. Parker geeks out a little but John just isn't impressed.

The two are interupted by a Hydra recruiter. Parker feigns an interest and the three go outside to talk about joining. Once outside, though, the Hydra dude gets a taste of the post-9/11 world. Terrorists are not welcome. The Hydra recruiter gets beat down and John King takes a leak all over him. This annoys Robbins because he wanted to steal Heil Hydra's clothes and now all he can do is settle for the shoes. Parker's got places to be but, before he takes off, he agrees to do the warehouse job with John King.

One of the places Parker needs to be is with his russian hooker. It's a short visit. The prostitute wonders why he's spending his time with her when he should be able to get a decent woman of his own. Parker's answer is, "no small talk after sex" and he takes off.

His next stop is home to that decent woman of his own. Sara is very pregnant with Parker's kid and has no clue that he's a major scum bag. Apparently, he helped protect her from some group of thugs or another and Sara is not only grateful but believes that Parker is a hero. He lies about finding work as an overnight security guard in order to get out and do crime and, after showering and eating, he's off to it.

King and Robbins break through the minimal security for the warehouse job only to find that whatever "big shipment" was coming in must have been arcane symbols, candles, and a folding chair. There's nothing here of value. There IS a crazy looking demon thing that Parker unloads his entire clip into, though.

Crazy demon thing falls and Parker ends up taking his cloak and shoes since Heil Hydra's shoes are way too small for him and cloaks are coming back in style, just you wait. At least he got something for this worthless job. The two leave. When the door shuts, the candles ignite and the crazy demon thing's eyes light up.

Parker has to get rid of his gun now in classic "get rid of the evidence" tradition. As soon as he's dropped it in the dumpster, he's surrounded by gang members who are now pulling a Parker Robbins on him. They want his shoes. These are the Hydra deals and they aren't very fitting but Parker's not about to lose street cred like this. He takes them off and hits one of the thugs in the eye in a classic shoe throwing manner. Parker threw shoes as weapons before it was cool.

He's still outnumbered, though, so after this empty gesture he's gotta get away and fast. Running around in socks isn't going to be a benefit to this plan especially with all the broken glass on the streets of New York. He quickly puts on his demon boots. In a few steps, he's airborne.
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Yes, he can fly. There's all sorts of bedevilment he can get up to now.

And we're actually done! Did you stay through to the end? You're pretty special if you did! I've got a little catching up to do on these here articles, so look forward to the next one before the end of the week. Fingers crossed!

Until next time: Who Do YOU Trust?
Posted originally: 2009-02-23 12:26:48
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