Wait for it...
Today, we check out The Thanos Imperative #2, Daredevil #508, Avengers Academy #2, The Heroic Age: The Uncanny X-Men #1, The Invincible Iron Man #28, and Blast to the Past for Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1. Enjoy and spread the word!
The space war to end all space wars is rocking in Thanos War. Shadowland twists it's way through Daredevil. The Heroic Age continues to be heroic.
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege? Check no further than this link right HERE.
We're starting today with the latest space war.
The Thanos Imperative #2
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
In this issue:
• Galactus, Aegis, & Tenebrous enter the battle on the Marvel Universe's behalf.
• The Guardians of the Galaxy face off against the Cancerverse Defenders when entering the universe where death has been defeated.
• It looks like Thanos can kill in this deathless U.
• The Cancerverse Vision appears and leads them to the robot resistance.
• Major Victory is added to the "anomalies" collected by the Revengers.
• The Celestials have joined the war. On the Cancerverse side, the Galactus Engine enters the 616.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
Say what you will about the problems happening on little old Earth, the issues they deal with in outerspace are much bigger. This is a landscape where entire planets can die. Whole civilizations can be destroyed. An entire universe can attempt to expand into ours from a tear in space/time (we call it the Fault).
That is where Richard Rider, Nova Prime, finds himself as we begin our issue. It's a war for the existance of his universe and the odds are not on his side's favor. The universal invaders are from what has been dubbed the "Cancerverse." It's a universe where death has been defeated. This might sound like a good thing, maybe in some places is WOULD be a good thing, but this universe finds the consequences to be pretty disgusting. The universe has been filled to bursting with cancerous growth. When a hole opens up into the Marvel U, this cancer spurts right in. Trying to push it back into its already overfull container is proving difficult. Add to that the fact that the invaders don't really die easily... it's a hard job.
Fortunately, there's a line of defenders that have joined Nova at the Fault tear. His good friend, Quasar is right by his side. Not only are these two super-powered warriors present but the imperial fleets of the Kree, Shi'ar, and several other galactic empires have gathered their defenses. That's a pretty good resistance. Even so, it's hardly holding up to the job at hand. The Worldmind is concerned that Richard is distracted by the capture of his time anomalous girl friend, Namorita, but Nova tells her that his head is in the game and he's on this.
The flagship of the Kree Empire is being overwhelmed by enemy forces so Quasar and Nova make that their priority. When they get near, they find Triton heading up a squad of Inhuman Elite. He tells them that the ruler of the Inhuman/Kree forces, Medusa, has been evacuated already and that they're trying to get the power back on to save the vessel. While he's talking, one of the uglies from the Fault sneaks up behind him. It'd be game over for Triton if not for the arrival of the Silver Surfer. When Nova asks him if that means the Surfer is part of this now, Norrin answers that he's not the biggest gun entering this war.
We pull out our camera and see that Galactus is here. Not only that, he's been joined by his mortal enemies, Aegis and Tenebrous. This battle for our space is making strange bedfellows.
It's not the only front in this war. The Guardians of the Galaxy have taken Thanos directly to the heart of the matter: the Cancerverse itself. Once there, they find themselves face to face with this universe's Defenders.
Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of the Hulk. He was killed in Realm of Kings #1 but... no-one can actually DIE here, right? Hulk is definitely looking less like a tentacle monster here and more like his green-skinned self. Cosmo uses a telepathic whammy to make sure no communication gets out about this infiltration. Now, our heroes just need to finish this battle conclusively before anyone escapes.
This is a problem in a universe where no-one can die.
Gamorra stabs the Cancerverse Valkyrie through with her blade. Drax tears Cancerverse Namor to shreds. Cosmo makes C-verse Hulk have a stroke. The Guardians just did some major damage, but it's only temporary. While Rocket Raccoon is busy patting himself and the team on the back, the Cancerverse Defenders rise up to start this all over again. This time, they look a lot less like the Defenders and more tentacle-y. They try to explain just how wonderful their sick and disgusting world is.
Then, they notice Thanos and know fear. Thanos had a rough journey to this universe. He's the avatar of death in a U with no death. It takes some getting used to. He's over that now, however. The Mad Titan rises and lets out a volley of energy from every part of him that can shoot energy. This time, the Defenders can't rise from the grave. Looks like no matter what the universe, Thanos can kill you dead. He's still having trouble keeping it together but it's good to know they have a weapon with them that can do some damage.
As the group walk further on this planet/thing bursting with life, Star-Lord explains that bringing Thanos here was a pretty damn good plan. When you're dealing with a universe where things can't die, bring someone along who can kill anyway.
Not everyone is happy with this. Drax doesn't like the fact that Thanos is still alive. It was his mission in life to destroy the Avatar of Death. He did it. Thanos came back anyway. The fact that the Titan is pulling his mind together already while getting stronger and stronger is also concerning.
Suddenly, Cosmo senses the presence of someone who is neither alive nor dead. The Vision introduces himself. This is also a bit surprising since Vis gave up his hiding place in the body of his ex-wife in Realm of Kings #1. It looks like he made it out of that situation alive. The Guardians know nothing of Vision assisting Quasar in that issue so they're naturally distrustful.
Back in the regular universe, the Revengers (the Cancerverse Avengers) have picked up another anomaly for their collection. The Revengers were sent out to find the Avatar of Death but Death herself was making that as hard as possible. The only thing they have to go on is that the Avatar would read as some form of anomaly or another. This is why the Cancerverse team has collected Namorita and, now, Major Victory. They're both time-displaced anomalies.
The Major isn't as finished as Iron Man and Ms. Marvel thought. He breaks out of their grip and makes a quick getaway only to be stopped by Lord Mar-Vell himself. In the Cancerverse, you don't get anyone with more authority than Lord Mar-Vell unless you're talking to the Many Angled Ones themselves and you probably don't want to do that. He sees the Major Victory is nothing more than a temporal oddity but it's good to grab every anomaly they find just in case. Victory is put with the other captives. Most of these aren't recognizable to me but Namorita is right up front and center.
This is a great little scene because Major Victory's younger self, Vance Astrovik, was on the New Warriors with Namorita. Since he's an alternate timeline version of our Justice, Victory doesn't have the same past but it's still a fun little scene. Namorita fills Victory in on what's going on. Anyone that's not supposed to be in our reality has been gathered while they search for a very specific anomaly for a ceremony they call the "Necropsy." It doesn't sound like there will be balloon animals.
Back at the Fault, the rest of the universe's abstracts have banded together. That means we've got a lot of Celestials and probably a few other random feelings and emotions fighting for the good ol' universe. Things have just gone over the heads of your everyday, average, cosmic hero. It also shows just how deadly and serious this fight has become. Heck, all we need is an appearance of Uatu the Watcher to see this as a key event in the history of the Marvel Universe.
Quasar and Silver Surfer converse mid-battle about what this war really means. It's not just about the fate of THEIR universe. It's now down to the fate of the Multiverse. Do you think this nasty life is going to stop here? No, they're going to fill this universe and then threaten another universe. And then another. It's a long, slow ending of everything and it needs to be stopped here.
The Abstracts are helping but that just escalates things for the other side. Coming out of the Fault is a hideous corruption with the skeletonized head of the Cancerverse Galactus. Silver Surfer hears the other side chanting it's name. It is the Galactus Engine.
Writers Andy Diggle & Antony Johnston
Artist: Roberto De Le Torre
In this story:
• Foggy Nelson, Dakota North, and Becky Blake get footage of Daredevil killing Bullseye.
• White Tiger talks to Daredevil about what just happened and about Black Tarantula's future.
• Detective Kurtz goes on a walk around town.
• Daredevil and the Hand bust up a gang of muggers and leave them hanging from a light pole.
• Foggy and Dakota leave a message with White Tiger for Matt Murdock.
• Daredevil returns from his outing and crumples over. Something else takes control.
• Ninjas attack Foggy and Dakota's car and then move in to pick off whatever survives.
• Master Izo calls in Elektra to help with the Shadowland problem.
The previous story in this series, Shadowland #1, was covered HERE.
The fallout of Daredevil killing Bullseye has just begun. In the Law Offices of Nelson and Blake, Matt Murdock's former friends and collegues watch video of this killing. Foggy knows who's to blame for this and it isn't Daredevil. It's the Kingpin. Who but Wilson Fisk controls Bullseye? While Nelson is correct, he's got the details all wrong. This is something that Becky Blake tries to tell him but he won't listen. Someone has to tell Matt that he's being manipulated by the Kingpin. Dakota North starts in next. She knows that Murdock doesn't want to see them... still... he has that castle built right in the middle of Hell's Kitchen. It'd be easy to pay him a visit.
DD has just killed one of his worst villains. It's something he avoided doing for years. There were specific times when he could have pushed it that far and he turned back because that was the line Daredevil wouldn't cross. Now, it's been tread. No matter who's been manipulating who, Matt Murdock just killed Bullseye.
Daredevil just goes back to patrolling as usual but his focus returns to his fortess more often than not. One of his lieutenants, White Tiger, decides to pay him a visit. She tells him that Shadowland is secure. They've established a perimeter and the castle's defenses are unbeatable. This is good news for the Man Without Fear. He recieves it and then sends White Tiger on her way.
She's not done talking, though. She's wondering about the Black Tarantula. He was recently appointed as the Daimyo of the Hand's South American interests but hasn't been sent there just yet. She thinks it high time to send Carlos on his way. Matt doesn't think so. First, they need to secure New York, then Black Tarantula can start his new position.
Finally, Angela asks how HE'S doing. She goes through the history Murdock has with Bullseye and asks if he would like to talk about this. Daredevil isn't in the mood for this. He just closes off the conversation and heads into the night. On the rooftop, White Tiger smiles as her eyes glow red. Uh oh. Someone might have gone evil again...
The police have been pushed out of Hell's Kitchen but that doesn't mean they're all gone. Some of them live here, after all. One of them is Detective Alex Kurtz. His wife would rather he didn't head out and that if he did, he'd bring his badge and gun. He doesn't take either. With them, he looks like a cop and that means he'll run into trouble with the ninjas that claim this territory. Without them, he doesn't look like a cop but that doesn't make him any less one. He's not happy with how Shadowland is going down. Sure, the streets are "safe" but there is fear covering the entire area. No-one's walking the streets.
Kurtz passing the line that means he's out of Hell's Kitchen and into the rest of New York City. There are police at the barrier and they ask him how life is in Ninjaland. He doesn't mix words. "Grim."
You'd think that having ninjas patrolling the area would stop crime from happening but it doesn't do the job completely. There are still idiots who don't think they'll get caught or won't let their egos out of the way and let common sense intervene. People don't break the law because they think it's the smart play. This group of morons even joke with the person they're mugging right up until Daredevil and his Hand enforcers show up.
The trio is soundly beaten. Even the one that knew this was a stupid idea but went along with it anyway. After that, they're strung up on a lightpole upside down with a sign labeling them. "Thief." They're probably still alive. DD has only killed Bullseye at this point.
Foggy and Dakota drive into Shadowland territory and try to approach the castle itself. This was all Foggy's idea but at this point he's starting to second guess this decision. Dakota North isn't turning around. Someone needs to tell Matt that he's gone out over the edge and fallen off. They're going to find the road hard to travel. Up ahead of them, a barrier has been placed right across the street.
The two get out of the car and surey the scene close up. Foggy repeats that they should turn around. This is over their heads. White Tiger shows up and agrees with him. They aren't welcome here and Lord Daredevil doesn't want to see them. There's banter back and forth between the two and threats on White Tiger's part that they should turn around now before someone gets murderized. She claims the streets of Hell's Kitchen are safe now that the Hand is here. Dakota North counters that the streets aren't safe. They're EMPTY. Fear is ruling.
Dakota North and Foggy Nelson relent and decide to drive off. Before they go, Nelson gives White Tiger a message for Murdock. It wasn't Norman Osborn who's been responsible for this mess. It's the Kingpin. He asks if this message will actually get to Daredevil and White Tiger responds with a question: "Why wouldn't it?"
Yeah, Daredevil isn't getting this message. She's already erased it.
Inside Shadowland, Daredevil is returning from a job well done. One of his underlings is telling him about an important meeting with his Watch Commanders when DD buckles over and grabs his head.
He claims to be fine and clears the room of anyone hiding in shadow. When everyone's gone, Matt falls to the floor and tries to exorcise whatever's bothering him. This isn't just Murdock feeling remorse for his actions. This is a man under attack by something we can't see. He tears off his mask and repeats the word "No" like a mantra until he replaces it with a "Yes." Something else is in the driver's seat now.
Foggy and Dakota drive out of Shadowland. They're both frustrated. Foggy doesn't think this is an adventure that his friend will be walking away from. I mean, Matt's gone too far now. Dakota North doesn't feel the same way. Of course they'll forgive him. It's what they do everytime Matt goes close to the deep end. They let him go off and create a new identity and then allow him back into his old life like nothing's even happened. It's annoying.
You know what else is annoying? Having your wheel shot out by ninja arrows. The car goes wild, hits some debris and does a flip.
Foggy is passed out. Dakota tries dragging him from the car before it does one of those action movie explosions. She turns around to see another problem rearing it's head. A ninja squad is set to attack.
Master Izo is at the Wall of the Chaste. He's engaged in a debate with a visitor that he summoned through the power of his mind. Izo sent Matt Murdock to run the Hand because he thought that Daredevil would be able to turn them back to a righteous path. Instead, he sees that Matt has been corrupted by them. His visitor doesn't think it's so serious. Matt's using them as a force for good. It's what he does. Still, Izo argues that you can sense the corruption.
Perhaps his guess, Elektra, is blinded by love.
Avengers Academy #2
Writer: Christos N. Gage
Artist: Mike McKone
In this story:
• Finesse shows us how awkward she is in social situations by acting like a robot.
• The Doomsday Robot, Arsenal, attacks. The students get in an unscheduled exercise program.
• This fight was set up by Quicksilver and it causes a fight between the teacher's staff.
• Finesse gives us a history of her and her "powers." The most interesting bit is that she agreed to the same training she got under Norman Osborn and doesn't look to have been tortured by the previous Top Cop.
• She tries to relate with Pym by faking a crush. Failure.
• After that, she black mails Quicksilver into teaching her as though she was in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
Avengers Academy is filled with students that were originally "trained" by Norman Osborn. By "trained" I mean that Ozzy had his men forcibly increase these kid's powers. This had consequences for many of them. The one for everyone is that the Avengers think this team is likely to become villains without some intervention. They just held that small bit of information, telling them that they are instead the trainees that are furthest towards becoming heroes. Oh, when you practice to deceive...
This issue begins with breakfast among the trainees. Reptil is angry at Finesse for barging into his bedroom. He says he could have been in there with a girl but Finesse finds that hard to believe. His report from his extraction from HAMMER custody had his little burst about never kissing a girl in it. You can read about it in the Enter the Heroice Age One-Shot! This, of course, embarrasses the heck out of Reptil. Finesse doesn't know what she's done. Most kids Reptil's age haven't kissed a girl... they just haven't had that fact announced to their peer group.
To make up for this, Finesse tells him that he can kiss her. She's pretty good looking, after all. Ego aside, Reptil is about to get his first kiss when...
A GIANT ROBOT ATTACKS!
The rest of the issue is narrated by Finesse. This'll be a theme for at least the first set of issues. Last issue was narrated by Veil. This gives us a chance to get into these newcomer's heads and find out what makes them tick. What we learn about Finesse is that she's very booksmart and combat savvy but she doesn't actually understand people. She doesn't know how to react with them.
The giant robot they're facing is called Arsenal. It was built by Howard Stark to fight war after everyone was dead and gone. It's a tough contender to say the least. The kids try their best but the doomsday weapon counters them all. In the control room, the Avengers Instructors are just learning about the attack. This wasn't a planned exercise. Hank Pym explains that the thing had arrived at the Infinite Mansion as component parts and he hadn't assembled it. They're about to run down and take it out when Quicksilver tells them to calm down and let the kids show their instructors what they can do.
Finesse has spent this time learning what ARSENAL can do. Now, she thinks she has it's number. She tell Hazmat to give the robot a blast right in his chest blaster. This finishes the 'bot off just as the instructors are arriving. Finesse tells them that they were never in real danger. Arsenal was using non-lethal attacks. This was just a test, right? Wasp tells them that it might have been a test but it wasn't an approved test. This was all Pietro's doing.
Quicksilver doesn't apologize. This was the sort of thing his father threw at him daily in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Tigra reminds him that this isn't a pack of bad guys that they're training. These are potential Avengers. There's also the matter that Quicksilver couldn't do this on his own. He had help from Jocasta. That's right! Gage didn't forget that Jo had the use of one body in the Infinite Mansion after the last Mighty Avengers storyline. Her and Hank Pym are still cold to one another. She also thought this was approved by everyone and wouldn't have done so if she had known otherwise. She also makes it quite clear that she and Hank aren't making out anymore. Man, if you thought Reptil was embarrassed for Finesse's faux pas, imagine having the entire student body and teaching staff learning of your breakup like this. Hank is probably moments away from switching identities again.
Tigra mocks him a bit with Beyonce lines before relating to him. She is a single mother with fur all over her body. She decides not to remind him that her kid is fathered by a Skrull that looked and acted just like Hank.
Hank apologizes for the unplanned attack but compliments the group on how well they did. If this is the kind of thing they'd want more of, it could be arranged. It's not. This kind of thing ruins perfectly good kissing moments. The kids make sure to mention how much they hate being LIED TO since they know all about the secret the teaching staff is hiding from them. Hank doesn't pick up on the hint.
This isn't something you just leave alone. Not dealing with this right now leads to things like Avengers: Disassembled and no-one wants that to happen again. Cap and crew accompany the Young Avengers back to their headquarters (which isn't the Mansion anymore but I couldn't tell you where they are now). We learn that the Sons of the Serpent were taken alive while the bigots were in comas. They're waking up now. Wiccan's spell didn't kill anyone. But... it could have if Billy had lost control. Heck, Wiccan wasn't really IN control. This was a spontaneous act. Carol explains that Wiccan will need to stay with the Avengers for a while just to make sure his power levels don't threaten the entire universe.
The lie is what most concerns our kids today. While they're in training, Hazmat gives off a low EM field that makes sure their words won't be picked up by the guys in the monitor room. They're all upset that they've been lied to and have different ways that they'd like to deal with it. Hazmat wants to bail on this scene. Striker thinks he knows better. If they run away, they'll just be seen as villains and locked up. They need to stay on and play this game or they'll share a cell right next to Stormin' Norman. Reptil doesn't believe that. In fact, of them all, Reptil is the one that has the most likelihood of becoming a hero.
This, of course, means that he's going to probably be the one most likely to fall into villain territory. Watch it happen, folks!
Mettle thinks staying is the best plan. He, Hazmat, and Veil have been promised that they'll eventually be able to switch back to normal so they need Hank Pym. As long as Pym isn't lying to them... They ask Finesse for her thoughts. She ruminates on it for a moment before deciding they should stay if only to learn everything they can from these people.
Later on, she wonders why she hesitated to answer. She knew the answer. It was obvious. She still hesitated. She runs through a quick flashback. When she was younger, she showed early on that she was a genius. Math. Science. Engineering. Games of skill. She could do anything she set her mind to and used that to make her parents happy. She was confused when her parental units weren't certain if she should be trained as an Avenger.
School has continued her confusion because she doesn't understand how her classmates act. Veil's crush on Justice? It seems like a waste of time. Finesse is worried that she might have psychological problems and checks some of the big ones out to see if she displays the right symptoms. Self diagnosis is always a good idea. She decides that she probably doesn't have any but that doesn't mean the teachers don't give her funny looks.
They think that she's the one that is the closest to the edge. She's the one who could become a super-villain the easiest. After all, she was one of the students that WASN'T tortured by Norman into learning more about her powers. The fact is she doesn't really test positive for any super-ability. Norman offered to teach her and she accepted. Then she learned. No uncomfortable surgeries or anything. The fact that she agreed to do the same with the Avengers doesn't really make them trust her.
She can fix her image, though. Out of our flashback, Finesse walks in to Hank Pym's lab to ask him some questions. She mentions that she's having some trouble fitting in with he peers and Hank is only too happy to call Tigra to help. Finesse declines because she feels better talking to Wasp. He's smart like her. They are quite alike and she's about the same age as Janet Van Dyne was when Jan became the Wasp, right? This is Finesse's attempt to mimic a crush on a teacher and it fails. Pym remembers his ex-wife as older and himself as younger. Also: ick.
Finesse switches tactics. She goes into her power set and how she thinks that her parents might not be her actual parents. Her abilities are a lot like someone... aren't they?
This is probably the biggest reason Finesse is in the Academy. She's a lot like Taskmaster. She wants to know if the guy is her real father but that's outside Pym's abilities and his responses make him more and more leery of this student. Finesse finds that even the truth has failed her. Hank leaves her to watch a video of Quicksilver's rise from Brotherhood of Evil Mutants member to star Avenger. It's a blatant attempt on Wasp's part to steer this misguided youth in the right direction and it's going to be followed by a showing of Reefer Madness.
The life of Pietro Maximoff is not one of glamor and success. Quicksilver has done a lot of stupid things, some of them in the recent past. In front of the camera, Pietro tells a reporter that life isn't about taking a shortcut to success even though he recently fakes his way out of responsibility for the House of M and stealing the Terrigen Crystals from the Inhumans. When the video is over, Finesse gets a very different message than the one that Pym was trying to send.
Finesse catches up to Quicksilver while the mutant is working on finding his sister. She tells him that maybe finding the Scarlet Witch isn't the best idea. Wanda killed people her last two times out and if she was found they'd have to deal with those consequences. This whole conversation annoys Pietro and he asks the student to get to the point.
The point is there was no Skrull.
Oh, wait, what? You might not be up on all your Quicksilver fun facts. Pietro got out of responsibility for the House of M and stealing the Terrigen Crystals from the Inhumans by claiming he was one of the many heroes replaced by a Skrull. Finesse knows this isn't true because she knows that no other prisoner of the Skrulls reported seeing him. Add to that the fact that the Skrull Quicksilver wouldn't have gotten his powers back by using the Terrigen Crystals because they effect Skrulls differently than they do Inhumans. The point is, this charge could ruin Maximoff's reputation. Sure, Hank Pym knows but the rest of the heroes are unaware.
Ooh. Blackmail. What does Finesse want for her silence on this matter? She wants special training. The kind she'd recieve from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
The Heroic Age: Uncanny X-Men #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artists: Whilce Portacio, Steve Sanders, & Jamie McKelvie
In this story:
• Beast quits the X-Men and tells Cyclops off.
• Cyclops heads to the Savage Land to kill Velociraptors.
• Hank McCoy waits for his date with Agent Brand and instead finds Molly Hayes from the Runaways.
• Hope gets tested for everything at the Baxter Building.
• Steve Rogers shows up to help Scott Summers out in the Savage Land.
• Beast annoys Princess Power. Like he's annoying all of us.
• Franklin Richards talks to Hope when she's supposed to be getting examined by the incredibly large gadget.
• Steve decides to give Cyclops a medal for being so awesome.
• Beast offers some comfort to Molly.
• On the way back from New York, Hope declares that she wants to find out what happened to her family.
• After Cyclops gets his medal, the mutants on Utopia celabrate,
• Scott talks with Hope, throws away his medal and tells Hope to go to Alaska and find her family.
It's rough when lifelong friends have a falling out and just can't resolve their differences. Such is the case right here. Hank McCoy and Scott Summer will never be friends again... until the next time they're friends. Still, this is the current state of things and it's a bit sad because they're both kind of wrong. Scott's the leader of mutantkind and has had to make hard decisions that he still thinks were necessary. He knows these things will damn him but he did them anyway because that's what leaders have to do. It still doesn't make those decisions RIGHT but there ya go. Beast... Hank disagrees. Vehemently. It's his right but it doesn't make him more wrong. For the scientist who has tried desperately to cure the magical zipzap put on the mutant race by the Scarlet Witch, no-one should know better than McCoy that hard decisions have to be made. Beast has made some of them himself.
Beast also made an @$$ out of himself at Nightcrawler's funeral by blaming Cyclops the entire time. It was poor form and no more Cyclops' fault than it would be any leader's responsibility.
All this leads up to Beast leaving the team. Now, this could actually be showing Beast leaving the team after the Utopia storyline was over with. That little conversation from Uncanny X-Men #519 was private and this is probably the reveal of it. Beast recently came back to the team for the Second Coming crossover and then left again. The scenes of Hank McCoy later in this book are definitely from after Second Coming because they reference events from that crossover.
Cyclops tries to convince Beast to stay but that's just not happening. When pressed on where he's going, McCoy muses about going to space to hang out with his girlfriend, Abigail Brand. If this is the unseen scene from UXM #519, then it leads right into the SWORD comic series (that turned into a mini-series "unexpectedly"). If it's from after Second Coming, then it just leads with him hanging out with his girl off-panel.
Let's get into part of this comic that is less temporally uncertain. Cyclops is fighting velociraptors in the Savage Land. It's funny that this part is easier to place because, hey, dinosaurs. Still, this is definitely post Second Coming. The last time Cyclops came to the Savage Land, it was with Emma Frost after Messiah Complex. This time he's come alone but the purpose is the same. Scott is here to relax by killing giant lizards. It's good for him because he can focus on strategy without being worried about the morality of things. If there were a world populated by Nazi Skrulls, he would probably go there. All he has is the Savage Land where he can kill presumedly extinct reptiles without worrying. He's pretty good at it but ends up tripping up with the current wave. Will he get to his feet in time to take on the next three dinos?
We'll find out later. Right now, we're cutting our way north all the way to Los Angeles where Beast stands in front of the skeletalized remains of another dinosaur. He's waiting to get picked up for his date but is finding his girl to be very, very late. Hank knows running SWORD is a busy job that hardly fits any time in for a personal life but he still feels rejected. He tosses his flowers into a tar pit.
Someone's there to scold him for littering: Molly Hayes. Princess Powerful from the Runaways. Hank is happy to see her and the two get to talking. Molly actually wants to pick Hank's brain. Her friends have started giving her some assignments. Right now, she wants to know about extinction.
Our final cast member hasn't been shown just yet. It's Hope, the mutant messiah. She's back from galavanting all over the time stream and is getting a check-up from the doctor who will be able to find out everything about her medical and super-powered needs: Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Her escorts for the day are Rogue and Doctor Nemesis. While Mr. Fantastic is getting his science on, Hope realizes she has an unexpected admirer. It's Franklin Richards. The only kid that Marvel time seems to keep a child. Franklin makes a motion letting her know not to give his presence away and then takes off. Boys are confusing.
Back in the Savage Land, Cyclops is getting ready to blast a charging raptor when he gets some assistance in the form of two arrows to the dinosaur's head. Steve Rogers, America's Top Cop, is here to lend a hand. He got Scott's location from Emma Frost and came up to have a talk.
Back in LA, Beast explains to Molly what extinction means. It means that you're as dead as the dodo and there's no more of you to come. That means that mutants aren't extinct because there's about two hundred of them on any given day. Hank says that this is true but there aren't any MORE coming at least in a significant number. Princess Powerful brings up Hope and the five new mutants that just popped into existance. It looks like things are turning around! McCoy stays pessimistic. This isn't a comeback. It's a trickle. It's like what the mutant population was like before it exploded during Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men.
Molly still clings to the hope that they'll make a return and she tries to instill that belief in her big blue friend. To no avail. Beast says the last person with faith like that was his other blue friend, Nightcrawler. Kurt's dead now. That's what happens when you believe in things, youngster! Beast: don't invite him to your kid's birthday party. He'll just depress everyone with talk of death and... probably taxes.
Molly gives him a super punch to show him just how depressing he is.
When Reed Richards gives you a thorough scan, he gives you a THOROUGH scan. Hope is currently stuck in a scanning device that is connected to an entire wall of equipment. She doesn't want to be here, that's for sure. Her talking gets her a warning from Reed. You've got to be quiet while he's sciencing. You also have to keep his kid out of the room but Reed hardly notices Franklin anyway.
Reed's son comes into the scanning room and talks to Hope, comforting her and trying to make her feel more at ease. Mr. Fantastic notices him and grounds the boy but allows Franklin to stay and visit with the Hope. Franklin talks about how horrible his father is. Hope remembers how great HER'S was. We all miss Cable.
Franklin asks Hope if she likes bikes but she doesn't know what a bike is. The young Richards understands and has some pretty good advice for someone who isn't allowed to grow up. He says that everything is going to be strange and new for her now that she's in this brave new world. People are going to have high expectations for her and there's going to be a lot of shouting. No worries. The people shouting and expecting things are her family (or they're kidnappers-- hopefully you can tell the difference). When they let her out to see the world, it's gonna be pretty cool.
In the Savage Land, two leaders discuss the joys of being in charge. Obviously, it's not a bed of roses. The responsibility to weigh heavily on the top man. Scott comes out here to unwind after a busy season of making hard decisions that effect hundreds of lives. Steve tells Cyclops that this was the job he was preparing for all his life. Summers knew what he was getting into. That's true but Cyclops was always expecting to be the good guy. He didn't know that the leader also has to be the bad guy sometimes. Steve can understand that.
Now, it's time to decide where the X-Men go from here. It's the other reason Cyclops came out here. Steve has an offer: it's time to be a heroes again. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four were involved in Second Coming as the teams outside the domed city of San Francisco. They didn't know what was going on inside and they still don't. All they know is that the X-Men saved the world. Again. They're heroes and it's time to be treated as such.
Scott doesn't think that likely. Mutants aren't people that most of the world would like to have as next door neighbors. Rogers thinks that Summer is the man who can change that with the right message. It won't happen tomorrow but it's something to work on, right? Steve Rogers has a plan.
In LA, the plan is to run away from the depressing blue mutant.
Beast follows her. He's got to explain that just because the mutant race is on the path to extinction doesn't mean that she'll die any sooner. She'll live a long full life until an editor decides that she has to die prematurely for some storyline or another. Even then, she'll probably come back to life before too much time has passed. All it really means is that any child she has would just be human. No more powers. Probably more accepted by society, too. The magic of mutants is leaving the world.
He gives her a big hug and tells the Runaway what being the last of your kind means. It means living life to the fullest. Do great things. Make them miss you when you're gone. It's not exactly uplifting but it's good advice for anyone, not just a people on the edge of extinction. They discuss their plans for the day. First, a bag of popcorn. Then, Molly has that assignment to finish. Beast needs to head into space for a date with his girlfriend. Hopefully, big things will happen.
Hope's tests are complete. She's got a lot of work to be done but there's nothing serious. She'll need some immunity shots to deal with the diseases of our times and a dentist is near in her future. Other than that, everything looks good to go. Reed would like more information on her family. When Hope mentions that she's the baby from the Cooperstown disaster that started off the Messiah Complex crossover, Reed is professional enough to display his sympathies. It would still be good to find out who her parents were. Reed gives her the mission.
On the trip back to Utopia, Hope decides that this is something she wants to do. It's time to find out who her actual family is.
In Washington D.C., Scott Summer recieves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is a big deal and it's made even more impressive on the fact that Steve Rogers rushed it through for a special ceremony. That doesn't mean that President Obama doesn't think Mr. Summers deserves it. He just would have liked to give it out with everyone else. Scott gets a photo op with Steve where the Avengers leader tells him to send word to the mutant people: They have fought well and won.
Cyclops returns to Utopia to cheers. The mutants and the normal people in San Francisco love their heroes and having a mutant recieve the Medal of Freedom is uplifting to the people. The night is spent in celebration.
Unless you're Cyclops or Hope. These two don't really feel like celebrating. Part of Scott Summers, a good big part, doesn't think he deserved such a great honor. Not after X-Force and not after some of the rest of his decisions. His son is dead because he sent Nathan to the future to save them all. Hope's father is dead because of Cyclops' leadership. This is the strangest family every. Here's a grandfather and a granddaughter moment and Cable was so much older than Scott most of the time because of all the time travel.
Cable's the connection and the division. He's a guy both of these two cared about and now he's gone. Scott tells Hope that he won a medal for saving lives and immediately regrets it. The life he couldn't save and all... The two talk and some progress is made. There are five new mutants and they need to be found. Scott wants Hope to be part of the team that goes looking for them. Hope wants to find out who she is.
Cyclops takes one long look at his medal and chucks it in the ocean. He decides that it's time to stop ordering Hope around and start treating her like a human being instead of the mutant messiah. He can get other people to find the five new mutants. Hope has a trip to Alaska that she needs to make.
You probably don't want to throw away the Presidential Medal of Honor if you ever get one no matter what symbolic gesture you're trying to make.
The Invincible Iron Man #28
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
In this story:
• Maria Hill hears of trouble in Tokyo and gets her Ops-Center to track it.
• Iron Man and War Machine arrive in Tokyo and get the brush off by the Hammer girls and Detroit Steel.
• Back at the temporary home of Stark Resilient, three prospective employees wait for an interview.
• Stark and Rhodes get chews out by Maria Hill.
• Tony meets with his potential clients and lets them know what their task is: they'll be building a repulsor powered car.
• Tony checks some old files and connects Sasha Hamer to Ezekiel Stane through some circumstantial evidence.
• Pepper Potts recovers from surgery.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
Terrorists in Cape Killer armor attacked a subway station in Tokyo last issue and were countered by Detroit Steel all decked out in the colors of the Rising Sun. The rest of the world is just learning about this attack. Chief among them is Maria Hill. She's looking at her gigantic map when Japan suddenly goes red. This ruins her perfectly clear board so she heads on down to Ops-Center to figure out what's what.
This is a welcome surprise. While Steve Rogers didn't bring SHIELD back when he took over the Top Cop position, he is still employing a number of ex-SHIELD Agents to run specific tasks for his Avengers teams. Ops is run by Christopher Walsh. You may remember him as the HAMMER Agent who tried to hide Tony Stark's location from Norman Osborn during the World's Most Wanted story. You'll also notice that there's one guy dressed in a SHIELD uniform but it doesn't look compulsory. Walsh, for example, is dressed business casual.
Ops has the vaguest of idea of what's going on and is using local news broadcasts to figure out better details. The translator is working at full capacity to get this into English as soon as possible. The first thing that catches Hill's eyes are the terrorists in Cape Killer armor. Next up are Justine and Sasha Hamer followed quickly by an image of Detroit Steel. Maria orders people to watch those three. Iron Man and War Machine are already on their way and they are going to get served.
Not that they know it yet. Tony and James knew they'd end up getting to this party late but they still made the attempt because they wanted to handle as much damage control as they could. Neither had a clue that the situation would be dealt with before it had escalated. It's a good thing they wear masks. Seeing Detroit Steel and the Hammer girls would probably elicit some strange reactions.
The conversation is definitely defensive on Justine's part. Tony recognizes her but only vaguely. We all know that she's the third Crimson Cowl but that isn't public knowledge. Tony saunters around trying to stay one step ahead of this PR fiasco. He does a pretty good job, even reaching out to shake the hand of an unreceptive Detroit Steel until Sasha Hammer pulls him away to show him the Cape Killer armor involved in this terrorist attack. It has "Stark Industries" stamped on the side. If Tony and his friend don't take off, this will go badly for him.
Back at the temporary headquarters of Stark Resilient, Mrs. Arbogast is keeping three prospective employees waiting. They aren't exactly happy to see the man who's supposed to be conducting their interview hanging out in Japan while engaged in a PR disaster. Some of them are even wondering why they got picked as a potential new hire. Mrs. Arbogast explains that she's the one picking out employees and each of them are vital for the new project that Stark Resilient will be working on. Then she offers them some horribly pretentious hippie cookies while they wait.
Seriously, if anyone asks me if I want to eat "organic" cookies... I'd eat them, probably, but I'd be angry about the entire thing unless they were totally delicious.
Iron Man and War Machine return from their trip abroad. Neither thinks that went especially well but, luckily, most people could give a damn about the goings on half a world away. If this had happened in downtown Seattle, it would be all over the news. Tokyo? Probably a fifteen minute segment on the Daily Show and then quickly forgotten. Maria Hill is less forgiving than me. She chews them both for going into this situation without the proper intel. Tony apologizes for going off unprepared but Hill just keeps on going.
Tony asks Rhodey to leave the room. It's time to have it out with the current Director of the Avengers. Stark has been doing an awful lot of apologizing lately for a lot of things he doesn't remember doing. A lot of this is stuff he knows is needed. With Hill, he doesn't understand why she's so pissed off at him. She was on his side. Why the hell is she so angry?
Oh yeah. No-one likes it if you don't remember your one night stand with them even though Stark erased his brain and has a pretty good reason for not remembering. I think the other thing about this is that he slept with Maria Hill and then went off being wanted by everyone. Then he slept with Pepper Potts. Hill and Potts talked about this. It was wierd.
Hill isn't about to admit this little incident is what's between them so she remains silent. From now on, they're good. Probably not but you can pretend. Hill asks Tony if anything useful came out of his transcontinental roadtrip. As a matter of fact... he recognized someone but only barely. Sasha Hammer. She's someone important. He gets a flash of her in his deleted memories like an echo left over. He needs to find out who she is which means pulling some video of events happening prior to the Secret Invasion and seeing if she's in any of them. He adds it to his list of things to do. It's a long list.
Stark pulls those tapes and then walks in to check on Mrs. Arbogast to see if he has any messages. Oh... yeah... interviews. These guys have been waiting here since breakfast and it's dinner time now. At least Mrs. A has kept them well fed. Let's meet them one by one!
Mr. Macken! He worked as an overseer at a GN auto plant in Detroit until he got laid off. After that, he started working at an electronics repair shop, doing repair work for favors instead of money since a good portion of the population was out of work. He wonders why he's here since his skill set isn't suited for work on computers. It turns out Stark Resilient isn't making a computer so much as a repulsor powered automobile. That's Macken's skill set. His ingenuity on setting up a barter system in Detroit might come in handy down the line, though.
Tim Cababa! He was a member of the Philippines' super-hero team, Triumph Division. Whether he worked as a hero or as part of the support team is still unknown. I guess we'll find out when he gets into his super suit later on (or doesn't). Cababa quit Triumph Division because he's a builder and he only got chances to rebuild. That attitude is also shying him away from employment with Stark Resilient. He doesn't want to put Stark back together. The repulsor car gets brought up again. If there's one thing you can say about Tony Stark, it's that he doesn't build things the same way twice. It's time to blaze into the future.
Last up is Mr. Pimacher! He actually has history with Tony's partner, Carson Wyche. When he sees Wyche, he wonders why he's even in the room. Wyche responds that he's here because Wyche's own people need to work on sure things. This project is cutting edge and it needs these people because they have nowhere else to go.
Nice sales pitch, eh? Now for the fun part. Tony gets the new hires all together and lets them know what's going down. They're making a repulsor powered car but that's not exciting enough. The exciting part is that they are going to show it at the 21-Green International Expo in Seattle. This gives them six weeks to build their car for the show. This process usually takes at the least three years. Faces drop. Mrs. Arbogast all but throws up the devil horns in her enthusiasm.
Stark isn't doing a lot of sleep lately. Right now, he's going over video to find out how he knows Sasha Hammer. What he's come up with is a grainy shot from Ezekial Stane's attack on Stark Tower in Tapei. She's leading Stane to her car. It's hardly conclusive proof but Tony is convinced that the woman in the picture is her.
Stane and Hammer. Two names that have been thorns in Tony's side since forever. Now, it looks like they might be involved in Detroit Steel. There's only one thing to do. It's time to have a party.
Pepper Potts recovers from elective surgery at the St. Sebastian Medical Center. She got that Repulsor put back in her chest. She wakes up with a smile on her face.
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
In this story:
• Word comes in from the French Resistance that someone's gotta rescue their leader from the Nazi. I guess the Howling Commandos have a job to do.
• The Commandos parachute into France and start the firefight before they've even left the plane.
• On the ground, Fury's men liberate a town with some help from French Resistance fighters... including a blonde woman, Marie, who will be important to the plot!
• They take an armored vehicle and roll into Louviers with some help from Marie.
• The Nazis try to make the leader of the French Resistance, Labrave, talk by starving him and threatening to kill his daughter.
• The Commandos fight their way into Louviers but they're each captured while Sergeant Fury is buried under fallen bits of an ammo dump wall.
• The Commandos are lined up to be shot together only to be rescued by Sgt. Fury who isn't as dead as you'd imagine.
• With Labrave rescued and reunited with his daughter (Marie) the plans for D-Day are allowed to continue. Wah-hooo!
It was May, 1963 or near about that date (remember, comic dates are usually two months ahead so it was more likely March). Fantastic Four was on issue #14. Amazing Spider-Man had it's second issue on the stands. The Marvel Age was starting to take shape.
So, naturally, it was time for a comic starring soldiers fighting in World War II.
The story goes that Stan Lee was bragging to Marvel Publisher, Marvin Goodman, about his new Marvel style (where Lee gave a short plot to his artists and let them fill in the blanks). He said that any comic could be successful using this new method. Goodman took him up on that. Not only was the new book a war comic (war comics were currently on the outs for the comic industry) but it also had a unwieldly title "Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos." It was a sure loser which meant it enjoyed a LONG run.
Stan Lee DID stack the deck in his favor. Jack Kirby was given art chores. This was a great choice because Kirby was the most familiar with Stan's new way of doing comics and probably created the best work using this method. The war comic was moved away from the more controversial Vietnam War and settled back into World War II, a war that most still view as absolutely necessary. While war comics tended to be dreary tales of death and tragedy, Sgt. Fury was all about action. It was a super-hero comic without any super-powers. It contrasted well against DC's Sgt. Rock which took itself much more seriously.
In the first issue, no-one is introduced like a traditional super-hero book. You basically get their names as we go along. Nick Fury gets the most face time and is easily recognizable. His corporal, Dum-Dum Dugan, also has a distinctive look and is hard to miss. Many of the rest get a few moments to shine here and there but you may miss their names as they pass by. I certainly did with my first read through. One curious member of the Howling Commandos is Gabriel Jones. He plays that trumpet and gives the soldiers something to listen to while they pass the time between missions. He's also a black man; one if not THE first black heroes in Marvel Comics. The first issue actually had a color error where the engraver thought he had been colored wrong and changed him into a white man. This error was corrected for previous issues. Black men didn't serve side-by-side with white men until AFTER World War II but Gabriel was a special case on a very special squad.
OK, that's enough build up. Let's get this party started.
Our issue begins in Nazi Occupied France. The French Resistance is trying to get a message through to the Allies. Their leader, Labrave, has been captured, putting the entire D-Day plan in jeapardy. Someone's got to go in there an rescue him before torture brings the secret out of him. Just after the message is sent through, German soldiers storm the hideout out. They don't even care that the message got through. Not even the Commandos can hope to rescue Labrave.
In England, Samuel "Happy Sam" Sawyer recieves word that his outfit has been chosen for this mission. Happy Sam is actually anything BUT happy. It's one of those reverse nicknames that people get. He's especially not happy to be sending his men on another suicide mission but that's what the Commandos are for.
Soon, a rough and tumble Sergeant, Nick Fury, leaves Sawyer's office with his orders. He finds his men engaged in pretty serious training exercises. Corporal Dum-Dum Dugan is firing a machine gun over their heads as the Commandos dig into the mud. Dugan is so into his training that he tears the machine gun from it's stand and starts firing between Commandos. Nick chews Dum-Dum a new one to get him to stop. They've got a mission and this is no time for games. It's time for action.
Does this sound like a job for Rangers? That's because these guys are ACTUALLY Rangers. They served in World War II in much the same way the British Commandos did. In fact, they were given the "Commando" monik
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX