And this is the beginning of a whole lot of books in one week.
Today, we check out The Avengers #3, The New Avengers #2, Age of Heroes #3, Thunderbolts #146, Heroic Age: Prince of Power #3, New Mutants #15, Atlas #3, Deadpool #25 and Blast to the Past for Strange Tales #110. Enjoy and spread the word!
Things start getting a little complicated as it looks more and more like I'm reviewing every Marvel book released. I'm not. It just looks that way.
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege? Check no further than this link right HERE.
The Heroic Age continues with the third issue of Avengers.
The New Avengers #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
In this issue:
• The New Avengers fight a demon possessed Luke Cage (as well as Dr. Strange and Hellstrom).
• Wolverine tosses the Eye of Agamotto into the park and then starts stabbing the possessed magicians.
• Demon Cage keeps going for the Eye and it eventually finds itself in Ms. Marvel's hands.
• Strange wakes up unpossessed. Healing spells are started.
• Ms. Marvel loses the Eye in her fight with Demon Luke and it ends up in Iron Fist's hand.
• Doctor Voodoo teleports in.
• The demon possesses Iron Fist and teleports out of our dimension.
• The magicians lose their cool as the sky cracks open, letting more evil critters in.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
You may be wondering why Luke Cage is a giant. You may also be wondering what is up with his burning eyes. Well, old Cage just got himself possessed by a demon. He's not the only one. Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom have also wound up possessed, though they at least remain normal size. Since Cage was holding onto the Eye of Agamotto, it's now in the hands of the demon. This is bad news for our heroes all around.
So the Avengers have a few things they need to do. Since they're being attacked in their new base, Avengers Mansion, no-one was actually prepared for this fight. This means little babies, like Luke and Jessica's daughter, need to get out of danger fast. They also need to get that Eye out of the demon's hand. Finally, the Avengers have to find out how to get these guys exorcised. Jessica hands her baby over for Spider-Man to get to a safe place and the Thing makes a grab for the Eye of Agamotto.
That second part doesn't work out very well. Ben gets knocked far out of the Mansion and into a nearby park. He's not to happy about that. Spidey has better luck getting little Danielle out of the battle zone but he notices the Mansion getting TRASHED during the fight. Since the place just got rebuilt, it's a shame. This kind of thing happens to every Avengers base.
Thing's action did get the Eye out of Demon Luke's hand but it didn't travel out of the Mansion with Grimm. It landed inside the Mansion. The giant Luke Cage tries grabbing the amulet with all of the Avengers trying to prevent it. It doesn't stop his reach from getting closer and closer to the magical item. Only Jessica punching him in the face stops that. With Demon Cage reeling, Wolverine snatches up the Amulet and tosses it out of the building. With that accomplished, Logan stabs the two demon possessed magic users in the arm.
The Eye lands in the park but doesn't get the distance on it that Ben Grimm did. A picnicking couple notices the object and picks it up. They have no idea what it is but the sudden appearance of giant, flaming-eyed Luke Cage makes them know it's not something they'll want to keep and show their grandkids. The Eye is tossed into the air. Both Demon Cage and the Thing make a grab for it but it's Ms. Marvel who swoops in and grabs the item.
Carol flies away leaving the Thing and Demon Luke watching her flight trail. Thing takes advantage of the opening to deliver a little payback on the guy that knocked him out of the Mansion.
Inside Avengers Mansion, Logan is interrogating the two demon possessed magicians. He wants to know who they are and who they're working for. That's not going to be revealed just yet. Instead, the two demon burst out of the two mages and disappear. Spider-Man walks back down the stairs to find Wolverine standing over the unmoving forms of Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom.
If you're wondering what happened to Danielle Cage, Spider-Man brought the girl up to her room and is using a baby monitor to make sure the kid is safe. NEVER LET PETER PARKER BABYSIT. He'll just duck out to have adventures when he should be watching your damn kid.
In fact, Peter's more concerned with Wolverine stabbing these two guys. They're bleeding on the Avengers' nice new mansion. As they quibble about who's done the stupidest thing, Dr. Strange regains consciousness.
With the Eye of Agamotto out of reach, Demon Luke is easy to subdue. Well, he does knock Jessica Jones into the sky but that's just because she still thinks Luke can assert some control. He can't. It's a lesson learned by all. Meanwhile, Mockingbird uses the downtime to take a bystander's cell phone to make some phone calls. There's no follow up on who she's calling in this issue so I can only assume she needed to call for pizza.
In Avengers Mansion, Logan and Peter are bringing Dr. Strange up to speed. It seems that when you're possessed you don't actually get to view whats happening through your own eyes. You just go unconscious while your body moves around out of your control. Stephen does congratulate Wolverine for figuring out that the pain of stab wounds would release himself and Hellstrom from demon control. Obviously, Logan didn't know that at all. He just likes to stab things. They tell Dr. Strange that this isn't over yet. There's still the matter of Luke Cage.
Outside, the Avengers are trying to bargain with Demon Luke for the release of their friend. He's insisting that only giving him the Eye will make him release Cage. Jessica is insisting that Luke can break out of this on his own but that just makes Demon Luke play games with her head by pretending to be the real Luke Cage. All this happens while Cage is giant size and burning from various bits. While he's not giving us any names, the demon possessing Luke Cage lets us know that he's serving the "He." This might not be too much of a clue for who is behind all this but we'll see where it leads.
To break the ceasefire, Ms. Marvel returns with the Eye of Agamotto. Demon Luke gets back to his feet and tries to grab it. Carol gives the demon a super powered punch but it's not enough. Demon Cage still gets his giant hand around her. The Eye drops to the ground.
Strange uses healing spells on himself and Hellstrom. Daimon wakes up in a bitter mood. Again, he has no clue what's going on, but it doesn't take him long to realize that there are demons trying to take over our reality.
Iron Fist is the next guy to grab the Eye of Agamotto. Danny does this with Demon Luke right on his tail, so a quick fist like unto a thing of iron is employed to get the demon to back off. Demon Luke hits the ground and is again surrounded by Avengers. This is when tactics are finally changed. The demon abandons Luke Cage and heads right into Danny Rand. The Eye is in demon hands once more.
Strange and Hellstrom are onto this game by now and tell everyone else that the demon switched into Iron Fist. To take the odds right out of the demon's favor, the current Sorceror Supreme, Doctor Voodoo, shows up to throw his magic power into the mix. It looks like this is all going to be a happy ending until Demon Iron Fist takes his figurative ball and goes home. That's right. Before the heroes' eyes, Iron Fist, Eye of Agamotto, and possessing demon leave our reality for their own.
The magicians have fits as the New Avengers struggle to catch up on what happened. Hellstrom nearly runs Doctor Voodoo through with his fire trident for allowing this to happen. The Eye of Agamotto is gone. With it, our reality is no longer safe from invasion from another reality. As this is explained to the Avengers, the sky cracks into flame and demons start pouring into New York City.
The Avengers #3
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
In this story:
• The Avengers are being attacked by Apocalypse and his Horsemen!
• Iron Man tries to talk to the Horseman that looks like Scarlet Witch and loses his armor. Spidey rescues Tony from a fatal flaw.
• Tony reboots his armor and has a chat with Apocalypse before the timestream sends the villains on their way.
• Iron Man's scans give the Avengers a good clue at when time gets all messed up.
• While the rest of the team go deal with various timeflux problems, Iron Man, Protector, Wolverine, and Captain America hit a second location to rebuild the time machine.
• The first timeflux emergency is Killraven and Devil Dinosaur.
The previous story in this series, Shadowland #1, was covered HERE.
Yeah, you might be looking at that comic and saying, "Yeah! Kang the Conqueror! Maestro! Another... Spider-Girl?" Prepare for disappointment. None of those guys even appear in this comic. Amazing.
The story actually begins in a building a bit away from Avengers Tower. There's a girl over there who is fascinated with the Avengers. Seriously, who wouldn't be? If you were living across the street from the Avengers, you'd be looking to the skies for their comings and goings too. Today is going to give this Avengers fan a close encounter... maybe too close. Thor smashes right through the outer wall and lands right in their apartment.
That's the danger of living near the Avengers.
After a quick apology, Thor rejoins the battle already in progress. Apocalypse and his Horsemen have attacked Avengers Tower. If you think that's a random encounter, you're right. There was no warning or build up to this attack. It just happened.
This is because Apocalypse didn't actually plan this either. He's trapped in time with no control on where he and his minions end up. This is just the beginning of the Avengers' trouble with the time stream.
The future Horsemen are the traditional mutants that they've usually been. Sure, we have Wolverine and Scarlet Witch but the group is rounded out by non-mutants, Iron Man and Spider-Man. It's the Scarlet Witch that puts the real Iron Man on edge. Even though he knows this is probably some temporal attack, he still tries to talk with Wanda. Scarlet Witch's powers are just as effective, and Tony finds his armor dissolving as he makes an unexpected drop to the ground below.
Spider-Man to the rescue! This is a cool scene for fans of the last few years of Avengers because Spidey and Iron Man have some... history. This was sort of resolved back in Invincible Iron Man #7 but you'd think there'd still be some animosity lingering. Not so. Peter goes straight to work and saves the life of Tony Stark at the last minute with a giant web.
The Avengers start realizing that this fight really isn't the important battle. This has got to be part of time shredding. Maria Hill tries to direct Iron Man and the Protector to their secret base to rebuild their time machine but Tony wants a word with Apocalypse before he goes. By this point, his armor has rebooted from the magic attack so he suits back up and gets in close to Apoc.
Iron Man grabs Apocalypse in a power shield and draws the villain back inside Avengers Tower. He's using all his scanning tech to get as much info on where and when Apocalypse has been as he can. While he's scanning, Tony's also trying to get the big guy to give up whatever info that he has but Apocalypse would rather talk like a super-villain than offer anything useful.
Outside, the Avengers are keeping the Horsemen at bay. Thor lets out a shower of lightning with a swing of his hammer before time catches up to Apocalypse and his crew. As they're shifted off to another time and place, Apocalypse talks about how this keeps happening to him.
That's just the beginning of their trouble. Tony's scan of Apocalypse has revealed that where time ended up messed up, but time IS still messed up. They need to fix it ASAP. Outside, Spider-Man and Spider-Woman keep an eye out for any reappearance of Apocalypse and crew as they talk about how things have been going. Spidey also learns that one of the Horseman was HIM. That spoils his mood after saving Iron Man's life. When he sees Protector walking up the wall courtesy of his own insect DNA, Peter starts thinking about copyrighting his powers.
So, now it's time to split up and take care of fixing the time stream and capping any temporal emergencies as they erupt around the city.
Hawkeye wants the entire team to work on fixing the time stream but when Maria Hill shows him what's already happening around the city, he reconsiders. Most of the team will work the problem here. Iron Man, Protector, Captain America, and Wolverine will hit up their secret second base and rebuild the time machine for immediate use.
Their secret base is actually one of Nick Fury's secret bases, located in that old abandoned Barber Shop. This time, there is no pizza. It's time to get to work. It doesn't actually take very long. Before you know it, Noh has rebuilt the time machine. He claims that making it again was much easier than the first time. It's time to get their future on.
The rest of the Avengers are hitting their first hot spot and finding it empty of people. This is strange because, hey, New York. They decide that maybe the people were chased away by whatever they're here to fight. Spidey get a big tingle in his spider-sense. Danger is imminent.
Behind them are Killraven and Devil Dinosaur.
Age of Heroes #3
Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Penciler: Brad Walker
In this story:
• Crusher Creel breaks into Avengers Tower looking for his ball and chain.
• The Avengers aren't around so he gets to fight the three team coordinators, Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, and Victoria Hand.
• Carter tricks him into becoming glass and then shatters the guy but that's just a delaying tactic.
• Maria Hill sets up a room that should contain the Absorbing Man but they need to trick him inside and then escape.
• Victoria sets herself up as bait, allowing Crusher to absorb her cold.
• The Absorbing Man is trapped. Now, the coordinators just have to deal with a returning Spider-Man who decides he's a male chauvinist today.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
At the base of Avengers Tower, a group of drunks sing their way through the street. They're consoling one of their number for losing his wife to the Avengers. That guy explains that he didn't lose his WIFE, he lost his ball and chain. When he says "ball and chain," he means it quite literally. This is Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, and he's on a mission to get back his property.
He's also pretty drunk.
Up on the top floors of the Tower, the three Avengers coordinators and liasons are meeting to discuss how their teams will work together. Maria Hill seems to be running the meeting since she's in charge of the main Avengers team. Victoria Hand, coordinator for the New Avengers, is barely keeping it together because of a nasty flu virus. Sharon Carter works with the Secret Avengers, working directly with Steve, but she looks to be letting Hill run this show. It's mostly legal this and that and we're all happy that Jarvis interrupts the meeting to tell them about the Absorbing Man's attack at the base of the Tower.
They aren't too concerned at first because Crusher Creel is supposed to be depowered. When they learned that Osborn was the one to depower him (Absorbing Man was defeated in Mighty Avengers #33 by Norman), they turn to Victoria like she knows what's going on. Hand doesn't and she's tired of apologizing. There's no time anyway. It looks like Creel has his powers and is making short work of the security crew.
The three ladies shut down the elevator, forcing Crusher to scale the shaft by hand. While the Absorbing Man is a threat, his singing up the elevator shaft lets everyone know how drunk he is. That gives this team an edge. Victoria's been trying to get a hold of Luke Cage but is coming up empty. The regular team is gone. It's up to them.
When Creel reaches their floor, Sharon shoots out a glass chandalier above the villain. The glass comes tumbling down and Crusher absorbs its characteristics without even thinking. A second bullet to his stomach shatters the Absorbing Man. This isn't the end by a long shot. While he's down for the moment, Creel can put himself back together with just a little time. The Avengers coordinators need to keep working the problem.
While Sharon was busy doing her ex-SHIELD Agent bit, Maria Hill was setting up a room that should be able to contain the Absorbing Man until someone with powers can come by and deal with him. The problem is luring him into the room and then getting themselves OUT before he escapes.
Victoria Hand has a plan.
If Crusher wants to face an Avenger, they give him one to face.
The Absorbing Man is still shouting about his missing ball and chain when Maria's voice comes over the loudspeaker, telling anyone listening in that a highly powerful new Avenger is about to be contained in the East Wing so anyone looking to absorb up some nice super powers might want to scoot over there before we lock the area down. Creel falls for the bait and runs right into the trap.
Inside the room, Victoria Hand is collapsed on a chair. She's wearing Maria's clothes so that Crusher won't realize that it's someone he's just seen. He's drunk enough not to care, anyway. Sharon Carter plays her part by aiming her gun at the villain and warning him away before it's too late. Crusher just runs up and absorbs Victoria's power.
Which seems to be having the flu. Creel starts sneezing immediately and the ladies leave him alone inside his cage. The three return to the conference room to go enter this event in their records and find Spider-Man waiting for them.
Spidey has just had one of HIS adventures which usually involves life and death (or having sex with the Black Cat) and is so worn out that he wonders if one of these girls would be a dear and get him a little snack. Sharon decides that it would be OK to shoot the Wall-Crawler and no-one objects.
Writer: Kevin Grevioux
Penciler: M.C. Wyman
In this story:
• The Blue Marvel discusses his place in the Heroic Age with Uatu the Watcher.
• King Hyperion attacks the Winter Guard in Russia.
• During Blue Marvel's fight with Hyperion, Blue Marvel is soundly beaten.
• Seeing that Hyperion plans on running the whole show, Adam rises to his feet and gets a second wind for round two.
• Hyperion is defeated and the villagers are grateful.
• The Blue Marvel begins his mission to save the world.
If you've never heard of the Blue Marvel, I wouldn't worry too much. He appeared in his own mini-series back in late 2008/early 2009 and in a 'What If' story soon after. Blue Marvel is another retcon of Marvel history, originally serving as a hero in the early sixties before being given early retirement when the public found out he was black.
He's back now and wondering how to deal with this new era where heroes aren't looked up to but are instead feared and hated by those they've sworn to protect. Adam Brashear doesn't want to add to that. Instead, he wants to be that shining example for others to look up to. He's discussing this in his secret headquarters in the Mariana Trench with his good friend Uatu the Watcher who's apparently decided that interfering with the lives of humans is fine and dandy. Sure, he's not "helping" so much as offering advice. This advice boils down to "haters gonna hate" and maybe Blue Marvel can't deal with that and should retire again. He says that last bit almost mockingly, you can tell.
Before Adam can tell Uatu to stop interfering, his alarms start chiming. It looks like an evil Hyperion is attacking people in Russia. The Winter Guard is on the scene but they don't look like they're doing much good. Hyperion is a Superman doppleganger. Depending on what alternate reality he's from, you get good guys or bad guys. This one is definitely in the bad guy category. The Winter Guard? They're Russia's own super-hero team, comprised of Ursa Major, Red Guardian, Darkstar, and Crimson Dynamo. I think I talked about them last during the Secret Invasion when War Machine was fighting Skrulls in Russia.
Since Hyperion is a big threat and the Winter Guard doesn't seem to be doing much good, Blue Marvel tables the discussion and sets off to do the right thing. He makes the scene and thinks this fight is going to be a cake walk. Not so much. This interdimensional Hyperion fancies himself a king and talks a lot about how he's beaten the heroes on multiple worlds. Blue Marvel is well known to him and has lost on every world. Not only that, but Hyperion talks about how Blue Marvel retired in the sixties when the public found out he wasn't the right skin color. Maybe the smack talk helps but either way we're left with Blue Marvel getting beat down by this version of Hyperion.
Hype runs into the scared villagers and grabs a small child by the back of her shirt, lifts the kid off the ground and tells everyone that they'll be well off if they do as they're told. The heroes of this world have failed because they haven't been able to do what is necessary. It's only with his tyrannical reign that the world will enjoy peace.
So, yeah, crazy. Blue Marvel notices that well enough. Still, Hyperion's talk about how the heroes never do what is necessary seems to have hit a chord. He sees these fearful faces and knows that they aren't just scared of Hyperion. They're also scared of him. That doesn't stop him from doing what needs to be done. Adam gets back to his feet and starts kicking the villain into the ground.
This time, the fight goes in Blue Marvel's favor. Hyperion is knocked unconscious. Now, Brashear is left to deal with the locals who are still pretty scared. When the small child who was threatened by Hypie reaches out and thanks Blue Marvel for saving her, the mob is quieted down and the people also offer their gratitude.
This is a life changing moment. Blue Marvel realizes that you don't do the hero thing because you're looking to be a shining example of something. You do it because it's the right thing to do. We catch a montage of hero moments as the Blue Marvel gives out care packages in Haiti, flying in some sort of housing block into Ecuador, beating the super-villain, Pagan, in Paris, France, and holding up falling buildings in Singapore. Looks like Blue Marvel is doing the hero thing for people who might not like or appreciate him. He thanks Uatu for nagging him in the right direction.
The other Watchers probably consider retiring Uatu from this sector of space for doing WAY more interference than is technically allowed by the Watcher's Oath of Noninterference.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Jefte Palo
In this story:
• Taskmaster's meal is interrupted by a Yakuza that accuses him of working for Steve Rogers.
• Tasky cuts off the guy's fingers.
• As he fights his way out of the restaurant, the Yakuza shouts the news about the bounty on his head placed by the Org.
• Taskmaster leaves, thinking about the inconsistencies in the Yakuza's story and on a mission to find the dude what framed him.
When Avengers: The Initiative came to a close, Taskmaster and Constrictor had escaped from the Siege of Asgard and wound up in Japan. I couldn't tell you what eventually became of Constrictor but it looks like Taskmaster finds himself in a restaurant in Japan enjoying some del shannon and cajun ramen. It is here that a Yakuza finds him and tells him that the Org claims he's working for Steve Rogers, trying to root out the baddest of the bad from within. This would be a sweet gig and probably something Taskmaster would jump at in a minute. He obviously doesn't have a problem working for the right side of the tracks.
But it's not so. He got out of Oklahoma by being lucky and good enough to realize when the gravy train had run its course. He decides to make this Yakuza pay for lying by cutting off the man's fingers using Elektra's skillset. Taskmaster's whole schtick is his ability to copy anything he sees. He's not good at improv, but he can mix and match abilities on the spot. He throws his shield Captain America-style to clear a path to the door and makes his way out of the restaurant.
The Yakuza's words follow him out of the building. The Org has put a price on his head. There'll be more attempts on his life in the future. Taskmaster is concerned. When he did his bit training people for such groups as Hydra, AIM, and the Maggia, it was through the Org. In fact, he's one of the few people that know of the Org's existence (nevermind that the Yakuza was also in the know and shouting about this secret group all over a public restaurant). Someone's setting him up for a fall, and he needs to find out who that guy is and get some payback to clear his bad name.
To do that, he needs to look less conspicuous. Even though he's used hologram tech in the past to dress up as other people, this time he sheds his costume and walks around in plain sight as the guy no-one has ever seen without a mask on.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ty Templeton
In this story:
• Squirrel Girl returns to Great Lakes Avengers Headquarters to tell them that she defeated Fin Fang Foom without their help.
• She realizes that the team doesn't actually DO anything since they know she can take care of things on her own...
• ...so she quits the team and heads to Disneyland.
Squirrel Girl is a much better super-hero than you'd ever think by looking at her. In fact, she's taken on threats like Dr. Doom without any real trouble. Her latest adventure brought her face to face with the dragon, Fin Fang Foom. She beat the big guy all by herself... well, with the help of Tippy-Toe, her companion squirrel. The only problem is her teammates in the Great Lakes Avengers aren't really helping her do any of this great heroing.
She isn't angry at her team for this. She's upset with herself. If she stepped out of the way, the Great Lakes Avengers could step into their own and take out the threats that face Wisconsin on a daily basis. Guys like Baron Mordo, Korvac, and Ego the Living Planet (these are the recent victories Squirrel Girl has had). There's only one choice. She needs to leave the team.
The reporters outside the GLA building are waiting to interview their hero and ask her why the hell she's hanging out with the Great Lakes Avengers. She defends her team once more and then tells them that she's off to adventure on her own so she can stop holding he team back. They ask her where she's gonna go.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Kev Walker
In this story:
• Crossbones brings an Asgardian Troll girl down.
• Valkyrie comes to pick the Troll girl, Gunna, up from the Raft but is denied until Steve Rogers reviews the case.
• The T-Bolts get their next mission: investigating a supposed terrigen crystal cave in New Guinea.
• They find a team of UN investigators who had been sent in just a day earlier. They look like they starved to death.
• The Crystals are interacting with a vein of Uranium making their effects extremely dangerous.
• MACH V and Man-Thing find the SHIELD investigators horribly mutated with skin that burns to the touch.
• Within short order, everyone is knocked out of the fight besides Man-Thing, Crossbones, and a Ghost-controlled MACH V.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
We left the Thunderbolts facing off against a trio of Trolls who had escaped Asgard during the Siege. Two of them were your garden variety Trolls. The third one happened to be a girl dressed up as a Troll but that didn't make her any less dangerous. Her axe injured Ghost even while intangible and made staying phased impossible.
This issue begins as Troll Girl leaps in to finish Ghost off. As calmly as he can, Ghost tries getting a hold of Luke Cage on his communicator so that he get a last minute rescue. That save actually comes in a carefully aimed shot dealt by Crossbones. Luke shows up soon afterward to chew Crossbones out for the killing shot but it turns out the marksman didn't use bullets. He used a tranq dart delivered right to the girl's head. Now they just need to figure out what a girl was doing hanging out with Trolls.
That answer is given by Valkyrie. It seems that the girl's mother was one of the Asgardians who was captured by the girl's father. Stuff happened that is probably best left unsaid and lo and behold, Troll Girl. She was raised as a Troll since her daddy was one. When the Asgardians captured her, they tried to teach her the ways of Asgard but it doesn't seem to have been effective. Since she wasn't really getting down with the Asgard way of thinking, Troll Girl was kept in the Troll pens.
The Asgardians named her Gunna after her mother. We'll use that every so often so I don't have to keep calling her Troll Girl all the time.
Valkyrie is ready to take this girl back to Asgard but that's not gonna happen on John Walker's watch. As far as he's concerned, this girl killed and ate campers with the rest of the Trolls and is therefore under arrest. The situation escalates as the former USAgent and Valkyrie play the blame game in regards to the Siege. Luke finally breaks up the pissing match by declaring the decision in the hands of Steve Rogers. This satisfies both parties. Until Steve can look in on this, Gunna remains at the Raft.
This type of situation isn't what Luke Cage signed on for. He took over this program to reform villains and go on missions to make the world a better place, not to play a political game. Songbird thinks he handled the situation admirably nonetheless. While Melissa introduces Gunna to the women's quarters, Luke sets up the next T-Bolt mission.
That last mission went less than smoothly. They weren't supposed to kill anyone, and besides the girl that Crossbones tranqed, there are no other Troll survivors. He's ready to drop a few Thunderbolts from the roster but he doesn't have time to replace them. The next mission is more important so this team will have to do.
This is a lot of backstory so I'll try to sum up as best I can. Before HAMMER took over SHIELD, a number of high priority projects were going on that no-one from HAMMER bothered to check up on when control was transferred. One of those was a SHIELD investigation of a potential Terrigen Crystal cave. A SHIELD team went in to investigate months ago and was never heard from. Just yesterday, a UN team was also sent in but hasn't been heard from since. Now, it's Thunderbolts time.
The team is given special breathing filters so that they won't be accidentally mutated by the Terrigen Mists and everyone gathers in the sub-basement for teleportation by Man-Thing. One great thing about this method of teleporting is that it's completely seamless. You're standing in the sub-basement and then you're in New Guinea, right in front of the cave in question. The Thunderbolts see both SHIELD and UN transports near the cave entrance. Looks like no-one came out to claim a vehicle.
There's a fork in the cave path. The left path looks like it leads to the Terrigen Crystals. The right doesn't, but Man-Thing starts walking that way so MACH V, his current handler, follows. The rest of the team makes their way left. Ghost skips right in between, against orders, because he detects more Terrigen Crystals beyond a wall.
The main Thunderbolt team doesn't have to go too far before they're creeped out. Right ahead of them, the bodies of the UN investigation team are found. They look like they've been here a long time, nearly mummified. That's interesting because the UN team arrived only the day before.
Ghost returns to the team and gives us the skinny on the Terrigen Crystals that are just beyond the UN corpses. They ARE Terrigen Crystals, yes, but they're abilities are being accelerated by a vein of Uranium in the same cavern. It's caused the Terrigen Mists to do crazy things. Well, if that's the mystery of the Terrigen Crystals, then a follow up mission with robots should suffice. Luke gets ready to recall his team.
That's just too easy, right? Cage calls up MACH V to bring Man-Thing back around for departure but things in the right tunnel have gone significantly worse. MACH V is under attack! Luke tells the rest of his team to get out of the cave while he goes off to rescue Abe. Crossbones and Juggernaut wonder if this is another test to see if they'll do something heroic but Moonstone believes it's just Luke Cage acting the hero and getting his team clear. On the way up to the surface, Crossbones finds a discarded SHIELD weapon that makes him want to turn around and do some damage.
Luke gets to MACH V after Jenkins has lost his helmet. They're facing down grotesque mutations that appear to be the missing SHIELD Agents. Their touch is caustic, even to Luke's unbreakable skin.
Luke keeps fighting these beasts but doesn't get too many good punches since each one causes him pain. MACH V defends his position with his own armaments. Just one one of these former SHIELD Agents has the drop on Cage, Moonstone arrives for the rescue. Karla is really going for some loyalty points here.
Moonstone and MACH V don't last long. The SHIELD Monsters are too numerous and too dangerous to the touch. Ghost shows up during this part of the battle. He doesn't enter it directly but he performs his own investigations while the Thunderbolts fall around him. Finally, he decides to act but, again, indirectly. Ghost takes over MACH V's armor and starts blasting the monsters. Luke is still just a little bit conscious and congratulates Abe on keeping the fight going, not realizing that it's Ghost in the driver's seat.
Cage does tell MACH V to turn around because there's a lot more SHIELD monsters where the first wave came from!
Which is when Juggernaut enters the fight. He smashes right through the next wave of monsters but any bit of him not covered in armor is immediately damaged by the beasts. Cain falls to the ground unconscious.
Crossbones has made his way to the battle with his new toy. It looks like the SHIELD weapon was a gattling gun. I don't know why they brought it on this scientific mission but there it is either way. This fight is down to Man-Thing, Crossbones, and a Ghost controlled MACH V. Yeah, it's gonna be fun next issue!
Heroic Age: Prince of Power #3
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Pencilers: Reilly Brown & Zach Howard
In this story:
• Thor and Amadeus Cho battle Sekhmet, Lady of Slaughter before hitching a ride on Ra's funeral barge and travelling into the Land of the Dead.
• Delphyne Gorgon gears up for a fight in Olympus Group HQ. The building is under the control of the Pantheon.
• After a conversation with old lady Athena, Delphyne is surrounded by Pantheon guards that need killing.
• Amadeus and Thor travel the streets of Duat and get attacked by Sekhmet again.
• Cho slips her a roofie and changes the angry goddess into Hathor, Goddess of Love.
• The two heroes continue to Nefer-Ka-Ptah's house where they break the enchantment protecting the Book of Thoth.
• In the real world, Vali is waiting for the enchantments to break so that he can recover the scroll in Nefer-Ka-Ptah's tomb.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
Vali Halfling is the son of Loki and it shows. He played Amadeus Cho, convincing the hero to recover some special ingredients for godhood but actually taking them for himself and blaming it all on the new Prince of Power. Fortunately, Cho found an ally in Thor, god of thunder, and the two race to the third immortal ingredient. UNFORTUNATELY, Vali's alerted the Counsel of Godheads to Amadeus' "actions." When Thor and Amadeus arrive in the Egyptian underworld, they find Sekhmet, Lady of Slaughter, waiting for them.
Sekhmet is a warrior goddess worshipped in ancient Egypt and has the head of a lion. She chews out Thor for his viking followers and their actions while not sparing Amadeus for trying to become an immortal. She's not joining this fight alone, either. She's brought Apep, the Egyptian god of evil who she counts as her first big win back in the day, to aid her in battle. Apep (or Apophis to all you fans of Stargate SGU), is a serpent with a crocodile head. He goes after Thor leaving Amadeus for Sekhmet.
You've got to know a bit about Egyptian mythology to continue in this tale... or at least Egyptian mythology through the lens of a Marvel comic. Fortunately, Cho is great with the exposition and explains things as he goes along. Egyptian myth, which is heavily concerned with the afterlife, states that your heart had to be weighed against that of a feather for you to be worthy of passage into the underworld (or something like that-- I'm not an Egytian myth kind of guy, really). Cho recalls that Sekhmet has a taste for blood so he grabs the heart currently on the scales and tosses it over to the warrior goddess. Sekhmet takes the bait and Cho is free to figure out how else Egyptian mythology can work for him.
He figures what time of day it is and realizes that the funeral barge of Ra should be passing through this area, since Ra has to get past Apep in the Seventh Hour. He breaks Thor away from the serpent-like foe and the two dash off the cliff edge and right onto the barge. Sekhmet gives quick chase, riding Apep like a surf board.
Ahead of them are the doors to get into Duat. Cho knows that they'll open to admit the funeral barge but isn't able to share that valuable bit of information before Thor tosses his hammer at them. The land of the dead lies beyond and isn't how you think it would be. It actually reminds me of Vegas.
Far away from the underworld at the Olympus Group Headquarters in Manhattan, the Pantheon makes sure their their hostile takeover of the facilities is secure. They do a poor job of it. Delphyne Gorgon is roaming the halls and no-one is finding her. If you're wondering why Delphyne isn't still locked in her cell, it's probably because Amadeus arranged for it to be unlocked before he went on his mission for immortality. Anyway, when the guards pass through the area, Delphyne sneaks into her chambers and suits up for battle. Swords, combat knives, pistols, death scrunchies. Yeah, she's ready for anything and wearing a tartan tweed skirt for the occasion.
Her first stop is over to Athena's cell for some mockery. Athena, much like the rest of the Olympians, is suffering from extreme old age since being denied Hebe's ambrosia. She demands that Delphyne recover the ambrosia but Del doesn't see any reason she should help her mortal enemy. Well...
It turns out the cells are bugged. Since the Pantheon is listening in, one of those inept guard patrols has found her and surrounded Del's position. The Gorgon fakes capture just long enough for her serpent hair to grab onto some extra weaponry and then hits this poor group of cannon fodder every way she can. They try to douse the lights and catch her heat signature but it turns out that Gorgons are cold-blooded. When the emergency lights come on, the monitor room pickes up a room full of dead guards.
This is an awesome action sequence but it doesn't get Delphyne anywhere. Worst yet, Athena's the one to point this out to the young queen of the Amazons. The cell area is in lockdown. Athena claims that she can get Delphyne out of this but the Gorgon is going to have to follow her instructions. Gritting her teeth, Delphyne reluctantly agrees... or just hisses. You'll find out for sure next issue.
In Duat, Thor and Amadeus are walking the streets which are populated not with the souls of the dead but with clay servants. The dead rarely leave their houses and use the clay statues they were buried with to run their errands. This is mostly shown so that WE know that everything in Duat is based on something that exists in the real world. If an Egyptian was entombed with their cat, they have their cat down here. It's important for later. We also learn that this place has stayed current with the times. They are as modern as an ancient Egyptian city of the dead can be. Cho can even pick up an internet connection which he uses to track down the home of Nefer-Ka-Ptah and the third ingredient to godhood.
Still on their trail is Sekhmet and Thor is tired of running. It's not his style. He uses Mjolnir to boot the Lady of Slaughter across the city but this isn't a game ending move. She'll just come back. That's the way she is. Amadeus puts in a few jests about how Thor's worshippers really were a barbarian horde and that Sekhmet DOES have a point. This doesn't go over very well and Thor would argue with Cho's assessment if he wasn't in the middle of a battle with a lion-headed goddess of war. Amadeus decides to end this battle in the only way possible. He mixes beer with salt marsh grass, adds a little energy, and makes a quick roofie on Sekhmet. This is apparently based on a myth where Ra got Sekhmet drunk on red beer that Sekmet mistook for blood. Once she was properly sauced, Sekhmet changed into Hathor, goddess of love.
Which is what she does right now. While Hathor is usually depicted as a cow (ancient Egyptians were wierd with their dieties), Hathor is still cat-like. It's just the attitude that's changed. Also: LOLspeak. Hathor speaks like a LOLcat. The goddess of love is enamored with Thor who finds this a most unbefitting way to defeat an opponent. Cho shouts about getting the job done by using the myths that already exist. He's not the first one to try this.
Obviously, Thor and Amadeus aren't going to grow into best buds.
The two continue on until they've entered the home of Nefer-Ka-Ptah. He's not here right now... or at least not in this room. This is the room containing the Book of Thoth. It's protected by a magical barrier. Thor and Amadeus use their enchanted weapons to shatter the protection. It looks like Amadeus has found his own ingredient for godhood until his hands pass right through the scroll.
In the real world (or the Marvel equivalent), the Pantheon has started a private dig on Nefer-Ka-Ptah's tomb at the Necropolis of Saqqara. The problem was that magical barrier. Now that Thor and Cho have dropped it, Vali is able to claim the Book of Thoth from the sarcophogus of Nefer-Ka-Ptah. He laughs at how well he's playing Amadeus as he unrolls the scroll, recieving an eye beam from the Book of Thoth.
New Mutants #15
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leonard Kirk
In this story:
• Shenanigans happen at a secret government facility when General Ulysses demands to abduction of Illyana Rasputin.
• Cyclops orders Cannonball to take his team of X-Men on a vacation so that they get their heads back in the game.
• The New Mutants deal with injuries and tragedies suffered during Second Coming.
• Pixie goes on a vacation of her own and makes sure Illyana knows that they aren't friends.
• Denied his request to apprehend Illyana, Ulysses decides to do it anyway.
• The New Mutants head to the Texas Badlands to talk about their feelings and get drunk.
• While Sam's team relaxes, Pixie is taken prisoner by General Ulysses' men. He takes her Soul Dagger.
Second Coming was hard on Sam Guthrie's team of X-Men, who we'll just call the New Mutants even though they aren't called that in the actual book. New Mutants is just the trade dress to let you, the reader, know what you're getting into. This is the book about the former New Mutants all grown up and in their own X-Men squad. They're just better known as the New Mutants. They're also still alive. All of them. In the past, New Mutants like Cyber and Warlock have been killed but they've eventually been returned to the land of the living. Their nineties replacements, Generation X, don't have that track record. I think half the team is dead with no plans for any resurrections as of yet.
Still, the New Mutants have suffered. Xi'an Coy Mahn lost a leg which has recently been replaced by an atrocious cybernetic limb that looks like it's going to kill someone. Warlock was forced to absorb the life force of sentient beings. Illyana was trapped in Limbo only to be rescued by Sam and another X-Men team. All through it, Sam Guthrie sees that his leadership has failed. So, yeah, there are some troubles for this team.
All of that, however, will be dealt with later. This issue begins with the military. Back in New Mutants #9, a group of soldiers came back through a gate from Limbo. These soldiers were lead by General Ulysses. We join Ulysses and a scientist under his command, Doctor Noc-- the guy with the demon hand, as they try to convince some other military men that apprehending Illyana Rasputin is a good idea. The other military brass are less interested in Magik and are more interested in some children that were left in Ulysses' care. Since the General has been trapped in Limbo, you have to wonder what kind of kids would be left with him.
The General claims that the kids have been dead a long time and states it like it should be information known to everyone else in the room. It seems like it is. One other General in particular chews Ulysses out for losing control of his base in Limbo. Ulysses counters that this was the reason the gate home was closed and that he spent twenty years in there with his men in the two years that have passed in the real world. The argument gets heated and Doctor Noc tries to get them back in calm tones because their aggression is setting off his demon arm.
It's too late. The conversation stays angry and Noc's demon limb attacks. The Doctor tries to get it back under control but it takes Ulysses putting a knife through it to get the arm to back down. Of course, this freaks out the rest of the brass in the room, especially the superior officer who contributed to the agitated state in the room. He's bleeding from claw wounds. As he leaves the room, he orders Ulysses' team to stand down. There will be no mission to take Illyana Rasputin. That's final.
On the Island of Utopia, the mutants are rebuilding after the events of Second Coming. Cyclops is meeting with Cannonball. Scott is in one of those bright moments where he has hope for the future and everything so he's smiling even though Utopia has some work to do. It's the Heroic Age! Everything's sunshine and daisies! Except Sam isn't feeling that at all. He's filed a report about his actions during Second Coming and even thinks he should step down as squad leader. His team is broken after what it went through. Cyclops doesn't need to hear that. He orders Sam to take his team on a vacation. If things are falling apart, it's up to Guthrie to fix them.
In the Medical area of Utopia, Xi'an Coy Mahn is getting used to her horrific predator cyberleg. She's not the only one to lose a limb. Hellion lost his hands and is very angry about this since he hasn't been outfitted with any robot replacements yet. Karma joins up with Magma and Sunspot as the two tell her that they are officially on vacation.
On the beach, Danielle Moonstar and Doug Ramsey watch as Warlock vomits up any and all lifeglow he gained by absorbing the lifeglow of sentients during Second Coming. It's not something Warlock likes doing now that he knows better so: vomiting on the beach. Moonstar wonders if they should be watching this and Ramsey says the HAVE to. It acknowledges what Warlock is doing and what their alien friend went through.
Illyana was stuck in Limbo because of the mechanations of Bastian during Second Coming. One of her rescuers was Pixie who has more than enough reason to hate Magik's guts. Illyana fashioned some bloodstones out of a stolen bit of Pixie's soul, after all. All Pixie got was a Soul Dagger and a lot of anger for the experience. Illyana isn't here to thank Pixie so much as recruit her for an upcoming war. Pixie will have none of this and is actually on her way out for her own vacation. She wants Magik to leave her the hell alone. They aren't friends and are only allies when she has to be.
Back at that military base, General Ulysses addresses his men. This is a motley crew if you've ever seen one. It's not just Doctor Noc who's gotten some demonic enhancements in the twenty years they spent in Limbo. Most of this group is altered in some way or another. Ulysses tells them that they aren't going to get any help from the military on their latest mission but that shouldn't surprise them. They were all left to rot in Limbo afterall. The mission's still the same. With a war cry, these soldiers get ready to get busy.
The New Mutants get ready to relax. The team takes two helicopters into the Texas Badlands to a little out of the way cabin. This is where they'll be spending the next week. Sam tells them that it'll be a time to talk about their feelings and get over recent events. They look sceptical until he pulls out the cooler of beer.
That might not last the whole week but it'll probably get them through the night.
At the military base, Ulysses and his men are on their way to the helicopters. The guards question him but he looks authoritative and IS a General. Off they go.
We'll see the soldiers in their helicopters as they fly off to their objective and surround a house that looks a lot like the one currently occupied by the New Mutants as we ALSO look in on the New Mutant vacation as it progresses. The New Mutants relax pretty quickly and reminisce the good times they've had and some of their current concerns. Roberto looks like he's trying to pick up Amara. Sam and Danielle kiss. Ilyana starts feeling queasy and it's not the alcohol disagreeing with her.
She pulls out her Soulsword and prepares for trouble.
Of course, the soldiers aren't after her. They are actually attacking the quaint little inn where Pixie is checking in. They shoot up the receptionist as the X-Man ducks. Pixie pulls out her Souldagger in an attempt to defend herself but these are hardened soldiers who've been in Limbo far too long. She doesn't stand a chance.
After Pixie is apprehended, Ulysses takes a hold of the Souldagger. It's not the Soulsword but it'll work for his purposes.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
In this story:
• The Uranian gives 3-D Man a glimpse at the past: the attack on Harold and Charles Chandler.
• Atlas visits the morgue where Charles' body is being held and they find that someone else is using it.
• This leaves Charles alive but in critical condition.
• Atlas returns to their base to find it overrun by some entity controlling their men.
• After they take out Venus, one of the entities possesses Namora. Trouble. Trouble. Trouble.
The previous story in this series was covered HERE.
Once again, a big thanks to misac for covering the last issue of Atlas for me. I just couldn't find a copy and it's awesome to have help! I should set that up on a permanent basis to lighten the load...
Anyway, this issue begins with Delroy Garrett, the 3-D Man, showing the Agents of Atlas around the Chandler residence. Together, Harold and Charles Chandler were the first 3-D Man and they were attacked at the same time Delroy was. The only difference being that Harold was put in a coma and Charles was killed. Garrett isn't expecting much from this late investigation but that's because he's never experienced the work of Bob Grayson, the Uranian. With his headband, he can pick up sonic and light resonance on nearby objects to show exactly what went down during the attack.
This has got to be difficult to watch, especially for Delroy. These are friends of his and he knows how it turns out. The two victims are talking about their earlier radio interview where they talked about their time as 3-D Man when two policemen show up. When they ask what's going on, the police tell them that they're looking for a suspect that was spotted out this way. The police officer calls Harold by his first name, though, which is apparently odd. Soon, it's learned that these two policemen are the ones that attacked the Chandler brothers. They are surprised that neither of the Chandlers could see through their "disguises" which means that only Delroy is the only "trionic." The two walk away as Harold's wife comes out to see what's going on.
Since they're the only ones that know that two police troopers were involved, the Agents of Atlas and the 3-D Man make their way to the station. The Uranian uses his powers to keep them invisible as they check out the scene. Garrett notices one of the troopers involved in the attack heading into the morgue. Now that he's seeing the man in real life, he notices the tell tale sign of possession: that red color signature that drifts off the body. The Atlas group follow and find the other trooper from the attack inside. They're scanning Charles Chandler's dead body for a sign of... something.
Bob scans the policemen telepathically and notices that their thoughts aren't matching up with their actions. Something is controlling them. Suddenly, the scanner in the trooper's hand spikes. This is because it's detected Delroy and is reading him. To add to the surprise, Charles Chandler points a finger at the invisible 3-D Man and orders the policemen to shoot. Gorilla-Man stops that from happening.
Realizing the odds against them, the person in Charles' body orders the others to leave. As they do, the troopers drop unconscious. Before the thing leaves the body of Charles Chandler, he sprouts another eye on his forehead that only Delroy can see and tells 3-D Man that he should check on his girlfriend. The plus from all this is that the body of Charles Chandler is left alive. The Agents bring it aboard Bob's saucer to help Chuck the rest of the way.
It looks like whatever these entities did brought Charles back from the dead. They were looking for Delroy because of something to do with the 3-D Man. Probably because Garrett can see through their possessions. The younger Chandler brother will live, though, and that's pretty good for a man who'd been dead for a few days. Unfortunately, there IS a death. Delroy's girlfriend jumped out of a window on the 7th floor of Cedars Sinai. Even though they weren't great together, it's a death on the 3-D Man's conscience.
We're about to see just how dangerous these possessing entities can be.&nbs
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX