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Super Reads 112

The process continues!

Today, we check out Secret Avengers #3, Fantastic Four #581, Thor #612, Uncanny X-Men #526, X-Men Legacy #238, and Blast to the Past for The X-Men #1.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


Here we are again in this place for some comic action!

Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege?  Check no further than this link right HERE.

First stop:  The wild west?

SA3Secret Avengers #3
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.

In this issue:

• Major Aloysius Thorndrake and his Confederate friends chase down a Union spy in the Texas Badlands.

• Ant-Man travels through a teleporter and ends up in the base of the Shadow Council.

• Steve Rogers and Beast officially meet the Archon and make friends.

• Valkyrie loses in battle with a Thorned Crown wearing Nova Prime.

• War Machine, Beast, Steve Rogers, and the Archon race in to check out the situation.

• Director Thorndrake talks to "Fury" about the Twisted Crown.

• Archon explains his origin and vaguely describes what he's here to stop.

• After trying to take down Nova on his own, Archon is broken.

The previous story in this series was covered HERE.

Yes, we're starting our story in the past.  August, 1865 to be precise.  If you look up the date in your history books, you'll see that August was the official end to the American Civil War.  Most of the Confederate Armies had surrendered at this point at it was more of a ceremonial ending than anything else but that's the date you'll probably find.  It's important because the soldiers chasing across the Texas Badlands are Confederates.

The only one named is Major Aloysius Thorndrake.  His father used to be a big wig important enough to get Jefferson Davis into office as the first and only President of the Confederacy.  Now Aloysius's pop is a poor man facing down the wrath of the Radical Republicans for helping to instigate rebellion against the union.  The rest of the men with Major Thorndrake are in similar positions with their fathers.  Sons of failed kingmakers.  Still, jobs need doing and this one is to bring in a Union spy.

It just got a lot harder.  One of the trackers returns to the group and informs Aloysius that the Union spy just disappeared into the desert.  This isn't figurative.  He literally disappeared.  Aloysius Thorndrake in intrigued and orders the man to lead him to where the Union spy vanished.  This leads to an incident with folding time and space but we don't see it in the panel.  It just happens in the voice over.

Back in the present, Ant-Man is lost to his own folds of time and space.  Last issue, he stepped too near a teleportal and ended up somewhere else.  O'Grady hasn't worked out where that is just yet.

On Mars, Steve Rogers and Beast are confronted by the giant-robot-looking thing called the Archon.  It's demanding they return the Thorned Crown, which is now our official name for the Serpent-like Crown that Nova is wearing.  Since neither Steve nor Hank have even seen this crown yet, they are completely honest when they claim to not know what the Archon is talking about.  Going against type, the giant thing actually believes them and we're saved one unnecessary battle.  Those that love random conflict cry in misery and dispair.

Now, they just need to figure out what happened here.  They're helped out by the discarded, talking helmet of Nova Prime.  For the uninitiated, that's the World-Mind.  She starts explaining things out for Steve, but things are moving in fast forward at this point and World-Mind is cut off so that Valkyrie can call in and report.

Last issue, Black Widow, Moon Knight, and Val found a Thorned-Crown-wearing-Nova directing members of the Shadow Council in some undetermined project.  When we catch up with them this issue, Natasha Romanova and Marc Spector have already been defeated.  Only the Valkyrie is still standing, and she's not able to make much forward progress in combat with Nova.  She tells Rogers that she'll hold them off as long as possible but some more help here would be appreciated.

She's not going to be conscious when they get there.  Val makes another play for Nova but Richard grabs her sword out of the air.  Valkyrie is forced back when Nova takes the sword away.  He flies away, leaving the Asgardian unconscious.  There are more important things to do.

When Nova reaches his minions, he finds some of them dying on the ground.  Valkyrie cut their air tubes and they're on the surface of Mars.  Death is imminent until Nova uses the Thorned Crown to return a breathable atmosphere to the planet.

Steve and Hank don't know that yet.
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Rogers is gathering what remains of his Avengers team.  It's pretty light.  The only other member left conscious is War Machine.  His partner, Ant-Man, ended up taking that unexpected ride through the teleportal but no-one knows where he is at all.  Heck, they might think he's dead.  Rhodey joins up with the others while we follow Ant-Man to his final destination.

Turns out that teleporter leads right to earth; specifically, the headquarters of the Shadow Council in Texas.  I would be money that it's in the same spot that Union spy vanished back in 1865.  Just a guess.  He flies out of the portal to find to members of the Shadow Council waiting for him but since he's ant sized, they never even notice.  The just think the thing is malfunctioning.  One of them leaves to tell "Director Thorndrake" that they aren't getting unscheduled visits from Mars.  O'Grady remains above, trying to figure out what just happened.

Oh, yes, Director Thorndrake is the same Thorndrake from 1865 that chased down a Union spy in the Texas Badlands.  Looks like he's now in charge of the Shadow Council.  The guy that looks a lot like Nick Fury we met in the first issue works for him, and is apparently in charge of security.  Since we all know this isn't the same Nick Fury that is appearing in Secret Warriors, we're left wondering who it actually is.  Aloysius calls him "Fury" and his voice has the same speech patterns so at least we're not dealing with one of the few other eye-patch wearing men walking around the Marvel Universe.  We're just not sure who THIS Fury is.  The mystery will be solved in Secret Avengers #5 so you won't have to wait TOO long for your answer.

The two men are discussing the other Serpent-like crown that they acquired from the Secret Avengers in the first issue.  For simplicity's sake, we'll call this one the Twisted Crown because of those writhing tentacles resting on top but we still don't have an official name.  Thorndrake is fascinated by it but knows better than to put it on, even before Fury gives him a lecture about the dangers in doing so.

The bigger problem is what's going down on Mars right now.  It's kind of out of control and needs to be dealt with.  Director Thorndrake tells Fury to assemble a suicide squad.

Which can't be good for the people on the planet right now.  As Steve and his team race toward Nova, the Archon fills them in on what this is all about.  It seems that the Thorned Crown is in control of Nova and is making him unearth a seal that shouldn't be broken.  To break the seal means that an entity older than the Celestials or Galactus will be unleashed on the world.  The Archon goes on to tell us that he and his brothers were created by the Watchers to make sure that the seal was kept whole until the end, or as he puts it, the "Nullification."

Ten gets you twenty that this Nullifier guy is someone we've seen before.  I guess we'll see in time.  War Machine shows up carrying Valkyrie.  She's not dead but she's not walking and talking at the moment either.  Beast makes the revelation that there's breathable air on the planet next.  Apparently, this isn't completely unprecedented.  Mars had an atmosphere back when the Archon was last active.  It also had advanced cities and maybe even a park or two.  The loss of both is because of the Crowns.  The ancient people tried to break the seal before with the help of the Crowns, which channel this evil being's energy, and were only halted by the intervention of the Archon's brothers.  The evil being (or beings) is called the Darkest Child (or Dark Children).

Even though the seal wasn't broken, the work of the Crowns left the planet devastated and broken.  You can see why Nova and the Shadow Council can't be allowed to ACTUALLY break the seal.  Steve thinks the best plan is to try and get his friend under control.  The Archon thinks that would be great but doesn't give them the time.  He just charges right on in to take down the guy wearing the Thorned Crown.

It won't be enough.  The Thorned Crown sees his ancient enemy and bests him.  Easily.  It seems that the Thorned Crown combined with the power of Nova is more than enough to defeat the Archon.  The broken form of the Archon flies past the Secret Avengers.  That fight didn't go anywhere near how Archon expected.  He'll be able to repair the damage done to his body but not in time to try something like that again.  It looks like the Secret Avengers are on their own.


FF581Fantastic Four #581
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Neil Edwards

In this story:

• Old, bearded Franklin Richards returns to the space in-between spaces.

• Old, unbearded Valeria Richards heads off on her own mission while Nathaniel Richards (who also has a beard and is old) gives advice before departing himself.

• In the past, Reed and Victor Von Doom argue about ethics.

• Nathaniel shows up to say good bye but basically recruits Reed, Ben and Victor to help him kill an alternate version of himself.

• Old Val shows up at the Baxter Building in the present to have a talk with Sue.

• The team in the past head to Chronopolis for a final battle with Evil Nathaniel Richards.

The previous story in this series was covered HERE.

In Fantastic Four #574, a future version of Franklin Richards showed up and reawakened Franklin's mutant abilities.  While doing that, Future Frank gave Valeria this advice: "All hope lies in Doom."  All this while rocking a beard.  They're the height of fashion in Future Frank's time.

In fact, the only guy without beard is a girl: the grown up Valeria.  She asks him if it went well and he tells her that it did while showing off some blue smoke he can make with his hand.  It seems that reawakening young Franklin's powers (which were seen before the awakening as early as Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5) has changed things about the bearded older version.  Even so, this wasn't what Valeria was asking.  She wants to know if it all got done.  Future Frank thinks back about the cryptic message he left for Valeria and thinks he got it done right.  He might not have said all the words, but he got most of them and that should count for something.

Val isn't convinced that it's all going to work out, but her grandfather, Nathaniel Richards, says they just have to go on as though it's all going to work.  The eldest Richards also has one of those super cool beards and seems to have a cosmic-looking suit on.  He sends Valeria off for her mission in the timestream and then takes a look at what Franklin is doing.  It looks like Future Frank is building a garden in this space between spaces using his powers.  Nathaniel doesn't think that's a good use of Frank's time but there's also no time to get involved in an argument about it.  Nathaniel's got his own things to do.

Let's head back into the past when Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and Victor Von Doom attended the same University: State.  It looks like Reed and Victor had some of the same classes.
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Time travel is a tricky thing to get right.  This is how NOT to do it.  Oh, sure, I can follow the story but I just don't care.  I wish I cared.  I really do, but this story starts in the supposed future, swings back to the past, jumps up to the present, makes a left at another future, and somehow manages a flashback.  That is just too much time travel that is hardly interesting.  My opinion, of course.

At least it doesn't have one of those history of Nu-Earth things.  That would have made someone's head explode.

Anyway, the class attended by both Reed and Victor is ethics.  As you can imagine, it's yet another class that the two would butt heads in.  Reed is a hero, after all, so his answers are all about doing what's best for the world and forgetting that he has a son.  Victor Von Doom doesn't think anyone is worth worrying about except himself.  Reed leaves the class and meets up with his roommate and best friend, Benjamin J. Grimm.

After discussing how lame Victor Von Doom is, the two discuss weekend plans.  Reed wants to work on some projects.  Ben wants to party with the ladies.  Instead, they're going to go time travelling with Reed's dad.  They meet him in their dorm room and, yes, Nathaniel is still wearing his funky cosmic suit.

After greetings are made, someone finally mentions the crazy space suit that the elder Richards is wearing.  Nathaniel explains that he never meant to disappear.  It's just that he was working for a secret organization known as the Shield and got messed up with the Night Machine.  When it exploded, Nathaniel was touching it and ended up hurling through time.  Probably both ways.  The good news was Nathaniel could travel through time at will.  The bad news was the event also forced every alternative version of Nathaniel into the same time.  While we all assume that Nathaniel was the one from this original reality, the fact is he could have been from another.  Heck, he could be totally evil.

The biggest problem with every Nathaniel Richards in the same reality is that it really starts to clog up the place.  Each one wound up in a future world ruled by Immortus.  Immortus was charged with the task of maintaining the timestream but instead of doing his job and cleaning up this mess, he decided to let the Nathaniel Richardses run all around time, messing things up, playing a version of the most dangerous game.  They needed to hunt each other until only one Nathaniel Richards remained.

The current Nathaniel Richards claims that he refused to participate but the others dwindled their numbers down until there are only two left.  It's down to him an a completely evil version of him.  Reed's dad isn't here to recruit Reed to help him.  After all, he'd be better served getting the entire Fantastic Four from a few years later.  No, this is him saying good-bye.  That won't work for the future Mister Fantastic.  It's time to save his dad.

To do this, Reed needs to go to Victor Von Doom.  Reed's a smart guy but it's not like he's spent his time developing doomsday devices.  That's Victor's job.  Von Doom is amused by his greatest rival asking him for help and makes Reed repeat it over and over.

Here's the other part of the issue that might be just a little too on-the-nose for my book.  Victor's weapons knowledge means that Ben Grimm ends up wearing a suit that mimicks abilities he doesn't have yet.  Hell, the suit is complete with THREE FINGERS and a heavy eyebrow.  C'mon people.  I get that he will eventually be the Thing.  You don't need to hint at it.  I would have been happy for a power suit that looked a little less like his future form.  Adding to that insult is Victor's facemask which also mimicks his Dr. Doom mask.  This is more forgiveable since he made all of this stuff but still... ok, I'll let it go.  Once they're all suited up, Nathaniel opens up a time portal and "our heroes" zip on off to another time.

Finally, we get to the present.  It's not where Reed, Ben, Victor, and Nathaniel end up.  It's where Future Val shows up.  Val surprises her mom, Sue Richards by appearing in one of those time portals unannounced.  She covers the room in a blue screen that apparently secures it from prying ears.  The Sue bashes her daughter into the wall with an invisible force field.  Val soon convinces Sue that this is her daughter from the future back to save the present and maybe they enjoy a spot of tea while they catch up on old times.

OK, now we go to the future with Reed, Ben, Victor and Nathaniel.  Reed's dad has some specific instructions.  He wants them to leave if Nathaniel orders it.  This is very important.  Leave if ordered.  They get the drift and then get their bearings.

Nathaniel describes the city around them as Chronopolis.  It seems a version of himself built the place by taking artifacts from all over time and placing them here.  It's a mish mash of lots of historical structures.  In the distance is the Fortress, where the Evil Nathaniel Richards lives.  Good Nathaniel can already sense his other self and knows the fight will begin soon.

Not soon after, Evil Nathaniel shows up behind them.  It's evil time!


T612Thor #612
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite

In this story:

• The Dísir surround Hela's Castle.

• Thor and Tyr go to Hel to defend the dead.

• The Dísir alter the course of their teleport spell and attack them.

• Hela sends reinforcements and helps them reach the Castle.

• Hela fills them in on the Dísir and the sword she got from Loki.

• Thor goes on a quest to retrieve the sword, leaving Tyr behind to defend Hela's castle.

• Mephisto tries to make a deal with Thor and fails.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

The Dísir all have names and some of these might even matter.  The lead Désir is Brün.  She just got back from killing the poor Asgardian foolish enough to say "Dísir" out loud.  Göndul is possibly her second-in-command and is responsible for destroying the enchantments protecting Hela's Castle.  Kára is the Dísir tasked with bringing Hela's sword out of Hel and into the realm of Mephisto.  Finally, Hlökk is the energetic one excited about the battle and delivering speeches to the rest of the Dísir.  Brün enjoyed killing the stupid Asgardian but now all she's interested in is feasting on dead gods in this place that isn't really Hel.

In Asgard, the warning that the dead are in danger have gained some validity when that Asgardian called out the name "Dísir" and got sliced and diced for his trouble.  Before that, helping Hela was lower on the to-do list.  Now, it's priority.  The dead have to be protected.  Granted, seeing one of their comrades torn to pieces in front of them is a little... rattling.  Thor assumes that the Dísir can only do stuff like that when their name is called.

Kelda shows up to give us a quick myth lesson on the Dísir.  They're fallen Valkyries of the former High-Father, Bor, who got a taste for Asgardian flesh.  When Bor caught them feasting, he cursed them to only be able to feast on the souls of dead Asgardians... BUT they could only do this if the souls weren't in Asgard or Hel.  So the Dísir are pretty hungry.  These are the legends but they've got to have some basis in fact or they wouldn't be coming true right now.

Hela tells the Asgardians that she can only teleport two of them back to Hel to battle the Dísir.  Balder immediately volunteers, and then remembers that he's king and should remain in Asgard.  It's left to Thor and Tyr to go face this menace to the dead.  Tyr is chosen not only because of his god of battles status but because he has memories of fighting the Dísir before when he fell on the battlefield during Siege.  The two enter the teleportation spell and get ready for a hard road ahead.

It begins immediately.  The Dísir aren't stupid.  They know that the warning they left the Asgardians will bring them here for certain.  When they sense the spell, Göndul uses her own magic to divert Thor and Tyr OUTSIDE the castle.  This wasn't expected by the Asgardians and they scramble to recover from the shock.

Thor goes in swinging.  He finds that Mjolnir proves to be marginally effective but lacks the power to fell one of these Dísir.  Actually, it barely even slows them down.  Without any means to defeat his opponents, Thor finds himself on the defensive, hoping that Hela didn't just set him up for a trap.

Tyr finds the experience to be different.  The Dísir recognize him and Göndul shows him the forms they wore in New Mutants #11 (the Siege tie-in issue).

Before our heroes are felled by the Dísir, Hela opens the door to her fortress and sends out an army of the dead.  None of these warriors are alive.  They just all bear a little bit of her soul.  The Dísir are distracted.  Thor and Tyr are able to enter the relative safety of Hela's Castle.
Thor612

Explanations are made.  Hela tells Thor and Tyr all about how Loki came to her with evidence pointing to the existence of the Dísir and even gave her a weapon that could kill them.  This is the same sword she used ineffectively last issue and Loki used with skill in the Siege: Loki One-Shot.  Hela doesn't tell them that she gained this Hel by making a deal with Loki so that his soul remained unattached to Hel.

They've got to choices.  Hela can drop her barriers and use her magic to gather up the sword, which would be costly; or one of them could go out to Mephisto's Hell and retrieve it.  Thor makes the decision to go out and get the sword.

Outside the Castle, Göndul continues her work to break through the magical defenses.  She already knows it's all over.  Thor has arrived.  He's a hero and his name is on the front page of the comic.  If anyone is going to bring them low, it's the god of thunder.  Brün isn't so certain of that.  The sword is out of reach.  That's the most important thing.  She believes it's being taken to a place where Thor can't follow.

That would be Mephisto's Hell, of course.  Kára arrives with the weapon and tries to leave it as a gift for her temporary master.  Mephisto doesn't accept.  Doing so would make him too involved in this whole affair and that's something he's trying to avoid.  When Kára asks if she can just leave it here, Mephisto says it'll be ok as long as he's well away from the whole matter.  She also calls him "sire" which is apparently a turn-on.

In Hela's Castle, Tyr is unhappy and wishes to reverse roles with Thor.  There's some back and forth but it's apparent that Tyr is still suffering from a good deal of doubt after his behavior during Siege.  In that story, Tyr thought his death had been predicted and left the battlefield in fear.  He returned after the prophesy was revealed to be about Ares and was nearly killed himself.  Still, he doesn't think he's as capable as he should be.

Thor tells Tyr that he is confident in the god of battle's abilities and if anyone can properly lead this war, it's Tyr.  Thor, on the other hand, is all about the quest.

Thor starts off and finds himself facing Mephisto.  Oh, Mephisto isn't here to stop the thunder god.  Instead, the Marvel devil wants to make this so much easier for Thor.  All the Avenger has to do is agree NOT to interfere with one of his schemes and Mephisto will bring the sword to him.  This is obviously not something that Thor is willing to do.

Mephisto opens the gates to his Hell.  Looks like Thor is gonna have to do this the hard way.


UXM526Uncanny X-Men #526
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Whilce Portacio

In this story:

• We meet Laurie, one of the Five Lights, whose body is falling apart.

• Hope plans her trip to find her origin and has a good talk with Cyclops.

• White Queen has a date with Tony Stark.

• Hope and team are in Alaska where she learns her last name and meets her grandmother.

• Shadowcat remains intangible.

• Laurie jumps off her building to be saved when Hope follows and charges up her mutant abilities.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

There are five new mutants in the world following the events of Second Coming.  These guys aren't what you'd think.  The first one we'll meet is Laurie.  She lives in Vancouver in a studio apartment.  Laurie's powers aren't activated but some of the effects are tearing her apart.  Her hair's falling out and it looks like she's in severe pain.

Across the street on a rooftop, Iceman and Angel are watching.  This is kind of depressing to them.  They came here to find one of the new mutants and all they've found is a girl in pain.  Angel calls this in to Cyclops and Scott wonders if the method for becoming a mutant has changed.  Before, most people became a mutant at the onset of puberty.  Laurie is 19, though.  Something is different.

Once Scott lets Angel go back to surveillance, he gets a visit from his granddaughter, Hope.  Hope is ready for a trip to Alaska and she's brought everything she'll ever need in a lifetime.  Cyke reminds her that Alaska isn't the wilds and it's certainly not the future she grew up in.  Hope drops the gear.  She's kind of excited about all of this but apprehensive at the same time.  Scott assures her that it'll all work out fine.  He's doing a lot of smiling in this issue, usually when he sees Hope.  This is what everything's been about for so long.

Joining the mutant messiah on her mission to find her roots is Rogue, Dr. Nemesis, and Cypher.  They take the X-Jet and away they go.  Cyclops and his girlfriend, Emma Frost, watch the jet fly off.  Scott's next stop is Japan where he'll meet up with Logan to watch another of the five lights.  Wolverine is taking the death of Nightcrawler hard and it's caused some problems between him and Cyclops.  Hopefully, they'll bond in Japan.  Emma, on the other hand, has a date.

With Tony Stark.  Matt Fraction also writes the Iron Man book and is one of the few people that remembers that Tony doesn't have any money.  For this exciting date, Stark has an Avengers Black Platinum card.  There's nothing like spending sweet, sweet government money.

Hope and company are driving through Cooperstown, Alaska.  Cypher has been doing his research on who Hope is.  So far, he's learned that her real last name is Spalding.  Her mother is, indeed, dead.  The travel right by the cemetery where all the dead from the Cooperstown incident are buried.  Two hundred sixty-six dead.  Hope puts all those dead on her but Rogue dissuades that thought.  It wasn't Hope's fault that psychos killed people.  That's on the psychos.

When they reach their motel, Cypher has tracked down Hope's grandmother.
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After talking about the grandma for a while and learning that there was no father listed for her, Hope decides she wants to visit her mother's grave.

So, it's a trip over to the cemetery.  Hope brings flowers.  So does her maternal grandmother.  Oh, yeah.  Dr. Nemesis gave grandma a call.  It's an awkward moment at the grave but they work their way through it.  It appears that the grandmother doesn't know WHO Hope is to her but maybe that's just an impressive pokerface.  In the end, the grandmother invites Hope to dinner.

Back at Utopia, we catch up with someone who was hurting long before Second Coming.  Kitty Pryde found her way back to earth with a little help from Magneto but her troubles aren't over yet.  She's intangible.  It's seemingly permanent.  For some reason, she's been able to survive in this state without food and without her hair or fingernails growing.  Kavita Rao explains it like creating an intense muscle memory in a short period of time.  Kitty had to remain intangible and make the space bullet intangible as well for such a long time that she's literally forgotten to how change back.

In Alaska, Hope's grandmother is giving her grand-daughter some information about Hope's mom.  Louise Spalding was a Firefighter.  More than that, she was a captain.  Hope's father could have been a lot of people, I guess.  It doesn't look like Louise ever revealed who it was to her mom.  She was a redhead who could do whatever she wanted to do, so she decided to fight fires.  Something in the talk inspires Hope.  She's ready to go home.

On the trip back stateside, Hope calls up Cyclops.  She knows that Cyke already looked up most of this information but is happy that Summers let her discover it on her own.  Again, Scott has that wierd smirk on his face throughout these scenes even when Iceman calls him up and lets Cyclops know that one of their Five Lights might be setting up to do something stupid.

That's right.  Laurie's ready to jump off a building.  She even looks crazy happy about this idea.  Hope's team made a quick trip over to Vancouver on their way back to Utopia so that they can stop the new mutant from making a terrible mistake.  So, Hope's trying to talk Laurie off the ledge but it's no good.  This is one mutant who's made up her mind to end it all.  She jumps off looking happier than we've ever seen her.

Hope leaps off after her.

When the mutant messiah reaches up to Laurie and grabs onto her, a metamorphosis occurs.  Laurie finishes her journey to becoming a mutant, turning blue in the process.  Luckily, she has the ability to fly.  Hope suggests she use it to return to the roof.

When they're back topside, Laurie decides to give up everything and follow her new savior.  Because they're pushing the mutant Jesus thing as far as they can.  Hope was energized by this experience as well.  She's ready to visit her next Light.

Writer: Allan Heinberg
Penciler: Olivier Coipel

In this story:

• The mutants rebuild Utopia.

• Magneto leaves his sick bed against doctor's orders after learning about his supposed grandkids.

• He asks Cyclops about them and Scott tells him that they aren't really his grandsons.

• Wolverine warns him away.

• Seeing that Magnus is kind of out of it, Cyclops sends Magneto on vacation.

• Mags may go and visit Wiccan and Speed.  Ya never know. ;)

The previous story in this series, Avengers: The Children's Crusade, was covered HERE.

This actually happens BEFORE the Avengers: The Children's Crusade story begins but it came out afterward.  Most of this is probably because Second Coming just ended but if it would have come out BEFORE A:TCC #1, it would have spoiled the appearance of Magneto at the end of that issue.  Here, we deal with Mags before he heads across the country to New York.

This is actually shows more of the clean-up after Second Coming than most X-Men stories have done so far.  While everyone is doing the work of rebuilding, Magneto heals up.  Eric Magnus Lensherr was injured during Second Coming but he's recovering nicely.  Magnus shouldn't be on his feet yet, but he's one of those type of guys that doesn't want to sit down when there's work to be done.  His doctor is completely against that.

Dr. Nemesis tells Magneto that if he doesn't give his body time to heal he's going to end up dead.  He should just sit down and watch the television as it conveniently shows images of the Young Avengers.  This intrigues the master of magnetism, who hasn't really paid that much attention to non-mutant related matters.  Dr. Nemesis has, I guess.  He tells Magnus all about the team, ending with detailed information about Wiccan and Speed.  These two are presumably Magneto's grandchildren.  Oh... REALLY?

It's time for Magneto to go fishing for information.  He gets in his best Magneto suit and hits the reconstruction area.  When he finds Cyclops, he asks the leader of mutantkind about these two Young Avengers.  Scott Summer assures Magnus that they aren't his kin.  That would be impossible, after all.  Scarlet Witch made those kids out of magic.  They weren't real.  Magneto counters that their souls were real enough and maybe the planted themselves in the bodies of the two Young Avengers.  That would explain the age difference and not make Super angry, right?

Right?

This debate isn't going to be settled here.  It's broken up by the appearance of Wolverine who has his own take in the matter.  That opinion is: Stay the hell away from those kids, Magneto.  The Young Avengers are under Avengers protection and to get involved with them will bring both the Avengers AND the X-Men down on him like nobody's business.  Cyclops doesn't commit to that threat, though.
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Wolverine keeps tagging along after Mags and continues issuing threats and letting the master of magnetism know that he's on to him and has his eyes open.  Magneto may even think he wants to be a good boy but it's not gonna play out well in the end.  It never does.

Cyclops warns Logan that he might want to step off as bent "I" beams hover over the mutant's head.  Yeah, because that'll work on Wolverine.  Logan puts one more threat out there before taking off, angry and in need of some alcohol.

Cyclops tries to assure Magneto that acceptance will happen in time and... it's wierd to hear Cyclops say these things.  Scott Summers has NEVER been a fan of Magneto.  Ever.  Odds are he's not even that accepting right now, but he's the man with the plan, and I think that plan right now is to keep his main super-villain in check.  That, or he really is being affected by the new Heroic Age and the return of Hope.

Magneto keeps going with his work, assembling a whole section of Utopia.  Beneath the wreckage, Magnus finds an envelope with pictures of his children at various ages.  One of those pictures looks a lot like a picture he has of Wiccan and Speed.

This gives Erik pause.  Cyclops sees Magneto just standing there looking at photographs and thinks maybe his old enemy needs a vacation.  He tells Lensherr to take some time off and go do some stuff.  This is like giving Magneto permission to visit his supposed grandkids.  Either Cyclops knows this or he's just completely oblivious.  I'm gonna go with Scott KNOWS which offers up a whole lot more questions that'll need answering eventually.  No one's that clueless.  You know where Magneto is going to go.

Right into the already released Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1.  On sale now!


XML238X-Men Legacy #238
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Clay Mann

In this story:

• A bunch of stuff happens aboard the Corridor involving some girl named Luz and some other people in super-hero suits.

• Rogue, Magneto, and company arrive in Mumbai, India amid some odd magnetic turbulence.

• They are driven to the home of Paras Gavascar where they get a cold greeting from his father.

• Luz escapes the Corridor.  Corregidora sends Servidores after her.

• The X-Men hit the town with Magneto to discover the source of this electromagnetic interference.

• Paras finds out he's engaged to the woman that his brother was going to marry before a coma struck.

• The X-Men are hit with an electromagnetic attack as Luz drops in on them.

• Sentinels attack!

If you're a long-term reader of Mike Carey's X-Men work, you'll remember that it began with a storyline called "Supernovas", where the X-Men were attacked by a group called the Children of the Vault.  Finally, that story is followed up on.  The place is the Corridor and it's all sci-fi and stuff.  In this room, we find a very assertive female named Corregidora and a big lug named Martillo.  They're both in super-hero-ish suits.  Their both looking very crossly at another girl named Luz.

Luz is the only person in the room in what looks like regular clothes.  She's also something of a new age grafitti artist, which is why she's in trouble.  Her punishment for creating light-construct caricatures of the Corridor leaders is three nights in the Punishment Hall with only water.  When Luz tells them that her work is art, her punishment is increased to seven nights.  They also mention how important Luz is to some Angelfire project they're working on but that doesn't improve Luz's mood.  Once she's locked up she wastes no time trying to free herself.

In the skies above Mumbai, India, a group of X-Men are landing in a commercial airline.  Their landing is especially rough because the electromagnetic field is going wild.  Aboard the jetliner, Magneto uses his powers to straighten things out so that they land smoothly.  Also on board is Rogue, Anole, Loa, and the whole reason for the trip, Paras Gavascar.  The leave the airport and find a vehicle outside waiting to drive them to Paras's home.

We cut back two days ago where Cyclops is giving Rogue this assignment.  It seems Paras's brother has fallen ill and his family wants him home immediately.  Rogue sees this as some sort of punishment because, well, Rogue is punishing herself for what she sees as mistakes in judgement and she can't believe Scott Summers isn't doing the same.  Cyclops tells her that Magneto's also going along for his own reasons.  No, this doesn't tie-in to The Children's Crusade.  It's something more self-contained.

Rogue visits Hellion.  Julian has been in better moods but is pretty much just as upset as he was in New Mutants.  You can't blame him.  He lost his hands and no-one's seen fit to give him some cyborg limbs yet.  It's like he's the only one who can't have robot limbs.

Back in the present, the X-Men are arriving at the home of Paras Gavascar and his family.  His mother greets him warmly but daddy isn't in the same mood.  You really can't blame him either even though his is kind of a dick.  It would be fine if it was just Rogue and a few classmates but they brought along Magneto.  That doesn't improve Mr. Gavascar's impression of the X-Men.
XMenLegacy238

You really have to wonder how Magnus, a mutant terrorist mind you, arranged for travel on any airline on the planet.  It's not like people don't know what he looks like and he's not here in any disguise.

After Paras's father's warm greeting, the X-Men feel right at home.  Oh yeah.

Mrs. Gavascar brings Paras up to see his brother.  It looks like he fell into a coma during one of the many storms that have hit Mumbai.  Paras's brother isn't the only one to fall into a coma.  It's a widespread epidemic at this point.  This sad news isn't all that greets Indra.  He also learns that his brother was engaged to be married.  With his brother unable to complete that commitment, it looks like Paras will be married instead.

It's time to learn what Magneto is doing in India.  While talking with Rogue, we learn that Magnus is here investigating these electromagnetic disturbances.  Even in Utopia, he could sense them.  Rogue tells Erik that they're going out around town.  Magnus decides to come with.  It's time for some adventures.

Corregidora is busy at monitor duty when Martillo gives her the bad news.  Luz has escaped.  Worse, the girl is trying to escape the Corridor.  Since Luz is in tubes that usually kill people, no-one's jumping at following her.  Corregidora calls her up on the coms and tells her to turn around before she's dead, too.  Luz isn't concerned.  It's downtime for the tubes so it'll take time for whatever's in them to cause a fatality.  The light filter in front of her doesn't pose a problem either, since she can bend light to her will.  Just like that, Luz has escaped the Corridor.  Corregidora orders the Servidores to follow her.

On their drive around town, Magneto picks up some strong EM readings and tells their driver to drop them off.  He and the X-Men (minus Paras who stayed behind) start following the signatures around the area.

So what's Paras doing?  He's trying to figure out why his dad promised him to a complete stranger.  Oh, arranged marriages... they are so romantic.  This is another scene set up so that we don't like Paras's daddy.  I mean, he doesn't really seem to care for his son.  At all.  And this arranged marriage is a great idea and it will go forward.  Paras should be grateful that they were able to set up such a good match.  Indra thanks his father for the honor of marriage.

The X-Men have kept following the EM patterns until the sky opens up with lightning.  Magneto tells Rogue and company to get in close so that he can shield them from this electromagnetic storm.  Lightning pours everywhere but the X-Men are relatively safe under Magnus's shield.  Before the lightning storm ends, Luz bounces off the ground a few times.

Since she's the only other person in the area who hasn't slipped into a coma, Luz immediately becomes a person of interest to Rogue and her companions.  Magneto thinks getting close to Luz would be a bad idea since the girl is giving off the same EM fluctuations that just riddled the area.  Luz tries to make up a cover story but isn't doing a very good job.

Suddenly, her wrist device lets out an alarm.  The Corridor sent the Servidores after her.  Sentinels.


UXM1The X-Men #1
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby

In this story:

• Professor X summons his X-Men for training in the Danger Room!

• We are introduced to Cyclops, Angel, Iceman, and Beast and get a look at their respective powers.

• The X-Men get into their civvies for the arrival of the last member of the team, Jean Grey.

• Magneto causes a rocket to crash to the ground unexpectedly.

• More magnetic madness happens as the master of magnetism takes control of Cape Citadel.

• Professor X calls his X-Men into action and they quickly travel to Cape Citadel.

• Cyclops talks to the General trying to retake the military base and asks for fifteen minutes time for the X-Men to do the job for him.

• The X-Men are on the clock!  After escaping a missile barrage and a number of other magnetic perils, the X-Men face off against Magneto for the first time.

• Magneto escapes by means of magnetic flight.  The X-Men have won their first victory and return home heroes.

There are few comic franchises as expansive and popular as the X-Men.  The title and it's spin-offs dominated the comic book world of the eighties and nineties and still have tremendous presence today.  The first team's comic book debut was dated September, 1963.  This was the same month that saw some of Marvel's new heroes team up in their own title, The Avengers (which we covered HERE).  These two team books had the same creative team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.  To put it all in historical context, Fantastic Four #18, Amazing Spider-Man #4, Sgt. Fury #3, Journey Into Mystery #96, Tales to Astonish #47, Strange Tales #112, and Tales of Suspense #45 all saw release at the same time.  Marvel Comics was growing fast.

The new team of mutants might have been billed as "in the sensational Fantastic Four style!" but they had more of a resemblance to Spider-Man and may have been trying to tap into the teen super-hero market.  The X-Men were students at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, fighting menaces far greater than a football rival and with more to worry about than who to take to the high school dance.  They had to face the deadly threat of the evil mutants... though they also had to worry about who they were going to date.

The setting was Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters though it wasn't given a name for a few more issues.  We begin by showing a bald man seated in an easy chair as he orders the X-Men to attend him.  This is Professor X, the leader and instructor of the team.  Soon, the four X-Men arrive and it's time to put them through their paces.  The X-Men was the first team that focused on training their powers and they even had a room dedicated to the most dangerous training sessions you can imagine.  Again, the Danger Room isn't named in this issue but we still get a look at its insides as Professor X directs his students through their exercises.  Xavier is a harder teacher than he would become, with strict rules and an attitude that demands obedience.

And this is how we meet our cast of colorful characters.  Cyclops!  Angel!  The Beast!  Iceman!  All four are garbed in the school uniform, the blue and gold that so often gets a return appearance with modern alterations.  In this book, the suits are less form fitting than they have been seen recently.  They give some room to breathe.  Something else that might strike you about this line-up is Beast.  Hank McCoy has a more human appearance with gigantic hands and feet but that shouldn't really surprise anyone.  Beast has gone through several transformations over the years.  No, what is most surprising is how the bouncing Beast talks.  It's not in the intellectual manner that we're used to.  It more down to earth... almost like a modified Ben Grimm.  Hank wouldn't get his traditional manner of speech until X-Men #3 and expanded from there.

You might be wondering why Bobby has the human snowman look going.  I'd love to say it's to set up the gag where he actually dresses UP like a snowman but it comes down to power control.  Iceman didn't become a man of ice until X-Men #8.

The teammembers all got through their practice routines before Xavier allows them some free-for-all roughhousing.  Prof X puts a halt to this when he senses the arrival of the final member of the team.  It's a girl.  The X-Men get out of their uniforms and into more casual clothing for the newcomer.

Jean Grey shows up not really knowing what she's here for.  She got a message from the Professor telling her to come to this address and only tell her parents where she was going.  Xavier begins explaining that the people at this school are mutants that have an "extra power" just like herself.  That's why he calls them "X-Men..." because of the "X"-tra power.  Everyone winks and nods because they all think he's named the team after himself: Professor "X."

Charles Xavier also explains that his parents worked on the first atom bomb which is likely why he became a mutant.  He thinks he might be the first one but history proves that false in time.  Finally, he calls his confinement to a wheelchair a "childhood accident" but we learn later that it happened when he was an adult while battling the alien called Lucifer.

Without further ado, Xavier introduces his other students who fall all over the girl like horny teenagers.  This is because they ARE horny teenagers.  It's what they do.  The newly named "Marvel Girl" gives them a sample of her telekenesis by moving around small objects.  When Beast swings in for a kiss, she uses her power to spin the poor sap in the air until he's learned his lesson about getting fresh.

Professor Xavier then explains what the X-Men were brought together to accomplish.  While they are the benevolent mutants who want to live in peace and harmony with mankind, there are also evil mutants who want to control the world.  The X-Men are here to make sure the evil mutants don't fulfill their desire to take over everything.

That's a cue for a scene change if I ever heard one.  The very first evil mutant out of the gate turns out to be their number one bad guy of all time.  Magneto.  Master of magnetism.  While the character would become a fully fleshed out human being in time, in his first appearance he's depicted as a one-dimensional super-villain aping off of Dr. Doom.  It's just that swanky suit that sets him apart.  As his first act of terrorism, Magneto takes control of a launching, unmanned rocket and causes it to spin wildly into the ground.

It just gets better from there.  Magnus takes control of a platformed machine gun and makes it shoot wildly into the group of guards around the military base, Cape Citadel.  The main act is magnetically moving a tank around menacingly.  The soldiers on the base go on full alert waiting for the next shoe to drop.  Magneto still hasn't revealed himself but he does write a message with the magnetic particles in the sky "Surrender the base or I'll take it by force!"  He even signs his super-villain name "Magneto" in cursive.

Of course, the military isn't in the business of caving to terrorist threats so you can bet the answer is "No!"  That just means Mags is allows more mayhem before taking the base.  He launches a missile into the air and makes it crash into the ocean.  The soldier prepare to destroy any other missile launched without authorization but they're starting to feel just a bit outmatched.

Finally, the miraculous Magneto makes his grand entry to Cape Citadel and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him.  The guards can't shoot at him because the master of magnetism has locked up their guns or made them far to heavy to lift.  They can't dogpile him because Mags has surrounded himself with a magnetic shield.  Once the villain has made his way through the platoon of soldiers, he catches them all in a magnetic prison so that they can't interfere further with his plans.  The evil mutant strides right into the General's office and demands surrender.  He doesn't get it so he traps the General and his guards in another magnetic field.

All this before the X-Men even know what he's doing.

Back at the hidden school of mutants, Marvel Girl is trying on her new costume while Bobby, Hank, and Warren do their best peeping tom impression from the doorway.  Jean yells at them to repect her privacy and wonders if it's too early to go crazy and kill her classmates or if she'll have to wait for the Phoenix Force to do that for her.  It's no wonder she fell for Scott.  He's the only one giving the girl some privacy.

Soon, Professor X calls his X-Men to his chambers so that he can tell them all about the first attack of the evil mutants.  The X-Men are in for a trip to Cape Citadel but there's no more information given.  They just suit up in their own special ways, take a Rolls Royce to the airport and then board a remote-control plane to Cape Citadel.

At the military base, the General in charge of retaking Cape Citadel has come across an impenetrable barrier surrounding the prize.  He calls for a halt on the weapons fire until they can figure out a better use of their ammunition.  Enter: the X-Men.  Cyclops acts as unofficial leader, asking the General for fifteen minutes to take out this Magneto guy.  The General doesn't see the harm in letting five colorfully dressed super-hero take on a threat that has stopped them cold and gives Summers the green light.

The X-Men stream past the confused soldiers in their own chaotic style.  Cyclops reaches the barrier first and get a telepathic call from the Professor telling him what to do.
Xmen1

Unleashes the full force of his optic blasts, Cyke is able to penetrate the shield, though it weakens him terribly.  Inside Cape Citadel, Magneto is surprised to find something that can break through his barriers.  He launches some heat-seeking missiles at his opponents.

Iceman is able to freeze most of the heat-seekers, but one gets by him to chase after Angel.  With some fancy teamwork by Beast and Marvel Girl, this missile is also taken care of.  Magneto is again surprised but still confident he can beat these five teenagers.  When Angel swoops in on him, Magnus surrounds the flier with random bits of metal, stopping the X-Man cold.  Cyclops has recovered by this point and starts blasting Warren out of the hastily built metal prison.

The master of magnetism escapes to the background before anyone can follow him and returns with a cart of rocket fuel.  He pushes it towards the heroes, lighting it up on the way.  Iceman covers himself and his teammates with an ice shield but after the explosion, there's no sign of anyone.  Magneto believes he's won.

Not so.  Before the rocket fuel went up, Cyclops used his concussion beam to dig an underground trail.  The X-Men escaped safe and sound and they're still fighting mad.  Magnus decides that this isn't going well for him and escapes by magnetic flight.  To keep the X-Men from following, the master of magnetism drops another magnetic forcefield.  By the time the X-Men break through, their opponent is long gone.

With Cape Citadel retaken, the General commends them for doing all the dirty work and the X-Men get back on their remote control jet for the flight home.  On the way, Xavier gives them a telepathic call, telling them how proud he is of them and how they have survived their trial by fire.  It's only up and up from here!

Right?

Well...

X-Men never hit the big time during its original run.  By X-Men #66 (March, 1970), the book was cancelled.  It started back up in December as a reprint book on a bi-monthly schedule.  In May, 1975, the X-Men title returned, debuting a brand new international X-Men team in Giant-Size X-Men #1.  The original team was mostly retired, leaving new mutants from around the world to join up with Cyclops when the team continued into X-Men #94 (August 1975).  By the time of Giant-Size X-Men, Beast had already gained his blue fur and joined up with the Avengers.  Jean Grey's retirement from the team was brief and she ended up returning before too long, before being replaced by the Phoenix entity in Uncanny X-Men #101 (though readers at the time thought this was the real Jean Grey until the original returned in the pages of Fantastic Four #286).  Iceman and Angel both joined up with the Champions soon after leaving the X-Men but that didn't last long.  Angel returned to the X-Men for a time but didn't really fit in on the All-New line-up.  Eventually, Iceman, Angel, and Beast would join the New Defenders until that team fell apart.  The original X-Men would come back together to form X-Factor, posing as human mutant hunters in order to help the mutant population.  You can imagine how well that worked.  The team dropped the mutant hunter bit eventually and just settled into being the most public team of mutant heroes, eventually folding back in with the X-Men line and mixing themselves in with the two X-Men squads.

Today, Cyclops leads the surviving mutants into a new Heroic Age where new mutants may finally be reappearing.  Jean Grey is currently dead.  Angel is doing double duty on the X-Men and X-Force (where he usually goes by his Archangel persona).  Iceman is still around but doesn't get much facetime.  Beast has quit the X-Men and joined up with the Secret Avengers.  Professor Xavier doesn't lead the mutants anymore but still hangs around Utopia.  Magneto is doing the same but is also showing up in five places at once, mixing it up with the Young Avengers in Avengers: The Children's Crusade, having adventures with Rogue in India over in X-Men Legacy, and playing around in the rest of the X-Men books with a minor role.

The X-Men franchise is a gigantic colossus determined to rule us all.  Even with the number of mutants limited to around 200, there are four X-Men books (Uncanny, a new X-Men series, X-Men Legacy, and Astonishing), New Mutants, X-Factor, and Uncanny X-Force, besides many mini- and solo series starring X-Men characters.  Heck, you've even got books like X-Men Forever and New Mutants Forever showing you what would have happened if X-Scribe Chris Claremont hadn't left both of those books.  Odds are, you've read enough X-books to know what you want to read and what you don't, but if you're brand new to the X-Verse, you've got a daunting task before you.  I'd still start with the flagship title (that's Uncanny X-Men, FYI) and see where it takes you.  We went over two current X-Men books just this week so you've already got an idea what happens in those.  Good luck!

And we are done once more.  I bet you enjoyed yourself.  I know I did!

Until next time: Excelsior!

Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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