The action is hot this week.
Today, we check out X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- Smoke and Blood #1, Shadowland #3, Shadowland: Elektra #1, Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2, I Am An Avenger #1, Hawkeye & Mockingbird #4, Heroic Age: One Month To Life #1, Young Allies #4, and Blast to the Past for Strange Tales #123. Enjoy and spread the word!
Science, Demons, Cancer, and Bastards. Are you as ready as I am?
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege? Check no further than this link right HERE.
First on our whirlwind tour is the X-Club.
X-Men: Curse of the Mutants- Smoke and Blood #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
In this issue:
• Dr. Nemesis argues with Emma Frost.
• A Charniputra Vampire is brought to Utopia in an effort to cure vampirism and find a cure for those affected by the Vampire Plague.
• It escapes. Chaos!
• The X-Club section of Utopia is sealed off as the X-Club try to protect a few normals infected with the Vamp Plague and contain the Charniputra.
• Kavita Rao's cure for vampirism fails. Nemesis comes in for the save.
• Emma uses Cerebra in an attempt to telepathically locate the vampire but it's hidden from her senses and everyone else seems telepathically muted.
• Kavita and Box leave to recover priceless scientific notes. Nemesis stays to protect the Vampire Plague infected.
• The Charniputra attacks but it's all technological now and even a stake doesn't do any good.
• Jeffries realizes that he's been infected and has been doing the Charniputra's bidding for quite a while now. He tells Kavita to kill him.
• Dr. Nemesis gets a hold of Emma and has her psi-blast Madison. This frees Jeffries from the vampire's control and allows Box to act.
• Dead Vampire. Two surviving vampire plague test subjects. And a cure. Good work, X-Club.
• Nemesis is angry because the Vampires still don't obey the laws of science and he can't explain telepathy.
You may be a little worried at another appearance of the X-Club after the fiasco that was Second Coming: Revelations- Blind Science. You'd be right to. This book has the same writer attached. Blind Science was such a waste of a tie-in that you may be worried that whatever is in the Curse of the Mutants book is just as easily forgettable. Well, I can't guarantee that what happens within is relevent to the rest of the event but it SEEMS more important at the very least. Let's see if it actually IS.
Utopia seems a lot more empty than usual. This is because Cyclops and his A-Team are all over San Francisco dealing with a vampire invasion while other teams travel the globe in search of body parts from Dracula, like this was Simon's Quest. Left in charge of the island is Scott Summer's girlfriend, Emma Frost. This almost seems normal at this point since the former White Queen has been hanging out with the X-Men for YEARS our time but you have to remember that she's a late comer to the X-Party and spent a good deal of time on the side of the bad guys. Regardless, she's Cyclops' girl and does a good job enforcing his policies while making the place her own.
So what's she in charge of that is all that important to this comic? That would be what the X-Club is working on. The X-Club, for the uninitiated, is a group of scientists assembled by the Beast in an attempt to find a solution for the zero growth rate of the mutant race. They haven't had much luck on that score but they stay busy with all the other scientific issues that come up for the surviving mutants on Utopia. The group has bled members since it was formed and we're left with Dr. Nemesis, Madison Jeffries, and Kavita Rao from the original group. This leaves Dr. Nemesis in charge of the team and he's... pleasant.
He's even more pleasant when having to deal with Emma Frost, whom he thinks of as a stupid, blonde bimbo. Now, he thinks most people are stupid so it's just the blonde bimbo part that he really focuses on with Frost. When she asks for a status update on the X-Club's latest Curse of the Mutants related project, he visibly bristles at having to deal with the White Queen.
The X-Club's project involves a vampire. A Charniputra to be exact. This vamp was brought in so that Kavita Rao could examine it and try to discover a cure for vampirism. On its way in, Wolverine removed one of those sunblocking amulets that are so popular for today's vampire on the go and nearly toasted the thing before the scientists could get it in some shade. This would be more hilarious if Wolverine wasn't one of the first to learn about the amulets. He's acting clueless here but maybe that's just because he was really hoping to burn up a vamp.
Anyway, Kavita Rao's cure for vampirism involves Madison Jeffries' microscopic robots, called Parvodrones, that enter the Charniputra and deliver a serum set up to change the RNA sequences of the vampire, returning it to a normal human state... or whatever would be appropriate for a Charniputra who never had a human form to begin with. The plan is all set to go as Dr. Nemesis details the plan to his inferior superior.
So, vampirism is just about to be cured or whatever but that isn't the only thing that the X-Club is up to. They're also trying to solve the mystery of the vampire plague. In issue #1 of X-Men, a vampire exploded in Union Square, covering a whole bunch of people in its blood. All of those people have developed vampire-like tendencies, basically making them a fast food source for the vampires since they now seek them out and have no survival instinct around the creatures of the night. One of those infected was Jubilation Lee. She's already gone from Utopia by this point but the problem remains and it's not getting anywhere near a solution.
That's because it doesn't make any sense. Nemesis can't identify anything WRONG with those infected. They just go all goth and leap at the nearest vamp. Nemesis can't figure it out and that he claims that he will. Emma isn't so certain. After all, Nemesis can't even explain how she's able to speak directly to him through her mind. That's something Dr. Nemesis has to deal with all the time without having a rational explanation. Perhaps this problem is similarly unsolvable. Nemesis remains confident. He has complete faith in his science.
Inside the X-Club's lab, a fire breaks out. Madison Jeffries investigates and finds that the sprinkler system isn't going off. This fire is going to burn out of control and Box doesn't look like he's going to put it out. Kavita puts fire fighting straight out of his mind. The vampire has escaped. She races off to get her vampire cure while Jeffries races to their group of test subjects.
Oh, yeah. Since Jubilee took her leave, the X-Men found a couple humans who were also infected by the vampire plague. They're exibiting some of the later stages, including talking in demonic voices on occasion and really hoping they get devoured by the nearest vampire every so often. The civilians are still sane enough to have some measure of survival instinct but they're all fighting a voice in their head telling them to jump at the fangs. There are five of them to start out with. There won't be for long.
Madison creates a super gun to protect these normal victims but the first casualty hits when one of the girls walks in front of him and right into the vampire mist. She's devoured quickly. And then there were four.
Kavita returns with the vampire cure, loaded in a specially designed gun. She makes sure that Jeffries' Parvodrones are ready and then unloads the gun into the Charniputra. It does absolutely nothing. The cure just failed. The X-Club members shove the civilians out of the room as they decide a retreat is in order.
Dr. Nemesis is just about to enter the X-Club area when he realizes things have gone super south. He contacts Emma Frost and tells her what's going down and makes ready to seal up the facility to prevent the vampire's escape. Emma asks him what side of the quarantine Nemesis is going to end up on. This makes him pause. Decisions, decisions...
Box and Kavita lead their charges into one of Jeffries' workareas. He plans on making an artificial sun generator or something approximate but a power outage to the facility prevents that. It's such a well played move that back-up power isn't allowed to come back on. This is all curious to Kavita since she was under the impression that the Charniputra was stupid as rocks. I'm not sure about the Charniputra Sect in general, but this one was apparently animal intelligence at best. This whole thing is making less and less sense.
The Vampire Plague infected people are all mixed up. Part of them wants to go hide and the other is calling out their location so that the vampire doesn't have to do so much searching for it's meal. The Charniputra finds them and takes down another one of those poor cannon fodder humans before Dr. Nemesis can show up for the save.
His weapon isn't enough to stop the beast but it gives everyone a chance to escape some more.
Everyone gathers around a table after their latest escape and Nemesis lays down what's going on. He's sealed this area off and is the only one that can open the locks. He won't open them until this whole thing is worked out... so he's pretty sure they're going to stay closed. With no power, he can't even get a hold of the outside world. Fortunately, they have a master of machines along to make a radio with a kinetically generated charge. It'll do just well enough to reach the rest of Utopia.
The latest idea is to get a hold of Emma Frost and have her use Cerebra to locate the Charniputra. Since Nemesis isn't all that fond of telepathy (or Emma), Kavita has to make the call. The problem with this plan is that Emma can't get a read on the vampire at all. It's invisible. In fact, everyone in the building is hard to read. Something is definitely up. Right now, they just know they can't count on telepathy to get them out of this and that makes Nemesis happy.
The best outcome from not being able to find the vampire would be that Kavita's cure worked after a while and the Charniputra died but that wouldn't make for a very good comic so put that thought right out of your mind. This thing gets complicated before it gets done.
Madison remembers that they left a fire burning in the lab when all of this started. Since the sprinkers didn't activate, that means it's growing. Kavita freaks because it'll eventually burn up all her research, vampire related or otherwise. For the X-Club, that's unacceptable and Nemesis declares that he'll accompany her to the lab to retrieve any pertinant notes. That's not happening, though. Madison reminds Nemesis that the de facto X-Club leader is the only one with the codes to exit this place and having him roam the halls is just asking for trouble. No, Box will escort Kavita. Dr. Nemesis gets to play baby-sitter with the remaining human test subjects. Guess who's not happy with that?
It doesn't take long after Kavita and Madison leave for the Charniputra to show up looking for another meal. Dr. Nemesis fires a chopstick at the vampire's chest, going for the whole stake through the heart thing. This should tell you just how desperate the man is. This isn't science, it's mythology. Nemesis is NOT a fan. He's even less a fan when the chopstick he lodged in the vampire's heart pops right on out. A close look at the Charniputra reveals technology mixed in with the rest of it's body.
We lose another Vampire Plagued human this scene. That leaves only two left.
Over at the local fire, Kavita is frantically grabbing files from the flames when her companion makes a startling discovery. Madison realizes that he's been infected by the Vampire Plague. It must have been when the Parvadrones entered the beast's system which means HE was unwittingly responsible for the Charniputra's escape. It also explains how such an animalistic vampire would be able to shut down the power grid and survive a wooden object piercing it's heart.
Dr. Nemesis has come to the same conclusion since he can see all the tech surrounding the Charniputra. It's only logical.
Madison points a gun at Kavita Rao before gaining enough control over himself to point it at his own temple. Kavita tries to stop him but Box believes this is the only option. Unfortunately, part of his subconscious is still completely effected by the Plague so killing himself isn't going to be easy. Before he can pull the trigger, his powers take the gun apart. Plan B, then. He assembles another gun for Kavita. It looks like she'll have to do this.
Dr. Nemesis and his two human charges are running for their lives and it looks like the mutant has gained some distance on those he's supposed to protect. It doesn't matter too much. When the other two catch up, they grab Nemesis and get ready to sacrifice the man to the vampire. This is NOT how Nemesis plans on going out but he still gets some of his life flashing before his eyes. Luckily, it's relevent bits from the recent past.
Remember when Emma was talking about how he couldn't explain telepathy? Remember how Nemesis couldn't find anything effecting the minds of the Vampire Plague victims? Remember the trouble Emma had reading everyone in the X-Club lab? Yeah. Two plus two, yo.
The good doctor shouts out to get Emma's psychic attention and tells her that he's got it all figured out. It's a telepathic attack! He tells Emma Frost to psi-blast Madison Jeffries and the quicker the better. Frost is still hooked up to Cerebra so it's a simple matter to do this though she grumbles at Nemesis' tone.
The psi-attack does the trick. Box is free from the effects of the Vampire Plague and that means he can use all that tech in the Charniputra to tear the thing apart. The threat is over and two of the humans survived! It's almost like winning!
Later on, Kavita Rao briefs Emma Frost on just what went down at the X-Club labs. It looks like a cure for the Vampire Plague has been found and it's as simple as telepathically cleansing the city of San Francisco. Of course, the actual explanation is more complicated than that but we'll just go with vampiric telepathy linked to the splashed blood. That's one threat down. The reason Dr. Nemesis didn't deliver this news to Emma is because of the whole telepathy thing. Sure, he solved the problem but he did it by adding in something else he can't solve. Stupid science.
The cure for vampirism, however, isn't going to be solved today. Even after the Parvodrones started doing what they were supposed to be doing, Kavita's solution failed. By all accounts, it should have done the trick. It didn't.
That's because it's magic and we don't have to explain it. Madison Jeffries and Nemesis burn the vampire's body while Box tells Nemesis just that. Vampires are magical. It doesn't matter if you think science can solve the problem because in this case, it can't. None of this makes the X-Club leader happy but he doesn't have much of a response besides "don't you be talking about my science that way!" Even he has admitted deep down that this is just something he won't be able to solve.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Billy Tan
In this story:
• Moon Knight fights the Hand in their secret containment facility until Ghost Rider shows up and wreaks some vengeance.
• Daredevil rescinds his ban on killing just in time to attack the super-hero intervention squad.
• During the battle, DD shows some super powers, besting Iron Fist and Shang-Chi in combat.
• Punisher shows up, sprays the room with bullets and allows our heroes to escape.
• Lady Bullseye and Kingpin talk about unleashing Ghost Rider on the Hand. Fisk plans on sending GR straight to the source in Japan.
• Matt goes gravedigging with Typhoid Mary and finds Elektra waiting.
• Master Izo joins the heroes to tell them how Murdock has been corrupted by the Snakeroot Clan.
• Daredevil unburies the body of Bullseye.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Jake Lockley, Marc Spector, Stephen Grant, or Moon Knight. Sometimes it's hard to tell what guy you're dealing with. Take now, for example. That's Jake Lockley fighting off the Hand after he allowed them to capture him and bring him to their secret prison but he's fighting with the vengeance of the Moon Knight (sic). Granted, he less crazy than usual so these separate identities he's held are less multiple personalities and more covers for various jobs he's supposed to be doing. This time, it's about getting through the Hand and then telling Steve Rogers all about this place. That was the mission.
Which isn't going according to it's well-laid plan. Sure, Moon Knight could fight his way through these ninja. After all, they're Hand and that means they turn to green dust with the slightest killing blow. What makes things more complicated is the surprise team-up Spector is experiencing with the Spirit of Vengeance himself, Ghost Rider. Suddenly, the ninjas are not a big deal. At all. That means all these prisoners can escape without waiting for America's Top Cop to summon the Avengers. It also means Moon Knight's mission just changed.
As far as Ghost Rider, the dude is annoyed. This is not what Johnny Blaze wants to be doing but he's being compelled to it by the incantations chanted by the Kingpin. That makes him cranky and feeling used. Not a good place to be if you have near unlimited power and a flaming skull. GR drives off, leaving the former prisoners to find their own way out. While they do that, Jake Lockley finds the only white cloth in a sea of red uniforms and decides it's time to get suited up.
The attack in the prison below directly causes what's going on above. Daredevil was getting a super-hero intervention by some dudes he's hung out with over the years. Murdock learned about Ghost Rider attacking downstairs and believed that the heroes were trying to distract him so that GR could do his thing. It's a convenient way to get into a ninja fight at any rate.
Let's go over our players so you can fill out your scorecards. The hero squad consists of Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, Colleen Wing, and Misty Knight. The bad guys for this event would be good ol' Daredevil, Black Tarantula, White Tiger, and a whole load of Hand ninjas. To make things even more fun, Daredevil decides killing is ok and orders his ninjas to use lethal force. Again, this is the Hand we're talking about, so the only real challenge is numbers. There are a lot of ninjas hanging out in Shadowland.
Iron Fist and Shang-Chi decide to take on the boss directly. Either one of these guys bests Daredevil in a fight all on their own and together, this should be a one-two knockout move. It's not. DD surprises them both by leaping far higher than humanly possible and then crashing back down with incredible force. As this fight progresses, Danny Rand realizes that Matt Murdock is probably not in the driver's seat. This is definitely a different power set if nothing else.
After Shang-Chi and Iron Fist get knocked around a bit, Spider-Man swings in with a kick to DD's face. A follow-up web maneuver misses its target due to more super-human speed on Daredevil's part. While Spider-Man wonders what's going on with the Man Without Fear, Matt orders a new player in the game to start the wall-crawler on fire.
Typhoid Mary. She showed up in Daredevil #509 so we already knew the lady was hanging about Shadowland. Peter Parker drops to the ground in spasms as Misty Knight tries to beat the flames out. There's a short pause in the fighting as our heroes find themselves surrounded and facing a lot more powerful Daredevil than they first expected. This wasn't what they came here for and they're all surprised how quickly it came to fighting. Keep in mind, none of these guys knew that Kingpin was going to ruin their meeting by summoning Ghost Rider.
DD again orders the heroes' deaths right before the wall explodes. Hey kids! It's the Punisher! Don't ask how he got into Shadowland. I'm just guessing it was a lot of bullets.
And here come a whole lot more of those. Frank Castle fills the hall with lead, covering the heroes' escape and leaving the bad guys to scramble for cover or get shot up. Their choice. When Luke Cage and company hit the streets, they find that things have changed. There's a riot happening. That's not the safety promised by the Hand but the ninjas don't seem to be doing anything about it.
And what about Kingpin? He's laughing it up in his penthouse in the sky while not revealing much of anything. His latest assistant/assassin, Lady Bullseye, warns him that summoning Ghost Rider is not gonna end well, but Wilson Fisk thinks he's got it all wrapped up tight. GR is going to want freedom from this little bit of enchantment. Since the Hand created it in the first place, it's a good bet that sending him after them will keep the dude focused. As he talks, Ghost Rider races up the side of his building for new orders. He's going to Japan.
In Shadowland, Daredevil is brooding about the latest fiasco. He finds his Hand army to be entirely inadequate to the task at hand. He needs someone with some punch in them if he has any hope of conquering the entire world for it's own good. Matt also believes that when the heroes return, they won't be here to talk. It'll be a strike to take Murdock out of power. Maybe they'll even try killing him. That can't be allowed.
Suddenly, he realizes what he needs to do. He tells Typhoid Mary to come with him. There's going to be shoveling involved. Above them, a man in a white cape watches. You'd think something that white would be easy to spot since that's it's usual purpose but maybe no-one expects Moon Knight to be just hanging out.
It's a quick trip to the local graveyard and we all know where this is going. If you don't, for shame. I'll fill you in in due time. For now, we get to hear Daredevil talk about how foolish it was to waste good material. Typhoid Mary thinks this is a stupid plan because the dude they're digging up is not exactly best friends with Daredevil but Matt knows that resurrection brings loyalty. It's why Black Tarantula and White Tiger are so loyal, right?
Before we can see the inevitable reveal, we get a completely different one. It's Elektra. She is here to join her ex-boyfriend or something.
In Harlem, the failed super-hero intervention squad is licking it's wounds and wondering why the hell they're letting the Punisher hang out with them. Iron Fist comforts Shang-Chi when the Master of Kung Fu prepares to hand his title over to Matt Murdock. That was a level of power that Daredevil has never possessed before. It's not even the fighting style that Matt usually employs, which Danny describes as "usually old-school jujutsu --with a little New York Irish boxer thrown in for good measure." Now, Matt's using techniques and powers that he simply shouldn't possess.
Someone's got to explain why that is and who better than Master Izo? You thought he died in Daredevil #509? Hahaha. Not so much. He jumps in the window and confesses that he was more blind than just his eyes. He planned for Matt to take over the Hand and turn them from their dark ways, not realizing that even Daredevil would be corrupted by this group.
Izo tells them about the Snakeroot Clan and their influence over events. They're using Daredevil. He's now kind of possessed by the Snakeroot Clan god. "The Beast of the Hand!"
As Master Izo explains this to the heroes, Daredevil and his posse leave the graveyard with the body of Bullseye.
Shadowland: Elektra #1
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Emma Rios
In this story:
• Elektra stares up at a wall of ice and talks to Master Izo about her path in life.
• She's actually in the middle of a fight to the death with a group of bad guys and this little conversation is distracting her on the psychic plain or something.
• After killing a bunch of thugs and ne'er do wells, Elektra meets with her CIA contact and gets paid for her hard night of killing.
• Hand ninjas show up and Natchios incapacitates the CIA Agent so that the ninja don't kill him.
• The Hand tell her that as a failed Hand leader, Daredevil wants Elektra out of the country. Insulted, the femme fatale decides to kill the messengers.
• During the fight, our favorite ninja keeps getting distracted by Master Izo who is trying to convince her to help out Matt Murdock.
• It's only when the fight is over and Elektra sees DD kill Bullseye on a big screen television that she catches a quick look of regret on her old lover's face.
• She starts climbing a wall of ice.
If you were a fan of the Dark Reign: Elektra series, this will be right up your ally because it's by the same writer and it's a quick one-shot that'll probably entertain you even if you aren't interested in the larger deal of Shadowland. Maybe. It's hard to tell when you're completely immersed in an event if these are satisfying on their lonesomes.
I think we all know the basics behind Elektra Natchios, the assassin extraordinaire of the Marvel Universe. We'll skip most of the details and just remind everyone that she is a former leader of the Hand and ex-girlfriend of Matt Murdock. Her connection to this storyline is easy to make and we've seen her show up with Master Izo in the pages of Daredevil before both appeared in the Shadowland book right up above. This story takes place before all of those appearances and details Master Izo's attempts to recruit Elektra to save the soul of Daredevil. Let's see how that went down.
There's a big wall of ice standing before Elektra and she's not happy about it. Snow blows all around her as Master Izo, just appearing beside her, starts telling the femme fatale her life story with the Hand and how she dragged herself to Matt Murdock's doorstep to die after Bullseye stabbed her through all those years ago. Izo details how Elektra tried to destroy the Hand from within and received little to no help doing so. Elektra doesn't mind mentioning that now others are asking HER for help to do the same thing... or at least to save someone else doing the same thing. Daredevil decided to lead the Hand in order to change the organization and now he's being corrupted just like she was.
Though, admittedly, Elektra had a lot less far to fall.
We also learn that this is all happening in Elektra's head. She's not actually facing a wall of ice. She's fighting a bunch of dudes in the broken remains of some house and this conversation is seriously going to get her killed. That's because Natchios can't move around when talking inside her mind so she's just been sitting on top of a table, comatose while thugs surround her. That's over for the moment and she can get back to what she does best: killing things.
I'll save you a play-by-play of the battle because I do terrible play-by-plays. All you need to know is that once Elektra is back in the game, no-one can touch her. She's all over the room and everyone's dead by the end of the sequence.
This mission was apparently authorized by the CIA and did not go off as planned. No, I'm not talking about Natchios' little time in her own mind. The CIA operative that gave Elektra the assignment didn't expect there to me so many people at the job. He hopes the fact that they were all bad guys is enough for Elektra because the CIA is on some sort of budget and doesn't pay assassins per kill. While our favorite assassin counts her money as it's sitting on the table, the two get some visitors. E notices them. CIA Agent #78 doesn't. Not at first.
Hand ninja! Elektra tells them not to kill the poor CIA guy because she doesn't really know him all that well and his death wouldn't really effect her emotionally. Y'know, if the Hand is here to effect her that way. The ninjas tell her to deal with the CIA agent before they can get down to business and Elektra handles it with efficiency, incapacitating the poor government guy before he has a chance to do more than draw his gun.
With that done, the Hand deliver their message. Since Elektra is a former leader of the Hand and currently NOT associated with the group, she's unwelcome. Matt Murdock has ordered her out of the country of face punishment. Probably death. They seem to actually think this message will get Elektra out of the States.
Instead, Elektra takes their threat in a very Elektra-like way. A message like this shouldn't have been handled by underlings. As punishment, all three of these ninja will have to die. That's her reply to the Hand's new big cheese.
As I've said, Hand ninja aren't really that difficult to beat in combat and these guys know fighting Elektra is a death sentence. Well, all except the young one who thinks he actually has a shot. He dies in moments.
Now, the other three would probably fall soon afterward except Master Izo isn't done talking to Natchios and she finds herself back inside her own mind. That Izo sure has timing. She relives the time she killed her master for the Hand. He warns that Matt is following the same path she did and failing just as much. The Hand started out long ago as a force for justice and probably righteousness. It was corrupted into the death cult it is today by the Snakeroot Clan. Now, they corrupt all they touch.
And then Elektra is back in action and facing down the second ninja. Her money flies everywhere as the fight gets going in full swing. Another moment and the second Hand ninja has lost his life to a snapped neck.
Which brings us back to Elektra's mind again. Izo wonders if E has figured out how wrong it is that Daredevil sent Hand ninjas after her. After all, he kinda sorta loves her. Kinda. He definitely wouldn't try to kill her through proxy if he were in complete control. Elektra's response to all this leads Izo to believe that she WANTS Matt Murdock corrupted. She wants him to fall as hard and as low as she has. At the same time, Izo knows that this isn't what she really wants. She just wants to want it. In truth, she values Matt's purity (what of it he has) and is going to miss it when it's gone.
Elektra comes back to the real world and finds that the ninja have taken advantage of her unresponsive state. One is trying to choke the life out of her while the other swings a bladed weapon ever closer. No real worries. Elektra isn't going to die here. She quickly escapes their attacks, killing one straight away and following the other down the side of the building to finish him off.
Since Hand ninja turn to smoke and dust when they die, Elektra hits the ground alone. What she finds is very relevent to her own spiritual journey. A group of spectators is gathered around a window, looking inside at a giant television set. On the screen, Daredevil is killing Bullseye with a sai. This is how Bullseye killed Elektra so it's something she'd appreciate.
And she does for a moment. She even says "Thank you" though whether it's because DD killed Bullseye, Bullseye's dead, or Matt has finally been corrupted, I couldn't tell you. It could be a combination of all three or any number of other explanations. That's just how Zeb Wells writes Elektra.
It's the next moment that changes things. She catches a glimpse on the monitor of Daredevil realizing what he's just done and regretting it. It changes everything. The next thing we know, Elektra is climbing that wall of ice in her mind. At least she brought a coat.
Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Penciler: Jim Cheung
In this story:
• The Young Avengers meet Magneto and then fight the Avengers over the fate of Wiccan and the Scarlet Witch.
• Wiccan teleports all his friends (and Magneto) to Mount Wundagore where everyone dresses like they're in the Sound of Music.
• The group walks to the grave of Magda where Magnus hoped Billy would have enough power to find Wanda Maximoff.
• Speed searches the nearby town and finds Quicksilver.
• Pietro races off with Wiccan while Tommy follows.
• After getting a display of how powerful Magneto is even at long range, Quicksilver turns and starts throwing wooden stakes at his estranged father.
• One of those stakes runs a villager through. This is double horrible because the villager turns out to be Wanda.
• Oh, no wait. It's actually a Doombot that looks just like Wanda. I guess we know where we're headed next.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Teenagers. You can't lead them to water unless you use, like triple reverse psychology and maybe a bribe. Such is the life of the Young Avengers, where doing things for their own good is too much of a hassle. For example, after learning that Wiccan's powers have the potential of blowing up just like his maybe mother, the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers do what they think it a good idea and bring the kid in for some tests so that they can maybe prevent another good person from melting down in front of them on their watch. It's one of the rare cases where the Avengers actually look around, see a problem, and decide that maybe they shouldn't wait until it's escalated out of control before handling it.
Unfortunately, the Young Avengers haven't learned the valuable lesson about taking preventative measures so they break their friend out. Billy is just about ready to go back inside like a responsible adult but then decides that it's a much more awesome idea to find the Scarlet Witch and prove that she wasn't the crazy person who killed three Avengers in Avengers: Disassembled. Helping them out? Wanda's father, Magneto, who appears just in time to meet the two kids who might possibly be his grandkids.
Maybe. No guarantees.
Magneto isn't doing the straight up villain thing lately and is instead hanging out with the X-Men over at Utopia when he's not taking crazy visits to India in the pages of X-Men Legacy. In a back-up story in Uncanny X-Men #526, Cyclops basically gave Magnus permission to go out and find his grandkids even though Wolverine warned the Master of Magnetism against that kind of action. The Young Avengers aren't stupid and they definitely don't trust Magneto any further than they can throw him but he IS a connection to Wanda Maximoff that could be utilized.
Magnus tries taking off straight away with his supposed grandkids to Wundagore Mountain but is stopped when Hulkling steps in and tries convincing the former super-villain NOT to steal his boyfriend. It gives Magneto pause and he actually ASKS for their help in finding his daughter. There's a lot of debate on what helping out Magneto actually means. The fact that his daughter is crazy-go-nuts is also factored in. What IS decided is that Billy will only go if his friends accompany him.
And then everyone ends up in a fight with the Avengers.
This is a crazy fight because no-one knows exactly who to hit and who not to hit. Well, the Avengers are all about smacking Magneto around. The guy IS a criminal in the eyes of the law and there's no reason for this team to put on kid gloves around him like the X-Men have. It's the Young Avengers who don't really know what side to go with. What comes out of the fight is that the Avengers would rather not find the Scarlet Witch. Wanda has the power to warp reality to her will and if they found her, they might have to kill her. Since she's an old friend, it's an option they'd like to avoid.
Unless you're Wolverine. He's ready to slice Wiccan through just for being Wanda-lite. This is a deciding factor of this fight because it proves to Billy what side he should be on. It's also massively out of character for Logan to go on what looks like a slice-and-dice spree on a kid. If you're hoping all will be explained by the end of the series... well, so do I.
Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel pull Wiccan away from the fight to talk him out of doing something stupid but it's far to late for that. Billy's decided that the only way to clear up all his problems is to find the Scarlet Witch and clear up her problems first. It's... a bad idea but that never stopped anyone.
It's time for Wiccan to do his magic thing. A giant magical lightning bolt blasts down from the sky and teleports all of the Young Avengers and Magneto away. This leaves the Avengers wondering what their next move should be. Ms. Marvel thinks they should talk to Dr. Strange and follow the Young Avengers but there's a lot of debate on if even that is a good idea. What really sticks with the Avengers is that they should have been looking for the Scarlet Witch long ago. It's a potential disaster that avoiding wasn't going to take away. Wolverine is the only dude cold-blooded enough to think that this all works to their advantage. Let the Young Avengers find Wanda Maximoff. Then let the Avengers take care of business permanent-like.
The Young Avengers arrive at Wundagore Mountain with Magneto. Not everyone is happy about this. After all, the team still hadn't decided to work with Magnus and they have now escaped the country with a known mutant terrorist. It's not where guys like Patriot saw himself three days ago. Wiccan decides that he shouldn't have taken his friends with and makes ready to send them back home with another magic lightning bolt but is stopped by Hawkeye. She tells him that they do this as a team. Rah rah rah.
Now that they're fugitives from the law, it's decided that they make themselves more conspicious. Wiccan handles this with another spell that gives them clothing from one of his favorite movies: The Sound of Music. The hills, after all, are alive.
The teens and their new elderly companion walk on off to their next destination. Hawkeye and Patriot hang back and bicker a bit about this course of action. Patriot is certain that all of this is a bad idea because... it's a bad idea. I'm not saying looking for Wanda is a terrible plan but how the team is going about things is poor all around. Hawkeye defends her decision by saying that the Avengers have been wrong before so they're obviously wrong all the time or some BS. She storms off to catch up with the rest of the team, leaving Patriot to think about what side he's actually on. It's tough when you're the only rational one around.
This isn't the only couple who have stuff to discuss. The Vision and Stature also have something important that needs to be addressed.
The reason Cassie is actually going along with this plan is because she's hoping that Wanda will be able to pull some resurrection magic and bring her father back to life. After all, it worked for Clint Barton who was also killed in Avengers: Disassembled. Vision acknowledges that this could happen but also wonders what the cost will be. He's watched enough Full Metal Alchemist to know that reviving the dead has some consequences. Vision is concerned that his girlfriend will trade her life for the life of her dad. He doesn't want that. Cassie thinks her robot boyfriend not wanting her dead is the height of sweetness.
Alright! They've reached their destination! It's an old grave. Magda's grave. Who's Madga? Only the wife of Magneto and the mother of Wanda Maximoff! She died shortly after the birth of Wanda and Pietro. Magneto gives them all this background detail on his dead wife but puts a more positive spin on it than most people have before. No, he still puts the blame on himself but more in a "woe is me" kind of way, like he's the victim and the oppressor all in one. Mags also goes into details about how the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver joined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants without any knowledge that they were related to the man in charge. It's a small world, really.
Magneto hopes to fix a lot of problems with his family through his presumed grandkids. It's a nice hope. Maybe that'll work out for him.
So what are they doing at this grave, anyway? It seems that even though Magneto has searched Wundagore before, he also knows that it is at this spot where Wanda's powers were the strongest. Mags is banking on Wiccan's abilities also being enhanced here. The group drops their fake clothes for the next bit of action. We also get a fun moment where Speed hopes he grows up a little like Magneto and Mags declares Tommy his favorite grandson.
Wiccan' magical locator spell doesn't take long to yield some results. He senses someone that appears to be Wanda right in the village. Speed races off to investigate. After looking around a bit, he runs into another Maximoff all together.
It's Quicksilver. Pietro is here to get these children away from his father. When the rest of the team join them, the mutant speedster shouts at everyone and then removes Billy from the group. At super speed.
Quicksilver has been looking for his sister for a long time so he's not just doing this out of altruism. He doesn't trust his dad but that doesn't mean that he can't use Billy to find his sister. Wiccan mentions that it's not that simple to separate him from his friends. For example, his brother also has super-speed. And that's when Speed catches up to the two. Quicksilver and Tommy almost start a race but it's stopped when Magneto raises the ground on his son. This is from quite a distance away which makes it that much more impressive. Billy mentions that the fact that Pietro's dad is nigh immortal (I mean, Magneto has been alive FOREVER and has only been deaged a number of times) means Quicksilver have a good chance of living a good long life unless he, y'know, gets in his dad's way. They notice that this wasn't a killing move, either. Magneto isn't trying to off his son. Today.
Of course, the feeling isn't mutual. Quicksilver decides to not give his daddy a second chance to end his life. He races off, grabs some stakes, and starts tossing them at his pop. For a hero, this is an erratic action and it's results are terrible. One of them might have injured Magneto except for Patriot moving in to defend the Master of Magnetism. No, the true casualty in this fight is an innocent bystander who wasn't close enough to be protected by the Young Avengers. This lady looks suspiciously like... Wanda Maximoff.
This is why you shouldn't toss wooden stakes at super-speed.
Fortunately, Quicksilver didn't just murder his sister. He only killed a Doombot that LOOKED like his sister. That means that the Scarlet Witch might very well be in the hands of Victor Von Doom.
I Am An Avenger #1
Writer: Jim McCann
Artist: Chris Samnee
In this story:
• The Young Avengers arrive at the newly rebuilt Avengers Mansion.
• They're attacked at the gates by mansion defences.
• After figuring out that they belong here, Wiccan walks up to the door and knocks (he's casting a spell at the time about not wanting to hurt the mansion).
• Hawkeye congratulates them for figuring out his clever test and the Young Avengers explore the Mansion.
I hate Super Reading anthologies which is bad because I love anthologies. No, really. I do. They just make my job four times as hard by including four stories. Some of these stories are gems. Others are... I'll admit, bad. Really bad. Our first tale is the opposite of that and is a great way to start a new anthology mini-series. I can't promise I'll be doing the rest of the I Am An Avenger series but I can't promise a lot of things. ;)
The Siege of Asgard is over and the Heroic Age is officially under way! This story looks to take place AFTER Siege and BEFORE Avengers: The Children's Crusade. Avengers Mansion has been rebuilt, though, so that's pretty swanky.
The Young Avengers have recieved an invite to the new building and they're heading in from Central Park right now. It's funny because the Young Avengers called the ruins of Avengers Mansion their headquarters after it was leveled during Avengers: Disassembled. As this story says, they were the first squatter Avengers. The place the team is in after Siege is sort of in flux. Sure, they all get back together for the adventure of Children's Crusade but Hawkeye and Patriot has a kiss during Siege that changed the dynamic of their relationship into weirdsville. Because of that... or for unrelated reasons not mentioned, Eli isn't part of this party. He's sitting this one out.
Stature and Vision have just come out of a time when they served as ACTUAL Avengers on the Mighty roster so they are a little more confident than their companions on visiting a rebuilt mansion with an actual Avengers team inside. Cassie's lived in the Mansion before and is used to Avengers being around so it's likely she'd be like this anyway. Actually, since Vision is at least partly based on the old Vision and doesn't really get all emotional very easily, he'd probably be cool with this as well. Regardless, tension is high. The Young Avengers haven't always been friendly with various Avengers squads in their tenuous lifetimes.
They reach the front gates and pause. What now? When the gates automatically open, Speed shoots off like a rocket to get to the front door only to be knocked right back by the automatic defenses. Wiccan is the first to realize something weird is going on but he doesn't have a lot of time to examine that as the yard becomes a battlefield.
Everyone goes on defensive and mistakes start happening. Speed is vibrating really fast to avoid getting hit by anything. This is great except Vision happens to be standing too close and his own intangibility messes up Speed's vibrations. They get stuck inside each other and it's all kinds of odd. Hawkeye and Stature wind up working together to launch arrows since Kate's quivers are all twisted up (Cassie directs the thing from the arrowtip or something--we stop asking questions at this point).
Wiccan is still thinking all of this has a simple solution so he decides to test a theory.
Walking right up to the door with a spell on his lips ("Idon'twanttobreak thenewmansion"), Wiccan gives it a knock and the defenses turn off. He turns to his partners and tells them that they're part of the club now and have to start KNOWING that they are Avengers (don't ruin his buzz by mentioning what's going on in Children's Crusade).
All of this was Hawkeye's ridiculous idea. No, not Kate Bishop Hawkeye. Clint Barton Hawkeye. As you can imagine, it goes over well with guys like Speed who weren't expecting to be tested before entering a mansion that they were invited to. Clint just smiles and doesn't acknowledge that his little stunt could have ended really badly. He's had some bad ideas in his day. He also tells Kate that she won't have to change her name which is a load off of her. It took her forever to settle on Hawkeye in the first place.
Now that the Young Agengers can reach the door, they start exploring the Mansion and meeting the New Avengers that now occupy the place. No-one is more excited than Speed. Hawkeye officially welcomes them to the franchise.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Jason Latour
In this story:
• Iron Fist is attacked by punks while walking around town in his civvies. They get beat down because he has a fist like unto a thing of iron.
• When he reaches his apartment, we learn that he and Misty are moving out and not moving somewhere else together.
• Their relationship has become non-existant after it turned out Misty wasn't actually pregnant.
• While separating their books, they both give the other one a book of theirs to read, assuring that they aren't ending things completely.
Breaking up is hard to do. Iron Fist and Misty Knight have been a couple for quite a while though I think they've been on again/off again for parts of that. Other times, I think they've just been casual. Still, they've always had a close relationship and things got even closer when Misty became pregnant with Danny's child.
After Shadowland ends, things go a different direction.
So, spoilers for the end of Shadowland: Danny and Misty both live. I know that shouldn't surprise anyone who's seen solicits for after that event but there ya go.
We begin our story with Danny coming home from a busy day doing whatever it is he's been doing. Maybe he's been out with the New Avengers or maybe he put in some time at the office. All we know is that some criminals take him for an easy mark and attempt a mugging. I don't know what made them think that was a great idea. Sure, Rand doesn't go out wearing his green and yellow tights but he's still got to have the bearing of someone who shouldn't be messed with.
These muggers didn't take the hint or maybe Danny's got something more pressing on his mind that's bringing his whole attitude down. All we know is there's no way these punks are going to beat up Iron Fist. They get swatted down handily. Danny pretends the distraction from his life is unwelcome but the truth is he wishes the whole street were covered with this kind of thing so he could avoid what he's heading to for as long as possible. Unfortunately, he makes it the rest of the way home without incident.
Misty and Danny are moving out and separating. It's not that they fight all the time. It's the opposite, actually. Neither is putting an effort into their relationship so that it seems like Danny moving closer to Avengers Mansion and Misty moving to another location seems... logical. Danny doesn't want the relationship to end but he feels powerless to save it. Hell, they aren't even talking about it.
All that's left is packing up their books. It's a tedious process of separating her books from his and it's something they have to do together. There are books that both of them wanted to read from the other's collection but when the book is offered, they both decline to take anything that isn't theirs.
Finally, we learn what caused the entire relationship to 180. It turns out Misty was never pregnant. It was a false pregnancy that probably had something to do with the Immortal Iron Fist's legacy. It's happened before. This revelation seriously messes up the couple.
But no-one's talking it through. They're just moving on. Separately.
We return to them dividing the books. Danny finds a book he read as a kid about Jack Flynn. When he was young, Flynn is who he wanted to be. Rand tells Misty to keep the book for him. He thinks she'd like it. Misty doesn't want to take it at first but Danny insists.
Well, if Misty Knight has to take one of his books, then Danny has to do the same. She hands him Trouble is my Business which is the book that inspired her to become a private eye. That means both of them are taking books that started the other down their respective path in life. It's poetic.
It also keeps a connection between the two. Maybe they aren't ready to talk about the pregnancy that never was but they hold each other close and know that maybe they aren't a couple anymore but that doesn't mean it's forever.
Writer: Alex Zalben
Artist: Tom Fowler
In this story:
• Squirrel Girl takes a commercial flight to New York City.
• After going through the airport and picking up her things, she hits the town.
• Iron Man flies overhead.
• Squirrel Girl finds a tree and makes a home.
Pretty much what's written above. There isn't a lot of dialogue in this one.
In Age of Heroes #3, Squirrel Girl quit the Great Lakes Avengers/Champions/Whatever they call themselves this week so that the team could reach it's full potential in her absence. Well, what's a girl to do when she's just quit her day job? Return home.
What follows is a sequence where Squirrel Girl rides a plane to New York City, picks up her rabbit squirrel partner, rides on the subway through the city, and emerges from the subway tunnels to see Iron Man flying in the skies above.
The people around her are excited to see the armored Avenger. Squirrel Girl is too. She finds a tree that looks on Avengers Tower, settles in, and expresses how happy she is to be back home.
Writer: Chris Eliopoulos
Artist: Chris Eliopoulos
In this story:
• We wonder if the Pet Avengers are canon.
• I don't think they're canon.
• Wolverine is denied membership. They can't be canon.
This is a short tale featuring the Pet Avengers, Throg and Ms. Lion. Ms. Lion has brought a new recruit for the team but Throg doesn't think this guy is the right stuff for this particular Avengers squad. Sure, he's already an Avenger and is named after an animal. He's even got a feral demeanor. What he's missing, in Throg's opinion, is a tail.
Thus, Wolverine gets turned down for membership on the Pet Avengers. I guess not every team will allow Logan to join.
Oh, FYI, Throg: you don't have a tail, either.
Hawkeye & Mockingbird #4
Writer: Jim McCann
Penciler: David López
In this story:
• We learn how Hawk, Mock, and Dom didn't die when the building they were in started exploding from the outside in.
• It involves a makeshift tent and Dominic Fortune dying for a few seconds.
• Bobbi decides to step down as active leader of the WCA but Hawkeye talks her out of it even though the next plan is all him.
• Calls are made. Events are set in motion.
• Crossfire learns that all of his facilities have been burned up. All of them.
• Phantom Rider gets a telepathic call from Mockingbird and the two villains walk right into the carefully laid trap...
• At the New york Museum of Natural History! It's happening here because Hawk and Mock realized they'll need that cracked urn the released the spirit of Lincoln Slade.
• Crossfire and Phantom Rider chase the duo through a door and find themselves in Spirit Peak, Nevada courtesy of a door transport from the Infinite Mansion.
• Meeting them here is Jaime Slade's father, Hamilton Slade, who would very much like his daughter back.
• Hamilton changes into the real Phantom Rider and demands Lincoln return to the urn.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Last issue ended with our heroes getting blown up after two of them had shot each other with their respective weapons of choice. So they're dead, right? Sure, why not?
Just don't be planning a funeral anytime soon.
Our first shot is the building they're in (a CTE warehouse in the Bronx), fallen to the ground. No-one is stirring but there are bits of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Dominic Fortune costume pieces tossed all over the place. We skip on over to WCA Headquarters to get a reaction from the support team. They aren't getting any response from their people in the field. All they're really getting is a terrible alarm. It looks like Twitchy put in life detectors in Hawk, Mock, and Dom's uniforms and one of those has just flatlined. Back at the CTE Warehouse, someone is finally getting up out of the rubble but it's too shadowy to make out who it is.
To find out how everyone magically survives (yes, of course they all live), we have to move back in time to just after Crossfire and the Lady Phantom Rider took their leave. It's a tense scene. The outer walls of the building have started to explode so there's no escape by actually leaving. Hawkeye's been shot by Dominic. Dom's been shot with an arrow by Hawkeye. Mockingbird is still held in place by one of Lady PR's magic bullets.
With an extreme force of will and encouragement by her ex, Bobbi breaks free from the magic bullet enchantment. We're also reminded that Dominic was using non-lethal ammunition so Hawkeye is pretty much only winded. The only real problem is that Hawkeye, the guy who hates killing with a passion only otherwise reserved for Norman Osborn, uses very sharp arrows that tend to pierce through flesh when fired. His arrow lodged into an unprotected bit of Dominic's body armor and the soldier of fortune is seriously wounded.
More pressing matters are coming to a head, though. Those explosions are getting closer. Hawk and Mock size up the situation and use some trick arrows to fashion a makeshift bomb shelter/tent right in the spot they think will hold up the best in the explosion. Dragging Dom inside, they pretty much hope for the best.
OK, now that we've ensured their survival, let's see how they did. Hawkeye is the first to get up and it looks like he escaped the worst of it. Mockingbird rises as well. They're both injured but it doesn't look too serious. Dominic Fortune, however, is dead.
For a few seconds, at least. Then he starts breathing again like it ain't no thing.
So this went incredibly bad pretty quickly and Bobbi acknowledges that it's partly her fault. I mean, she's far too involved with this whole thing from the Phantom Rider on down to her mother lapsing into a coma after being shot by Crossfire. Her ability to command is under question (her own) so she decides to step down as leader of the WCA and let a cooler head prevail. That cooler head... hahaha... is Hawkeye. He tells her that she's doing fine and that they now have a number of advantages to get back at Crossfire and Lady Phantom Rider. After all, they're dead, right? Time to act.
Calls are made. Plans are planned. Clint briefs the rest of the team on what this latest mission is going to entail and everyone gets an important task to perform (most of them are doing their previous important tasks but still). Dominic Fortune is seriously wounded but his soul still burns... for action! He doesn't want to be left out on this just because he's just survived a near death experience. That's cool because Hawkeye has the perfect mission for him. Even Dom is pleased.
Barton asks if everyone has their loved ones out of harm's way because their opponents have already shown that they are fair game. Everyone confirms the safety of their respective partners and families (or the lack of both) and we are ready to go. All that needs to happen is for Bobbi to utilize that psychic connection she has with Lincoln Slade (the dude possessing the body of Lady Phantom Rider) and things will start escalating quickly.
At this time, our villains think things are totally going their way. Crossfire's just crossed a couple longtime pains in his @$ off the list and is feeling pretty good about life. Lady Phantom Rider isn't so certain. Lincoln can't get a hold of any trace of Bobbie Morse, neither on the spirit plane or this one. Until he can confirm her death, Lincoln's not leaving the body of his ancestor. Crossfire thinks the ghost is overthinking the whole thing but hopes Lincoln leaves some crazy behind for Jaime Slade to deal with.
Then he gets a phone call from one of his associates.
All of Crossfire's holding are going up in smoke. This is a precise strike and it's missing nothing. Crossfire's underling gets knocked out and the phone passes over to Dominic Fortune who sets some taunts in motion just for fun. After all, it was through Dom's underworld connections that all of CTE holdings were identified. Now they're gone and there's nothing Crossfire can do about it.
Of course, this all lets the cat out of the bag. If Dominic Fortune survived Crossfire's little death trap, chances are pretty good that Hawkeye and Mockingbird are still in the land of the living as well. Frustrating! To confirm it, Bobbi activates that psychic connection with Lincoln and lets him/her know what the next step on this road to revenge is going to be. Lady Phantom Rider is astonished that Morse was able to block the connection between them. She convinces Crossfire that they should both meet Hawk and Mock at their next plan of attack. The two villains know they're walking into a trap so we should all know that things won't go according to Clint Barton's carefully laid out plan.
So where are Clint and Bobbi? On a tower of the New York Museum of Natural History, of course! You may be wondering why the hell the last stage of this operation leads to this particular place. Well, for one, it's not the last part of the journey
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
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