Back once again!
Today, we check out The Thanos Imperative #4, X-Men #3, Daredevil #510, Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #2, The New Avengers #4, Heroic Age: One Month To Live #2, The Invincible Iron Man #30, Thor #614, and Blast to the Past for Tales of Suspense #57. Enjoy and spread the word!
Cosmic war, mutant vampires, fat crime bosses, crazy magic, and blowing up sports cars. It's Marvel at it's finest!
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
First on our list is Thanos doing what Thanos does.
The Thanos Imperative #4
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
In this issue:
• Lord Mar-Vell tortures Namorita as Nova and his crew of cosmic powered beings blow Sanctuary a new one.
• Big battle all over Thanos's former HQ.
• Nova starts getting infected by the Cancerverse mojo before we switch scenes to...
• The Cancerverse itself! This is moments after Drax the Destroyer destroyed some Thanos.
• The Guardians chew out their crazy member who is supposedly channeling some major avatar of life abilities.
• And then Thanos comes back to life because he can't die.
• Thanos kills Drax and it's pretty permanent looking.
• Lord Mar-Vell senses the death of Drax in the Cancerverse and cuts out with his crew to take care of business.
• After he leaves, he blows Sanctuary wide open while Nova and friends are still inside.
• The Scarlet Witch and some of the Revengers have already entered the Cancerverse and arrive on Titan with weapons ablazing.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Lord Mar-Vell has ordered his Revengers to bring him every anomoly they can find throughout the Marvel Universe in a search to find the avatar of Death. So far, they've picked up a lot of randoms as well as Namorita Prentis, a temporal anomoly from the the last few issues of Nova, and Major Victory, another temporal anomoly from Guardians of the Galaxy. Right now, Lord Mar-Vell is interogating Namorita, trying to figure out what this girl is. Namorita isn't giving up anything because that's the kind of girl she is.
This little interview is going to be cut short because the cavalry is arriving. They come in so close and fast that Vaughn, the Cancerverse's Quasar, doesn't detect their presence until it's far to late to stop them. Still, he gives Mar-Vell the warning as soon as he can.
Like I said, it's too late to prevent their attack. Nova, Quasar, Silver Surfer, Ronan, Gladiator, and Beta Ray Bill. These are some of the heavy hitters that you never even thought would work together but now that you've seen them you think it's the most awesome thing ever. Because it is. As they break through into Sanctuary, Namorita finally gives Mar-Vell some information. Her boyfriend is here and the good times are over forever.
The attack is fast and furious. Not only are there Revengers inside of Sanctuary, there are other Cancerverse beasties to contend with. Each Galactic Avenger has their own task so they split up into teams and get right to work. Ronan finds those anomolies that the Revengers have taken prisoner and fights through some Cancerverse creatures (one that looks a lot like a Venomed up Spider-Woman). Gladiator and Beta Ray Bill take the engineering area, fighting through some Cancerverse X-Men (Wolverine and Colossus are visible). Quasar, Silver Surfer, and Nova make their way to the command deck (or wherever Lord Mar-Vell is) and that means they face off against the heavy hitting Revengers. Fortunately, they've got Silver Surfer along for the fight. He takes the lead and even drops some jokes in the process.
Lord Mar-Vell watches the heroes approach and decides that Namorita must be special. He orders Giant-Man to tear her apart while mocking Nova and his crew. Quasar and Nova rush the two. Nova ends up taking on Mar-Vell while Wendell hits Giant-Man and frees Namorita. Poor Nova has the worst of this because Mar-Vell is THE most powerful guy in the room. Pretty much any room, actually.
Rich Rider lasts a few moments before getting knocked away. The Surfer takes over the fight from there but this doesn't go much better. In fact, Norrin's cosmic surfboard gets shattered in the next ten seconds of the fight. Nova reconfigures his shields and re-enters the battle. This time, it's very apparent how outclassed he is by the way Lord Mar-Vell talks. Heck, it looks like the ruler of the Cancerverse is just using the time to gather information from Nova's mind using a telepathic assault of some kind.
This is how he learns that Namorita isn't actually as important as he thought. No, he's just Richard's girlfriend. That means the search continues for the actual Avatar of Death and this fight is over. Mar-Vell thrashes through Nova's defenses and starts infecting him with whatever the life curse is from his dimension. There's no help coming for Richard. Quasar and Namorita are still occupied by Giant-Man and Silver Surfer is still out of the fight.
While Nova's being life cursed, let's head over into the Cancerverse to catch up with the other part of our story. If you remember last issue, you'll remember that Drax went all crazy off the reservation and killed Thanos with an anti-matter bomb. This would usually have been a good move except the security of the Marvel Universe was kind of dependant on keeping the Avatar of Death ALIVE. Star-Lord chews out his team-mate before Mantis and Cosmo tell him that through their telepathic probing, they've learned that Drax didn't have a choice in the matter. The Destroyer is, after all, an Avatar of Life and being in a universe that wreaks of life overpowers his senses. He was basically buzzing on a life contact high or something.
But no worries! Thanos is only mostly dead.
The skeletal remains of Thanos reform skin and, fortunately, clothes. Thanos rises and is freaking out because of his inability to die. This is, after all, something the mad Titan would like to do. Death would bring him closer to the love of his life (Death) so it's a preferable state for him. To learn that Death has blocked him from dying, well, it's unstable territory and Mantis and Rocket Raccoon tell Star-Lord to tread lightly.
You know who's not gonna do that? Drax. The Destroyer is still tripping on that crazy life feeling and attacks once more. This time, Thanos is prepared. Or just too angry to let Drax get away with the killing a second time. The Mad Titan tears Drax the Destroyer apart with a burst of energy. It looks like Thanos's ability to kill in this universe is still absolute.
Back on Sanctuary in the normal universe, Drax's death is felt. It seems killing an Avatar of Life in the Cancerverse will attract Mar-Vell's attention. It looks like he knows where the Avatar of Death is and makes haste to greet the guy. This means that whatever he's doing to Nova is halted. Richard isn't going to be life cursed this issue and it looks like whatever had been started doesn't have any lasting effects.
The Revengers teleport out with Lord Mar-Vell and the Galactic Avengers are left to a victory of sorts. Sure, they didn't actually TAKE the base on their own but any port in a storm, right? The anomolous prisoners are collected and the team is given some vital information from Major Victory. The Avatar of Death is Thanos.
Before the heroes can all meet up and discuss what this actually means, Lord Mar-Vell returns in psychic form and initiates the immediate destruction of Sanctuary. No one has escaped the base yet when it explodes.
The fact that an Avatar of Life has been killed in the one safe haven in the Cancerverse doesn't escape the Vision's attention. He knows that this death will draw Lord Mar-Vell and the Revengers. Before he can even give a proper warning, Titan is under attack. Lord Mar-Vell and his posse haven't arrived just yet but there was another team of Revengers that took off last issue. Scarlet Witch, Captain America, War Machine, Hawkeye, and Wasp have arrived and start scorching the earth.
Writer: Victor Gischler
Penciler: Paco Medina
In this story:
• Wolverine is sent out after Jubilee and is given some sort of injection on his way out the door.
• The body and head of Dracula are collected are reassembled.
• Wolverine hunts for Jubilee and kills some vampires in the process.
• Jubilee has already been turned into a vampire and attends a meeting of vampire leaders with Xarus.
• Jubilee sets herself up as bait.
• Dracula meets and greets his saviors.
• Logan finds Jubilee and gets bit on the neck.
• Cyclops talks Drac into maybe taking revenge on his errant son.
• Wolverine becomes a vampire.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Last issue, Jubilee ran out of Utopia after knocking Kavita Rao unconscious. This issue, Cyclops sends Wolverine to retrieve the supposed "Last X-Man." There's a catch that you might miss if you aren't paying attention and it's possible Logan ISN'T. Wolverine is in the infirmary getting a shot by Dr. Nemesis. From the dialogue given after Logan leaves, it doesn't seem Wolverine actually KNOWS what he was just given. All we know at this point is that it was a successful delivery but the only way they'll know if it works or not will be to test it in the field. This is IMPORTANT so remember this moment for the upcoming issues.
With that bit of plot accounted for, it's time to assemble the body of Dracula. Storm and Gambit have returned with the body. Namor has brought back the head. After displaying his latest trophy, Namor tells the X-Men that he has to leave. If you read Namor's part of the story in Namor: The First Mutant #1, you'll know that "his actions" opened up the supposed "Shallow War" with the Aqueos Vampires even though it's painfully obvious that the Aqueos started it. Either way, Namor is needed under the sea and won't be around to help the X-Men with their surface war with the rest of the vampire sects.
The X-Men load the body and head of Drac into a special contraption and then reassemble the bits. Their last move is to remove the final stake. With that, Dracula returns to life.
Meanwhile, Wolverine goes to work. He finds various vampires in various places and starts following the trail of bread crumbs back to wherever Jubilee is.
Now, we know that it's far too late for Jubilation Lee. She was bitten by head vampire, Xarus, last issue and this issue we find her conversion to the ways of the vampire to be complete. Now, before someone cries foul that her turning was too swift, let's just remember that the rules have changed slightly when it comes to vampires. I don't think one bite could have done the trick but you've got to remember that Jubilee was primed on the Vampire Plague that hit her in the first issue. This could have hastened her transformation. Maybe other factors are involved that we don't see. Either way, Jubes is a vamp and there's probably no going back on that.
She doesn't seem to mind. Xarus tells her how awesome it is now that she's one of them and Jubilee talks about how delicious the blood eating is going to be. Xarus goes into his plans to turn the entire mutant population into vampires. This also seems wonderful to Jubes.
This leads right into a meeting of the vampire sect leaders to discuss how their plans are going. Brad, the leader of the Mysticos Sect, is a little negative about things but his attitude soon switches when he tells Xarus about how they're leading Wolverine around by an invisible leash. The Legate of the Krieger Sect tell the Lord of the Vampires how troop placement is going. They should be ready for an all out strike within days but that's not good enough for X. He thinks everything has been going so well that they should step up their efforts.
Now, all that's left is for Jubilee to get prepped for Wolverine's eventual arrival. She smiles about all of this. It's gonna be awesome to betray a friend.
Wolverine doesn't know he's walking into a well planned trap. It would be hard for him to notice since Xarus is sacrificing such a large number of vampires to lead the Canucklehead into it. Every page is filled with Logan killing vamps while getting closer to his goal. All the while, he's thinking about how important Jubilee is to him. This is very true. Jubilee and Wolverine were partners for most of the early nineties. She found him nailed to an "X" shaped cross in Australia and helped him out of a very bad situation. They became sort of a Batman and Robin team for Marvel right down to Jubilee's choice of clothing. So, yeah, the two have some history.
On Utopia, Dracula wakes up with nothing to do except belittle his rescuers. It's what he does. Drac knows these guys didn't resurrect him for his benefit so they probably need him to do something for them. He makes them all know how he feels about that. He also plays coy when Cyclops mentions their mutual enemy: Xarus. No, Dracula's not going to be very agreeable until someone lets him out of his cage.
Over in San Fran: after running around killing vampires from all sorts of Sects, Wolverine finally finds Jubilee tied upside down as her blood drips into a basin below her. Logan cuts her right down and falls for every word she says. Eventually, she tricks Wolverine into turning around, bearing his delicious neck for her fangs. They sink right in.
Back in Utopia, Dracula is getting a look at the situation his son has set up. Now, this isn't in the book but you'd think Drac might be feeling a measure of pride for what his kid has accomplished. I mean, sure, Xarus assassinated Dracula and will need to be killed but there's no stopping Dracula from doing that and then taking over where his son left off. What Dracula actually asks is: you want me to reclaim my throne and save you all? Really? Cyclops responds with "I just want you to follow your heart."
This line gives the former Lord of the Vampires pause. He takes off but we still don't know what he's going to do. All we know is that Emma is happy with her boyfriend's response.
In Xarus' underground headquarters, Wolverine is caged up as they wait to see if the Canucklehead will turn into a vampire. You see, it's not guaranteed. Logan has this thing called a healing factor that should prevent him from turning. Xarus doesn't really care either way. If Wolverine turns, then they have a super-powered vampire to add to their collection. If he DOESN'T, they have a super-powered prisoner.
Or... DO they? Before their eyes, Wolverine breaks out of his bindings and slices through the cage. Xarus tells his people to stand down and let this play out.
Wolverine asks a simple question about getting a drink. He's got fangs. That might mean he's a vampire or maybe editorial decided to return our favorite Canadian to a more feral state again.
Yeah, he's a vampire.
Writers: Andy Diggle & Antony Johnston
Artist: Marco Checchetto
In this story:
• Hand ninjas attack Foggy and Dakota North at their secret safehouse that no one is supposed to know about.
• They're saved by Black Tarantula who claims that these Hand are not Daredevil's Hand.
• Some thugs kill a Hand cosplayer.
• Foggy and Dakota interupt a meeting of heroes in Harlem.
• So does Kingpin. Will the heroes decide to get lethal on DD? WILL THEY!?
• Black Tarantula tries to explain how crazy things have gotten to Daredevil but he gets put in his place.
• Foggy and Dakota get stuck in a riot and ruin another perfectly good car.
• White Tiger kills Black Tarantula.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Foggy and Dakota North have been running a step ahead of death for a couple issues now. While we know that their deaths haven't been ordered by Daredevil, THEY don't know that and it doesn't prevent random ninjas from attacking them. Their current safehouse is supposed to be pretty far off the grid. It's a police safehouse inside Hell's Kitchen. Since the police aren't welcome in the area any longer, it should be a good place to hole up.
It's not. Ninja have an uncanny knack of finding you when you don't want to be found. Fortunately, Dakota North isn't an idiot and has a number of traps set up to kill these guys. It's also nice that they turn to dust on death or even the threat of death. It makes clean up quick and simple. The first few waves fall easily enought but Dakota soon runs out of tricks. There's only so much you can do in staging a proper defense and the ninjas have finally broken through.
North holds them off with her shotgun for a while but isn't able to protect Foggy. Nelson is taken hostage by a ninja because he's really just an overweight lawyer with no real sense of self preservation. The ninja demands Dakota's surrender. It doesn't happen. Black Tarantula shows up and kills the last one off.
Black Tarantula is a Daimyo of the Hand and he's supposed to take over the South American operations after Daredevil gets a controlling foothold in New York. Until then, he's pretty much the only voice of reason in the Hand. Tarantula claims that these ninjas weren't sent by Matt Murdock. You can tell because they aren't wearing the horned head look that most of DD's ninjas have adopted. That means someone else is working to kill Foggy and Dakota. Good odds are on the Snakeroot Clan.
Before leaving, Black Tarantula offers some friendly advice: get out of town. Get out now. Things have gone so far south that it's just not a good idea sticking around. Foggy lays it down that they aren't leaving until everything's resolved. BT tries one last tactic. He tells them about the rioting. It's getting bad out there.
Detective Alex Kurtz is out on the streets as the riots escalate. It doesn't seem like anyone is bothering him but you can see the violence all around him. Kurtz heads to the corner store where the riots start to hit home. Some stupid morons are robbing the place. Kurtz still thinks the Hand are policing the place despite evidence to the contrary and he actually feels protective of these thugs. He doesn't want them to end up in Hand jail.
While he's a police officer, he doesn't carry his badge or gun while running around the Kitchen. Instead, he starts chucking cans of baked beans. This just leads to a firefight in the store so things just went from bad to worst. To make them EVEN WORSE THAN THAT, two Hand ninjas enter the store with their swords drawn. Oh, but wait.... there's more. The criminals are freaked out by the Hand so they bug out but not before taking a few shots at the ninjas. One of those shots hits a ninja and we learn that these aren't Hand ninjas at all. There would be a telltale bursting into dust if that were the case. They are, in fact, cosplayers who just dressed up for the hell of it. Next time you spend all that time making an official looking Daredevil Hand Ninja Suit, maybe just hit a comic con and avoid the bullet fire.
In Harlem, Luke Cage and Iron Fist and talking over the Shadowland situation with Master Izo when they are interrupted by Foggy Nelson and Dakota North. They're discussing talking about killing Matt Murdock at the time Nelson and North enter. Apparently, the only way to kill the Beast of the Hand who has possessed DD is to kill Daredevil himself. Or that's what it looks like Iron Fist is going to say. He gets really uncomfortable about this subject when he sees Foggy entering. Foggy and Dakota aren't happy to hear all this talk about killing their friend. Master Izo brings it all together, telling them just what a threat the Beast of the Hand is and how they really need to end this threat before things get even worse.
Luke recalls hearing a lot of this from Wilson Fisk without the Beast of the Hand mumbo and jumbo. Still, it looks like the Kingpin was right. DD needs to be brought down a peg or ten. Foggy disagrees. This whole situation smells of Kingpin's meddling. It's Fisk who has been behind all of this. Nelson knows it. Speak of the devil...
Foggy directs his accusations directly at the Kingpin but Wilson Fisk categorically denies these unfounded claims. He reiterates just how far down Daredevil has fallen. They need to act and they need to be decisive. Do they have the balls to kill Matt Murdock or will they let the innocent suffer and die for their inaction?
In Shadowland, Black Tarantula is trying one last time to talk some reason into Matt Murdock. You can guess how well this goes. Flanked by Typhoid Mary and Elektra, Daredevil isn't willing to budge on his strong stance towards... controlling New York? Is that what he's actually doing now? Because there are riots on the streets that he isn't even trying to stop. At one tiny point during this conversation, you think that maybe the old Matt is peeking through and realizing what he's done. The moment passes quickly and the Beast is back in control and demanding Black Tarantula stay in line.
Foggy and Dakota are driving away from Harlem in one of Iron Fist's company cars. They're discussing how the Kingpin is involved in all of this and how maybe they really should get out of town. Foggy still thinks that staying is the best idea. Before they know it, they've driven right into a riot. This is how they lose their latest car which is becoming a pattern. This one just gets a rock to the windshield but they can't drive forward with this many people pressing against their vehicle so they both leave the protective safety of the car and brave the dangers of the street. This is a poor plan. They should have at least gotten out on the same side. That means they start out separated and don't get back together when the violence breaks out in earnest.
Black Tarantula is on the streets with some Hand ninjas but he isn't able to get the riots under control. White Tiger arrives with another group of ninjas and tells BT to stand down. She has new orders. It's time to start killing the rioters. This is unacceptable to Tarantula and he lets White Tiger know that. While he's explaining how far this has slipped out of control to what he thinks is a sympathetic ear, White Tiger stabs him in the back with a sword.
There's no time for recovery. There's only time to listen as White Tiger goes into exposition mode, explaining that she's a servant of the Beast and is preparing the "final descent of man." It sounds great.
That out of the way, she tosses Black Tarantula off the building. He lands on the top of a car, blood splattering everywhere. It doesn't look good for the guy.
Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #2
Writer: Antony Johnston
Penciler: Wellington Alves
In this story:
• Paladin fights the Shroud because of the traditional misunderstanding.
• Misty Knight tricks her way into the police morgue using some liberal guilt trip and discovers that Mikey Fortunado was probably not killed by actual ninjas.
• Paladin and Shroud make nice and talk about these Hand killings and where they fit into this picture.
• The Hand visit Misty and tell her to let this case go and have them handle it. Yeah, that'll work.
• Misty calls up Bobby Fortunado's house to warn him about an impending attack but it's already happening so... too late.
• Silver Sable needs to clear her "good" name.
• Misty and Paladin show up at Bobby's place after the man has been killed.
• They have another misunderstanding fight before more of Bobby's men show up and pull their own guns on this little shindig.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
OK. We all know that the police are using the Shadowland incident in order to get rid of some dudes that they had previously not been able to convict for their crimes while blaming the ninjas for it, right? Good. Because now we just have to wait for our heroes to catch up to the damn obvious plot. If I'm completely wrong, and I'm not, I apologize but it's just so glaringly obvious what's going on.
Last issue, we ended with Paladin pointing a gun at the Shroud after the blind hero was found casing Bobby Fortunado's place. Last we saw Paladin was in the pages of Thunderbolts during Siege. He left the warzone with the Spear of Odin in his possession. Don't expect it to turn up here. Our friendly mercenary is doing things the traditional way: with bullets.
Of course, this is your usual comic book misunderstanding where Paladin thinks Shroud is the guy going around killing criminals. He shot at the Shroud but managed to only hit the hero's cape. He doesn't know this yet but when the Shroud starts fighting back at full strength, there's little doubt what happened. Shroud continues to press his advantage. He's got a glider hidden under that cape and he uses it to carry his opponent over the city. Shroud's dark force powers help this out.
Misty Knight is on a mission to discover who's actually killing crooks in New York City. Sure, she hasn't figured out who's doing the deed but at least she's suspecting that it's not a bunch of Daredevil's ninja squad. After being denied access to the body of Mikey Fortunado, she's decided to do some infiltrating. This leads her to the Office of the NYPD Chief Medical Examiner wearing her best lab coat. She tricks her way through the door by playing the black card which... is not one of her shining moments and she knows it. Stuff you do when you're a Private Investigator, I guess.
Misty makes her way to the morgue and finds Mikey's body. While she looks it over, we learn that no conviction ever could hold Mikey. The police thought this case so cut and dried that they never even did an autopsy. They just blamed the Hand and moved on. That's not something Ms. Knight can do. She's got too many doubts. Some of those get confirmed just by her less than official examination of the body.
Shroud drops Paladin on another rooftop and the two finally start talking to each other instead of trading blows. We learn how Paladin fits in to all of this. It looks like Mikey Fortunado hired him to kill Bobby. That's brotherly love for ya. Paladin thinks that Shroud killed Mikey and that means the man is out a paycheck. He also thinks that Bobby found out Mikey was trying to kill him and countered the contract. When Shroud tells Paly that it was possibly a Hand hit, Paladin doesn't think that's possible. DD's not sending his ninja out on kill sprees after all... right? He's pretty resolute that whatever happened screwed him out of a contract.
Fortunately, Paladin got paid half the cash in advance and his thought is to take the rest off of Bobby. He makes the traditional threats to keep Shroud from interfering with his master plan but Shroud just throws them back at him. The hero leaps off the roof, telling the mercenary to leave Bobby alone. The mobster is key to this murder case.
Misty has returned to her office at Nightwing Restorations to look closer at this case through the magic of the World Wide Web. What she's found out is that Mikey Fortunado's murder isn't an isolated incident. Sure, she heard that last issue at the police station but now she's realizing just how big a problem this is. For months now, unconvicted criminals have been quietly been eliminated. She knows that these guys would have been on DD's radar but recent information has made this look much less like Hand hits.
Speaking of the Hand, a troop of ninjas show up at Misty's office to let her know that this isn't their doing. She acknowledges that and finally lets us know why she's taken the Hand off the suspect list. A look at Mikey Fortunado's body revealed that the cuts were made by a bladed weapon but weren't done with any measure of skill. Definitely not the sword strokes of a real ninja. The Hand tell Misty that this is a case that they are taking very personally. They don't want to ruin their... good name... by having these deaths on their record.
Misty mentions that the Hand's official acts are suspect enough to scare the population.
It's gotta be mentioned right here: this is confusing. I mean, this technically takes place after the super-hero intervention from Shadowland #'s 2 & 3. That means the Hand are officially at war with the heroes and having a quiet conversation, even a threatening one like this, doesn't make much sense. DD ordered the heroes' deaths. Misty should be fighting for her life but here they are not killing her. They leave her with a warning to stay away from this case and let them deal with it. Because that's going to happen.
Misty makes a phone call to Bobby Fortunado. It's pretty late at night and the mobster is already well asleep. That means he wakes up angry and throws around warnings about not waking him up in the middle of his beauty sleep. She tells him that the Hand probably didn't kill his brother but the pattern she's looked at means that whoever actually did the killing could make him the next target on their list. Bobby thinks he's well protected by his own army of thugs and since she doesn't know who actually killed his brother, he's not really in a listening mood.
On his way to the bathroom, he finds that his crack security team is all sliced up. Looking up, he sees Hand ninjas ready to strike and tells Misty that he's got to go handle some business.
Yeah. Those aren't actual Hand ninjas. Guaranteed.
Remember Silver Sable from last issue? She was on the trail of Sergey Bulovic until she found out that the Russian had been killed by the same killers murdering all the other unconvicted gangsters. It's because of that that she didn't get paid. More than that, her contact at Interpol, Inspector Gertsch, doesn't believe she wasn't involved in the killing. When she was leading the Wild Pack, she was known to kill old Nazis, after all. Maybe she thought Bulovic wasn't worth capturing alive. If this got out, Sable wouldn't be able to get any of these juicy bounty hunter gigs again. That means she'll have to work on clearing her name.
Paladin isn't one to take a threat seriously. He's well trained and doesn't really think he's got much to worry about with the Shroud. That means that late in the night, he breaks into Bobby Fortunado's apartment to find some treasures. Of course, what he actually finds is a bunch of dead bodies. The "Hand" has already left the scene. Paladin checks Bobby's phone and finds that the last number Fortunado talked to was Nightwing Restorations. Let's complicate things up just a bit further and have Misty Knight smash through the door with her gun drawn.
So we've got a little old standoff here that is broken when Misty uses her bionic arm to light up the joint and magnetically blast Paladin's gun out of his hand. That guy pulls his gun too easily, anyway. The two get to talking at this point and learn that neither of them killed Bobby Fortunado. Paladin claims that he's on Misty's side...
Just as some more of Bobby's men enter the room. Let's see what they think of finding these two standing over the corpse of their boss.
The New Avengers #4
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
In this story:
• The New Avengers fight light demons in New York City!
• The magic users keep working the problem in New Orleans.
• Jessica Jones returns to the fight after dropping off the kid in New Jersey.
• Ms. Marvel tries to enter the burning hole in the sky. Dr. Strange goes astral in a bid to stop her.
• Carol gets disconnected from her body but Strange puts her back together.
• Iron Fist exits the portal and is picked up by Ms. Marvel.
• Danny slugs Dr. Strange and blames this all on the former Sorceror Supreme.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
There's a giant hole in the sky and it's pouring out demon things made of light. The New Avengers are doing their best to stop these monsters but they are completely out of their depth and not recovering very well. Sure, the Avengers are known for facing threats both big and small but this is a magic thing which is out of their usual department. Stuff like this typically falls on teams like the Defenders but those guys aren't returning each others' phone calls so this is the team we've got. Since most people think of the New Avengers as a Defenders-like team, it's about time something like this went down.
Anyway, at best they're just holding things back. At best.
The real action is happening in New Orleans at the Sanctum Sanctorum of Dr. Voodoo. It is here that some of the greatest magical minds of the Marvel Universe are meeting to figure out just what the hell is going on. Dr. Voodoo. Dr. Strange. Daimon Hellstrom. This is our magical braintrust. As usual, the son of Satan is whining about this whole thing and not really contributing unless the whining is actually helping.
Try as they might, they can't figure out who is behind this. Strange rules out those FROM their universe because it's improbable that someone from home would destroy their home with this kind of attack. Now, Hellstrom mentions that it could be someone that wants it all the end but Strange discounts this for no particular reason. He's certain the threat is coming from someone outside of the regular Marvel U.
Voodoo thinks that they've got an advantage up their sleeves. After all, his dead brother and Iron Fist were drawn into this other dimension and could be fighting their case over there. Hellstrom again, whines a bit but tells Jericho that both are probably dead. His bro is most likely DEAD dead. After that bit of depression, Daimon asks to get a look at New York to see how the battle is going. Jericho Drumm gets his magic on.
The battle goes poorly. The New Avengers are outmatched by these light things and it doesn't look like the plethora of heroes that also call New York home are helping out. Granted they could be doing their thing just off panel on every page. We'll go with that. Anyway, Luke Cage is getting dogpiled by light demons when his wife shows up to give him a rescue. In return, he helps Jessica out when a light demon almost gets the drop on her. She's just returning to the life of a super-hero so it's cool.
Jessica tells Luke that she just dropped the kid off in New Jersey with her mother who is NOT happy with Luke. This is all his fault, after all. The two return to the fight which isn't hard because it's happening all around them.
About this time, Carol Danvers gets the bright idea to enter the giant burning hole in the sky and take the fight back to the creatures' home dimension. This is a bad idea. We learned last issue that mortals can't survive in the other dimension unless they have some mystical protection. This is why Iron Fist is still alive. He's got the spiritual protection provided from defeating the dragon, Shou-Lao the Undying. Ms. Marvel doesn't have the same type of protection so her entering this realm would be nothing less than tragic. Since our trio of magic users are looking in, they see this poor action. Fortunately, one of them has the ability to respond.
Dr. Strange does astral and flies right into New York. He doesn't have time to stop Carol from doing something stupid but he IS able to separate her soul from her body. That saves her life. Jessica catches Carol's body while Strange carries down Ms. Marvel's astral soul... which is freaking the hell out. She mentions how this is odder than her giving birth to an alien but I don't think that's true. She actually gave birth to the father of her own child. It was messed up.
The New Avengers protect Carol's body as Dr. Strange reconnects her astral form with said body. It takes a moment but it works without a hitch.
The battle is still going on strong. The sky opens up even further as magical bursts of light blast the city. It's a destructive attack but when it's done it looks like the worst is over with. It's not but at least we have a calm before the storm continues.
Something is dropping out of the tear in the sky. This doesn't mean it's something friendly but Ms. Marvel doesn't even think of not catching it. In New Orleans, Dr. Voodoo and Helstrom see what's dropping clearly and make ready to get Stephen Strange's body to New York STAT. Danvers succeeds in catching the body. It's Iron Fist.
Strange returns to his body just in time to get punched in the face by Danny Rand. Iron Fist has learned a lot in his time in the Light Dimension. He's found out that Dr. Strange stole the Eye of Agamotto from the Ancient One, who is still alive. This doesn't exactly jibe with pre-existing continuity but bear with us. It'll all make sense before it's all over with. All we have to know right now is that Iron Fist believes what he was told. This is all Dr. Strange's fault.
That belief spreads to the rest of the New Avengers. They trust Dr. Strange but there's enough doubt in their minds that they wonder if this is REALLY Strange's doing. Stephen asks for the Eye back. Luckily, whatever Danny just went through, he didn't give up the Eye. Maybe he doesn't completely believe the Ancient One. Maybe he wants to hear Dr. Strange's side of the story. He demands to hear who the Eye belongs to.
Heroic Age: One Month To Live #2
Writer: Rob Williams
Pencilers: Koi Turnbull & Shawn Moll
In this story:
• Dennis Sykes reads comics as a kid and asks his dad to show him a magic trick. He learns there's no such thing as magic.
• Mr. Fantastic tells Dennis that he still has the big C.
• Spider-Man and Dennis prevent some thugs from burning up the new sculpture garden.
• Spidey agrees to train Dennis in being a super-hero.
• Dennis's training begins.
• Mr. Negative punishes his minions for failure.
• Sykes gets into a super-hero costume with nice military overtones and then gets a nice view of the city.
• Hammerhead threatens Abbey and Kelly Sykes.
• Dennis and Spider-Man return to Sykes' home and beat Hammerhead and friends.
• Abbey and Kelly learn about Dennis's cancer.
• The Fantastic Four show up with a mission.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
This is still a hard series to go through because it's about a dude that gets superpowers and super-cancer on the same day. Dennis Sykes has about a month to live. In that time, he decides to make a difference in the world.
But first, a flashback. Dennis lives in his father's house. He never moved out. He never went anywhere. He just went to work and did his thing. In the past, the way way back times, his dad is still alive and he's sitting in pop's office reading comics. His dad returns from a funeral and starts yelling at his kid for living in the clouds but calms down quickly and does his best to encourage his kid to keep reading those silly books. Dennis asks his father to show him the coin behind the ear magic trick but daddy isn't in the mood. He just tells his son that there's no such thing as magic and leaves the room.
Granted, in the present, Dennis can manipulate matter into whatever he wants so maybe magic isn't so far off. Last issue, Syke's made a sculpture garden for a children's hospital. It's huge. Peter Parker sits on a park bench and thinks that of all the criminals he's ever let go, maybe Dennis is the most awesome.
Dennis is certain that his super-powers are the result of Reed Richards curing his cancer. He calls up Mr. Fantastic and tries to thank the man only to get the unsettling news that his cancer is still live and in effect. Reed tries to tell Dennis as calmly as possible but Richards isn't a people person so it's probably not the most friendly tone ever.
The sculpture garden has a new statue: one giant Spider-Man. This doesn't stop Mr. Negative's gang of thugs from splashing gasoline all over the place and trying to light it up. Fortunately, the real Spidey isn't all that happy to see his giant likeness going up in smoke. Actually, you've got to wonder what these sculptures are made out of where fire would be that damaging. I guess even giant rocks would get burned by fire but that's not really all that permanent. They'd just need another coat of paint. Still, the leaders of this gang are the same people that thought they could get drugs out of a toxic delivery truck. They aren't brilliant.
Spider-Man does his best but one of the thugs ends up lighting up the gasoline and we all wait for the burning to start. It doesn't happen. Before everything goes up in smoke, the fire and gasoline changes to ice. Ice, baby. Dennis Sykes has arrived with his great matter changing powers. The crooks make a run for it, leaving the two heroes to talk things out.
Dennis asks Spider-Man to teach him about being a super-hero. Sykes tells Peter about his cancer and his time left. Parker doesn't think he's the best man in the world to train up another hero but Dennis knows better. He made the Spider-Man statue to get Spidey's attention but it's quickly become the favorite part of the park for the kids. That's good enough for him.
The next day, Abbey and Kelly (Dennis's wife and adopted daughter/ niece) are getting ready for their respective days with an argument. Kelly doesn't see the point of school anymore since her uncle can change anything into anything else. The rules of the universe don't seem apply anymore to our jaded niece. Abbey tries to go to Dennis for some back-up with this problem but her husband races out the door without a word. There's some vital training to get done today and he doesn't have a minute to waste.
Spider-Man has dressed up for the occasion in his old black costume. This makes him look more villainous so that Dennis will be able to fight him better. Or something. This doesn't seem to be what Dennis had in mind. He's made a list of what he wants to do before he dies but doesn't know how to do any of it.
In another section of the Big Apple, Mr. Negative is getting word that his plans to destroy the sculpture garden have turned out poorly. One of the moronic thugs tells him that at least they found out who built the thing and gives over what details he can. This doesn't save him some major punishment. Failing doesn't sit well with Mr. Negative. He orders Hammerhead to break an arm.
Meanwhile, Dennis Sykes is getting dressed up for the occasion. Every good super-hero needs a mask or their family would be in major danger! Dennis's suit looks like he raided a military surplus store. He's decided to go into his dad's old wardrobe and dress up in pop's old army uniform. Fortunately, it fits a lot like spandex. He also decides that "Matter" would be a great super-hero name but Spidey isn't at all convinced.
Since they're sharing, Dennis tells Peter about how he's lived in the same home his whole life and never got to see anything special in a life which is now seeming much shorter than originally expected. Spider-Man won't let that stand. It's time to show New York's brand new super-hero some new sites. He grabs Dennis and swings him up high into the air for a view that most people don't get to see.
Back at the Sykes home, Abbey is finding out that things aren't exactly paradise. Dennis has been missing most of the week. Kelly's been skipping classes. Her husband has even gone out and quit his job which means the medical insurance is over and done with. Things are looking... bad... and they're going to get worse when everything comes out. Or when Abbey answers that doorbell to find Hammerhead and Mr. Negative's Inner Demons waiting patiently to ruin Dennis Sykes' life.
Spider-Man returns to Dennis's home with Sykes in tow and they find the house burning. Dennis races towards his home. Spider-Man flies past him, having been hit by, probably, Hammerhead. The big H isn't that personally moved by any of this. He's just doing his job like a good enforcer. Hell, he actually likes Dennis's moxie but that doesn't mean that this isn't how things are going down. He lets Sykes know that his wife is trapped in the burning home.
Dennis reaches down and touches the ground and rocky fists burst out and knock out the Inner Demons and Hammerhead. He then uses his powers to change the fire into something less burny. Spider-Man congratulates his protege. Dennis smiles about his win before hitting the ground in pain. His wife runs out of the home unharmed and finds Dennis in agony. This is obviously related to the super-cancer but Abbey seems clueless because she doesn't know about it. Spider-Man hints at it which leads to a talk that should have happened last issue.
And so, Abbey and Kelly learn that Dennis has an expiration date that is a lot earlier than they expected. It's an uncomfortable moment and all the issues aren't resolved. They can't be. This is going to stay with them for the rest of Dennis's life and they are all going to have to deal with his eventual death in their own way. At least now they have a chance to deal with it and say good-bye instead of being oblivious.
To break up this scene and make it 10% less awkward, the doorbell rings once more. This time, it's the Fantastic Four. Reed has learned what kind of power Dennis is wielding and it's perfect for their next mission.
The Invincible Iron Man #30
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
In this issue:
• Tony Stark and Sasha Hammer enjoy a crazy drive through Seattle.
• Pepper Potts entertains gala guests while listening to the police radio.
• Stark tells Sasha how his armor works.
• Then, he tells her that he knows she was working with Ezekiel Stane. Sasha blows up the car.
• Pepper hears this on the police band and runs off to do some Rescuing. Mrs. Arbogast makes this sound better than it really is.
• The fight on the freeway heats up. Pepper comes in for back-up. Sasha runs off.
• Tony blames the attack on elements of our society that wouldn't want him to succeed with a souped up Repulsor Car.
• The Detroit Steel app goes live as Stark test drives the Repulsor Car.
• The car goes boom.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Last issue, Tony took off from his investors gala party thing with known enemy, Sasha Hammer. They got in his car and took to the streets. This, on the surface, looks like a crazy play and it only gets more mad as Tony zips through traffic in a chaotic manner. He knows how bad Sasha is and he wonders if crashing this car hard would be a good way to end her threat. With his armor, he knows he'd live.
A little bit of pet peeve here: Tony's driving on the wrong side of the car. The driver's seat is on the right side. They're hitting the streets of Seattle. Now, we can blame this on him driving a dirty foreign car but c'mon. Put the damn driver's seat in the appropriate place. Now, back to our scheduled bit of Tony/ Sasha action.
Sasha's not worried about Tony smashing the car into the rails and letting it fly into a wall. For one, it probably wouldn't kill her. More on that later. For another, Stark is one of the good guys. Tony disagrees. He just hangs out with good guys. In reality, he's a big bag of douche and proud of it. We all are.
To make this hotter, Sasha mounts Tony while he's driving even though our resident playboy doesn't look like he's interested in getting some action tonight. The car careens into the opposite lane of traffic.
The younger Hammer Girl tries pursuading Tony to get some but he continues to be not very interested. No, he'd rather talk and maybe cuddle later. Stark claims to know who Sasha's daddy is and know exactly who SHE is. Are we going to get some dirt or is Tony just going to catch up to the plot? Time will tell.
Back at the Space Needle, Pepper Potts is entertaining a lot of guys who are showing a major interest in the red head with the battery in her chest. She smiles and lets the menfolk do their talking. She's more interested in listening in on the police and emergency channels that she can now hear... probably due to that same repulsor in her chest.
Tony's regained control of the vehicle while Sasha keeps trying to ride him. She wonders how that's possible since Stark isn't actually looking at the road. Tony explains that he's built eyeballs all over his new armored suit so that he can see in all directions at once. Right now, he's made one of the gauntlets form on his hand and he's using it to see out the windshield. He's answered a question so now it's his turn to ask one: what the hell are the Hammer Girls up to?
That's a chase cutter right there. Sasha tells him honestly that they aren't there to get rid of him. No, they just want him to be disgraced so that the world stops looking at him to solve their escalating military needs and turns to the friendly if corrupt hands of Hammer. This Repulsor powered world of his is a pipe dream and when he's given up on it and decides to return to the arms race, she and her mom want no one even looking for him any more. Tony isn't worried because he's Tony mother-F@#$ing Stark.
OK, Sasha's turn again. She asks how the new Iron Man armor works and Tony lets her in on the basics. Remember Iron Lad from the Young Avengers? Yeah, we all miss him. It seems that even though Tony Stark shouldn't have any memory of actually meeting Iron Lad, he drew inspiration from the kid's suit of armor. The new suit is stored in his bones and comes out by his command. It's super light and super durable. It's pretty much just super. This apparently survives into the future to inspire Iron Lad's suit... which inspired IT. Full freaking circle'd.
Sasha amazed that Tony just let her in on the secrets of his armored suit but Stark just laughs it off. She doesn't know half of his secrets about the suit. Speaking of secrets, it's time for Tony to ask HER a question: hows Ezekiel Stane doing?
Yep. Tony finally figured out that Sasha was the girl working with Ezekiel Stane. For those just tuning in, Ezekiel was the son of Obadiah Stane who showed up in the first story arc on Invincible and helped usher in the fall of Stark Industries (again). He did a lot of modifications to human beings using bits and pieces of old Iron Man armor. Mostly, he made super powered human bombs. Not only did Zeke experiment on himself, it turns out he also experimented on his girlfriend. Tony tells Sasha that he knows she's got some machines buzzing around inside her.
And that's how we lose our first car in this issue. Tony's blunt statement causes Sasha to go a little on the insane side and activate her powers. She uses them to destroy the car. The two both survive, Tony armoring up almost instantly to face off against the new super-powered villain in his life. Sasha calls for a time out as she takes off her very fashionable shoes.
Again, we're getting into territory that calls into question that whole "I don't remember what happened after I got the Extremis armor because I never backed up my memory files" story that Tony is plugging. Not only should he have no memory of Iron Lad besides what he could glean from the papers, Stark shouldn't remember Sasha at all. She didn't get any pictures put in newspapers or on the web that would connect her to Ezekiel's crimes. Tony had a vague flash of memory from seeing her in Tokyo and now he's connected dots using memory that SHOULD be gone but isn't. Now, this doesn't mean that Tony is lying. It means that maybe his memory wipe wasn't completely thorough. Time will tell.
OK, time out over. Sasha shows Tony her powers which basically end up looking like energy strands coming out of her hands. She also tells him that Ezekiel was much smarter than Stark and that if only he had Tony's riches and influence he could have come up with this Bleeding Edge suit years ago and made Iron Man look like a chump that much earlier. Now, truth of the matter is that Ezekiel was smart but his strength lied in altering existing tech instead of creating anything original but Sasha's his girlfriend so she thinks much more about him than she probably should. Anyway, the two fight it out.
At the Space Needle, Pepper is still listening in on the emergency channels and learns how things have heated up. It looks like it's time to get to work. Potts excuses herself from the party. This leaves Mrs. Arbogast to make some excuses about the absence of not only Tony Stark but the COO of Stark Resilient. Luckily, Bambi's damn good at her job. She hints that Pepper has to meet with a venture capitalist. The ploy works. Everyone suddenly wants a piece of Stark Resilient. Success!
Pepper meets the Rescue armor on the top of the Needle and she takes off to the fight.
There's nothing like watching Iron Man beat up on a girl. To be honest, this fight doesn't look all that uneven. Sure, Sasha might go down eventually but she's holding her own in a fight with the Invincible Iron Man. Sasha realizes that she probably wouldn't beat Stark in a straight up fight and slashes backwards into the unfortunate car that decided driving through this super-powered war-zone would be a good idea. That forces Shellhead to step up his game and he moves in close in an attempt to end the standoff quickly.
That just gets him TOO close, though. The Hammer Girl gets her mits on Tony's helmet and starts rattling the armor apart. She thinks the only way Iron Man can end this fight is with her death and since Tony's going through a pacifist stage, Sasha feels pretty safe. Iron Man alters the shape of his right arm to see just how pacifistic he is.
The blast hits Sasha head on but, of course, there's no dead body. Iron Man isn't a killer. Sasha begins taunting him until Rescue shows up and tosses the remains of that car Hammer tore apart at the super-villain. Pepper asked the driver if it was ok before doing so. I bet she even got the guy to sign a waver.
Now, there are two Iron People for Sasha's one. The girl knows when she's outnumbered. It's simple math. Hammer picks up her shoes and disappears in the fire. The bonus of all this is that Iron Man has gauged Sasha's abilities but apparently hasn't revealed all his own. So there are more tricks to be seen in the future, apparently. Now, this event needs to be spun.
And spin it Tony Stark will do. Stark speaks to the press and doesn't reveal that it was Sasha Hammer who caused the big accident on the freeway. Instead, he uses it as a PR move, telling the public that there are people who don't want to see him succeed in creating a successful platform to replace gasoline in the automobiles of the future.
Sasha's little indiscretion doesn't go over well with mommy. Justine Hammer is furious that her daughter tipped Hammer's hand so much. In fact, this changes everything. They have some inside man at Stark Resilient who has planned a surprise that won't be too healthy for Tony Stark. This event might have made the inside man too vulnerable to detection.
We all know that this is all about a car, right? Tony Stark wants to use Repulsor Tech to power the world and end our dependence on fossil fuels. His first step is to build a Repulsor powered sports car. He's got his team in place even though no one is actually getting paid yet. They're building two cars. The first one, Alpha, is ready to go on it's first test drive. The driver? It's Tony Stark.
At the same time this futuristic car is getting ready for it's first run around the track, the Detroit Steel app is going live. If you'll remember the Detroit Steel app would allow people all over the country/ world to play as Detroit Steel's wingmen, eliminating targets so that Detroit Steel can do his thing and protect the free world in an asymetrical war on terror. The people playing the game think that's all they're doing but in reality some of them are playing as Detroit Steel's ACTUAL wingmen. It's all anonymous and a terrible idea since I've played video game online and you get a lot of people who don't care about the rules who just start team killing. There are also people out there who aren't any good so you may have some dude who can't hit a shot to save his life or you might get someone who doesn't understand the controls and flies their Wingman right into Detroit Steel. The point is, if you want actual wingmen, it's probably best to get highly trained individuals who know what they're doing instead of making video game players do the work. It sounds neato but the actual roleout would be a nightmare even if the system worked without any bugs.
Anyway, while Stark gets ready for his monumental first drive in a Repulsor powered car, one of his unpaid employees, Mr. Pimacher, is busy downloading the Detroit Steel app and showing it off to everyone. This frustrates Stark so much that he grabs Pimacher's phone and tosses it as far as he can. They're making actual history here and it's time to pay attention.
This drive is supposed to be much slower than the car ride that started the issue. Tony just needs to make a lap at 35 so they can check things out. Sounds simple, right? Heh. You're not used to comics. Tony starts the car up and it explodes in a blazing blue flash.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Doug Braithwaite
In this story:
• Thor has called the Dísir and now waits for them to come tear him to shreds while still trying to get the Eir-Gram sword out of the ground.
• The Dísir don't send their entire number after Thor but they are obligated to send some because it's a deal of their curse.
• Thor asks his mom to release the sword and starts cutting up bad Valkyries.
• Hela's fortress is still about to fall so Thor has to act fast. He demands that one of the Dísir admit that they just broke their curse by invading Hel.
• Göndul wants to live so she admits to the crime. All of the Dísir pay for breaking their curse.
• Hel is saved. Hela congratulates her champions for saving the dead.
• Thor demands to talk to his brother Loki and learns that Loki made a deal to stay out of Hel.
• Eir-Gram calls out to Thor and he returns to Asgard just in time to save Balder from an assassination attempt by Kelda. Yes, Kelda.
• It turns out that Loki used a piece of Kelda's pure soul to fashion the Eir-Gram. Thus corrupted, Kelda did some things she's not going to be proud of.
• Mephisto claims the dead Dísir.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Man! I'll never have to type Dísir again after this article! I also won't have to type Göndul, Brün, Kára, or any other name with a crazy letter accent in it. It's like the end of an era and I can't wait. Let's get this thing done so I never have to make a "ü" again!
Let's review what Thor and friends are dealing with. The Dísir are former Valkyries from the time before Odin took the throne of Asgard. That means they are Odin's dad, Bor's, Valkyries. They had the same job but didn't do it very well. In fact, when they found dying or dead Aesir, they made them tasty snacks instead of part of their sacred duty. When Bor found out about their transgressions, a terrible curse was created. The Dísir would only be satisfied by eating the Aesir but they were banished from Asgard and Hel where those Aesir usually found themselves upon death. This meant they would be hungry forever unless someone decided to move Asgard to earth and mess up the natural order of things.
Oh yeah, that happened. Loki went looking for the Dísir and using a specially made sword called the Eir-Gram was able to force their loyalty. With the Dísir in his power, he was able to use them as a bartering chip with Mephisto to get Hela a new Hel to hold all the newly dead from the Siege of Asgard. Still, there was more mischief to be done and the Dísir were unleashed during the Siege and had their fill
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
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