And we're back! Aren't you excited?
Today, we check out The Thanos Imperative #5, X-Men #4, Shadowland #4, Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #3, New Avengers #5, I Am An Avenger #2, The Invincible Iron Man #31, and Blast to the Past for Journey Into Mystery #'s 119-122. Enjoy and spread the word!
I hope you missed us terribly and are ready for some great slightly aged comics. Many thanks go out to sdsichero and bkthomson for getting us back on the road again!
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
And now... comics!
The Thanos Imperative #5
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artist: Miguel Sepulveda
In this issue:
• The Revengers attack the Guardians of the Galaxy (and Thanos!) on Titan in the Cancerverse!
• The Scarlet Witch reveals her true allegiance and defeats the Revengers before sending the Guardians to Sanctuary.
• The Galactic Avengers survive the destruction of Normal Space's Sanctuary with a super-charged quantum-powered shield construct.
• The team meets up with the the defenders at the Fault and make their plan of action. Nova decides to go after the Guardians and leaves a Nova-powered Quasar to look after the fledgling Nova Corps.
• The Guardians arrive at the Cancerverse's Sanctuary. Before Thanos can figure out how to reverse the Necropsy, Lord Mar-Vell shows up with a whole platoon of Revengers.
• Nova, Major Victory, and Namorita investigate Knowhere and find a recorded message from Star-Lord detailing how to get to the Guardians and how everything is resting on a big win for the Thanos escort team.
• Nova repairs his equipment and gets ready to port out.
• In the Cancerverse, Thanos surrenders, claiming to desire his own death.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Well, things have looked better for our heroes but that's why this is the penultimate issue of Thanos Imperative. It's always darkest, right? Right.
The death of Drax the Destroyer, an avatar of life, in a place where death shouldn't exist is certain to draw the immediate attention of Lord Mar-Vell. It did just that last issue. The problem is that the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos don't have to wait for Lord Mar-Vell and his Revengers to arrive. There was an advanced team sent earlier that picks up the death of Drax and arrives to soften the team up.
Until just this moment, the Cancerverse's Titan was a safe zone for the Guardians. It was the home of the resistance: machines. Guys like Vision and Machine Man were pretty much the representative of non-life in the Cancerverse and stood against Lord Mar-Vell and his disgusting forces. Of course, they weren't equal to DEFEATING their enemy (while not alive in a technical sense, they weren't dead either) so they just ended up resisting as hard as they could, usually in secret.
The Scarlet Witch and her Revenger team (Captain America, Wasp, War Machine, and Hawkeye) have arrived and start demolishing the meager machine resistance. The Guardians do their best to halt the Revengers and keep Thanos from entering the fight. Sure, Thanos is the only one of them that can't die but they aren't sure those rules will continue to be true and they know that these won't be the only Revengers fighting them today. Better to keep their best hope of salvation well defended either way.
Ready for the twist of the day? The Scarlet Witch is working for the good guys. If you'll remember WAY back to the Realm of Kings one-shot, you may remember that the Scarlet Witch's husband, Vision, was hiding inside his wife's body, gathering information and waiting for the right time to strike. It looks like Wanda may have been aware of this. Either way, she's about to go into open revolution. She sees the Vision in critical condition and runs to apologize for what's happened. She was hoping to lead this team AWAY from any threat to Mar-Vell, giving Thanos time to act. Instead, the death of Drax led them straight to the heart of the only known resistance.
The Scarlet Witch uses her powers to stop the Revengers. Remember, they won't actually DIE but Wanda stops them for the time being as they spout off words of revenge that the Scarlet Witch KNOWS will come true. With the bad guys out of the way for the time being, it's time for the Guardians of the Galaxy to learn to trust her. It takes some encouraging words from the Vision to get everyone talking.
With Thanos here, the best chance to reverse what has happened to the Cancerverse has been presented and it makes it worth it to show her hand. She has the power to teleport them straight to the Necropsy site but it will leave her tremendously weak just as the Revengers regain their powers. She's not too concerned about it but does mention it so that the others know the extent of her sacrifice. Wanda sends them away right before Lord Mar-Vell arrives.
Back in the normal Marvel Universe, something stirs in the place where the Sanctuary Starship was obliterated last issue.
That's right. Nova and the Galactic Avengers have survived the destruction of Sanctuary with a little help from Quasar and his quantum powers. Wendell drew a little extra powers from his comrades and built up this Captain America Shield defense. The team (with Major Victory and Namorita) start on their trip back to the Fault where this universe has staged the first and last line of defense against the advancing Cancerverse forces.
When they return to the Fault, they get a status update from the defenders. In the first issue, we met the monstrous Galactus Engine, and this issue we see that that same beast is trying the Fault defenses. Things are bleak and there are no good answers on how to fix things. Nova's thoughts about going after Thanos in the Cancerverse don't go over so well. Medusa demands that he use his powers to help them defend the Fault from invasion. Rich doesn't listen to her, which is one of the reasons we love him. He doesn't have to. Rider is the Nova Prime and he's defended this universe enough to be a leader all his own in this room. He takes off to save the universe in his own way.
On his way out, Quasar tries to join him but Richard stops his friend. The Fault is still important and needs as many defenders as it can get. Rider gives Quasar a portion of his Nova powers so that Wendell has even more power at his disposal. Richard also gives him responsiblity over the Nova Corps before he leaves. The Corps are out there right now, fighting the Cancerverse invaders. They probably need someone like Quasar at this point. Maybe even a small cameo would be nice. No? OK then.
In the Cancerverse, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thanos have been teleported to the site of the Necropsy, the remains of this universe's Sanctuary.
So, they're at the place now they just need to figure out how to reverse the Necropsy and save at least one of two universes. This isn't any of these guys' speciality. This is magic. The Guardians are science. Thanos is science. The mad god of Titan is pretty sure he'll be able to suss things out but it'll take time... and that's the one thing they don't have.
That's because Lord Mar-Vell and the rest of the Revengers are already here. The Scarlet Witch didn't last long and she succumbed to whatever torture she was put under. Thanos and Mar-Vell lock horns in battle.
Nova, Major Victory, and Namorita are on the trail of the Guardians of the Galaxy and that trail doesn't immediately lead right into the Fault. First, it brings the trio to Knowhere, the severed head of a Celestial that serves as the Guardians' headquarters at the edge of space and time. The place is usually packed with scientists and refugees but they've all been evacuated. A search of the facilities activates a video message when the system recognizes Richard Rider. It's from Star-Lord.
Peter Quill gives Nova a quick summary on how important it is that their mission in the Negative Zone succeeds. The Guardians took a lot of time investigating the Fault and Major Victory should be able to teleport Richard right to the Guardians' current location. He could probably use the extra firepower.
Of course, he's going alone. Namorita wants to join him but Richard refuses to risk her life. Part of that is because 'Nita is time displaced after Nova's own adventure inside the Fault. The big part of it is that Rider doesn't want to risk losing her again after just getting her back. After using his powers to repair his suit, Richard Rider tells Major Victory to send him to the Cancerverse.
It's probably not an immediate transfer. In the Cancerverse, Thanos and Lord Mar-Vell are getting down with their violent selves while the Guardians battle it out with the Revengers. After a bit of chaos, it looks like Thanos has Mar-Vell's number big time.
Unfortunately, what Thanos does with this victory is unexpected, at least to the Guardians of the Galaxy. What Thanos really desires right now is Death. That may be something Lord Mar-Vell can provide. After choking the leader of the Cancerverse for a bit, Thanos... surrenders to the one man who can give him Death.
Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon stand back, surprised that this mission just turned straight up on its ear so suddenly.
Writer: Victor Gischler
Penciler: Paco Medina
In this story:
• Madison Jeffries locks down the presumed number of vampires in the San Francisco area to about nine thousand and climbing.
• Two man teams of X-Men are sent out to handle the problem.
• Blade and Angel take on a group of vamps at a death metal concert.
• After chasing a newbie vampire back to her nest, Blade and Waren find a fortress full of vampires. The two don't like the odds and get the hell out of there.
• Wolverine gets the deluxe new vampire treatment and loves every minute.
• Xarus gets confirmation that Logan has been turned and calls his war advisors together.
• Cyclops has gotten two unconfirmed locations for vampire strike points along with Blade and Angel's confirmed staging area.
• In the middle of Xarus' War Meeting, Scott Summers calls the Lord of the Vampires up and tells him to back off SanFran.
• After Xarus' whole "we're brothers from another mother" spiel doesn't work, he shows Cyke (and any other X-Man listening in) that Wolverine and Jubilee have been turned. He then hangs up on the X-Men leader.
• Xarus' plan is simple: Low casualties. Turn as many mutants as possible. Painfully kill Cyclops. Wolverine is only too happy to oblige.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Never let mutants into your town.
This is a lesson that San Francisco has been learning over and over again since the X-Men set up shop in the area. It began with an attack by Magneto and built all the way up to the city being cut off from the rest of the world while Nimrods, future Sentinels, were unloaded into the city. Now, vampires are overrunning the place. The reason for all of this can be placed squarely at the feet of the city's mutant population.
And still, the people love their local heroes and don't hold them accountable for any of it. That's mighty nice of the people of San Francisco and, really, it's not the mutants' fault that a lot of people want them dead. It's not like THEY'RE doing the trouble making. At the same time, if a neighbor who himself was a straight arrow but his crazy ex-wife and his mad family kept coming into town blowing stuff up in an attempt to get at this guy... well, I might start wanting him to get away from my house.
Those dudes are everywhere. Madison Jeffries has used Cerebro and 911 calls to track both the expanding vamp population in San Francisco and the kill zones for the creatures. There are nine thousand vampires gathered in the Bay area, one thousand in San Francisco, and that number is growing. The mutant population? Still below two hundred.
Scott Sumers, the leader of the mutant population, doesn't like this one bit. The vampires are gathering and killing in the X-Men's city. It's time to do something about that.
Two-person strike forces are sent around the city to let the vampires know that there's going to be resistance. Colossus and Pixie. Storm and Rogue. Gambit and Psyloche. Probably others that aren't shown on-panel. These teams are to kill some vamps while trying to figure out what the vampires are doing in the X-Men's city.
Eric Brooks, the vampire hunter known better to everyone as Wesley Snipes... erm... BLADE, is sent out into the city with Warren Worthington III as his tag team partner. Blade hits up a death metal concert where it's extra hard to tell the vampires from the normals. Angel sticks outside to make sure no vamp makes it out of the building. The two debate the musical qualities of Lady Gaga before Blade is attacked by some vampires.
The fight hits the stage but neither the crowd or the band seem too disturbed by this. The audience just thinks it's part of the show. The band is probably too drugged up to care. It leaves Blade free to stab and slice through the lot of vampts without worrying about a panicked stampede.
These are brand new vampires so it's not a challenging excersize for Blade. He lets one go so that Warren can track her back to a bigger vampire nest. This time, Angel wants a piece of the action even though he DOESN'T ENTER THE BUILDING WITH ANY VAMPIRE FIGHTING GEAR. What? Is he going to fly them to death or is he actually going to get mean and Archangel up?
Regardless, this isn't a fight the two are expecting. Blade and Angel run right into a vampire staging area filled to the BRIM with vampire warriors from every sect you could imagine. It's hasty retreat time. Warren scoops up his partner and they wing it out of there.
Wolverine has been turned. Last issue, Logan went looking for Jubilee. When he finally found her, she thanked him with a bite on the neck. After getting his vamp on, Wolverine spent the rest of the day being waited on by three vampire chicks while drinking his fill on bottled blood. Jubilee tells him that the good life is waiting for them. They just need to follow Xarus. It sounds good to Vampire Logan.
Xarus is justifiably concerned that Wolverine's healing factor will kick in and de-vampire his latest prize. His top scientist assures him it won't happen. In fact, it looks like the healing factor is totally gone. Xarus and the Mystikos Sect leader, Brad, smile. The rest of the mutants will all fall like dominoes now. Xarus calls his war leaders together for some strategizing.
Back on Utopia, Angel points out the location of the vampire army he and Blade discovered. Gambit has gotten word of two other unconfirmed strike points. Blade makes them all aware that not only are the vampires getting ready for a massive takeover of San Francisco but the X-Men are responsible for bringing Dracula back to life and setting the former Lord of the Vampires loose in the city. Scott is still waiting for that move to pay off. So is everyone else.
Right now, it's time to move this war forward.
In Xarus' underground facility, plans are made for the invasion of Utopia. The Legate of Krieger Sect says he needs twenty-four more hours to assure that nothing goes screwy and taht a maximum number of mutants are turned with a minimum number of casualties. The Aqueos Sect doesn't need that and wants to attack now. So does Wolverine. The Legate keeps advising caution but it looks like Xarus is getting anxious. To push the Lord of the Vampires over the edge, either purposefully or by accident, Scott Summers gives X a call.
Everyone in the room is stunned that Cyclops has a cell phone number to anyone in the room. This call comes through Brad's phone but that's still impressive. Xarus puts the call up on the widescreen monitor because video phone calls have been the norm in the Marvel Universe for decades. He only reveals HIMSELF to Cyke, though. Wolverine having been turned into a vamp will be a shock reveal later.
Summer doesn't beat around the bush. He demands that Xarus remove the vampire armies from the city. The Lord of the Vampires tries to convince Cyclops why vampires and mutants would make beautiful music together. They're both feared and hated by the world, after all. Scott isn't fooled. A group that feeds on humanity has a reason to be feared. AND hated. Cyclops draws his line in the sand and tells Xarus to GTFO or he'll regret it. MUTANT ARMY, yo.
Since Xarus' finely honed argument for vamp/mutie unity falls on deaf ears, he passes the baton over to Wolverine to help convince the leader of the mutants of how things would be better with fangs. Everyone else in the Utopia control room is surprised that Wolverine si now a blood sucker but Scott Summers keeps the stone cold face on for the remainder of the conversation.
Logan tells Scott how much better "life" is as a vampire. Jubilee jumps in front of the camera to contribute.
None of this does much to convince Cyclops to bare his neck, so Wolverine tries a different tactic. He became a vampire because he was following Scott's orders. This is a testament to his leadership. We'll see how that leadership holds up when the vampires storm Utopia with Wolverine leading the charge. Logan pops his claws before hanging up the phone.
This leaves the X-Men pretty astonished (natch). They wonder how Dracula is going to play into this but mostly they look to Cyclops for what they should do next. Get ready for the attack because it's coming. Probably sooner than later.
At Xarus' headquarters, the attack has been moved up despite the Krieger Legate's words of caution. The Lord of the Vampires is giving his new mutant recruit a rundown of the plan one more time: try not to kill, turn as many X-Men into vampires as possible. Wolverine agrees that it's a solid idea and he's the one who can do it with his intimate knowledge of Utopia.
The one X-Man that Xarus doesn't want turned is Scott Summers. That guy needs to die in a tremendously painful way. Logan is fine with that. He hates Cyclops.
Writer: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Billy Tan
In this story:
• Elektra kills abunch of Hand ninja and meets up with the hero squad (and Punisher)
• The good guys talk about killing Matt Murdock who is now completely possessed by the Beast of the Hand.
• Kingpin and Lady Bullseye relocate.
• The heroes plan a strike on DD before he can revive Bullseye.
• And that's when they attack!
• Wolverine stabs Daredevil in the chest but the leader of the Hand doesn't die.
• After a brief fight with Spider-Man, the heroes dogpile Murdock.
• Instead of trying to kill him, Elektra talks to him.
• 'Cause that's going to work.
• Daredevil breaks out of the dogpile with a burst of energy. He also grows.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
The people of New York are rioting. As the power of the Beast (of the Hand) grows, everyone is getting angrier... I mean, except for the main cast who don't seem to be affected.
Shadowland has been closed off so maybe the heroes won't break in this issue. Maybe...
It seems the only access to Shadowland is a basement access door that connects right to the extensive New York sewer system. On of Daredevil's lieutenants, Elektra, is inspecting this secret door. It's being guarded by a group of Hand ninjas who claim to be the only ones in Shadowland that know of its existance outside of Matt Murdock. This is good to know because it means when Elektra kills them, no-one will come looking.
We all know how easy Hand ninjas die. They even dissolve so there's virtually no clean-up required. Against a master like Elektra, these guys don't stand a chance. Hell, Charlie Brown could kill these guys with one mopey look. When all the pesky ninjas are taken care of, Elektra cleans off her sai and opens the vault-like door.
On the other side are our heroes. Luke Cage! Iron Fist! Spider-Man! Shang-Chi! Master Izo! Punisher!
And because everything is better with the ol' Canucklehead, Wolverine. Don't ask. Elektra is as surprised as you and me that Logan has suddenly arrived on the scene. Everyone's favorite team member just says he's here for the same reason as the rest. They need to take Matt Murdock down and he's the kind of guy that can get your killing done for you while you're still debating the moral implications of murder. That's probably why Frank Castle is hanging out, too.
It makes a body wonder why we're just left with the street level heroes, though. This is New York City. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America showed up in the first issue and actually sent Cage and Rand to Murdock with a warning: Shadowland is temporary and WILL come down. After that, DD killed Bullseye and the big hitting Avengers didn't even bat an eyelash. If Tony Stark wasn't blowing up Repulsor-Powered cars, I'd be wondering what these heroes were up to.
While Wolverine (and probably the Punisher) know that they're here to kill a formerly good man, the rest of our heroes are conflicted. Matt's a friend and their first impulse is to help him. Master Izo tries to explain the stakes to the more bleeding hearts of the group. Matt Murdock is possessed by the Beast of the Hand. If the Beast keeps growing in power, it's going to make the New York riots happening outside look like a slightly-more-violent-than-usual birthday party.
All of this is probably the Kingpin's fault. Wilson Fisk has been pulling strings since at least Dark Reign- The List: Daredevil. While a lot of luck was involved to get things rolling the way they are, you can tell the Kingpin is tickled at how things are working out. The city is burning. It's mass chaos. It's all going according to plan.
His assassin/lackey, Lady Bullseye, isn't so happy about not being involved. She wants to be a part of this thing in a more tactile manner. Kingpin tells her that'll happen soon enough. For now, other parts of the plan still have to be put into place. The two take off in a helicopter. Lady Bullseye tells Wilson Fisk that the fires are going to spread to his own headquarters but the massive villain doesn't care. He's moving on up.
Below Shadowland, the heroes plan the downfall of their friend.
Elektra lays down other threats they should be worried about. White Tiger and Typhoid Mary are both worth mentioning. The Hand ninjas are cannon fodder. If this fight doesn't happen right now, they'll also have to contend with a resurrected Bullseye. Since this whole thing kicked off with the death of the former Dark Avenger, it's fitting that his potential rebirth could draw it to a close.
The Beast of the Hand's strength continues to grow even now. It's even setting off Spider-Man's spider-sense while he's still in the basement. That means they need to work on this right now. Matt Murdock has to die. Punisher thinks his bullets are the answer but Elektra says that if things were that easy, she would have killed him when she gained his trust. No, this is NOT going to be a quick kill. Master Izo believes he'll be able to mask the heroes' presence from Daredevil until they're in striking distance but after they make their move, it's anybody's game.
The heroes get to Bullseye's resurrection in time to kill the Hand priest/guy before the ritual is completed. From that moment on, DD is onto his attackers one by one as they reveal themselves.
If you think Daredevil's Hand suit is cool, you should see it with over-extended devil horns. It kind of loses some of its magic. It's just a physical sign of how the Beast is running the show now.
Elektra, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Shang-Chi are all out in the open for Matt to see. The Hand attack them. Daredevil isn't aware of the Punisher sneaking up on his right until the anti-hero drops a stun grenade between the Man Without Fear's legs. Even we don't know why Frank used something less-than-lethal. Wolverine, who uses the confusion to lunge at his enemy, claims that it was so he could handle things personally. Logan buries his claws deep into Matt Murdock's chest.
Daredevil doesn't die.
Wolverine sheathes his claws and stares at the guy who should be worm food in stunned amazement. Daredevil isn't going to give the mutant much time to just stare. He tosses Logan across the room and right into a stone pillar, breaking it in two and probably knocking Wolvie unconscious for a while.
Frank Castle tests out his guns theory but Daredevil won't let the Punisher get a bead on him. Typhoid Mary tries defending her ex, setting Castle's guns on fire. Spider-Man doesn't miss a beat, webbing up Mary's eyes so that she can't see her targets.
Daredevil pulls Peter Parker right into one-on-one combat. This isn't a fight the Wall-Crawler wants to get into but he steps up as well as anyone. The Beast has the run of the fight at first but if we know anything about Spider-Man it's that he doesn't give up. He also has an overactive sense of responsibility but that doesn't apply right now. After getting tossed away by the Man Without Fear, Spider-Man fires off some webbing, restricting Daredevil's hand movement and setting the Hand leader up for another attack by the Web-Slinger.
With Daredevil downed for the moment, Spidey calls in back up and all of our heroes dogpile Matt, holding him to the ground.
This would be a perfect time to kill the Beast but our heroes just aren't about that when it comes down to it. They aren't killers. Well, Punisher and Wolverine are but Logan's taking a nap and Frank Castle actually respects Matt too much to be using lethal force against him even while possessed.
Even Master Izo and Elektra seem to be gunshy. Elektra actually tries to get the Beast to let her talk to Matt. The Beast obviously refuses, denying that Matt's even close to the driver's seat anymore.
Given time, the thing inhabiting Murdock's body is able to force all of the heroes off of him with a burst of energy. When he rises from the ground, he's much larger than the normal human being. Is the end near? Find out in the next pulse pounding issue of Shadowland!
Shadowland: Blood on the Streets #3
Writer: Antony Johnston
Penciler: Wellington Alves
In this story:
• Paladin and Misty Knight survive a gunfight with Bobby Fortunado's goons with a little help from Silver Sable.
• The Shroud continues to conduct his own investigation, finding out that the latest victim of the fake Hand is an unassuming man named Dudley Miller.
• Misty, Silver Sable, and Paladin agree to work together. Misty figures that the one criminal element that would stand to gain from this would be Mister Negative. They go out to prove it.
• Shroud remembers that Dudley Miller was into child pornography and pedophilia though he stayed out of jail on some technicality. His seemingly random death is explained.
• Misty tries to convince Police Lieutenant Rafael Scarfe of Mr. Negative's involvement but Rafe isn't biting. Mr. Negative isn't involved and the cases have been moved up the chain so he's not worried about them anymore.
• The Hand interupt Paladin's interrogation of one of Mr. Negative's underlings and warn him to stay out of this one. Shroud shows up for the save.
• Silver Sable finds a connection between the deaths. It's a heavily-pierced girl.
• Sable tries getting this information to Misty but she's not picking up her phone. Misty is then attacked by two punks with baseball bats. They kick the crap out of her without saying a word.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
Someone's killing criminals in New York and setting up the Hand to take the blame. The latest victim is Bobby Fortunado. Bobby has the distinction of being the dude that hired Paladin to kill his own brother before the Hand took care of that for him. He even got Misty interested in the case. This all led to Paladin and Misty being in Bobby's apartment soon after the death of the criminal.
It's not where they want to be. Bobby had people working for him. They show up just in time to see the two in the same room with their dead boss and don't really think about asking questions. Criminals are better at shooting their way out of complicated problems and seeing what things looked like after the dust settles. Misty and Pally get behind cover before the thugs can shoot them but the numbers are against them. Misty uses her magnetic hand to send a television crashing against the bad guys but that hardly helps them out.
As Paladin opens fire on the remaining criminals, he sees a woman fighting through the mobsters. A smoke grenade finishes off the rest of killers leaving Silver Sable to join Misty and Paladin in relative peace. All three of them leap out of the window to avoid further fighting with confused criminals.
In Midtown, the Shroud is continuing his own investigations. It seems the latest fake Hand killing was of a seemingly innocent man named Dudley Miller. While this looks kind of out of place for the fake's MO, when Shroud remembers the name of the victim, he thinks it might make more sense than it did on first glance. He flies off to prove it.
Misty, Paladin, and Silver Sable regroup at the former site of the Symkarian Embassy. Since her nation fell apart, Sable bought the place and plans on returning it to her people when they get through their current troubles. With that explanation out of the way, Misty would really like to know how Sable found them and how everyone fits into this case. Silver Sable explains how she was hired by Interpol to arrest a Russian gangster only to be beat to the punch by a murderer. Interpol thinks she did the killing and she needs to clear her good name. She was on that mission, using a simple disguise to get into the morgue to examine the body of Sergey Bolovic when she saw Misty doing the same with another victim. They both figured that it wasn't really the Hand and Sable followed Misty from that point on.
So that's why she came in for the rescue at Bobby Fortunado's place.
So, we've got everyone's stories straight and now it's just waiting for everyone to agree on a team-up. They all have the same goals... relatively... so it's a no brainer that they'd work together to figure out who's killing minor criminals and blaming it on the Hand. The run through the list of suspects until Misty settles on Mr. Negative. This WOULD look like a good way to take out some competitions while expanding his territory. They all agree to check into this as a potential lead and to contact the others if they get any information.
The Shroud flies down to the Manhattan docks to find some damning evidence on Dudley Miller. He knows that Miller's apartment won't reveal anything out of the ordinary. All the incriminating stuff is in this storage unit which was rented out under a false name. Shroud breaks in and takes a good look around.
Even though his Darkforce senses can't read magazines or computer screens, he can guess what he sees. It's child pornography as far as we can see. Dudley Miller was a pedophile and sold child porn. He was arrested once but got out of a conviction on a technicality. Someone decided he was guilty and took matter into their own hands.
The next day, Misty Knight meets with Police Lieutenant Rafael Scarfe to let him know she might have discovered who was actually killing unconvicted bad guys in the name of the Hand. Rafe looks unimpressed. He mentions the events of Shadowland: Spider-Man and wonders why Mr. Negative would make such an overt play at Shadowland territory if he was also planning THIS. Misty just thinks that Mr. Negative was working at distraction.
Knight wonders why her friend isn't jumping at the opportunity to bust the real killers since they all know the Hand wasn't really involved. Lt. Scarfe tells her that anything Daredevil related, and this would apply, gets kicked "upstairs" and they don't have to deal with it. He also gets a call from another detective telling him that an unconvicted pedophile was killed the night before. How... timely.
Anyway, Rafael shares this information with Misty and asks her why Mr. Negative would be killing pedophiles unless it was a public service. Sure, other gangsters makes sense. They're competition. Dudley Miller doesn't fit, though. He then switches back to Daredevil, telling Misty that the former hero has lost his fricking mind.
And maybe Misty shouldn't be out trying to solve a case like this when she's got a baby on the way. Remember, no-one knows yet that Misty's pregnancy is a false one. Right now, everyone thinks the girlfriend of Danny Rand has a bun in the oven. That baby isn't enough to stop Misty Knight. She tells Rafael that she's going to keep investigating until the case is cracked wide open.
Since we all know that it's rogue police elements killing otherwise unconvictable criminals and using the ninjas as a smokescreen, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to tell Lieutenant Scarfe that.
Later on in Chinatown, Paladin is going big and keeping things loud. He's at the Touch of Heaven Massage Parlor (which might be the same one that Colleen Wing busts in Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow) and is making a hell of a lot of noise, demanding to know who killed Bobby Fortunado and his poor brother. He doesn't get any answers but he DOES get a visit. From the Hand.
This is way out of Shadowland territory but these guys don't seem to care. They'll soon control the entire city and continue to expand from there. Tonight, however, is not about taking over Chinatown. Tonight is about stopping Paladin from asking too many questions. It will be the Hand who finds out who is killing people in their name, not this guy.
It's fortunate that Paladin has a couple allies in the big city. One of them is the Shroud who's heard through his sources how the mercenary is tearing up Chinatown and has come on down to take a look. With the Darkforce properly engaged, the Hand ninjas have less of a chance than usual. Paladin and the Shroud sneak out the window and head on up to the roof as the mercenary tells Shroud that he's working with Silver Sable and Misty Knight to discover who's doing what and why.
Silver Sable is conducting her investigation in O'Flanaghan's Pub in Midtown. She's online and talking to her niece, Anna, who has been trying to find a connection between the killings. When all the deaths and missing people are taken into account, Anna has a face to show Silver Sable of a girl with way too many piercings but who looks pretty happy otherwise. Whoever it is startles Sable. She gets on the phone to Misty immediately.
Misty's not answering that phone even though it probably has some vital intel. Knight's in a deep blue funk after her talk with Lt. Scarfe. She realizes that being a police officer is a hard life filled with reports and red tape. There's also the fact that Danny Rand and the rest of the hero squad are making a play for Shadowland but are leaving her out of it. She's not too happy about that but it's all just background noise distracting her from something VERY IMPORTANT that she can't put her finger on.
It's also keeping her from seeing the group of punks that have been tailing her for a block or two. These guys aren't Hand and they aren't even pretending to be. They are just here to kick the crap out of her and let her know that she's been looking too deeply at something that should just be ignored. The two leave her broken and bloody close to the Shadowland barrier.
The New Avengers #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
In this story:
• In a flashback, Mr. Rasputin tries to recruit the Hand into taking down Dr. Strange so that he can have the Eye of Agamotto. Dr. Strange and Wong defeat them, probably.
• Daniel Drumm wakes up in the Light Universe and sends a message to his bro back on earth.
• Hawkeye unburies himself from under a taxi cab, kisses his wife, and leaves the team for more important business with the other Avengers team.
• Dr. Voodoo receives that message from his brother.
• Stephen Strange convinces Iron Fist that he didn't steal the Eye of Agamotto.
• We all learn that it's Agamotto himself trying to retrieve his Eye.
• Dr. Voodoo arrives to stop the latest attack from the Light Universe and challenges Agamotto to a magic duel.
• The Avengers' powers and abilities are all funneled into Wolverine for the challenge.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
An unofficial Shadowland tie-in! OK, not really. The Hand show up but it's just in a flashback. Bendis needed to maintain the illusion that ninjas show up in the New Avengers far too much so he set this up. Anyway, it's a couple years back. The Hand are approached by one Mr. Rasputin who is looking to hire them in an attempt to assassinate Dr. Strange, the current Sorceror Supreme. Rasputin wants to get his little mitts on the Eye of Agamotto and thinks that killing Strange will help him to that goal. When the Hand question him on just what the Eye of Agamotto is...
Strange's manservant and assistant, Wong, shows up to drop some knowledge on the villains. First, he explains that Agamotto is one of three Vishanti. Then, he explains that the Vishanti are the three god-like magical creatures that pretty much guide the magical world. The other two are called Oshtur and Hoggoth but they aren't important right now. Agamotto has the distinction of being the possible first Sorceror Supreme back in the good old days.
Next up, Wong challenges Rasputin's claim that killing Dr. Strange would even net him the Eye of Agamotto. As we've already seen back in the first volume of New Avengers, the Eye chooses its owner. If Dr. Strange were killed, the Eye would pass to the new Sorceror Supreme. So Mr. Rasputin wouldn't get a prize for the death of the good doctor.
None of this even makes a dent on Rasputin. In fact, he sees Wong and thinks that he's just been given a nice little hostage that will help him destroy Dr. Strange. What he fails to notice is that the Sorceror Supreme is with Wong. With reason having failed, Strange and his assistant start battling the Hand and Mr. Rasputin. Since this is a flashback, we'll just assume they won.
In what passes for the present, Daniel Drumm wakes up in the Light Dimension. Daniel is the brother of Jericho Drumm, the current Sorceror Supreme. He's also dead. I mean, he's been dead for a long time. Daniel Drumm died way back in his brother's origin story but through voodoo, his soul was bonded with Jericho and he went on nagging his bro ever since. When the Light Dimension's invaders attacked Jericho, Daniel's soul got separated from Jericho and ended up IN the Light Dimension.
Daniel tries his best to contact his brother but isn't getting any communication back so probably knows he's not getting through. Maybe it's just comforting to talk out loud. The light in this dimension nearly gets Daniel to believe that he's finally reached Heaven.
In New York City, we finally learn what happened to Hawkeye. He seemed to disappear soon after the invasion from the Light Dimension. I thought Bendis and Immonen may have forgotten that he had even appeared in issue one but they didn't fail me. It turns out Clint's just been buried under a taxi cab.
Hawkeye looks around at all the fun destruction he missed out on before the rest of the New Avengers arrive. The New Avengers greet Clint and Bobbi gives her ex a big kiss. Then Barton tells them that he has to cut and run. That's right. He's leaving.
It SEEMS that the other Avengers need him. They've sent out an "Avengers Priority Emergency Call." He wasn't going to join this team anyway. He was just here to hang out with Mockingbird. Clint leaves for some other adventure or just to stick his head in the sand. It's unclear what mission he just went to join because Wolverine and Spider-Man are on both teams and didn't get this special call to action. I think Clint just made things up because magic freaks him out. It would have been even more hilarious if he would have quit the other team during the crazy time attack going on in Avengers but that never happened. Ah well. A man can dream.
In New Orleans, Jericho Drumm is trying to figure out who is attacking the Marvel Universe and why but isn't having much luck. He's getting frustrated. Suddenly, his brother reaches him with a shout of astral energy. There's no time for actual talking but at least it's a sign that his brother is still "alive"... and it might help him figure out where Daniel is.
Last issue left us with the accusation that the big bad for this arc was Dr. Strange's old master, the Ancient One and that Stephen had stolen the Eye of Agamotto from him. After a lot of hemming and even more hawing, Dr. Strange convinces us all that isn't true. We've already learned that the Eye can't really be stolen. It chooses it's successor. No, they aren't in battle with the Ancient One. Who they face is a mystery but that they'd resort to such trickery reveals how desperate they are to gain the Eye of Agamotto. Danny Rand fumbles out an apology which is quickly accepted by Stephen Strange.
So... who would want this Eye thing? Everyone tries to think of an answer until Spider-Man jokes "Maybe this Agamotto dude just wants his Eye back." That gets everyone to stop talking and consider the possibility. It all fits. Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom think that it's the best guess they have.
Now, if it IS Agamotto trying to get his Eye back (and it probably IS even though there's enough deception already thrown into the mix that could render a different conclusion in a future story), wouldn't it be a good idea to give the cosmic entity his property? It's not that simple, though. As Thing so eloquently states, Agamotto didn't actually ask for his gift back, he tried forcing the issue and attacked. More than that, the repercussions of one of the Vishanti looking to reclaim his greatest gift to the earth is disturbing. What's actually going on in the magical realm?
Another messenger from the Light Dimension shows up in the form of a tiger and demands the Eye. To keep it would be to call on even more wrath from Agamotto. This time, the messenger is demanding that the Eye of Agamotto be given of Strange's free will but the doctor points out that it's not HIS to give. The current Sorceror Supreme and owner of the Eye isn't here right now so the short answer is "no."
Which is just too bad for the former Sorceror Supreme. The Light Dimension messenger possesses everyone else in the room and makes a play to get the Eye by force. In the struggle, we learn that the Vishanti are gone. All the remains is Agamotto and he's trying to consolidate his power, probably in an attempt at mere survival. Strange is more than surprised that he didn't know that the Vishanti were done with but Agamotto condescendingly responds that this level of cosmic magic is far above the former Sorceror Supreme's skill level.
The eye will not be stolen by it's former owner right now, though. Dr. Voodoo magics in and gets rid of the latest messenger with a burst of magic. Stephen gives Jericho back the Eye of Agamotto and the Sorceror Supreme does something no-one expected.
He challenges Agamotto to a magical duel.
Yeah, I'm getting images of Harry Potter's magical duel with Draco Malfoy from Chamber of Secrets. Am I the only one? Anyway, it's not like that. This duel is a lot more lethal and probably involves more complicated spells than you'd find in your typical Harry Potter book. It doesn't please Daimon Hellstrom at all. Agamotto is far, far, FAR above Jericho's skill level and it's basically like giving the Vishanti the Eye.
Dr. Voodoo counters that this is something that Agamotto DIDN'T want to do or the Vishanti would have issued the challenge to begin with. Whatever's been going on in the magical worlds, it's weakened Agamotto to the point where he desires to consolidate his power and retrieve his gifts. That implies that the dude is much weaker than normal. Add to that Jericho's plan to combine the powers of all present into one vessel for the challenge and it looks like the Sorceror Supreme may have a chance at actually winning this thing.
Combining powers from a whole super team isn't a new concept. It happens all the time. This time, it's a magic-based combination so, yeah, slightly different. It also involves Dr. Strange and Daimon Hellstrom with significantly increases the chances of success. Wolverine volunteers to be the vessel that enters the duel, channeling all of the various powers into one tiny package. Jericho agrees to this but only after it's decided that he'll be along in an advisory capacity much like his brother did for him. Speaking of Daniel Drumm, Jericho was able to track Daniel's cry for help back to the Light Dimension so they know where to aim their attack.
Everyone circles around Logan and the spell begins. When it's all said and done, Wolverine is super charged up with Hellstrom and Iron Fist's unique chest symbols glowing on his own chest. Let's get ready to rumble!
I Am An Avenger #2
Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciler: Michael Lark
In this story:
• Maria Hill gives Steve Rogers the casualty report from the post-Siege operations in Broxton. Only one soldier was killed, Private First Class Donald Horodowsky.
• We saw his death in the last issue of Dark Avengers.
• Steve asks where the funeral is taking place and then heads to Memphis to attend.
• Commander Rogers sits through the memorial service and burial, all the while the wife of PFC Horodowsky stares at him with bitter eyes.
• When it's all done, Steve Rogers approaches the widow and gets chewed out for the death of her husband.
• Rogers takes it in stride and asks her to tell him who her husband was.
• In the telling, it seems to make her feel a lot better about everything and she gives Steve her husband's dog tags after he asks for them.
• At Avengers Tower, Steve Rogers adds them to a box of dog tags of those who have fallen before him.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
In Dark Avengers #16, we watched as Dark Wolverine escaped Broxton, Oklahoma by killing one of the soldiers, stealing his uniform and driving a hummer out of town. This is the aftermath of that particular story.
The dead soldier was Private First Class Donald Horodowsky. He was the only casualty post-Siege. Obviously, HAMMER soldiers HAD to have died during the Siege of Asgard but this was the aftermath and the death is the first to happen while Steve Rogers was in command of things. Maria Hill gives him the report of PFC Horodowsky's death and the apparent circumstances.
For Maria Hill, this is business as usual. She's lost people before. So has Steve. The difference is that the former Captain America hasn't really grown accustomed to it. He asks where the funeral is going to take place and Maria gets specifics. Rogers heads to his room and opens his war chest which is still marked "PFC Steven Rogers-- United States Army." Inside is his dress uniform with all his assorted medals that makes him anything BUT of Private First Class. Maria gets him the specifics of Horodowsky's funeral and burial and Steve leaves his travel to Memphis in his own hands.
Rogers shows up before anyone else and has a short talk with the sergeant attached as Horodowsky's honor guard. Sergeant David Mills actually served with Donald Horodowsky overseas. He can't believe that his colleague was killed in the United States after a tour overseas.
The funeral hall fills up and service begins.
These scenes are silent. We follow the ceremony all the way through the burial and the gun salute right up to Horodowsky's wife receiving the American Flag. All the while, the new widow is giving Steve a glare of anger.
Of course, Steve approaches her after the crowd clears out. She knows exactly who he is even though he doesn't know very much about the man who is being laid to rest. She is filled with a lot of anger which probably hides just how broken she is over the death of her husband. Sure, he was a soldier and death is always a possibility but I imagine you get through the day by thinking death happens to other soldiers and not your own husband. Heck, she doesn't even know the circumstances of Donald's death.
Those aren't details that Steve Rogers will be giving out today. Instead, he asks her to tell him about the man who lies inside a casket.
The telling of who her husband is helps. Of course, none of us think this is the end of her own pain or that of her daughter but it's still therapeutic. Later on at the VFW, she continues telling Steve about her husband and her daughter. She's no longer mad at Commander Rogers, at least. Steve asks her for a favor. He would like Private First Class Donald Horodowsky's dog tags.
The widow gives them to him. Later on, at Avengers Tower, Steve holds them in his hands before adding them to his box of dog tags from the soldiers who he knew who have died before him. He fought in World War II. It's a pretty full box.
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Mike Mayhew
In this story:
• The surviving guy New Warriors meet at a bar.
• Angel Jones is hanging out in the same bar with Patsy Walker and Monica Rambeau. Robbie Baldwin sees her and takes her over to say hi to the others.
• While the reunion with Richard Rider is happy, Vance Astrovik isn't really all that into speaking to his former fiance.
• Angel returns to her table and both parties talk about how messed up Vance and Angel's relationship is now. The two both close their eyes at the same time and open them to an empty bar... I mean besides the other.
• After fighting about who's responsible, the two suit up and fly nowhere in particular.
• They're attacked by themselves... when they were Avengers in terrible George Pérez costumes. Firestar's is actually pretty cool except for the low cut chest which she only wore for 2.2 seconds before changing it up.
They say breaking up is hard to do. Sometimes getting along after the fact is even worse.
The Heroic Age is filled with lots of reunions and this is one of them. The New Warriors has been a curse word since the Stamford incident kicked off the Super-Human Civil War. In the new era of old school heroics, it looks like some of that has faded but don't expect the former New Warriors to reform the team any time soon. They've all moved on to other things. For example, the surviving men of the New Warriors are all on various Avengers teams.
Robbie Baldwin (Speedball), Richard Rider (Nova Prime), and Vance Astrovik (Justice) are having a guys reunion at a bar to remember the good times in the past and all their fallen friends. It's a good time in a full bar but Vance probably finds it a little hard to relate to the other two. Robbie has spent most of the recent past as Penance, wearing an iron-maiden-style armored suit to both punish himself for his failure at Stamford and to activate his new powers. Richard Rider has lead the forces of the Universe to victory in a couple intergalactic wars and seems older. More mature. Justice has gone through some stuff but nothing so impactful as his friends.
His ex-girlfriend, on the other hand, has had her own ordeals to deal with. Angelica Jones is the mutant we all know as Firestar. Her powers gave her cancer which is currently in remission, thankfully. She's in the same crowded bar with her two girlfriends, Patsy Walker (Hellcat) and Monica Rameau (Photon). I say she's in the bar but she's hardly THERE. Angel's pretty much in her own little world, thinking about stuff, while Monica and Patsy try to get her attention through outlandish stories.
What breaks her out of her mood is seeing Robbie Baldwin. Speedball saw her from across the room and has gone over to take her back to the New Warriors reunion.
Rich greets her with a huge hug. He asks her about the cancer and she tells him that it's in remission and hopefully it'll stay that way. She puts it off for as long as possible but eventually she says hi to Vance. Justice says hi back and then turns back to his drink with little more chit chat.
Angel sits there feeling stupid and then excuses herself so she can rejoin her other friends. Of course, both groups have nothing to talk about but the legendary break-up of Justice and Firestar. The two were engaged to be married but Angel wasn't really ready to get married and the engagement was cancelled. Justice is still not that cool about it even though he's seeing Suzy Sherman (Ultra Girl) in a casual relationship.
With both sets of friends talking about the same thing and both our heroes being overly embarrassed about it, Vance and Angel both wince their eyes shut at the same time. When they open their eyes, the bar is empty of everyone except them.
The two check their cell phones and are getting no bars. Angel wonders aloud what's going on and Vance immediately goes on the defensive, thinking Firestar is blaming him for this. The problem is huge, though. A look outside the bar shows that it's not just the building that's been effected. The streets are empty.
Both heroes suit up and hit the skies, looking for anyone else to talk to besides their ex. No-one. They both try to think if they have an enemy that would be doing something like this as a form of revenge but, really, they don't have anyone that would approach this level of power that would care about them this specifically. At least they can't think of anyone. Firestar turns her head when she hears a sound that reminds her of her own power bursts right before getting struck by a microwave blast.
Justice catches her before she can fall to the ground. He then turns and finds himself facing himself. It's a younger version of Justice wearing one of his many Avengers uniforms. This one was created in the comics by Janet Van Dyne and it's pretty ugly, really. There's also a younger Firestar wearing another Avengers era costume created by Janet. This was the original version of the suit with the low V-cut that Angel wasn't comfortable with and changed up to not expose as much skin. It's a pretty cool suit, actually. Much preferred to the current Firestar look.
Anway the younger selves were lead her by someone but they keep it vague for now. It's time for them to finish off their older forms.
Writer: Paul Tobin
Penciler: David López
In this story:
• Wolverine searches for Jarvis all over the place.
• Each Avenger gives him the next Avenger up the line until Logan finds Jarvis serving Thor.
• Logan and Jarvis go out for beer and brats.
Let no-one say that Jarvis has a cushy job. The butler for the Avengers takes the job of feeding the Avengers very seriously and caters to each member's unique tastes. With such an variety of Avengers teams, Edwin Jarvis is more busy than he's ever been. At least, he busier on a more regular basis. There have been times when the Mansion has been filled to the brim with Avengers but that was only temporary.
This is three teams and apparently Avengers Academy's teaching staff. Now, I'm not sure who thinks that all the Avengers teams are playing around in the same base but they aren't. The main Avengers team is hanging out in Avengers Tower, the New Avengers call Avengers Mansion their home, the less-than-Secret Avengers headquarter in a Quincarrier, and the instructors of Avengers Academy live in the Infinite Mansion. Odds are PRETTY good that Jarvis doesn't work at all those locations.
So... maybe this is just some sort of get-together and isn't full-time. Maybe Jarvis really does work all over the place. It's possible that the Avengers butler is trying to be...
Wolverine is looking for the man who supplies all the food to the Avengers. He asks every Avenger he meets and they keep telling him about the great food the butler served them before telling him where Jarvis went next. Tigra leads him to Valkyrie. Val directs him over to Spider-Man. Peter tells him to check on Black Widow. Natasha points over to Hawkeye. Hawkeye tells him to stay away from his pizza and check with Dr. Strange. The next panel shows Logan with a slice of pizza (hahahaha) and getting the word from Stephen to look for Thor.
Finally, Wolverine finds Jarvis serving Thor a meal fit for a god.
The butler asks the only guy who's on more teams than him what he'd like to eat. Logan tells him it's time for some beer and bratwurst. Jarvis starts thinking about getting those ready but he didn't catch Wolverine's meaning. It's time for the two of them to get a bite to eat.
The next scene shows the two out on the town drinking beers and eating the older brother to the hotdog in mass quantities. The Avenger/X-Man/etc. etc. etc. has Jarvis totally beat on beers (and ladies, actually) but Jarvis is still having a great time out on the town with his Canadian friend.
Writer: Jacob Chabot
Artist: Jacob Chabot
In this story:
• It's a pie eating contest?
• Yep. That's what it is. D-Man, Valkyrie, the Protector, and the Thing seeing who can eat the most pies in a certain amount of time.
• D-Man wins because he's homeless and likes to eat when he gets a chance.
• Is it funny? Not really, no.
The art for the next story is actually pretty good stuff. It's cartoony so you might expect some good humor. Don't expect too much.
Welcome to the Annual Avengers Picnic! It's where all the Avengers get together and celebrate their Avenger-ness with an outdoor cookout and the traditional pie-eating contest.
D-Man has probably been preparing all year for this thing and he's pumped. Exiting the bathroom, he strides up to the pie-eating table to take his fill of delicious cake. I mean pie. Man, I'm glad that wasn't the argument in this one pager. Wolverine does get a joke in about D-Man's mask. That was actually kind of good if not actually... funny.
The contestants for this pie-eating contest are Valkyrie, the Protector, the Thing, and our hero, D-Man. Ben Grimm is the reigning champ but the competition is fierce this year. I mean, Noh-Varr is eating everything in sight with no signs of stopping. Beat that, dude.
Luke Cage tells them to get started and the race of who can eat the most pies in an alotted time is off! When the smoke pie filling clears, D-Man has eaten twenty-one pies and one bite, beating Thing by that one extra nibble. Noh-Varr probably would have won since he's still eating non-stop except he didn't eat fast enough.
Thing and D-Man both collapse on the ground and dream of next year's pie-eating battle.
The Invincible Iron Man #31
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Salvador Larroca
In this story:
• The Repulsor Car continues to explode as Tony automatically armors up to save his life. After it's done, Tony calls Pepper up to his office and storms off.
• Tony writes "SABOT" on the window when Pepper joins him in his office but is interrupted by Mrs. Arbogast who tells him to turn on the television. The expo where his Repulsor Car was to debut has been cancelled because Tony Stark is a security risk.
• Tony decides to bring everyone to the race track for a demonstration and then writes "WE'RE DOOMED" on his hand for Pepper to see.
• Tony tests Carson Wyche to make sure that he's the real Carson Wyche by asking why he got fired from Stark Enterprises. (It's because Tony is a douche)
• Carson and Tony communicate through MSDOS commands to tell each other that they have a spy among them who sabotaged their car. They can't trust prett
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
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