The end of an era!
Today, we check out New Mutants #21 and Blast to the Past for Fantastic Four #67. Enjoy and spread the word!
No, I'm not taking a hiatus again. If anything, I'm catching up! This is the final Super Reads in the Heroic Age until we slam right into Fear Itself! Now, technically, the Heroic Age ended a while back but this is the end of the New Mutants storyline that began with a Heroic Age banner and forced me in for the long haul.
Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond? Check no further than this link right HERE.
OK, the pleasantries are out of the way. Let's get our Limbo on.
New Mutants #21
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Leonard Kirk w/ Andrew Currie
In this issue:
• Dani, Sam, Roberto, and Amara meet up at the end of the world.
• The Elder Gods have been summoned and they've broken through to the read world. Cannonball shoots off to mete out some punishment.
• Roberto and Amara try to catch up to the "previous" Illyana to warn her about what went wrong with her time travel plan.
• General Ulysses hands the Elder Gods the Bloodstone Amulet in an attempt to get them to cease their attack on the Earth. It doesn't work and gets him killed.
• The X-Men arrive.
• Sunspot attacks some demons so that Magma can get through to "previous" Illyana. Cannonball kills some Inferno Kids and Doctor Noc. Cypher takes away Trista's mouth.
• Illyana teleports the X-Men up to Sunspot to save his life.
• Legion arrives and things get real. The Elder Gods are killed and Illyana's revenge is complete.
• After unmaking Elder Gods, Legion breaks up the Bloodstone Amulet and returns the soul gems to Illyana. The fight is over and Illyana is done with her Darkchilde phase. For now.
• Aftermaths happen with everyone going through their own character arc. 'Yana gives Pixie back her soul gems. Karma confronts Illyana about all the lies and mechinations and Illyana rejoins her brother.
The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.
SO much backstory... where to begin... OK, WAY back in Inferno, a bunch of demons tried to open a hole from Limbo to the real world using a group of mutant kids as the conduit. These kids were rescued by the New Mutants and the X-Terminators (who mostly became New Mutants after this story). From there, the Limbo babies were handed over to the government and experimented on back in Limbo under the hands of a guy called Doctor Noc working for a General named Ulysses. While in Limbo, Ulysses' soldiers come across the Bloodstone Amulet which leads to the Limbo military base being overrun by demon armies and the portal home being disconnected.
About twenty years pass for the soldiers and kids before they can return home (in Limbo, time is the first thing to go pear shaped) but they hold onto the Bloodstone Amulet throughout and have a plan for revenge brewing. They steal the X-Man, Pixie, and cut out pieces of her soul to place into the Bloodstone Amulet. When the New Mutants attack, they are easily defeated by the all grown up Limbo Kids. Torture happens. Everyone returns to Limbo except for Karma, Pixie, and Illyana who escape with the help of the Limbo Kid named Face.
Last issue, General Ulysses had one of his Limbo Kids, Toko, leap into a crowd of demon soldiers and summon... the Elder Gods. Danielle Moonstar had her great moment when she escaped. Illyana led the X-Men to the military Limbo gate. Karma entered Legion's brain and released an angry personality...
And now we're free to get going.
Dani hasn't been twiddling her thumbs waiting for the world to end. She rescues Cannonball, Sunspot, and Magma but isn't able to find Cypher. Sam's a few pages back in the plot at this point and he starts throwing out orders so that they can stop General Ulysses before the madman can unleash the Elder Gods. Moonstar breaks the news to him that it's all over. The Elder Gods are out and things are worse than you could imagine. The New Mutants see the Earth sky overhead, indicating that these creatures have broken the gates between dimensions.
Cannonball is ticked. He can't believe that Ulysses went this far. Dani tries to calm him down but he blasts off into the air on a mission of vengeance.
Some of the demons of Limbo have raced in to war against the Elder Gods. In the distance, Magma and Sunspot see Illyana. This isn't the Illyana that has been their teammember during this run of New Mutants. This is Magik BEFORE she time travelled back to save the future. Limbo makes time travel even more confusing. Which is amazing.
In... I guess the original continuity... Magma went out and warned Illyana of how to change things and she was mortally wounded in the journey across the battlefield. This time, knowing what they know, Sunspot won't let her go. She tries to trick him but he knows what she'll do. All he asks is that she take him with her.
General Ulysses unleashed the end of the universe only to realize that maybe that was a bad idea. He takes the Bloodstone Amulet from Toko and tells her to get out of the area. The Elder Gods aren't listening but maybe if he gives back the Amulet, they'll leave the Earth alone. If not "then the whole world will know the horrors we've seen." Everyone rolls their eyes at that.
General Ulysses's men run off as he approaches the Elder Gods with the Amulet. This ends... badly. Ulysses holds up the Bloodstone Amulet but his demands aren't about to be answered. In fact, he's torn apart by the demons and the Amulet is taken.
Back on Earth, the X-Men see the Elder Gods breaking through to their dimension. Cyclops feels a bit helpless. He wants to do something about this but Illyana tells Scott that this ain't something the X-Men can help with. Don't worry, though. Magik has other plans going.
The other Magik is busy fighting demons in Limbo. Magma just has to reach her and tell Illyana what she needs to do the next time around. To makes sure she doesn't get killed his time, Sunspot is going to run in as a blocker. There are far too many demons for him to handle but he doesn't care. In his first appearance, Roberto watched as his girlfriend was killed. This time, he can do something about it so that his current girlfriend has a chance.
Doctor Noc and the rest of Ulysses' army (including many of the Limbo Kids) are taking the rail cars back to the Earth dimension. It seems the only one that realizes what a mess they made of things is Noc. It won't save him. Cannonball bullets right through the rail cars. Explosions follow in his wake.
Danielle Moonstar has caught up to Doug Ramsey. Last issue, the Limbo Kid, Trista, let Doug mess around on a limbo keyboard. She wasn't worried because Cypher was under her control. Turns out it wasn't COMPLETE. The Limbo organ works spells. Cypher took away Trista's mouth, cutting her off from her powers and... probably making it hard for her to eat a cheeseburger. Doug is no longer under her control but it's sort of a twisted way to go about things. Dani is astonished at his casual demeanor.
Sunspot is still fighting demons. This gets Magma to Illyana safely but at the sacrifice of his life.
OK, not really. The present day Magik surprises herself by teleporting the X-Men in to help Sunspot out. It looks like Cyclops and company CAN make a difference even if it's just in a small way.
Now it's time for the next phase of Illyana's plan to see fruition. Legion has arrived with a crazy personality pulling the strings. Inside David Haller's mind, Karma holds a few other errant personality bits together, assuring them that there's a plan that's sure to work.
And Legion? He's here to kill Elder Gods. That's been Magik's plan all along. I mean, all the way back to the beginning of Zeb Well's run on New Mutants. The Elder Gods have been a long term threat and now... they are being dealt with. Permanently.
After the Elder Gods are deleted from existence, Legion takes the Bloodstone Amulet and destroys it. The Soul Gems that powered it are returned to Illyana. The threat is over. When all the smoke clears, Illyana Rasputin has gotten rid of her Darkchilde looks. Legion is sleeping on her lap.
With the crisis averted, everyone returns to the mutant island of Utopia. They also shave and shower. It's been a LONG time since they've been able to do either. Three days pass. Roberto is in the infirmary after his recent bout of bravery. The good news? He gets the girl. Amara. For now. Warlock and Doug look on, wondering what the future holds for everyone.
Danielle Moonstar confronts Sam Guthrie to find out what he did about Doctor Noc and the Limbo Kids. He just silently walks away.
Megan Gwyn (Pixie) has been in the medical center since she was returned last issue. Bits of her soul were used to charge the Bloodstone Amulet. Those pieces are being returned now.
Illyana's, too. It looks like her soul is back in place. I don't think she can ever REALLY return to who she was but she's gonna try, nonetheless.
Leaving the medical ward, Illyana runs into Xi'an Coy Mahn (Karma). She knows what Illyana was up to and how unleashing Legion on the world back in New Mutants #1 is all Rasputin's doing. Karma wonders what HE got out of the deal and Magik responds that "everyone wants to come home." That includes Illyana.
She walks into a room with Colossus sitting down, moping. Illyana tells him that she's herself again. Big hugs.
So is Karma going to turn Illyana in? It doesn't matter. Xi'an isn't the only one to have figured out what Magik was up to.
Fantastic Four #67
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jack Kirby
In this issue:
• Reed Richards duplicates the teleporter used to take Alicia Masters to the Beehive base.
• Alicia and Hamilton brave the dangers of Lock 41 to find... Him.
• We learn that the Beehive scientists are totally evil.
• The FF meet for breakfast. Reed finishes the teleporter. The men go to rescue Alicia.
• Alicia finds Him stuck in a cocoon.
• The Fantastic Men infiltrate the Beehive and beat up a lot of guards.
• Hamilton is killed as Him breaks out of his cocoon. Him protects Alicia because she's aligned good.
• Alicia is rescued by the Fantastic Dudes. They make their way to the exit.
• The Beehive scientists and the rest of the Beehive minions are killed as Him leaves the Earth for a million years. The newly born super-human doesn't regret it.
October 1967! Avengers #45, X-Men #37, Amazing Spider-Man #53, Daredevil #33, and Thor #145 hit the stands. In Fantastic Four, Adam Warlock showed up for the first time after being heavily alluded to the previous issue. At the time, all he was called was "Him."
Since we've thus far skipped FF #66 in our Super Reading (and I see no reason to change that), here's a brief synopsis of what you missed. Alicia Masters was picked up by a dude called Hamilton in her own locked apartment and the two teleported to who-knows-where to meet up with some other presumably benevolent science dudes. In the name of peace, love, and rock & roll, these scientists have created the perfect man through genetics. Unfortunately, the perfect man is out of control with powers and they can't get a good look at Him, what with the blinding rays shooting all over the place. To figure out just what they've done, they've brought the blind sculptor in to carve what this guy's face looks like. Then they'll know what they plan on killing? These scientist aren't really thinking logically.
In another corner of the Marvel Universe, Alicia is missed by the Fantastic Four. Reed makes a machine that can pick up old heat patterns and display perfect color representations of the past. With it, they find out what happened to Alicia as best you can with no sound. Reed sees that Hamilton used a wrist device to teleport and begins work reverse engineering the device from... I guess... the same heat patterns. Mr. Fantastic might just be making stuff up.
At least it isn't a helmet.
And that's where this issue starts out. Mr. Fantastic is still making this teleporting bracelet with the Thing looming over him the entire time. I think Ben is here mostly because it concerns Alicia and Reed wants the big lug to understand that Richards is doing something. Grimm seems lost in the comic book science but he's not STUPID so he knows that whatever Mr. Fantastic is doing, it'll help Alicia. He just wishes it was done QUICKER.
Continuity Alert: Actually, this is more of a Shared Universe Alert. Some of the components of this bracelet are miniaturized bits that Reed orders from Tony Stark. It's amazing how many times Tony's name appears in Silver Age books.
Alicia Masters doesn't even know she's in danger. Well, she knows there's the threat of this perfect man and the scientist, Jerome Hamilton, has even declared himself her escort as they enter Lock 41 and search out Him. She just doesn't know that not leaving the FF a note of where she was going would cause such a stir. As Alicia and Hamilton get closer, Him fires off a few warning blasts to keep them away.
Hamilton freaks out and starts firing wildly in Him's direction but the weapon fire is just reversed and sent back towards them. This isn't the first incredibly powered individual that Alicia has dealt with over the years. She's the one that got the Silver Surfer to switch sides during the Galactus Saga. Alicia thinks if she could just get close enough to communicate with this new being, everything would be all right.
Him seems to agree. While he uses his vast abilities to ensnare Hamilton, the future Adam Warlock opens up the path to admit the sculptor.
Outside Lock 41, the rest of the scientific quartet watch Hamilton and Alicia's progress. It is only then that they reveal that they are the bad guys of this piece. Maris Morlak, Wladyslav Shinski, and Carlo Zota (along with Jerome Hamilton who is inside Lock 41) conspired to rule the world by creating a super powerful race of men that only they could control. The trouble with a plan like that is that they actually need to do some controlling. That isn't the case with Him.
They're plans are all running out of control. If Alicia can show them what they face, maybe they'd stand a chance (for some reason). Shinski has a plan to jettison all of Lock 41 into space if things keep spiralling downward. After that, they try, try again.
To counter such a bleak group of super-scientists, we return to the Baxter Building where the FF family is engaging in a hot meal. Johnny and Crystal have one of the traditional lover's spats that happens pretty much every issue (I guess to show how in love they are) and then they kiss while the Torch has a mouthful of toast. Ben and Sue join them and pretend to not be bothered by the PDA.
The Thing is so worried about his girlfriend that he can hardly scarf down eight of Sue's pancakes. No worries. Before he's finished forcing down his breakfast, Reed appears. Mr. Fantastic has nearly finished constructing the teleporting wrist band. Before they head off on a rescue mission, Richards sits down for a quick bite to eat. The scientist has been up for two days without eating. He probably deserves a nibble.
In Lock 41, Alicia gets closer and closer to Him. At this point, the future Adam Warlock begins a conversation with Alicia about how she's the only good person in this whole structure. He can sense the evil of the scientists and their minions.
After Him directs the blind lady to him, Masters realizes that Him isn't in a position to walk around. He is encased in a cocoon. While incredibly powerful, Him is also very vulnerable as he's preparing to emerge.
Adam Warlock will become no stranger to this cocoon. When injured or just in the mood for a vacation, Warlock would return to a cocoon to heal or rest.
Back at the Baxter Building, some finishing touches are made to the teleporting wristband and our team of heroes prepares for their rescue mission. Well, some of them do.
I guess this is a no girls allowed mission.
As soon as Reed, Ben, and Johnny teleport away, Sue starts freaking out, wondering where they've gone. Maybe there's a reason she was left behind...
Crystal holds it together much better. She's been teleporting with a giant dog since she could walk.
The heroes appear at the Citadel of Science inside the scientist's gigantic Beehive. For a moment, you might think that the scientists are members of AIM. Put it from your mind. These guys have their own agenda and don't plan on splitting power any further.
Mr. Fantastic, Torch, and Ben quickly take care of the guards before they can raise an alarm.
It looks like Him is to the point where he can no longer keep Hamilton out. When Jerome sees the cocoon, he's even more concerned. This super-being it going to break out of that state and nothing in the world can stop him after that. Hamilton aims his gun but it's too late. Him starts being born.
Meanwhile, the male members of the FF have hitched a ride on one of the Beehive transports and forced one of the minions to bring them directly to the entrance for Lock 41. The Thing busts off the door and the team is off.
Him's birth is filled with explosive energy. While the super powerful being protects Alicia from the spillover, he doesn't care as much for Hamilton, having declared the man evil. Jerome thinks it's just as well. The man was filled with too much guilt at the end. He dies with a sense of peace.
Thing, Mr. Fantastic, and the Human Torch show up and take Alicia out of the tunnels before Him can be fully born. By this point, Lock 41 is coming apart. The FF wonder why no one else is trying to teleport out and figure correctly that the Beehive possesses only one teleport device and only the leaders have it. Well, no time to worry about that now. They teleport away to safety.
In their control chamber, the three remaining scientists watch as the heroes escape with a complete lack of concern. They don't really care about the Fantastic Four. The trio is more worried about Him. Since the experiment is a wash, Shinski attempts to blast Lock 41 into space but the controls don't respond. Him has already dealt with that threat.
Him strides into the room as machinery crumbles around the scientists. He tells them how evil they are and how the world isn't ready for him. Maybe they will be in a million years. He's going to leave the planet until them. The problem is his departure will tear this base apart, killing all inside. He isn't particularly bothered by that though and leaves. The Beehive explodes.
Of course, this is comics and a simple death would be a waste of time! All three of the remaining scientists survive their doom to scheme again. Only Jerome Hamilton is killed. Well, him and a whole lot of Beehive minions.
Him didn't actually stay away for a million years. While his body was more developed than anyone else on the planet, his mind was another matter. Sure, he looked like an adult but his morality was on the shaky side of things. He was a minor nuisance until the High Evolutionary gave him his Soulgem and made him the champion of Counter-Earth. Adam Warlock would remain a space hero for most of his existance, dealing with matters away from Earth rather than getting involved in the minor squabbles of his birthworld. So maybe that million years thing is more accurate than I gave it credit...
Well, anyway, Adam Warlock kept himself busy in the last few years as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. When a break in time and space caused a Fault to expand, threatening to consume the entire universe, Adam Warlock used his abilities to graft the Marvel reality to a future where the Fault ceased it's expansion. Unfortunately, this reality was the one that would eventually lead to him become an evil universe conqueror named Magus. "Eventually" became "immediately" and he turned into a threat to the universe he had just saved. Adam Magus was killed by his ally, Lord Mar-Vell, at the beginning of the Thanos Imperative.
We'll see if Adam Warlock again finds his way back to life through those life saving cocoons...
And that is that, my good people. We're done with the Heroic Age and moving on into the fine world of Fear Itself, already in progress. One last time, I'd like to thank bkthomson for all of his help getting me the comics I needed to finally close up this gap. Thanks also go out to sdsichero who also helped supply the comics I needed to keep this thing going. It's probably not the last time you'll see their names in a thank you section. ;)
What are you waiting for? There's Fear Itself stuff to read! See you then and Excelsior!
Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX