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Super Reads 144

Cry Havok!!! Or just cry.  Either way.

Fear Itself keeps rolling along.

Today, we check out Secret Avengers #13, Iron Man 2.0 #5, and Blast to the Past for X-Men #'s 54-56.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


Super Reads 144

This week is all about Outhouse hero, Nick Spencer.

Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Heroic Age and beyond?  Check no further than this link right HERE.

And now the defense of Washington!

Secret Avengers #13Secret Avengers #13
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Scot Eaton

In this issue:

• Blitzkrieg USA, baby!  Nazi mechs all over Washington D.C. and no Avenger anywhere in sight...

• Unless you're talking SECRET Avengers, then we've got War Machine, Ant-Man, and Beast leaping into action from their helicarrier.

• Beast gets called in to rescue the last remaining United States Representative: Leonard Gary from Mississippi.

• Representative Gary is very pro-Civil Rights and marched with Martin Luthor King Jr.  He refuses to give up the floor because no one closed proceedings.  He has a bill that he wants passed but mostly, he wants to give America hope.

• American History comes alive and starts kicking Nazi butt.  Henry asks Lenny how he's been hiding his mutant abilities.  Gary admits his powers without admitting to anything.

• Beast makes sure the cameras set on Congress are running and Representative Leonard Gary recites the Gettysburg Address on camera before the Capital Dome blows up.

• Nothing inspires the nation like dying on national television.

In Fear Itself #2, Washington is besieged by Nazi Mechs led by Skadi, the Red Skull.  Also known as Sin.  Names are difficult.  While that issue implied that no one was able to respond, it actually only meant that IMMEDIATE response wasn't happening.  The bulk of the Avengers are all over the map, trying to keep people calm, cool, and collected while tracking down all of the objects falling from the sky and empowering people with god-like abilities.

So responding the an attack on the US capital is staggered at best.  Fortunately, there's already a military presence on the ground when the first Avengers hit the streets.  These are the Secret Avengers who aren't actually that secret after issue #12.1.  It's not even the bulk of the team.  Ant-Man, War Machine, and Beast are the first to arrive and that's mostly because they weren't called out onto any other hot spots.  From what O'Grady (Ant-Man) says, the trio were just hanging out on the Quincarrier.

If you didn't get the impression from Fear Itself #2, things in Washington D.C. are BAD.  Even though the Nazi Mechs look like they were built a couple decades ago, what they lack in sophistication they make up for in sheer firepower and numbers.  The three Avengers go straight to work.

Beast, of course, races in to rescue the first cute girl he sees.  While he's trying to get her digits, she gets his name and remembers that there are people looking for Henry McCoy.  A Major Stephenson is specifically looking for everyone's favorite bouncing Beast.  While Hank thinks his time would be best served on the field in such an emergency, he reluctantly meets up with the Major.

Major Stephenson has a lot on his plate right now but his mission for the Beast is near the top of his priorities.  When the US capital was attacked, all government officials were evacuated ASAP.  They all went as quickly as they possibly could except for one lone Congressional Representative who refused to leave the House floor.  Hank doesn't seem to know why HE was brought in for this when a couple soldiers could easily drag a Representative out of the Capital Building.

Major Stephenson gives him the name and tells Hank that the Rep asked for Beast by name.  It's one of Mississippi's Representatives, Leonard Gary.  Hank recognizes the name and races off to meet the "Lenny."

When Beast gets there, there's a warm greeting between the two men.  It seems that Representative Gary was key in blocking anti-mutant legislation sent over from the Senate (by Senator Robert Kelly, no less).  Gary was part of the Civil Rights movement and has been fighting the good fight ever since.  In his heart, he always wanted to go back to being a history teacher but his work here was always more important.

All of that is well and good but Hank wants to get his friend out of here.  That's going to be a problem because Lenny isn't going anywhere.  It seems that no one closed Congressional proceedings so according to Gary, no one has ACTUALLY left.  More to the point, Leonard still has the floor and he won't give it up.

Out on the streets of Washington, War Machine and Ant-Man are still fighting Nazi Mechs while soldiers get residents to safety.  The fight is going badly.  One big explosion knocks both heroes for a loop right next to the Lincoln Memorial.

Back on the House floor, Representative Gary explains that he's on the floor to fight for a bill that will ensure the health check-ups for some miners in West Virginia.  It's a noble cause and he knows that when Congress is reconvened, he won't get a chance on the floor again.  If this all seems pointless, that's because the bill isn't going to be passed just because he stays on the floor.  No one's there for a vote.  It's a noble cause, sure, but there's more to Leonard remaining in this building than just that.

As Gary tells Beast about his dream to go back to teaching and "bringin' history to life" for his students, the Capital Dome gets rocked by another attack.  It won't be long until it collapses.  Hank again pleads for his friend to leave, again, Leonard Gary refuses to leave.  He says he isn't worried because Washington D.C. can fend for itself.

While he's talking, American History starts coming alive all over the capital.  For example, the statue at Lincoln Memorial gets out of it's chair and starts doing some damage.

That's right!  It symbolized how awesome it would be if a giant stone Lincoln fought Nazi Mechs.

It looks like War Machine and Ant-Man just got a reprieve.

Dinosaurs leave the Smithsonian and lay waste to more Nazi Mechs.  Native Americans from the past charge into battle.  The skies are filled with war planes from every era.  George Washington himself walks out on the the street to take charge of an army made up of soldiers from every war that the United States has ever fought.

It's damn impressive.

Beast asks the Representative what this is all about and finally gets the truth of the matter.  Gary wants to show the nation that government is running like normal even in a crisis like this.  He wants to inspire the people.  All he needs are the cameras running.  There are already cameras in the House of Representatives but none of them are getting live feed out after the capital was attacked.  He wants Beast to get them working again so he lead the people with his example.

Hank agrees but only if Leonard tells him when the Representative first manifested his powers.  All that history outside is obviously coming from the Mississippi man.  Gary doesn't admit to anything but implies that if someone had the power to alter reality like this, it'd be his responsibility to use that power.  Hank theorizes that Gary got his hands on a power dampener that allowed him to escape detection.  We all know what's what but Gary doesn't admit to anything.  He's certainly got that politics thing down. ;)

With Sharon Carter's help, Beast rigs the camera for a live feed on every network they can think of.  Now, it's all down to the Representative from Mississippi.

Leonard starts with his bill proposal but that doesn't feel right for this moment.  Instead he gives everyone a history lesson about his family and his neighborhood.  It was a bad time but his mother would comfort him by reading the young Lenny speeches from Abraham Lincoln.  Leonard Gary learned the Gettysburg Address by heart and decides the best thing he can do right now it recite it.

As Leonard finishes off the Address, the soldiers that he summoned up from his mind start disappearing.  Abraham Lincoln sits back down.  People are still dying.  Washington D.C. is still in trouble but that's all Gary can do.

And then, the Capital Dome is shattered.  In a blaze of fire, the cameras die.  So does a certain Representative from Mississippi.

Again, nothing will inspire the nation more than a Congressional Rep dying on live television.  Nothing about that would freak people out.


Iron Man 2.0 #5Iron Man 2.0 #5
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

In this issue:

• Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, lives in the city of Hell and loves it.  He claims anything hs wants and gets to beat up demons.  It's good times.

• One of the hammers falls from the sky, breaking open the gates of Hell.  Sun Wukong doesn't care too much about leaving but he does think the hammer would make a nice trophy.

• In Washington D.C., the battle is going even worse than before.  War Machine takes a moment to take it all in.

• Prince of Orphans has arrived but he senses the gates of Hell opening and as one of the Immortal Weapons, he's obligated to teleport to the city and close them again.  War Machine goes with but for reasons no one knows.

• In Beijing, China, Iron Fist sees the hellish sky open up on a devastated city.  In front of him are Titania (with her new hammer), and the Absorbing Man.

War Machine has had so many series now that he can't even use his actual super-hero name in the title anymore.  "Iron Man 2.0" is the latest series starring Jim Rhodes and it introduces yet another variation on the classic War Machine armor.  Hopefully, this series will stick around for a while because Rhodey really deserves his own book.  Since we have two Spencer-penned comics and both feature the grey armored Avenger, there is naturally some crossover going on.

Not that you need both books, though.  It's not like anything in the book will enhance Secret Avengers.  This actually happens AFTER that comic, however.  The Capital Dome in Washington D.C. has been shattered and the city is in pretty bad shape.  We'll follow Jim Rhodes as he reacts to all of that.

But first we're going to visit another city entirely.  If you're a fan of the Immortal Iron Fist series from a few years ago, you'll remember that Danny Rand's adopted city of K'un L'un is but one of seven immortal cities and they each have a champion.  THIS city is not any of those.  This is the OTHER city: some would call it Hell.

This place is just like you'd imagine it.  Sinners get beat by demons.  There are gladitorial competitions where death is the name of the game.  Really, it's just like Detroit.

No, I'm just kidding, Super Readers!

This place has a stronger economy than Detroit.

But enough of my scathing social commentary!  Let's meet the most interesting person in Hell: Sun Wukong.  He's the only dude enjoying his stay in the city of eternal punishment.  When a group of demons harrass him for stealing the gladiatorial victor's feast, Sun Wukong leaps from his wall hangout and just starts beating them up with a vengeance.  All the while, he's claims that after all the things he's stolen from actual gods and the like, he couldn't steal from a demon.  What he takes is already his.  By right.

Sun Wukong is the Monkey King and he's not a guy you want to mess with.  At least... not if you're a demon in Hell.

The gates of Hell can only be opened from the outside.  They're about to be opened now by one of the hammers of the Serpent.  Remember in Invincible Iron Man #504 when it showed a hammer striking the K'un L'un mountain range?  This is that hammer.  It crashes the gates open, landing within the city.  Sun Wukong sees the object and claims it for his own.  The Monkey King reaches out to claim his prize.

OK.  Now we know where we're going to end up.  How do we get our star character (that would be War Machine, people), a man who has nothing really to do with the seven mystical cities, to the broken gates of Hell?  Read on!

Like I said, this issue takes place after Secret Avengers #13 and it continues the terror that has struck the United States Capital.  The Capital Dome has been broken and the city is in flames.  Jim Rhodes was one of the first Avengers on the scene and that means he's been fighting long and hard and is overwhelmed by the devastation.  After pausing for a brief moment to view the damage, Rhodey gets right back to work.

The rest of the Secret Avengers have gathered together.  Ant-Man was always by Jim's side but Beast has finished his job in Secret Avengers (which basically amounted to assisted suicide) and has rejoined his teammates.  Another member of this Avengers squad has shown up, the Prince of Orphans.  Right now, that is all that has gathered of the world's heroes and it is not enough to stem the tide of battle.

The Prince of Orphans, John Aman, is one of the Immortal Weapons from the Heavenly City of Z'Gambo.  When the gates of Hell are blown wide open, John FEELS it happening.  In fact, he and the other Immortal Weapons have a pact that if such a thing happens, they'll head right to the city and reclose the gates.  The PoO explains this to War Machine.  Added to this is that IF the gates aren't closed, things become much, much worse.

If you don't miss the gattling gun, then you lose one of your man cards.

John Aman has every intention of teleporting to the eighth city alone but for some reason, Jim Rhodes is brought along for the ride.  That leaves Washington D.C. with even less super-hero defenders but the Prince of Orphans is right when he claims that this battle is much more important.  You can't have demons overrunning the populace along with everything else going on.

This won't just be War Machine and the Prince of Orphans, though, the rest of the Immortal Weapons will be arriving shortly.  Among them will be the Avenger we all know and love: Iron Fist.

In fact, let's check in on Danny Rand right now.  For some reason, Iron Fist is in Beijing, China.  This city looks just as bad as Washington D.C. and our hero has that same mystified demeanor about him that War Machine did when the Capital Dome was smashed.  It looks like the Immortal Iron Fist is also in the middle of a ten second breather.

But then we get a look at what Rand is looking at.  Before him is the Worthy formally known as Titania who now answers to Skirn: Breaker of Men.  She's brought along with her the Absorbing Man, her boyfriend, who is here to get his hands on his very own hammer.

Behind them is a swirling, flaming portal spewing out demons.  Something tells me that's the broken gate to Hell.

In the next scene, it looks like Skirn and Crusher Creel have made the journey into the eighth city and are scouting around for a hammer.  Over by the hammer itself, the Monkey King stares at his possession but doesn't look like he can lift it.


X-Men #54X-Men #54
Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciler: Don Heck

In this issue:

• Cyclops wakes up and is accused... of murder!

• We flashback to introduce Scott's brother, Alex, who is graduating from Landon College.  It takes the younger Summers brother about ten seconds to get kidnapped by guys dressed up as ancient Egyptian super-villains.

• They bring him before the Living Pharoah.  He explains that all the old pharoahs were mutants, just like himself and Alex.

• The X-Men attack and after a few pages of fighting, the Egyptian villains run off.

• Most of the X-Men take off.  Scott and Alex stick around and talk.  This sets them up for a fall when the Living Pharoah returns and takes them down in a surprise attack.

• Cyclops wakes up and is called a murderer because the Living Pharoah is dead right next to him.  Scott escapes and tries to track down his missing brother.

• Cyke's search leads him into some underground tunnels where he runs into... the still Living Pharoah!

March 1969!  The same month that brought us the Amazing Spider-Man #70, Avengers #62, Captain America #111, Fantastic Four #84, Incredible Hulk #113, and Iron Man #11 saw the first appearance of the mutant, Alex Summers!  The younger brother of Cyclops, Alex has made a name for himself in the X-Universe as the man called Havok.  This is his first appearance:

Which starts with Cyclops being accused of murder!  It's true!  The X-Men leader has just woken up from an unexpected nap and the two policemen who woke him start straight up with the murder talk.

Scott Summers is still groggy and isn't completely clear on what is going on.  The only answer for it is... a flashback!

It's a beautiful sunny day at Landon College where Cyclops lets his fellow X-Men in on one of his greatest secrets:  He's got a younger brother!  This probably surprised more than his teammates because all the readers knew about Scott previously was that he was an orphan unlucky enough to run into a mutant villain who could turn himself into diamond form before Xavier made Scott the first X-Men.

Interestingly enough, Summers now regularly makes out with an ex-villain who can change herself into a diamond form.  History can be funny.

Anyway, Scott's brother, Alex, hasn't shown any overt mutant abilities but Cyclops credits Alex's athletic successes to the mutant gene.  Even so, Scott is happier to see that his brother's grades are 3rd in the graduating class.  That's right.  This is Landon College's graduation day and all of the X-Men have shown up to share in Cyclops' brother's celebration.

When all the diplomas are handed out, the leader of the X-Men introduces the rest of the team to Alex, without letting on that everyone around is an X-Man.

SUDDEN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CRAZY!

The team invites the younger Summers out for a beer but it isn't meant to be.  When Alex enters his room to change, the craziest events in his life (at least thus far) unfold.  Within moments, two villains wearing ancient Egyptian clothes kidnap him.

Yep.  It's going to be that kind of day.

The X-Men wait patiently for about sixty seconds before they burst into Alex's room and find that he's been kidnaped.  To track down the culprits, Jean Grey uses her telepathic abilities to scrub the room for the latest brain patterns.

But before the X-Men race to the rescue, we slip ahead of them, right to Alex's current location.  His Egyptian themed kidnappers have brought him straight to their master, Ahmet Abdol, the Living Pharoah!  In his native Egypt, Abdol is the leading archeologist but I doubt many of his theories would be backed by any scientific evidence.

For example: he claims that all of the Pharoahs of Egypt were, in fact, mutants.  It's probably his attempt to claim the title of Pharoah more than anything else since he himself is a member of the X-Gene club.

So why has he ordered Alex Summers to be kidnaped and brought before him?  It's because these two have polar opposite powers.  When one's mutant abiltities are strong, the other's is weak.  It appears that Alex's unknown powers are now getting stronger and so he must be killed!

But not today.  The X-Men are here and they are most definitely to the rescue.  Cyclops blasts the killing blade out of the Living Pharoah's hands, saving his brother's life.  After that, it's page after page of fighting.  During the battle, the Living Pharoah fires blasts of energy out of his hands that he claims are magic instead of his mutant abilities.  Actually, everything Abdol does, he blames on magic.  Iceman keeps correcting him.

The other fun thing about this fight is that the moment the Living Pharoah is on the ropes, he summons reinforcements.  They jump right out of mummy caskets, like their only purpose was to wait inside for exactly this reason.  I guess any way you can make just above minimum wage, right?

None of these new troops do a lick of good though they do manage to spear one of Angel's wings to the wall for a moment.  The Pharoah pits his own power against that of Cyclops and even appears to be winning that challenge until Marvel Girl steps in to back the X-Men leader up.

Realizing that he's about to be defeated, Abdol puts up a wall of solid sound to cover the escape of himself and his men.  The mutant heroes can't penetrate the field and can only watch as the villains get away.

On the plus side, Alex Summers has been rescued.  The downside to that is that Scott reveals his secret identity while freeing his brother.

Now, this is where things get... stupid.  Yes, worse than Egyptian themed villains.  That's just good Silver Age comics, there.  Realizing that Scott and Alex have some things they need to talk about, the rest of the X-Men leave the two alone in the Living Pharoah's secret headquarters.  They don't all get out of there and have the brothers talk in a secured location.  No, this all happens right in the lion's den moments after scaring off the lion.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that Scott's talk with Alex is interrupted by a returning Living Pharoah who sneak attacks with a device that drops both Summers brothers unconcious.  Brilliant.

This'll bring us right back to the beginning of the story where Cyclops wakes up to find two policemen accusing him of murder.  So... who did he kill?

The Living Pharoah.  The villain's body is lying motionless on the ground.  One of the cops gets some anti-mutant sentiments off his chest before the X-Men leader mops the floor with both officers of the law.  You see, Scott knows he didn't kill Abdol but believes that his brother, being the only person unaccounted for, must have done the deed in self-defense.  His priority is to find Alex, any way this went down.

Unfortunately, Cyclops' actions have made him a wanted man.  The rest of the X-Men listen on the radio as reports come in about their leader being wanted for murder and assaulting two policemen.  A special task force is assigned with the specific mission to hunt down the man known as Cyclops.

But they aren't likely to find him.  Cyclops found some secret tunnels beneath the Living Pharoah's headquarters and is searching through them, looking for some sign of his missing brother.

Instead, he finds the still Living Pharoah.


X-Men #55X-Men #55
Writer: Roy Thomas
Layouts/ Penciler: Don Heck/ Werner Roth

In this story:

• Cyclops confronts the Living Pharoah.

• When Marvel Girl reaches out to telepathically locate Scott Summers, the leader of the X-Men is put on the ropes and eventually taken prisoner.

• Pharoah and his men take Scott and Alex back to Egypt.  The X-Men attempt a rescue but their airship is grounded.

• In an Egyptian Pyramid, Cyclops and his brother are put into a water death trap.  After freeing Alex, Scott and his brother escape off panel.

• The X-Men arrive for the big escape fight but no one bothers to explain HOW they got to Egypt after their airship was grounded.

• During the battle, Alex displays his mutant powers for the first time.  The Living Pharoah's men escape.

It seems like only minutes ago that the leader of the X-Men was accused of killing the mad villain calling himself the Living Pharoah.  You can just imagine how stuffed Scott Summers is when he finds the Pharoah very much alive in the tunnels below the villain's headquarters.

Why did the Living Pharoah fake his own death?  How?  Ahmet Abdol claims that he did it so that Cyclops would serve him but it's a flimsy excuse.  We can imagine that the Egyptian super-villain used some ancient recipe to bring on a state much like death (or the policemen really suck at checking his body for signs of life).  All we can do is guess how the Living Pharoah got out of the morgue or wherever he was when he awoke.

So he wants Cyclops to join him?  Fat chance.  That's not what heroes do... at least not in the sixties.  Heroes fight!  Of course, Scott is conflicted because he's looking for his brother and thinks that the Living Pharoah is his best lead.  He's correct.  That means Summers is holding back from any knock out maneuvers.

Their fight also shows some resistance to the other's power.  Whather this was intentional (Scott and Alex are immune to each other's powers and Abdol has similar abilities to Alex) or thrown in to show how tough your average mutants are is up for grabs.

Meanwhile, the police are still busy searching for their presumed murderer.  This one panel is basically here so there's no doubt that the body of the Living Pharoah that the policemen had found WAS Abdol's body and WASN'T dead.  They mention that the body has disappeared.

The rest of the X-Men are busy tracking down their leader.  Aboard the team's flying ship, Marvel Girl reaches out with her telepathic powers to locate the first X-Man.

Unfortunately, this telepathic incursion distracts Cyclops from his fight.

Scott's next move is to have his fist slip right into the Living Pharoah's face.

This puts Cyclops at a disadvantage for a moment but Scott rallies like a champ.  In the end, the Living Pharoah has to club the X-Men with his anhk.  When Cyke is unconscious, Jean loses her mental contact and fears the worst.

So, about Alex... he was most likely taken captive when both brothers were hit by that hypnotic eyes of the sphinx last issue (when the Living Pharoah surprised them in his own abandoned headquarters).  The younger Summers has been stuck inside a fancy mummy casket this whole time.  With the fight over, Abdol's minions carry their two prisoners away.

Instead of killing the two here and now, the Living Pharoah has decided to honor the two mutants with a death on Egyptian soil.  Abdol has no trouble sneaking Scott and Alex past customs.  Since the super-villain has chartered an entire passenger jet for the trip home, the Pharoah is able to release Cyclops as soon as they're airborn.

All the better to gloat, right?

This is the part of the story where the villain puts something over Cyclops' head to prevent those optic blasts from blasting.  While this is usually ineffective, Ahmet Abdol has actually thought this through more than most X-Men villains.  The stylized hood covering Scott's head has stuck to Cyke's headgear, preventing the X-Man from raising the visor and unleashing concussion fury.

The Living Pharoah leaves the helpless mutant alone in storage.  Well, maybe not so alone.  Scott soon locates his brother in the ancient casket.

With Cyclops awake again, a relieved Marvel Girl is able to pick up his trail once more.  The X-Men's airship catches up to the giant passenger jet but isn't destined to overtake it.  One of the Pharoah's men pokes his head out of the plane and fires a debilitating blast at the X-Men's craft, maing the whole thing a flying brick, heading down into the ocean below.  The super-hero team is able to save themselves but their ship isn't going anywhere.

Whereas the Living Pharoah and his crew are headed to a pyramid in Egypt!  It is now time to kill Cyclops and Alex.  The two are deposited into a death trap, slowly filling with water, and left for dead.  That always works, right?

Oh yeah, it doesn't.  Scott locates his brother, still trapped inside the mummy casket, and head butts the thing open.  Alex somehow gets the adhesive hood off of Cyclops and then the two escape the trap.  I can't tell you how they manage that because it happens off panel.

The next thing we know, Scott and Alex are duking it out with the Living Pharoah's men outside the temple.  Still inside, Ahmet thinks his plan is still working and is waiting for the moment of Alex Summers' death when news reaches him that things have gone well off the rails.  Abdol enters the fight just in time to be lifted off the ground by Angel.

That's right.  The X-Men have arrived though exactly how they got here is left an open question.  I'll lay money on Beast jerry-rigging their airship since it'll show up next issue.

Anyway, Angel deposits the super-villain on the top of a pyramid and swoops down to help his comrades.  Warren thinks the fight agaisnt the Living Pharoah was way too easy.  When the X-Men faced Abdol last issue, the evil mutant had hand blasts and lots of other tricks up his sleeve.  Now, the Living Pharoah seems weaker for some reason.

The rest of the fight is pretty much just the X-Men swatting down minions.  Of note is Scott thinking about how glad he is that his brother doesn't have mutant powers.  Of course, he thinks this seconds before Alex fires beams out of his hands, destroying the Living Pharoah's energy blasting ahnk.

It's such a powerful blast that Abdol plummets off his perch atop the pyramid.  Angel saves the man just in time.  The Pharoah, realizing that this isn't going to end in his victory, orders his followers into retreat.

This leaves the X-Men (and their prisoner, the Living Pharoah) to wonder about Alex's newfound mutant abilities.


X-Men #56X-Men #56
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Neal Adams

In this story:

• The X-Men, Alex, and the Living Pharoah fly off to find some civilization and probably a cell to lock their prisoner in.  Instead, they find ancient Egyptian ruins which house Abdol's followers.

• In the ensuing battle, the Living Pharoah again kidnaps Alex Summers and escapes with his minions.

• Angel followers Abdol while the rest of the team recovers.  They end up in an identical set of ruins a few miles away.

• Inside, the Living Pharoah explains how he and the younger Summers brother are connected and then seals Alex in a see-through casket that blocks the mutant from absorbing cosmic rays.  It is also airtight so Cyclops' brother is going to suffocate.

• With no one sharing cosmic rays with him, The Living Pharoah begins to grow and decides on a name change.

• The X-Men arrive to fight the newly christened Living Monolith but it's a hopeless battle.

• Inside the ruins, a suffocating Alex Summers taps into the last of his cosmic ray reserves and shatter his prison.  And then the temple.  The Living Monolith shrinks back down to a more defeatable size.

• Alex emerges from the ruins, unable to control his power.

You'd think the whole origin story of Alex Summers would be done with after the last story but it's not.  In fact, it continues after this issue even though this is a good spot to end Alex's first adventure.

You see, the X-Men don't actually know where they're going.  Sure, they've got the Living Pharoah, Ahmet Abdol, as their prisoner and that's good but finding somewhere to turn the super-villain in is proving difficult.  Instead of finding a city, the mutant super-heroes fly their airship right into another ancient Egyptian temple site.  They see traces an archeological dig in progress and hope that whoever's unearthing these buildings will be able to lend them a hand or at least a map.

Unfortunately, it is the Living Pharoah himself that is responsible for this dig site.  His men are hiding inside the temple and strike before Marvel Girl can give the rest of the team a proper warning.  The first blast is set on stun but Cyclops and Beast prove too resilient to knock down with only one blast.  Stott starts firing his optic blasts but is taken out from behind by one of the Egyptians' flying airships.  That is one nasty blow to the back of the head.

Hank McCoy takes the fight from here and manages to take over the enemy's airship for about half a minute.  In that time, the Living Pharoah orders his men to capture Alex Summers and make a quick escape.  Beast is blasted without much ceremony.

They really go all out at this theme park.

Iceman is still trying to wake himself up when the Pharoah and his men take to the air with Alex.  Bobby tries an ice blast but Ahmet counters it with another hand blast.  It looks like his mutant powers are still active.

Now it's Angel's turn to... well, y'know... fly up and get swatted out of the sky by a bunch of missiles.  The aerial X-Man is barely able to recover from a dangerous freefall.

The rest of the X-Man are starting to come to but the last one to wake up is the only one who hasn't seen much action yet.  Marvel Girl.  Right after she opens her eyes, Scott asks Jean to telepathically locate Warren, who hasn't returned yet.  Let me tell you, Neal Adams makes Jean's telepathy come alive.  The X-Men artists that follow Adams (after the series returns in the mid-seventies) will make this telepathic display the norm.

Contact is established with the high flying Angel and we discover that right now he's flying as low as possible.  After being knocked out of the air, Warren Worthington III made a spectacular off panel recovery and kept on following the bad guys at a lower and undetected altitude.  What he finds is that they're heading to a set of ancient ruins that looks identical to the ones near the X-Men.  Angel keeps on doing the spy thing, following the Egyptian villains from a safe distance.

By now, Alex has woken up but he's strapped down in a see-through coffin so it almost doesn't matter.  The Living Pharoah had decided to explain why capturing the younger Summers brother is so gosh darn important that he'd do it three times.

OK, here's the story.  Both Ahmet Abdol and Alex Summers draw their mutant powers from cosmic rays and it looks like there's not enough to go around.  As Alex gets stronger, Ahmet gets weaker.  That simply won't do.  Hence, the transparent casket.  Inside this device, Alex will be cut off from the cosmic rays, leaving them all for the Living Pharoah.  The casket doens't have any air holes or tubes so it'll also kill the young mutant pretty quickly.

This part doesn't bother the Living Pharoah in the slightest.  He drops the cover down and soaks up the maximum amount of cosmic rays.  The extra power makes quite the difference.  Ahmet Abdol begins growing

Warren doesn't like the looks of this at all and flies out of the temple just in time to run into the rest of the X-Men.  Angel wants them to run but there isn't time.  The front door smashes open even wider to allow a giant to exit the building.  This is the former Living Pharoah who chooses a brand new moniker: the Living Monolith.

Dude likes to be alive.

This battle is beyond the X-Men.  That means they aren't going to win.  All they can do is fight a losing battle and for heroes, that's a good way to go out.

The real deciding factor in this fight is all up to Alex Summers.  Sure, he's stuck in a cosmic ray blocking coffin with a limited air supply and sure, he's nearly out of that air but it's still all about him.  Figuring that he's already soaked up enough cosmic rays before being placed in this death trap, Alex releases one hopeful blast.

Outside the temple, the Living Monolith is in mid-monologue before the helpless X-Men when the battle is lost.  His surge of power is taken from him and Ahmet Adbol returns to his normal size and isn't even a threat anymore.  At about the same time, the temple holding Alex Summers collapses.

The X-Men figure no one could survive and start mourning Scott's brother but they're a bit premature with that.  Alex Summers emerges from the wrecked temple but tells everyone to stay away from him.  He has WAY too much energy coursing through him and no way to control it!

This is where our story ends but I can give you a hint at where it goes in the next issue, which also begins the second Sentinels storyline.  Alex runs off into the desert night only to be found by a Sentinel and brought back to Station Alpha, the Sentinels' base run by Larry Trask.  Once there, Alex makes a deal with Trask to spare the life of Lorna Dane and gets a special suit that will control his energy output.  It is Trask who gives him the name Havok.

From there on in, Havok has adventures with the X-Men until the comic goes into reprints.  When the book returns, it's with a mostly new team and Alex leaves with Lorna to explore a life outside of fear and hatred.  That lasts a couple days before the Shi'ar Erik the Red makes Polaris and Havok fight the X-Men for him.  After a while, Alex returns to the X-Men and serves well on the team before entering the Siege Perilous and finding a new life on Genosha as a Magistrate.  When that lie is torn to shreds, Alex stays behind on Genosha to help the island rebuild after the X-Tinction Agenda.

Most people probably know Havok from his time with X-Factor.  This was the government mutant team formed after the defeat of the Shadowking on Muir Island.  It was also the first time Havok was given a leadership role.  Alex was a member off and on until the book was cancelled and replaced by Mutant X.  This book was all about Havok travelling into an alternate universe and leading the greatest heroes on that world: the Six.  After Mutant X was cancelled, Alex was left in comic book limbo until finally returning to the X-Men during Chuck Austen's stint on the book.  Again, Alex took up a leadership role and led a mutant squad all the way through the Mutant Decimation and against a returning Apocalypse.  When Xavier was looking for a few good X-Men to travel into space to stop Alex's recently revealed younger brother, Vulcan, from destroying the Shi'ar Empire, that was a trip Havok wanted to take.

It also left him, Polaris, and Rachel Grey (Marvel Girl) stuck in Shi'ar space with the Starjammers.  Things had gone seriously wrong and Vulcan decided that instead of destroying the Shi'ar, he'd rule them.  Alex and the Starjammers formed a resistance to this rule and even aided the Kree/ Inhumans during the War of Kings.  At the conclusion of that storyline, Havok and the other space X-Men returned to comic limbo.  They've all just returned in the pages of X-Men Legacy.  Hopefully that doesn't mean the book is getting cancelled. ;)

Havok also just got a major boost by being one of the First Class of X-Men in the latest X-Men movie.  If you haven't seen it... well, you're probably not reading this column then.  It's pretty damn good.

That's all we've got folks.  I hope you enjoyed your journey through a couple comics and especially the pretty pictures.

Until next time:  Excelsior!

Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX

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About the Author - SuperginraiX


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

 


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