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Super Reads 148

Written by SuperginraiX on Monday, August 29 2011 and posted in Features
Float like a butterfly, sting like a ray.The Blitzkrieg is a'spreadin!'

Today, we check out Secret Avengers #14, Thunderbolts #159, Iron Man 2.0 #6, and Blast to the Past for Tales to Astonish #95 & Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner #19.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!
Super Reads 148

We're back to the big show.

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

First up... Valkyrie.

Secret Avengers #14Secret Avengers #14
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Scot Eaton

In this issue:

• Hayes and Emmie Stevens make out on a Helicarrier on their way to Blitzkrieg USA!

• In the briefing before combat, the soldiers meet Valkyrie who gives them the worst pep talk of all time.

• As they load up there weapons, Hayes and Stevens seem unconcerned with how badly the fight is going to go.

• In the distant past, Sigmund trains Brunhilde in the art of combat.  There's a battle coming and no one else seems prepared.

• The soldiers touch down in New York City and get to work fighting the Nazi mech suits.  They're pretty chill about the entire thing until Hayes jumps in front of some weapons fire to save Stevens life.

• Back in the distant past, Sigmund does the same thing for Brunhilde, saving her life but losing his own.

• In the present, Stevens won't retreat without her fallen lover.

• In the past, Brunhilde faces the leader of the invading army, Odin.  She won't leave the field of combat without Sigmund's body.

• Odin likes her spirit and makes her the first of his Valkyries, guiding those who die in combat to Valhalla.  Someday, she'll join her lover there.

• In the present, Valkyrie carries Hayes' body off the battlefield with the retreating soldiers.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

You'd think that Valkyrie would have been forced back to Asgard-space with the rest of the gods but it turns out she's still slogging it out on Earth during the events of Fear Itself.  More on her later.  First...

It's makeout time!  Meet out two tragic lovers for this issue.  Hayes is the southern dude.  Stevens is the chick.  They are soldiers working for... the Army?  I couldn't tell you what branch they serve in.  What I CAN tell you is that they are on one of many heli-carriers heading for the combat zone.  Emmie (that's Stevens' first name) is talking about how intense this event is compared to all the other events that have happened in recent memory.  Hayes is a lot more casual about it.  Secret Invasion, yo.  The world has faced dangerous threats before.  They'll do it again.

The two start snogging in earnest before one of Hayes' buddies finds them, acts incensed by this level of affection, and then tells the two to get down on deck for the briefing.

The two are the last to join up but they make it before the Captain starts up his speech.  It looks like Blitzkrieg USA has moved beyond Washington.  In one hour, they pushed through Philadelphia.  Now, I'm not going to pretend that I recognize the architecture in this book but if you connect the dots between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia and then follow along the same path... well, it's leading right up to New York City.  This is where we KNOW the Blitzkrieg is heading so it's probably a sure bet that this little army is going to make their stand right there.

They won't be running in alone, either.  Besides these swanky heli-carriers filling up the skies, Commander Rogers has loaned them Valkyrie.  The Captain asks her to give the soldiers a pep talk and instead, she just tells them that a good majority of them will be dead before the day is through.  Woo!  USA! USA!

If my knowledge of Dani Moonstar is any indication, Val would know who was going to live and who would be dying.  When Dani was a Valkyrie, she could see death above the dead and dying.  Still there were no guarantees.  Free will is a mother.

You'd think with that passioned speech, these soldiers would be in lesser spirits.  Maybe the ones off panel ARE.  Stevens and Hayes, on the other hand, are nonchalant about the whole thing.  Stevens is a little more worried about the upcoming fight but Hayes is the picture of calm.  Another day, another life and death situation.  Besides, they have an Avenger with them.

Hayes isn't expecting Valkyrie to save his life.  Far from it!  What he's really picturing is the Secret Avenger drawing away all the fire.  She's the shiniest target, after all.  Stevens remarks that Val is looking spooked but Hayes comments "this ain't nothing she hasn't seen before."

Oh, the truth in that statement.

Valkyrie is drawn into her own distant past to a place called Wrlstead Arms where she was a princess named Brunhilde in a country facing almost certain annihilation at the hands of an as yet unseen enemy.  She won't be facing it alone.  One of the King's knights, Sigmund, has taken over her training and is desperately preparing her for the final confrontation.

Brunhilde doesn't think that this enemy army will set foot in Wrlstead Arms, which is far from the front of this war.  Recent reports say that her father has already routed the enemy.  The rest of the knights acts as if war will never come... but these are also the knights that the king left behind.  Sigmund claims it's because they aren't fighters.  They are useless in battle.

Blitzkrieg USA, baby!  Yep, we're back in what passes for the present.  Nazi Mech Suits litter the skies, swatting buildings off their foundations.  The soldiers we saw earlier are in the thick of the fight.  Valkyrie is swinging her sword around at the war suits.  It's chaos on unwinnable.

But just say die to these soldiers.  Just try.  Hayes and Stevens are back to back, unloading into the Nazi menaces that have them nearly surrounded.  Stevens gives her lover a save, taking out one of the war suits with some well placed artillery fire.  Moments later, Hayes returns the favor, saving Stevens' life at the cost of his own.  He sees a mech suit preparing to fire on her and jumps in front of the bullets.

In the distant past, the battle has reached Wrlstead Arms just as Sigmund predicted.  The freeloading knights are dying as they try to defend their home.  Sigmund orders a retreat, putting Princess Brunhilde in his care.  You know what you do when you're guarding a princess?  You jump in front of arrows to save her life above your own.

This might be my last BMB makes Hawkeye a killer joke.  RIP, dear joke...

The relationship between Sigmund and Brunhilde was a bit unclear before this moment.  Sure, they had a rapport and were more than casual aquaintances.  This is the first hint that there was possibly more to it that simply a Princess and her bodyguard.  Brunhilde takes the death of Sigmund a lot harder than just a friend.  When he passes, she gives him a tender kiss on the forehead.

The wall explodes.  We see a hand holding a staff charging in.  These invaders are definitely not your normal humans.  Still, you see that look in Brunhilde's eyes.  She shouts out a mild curse at the invader.

In the present, we know exactly what Hayes' and Stevens' relationship was.  They were lovers.  Emmie Stevens takes her lover's death about as well as you could expect.  She clutches his body close and cries.  Sure, it's not the best place for it and it's a move that will get you killed on the battlefield but even the best trained soldier has their moments of weakness.

Besides, Valkyrie is there to makes sure that mech suit doesn't get a second chance to mow Stevens down.  Val slices the thing in two.With that done, the Avenger tries to collect Stevens and remove her from the battlefield.  The soldiers are retreating.

Hayes isn't about to leave Stevens' body on the battlefield.  She just won't leave without him.  Valkyrie tries to reason with her but then has another flashback.

The leader of the invading army that is crushing Wrlstead Arms?  Odin.  The gods are destroying people.  These are Viking gods, all right.  Odin isn't a complete monster, though.  He tells Brunhilde to leave.  His army will finish picking off the menfolk before moving on to the women and children.  "Not a complete monster" but a monster, nonetheless.

Brunhilde refuses.  Just like Stevens in the present, the Princess will not leave her love in this state.  Sigmund deserves a proper burial.

Odin is a bit insulted by this woman who won't just do what he says.  When he sees Brunhilde pull a sword to defend her stance, Odin is impressed.  He tells her to put the weapon away and listen to what he has to say.  She's not a huge fan of this but, well, "god."

The All-Father's actions here aren't exactly clear.  He claims that the people here are not right.  This is more a purge to him than anything else.  Possibly, this is the earlier battle with the Serpent that we haven't seen yet.  It's all purposefully vague.

When he saw Brunhilde's determination to honor the dead, he came to the realization that when this war he's fighting is over, he might want some worshippers.  They'll probably want a heaven.  Brunhilde is given the awesome task to be Odin's first Valkyrie after she agrees that all the dead have to be honored.  He tells her that after the task is finished, she'll be able to join Sigmund in Valhalla.

Brunhilde carries off her love to a proper resting place and becomes Valkyrie.

In the present, Valkyrie finishes her flashback and sees it reflected on this battlefield.  She tells Stevens to carry the dead man out of the combat zone.  When the task proves too much, Val lifts Hayes herself, carrying his body away with the rest of the surviving soldiers following her.

Thunderbolts #159Thunderbolts #159
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Declan Shalvey

In this story:

• The T-Bolts gather up escaping prisoners on the Raft.

• The B-Team unburies a cell with medics inside and is given the mission to find medical supplies... and the entire medical ward which is detachable.

• The Beta Team fights a mutate named Big Roy who is killed by Mr. Hyde.

• After locating the medical ward, Centurius tells them that he can remove the nanites that keep them leashed but that it would be better to choose a better time for the criminals to escape.

• They all need to agree on a course of action.

• The Underbolts return carry the medical ward.  It looks like they'll be biding their time.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

OK.  Heres the pertinent information that you'll need to enjoy this book.

#1. The Raft is the Maximum Maximum Security Prison that holds the nations super-powered criminals.  It's conveniently located just off the coast of New York City so that any escape attempt will endanger the city's population.

#2. The current iteration of the Thunderbolts is based in the Raft.  The team is comprised of prisoners that are either working for good behavior or just doing it to get out of a jail cell during missions.  They get their own tower and everything.  The Director of the team is Luke Cage.  He also leads his own Avengers team so many of the original T-Bolts (Songbird, MACH V, and the Fixer) serve as handlers for the prisoners on the team.  This has worked out surprisingly well.  While a lot of the prisoner Thunderbolts are still unrepentent bad guys, they have done a lot of good.  With it's success brings expansion.  The Thunderbolts has gained a new roster, hazingly called the "Underbolts."  On the team are Centurius, Shocker, Boomerang, and Mr. Hyde.  They are not quite sold on this redemption thing.

#3.  And then comes Fear Itself.  In FI #2, the Thunderbolt, Juggernaut, got his hands on one of the Worthy hammers, turned into the Breaker of Stone, Kuurth, and smashed the prison wide open.  Yep, it's another prison escape.  Juggernaut was the only Thunderbolt not off in a mission in Iraq.  When the T-Bolts return, they've got a job and a half to do.

And now you're ready for four tales of the Thunderbolts.  The first one stars the Beta Team (the Underbolts) but it also features the rest of our cast of characters.  Before the T-Bolts got back from Iraq, the first wave of prisoners made off in any vehicle they could find.  Helicopters, airships, anything they could drive or float off this island is fair game.  Those prisoners have swarmed all over New York and according to Fear Itself: The Home Front #2, it's at least reached Stamford, Connecticut.  Other heroes will deal with those guys (see Avengers Academy #15 and recent Herc issues for example).

What our... um, "heroes" have to do is lock down the remaining prisoners and save lives.  Since Luke Cage is off being an Avenger, it leaves Songbird in charge.  She's already given the team orders and they go about their business like pros.

At least, the Alpha Team does.  Melissa Gold (Songbird) and Moonstone circle the island, assuring any flying prisoners don't get too far. Fixer works on getting containment systems functioning again, including the shield that covers the entire facility.  MACH V and Troll fish inmates who thought swimming through enhanced jellyfish infested waters would be a good idea (Abe remarks that one jellyfist got killed, indicating that a guy like Tiger Shark probably escaped to join in on Nerkkod's action in Fear Itself: The Deep #1).

The dudes that are up in the air make up the Beta Team.  The Underbolts are not working like a well-oiled machine.  When they came back to this chaos last issue, the Betas thought how they had missed a fine opportunity to escape by joining the T-Bolts.  It's not like they can just run off now.  They have nanites in their bodies that can be tracked anywhere in the world.  The nanites can shut them down or even just turn off their powers.

So, instead of running off, they have to do their jobs.  This group was sent to look inside the remains of the Raft for survivors.  Centurius finds life signs and has Mr. Hyde do some heavy lifting so they can get the living free.

When the collapsed wall is removed, an inmate makes a run for it... or actually a FLY for it.  This guys is bright like the Living Laser but Laser escaped last issue and headed right for Stamford.  Another dead giveaway is that Boomerang takes this guy down with a boomerang.  There's no way Laser would go out that way because he's not solid enough to be hurt that way.  The Living Laser is an energy being.  So this guy, who looks like the Living Laser, is definitely some other dude.  Let me look this up...

Well, it seems like most people think this dude is the Laser but since it doesn't fit the Fear Itself continuity and Jeff Parker is too good a writer to have the Living Laser taken out by a boomerang, I'm just going to say this is some other dude that looks a LOT like the Laser.  I also don't know the Living Laser to sparkle so much.  So... Super's official theory is that this is a Red Shirt.  Unnamed and really unimportant.  Probably not worth two paragraphs... <_<

Anyway, after dealing with the philosophical issues of who that dude is, the Beta Team wades through rubble, debris, and injured inmates until they uncover a makeshift hospital.  The medical ward is elsewhere but the doctors have been doing things as best they can.  One of the medical personnel tells an incoming Songbird that the medical ward should have survived this devastation.  It's internally powered and was built to separate from the Raft during a crisis.  Because the first thing you want to do when bad stuff happens is get rid of your hospital.

The Beta Team is sent off to find this medical ward.  On the way, the Underbolts talk about how they're already out doing things without anyone watching them.  Centurius never thought their chance to escape would come this soon.  He's almost amused that he was even let on the team, thinking the T-Bolts thought they could reform him just like they had the Ghost.  Centurius isn't the same deal since he's a third-rate Dr. Doom rather than a first-rate industrial sabateur.

This musing is broken when the team runs into their second unknown inmate of the day.  This one doesn't resemble anyone else in the MU.  His name is Big Roy, a mutate prisoner who you really don't need to know anything else about for reasons that'll be revealed shortly.

Shocker would probably make better money doing massages.

Even thought the Shocker's powers aren't effective, Mr. Hyde's are.  Hyde crushes Big Roy's face and snaps his neck, killing the mutate.  Everyone agrees that Roy was killed when the prison collapsed.

Man, who thought putting Mister Hyde on the team was a good idea?

From there, it's just a hop, skip, and jump until the Beta Team finds the medical ward.  It's buried underneath more wreckage which is taken care of by the Shocker who probably needs to prove he can do SOMETHING at this point.  When a section of the roof collapses around them, Centurius puts up a forcefield to protect the team.

And here's where it gets interesting.  They're left unattended in a medical center... the same place that their nanites were installed.  With a smart guy like Centurius involved, they should be able to remove those nanites and skip town.

Centurius has other ideas.  This is a bad time to plan an escape.  They don't know what's going on in the world right now and it's quite possible that the T-Bolts or some other super-team will be on them the instant they make their getaway.  There's a possiblity that Fear Itself could be distracting everyone but the Thunderbolts would be right on their tails no matter what the world situation.  It doesn't help that none of them is up to their A-game yet.  No, not even Hyde.  He could always be more murderous.

So the plan is that they deactivate the nanites and make it seem like they're still working.  They'll bide their time until they're out on the field with only one or two handlers.  THAT'S when they make their escape.  They all have to agree, though.

The team returns to the former courtyard with the medical ward just as Songbird starts wondering what happened to them.  It looks like a decision has been made...

Writer: Joe Caramagna
Artist: Valentine De Landro

In this story:

• Indali takes over the women's ward at the Raft.

• When Moonstone flies in to rescue people (the women's ward is shut off up to this point), Indali uses her power to take away Moonstone's.

• Indali orders Karla to take them to Man-Thing for a quick teleport out.  Moonstone leads them to the surface instead.

• When Indali figures out what's going on, Sofen claims that they can use her as a hostage to get transportation out of the prison.  Indali rejects this and heads back down to find Man-Thing's quarters.

• Instead, they run into some male prisoners.  Things go badly.

• One of the women, who used to go by Poundcakes, beats up Indali and gets Moonstone's powers back.  With Karla's help, the women win.

• The women realize that they aren't going to get away today and follow Sofen back to the surface.

Meet Indali.  She... is a piece of work.  Even though the Women's Ward of the Raft is shut off from the surface, she's used this breakout to take over her fellow prisoners.  The few people that stand up to her are beaten down.  So, she's got some moves.  She also talks like your average cliched super-villain.  This is funny because we've never heard of her before.  That means she was taken down off panel and probably on her first try as a criminal.

Karla Sofen (Moonstone) flies into the Women's Ward to help these "ladies" get to the surface.  Indali and her crew take issue with that.  Indali rightly guesses that the Raft has taken a hell of a beating.  This is their chance to escape.

This is also where we learn Indali's powers.  She blows smoke in Moonstone's face and takes away Karla's powers.  Indali can only do this to one person at a time.  Since taking AWAY super-powers was never a huge deal in the Raft, the guard apparently never saw fit to depower her.  I'm thinking that's just poor procedure on the guards' part, regardless of her powerset.

The depowered Moonstone fights hand to hand.  Indali tells her main enforcer, Poundcakes, to take the fight out of the Thunderbolt.  While Poundcakes prefers to be called Marian, Indali won't indulge the lady this change in codenames and keeps calling her Poundcakes for the rest of the issue.

Indali's masterplan is to escape the Raft through the only means of transportation left to the women.  The Giant-Size Man-Thing.  They force Sofen to lead them to the Man-Thing's habitat.

It doesn't take Indali long to realize that Moonstone isn't bringing them to the Man-Thing.  Karla is taking them up to the surface.  She's got some good reasons for this.  Those who know fear burn at the Man-Thing's touch and some of these women are full of fear.  Sofen figures they could use her as leverage on the surface to get a nice transport out of here.  While Marian thinks this is a better plan, Indali doesn't much care about anyone else.  SHE doesn't know fear so she'll get away even if a few girls get burned.

Since Karla won't lead them to Man-Thing, Indali takes over, plunging right into a hallway filled with men.  Fighting happens.  These men haven't known the touch of a woman for a long time, probably.  Plus, they're criminals of the worst variety.  Some of them just want to kill something.  Any way you look at it, this is ends in major violence.

Indali calls over Marian to help her defeat one of the men.  Marian has taken about all she can from this woman who refuses to stop with the "Poundcakes" name.  She puts her boss in a headlock, choking Indali.

And just like that, Moonstone has her powers back.

Come and get some of this glowing.

With a fully powered Moonstone on their side, the women win this fight with ease.

With that over, Marian explains that she knows the score.  Now isn't a great time to escape.  She's not in here on a life sentence and isn't willing to prolong that sentence in a stupid escape attempt.  They'll head to the surface with Moonstone.

Karla makes sure not to call Marian "Poundcakes."

Writer: Jan Van Meter
Artist: Eric Canete

In this story:

• Warden John Walker is in his quarters when the Raft gets pounded by Kuurth.

• As he's making his way out, the Ghost finds him and offers to assist him back to the surface.  Instead, Walker has some urgent business to attend to.

• The two help free some guards stuck under giant vats with the help of some reluctant inmates (Crate and Stain).

• With that done, the quartet makes their way down into Delta block.  On the way, Stain attacks Walker and demands drugs to release the man.

• Walker frees himself.  The remaining three keep on heading to Delta block.

• When they get to Delta, John Walker uses his codes to make sure that the inmates in this section don't get killed.

• From there, the three head over to Bravo.  Ghost's mind is changed about the Warden.

The Warden of the Raft is John Walker.  You might remember that name because it is usually attached to a man called the USAgent.  If you're a regular Super Reader or Marvel Comics fan, then you probably know why Walker is in a wheelchair.  Here's a hint: during Siege, he ended up on the wrong side of the Spear of Destiny when fighting the Dark Reign version of the Thunderbolts.  In particular, USAgent was facing Nuke.

Because Nuke was both an insane man who thought he was acting in the country's best interest and also a cyborg, Walker decided that he wouldn't give up his humanity by grafting on cyborg bits to replace his missing limbs.  That left him stuck in a wheelchair but still kicking @$.  He's already faced off against inmates during the last prison break.

When the Juggernaut picked up his new trinket and redecorated the Raft with a mighty swing of his hammer, Warden John Walker was in his quarters.  Communication went down.  Walker slowly made his way out of his room.

It's because all cyborgs are evil.  GO AMERICA!

Eventually, the Ghost shows up and updates the Warden on the current situation.  While Ghost plans on bringing Walker up the surface, the former USAgent has work to do and orders the Ghost to help him.

Last issue, Ghost intercepted the Raft's calls for help but made sure that Fixer didn't get this information until the prisoners had a chance to escape.  Walker suspects right away and doesn't particularly like Ghost's reasoning.  Nevermind that, though.  There's a job to do.

The two's destination is Delta Block but they have a few challenges to get through before they get down that far.  For example: there's a guard trapped under a massive cylinder.  Walker attempts to lift it off the man but he can't do it from his chair.  The Ghost sees to inmates, Crate and Stain, and tries enlisting their help.  The two laugh and run off.

John Walker quips that he expected that kind of response from the criminals.  Ghost says he had to give them the benefit of the doubt.  After that, he gives the Warden some updates.  Some inmates tried stealing narcotics from the medical ward.  Charlie Quadrant made a mass escape.  The forcefield around the prison has been re-established.  Walker asks one of the guards how Bravo Quadrant is doing.  They tell him it's underwater.  The Warden pauses for a moment and then gets back to work.

To help him out?  Here come Crate and Stain.  Their attempted escape didn't work when they ran into a whole lot more guards.  Everyone works together to free the trapped guard and then Walker leads Ghost, Crate, and Stain on to another section.

Their first mission is to stop the flooding and open the doors out of Bravo Quadrant.  Working together, that's accomplished.  They don't have time to look for survivors in Bravo, though.  They have more important business in Delta.  Still... while Ghost and Walker are looking over a video monitor of everything happening, Stain makes his next escape attempt.  He swings a crowbar around John Walker's neck and demands drugs for the road.

Ghost wonders why since Stain isn't a user.  Crate explains that his brother thinks it a brilliant idea to go selling them.  From the dialogue, it's clear that Crate doesn't support Stain on this but he's not going to stop the man, either.

That's OK.  The Warden can help himself.  Even in a wheelchair, John Walker can kick some tail feathers.  When the short fight is through, they leave Stain trapped on the other side of a forcefield.

This surprises Ghost.  He was so sure he had Stain and Walker pegged.  He believed that Stain would willingly help out and was just a victim of misunderstanding.  Walker, Ghost saw as just a bully who got off on picking on prisoners to make up for his injuries.  Wrong on both counts.  Stain was definitely a bad guy looking for an opportunity.  Walker, who we all know has his issues, actually cares about the prisoners in his charge.  As he explains, he "wouldn't be doing this if [he] didn't believe reform is POSSIBLE."  Walker just thinks it's rare.

So what's so important in  Delta Quadrant?  Well, this is the area where all of the criminals that can change themselves into gas forms are kept.  Turns out there are a lot of those.  More important, when something bad happens to the Raft, this area goes into super lockdown.  The cells are shut down and made air tight.  More than that, all air is sucked out of the chambers, making them death traps.  The only way to reverse this is for the Warden himself to deactivate the procedure.

After Walker does this, the inmates yell at him for trying to kill them.  There's talk of sueing.  Clearly, some alterations in procedure are probably necessary but the Warden just saved their lives.

As the trio heads over to Bravo Quadrant to save whoever they can, Crate talks about how ungrateful all of these prisoners are after Walker saved their lives.  Ghost wonders aloud how Stain would feel about this.

Either way, Warden Walker has altered the Ghost's perceptions of him.

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Matthew Southworth

In this story:

• Crossbones is attacked by a gang of African Americans who don't take kindly to his racist tendencies.

• C-Bones gives a good fight but is saved by Man Mountain Mario.

• Kuurth breaks the Raft.

• After some more fighting in the ruins of the gym, everyone decides to work together to make their way to freedom.

• Mario tells Crossbones that he's thinking about going legit and also that his aunt has a way to smuggling them across the border.  She also makes a good pie.

• We skip ahead to the end of this sorry tale.  The black prisoners are found dead.  The body of Crossbones is found as well.

• When they get a good look at C-Bones' face, they find that it's actually Mario wearing Crossbone's ID's.

• The real Crossbones finds himself at Man Mountain Mario's aunt's place.  For some pie.

If there's one guy that doesn't need to be glorified, it's Crossbones.  Brock Rumlow is a racist bastard of the worst caliber.  We all want him to be taken down a peg (well, most of us do) but it hasn't happened just yet.  It's not going to happen today, that's for sure.

Well, I guess he does have it bad inside the Raft.  After working for the Thunderbolts, the bastard takes it from all sides.  The prisoners think he's lost his edge after working with the good guys.  When a group of black prisoners start messing with the skinhead in the prison gym, the guards just get amused looks on their faces and turn the other way.  No one wants to defend this guy. Not even you.

Be that as it may, Crossbones isn't one to just sit down and take a beating and it turns out he DOES have a supporter.  When C-Bones is about to be hit in the back of the head with a barbell, the former T-Bolt is saved by Man Mountain Mario.

You don't know who Man Mountain Mario is?  What's wrong with you!  No, this is actually his first appearance.  Mario is the cousin... and probably a stand-in... for Man Mountain Marko.  You probably don't know who that is, either.  I've read comics with him in it and even I had to look it up.  He doesn't make an impression, that's for sure.  Marko is a thug who's been attached to several mafia-like organizations and has fought Spider-Man a few times.  He even worked for HAMMER during the Dark Reign without making much of an impression on anyone.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that everyone forgot he was eaten by a dragon right up until this issue was being dialogued.  Then they were like "Oh crap.  Someone might remember that... what do we do?"  What they did is make a lookalike with a mustache to stand in for Marko.

So, either way, it'd be embarrassing to be saved by either Marko or Mario.  Before Mario can get beat down alongside C-Bones, the prison explodes when Kuurth does his hammer mojo.

When everyone comes to, it looks like the guards are dead and only those involved in the fight have survived.  The African Americans start up the fight again and start throwing Man Mountain Mario around a bit.  Crossbones grabs a sharp rock and saves Mario's life with a few death threats.

OK, so everyone here hates everyone else but this is a golden escape opportunity that'll be wasted if they fight to the death.  Crossbones gets everyone to agree to get out of here together.

While crawling through the debris, Man Mountain Mario tells Crossbones why he interrupted the fight.  He doesn't begrudge C-Bones for becoming a Thunderbolt.  In fact, it's something Mario would like to do.  Being a hero sounds appealing to the Z-List villain.  This statement gets a wierd facial response from Brock.  And no doubt why.  Crossbones wasn't a willing Thunderbolt.  He wasn't there for his health.  The racist was forced onto the team and then forced off it.  This guy is NOT a hero.

If you hadn't figured it out yet, shame on you.  All of these guys are going to die.  None of them will live (well, Crossbones will live, of course, but I'm not including him in this statement).  This next part is a cincher.  Mario tells Rumlow a secret.  Marko's aunt has a cabin out in New Brunswick.  She can get them all across the border and makes a sweet pie to boot.  Just then, one of the other prisoners digs his way to daylight.

We catch up with this tale some time later.

See, you just lose me when you talk like that.

Like I said, everyone's dead.  They all crossed Brock Rumlow in their own special way.  In fact, the only reason he kept them around was to help him escape.  Then, they were disposed of.  For some reason, Crossbones left his ID tags on the dead Mario and then covered up the man's face.  This only works for as long as it takes MACH V to lift the weight off Mario's head.

In New Brunswick, Man Mountain Marko's aunt gets a visit from a real lowlife.  Crossbones needs a border crossing.  He's also up for some pie.

Iron Man 2.0 #6Iron Man 2.0 #6
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Ariel Olivetti & Carmine Di Giandomenico

In this issue:

• Steve Rogers calls in Doctor Strange to help him with the hammer that fell in Beijing.

• The Monkey King tries to lift one of the Worthy hammers.

• War Machine meets the rest of the Immortal Weapons.  Iron Fist is found buried in rubble after his short fight with Skirn (Titania) and the Absorbing Man.

• The Monkey King can't lift that hammer, of course.  Skirn knocks him out with a hammer smash on the rocks nearby.

• War Machine and the Immortal Weapons attack Skirn and the Absorbing Man.

• Grabbing his hammer, the Absorbing Man becomes Greithoth: Breaker of Wills.

• This, apparently, knocks everyone back.

• Dr. Strange shows up in Steve's helicarrier and gives him a heads up on what's happening in Beijing and the city of Hell.  Rogers is comforted when he learns that Iron Fist is there but Strange says that's not a good thing...

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that this story happens before Fear Itself #3.  The Absorbing Man has his hammer in that comic so this story (which features the Absorbing Man pre-hammer) has to happen prior to that.  That's why Commander Steve Rogers is still up in the helicarrier actually directing the battle with Maria Hill and Sharon Carter.

Fear Itself has messed things up.  Washington D.C. is under fire and there's not enough heroes to stem the tide.  Add to that the general effect of Fear going through the populace and Rogers is already feeling overwhelmed.

Sharon Carter gives him more to deal with, showing him pictures of Beijing on fire.  A hammer has landed.  While this is out of jurisdiction, the former Captain America still wants to send someone in.  Iron Fist isn't answering his calls.  Maria Hill says that they should be focusing on Washington at this juncture.  Commander Rogers calls in Doctor Strange.

Last issue, we watched as a Worthy hammer streaked through Beijing and broke through some interdimensional barriers to crash through the walls of Hell.  This hell isn't the Asgardian Hel.  It's not Mephisto's Hell.  It's not even the biblical Hell.  It is simply a place that looks and acts a lot like those places.  For all intents and purposes, this city is Hell.  Demons punishing the wicked.  That sort of thing.

Inside the city is a resident who is having the time of his life.  Sun WuKong is the Monkey King and he has decided that everything he sees is his.  Even some things he doesn't see.  Right now, he's set his eyes on that hammer.  Since these hammers have the whole "If he be worthy..." enchantment attached to them (also: a chain), the Monkey King isn't going to have much luck lifting it.  It doesn't mean he doesn't try.

One of the demons slinks up to tell him that the walls are down and they're all escaping but the Monkey King has little interest in leaving.  The only reason he'd leave is if there was a decent challenge on the outside.  He doesn't see any and he's got a shiny hammer to focus his attention.

You know what else happened last issue?  War Machine and the Prince of Orphans left Washington D.C. and teleported to Beijing to seal the gates of Hell back up.  Prince of Orphans makes sense in this endeavor.  As one of the Immortal Weapons from the Seven Heavenly Cities, he is duty-bound in this task.  Why War Machine has been sucked up is a mystery to everyone involved.

Demons are already causing havok in this part of the city and our heroes are doing what they can to stop them.  While they go about killing demons, the rest of the Immortal Weapons show up.  The first is Fat Cobra.

I can always rely on a good fat joke.

Fat Cobra is the Immortal Weapon of Peng Lai Island.  Behind him are Bride of Nine Spiders (Immortal Weapon of an as yet unrevealed Heavenly City), Dog Brother #1 (Under-City), and Tiger's Beautiful Daughter (Heavenly City is also not named).  If you're wondering, Prince of Orphans is the Immortal Weapon of Z'Gambo.

That leaves one Immortal Weapon unaccounted for.  Where's Iron Fist?  We saw him last issue, looking up at the Absorbing Man and Skirn, Breaker of Men (formerly Titania).  We can guess what happened to him.  Sure enough.  The Immortal Weapon of K'un L'un is found buried under a pile of rubble.

About this point, you wonder if Nick Spencer would rather be writing an Immortal Weapons book since War Machine seems like a guest star in his own book.

Danny Rand explains that he stood up to Crusher Creel and the Worthy formerly known as Titania and lost.  That's what happens when you show up before everyone else arrives.  It's always best to be fashionably late.  Lesson learned.

I believe the word is "Meanwhile..." Crusher Creel and Skirn have entered the city of Hell and are on their way to finding Creel's hammer.  The Absorbing Man is all excited about his upcoming power upgrade.  He's also wondering where they are.  Skirn tells him that they're in Hell and mentions that "HE will love it here."  She's probably talking about the guy that the Absorbing Man will be turning into.

Before you know it, they've found Creel's hammer.  Sun Wukong is still trying to pick the thing up.

Skirn has some harsh words for the Monkey King.  She has harsher actions.  It seems that the Worthy dealt with him before they were banished.  This was so long ago that it was a different iteration of Sun Wukong so this one doesn't really remember it.  Skirn drops her hammer, knocking the unsuspecting Monkey King unconscious.

Before the Absorbing Man can claim his prize, Iron Fist and the rest of the Immortal Weapons intervene.  Oh!  War Machine is with them, too.  FYI.

This temporary distracts Crusher Creel as the good guys attack him and his girlfriend.  Skirn smashes her hammer into the ground forcing the heroes back.  The only one not affected by this blast looks to be War Machine but he's not able to stop Crusher from grabbing hold of the hammer.

Behold.  Greithoth, Breaker of Wills.

His explosive appearance is enough to know everyone back once more.

In the helicarrier, Steve still hasn't jumped ship.  Doctor Strange has arrived.  We'll presume this happens BEFORE Fear Itself: The Deep?  Anyway, he's here in astral form so it could go either way.  Stephen Strange explains that the hammer broke open the gates to the Eighth City: Hell.  Strange tells Rogers that the Immortal Weapons are honor bound to reclose the walls and are probably there right now.

Steve comments that he tried to contact Iron Fist to deal with it earlier.  It's a comfort to learn that the Avenger is already there.

No.  According to Doctor Strange, that's not a comfort at all.  Iron Fist just makes this situation worse.

Tales to Astonish #95Tales to Astonish #95
Writers: Roy Thomas & Raymond Marais
Penciler: Bill Everett

In this issue:

• Dorma and Namor are swimming home after an adventure on an island nation (rules by the evil dictator Dragorr until last issue's end) when they come across an underwater domed city filled with surface people.

• It's WAY too close to Atlantis so Namor swims in to have words with the city's leader.  The city's security move to defend themselves but to little effect.

• Namor is confronted by the underwater city's leader, Dr. Walter Newell.  He's in the submersible flying saucer.  After explaining that the world needs underwater cities but unable to offer the Sub-Mariner anything of value in exchange for the land, Namor gives them one day to get the hell out of his ocean.

• Before Namor and Dorma can return to Atlantis, the city is attacked by Ka-Zar's younger brother, the Plunderer, and his attack submarine.

• Walter Newell tries to fend off the submarine but a force blast ricochets off his ship and hits the city dome.  Water begins to pour into the underwater city.

• Reluctantly, Namor decides to help the people of Newell's City.

• After attacking the pirate sub, the Sub-Mariner is pulled inside by the Plunderer.  He attacks Namor with a Vibragun but the Atlantean Prince dodges and counter attacks.

• Only after the Plunderer shows Namor that his main woman is in danger is the undersea monarch distracted enough to be hit by the Vibragun.

• Dr. Walter Newell leaves his craft and rescues Dorma just as the Plunderer smashes his sub into the city dome.

• Namor regains consciousness but before he can do anything, he's ejected from the submarine.

• The Plunderer raids the city for loot.  Namor takes Dorma away from Dr. Newell.  The people of Newell's City reach the surface and are picked up by a passenger ship.  Namor swears revenge on the Plunderer.

November 1969!  The Avengers #70, Captain America #119,  X-Men #62, Fantastic Four #92, and Daredevil #58 hit the stands!  In Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner #19, the world was introduced to Stingray.

But we're not reading Sub-Mariner #19...

Very well, then... September 1967!  The Avengers #44, Tales of Suspense #93, X-Men #35, Fantastic Four #66, and Daredevil #32 were on sale.  In the pages of Tales to Astonish #95, the future Stingray, Dr. Walter Newell, made his first appearance.

Yeah, I kind of missed this one when first going over the list of heroes appearances.  Instead of going back and readjusting old columns, I waited until Walter Newell put on his Stingray suit and just put his first appearance in.  So it's a little out of order as far as when the CHARACTER made his first appearance but not if you just count when he became a super-hero.  You also get two classic Silver Age stories so no complaining!

In TTA #94, Namor and his lady friend, Dorma, fought the Gnome who had taken over an island nation, using a robot named Dagorr as a puppet dictator.  On the way back home from that fight, the duo swim right up to an underwater domed city.  It's already inhabited by surface people and you can see repair crews swimming around outside, doing maintenance work.  The city is dangerously close to Namor's capital in Atlantis.

If you think modern Namor is an @$hole, you've never met the old Namor.  This guy is crank personified.  I mean, anything could set him off and Subby has a mad-on, hating the surface for any infraction.  Dorma is a whole lot more level headed and it's pretty much her full time job curbing Namor's aggression.

The Avenging Son swims up to the repair crew and demands that they take him to their leader.  Before they can respond, the city's security arrive and train their electric harpoon guns on the Prince.  Namor reacts more swiftly than the security, though.  They are forced back.  Instead of visiting these guys' boss, Namor returns to Dorma and decides to head back to Atlantis to prepare a military response to this infraction into his territory.

They don't get far before the leader of the underwater city approaches in a submersible flying saucer.  It's Dr. Walter Newell and he begs Namor to grant him an audience.  With some nudging from Dorma, Namor swims into the saucer and listens to Newell's deal.

Doctor Newell is a genuinely nice guy.  He knew that they would be facing Namor eventually and made sure his city was as nonethreatening as possible.  The city has no heavy armaments.  Those electric harpoon guns?  That's pretty much the extent of the city's military might.  Walter explains that the surface is MESSED UP.  Due to over-population, the surface is going to run out of food soon and they'll need the bounty that the sea can provide.  Underwater cities are just logical!  In exchange for allowing them to build these domed habitats, Newell offers Namor surface resources that don't hold any interest to the undersea king.  The Sub-Mariner demands that Dr. Newell and his people evacuate with a day or face his wrath.

The Prince of Atlantis returns to Dorma and tells her that they'll be getting back to Atlantis now.  Not just yet.  The security raises their harpoon guns in their direction once more.  Namor's ready to go on one of his traditional rages until Dorma points out that while they're aiming in their DIRECTION, the guards are pointing at something BEHIND them.

Don't worry, we're getting to the plot right now.  A much more offensive submarine is cruising near to the underwater city.  You can tell because it's painted red.  This thing is loaded for war and they're here to do a little piracy.  The head pirate is the Plunderer.  You might know him better as Ka-Zar's younger brother, Edgar Plunder.  Yep.  He didn't waste any brain cells coming up with his super-villain name.  The Plunderer gives the city an ultimatum: surrender.  One minute.

Which totally trumps Namor's ultimatum to evacuate in a day.

To the rescue comes Dr. Newell in his flying saucer submarine.  He buzzes close in and warns the Plunderer that his city is armed to the teeth.  TO THE TEETH!

One shot from the Plunderer's sub ricochets off Walter's ship and strikes the dome of his city.  The dome cracks and breaks wide open.  Water pours into Newell's City.  The people inside go into panic mode but one or two are smart enough to get the rest to head to the escape crafts.

Dorma and Namor are a safe distance away.  Seeing the destruction raining down on the underwater city, Dorma asks Namor to help save the inhabitants' lives.  Our hero is unmoved.  This is what you get when you intrude on his territory!  Only after he watches the Plunderer's submarine firing on the escape pods does he decide that maybe there's a bad guy that needs to be taken down a peg or two.

Dorma swims off to "safety" as the Avenging Son lets some of that pent up aggression out.  It seems pounding on the outside of the ship doesn't do any good.  The sub doesn't dent with all the armor on it.  He DOES knock the submarine around a little, though.  It's no longer firing on escaping innocents.

The Plunderer knows that the Sub-Mariner derives much of his strength from the ocean so he thinks the best idea is to bring the angry Atlantean aboard.  Namor swims right in when given the opening and faces the Edgar himself.  The Plunderer has a Vibra-gun that can supposedly kill a man with one shot.  So, y'know, it's like a gun I guess?  But with deadly vibrations instead of bullets.  Some villains just love to complicate things up.

The problem is that even inside the sub, Namor is pretty damn strong.  He avoids Plunder's first attack and swings in with one of his own.

Dude takes his video games seriously. Just like the internet.

The Plunderer is just a man so this could go badly for him REAL quick.  Edgar distracts Subby by showing him a video monitor.  Nothing's good on television so he sent some of his men out to capture Dorma.  Much more entertaining to watch and no commercials!  The Prince is glued to the action and is wide open for another attack by the Vibra-gun.  This time, the weapon hits home.

Seeing Dorma in danger, Dr. Walter Newell leaves his saucer to rescue the girl.  Before he can get close to her, Dorma and her pursuers get too close to the hole in the dome.  The Atlantean gets sucked inside.  The Plunderer's men veer off in time.  Newell swims right in, hoping to help Namor's girlfriend and maybe save his people that are drowning inside.

With Namor defeated, the Plunderer is left to his own devices.  He smashes his war sub into the side of the dome so that his crew can steal the riches and supplies left behind in the city.  In crashes one of the tall buildings inside the tower right in Dorma's path.  Walter rescues her just in time but the Atlantean is knocked unconscious, nevertheless.

The Vibra-gun doesn't seem to have enough punch to kill Namor in one go.  This is why you should always double-tap.  Instead of trying another round with the Sub-Mariner, the Plunderer ejects his still weakened enemy from his sub and continues on with the job of piracy.  As the submarine is loaded with ill gotten loot, the Plunderer announces that he'll be heading to Skull Island and fortifying it into an unbeatable headquarters.  He does this over the loudspeaker and it's carried throughout the ocean.

When Namor hits the water, his strength returns.  His first thoughts are to rescue his lady love.  Seeing that Dr. Newell has saved Dorma and is swimming with her towards his saucer, the Sub-Mariner intercepts them and takes back his girlfriend.  He appreciates the man's heroism but the girl is his.

The Prince returns Dorma to the deeper ocean and she begins to revive.  With the Plunderer focusing on... well, plundering, actually, the remaining citizens of the underwater city have made it to the top of the ocean.  A nearby ship had been radioed by Dr. Newell and rescue is at hand.

Namor and Dorma watch as the Plunderer's submarine rockets off to Skull Island.  The Sub-Mariner makes plans to return Dorma to Atlantis and then to track down the pirates and teach them a lesson about messing about in his territory.

Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner #19Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner #19
Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Marie Severin

In this issue:

• Namor wakes up on a beach and starts beating people up to escape the fuzz.  When he reaches the sweet, sweet ocean waves, he finds out that he can't breath underwater anymore.  He also can't fly.  He recalls back to the alien who surgically altered him during last issue.

• When Namor finally reaches the surface, he's snared in a metal net.  After finally breaking out of that, he faces the Sting-Ray for the first time.

• And loses!  Namor wakes up strapped to a disc-shaped table with heat lamps draining his energy.  Sting-Ray is revealed to be Dr. Walter Newell, a reluctant superhero who believes that Namor is innocent of the charges against the undersea monarch.

• The charges are draining the earth's oceans.

• The government holds a press conference where Namor is strapped up and displayed like a modern day King Kong.  When a reporter takes a swipe at the Avenging Son, Sting-Ray wards them all off.

• Of course, Namor escapes later on when there are fewer prying eyes.  After eluding some guards, he leaps right into the sewers.

• Sting-Ray is sent to recaptured the Prince.

• When the two meet for a rematch, their fight reaches the George Washington Bridge.  Sting-Ray's actions endanger everyone on the structure and Namor has to save those people even though it causes him to lose consciousness and almost drown.

• Sting-Ray brings Namor up to the surface and tells the Atlantean that he's out of this manhunt no matter what it means to his funding.

After TTA #95, Dr. Walter Newell disappeared for a year or two.  When he returned in Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner #19, Newell aided Namor in a battle against Tiger Shark.  You'll notice that his super-hero moniker is "Sting-Ray" throughout this issue instead of the more usual "Stingray" that he is now known by.  I'm guessing Marvel decided the hyphen was unnecessary... or just forgot about it.  Stingray is a LOT easier to type. ;)

Before we get to Newell's transformation into an undersea super-hero, we catch up to Prince Namor as our hero soaks up the sun on the Coney Island beach.  He's actually conked out after his fight last issue against aliens (I love the Silver Age) but either way, he gathers a crowd.  The police arrive and point their guns at the Sub-Mariner just as he wakes up.  The cops still don't stand a chance.  Even just woken up and groggy, the Prince of Atlantis is faster than these three land lubbers.

The Sub-Mariner makes his way into the ocean only to get attacked by dirty hippies on a lifeguard tower.  Namor lifts the thing up out of the sand and shakes it until all the unclean hippie filth has fallen off.  Then, the tower goes right into the ocean.

Wow, you ever think maybe I like bashing hippies too much? :D

The policemen have given up the notion to capture Namor alive and start firing their guns at the undersea monarch.  Namor doesn't get hurt by these bullets.  He's NAMOR.  But the Avenging Son doesn't stick around too long.  He makes a giant leap into the ocean waters.  Before he hits the waves, the Sub-Mariner realizes that his little feet wings won't lift him into the air.  He can't fly.

An even greater surprise meets him when he reaches the water.  He takes a giant breath of ocean into his lungs and... yep, it went into his lungs and not through his gills.  He can't breath underwater.  As he tries to reach the surface, Namor flashes back to last issue.  Short version: aliens are funneling out the water from our oceans.  Namor and the Inhuman, Triton, went to that world to stop this.  In the process, one of the aliens had performed some radical surgery on the Atlantean Prince.  No more flying.  No more breathing underwater.  The ocean still gives the Sub-Mariner additional strength but it could also give him additional death.

More than that, the people of earth think Namor is in league with the aliens.  Hence all the shooting earlier.  It's not like Namor hasn't been a menace to the surface world before.  All this means is that Namor is being watched now like the dangerous adversary that he is.  When the Avenging Son finally reaches the surface, a metal mesh net is waiting for him.

Namor sinks back into the waters and struggles to free himself from this snare.  When he finally snaps the metal net, he sees his next threat gliding towards him through the water.  This is the first appearance of Sting-Ray.  Namor trying to...

You know what?  I have to mention this right now before we get too far into this comic.  Namor can talk underwater.  That's obvious.  He's been doing that since his first appearance back in Marvel Comics #1.  The problem is, he can't BREATH water right now so every time he opens his mouth to speak, he's getting a lung full of H2O.  It doesn't stop him from doing it.  It just doesn't make sense.  He'll be doing it for the rest of the issue whenever he's underwater.  It's great.

After a short fight with Sting-Ray where our main character can't even land an underwater fist on the newcomer, Namor is hit by an electic ray and wakes up hours later strapped to a table thinking no time has passed.  This is actually a great little scene transition.  Very clever.  It almost makes up for the talking underwater thing.

This table he's strapped to is under some heat lamps so the Atlantean is too weakened to free himself.  Dr. Newell reveals himself as the Sting-Ray Namor fought earlier.  Also in the room are Diane Arliss (the sister of Tiger Shark and not Namor's #1 fan) and Federal Agent Benton.  Newell captured Namor for the government but hopes to clear the undersea monarch of the charges laid against him.  Benton is more interested in parading around his new captive and gets annoyed when Newell objects to that.  Arliss?  She wanted to see the Prince of Atlantis in chains but when she actually GETS that wish, she starts regretting it.

Regardless, Namor isn't making any friends today.  The Admiral of the ship is pretty much on Benton's side of this and won't listen to any of Newell's objections.  As far as he's concerned, Newell did his JOB and now they don't need to listen to the man.

The ship they're on docks in New York.  Papers (like the Daily Bugle) have big write-ups on the capture of the Sub-Mariner, including Sting-Ray's part in it.  A press conference is called and you can just sense the King Kong undertones.  They might even be overtones.  Newell's not any happier about this  PR grab by the government but it's out of his hands.  When one member of the press gives the Sub-Mariner a punch to prove how powerless Namor is, Sting-Ray swoops in and scares everyone out of the room.  Sure, this doesn't put Namor in a better position that before but Walter still wanted to show the Atlantean that he didn't want things to go down like this.

Namor remains silent throughout the whole ordeal.

With that over with, Namor is carted to an Armory on Lexington Ave and 34th Street.  Namor takes an advantage of a curious janitor, spilling his mop bucket on himself and using his increase in strength to escape.  The Sub-Mariner smashes through a windown and runs down the strett, pursued by soldiers.  Not for long, however, Namor lifts off a manhole and plummets into the sewers.


When Benton hears about Namor's escape, he orders Sting-Ray to recapture the Atlantean.  Newell very reluctantly agrees.

Triton helped Namor out last issue but this issue sees him far away, returning a special trident back to Atlantis for the Sub-Mariner.  Unfortunately, the Atlantean Prince didn't give the Inhuman a map so Triton is left searching the ocean for the underwater city.  He gets the feeling that Namor could use his help right now but Triton has his own mission.

Back in New York, Namor swims through the sewers and tries to find his way back to the open sea.  Seeing a gate closing, Namor believes that the military is trying to cut him off from the ocean and swiftly swims through.  On the other side, he sees a tunnel glowing with light from the outside.  Since it's still night, Namor knows this for the trap it is but can't avoid the gas that the ships outside fire into the tunnel.

The Sub-Mariner holds his breath as best he can while still explaining all of his actions out loud.  He dives deep into the water and smashes his way through a grating to freedom.  When he comes up in a different section of sewer, he hears Sting-Ray swimming through the tunnels and sets up an ambush.

This is pretty much what Namor thinks about everything.

It's on like Donkey Kong.

While Walter Newell didn't have his heart into this fight, his actions speak louder than his words.  Before long, he is swept away in his violence.  No quarter asked, none given.  Sting-Ray floods the section of tunnel they're in, knowing that Namor can't breath underwater anymore.  It's a good plan to get the Sub-Mariner to surrender but not very likely.

Namor kicks Sting-Ray away and then breaks through another grating.  This leads the battle outside and near the George Washington Bridge.  Newell follows, not giving up the attack.  After a few of his blasts miss Namor, he realizes that he's just destabilized the entire bridge.  The cars on the structure are shaking.  People lose their footing.

Sting-Ray tries desperately to reverse the damage but he doesn't have the raw strength to complete the task.  I guess it's up to Namor.  The Sub-Mariner hits the water and props a giant pipe against one of the bridge's foundations.  This ceases the fatal vibrations rocking the structure.  The pipe is then uses to stabilize the foundation.

All this time underwater without being able to breath has done in the Avenging Son.  Sting-Ray saves the Prince's life and then leaves Namor on a New York sidewalk.  As the Sub-Mariner regains consciousness, Dr. Walter Newell says that while the hunt for Namor will undoubtedly continue, Sting-Ray won't be involved in it.  This might cost him some government funding but his conscience will be clear.

Stingray's career is... sparse.  You don't see him very ofter, as represented in the time before his first appearance in Tales to Astonish #95 (September 1967) to his second appearance in Sub-Mariner #16 (August 1969).  He eventually ditched the yellow of his costume and adopted the white that we see on the cover of this issue.  He also got married to Diane Arliss.  When the Avengers were looking for a headquarters, Stingray gave them some room on his Hydro-Base and became a back-up member of the team.  During Iron Man's Armor Wars, Tony Stark believed that Newell was wearing armor designed around his own technology and attacked the underwater hero.  Turns out Stark was wrong.  Sting-Ray has been a peripheral Avenger in the Avengers book but normally sticks to the ocean.

And he rarely takes off that mask anymore.

That's all I've gotta say about that.  Thanks for reading!  We'll catch up again real soon.

Until then:  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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