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Super Reads 154

O'GuardsmanBreakin' it on down for you.

Today, we check out Fear Itself: Wolverine #2, Avengers Academy #17, Thunderbolts #161, Heroes for Hire #10, Hulk #38, Herc #6, and Blast to the Past for Invincible Iron Man #31.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!

Super Reads 154

Here we go people.  One more week ready for your Super Reading pleasure.

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

Let's check in on the Best There Is At What He Does.

Fear Itself: Wolverine #2Fear Itself: Wolverine #2
Writer: Seth Peck
Artists: Roland Boschi w/ Robbi Rodriguez

In this story:

• Fight on a Helicarrier!  Livin' it up while you're flyin' around!  Fight on a Helicarrier!

• Melita Garner gets ridiculous amounts of intelligence from MI-13 Director, Peter Wisdom during a worldwide crisis on the basis that she's Wolverine's girlfriend.

• Sutton shares his dream of mutually assured destruction.  His men start doubting that his orders are official... they might also think their boss is cracking around the edges.

• Garner walks around New York towards the United Nations building and does some reporting and life saving on the way.

• Wolverine is beat up by three members of STRIKE.  From there, he's strapped to a nuclear bomb.  Good times!

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

OK.  Your basic details from the previous issue: The evil paramilitary group (they're also British) known as STRIKE has stolen a decommissioned HAMMER Helicarrier called the Prometheus and have flown it from southern California to New York.  To stop it, Commander Steve Rogers has sent in the Wolverine.  While Logan is boarding the Helicarrier in the stupidest way imaginable (he jumps from a tall building), his girlfriend, Melita Garner, does research on the group at Avengers Tower.  What she learns is that the Helicarrier is armed with a nuclear bomb.

And that's the plot.

We catch up with Wolverine just as he was punked by one of the STRIKE agents.  This one's name is Brom, the blue-skinned one.  It's hard to keep Wolverine down, though, and Logan recovers his footing and goads Brom into a blade battle (that means the blue-skinned guy drops his gun and favors his energy sword).  Brom's partner in this scene, Croydon, thinks this is all over a bad idea.  Regardless, Wolverine and Brom get their fight on.  They both slice each other up in the first engagement.

Which is a perfect time for us to race on over to Avengers Tower to check up on Logan's better half, Melita Garner.  Melita is an unemployed reporter who has decided to keep on reporting even if no one's paying her.  Wolverine gave her access to all the information at the Avengers disposal so that she can check up on the background to the STRIKE team.  This adventure takes place fairly early on in the Fear Itself event so New York hasn't yet been attacked by the Blitzkrieg and Avengers Tower still stands.

Last issue, she found out that the Prometheus is fully loaded with a nuclear warhead.  This issue, she's noticing a certain dude in the background of many high level British meetings.  This is the leader of the STRIKE team that hijacked the HAMMER Helicarrier.  Last time, I complained because no one had named him.  While I stand behind that complaint, it all gets revealed here.  But not easily.

Melita calls up Pete Wisdom of MI-13, who has nothing better to do than answer calls from the girlfriends of super-heroes.  For a super-spy, Wisdom is pretty open with intel to this complete stranger.  He explains that this mysterious STRIKE boss is mostly known as Sutton even though that might not be the man's real name.  Sutton was involved in something called "Project Blackbox."  This program was supposed to enhance their spies through unethical means but it mostly ended up killing people.  You can bet that Sutton surviving the process will have some mental consequences.

Wisdom sends Garner all the files he has on Sutton and might give her some other secret British intelligence at the same time.  At least he mentions how thoroughly average Melita is compared to some of Logan's previous girlfriends.  The difference is Garner's still alive. ;)

Let's go back to the Prometheus and watch as Brom and Wolverine continue their face off.  Yep, still facing off.  Wolverine is in a good mood and while he plans on beating up Brom regardless, he figures everyone else still has a chance to surrender.  You think they're going to take him up on that?

Probably not.  Croydon puts an end to this fight by telepathically shutting Wolverine down.  He goes a bit too far when he tries to enter Logan's mind.  Once he's inside, Croydon watches as a rampaging Wolverine does a run down a hall to attack the telepath.  In the real world, this causes Croydon to drop to the ground in horror (possibly pain, too).

Instead of starting up his fight with Brom again, Logan figures it might be time to drop this Helicarrier before anyone gets hurt.  He runs out of the room and slashes the door lock to make sure no one can follow him.

On the bridge of the Prometheus, Sutton pontificates about the dreams he's been having which basically leads him to believe that it's time to destroy New York in a nuclear fireball through copious hammer imagery.

He also thinks that now is the perfect time to enact his plans since Fear Itself is happening all over the world.

It can be two things.

His subordinates question him on one specific part of his crazy rambling.  HIS plan?  Aren't they following orders from their superiors?  Oh, sure, sure.  Superiors.  Right.  He's not just doing things on his own.  Everyone believes that, right?

Meanwhile, Melita Garner is walking through New York to give Wolverine the information she's gotten.  She tried to use a communicator to get the intel to Logan but there was a problem with distance and furthering the plot.  On her way through the city, she notices acts of great Fear but also the people pulling together to help each other.  One guy firebombs a Stark Industries billboard... which makes you wonder how long that's been up considering Stark Industries was broken up soon after Secret Invasion.  Anyway, Melita ends up being the woman on the street and posting what she sees to her Twitter feed.  She also uploads video and photos to her website.

When Garner sees a mob looting a Deli and Grocery store, she fires her Neural Disruptor Ray Gun in the air and disperses the crowd.  She even gets an interview with the shop owner.  Her message is that everyone needs to work together and not give in to their Fears.

OK.  Back aboard the Helicarrier.  Wolverine finds the communications room smashed beyond recognition.  It looks like he's cut off from the outside world.  So is STRIKE, though.  Keep that in mind.

Turning around, Logan finds Brom, Croydon, and Harrow (the female member of the STRIKE team) charging at him.

That leaves just Sutton and Bexley in the Control Room.  Bexley's the tech head on the team so he's been working around all the HAMMER failsafes so that they can get this Helicarrier in position right above the United Nations building.  Sutton tells Bexley of yet another plan alteration from their superiors but Bexley's computer monitor confirms that there have been no outgoing or incoming communications.  He knows that Sutton is pulling STRIKE's strings.

As Sutton drones on about conquering fear, we move on over to the latest Wolverine fight.  This is actually pretty good stuff.  There's a tendancy to just let Wolvie mop the floor with his enemies but this shows him facing some smart opponents.  STRIKE knows how to keep their distance when dealing with a dude who's main advantage are claws.  They whittle the Canucklehead down until Logan passes out.

And suddenly, I love this comic.  Wierd. :D

When Wolverine comes to, he's chained up good and tight.  Sutton is here to monologue at him but it's mostly just crazy talk.  The big point?  That nuke is going to be dropped and Wolverine is chained to it.

So it's a two-fer.


Avengers Academy #17Avengers Academy #17
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Sean Chen

In this story:

• Last minute shenanigans in Washington D.C. as the students of Avengers Academy take out one last Nazi Mech.

• When they return home to the Infinite Mansion, Tigra immediately leave to check out Hank Pym and the others in Dubai.  Jocasta is also gone.

• Greithoth, Breaker of Wills, and Skirn, Breaker of Men, decide to kill Hank Pym's kids and travel to the Infinite Mansion by hammer travel.

• The students deal with the fallout from their peacekeeping actions in Washington.

• The Worthy arrive and cut the Mansion of from everywhere.

• In a battle between Greithoth, Skirn, and a trio of students, a whole section of Infinite Mansion is destroyed.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

The action in Washington D.C. is still happening in Avengers Academy but even here, it's winding down.  The bulk of the Blitzkrieg USA forces have made their way out of the United States Capital and are on their way to New York.  There are still a couple Nazi mechs running around, though, and they need to be dealt with.  One of them is getting the attack treatment from the students of the Avengers Academy.

These guys are getting good at their jobs, too.  Teamwork, tactics, it's all good.  It doesn't hurt that the Nazis are terrified of Veil after they saw her kill the pilot/gunner combo of another Nazi mech last issue.  When Veil seeps into the cockpit, the Nazis make a hasty retreat.

Which isn't hasty enough.  Abby is still able to use her gaseous state to knock the two bad guys unconscious.  When they crash down to earth, she hardly gives a damn if they're dead of alive.

For this team, that's as much as they'll be doing.  It looks like Blitzkrieg USA has officially moved on.  Falcon soars out of the sky and tells them what a good job they've done here.  Then, he has the unfortunate job of telling them that Captain America is dead.  While the team processes that, Tigra runs up to tell them just how great they've been.  They saved lives and stayed alive while doing it.  Veil and Mettle turn around to see who they weren't able to save.

Since the Volunteer Initiative (Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt) is on the job now, the minors in the Avengers Academy are recalled to the Infinite Mansion to sit out the rest of this battle.  When they get there, they find that Jocasta and all of her duplicate bodies have left to Newfoundland to help Speedball (Fear Itself: The Home Front #5).  She still talks to everyone through a monitor and tells Tigra what's been going on with Giant-Man and the rest of the faculty in Dubai.  They're all injured after the battle with Greithoth (Absorbing Man) and Skirn (Titania).  Figuring Tigra probably wants to be with her boyfriend (Pym), Jocasta has kept a door open for Greer.  That leaves the students unattended but probably safe.

Or... not so much safe.  Stay tuned.

Last issue, Hank Pym opened a door to his Arctic Research Station and sent Greithoth and Skirn through it.  While they left a parting gift of destruction on their way out, the two DID go out.  Worst than that, Greithoth seems to be having a hissy fit on the unmanned Research Station.  Skirn knows that they should be leaving to cause more Fear in the name of the Serpent but Greithoth keeps on being limited by his host.  It seems the Absorbing Man's hate of Hank Pym is keeping the Breaker of Wills from having complete control over his host.

Skirn has a great idea of how to fix that.  Revenge.  Instead of facing off against Giant-Man again, they'll take vengeance on his kids.  The Breaker of Men knows about them because Hank Pym couldn't stop talking about them during the fight in Dubai.  Greithoth knows that Avengers Academy is located in another dimension.  Swinging her hammer, Skirn creates a gateway to that dimension.

Before they get there, let's check in on the students of Avengers Academy.  Hazmat and Mettle are dating.  This is good because Mettle's just about the only person who can be around Hazmat when she's out of her suit.  Right now, none of that really matters.  Mettle is in a deep blue funk after he killed Nazis a couple issues back.  He's not a killer by nature and he can't get over his actions.  Hazmat can't relate because while she did her fair share of damage in the fight, she doesn't recall killing anyone.  Mettle takes off to work off some steam in the training room.

Hazmat suits up and visits Veil, who is busy staring at her old yearbook picture.  She knows that Abby killed some Nazis after they shot up the mother last issue.  She wants Veil to talk to her boyfriend and, I don't know, FIX everything.

Yeah, that's basically like asking another girl to date your boyfriend.

So, Abby meets up with Mettle in the training room and tells him why she's here.  Hazmat sent her, no beating around the bush.  She then tells him that SHE killed on the battlefield, too.  Neither of them wants to talk about it too much so Abby changes the subject to surfing.  Mettle gets lost in telling her all about his favorite passtime.  Hazmat watches outside the training room.

OK.  NOW we can talk about Greithoth and Skirn again.  They have just found Underspace and the Infinite Mansion.  The first thing they do is locate the device that connects this place to Earth and destroy it.  There will be no escape for the Avengers Academy students.

While Veil and Mettle try to avoid talking about those they killed in Washington, Reptyl and Finesse talk about how unsettling all the death was.  Humberto is visibly shaken but there's a panel or two of Finesse where you think she's just playing the part of someone who cares about such things.

Striker shows up because the other two are in the common room and he can't get any of the televisions to work in the Mansion.  He ends up telling them how killing Nazis in the US Capital isn't something that's going to haunt him.  After all: Nazis.  I've said before, there are only two creatures in the Marvel Universe that you can kill without it damning your soul: Skrulls and Nazis.  Striker obviously believes me.  YOU ALL SHOULD.

Striker also talks about how Tigra gave him a motivational speech but he couldn't stop staring at her breasts long enough to listen.  While they talk about how inappropriate it is for a teacher to strut around in a bikini, Greithoth and Skirn make their next move... which is smashing right into the common room.

Reptyl tells the others to retreat while he distracts the Worthy.

I was going to make this an Apatosaurus/ Brontosaurus joke but I couldn't work out the punchline.

Before the former Absorbing Man can smash the class leader, Humberto shrinks down and turns into a prehistoric insect.  This saves his life and the two Worthy aren't able to find him.  They don't think it matters.  There's no escape, after all.

The others are learning that right now.  Striker opens the door that should return them to Earth and walks right out into open air.

The other three students (Mettle, Hazmat, and Veil) have already discovered that the doors don't work and just learned that communication is down as well.  Now, they learn about the Worthy being here with them.  Greithoth and Skirn both walk into the room with death on their minds.

Hazmat does her best to ward them off but her radiation abilities don't even phase these two.  Now, it's Skirn's turn.  She raises her hammer into the air and lights up the room.  Everyone knows this is going to hurt.  Mettle tries to shield Hazmat.  Viel turns to gas form.

This section of the Infinite Mansion explodes.


Thunderbolts #161Thunderbolts #161
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Declan Shalvey

In this issue:

• Kuurth leaves Chicago.  Satana shows up at Thunderbolts Tower.  The Raft experiences a prison riot.

• The rest of the Thunderbolts recover as best they can outside Chicago.

• A missile aims itself at Chicago.  After Moonstone redirects it, the warhead continues on towards the city before splashing into Lake Michigan.

• Fixer calls up Zemo to figure out what the missile was all about.  It's a tiny little army that will grow massive when exposed to fresh water.  I guess Michigan counts as fresh. :)

• The T-Bolts reach the beach with a little help from the returning Man-Thing.

• The bio-army takes the shoreline.

• Thunderbolts Tower is teleported to Chicago using Satana's dark magic.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

Last issue, the Thunderbolts were all that stood between Kuurth, Breaker of Stone, and the city of Chicago.  They magically entered the mind of the former Juggernaut but were forcibly ejected by a servant of the Serpent that might have been Kuurth in his actual form.  In the real world, the Worthy swung his hammer and bodies hit the floor.

None of the T-bolts are answering their coms which means that Fixer and Warden John Walker are blind back in T-Bolts Tower.  Walker allows Fixer to commandeer a military satellite in order to get a looksee on Chicago.  What they see doesn't look promising.  Kuurth is flying away from the city.

This is when Satana shows up.  She's the first field agent that has turned up alive because she teleported back to the Man-Thing's Habitat to escape death or injury.  She tells Walker that she lacks to ability to teleport others so she wasn't able to save anyone else.

Walker gets a call from one of the prison guards about a possible riot starting in the temporary pen.  He's got to get down there and help them contain it.  That leaves Fixer and Satana to their own devices.

Fixer wants to bring the Beta Team (the Underbolts) down to Chicago and needs transportation.  Satana can use the Man-Thing's Habitat as a teleportation device but it it'll take more evil magic to do it.  Norbert gives her the go-ahead.

In Chicago, another Thunderbolt is re-entering the area.  Moonstone was knocked all the way into the Lake Michigan.  She flies right back into the blast area but there's so much glowy smoke that she can't properly see anything.  Taking a few fast passes through the area, Karla is able to disperse the glowy smoke from the epicenter.

In the glowing crater, she hears muffled singing.  Clearing off a few levels of dirt, she finds...

Hot.

So that's four T-Bolts accounted for.  Songbird used her sonic scream to save herself and Abe and kept on singing even though she was barely conscious.  Abe is alive but his armor will never play the piano again.

The good news is Chicago is still standing.  It looks like Kuurth flew off without destroying the city.  Ghost emerges from some glowy smoke to fill them in on the Worthy's departure.  They get reconnected to T-Bolts Tower when a broken bit of MACH V's armor is found with a still functioning communicator.

This would be the end of a hard days work except the Fear Itself event is still going on and Chicago is far from saved.  The next threat to the Windy City is an intercontinental missile.  Everyone is worried that it's nuclear.  Even if it's not, it needs to be stopped.  The only one up to the task is Moonstone.

Karla flies up and redirects the missile into orbit.  The city is saved!

Nah, that's too easy.  The warhead disconnects from the rest of the missile and continues on down toward the city.  Moonstone can't catch it in time and a good part of her doesn't want to.  It's probably not anyone's dream to get killed in a nuclear explosion.  No matter.  At the last minute, the warhead changes coarse and hits Lake Michigan instead of the population center.

Back at T-Bolts Tower, Centurius is monitoring this using the technology he traded with the Ghost.  He's as surprised as anyone else that Chicago is still on the map.  The only one with an inkling on what's going down is Fixer.

This is why he contacts Baron Zemo.

This isn't the first time Fixer has made contact with Helmut Zemo.  During Captain America's Heroic Age story-arc, Fixer aided the Baron in teaching James Barnes a lesson in worth.  Norbert Ebersol isn't exactly the most morally righteous of characters.  He's trying, though.

Baron informs him that the missile wasn't a nuke.  It was a transport for a biological army.  This was tech stolen from Zemo by Sin and he's not very happy to see it used by others.  Zemo gives the Fixer his blessing on irradicating this bio-army but otherwise isn't much help.

Fixer relays this information to the team on the scene but omits his call to Baron Zemo for obvious reasons.  The team needs to get on the beach pronto.  It's just too bad that they're so far away from Chi-town.  Oh, there you are Man-Thing.  I guess it's teleport time.

That goes doubly for the people inside T-Bolts Tower.  Satana is about ready to unleash her magical spell based on the Man-Thing's Habitat.  Fixer is bringing in the Underbolts.  To prepare, Norbert blasts the base of Thunderbolts Tower.  They're taking the whole thing.

Even though the tech that allows them to control Man-Thing's teleporting is destroyed, the Man-Thing still delivers them exactly where they need to go.  Before they can do to much analysis of this, they see the army's first soldiers clear the water.  They start growing immediately and are seven feet tall before they stop.  That's not the worst of it, though.  When Zemo said this was an army, he didn't mean a handful.

This is a FULL ARMY and it's monsterous.  Within moments, the beach is their's and any person in their path is in trouble.

Warden Walker has gotten the prisoners under control.  One of his men tells him that the T-Bolts Tower is glowing.  Walker turns around just in time to see the whole Tower disappear.


Heroes for Hire #10Heroes for Hire #10
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Kyle Hotz

In this issue:

• Shroud and Elektra fight convicts being controlled by Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man.

• Paladin and Gargoyle switch to rescue work on Yancy Street.  Misty packs up some supplies and runs out to join them.

• Brady Breidel attacks the Yancy Street heroes, assaulting them with their greatest fears.

• Purple Man is denied his entertainment by a black field provided by Shroud.

• Zebediah takes over Elektra and Shroud, ordering the darkness to be lifted...

• And telling Elektra to kill her partner.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

Shroud and Elektra are on the Raft, the Maximum Maximum Security Prison that's recently played host to another breakout.  The Thunderbolts have not yet arrived so it's up to them to keep more convicts from escaping.  The Purple Man is going to make that extra hard with his controlling pheremones.  Misty tries to warn them to stay away from the villain so that they remain free of his controlling influence but it's well too late for that.  Purple Man has a mob of prisoners ready to do his bidding... which is basically: don't let the heroes leave and maybe bash in their brains while you're at it.

It should also be noted that Misty's messages are loud enough so that everyone in the room can hear them.  Someone has their communicator on Speaker Phone.

While Zebediah Killgrave (that's the Purple Man's real name) is using his powers on the mob, he leaves Elektra and Shroud to their own devices.  He wants to see these heroes suffer without using his controlling powers.  "See" is a pretty good word.  Shroud makes sure that Purple Man doesn't get to be the audience by using his own Darkforce powers to black-out the whole room.  Both Elektra and Shroud can fight in total darkness so this makes them much more effective while annoying the piss out of Killgrave.  The only thing giving them away is Misty's constant nagging through the communicators.

So they shut them off and go completely dark.

That leaves Misty Knight back at her control center, twiddling her thumbs.  She pops up the monitors to see what's going on in the world and sees a bunch of events that shouldn't really be happening at the same time.  Blitzkrieg USA is still in Washington D.C. which makes sense since this is soon after Thing gets super-charged.  Iron Man is in Paris fighting his losing battle against Mokk, Breaker of Earth.  That also fits just fine.  Where things get a little screwy is when we see that Kuurth (Juggernaut) has already reached San Francisco.  That shouldn't have happened yet.  I'd put that happening after the fight in Washington is over in my timeline.  Ah, well, it's not life threatening continuity so we'll just move on to greener pastures.

Or blown out streets.  Either way.  Yancy Street is gone.  It no longer exists.  There are survivors, though.  After Paladin and Gargoyle survived their fight with Angrir, they check in with Misty and focus on saving those trapped in the wrecked buildings than trying for another round with the Breaker of Souls.  Misty decides to leave her station and get out there to help them.  She grabs some medical supplies on her way out the door.

Gargoyle and Paladin find a group of survivors.  Naturally, they're scared out of their minds.  At first, the heroes think it's because of Gargoyle's appearance.  Then they think it's because of Angrir's actions.  Nope.  None of the above.  It's because of something worse in the direction they just came from.

It looks like it's time to play hero.  Even though the Yancy Streeters warn them to stay away, it's sort of Paladin and Gargoyle's job to run right into danger.  They don't actually think this is as big a deal as the super-powered Thing they just faced.  When they get close to the new threat, they can FEEL his presence and fall for classic horror movie blunder #2.

They split up.

Gargoyle finds the monster first and sees it as an Avenging Angel, judging him for his sins.  Paladin runs towards Gargoyle's screaming but by the time he shows up, Gargoyle has already been turned into a stone statue (there's a lot of that going around lately).  Looking up, Paladin doesn't see an Avenging Angel but himself.  Only better, more skilled, and in nicer gear.

Eh.  It gives him walleye vision.

He doesn't stand a chance.

Misty has arrived on Yancy Street and gets a communication from Paladin that sounds desperate.  She won't get there in time to help.

Over the stoned body of Gargoyle and the beaten half to death Paladin stands the monstrocity men call Brady Breidel!

You remember him, right?  Introduced last issue?  Got doused in Mr. Fear chemicals and a whole of extra junk when his building collapsed last issue?  Became a huge frickin' monster when no one was looking?  That Brady Breidel.

More on that next issue.  Let's move back to the Raft where the Purple Man is not liking that black fog covering up his evening entertainment.  Since Shroud's Darkforce abilities are going to keep Killgrave from enjoying this show, he decides to control the two heroes and commands Shroud to clear the darness.  With that done, he can at least see his two victims.

Purple Man tells Elektra to kill Shroud and won't let Shroud do a damn thing about it.


Hulk #38Hulk #38
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Elena Casagrande

In this story:

• While Rulk sleeps under the wreckage of Avengers Tower, MODOK attacks the assassin, Black Fog.

• The Angrir, Breaker of Souls, shows up to do some more breaking.  The rest of Avengers #14 plays out as everyone watches.

• Zero/One's airship is shot out of the sky by the departing Red Hulk.

• MODOK attacks Nazi Mechs!

• So does Zero/One.

• Black Fog tries to kill MODOK but is stopped by his master.  Zero/One and MODOK share their history and team-up to kill Nazis.

• Red Hulk is found in Victory State Forest, Vermont.  He's bloody but not dead.  Yet.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

This bit of business still happens during Avengers #14.  Specifically, it happens after Angrir has dropped Avengers Tower on the Red Hulk and before the fight between the two power houses can continue their brawl.  One of Rulk's "creators," MODOK, has exited his hidden lair to witness the death of Thaddeus Ross.  That might happen at the hands of Angrir but there are a number of people lining up to take of Red Hulk's head.

The nearest is the assassin/ henchman of Zero/One, Black Fog.  While BF is cloaked from most other people's senses, MODOK can see the assassin plain as day.  When he sees Black Fog cutting into the unconscious Rulk, MODOK fires off some deadly lasers right through the cloaked assassin's chest.

In Zero/One's equally cloaked airship, she wonders "what the hell?"  MODOK?  What's he doing here and why does it look like he's defending the Red Hulk?  One of her henchpeople surmises that MODOK might want to kill the Hulk himself but that doesn't explain his attack on Black Fog.  Anyway, it doesn't look like MODOK will get a chance to kill Ross today.  Angrir is returning to check on the gamma-powered hero.

MODOK gets some reading on the Breaker of Souls and decides that it would be best to not be seen.  Instead of cloaking, MODOK phases out of chronal sync.  Zero/One can only see him because her sensor grid was locked on him.  She's jealous of this technology.

Everyone watches as events play out from Avengers #14.  Angrir and Rulk get right back into their fight which Thaddeus has no chance of winning.  The former Thing ends up batting the Red Hulk right out of New York City.  This version of events has him hit Zero/One's cloaked ship on the way out of town.

Glad you made an appearance in your own comic, Rulk!

The airship has to land for repairs and the smoke trail makes it clearly visible.  Angrir doesn't notice it.  He's off to cause more chaos.  MODOK doesn't see it, either.  He's more interested in where the Red Hulk is going to turn up next and in the fate of NYC.  Now that Angrir has softened up the place, the Blitzkrieg forces start doing their thing.

MODOK's LMD's ask if their master is going to retreat or at least slip out of sync again.  With the way the Fear Itself event is going, New York City will be conquered in just over two hours.  This pisses MODOK the hell off.  He attacks the Nazi Mechs and orders his LMD's to release Zzzax and join him on the surface with plasma weapons.

Did anyone else see that coming?  No one?  Good.  I was hoping I wasn't the only one caught off guard by MODOK's actions.

Zero/One is drawn into the conflict herself.  While Angrir paid no attention to her downed airship, the Nazi Mechs are all about it.  Her attempts to reason with them and claims that she has nothing to do with this fight are met with artillery fire.  Reluctantly, she starts fighting back.

Back by Avengers Tower, Black Fog pulls himself back together.

In another section of New York, Police in riot gear are trying to lead civilians out of the combat area (which is... everywhere) when a Nazi Mech bears down on them.  Their savior?  MODOK.  I'm telling you.  It's wierd.  MODOK takes their thanks and then loses some of his spider-limbs to Black Fog's attack.

The Mental Organism topples over at this unexpected attack and basically does his best overturned turtle impression.  He's a clear mark for Black Fog.

So it's a good thing that Zero/One doesn't want MODOK dead.  In fact, she's upset that Black Fog is going off his script again.  She'll have to fix that later.  For now, she's very interested in MODOK, especially when the Mental Organism tells her that he was unwittingly responsible for her creation.

The two scientifically minded beings engage in a data share, learning what the other's motives are and their Secret Origins.  When it's done, they notice that their troops are getting ready to engage each other.  They stop that and call a team-up.  As highly intellectual people, they believe that they are the Future.  These Worthy and their armies are the Past.

And the Past must be exterminated.  As these two unlikely forces fight back agains the Blitzkrieg, MODOK realizes that he's falling for Zero/One.

Victory State Forest, Vermont.  This is where the Red Hulk lands and sleeps off his battle against the Breaker of Souls.  I believe that's his LMD friend, Ann who shows up to check on him.  She's truly concerned about him for a minute until Ross says, "Did I. At least. Break his hammer?"

Ann smiles.  I guess everything's going to be OK.

I mean, if the world survives Fear Itself.


Herc #6Herc #6
Writers: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Penciler: Neil Edwards

In this issue:

• Herc is brought in statue form to Kyknos and used as a bat for a couple pages.

• Helene is forced to kill her father.

• Hercules puts a stop to that by catching Helene's sword before it can kill.  The stone spell has worn off.

• Big fight between the Lion of Olympus and the son of Ares.  Hercules pulls out a win after his girlfriend prays to him.  Hundreds of nerds wish some girl would pray to THEM.

• Good luck, hundreds of nerds!

• Brooklyn is freed from Hecate's spell.  Ares isn't resurrected.

• Everyone cheers for Herc.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

Fear Itself is engulfing the world but one tiny section is suffering under a completely different fear diety.  Hecate, goddess of terror and witchcraft, is manipulating the Fear energy in Brooklyn, altering the landscape and creating a nightmare world for Kyknos, the son of Ares and leader of the Warhawks.  Kyknos is using this as a way to bring his dear daddy back to life.  All it will take is a few good sacrifices.

Since Hercules and his allies aren't able to get into Kyknos's Coney Island base without, y'know, getting killed, they shy away from a full frontal attack in favor of something a little on the devious side.  Basilisk, Man-Bull, and Griffin drag in the statue-esque form of Hercules as an offering to the god of war.

And that's just the start of it!  Herc's girlfriend, Rhea, has been captured by one of the Warhawks, Helene.  Helene is the teenage daughter of Georgios Panayotou, the owner of the building where Hercules works as a bartender and lives when he's not out heroing.  Helene should NOT be wearing the skimpy hooker priestess clothing she's got on now but you know teenagers.  As for Rhea, she's been put in a cage with some Herc worshippers.  These guys are all geeks but they are true in their faith to the Lion of Olympus.

So there's a lot going on.  Let's see how we can end this Fear Itself tie-in storyline!

We touch base with Rhea and Helene to start off the issue and they basically relate a lot of this backstory so that we all know what's going on.  After that, it's off to the races.

You'd think Kyknos would be happy to be given the gift of his enemy and uncle, Hercules.  He's not.  Sure, it's nice to have the Prince of Power all taken care of but he doesn't want Hercules as a stone statue.  That just takes away his father's right to KILL Herc.  Kyknos swings the body of Hercules this way and that, knocking down Griffin, Man-Bull, and Basilisk in the process.  They're starting to feel unloved for their offering.  At least the stone statue Hercules hasn't broken with all of this swinging action.

Oh, you see that flaming altar with the body inside screaming?  That's Ares being resurrected.  It's a painful procedure and it's not finished just yet.  For that, there needs to be a mighty sacrifice.  Kyk calls in one of his number one supporters, Helene.  No, he's not going to kill her.  He's going to make her kill her own father.  Georgios Panayotou is brought in, confused as all get out and probably wondering why his daughter is dressed as a stripper.

Killing your father is something you don't just do because you've joined a crazy cult.  Well, you SHOULDN'T.  Helene tries to get out of it but the alternative is for Kyknos to do the killing and that would drag it out into even more torturous proportions.  It looks like Helene is gonna have to do a little murder.  She swings her sword down at her father.

And the blade is caught in the air.  By Hercules.  The stone spell has worn off.  Herc tears the sword out of Helene's hands and then mocks Kyknos.  He "remembered that one of the FEW Olympians dumber than [himself]... was [Kyknos]."

From this point on, it's out and out fighting between Kyknos and Herc.  His worshipers are praying strength into him (which may or may not work).  Basilisk, Griffin, and Man-Bull are helping out.  Things look like they're going Hercules' way for once.

Until they aren't.  Kyknos rallies nicely and uses the non-stone body of Hercules to swat everyone away.

Inside her cage, Rhea wonders what she can do to help.  She's pretty stuck and doesn't think all this praying is doing a lick of good.  As the worshipers say, it's all they can do.  Rhea finally lets go of her inhibitions and does a little prayer to Hercules.

Maybe that's what pushes things over the edge.  Maybe the Prince of Power is just awesome.  Either way, while no one was paying attention, Hercules plunged a sword into Kyknos's chest.

It's that moment when all the Fear built up in Hecate's spell slips away from Kyknos.  She tells Kyk that this is because Hercules gave everyone a moment of hope.  The energy needed to go somewhere, though, so...

Now, Basilisk can stone people TWICE.

The tide has officially turned.  With Basilisk, Man-Bull, and Griffin super-charged, Kyknos is at a severe disadvantage.  He tries to get some help from his Warhawks but instead gets a shotgun shell in the head, courtesy of Helene.

Brooklyn is free from Hecate's influence.  The evil trees disintegrate.  People get a lot less demony.  The power leaves Basilisk, Man-Bull, and Griffin.  Things would be back to normal but there's still this Fear Itself event going on to keep everyone on their toes.  Still, this is a win for Hercules and his allies and the world could use more of them right now.

Herc kicks over the still screaming and burning form of Ares.  This isn't the god of war's day to be resurrected.  It'll come, believe you me.  Just not today.

Striking a dramatic pose, Hercules claims Brooklyn as his to protect.

You might also notice our Raft escapees slinking off in the background.


Invincible Iron Man #31The Invincible Iron Man #31
Writer: Allyn Brodsky
Penciler: Don Heck

In this issue:

• Shroud and Elektra fight convicts being controlled by Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man.

• Paladin and Gargoyle switch to rescue work on Yancy Street.  Misty packs up some supplies and runs out to join them.

• Brady Breidel attacks the Yancy Street heroes, assaulting them with their greatest fears.

• Purple Man is denied his entertainment by a black field provided by Shroud.

• Zebediah takes over Elektra and Shroud, ordering the darkness to be lifted...

• And telling Elektra to kill her partner.

November 1970!  The world saw Fantastic Four #104, Amazing Spider-Man #90, Avengers #82, and Captain America #131 on the newstands.  In Iron Man #31, Kevin O'Brien would make his debut.

What?  You don't know who Kevin O'Brien is?  Read on...

Every issue should begin with a crazy protest.  Welcome to the Pacific Island of Lakani, home of a fairly new Stark Industries manufacturing plant.  It seems some of the citizens don't take kindly to big business coming in and handing out jobs.

OK, their actual beef is polution.  This plant has a massive smokestack on top of it and while Stark has designed the plant to emit no harmful gases, these people tend not to believe it.

There are counter-protesters who have assembled to give their support to the Stark plant but most of their arguments are shot down by the regular protesters.

A lot of people get up to speak against the plant but the one we're mostly concerned about is retired British Major, Hubert Ffoulkes.  This man is off his rocker.  Basically, he wants all technology to go away because of how dangerous it is.  He isn't worried about pollution from the plant because he actually BELIEVES that Stark is chemically treating it to be "safe."  He just believes that the chemicals could make things worse.

He tells a hilarious horror story about what technology might be doing to the world.  The funny thing is you KNOW there are people in the crowd who don't realize that this man is senile.  They probably take him seriously.

That's... plausible.

And don't get me wrong.  I get the polution argument.  I agree with it.  If this was any plant other than Tony Stark, these protesters would be more than right to do what they're doing.  We've all heard stories of companies hitting small pacific islands, robbing them of their resources, and then making a clean getaway.  These people are right to be concerned.  It's just there's never been a more noble businessman than Tony Stark.  Sure, he's a dick.  He's just a dick who's trying to make the world a better place.

I can't remember if he was still producing weapons of mass destruction at the time... OK.  Stark is complicated.

He's also present.  Tony has shown up on Lakani with business concerning the manager of this plant, Mr. Bowers.  He sees these protesters and decides to try and tell his side of the story.  What he's not expecting is a violent contingent of protesters.  You can tell them from the others because they're dressed in matching uniforms with a red sash on their arm.  It has a hammer insignia on it.  Even back then, hammers were a sign of evil!

These militants attack the podium and tear down the Iron Man statue erected up there.  It leads to a full scale riot.  Stark security hits the scene, trying to disperse the crowd.  Leading the guards is Kevin O'Brien.  O'Brien isn't technically part of security but he does have a handy dandy stun gun that calms down some of the crowd quickly.

This gives Tony Stark a chance to change into Iron Man and help out in taking down the more violent parts of the riot.  With the odds completely against them, the rioters run off.

This gives Iron Man a chance to talk to Kevin O'Brien.  The engineer explains that the stun gun was made in his spare time and that he tried to get it signed off so that everyone on security would have one but Mr. Bowers didn't approve the plan, citing it wasn't cost effective.  O'Brien thinks that's a load and tells Shellhead as much.

Spoiler alert: Kevin is very Irish.  I mean, that accent is thick.  VERY thick.  Sean Cassidy would be jealous of that accent.  In fact, as we meet the people of Lakani Island, the one thing you'll latch right on to is the ethnic diversity.  Major Ffoulkes is from Great Britain.  There are others from everywhere you can imagine.  We don't get a good look at the local culture but it seems like everyone is getting along swimmingly.

Speaking of Ffoulkes, it's time to meet his daughter, Kathy.  Kevin is pretty taken with her.  She kind of likes him too but she's not here to congratulate him on crowd control.  Kathy's here to yell.  She can't believe how Stark personnel handled the crowd.  Sure, there were some excited people but they were justifiably angry!

I guess crazy runs in the family.

OK, let's skip around to meet up with the violent section of protesters.  You remember, the guys with the uniforms and hammer insignia.  Their boss is named Bullwhip Grogan but they all answer to another man, a guy in a mask.  The masked man talks to them on a television monitor and tells them that they were supposed to kidnap Tony Stark at the protest.  NOT destroy an Iron Man statue.  This group argues back and forth and we switch scenes again.

It's late in the evening when Tony Stark surprised Kevin O'Brien in his lab.  Again, Kevin is pretty open about his feelings for Bowers.  The plant manager is all about cutting costs and keeps on shutting down some of O'Brien's innovative ideas.  Tony is of the opposite opinion and tells Kevin that he's planning on transferring O'Brien to his Long Island headquarters.

This is the news that Kevin has been waiting to hear.  He is so excited that he races on over to Kathy Ffoulkes' place to tell her his good fortune.  Kathy doesn't take it so well.  She figures this is the reward O'Brien has recieved for towing the company line and attacking protesters.

I'm sure that relationship will last because it's built on trust and communication.

Let's move on over to the morning as Tony Stark gets a tour of his Lakani plant by the manager, Mr. Bowers.  Bowers is all about talking up why his plant hasn't been breaking even yet.  I mean, he's trying so hard, what with all the expense cutting he's been doing.  Still, it's a new plant using new, untested equipment and there's bound to be trouble working out all the bugs.

When Tony mentions Kevin O'Brien, Bowers tells Stark that the Irishman isn't a good fit for the plant but doesn't get into any specifics.  When Tony tries cornering Bowers on the issue, they're interupted by another round of protestors at the gates.

Mr. Bowers' idea of handling protestors is to tell them to shove off.  The only ones he's willing to let in are the news media.  Tony's got a different idea of how to deal with an unruly crowd: talk to them.

This innovative technique might sway some of the crowd, even.  He speaks with great passion about a future where technology makes the world a paradise with no side effects or technology demons.  Obviously, Major Ffoulkes thinks this concept is insane... but then Ffoulkes is about ten minutes from moving in with the Amish.

While Tony works the crowd to his way of thinking, Bullwhip Grogan breaks into the plant and plants a bomb while no one's looking.  On his way back out, her runs right into Kevin O'Brien and Kathy Ffoulkes.

Makes you wonder what they were doing... all night long...

ANYWAY... there's a fight scene.  It lasts one panel.  Turns out Kevin ain't much of a fighter.  Both of them are taken hostage.

Soon, a helicopter drops pamphlets on the crowd, telling them that the plant is ready to blow from some malfunction or another.  Major Ffoulkes, who believes everything he reads on a piece of paper, declares it the gosh-darn truth!  Tony notices the copter leaving and thinks that this is a job for Iron Man.

When Shellhead moves in to investigate, the militants don't waste any time opening fire on him.  Looks like he hit paydirt.  Long story short?  Iron Man kicks the crap out of Grogan and his thugs and frees Kevin from his bonds.  Also on board the helicopter?  The masked leader.  O'Brien tells Iron Man about the bomb and the Golden Avenger flies the Masked Man down with Grogan to figure out where the bomb is.

Before he can find the bomb or question the bad guys, Stark makes sure to get everyone safely away from the plant.  This is made extra hard because Major Ffoulkes doubts the plant is going to blow even after that very truthy flier hit him on the head.  He still gets a safe distance away but he does it with as much crank as possible.

And now, it's time to bluff the bad guys.  Iron Man pulls masked man and Grogan into the plant and doesn't let the out until they disarm the bomb.  The seconds tick away but Bullwhip Grogan finally cracks.  Now it's time to unmask the bad guy in front of the cranky crowd.

After Grogan explains that they were hired to mix into crowd by the mysterious masked man, they pop off that mask to reveal...  Mr. Bowers.  It was kind of a no-brainer.  Iron Man explains that Bowers was embezzling money and tried to cover it up with an elaborate scheme that would have destroyed the plant and cover his crime.

While none of the protestor's issues are suitably resolved, the bad guy is in custody so... yay.  Iron Man flies away.

Kevin O'Brien ended up working back at Stark's main plant and became one of Tony Stark's closest confidantes.  In time, Tony built O'Brien his very own suit of armor.  This was good and bad.  The good: armor.  The bad: the suit messed with Kevin's mind, making him a lot more violent and irrational.  Calling himself the Guardsman, he went a little crazy.  Then back to sane.  And then crazy again.  Let's just say that it wasn't a great time and it ended with Kevin's death.  Still, Kevin O'Brien can't be help accountable for actions taken because his suit alters his mind and should be honored as one of the good guys.

The Guardsman armor was passed down to Kevin's brother... which is a different story all together...

Yep.  I think we are good.  Thanks for Reading!

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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